Learning How to Say Goodbye

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
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I’m fully aware that today’s post may not resonate with everyone. It may dive further into the psyche than some of you are ready for or are even aware exists. But for those of you who are familiar and ready, this post may help you relate to your spiritual journey in another sense. And if you’re not familiar, take a chance. Perhaps this post will take you to a space you didn’t realize you were ready for.

I hope to transform something that can feel a little crazy and confusing into something slightly more tangible and worldly.

Many times when a person awakens, explores their spiritual life, or begins asking questions about their life’s purpose, they choose to make big changes in their life. Sometimes it’s a job change or a move, but for many it’s an inner change – a change to one’s perspective on how the world works and what a person needs and wants in life. This is personal and can vary from how people should treat each other, what is important in life to how you choose to live your life and where you choose to live it. Either way, these changes mean many times that you are leaving behind something, someone or some place.

At the core this is a loss.

We may not see it as a loss like we view a death. Yet, it’s still okay to give yourself the space and time to grieve for that loss (whatever it may be). Actually, it’s very healthy to do so.

It’s a chance to release and let go – a chance to say, “Goodbye.”

This concept is a bit philosophical, but stay with me.

To what are we saying goodbye?

In recent history, I have said ‘goodbye’ to a lot of things in my life. I reached a point where I needed to release things, people, and situations that no longer serve me in my life. Some of these things are physical – clothes I don’t wear anymore; books I’ve already read; well-worn shoes. You can read about my path to minimalism, which spurred this movement.

Other things aren’t tangible at all and live on a different plane.

For example, I have an entire document dedicated to saying goodbye to the old me. I’ve written to myself and it’s different versions. No, I’m not crazy or suffer from multiple personalities. But like all of us, I have parts of me that no longer serve me. For me, one is the scared little girl who comes out when I’m mad. She is not mature. She does not know how to handle her emotions. And she is mean – tear your eyes out, scream in your face kind of mean. You can imagine how unhealthy she is for me. I kindly told her that I no longer need her. I got this. Afterwards I felt lighter, more balanced and a little closer to peace. You see, she represented a fear I no longer needed to protect. That fear was being rejected for choosing to be an authentic version of myself.  And she’s been sabotaging relationships (which really means I have been sabotaging relationships.). I had to let this little girl go.

You may be thinking this exercise is crazy, silly, or not useful. But try it. No one has to read it. No one even has to know you wrote it. Write and delete it. Write and burn it (so healing). Write it and hold onto it. Tuck it away to read at another date. Either way, WRITE IT!

It’s a moment to acknowledge something uncomfortable about yourself and then take it further and allow yourself to sit in that feeling.

This takes courage. A lot of courage. Do not trivialize what you are tackling. It’s big. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to face this loss. It’s gonna be painful, but at the end you will find healing and peace. Guaranteed.

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How many of us run from our emotions? How many of us are in denial that they even exist?

In a previous post on self-love I wrote about pulling all my junk out from under my bed. The metaphor reflects on the thought that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And “the only way out is through.”

I know, I know sometimes the path through feels like a black hole in Hell. And you may feel completely lost, uncertain and confused. Guess what? THIS IS ALL NORMAL. And you can find ways to cope with this process.

First, label it for what it is: grief. Again, we’re referring to the loss of something while on a spiritual journey. I’m going to use the example of the loss in the perception of who you thought you should be; who your parent’s thought you should be; or who you were. This is a big loss. And one that can occur for everyone at some point in their life.

Imagine, you’re excited to become a new, healthier self; yet, something keeps blocking this flow. I believe it may be that you haven’t taken the time to grieve.

Let’s move through this process.

What are the stages of loss/grief?

  • Denial

You may be in denial that this past version of you didn’t mattered. It did.

  • Anger

You may be angry that you allowed yourself to live in that space for several years. Own that emotion. Then forgive yourself. In that moment or for all those years, that may have been all you were capable of handling.

  • Bargaining

Maybe you think you can let this past version of yourself creep out among certain friends or certain situations. How does this serve you?

  • Depression

This change is hard and overwhelming. Sit in these uncertainties.

  • Acceptance

This past version of you in harming healthier aspects of your life – aspects you want and need to succeed. It’s time to let go. To say, “Goodbye.”

This process can be painful and lengthy or take a matter of minutes. It depends on what is happening inside. It’s okay to be afraid. Many times this process triggers more. Each layer offers an opportunity to heal deeper. And all this is movement to more balance and peace in your life. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. You can do it today or wait until you feel more ready. Though, most often it hits at less convenient moments. Even then, sit in the process and let it unfold. You will thank yourself later. Give yourself permission to let go and say goodbye, and then watch yourself grow.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― E.E. Cummings

Resources:

https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

 

Learning What it Means to be Co-Dependent

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Co-dependent. Ick…I hate that word.

Recently, I read a book entitled, “Co-Dependent No More,” by Melody Beattie. I hate that book too. Really hate that book.

If you’ve been following me for some time then you’re aware that I’m on a journey. It’s an awakening, an awareness, a dive into my spiritual body, and a self-discovering journey at full speed – sometimes it feels like a spiritual journey on steroids. It’s forced me to heal and grow in ways I didn’t know needed to happen. I haven’t fully disclosed all the details, and I only share what works for me and my audience. This post is uncomfortable for me. A vulnerable moment that I feel is important. It’s been a massive breakthrough on my journey and an awareness that I hope can help someone else.

So what is this word I hate so much?

According to Wikipedia, co-dependency is a controversial concept for a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

According to “Co-dependent No More,” it’s a person who developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with a loved one’s more serious issues.

Why do I hate this word so much?

Honestly, I’m ashamed.

I don’t drink excessively. I don’t do drugs. I choose to live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t feel as if I was doing anything wrong, yet I suffered. It was such a subtle shift in my life, I didn’t realize I was suffering. Until one day a man I hardly knew saw it. He recognized something in me that I denied on the spot. I made up excuses for why my life was the way it was. That’s how co-dependency works, I’m not sure the co-dependent realizes it until they break.

Even then, I didn’t truly know what was wrong. I just knew something needed to change.

I had reached a point where things got turned so upside down I had to do something.

I decided to seek help from a therapist. I walked in thinking I was stressed dealing with other people’s problems. Now nine months later, I realized it’s been my issue all along. Oh, other’s have played their part, but I am no innocent. I taught people that it’s okay to use me, to abuse my responsible initiative and compassion, and then to pretend I meant nothing. But I’m not okay with this. I never have been. I’ve made so many decisions in my life based on other people’s emotions that I couldn’t discern what was mine and what was another’s. In recent history, I even played out another’s internal battle as if it was my own. I began to resent people, situations and myself. I became a ball of rage barely hanging onto my sanity.

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It turns out I didn’t value myself enough to show others that I didn’t deserve to be treated poorly. Wait, how can someone do that to themselves? For me, it has comes down to love. I felt that if I didn’t do something, the other person wouldn’t love me. And then it became such a habit that I was choosing not to love myself. I spent many years believing this is how love worked. But it does not.

First, you deserve to be treated with compassion, understanding and love. No excuses. If a person doesn’t show you these attributes, they do not deserve you. Not only that, you need to treat yourself with these attributes. If you keep showing people it’s okay to treat you with any less, they will never change. And if they never change, again, they don’t deserve you. Because you are worthy of love.

So choose you. Choose to love yourself. Solve your own problems and let others make mistakes and solve their own problems. They will be okay. And, even better, you’ll be more at peace. I promise. Mind your own business. This is still a practice for me. Daily. It’s really difficult when you’re face to face with a familiar situation, and you can feel yourself shrink. In that moment, take that awareness and make your shift. I wake up every morning declaring to love me, and I feel the progress. It’s slow some days, but it’s happening. And, yes, it has to be a conscious choice EVERY DAY.

Then through the entire process, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing any better, for suffering for so long, for letting other’s emotions control you. Because now you are more equipped. As am I, and my life has already changed.

I will not let anyone solve my problems. There is no pride involved. I got this. I need this. Exploring my own problems toward a resolution has helped me discover what I need and what I want. Those were questions I asked and truly did not know. But I now want to know. You see, I want to understand me to the point where I can say yes and know it’s me.

Sometimes it takes many tears, conflicts, blocks, challenges, disagreements to realize it’s not everyone else…it’s you. That awareness can take you to a space no one else can. A space of self-discovery, awareness and love. A place to grow. Don’t be afraid to go there. It’s powerful. Very powerful.

Remember you are the only one who has the power to make the shift. This journey is about having the courage to do it.

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency

 

Learning Self-Love

“Self-love is the biggest service you can provide humanity.”

I recently discovered that my 6-year-old daughter, who I thought was really helpful at cleaning her room, just shoves toys, dirty laundry, shoes, and books under her little sister’s bed. I lifted up the mattress and found all kinds of goodies begging to be put where they rightfully belonged.

Now you’re going to ask me what does a child’s dirty room have to do with self-love? Well, how many of us shove our issues into some compartment where we can’t see them? Where they are easier to avoid? Where they lay forgotten? Where they collect dust and become unrecognizable? I bet we all do.

In recent months, I have chosen to clean under my bed, uncover all my issues. When I pulled out all the bad memories, hurt feelings and negative emotions, I wanted to turn around and kick it all back under the bed. But why? They’d still be there waiting to be found another day. I couldn’t. I had reached a point in my life where I was ready – or at least I wanted to be – I wanted to heal; I wanted to face my fears; I wanted to experience joy that resonated with God’s love – not a new job, a significant other, or pretty new shoes. I craved purpose, joy and meaning that came from me.

It’s a challenging journey. And I’m getting there. It took a lot of courage to sit in a pile of problems. Sometimes I wanted to curl up and sob. The room was too messy. The hurt too much. But why? I learned that I hadn’t thought myself worthy, deserving, good enough or lovable. Those are hard things to process. In that moment I discovered the part I played in my unhappy moments, my dysfunctional relationships, my failures.

And I’ll tell you, it’s so much easier to love someone else than it is to love myself. We are our worst critic; our toughest competitor; our worst enemy. But I’m working on it. Some days it feels selfish. Because choosing to say, “No,” for no other reason than “I don’t feel like that works for me” is really hard for me. I like to make people feel good; I like to heal people; I like to be there for others. And I can still do that. But I realized that I cannot continue to sustain a healthy being if I do this at the cost of my own schedule, my own dreams, and my own love. Loving ourselves isn’t selfish; it’s actually a love that brings us closer to God because it aligns us with our higher purpose, which is to be a witness to God’s love. If we love ourselves, we love others more easily without judgement, without expectations, without playing games. And that is the healing magic of self-love.

What does self-love looks like?

It’s different person to person. For me, self love is:

  • Climbing a tree because I want to. And not being afraid as I rise higher into the canopy. This is living in the present moment and such a healthy practice.
  • Surfing by myself. I have four daughters. I rarely do anything alone, so choosing to do something alone feels very selfish to me. But surfing is so healing, and something I need.
  • Sitting alone in the early morning, drinking coffee, and meditating. Silence is a rare and precious gift in my house. I take it when I can.
  • Dancing. I love to dance. My kitchen is usually my ballroom; it’s where I listen to sexy Latin dance music. It’s where I can get silly with my girls and transform my tile floor into a ballet stage.
  • A bubble bath. This is a place where I create stories and poetry.

So, today I challenge you to take a moment to create space for a little self-love and self-care. You deserve it! And if you have the courage, clean from under your bed. Things will be messy, but eventually everything gets put right where it belongs.

“Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful. I promise.”