At the start of every year, like so many others, I look back at the past year and reflect on ways to become a better me in the new year. This year, I set intentions and practices that I’d like to establish as I typically do. But I wanted to add in something new and the question came: How could you show yourself a little love for the person you were? And then the answer came…
What are some things you would like to continue? Simple question right? I thought so too until I only had a list of two things I thought were things you celebrate.
I decided to press pause in the midst of my frustration to celebrate all that made me, and all that I hoped to continue. So here it is, A Love Letter: To the Year Ahead
In the post, “Guard Your Heart,” I ended saying, “We all have something we can do, in order to better protect our hearts and guard our love.” I chose to find a way to do just that. I have been practicing releasing and forgiving with intention. I noticed one of the main reasons why I “react” to certain situations is because I have not clearly communicated and worked through my feelings. Below, are a few ways I chose to try as I am journeying through this part of the healing process.
*Please Take Note: I lend these only as suggestions for self-awareness in healing. These tips are not to take the place of professional therapy.
Release the Guilt
-Releasing the guilt is forgiving ourselves. It allows us to let go of the pain we are feeling and prevents us from believing that we are unworthy of forgiveness.
“I forgive myself for ________.” Release the Anger Releasing the anger we may have for someone or something can be very difficult. Something that has helped me in this is realizing that we all have battles we are facing, whether we know what they are or not. Just as I am working through past hurts and obstacles, the other person also has experiences they have and are still working through. Holding on to the anger creates a burden on your heart. A burden you should not carry. Releasing the anger ultimately grants you freedom from the pain.
“I forgive (said person or thing that has hurt you) for (what effect the person or thing did).” Reflect Forgiveness is major part of the healing process. There is no measured time of how long it will take. As you are moving through, reflect on these questions: What emotions do I feel from past hurts? What led me to make the choices I made, good choices and lessons? Why am I affected by these events that have happened in my past? What healthy boundaries must I create to protect my heart? How do I clearly communicate these boundaries to others?
I’d love to hear your suggestions of self-forgiveness and creating boundaries. Drop a comment below.
It turns out, destiny has a way of redirecting our steps to be on the right path, before we are able to move forward. Doesn’t it feel good, when we hear or read someone else’s story of a trial they were able to make it pass. It gives us a feeling of relief and hope that things will get better.
I ended a past post saying “We all have something we can do, in order to better protect our hearts and guard our love.” I took the time to do just that.
Needs. Deserves. Protects.
I believe there is always a lesson to be learned in disappointment and heartache. We can only learn from those lessons when we actually take the time to reflect on it. To heal from it. These past few weeks, I decided to take time to focus on my heart. To allow myself to feel the emotions and heal from it. Thinking about what it needs, what it deserves, and what I need to protect it from.
Give it a Try:
First: Write three affirmations about yourself.
Then: Write three things you need to guard your heart from. (Whether this is self inflicting pain, a recent disappointment, or negative energy you’ve been feeling.)
Last: Take the time to learn something about your heart, from what you wrote, and go take care of it!
I went back and forth about sharing my story of heartache and guilt not too long ago. I wrote it and edited, edited, edited. It was in the editing process where I came to the realization: I write, first for me. Then, for someone else who may need it too.
“My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in your weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:9
Writing is my therapy and my way of processing. (Besides, I went to school for this minor in writing and I better put my money to use somehow.)
I write this, first for me. Then, for someone else who may be in need of a little encouragement as they are learning how to heal just as I. This process is not easy, but it is necessary. It does not matter if someone feels I am sharing “too much” of myself. I chose to share this vulnerable piece of my life with you all because sometimes we think we’re alone. Sometimes we hold a level a un-forgiveness to ourselves. We don’t speak up about how we feel and we keep it bottled up inside. I firmly believe the trials we go through in life, not only teach us, but is a story to aide someone else. It serves a purpose beyond who we are. It shares HOPE.
Writing is my way of release. A close friend of mine likes to listen to music. What is your way of release?
There I was, sharing my story of heartbreak with my grandmother, hoping she would shed some wisdom on my life. And she hits me with this question, “But what is your spirit telling you?”
I’ve never been asked that question before. I sat there in silence. I started to talk about my heart. “Yes Rae, but your heart can be swayed. Our hearts may feel one thing, but our spirit is what truly speaks to us.” As she did shed her wisdom during that conversation, I couldn’t help but replay that question in my head that whole day.
“But what is your spirit telling you?”
In search of the answer to that question, I decided to rid myself of all distractions, which came down to television, my phone, the radio, and my apartment. A friend of mine called up and we decided to hit the road. I had no expectations of what to do or see. I just wanted to be. We took a 4 hour round trip sharing life, laughs, and quietness. We hopped in and out at small towns with mountainous views, snapping pics, and feeling the waves (heat waves that is). I laughed as loud as I wanted to. Sat in silence when I needed to. Took as many pictures as my phone allowed. It was like we were journeying west, moving onward.
On the way back home, I realized the feeling I had been missing. The feeling of being unapologetically myself. Free.
I prayed hard that night and poured my hear out. I wanted, NEEDED to hear God’s voice. And then the question whispered to me once more.
This time I knew my response, but I was afraid to answer.
I whispered to my heart, “You can do this. This time is for you. You must let go.”
Sometimes we don’t realize the answer to our question is there all along. Sometimes we must go deep within. Reconnect with spirit. It won’t come easy, but when you finally feel it. You know.
There I sat, on my bed, once again…in tears. The rush of emotions and feelings on top of the deadlines approaching, seemed to pile on all at once. And now there’s one more thing to add! The end of a relationship. I sat in confusion over how the whole day spiraled down and the last thing I said in the midst of my frustration, “You don’t appreciate me or what I do. I’m tired of feeling this way. I don’t feel valued. I don’t feel appreciated.” The rush of emotions flooded my mind. Did I really mean to?
I believe this has been the hardest lesson for me to learn, guarding my heart. Letting go of people and things that are no good for my soul. I forgive over and over and over. My heart tells me, people deserve many chances, as you have been given many chances in life too. Even this time, I offered to try again and knew deep down, I shouldn’t have. Some of you are probably saying, “You should’ve known.” But is that truly the response we give to someone who is learning, living, and loving?
I’m still lovable.
I’m still deserving.
I’m still worthy.
All of those put together make me beautiful.
This time was different. I didn’t choose to see all of his faults. Parts of us fit together so perfectly. This was our second time giving “us” a try. But when situations happened and I was deeply hurt, it’s like the pain was never truly healed and trust was lost. But I was told to “carry on” and “it’ll pass when you choose” without ever truly having the time to. I allowed pieces of me to be damaged by his emotional struggles. I ignored my own needs, wants, and boundaries. In order to make him feel better about himself, I started to let go of pieces of me. My passions, my creativity, my character, my heart. I realize he didn’t protect my heart with gentleness and care, yet I still stayed. It was those damaged pieces of the puzzle, which made it hard for us to reconnect. I felt like I couldn’t express my hurt freely and over the past few months of being all bottled up and not heard, I released.
I wasn’t crying about the relationship ending. I cried because of those final words. I cried because I finally released every feeling I had held inside. As the rush of emotions continued on, a feeling crept up inside me. A feeling I never felt before: GUILT. I could go on and on into detail about this story, but the story is not what I care for you to know…It’s the lesson.
“Above all things, guard your heart. For everything you do, flows from it.” -Proverbs 4:23
We must not change the parts of ourselves that we hold so dearly. We must love ourselves so passionately, that if someone comes along to try and diminish that love we have of ourselves, we immediately block that negativity from our hearts. I allowed my heart to be hurt and did nothing about it. That’s where the guilt came from. Knowing how much I once took care of myself and protected myself, but not doing anything this time. I don’t want that for you. I’m no longer allowing that for me. You know? The guilt. We can recognize how we are responsible for the hurt, but we must forgive ourselves in order to move forward.
Whether it be the audition we didn’t go on because we heard someone else “better” was going to be there, so we talked ourselves down and out of it. The negative comment someone made about something you worked really hard on. The fear of moving somewhere or traveling to a different place because we’re told we will be lonely. The diet we don’t do such a great job of sticking to. Perhaps, like me, allowing people who do not deserve to feel our light, throw their shade. This time I’m laying the hurt and pain out on the table, praying for strength and patience as I am going through the healing process because now is the time. Now is the time to love me. Now is the time to heal my wounds. Now is the time to honor my space.
We all have something we can do, in order to better protect our hearts and guard our love, as this is a must.