The Art of Letting Go (to Heal a Broken Heart)

THE ART OF LETTING GO (TO HEAL A BROKEN HEART)

Angel Chernoff

“Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies.”
― Dorothy Allison

I loved him like a brother, and he treated me as such. He told me I was a genius and that the world needed to hear my music. He was a ball of passion, and when he spoke it always felt like a battle cry to fight for a better life. I was working as a teacher, spending my summers with struggling artists who gave me that energy and community I craved. When I met him in Toronto, I felt like I found new family in my own hometown.

His family wasn’t so abundant—his parents struggled with addiction and were trying to take the earnings he made producing music. It was killing his spirit, and I could sense it. So without consulting my parents, I invited him to live with me. He was the brother I never had.

We got matching tattoos and promised each other that there would always be two of everything. We hustled the music, threw shoes, networked, and talked about what we could do artistically and for the scene in the city. The summer had ended and now I was back to grinding the 8-5 shift. It was killing my soul to be working knowing there was so much to create. Then he came to me with an opportunity that changed my life forever.

It was a songwriting deal, worth $120,000, to write 10 songs for an unknown artist who apparently had major connections. We’d get paid to write the songs, and with that money we could be full-time artists. Without much thought, due diligence or reflection, I took a leave of absence from work, and we moved into a rental property that I purchased as a responsible adult. Then we got straight to creating.

They Never Did

He explained the money would come soon, but weeks went by with no word. Weeks turned to months, and with no income, I was quickly accumulating debt by swiping credit cards, and negotiating a bigger line of credit. I wasn’t worried, when the money came in, it would wipe the debt clean, and we’d have plenty to play with.

He told me about all the friends that owed him money, and how we could start collecting to cover the bills, but he wasn’t finding much luck. As the months went on, I began to ask him more questions, and he became more and more defensive. One day he went out of town to collect some money from a family member. A mutual friend disclosed to me that he had been asking people to lend him money, and that in fact, no one owed him anything. I called him to clarify this, and he immediately hung up, and I never heard from him again.

He literally left his belongings in the apartment and never came back for anything. Clothes, a computer, keepsakes, it was as if he fell off the face of the earth. I was confused, devastated, and heartbroken. I had never had my heart broken by a friend before; it was a foreign kind of betrayal I couldn’t wrap my head around. Beyond the betrayal was the slow sinking reality that I was in deep trouble with my finances. I had accumulated over $80,000 in debt and had no way to pay it off. It turns out the songwriting deal was never real—he had forged documents, changed names, and was planning on borrowing money from others to cover it. When that didn’t work, he ran out of options and ran away.

That was seven years ago. The years that  followed were the hardest years of my life. I fell into deep despair and turned to NyQuil and muscle relaxers to numb the pain. I blamed the world and everyone around me for not warning me of his sleazy ways. I stayed in bed for weeks, and ate very little, hoping the cavalry would come to save the day.

They never did.

A Challenging Time

During the worst moments, I thought the worst thoughts about him. How dare he do this to me, after I let him in my home, and allowed him to live with me for a year rent-free. I was nothing but amazing to him! I treated him like a brother! And this is what I got in return?

But I learned to let it go, gradually.

Of course, I didn’t let it go because I thought what he did was OK. I let it go because I could not afford to carry such a heavy burden of resentment and regret with me. If I was ever going to get myself out of the mess I was in, I needed less baggage…

I needed a different mindset.

He wasn’t evil, he was scared. He bit off more than he could chew, and instead of facing the consequences of his actions, he ran away. All of that was out of my control. And for me to maintain my sanity I had to focus on what was in my control.

What was always in my control was my thinking and expectations. I expected him to be honest with me, because I was honest with him. But that’s not how things work. As I write this story, I am at a friend’s house in Austin, TX. I can hear the neighbour’s dog barking really loud. If I went over and stuck my hand through the fence, that dog would probably bite me. I can’t assume or expect him not to, just because I don’t plan to bite him. Dogs do what dogs do. Scared people do what scared people do.

So I forgave him, little by little, and began taking more responsibility for what happened. It was hard work. But doing so helped me let go of the resentment and regrets that were holding me back

Truth be told, it’s easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves, and cast ourselves as the victims in life. And it’s not only easy, it’s quick and convenient too. It gives us an immediate opportunity to feel connected and significant. We connect with ourselves because we feel like no one else understands what we are going through (as if I was the first guy to ever be betrayed by a friend). It also gives us a subtle high of significance, because we start to convince ourselves that life is conspiring only against us, as we question what we did to deserve its wrath.

This quick fix doesn’t last though, and what accompanies it is a long and drawn out feeling of powerlessness. We have no power because we’ve blamed everyone and everything except ourselves. Thus, for me to find power in my situation, I had to take some of the responsibility, because only in those areas would I find the power to improve my circumstances.

Again, it took plenty of practice, but I gradually became more mindful of my expectations, and instead of kicking myself (with my 20/20 hindsight) for all the danger signs that were right in front of me, I decided to extract the wisdom from my past experience. I promised myself I would use that wisdom until I was glad I went through such a challenging time.

I Am Cavalry

Over time, my broken heart healed, I got stronger, I got back on my feet and spent the next four years getting myself out of the hole. Through selling my possessions, finding odd gigs here and there, touring, and writing my book Unlearn, I finally got to a $0 bank account—no debt.

And gradually, I began to feel sincere gratitude for the journey I was on, and what I went through to get to where I was.

Figuring out how to go from $80,000 in the hole to $0 also helped me grow from $0 to a bank account with decent savings. My struggling days taught me the value of minimalism. I became a dramatically better judge of character, and looking back I realized how resilient I really was.

I no longer hope for a cavalry, I am the cavalry. I am no longer afraid to lose because with loss comes learning. I don’t question whether I need to trust others, because I know I can trust myself. Challenges and resistance make us stronger, so either we make ourselves uncomfortable so we can grow, or life does it for us.

We Can Choose

Although I’ve now completely forgiven my old friend, and even thanked him for the lessons I’ve learned, it all happened internally. I never made any proclamation or tried to contact him. After the passing of a mutual friend, he tried to reach out, but I didn’t need that energy in my life. I had already let it go, and there was no need to re-introduce it back into my life.

We need to let things go and forgive others, not for their sake, but for ours. We need to rid ourselves of the weight we carry around holding grudges, regrets, and the other burdens that try to pile up. We also need to let go so we can create a space where self-love exists, because most likely we’ll need that space to forgive ourselves, too.

I have indeed forgiven. And I am truly grateful.

Had I not gone through such a heartbreaking experience, I would have never dug deep into myself to write Unlearn. I would have never crossed paths with the amazing Marc & Angel, or read their books. And, most importantly, I would not have grown into the person I am today.

We can’t see into the future, but we can choose how much of our past we deliberately carry with us into today.

We can choose to let go and move forward, one day at a time.

Now, it’s YOUR turn…

I would love to hear from YOU in the comments section.

What do you need to let go of (or forgive), to move forward with your life?

Anything else to share?

Please leave me a comment.

Reasons for Failed Relationships

REASONS FOR FAILED RELATIONSHIPS

Sheqoz


Small things grow into bigger problems if left unsolved

If you are in a relationship, you obviously have good and bad days. That’s normal in all relationships. The up’s and down’s are not enough reasons to push a relationship off the cliff. Those are moments meant to strengthen you. I like to think of a palm tree when the downtime comes. You must have watched either live or on the news when there are bad storms in countries with many palm trees.

They don’t seem to be very steady when the winds begin to blow but if you pay close attention, those palms bend to an extent of breaking but they never lose their ground. In this same way, some of the things relationships face are meant to make things more solid. The biggest problems come from little issues left unresolved. These problems don’t go just because they were left unaddressed. Let’s take a close look at 6 reasons why relationships fail.

1. Ignorance About Petty Issues:


Partners should never ignore each other

Many relationships become victims of their own weaknesses. Small problems become an  ignored enemy which gives it the power to win. You cannot underestimate an enemy and expect to come out victorious. Those small issues you notice but fail to fix could become the biggest threat. To stop them from destroying what you’ve worked hard to build, you will need to identify them. A problem well identified is half way solved. Once you do this, write them down and find some stress-free time to discuss and solve them.

2. Lack of Emotional Discipline:

Many relationships suffer emotional abuse. Normally one partner plays the role of the abuser knowingly or unknowingly. When we allow our emotions to run wild, we fail to recognize the red flags and thus do not make conscious efforts to apply the much needed breaks when necessary. When this happens, a crash becomes imminent.

Take control over your emotions, don’t allow them to control you. We all have feelings but they must be guided. If you want to protect your heart and relationship from unwanted abuse, control your emotions. Don’t feel entitled to get whatever you want when you want it from your partner.

Do you know that the number one reason people find themselves in wrong relationships is emotional indiscipline? They let how they feel control their actions and reactions!

3. Lack of Appreciation:


Always appreciate each other’s initiative to resolve conflicts

Never take people’s goodwill for granted or think they are kind due to weakness. When you abuse a privilege acting like you’re entitled to it, you put yourself on a dark spot. You may lose everything this way. Get into the habit of appreciating what others do for you and be respectful while at it. This goes a long way and pushes others to want to do even more for you.

4. Unthoughtfulness:

Lack of communication falls under this category. You see, when you have someone you care about and make no effort to reach out to them, they may interpret your silence as disinterest. A short text or phone call matters a lot. If you have been quiet on someone you love or care for, don’t wait for them to break that silence. Take the initiative to reach out. Don’t miss out on a good thing because of pride.

Thought for the Soul:

“To have good relationships with people at any level of life, good personality must be present. You must be in a position to concede and compromise some things. Have an understanding heart so that you can forgive.”


Happy relationships are built over time. Each day brings a new understanding.

Find out how you can make your marriage shift from worst to great again.

How to Overcome Infidelity in Marriage

HOW TO OVERCOME INFIDELITY IN MARRIAGE

sheqoz

When the betrayed spouse feels violated, they get a rush of adrenalin which triggers irrational reaction

The Pain:

After infidelity, the betrayed spouse goes through intense emotions. The hurt, bewilderment, anger and numbing shock are overwhelming. There’s normally accelerated anger from the betrayed spouse which causes them to vent their rage. Although they should be granted the freedom to do so, it is important to choose the verbalized words carefully.

Reaction:

The strenuous stress contributes to a flood of adrenaline in the body. It is during this reaction that the betrayed spouse can do anything to hurt back the betrayer. This is the most sensitive time which determines where the relationship will end up. It can be the beginning of marriage recovery or the end.

During this period, the last thing the betrayer should do is react with anger. Instead, they should allow their spouse the space to vent while they maintain an apologetic attitude. This will help calm the situation to a point where a decent discussion is possible.

What to avoid:

The betrayed  –  

Avoid any physical confrontation with either your spouse or the person they cheated with. Sometimes stepping down to your betrayers level might turn the table making you seem like the evil one.

Do not jump into the option of property damage. It will do you no good and might land you into a lawsuit. You have loads of emotional healing to deal with. Don’t add any more.

Take some time away if you can. It will help you heal and make sound decisions on the next steps you want to take.

The betrayer –

You have violated marital vows and solid trust. Avoid any form of arrogance towards your spouse. A kind, polite attitude during this time will go a long way.

This is your time to make amendments since you’ve been caught pants down. Try an honest approach with the questions your spouse has. Remember you’ve been caught because she/he had some information.

There’s no need to hide bits of it from your already injured spouse at this point. Your precious relationship is shattered into pieces. There’s nothing left to protect. Nothing will injure your spouse more than being subtly  deceived on top of your act.

Trying to hide what they already know is clear indication that you intend to protect and cover up your rendezvous. If you do not wish to continue and you honestly desire to save your marriage, tell it like it is. Your spouse already knows the truth anyway. Deceit has done no good to your marriage. It definitely will not rebuild the broken one.

Questions to Expect From the Betrayed Spouse:

These questions are almost guaranteed after the first surge of anger. What happened? When did it happen? How long has this been going on? Do you love her/him? Men are said to want details of the sexual activity.

No matter how awkward the question, do not squelch the information. Most women are known to calm down when they realize their spouse isn’t trying to fool them any further.

After the Interrogation:

The wounded spouse now has the power to call the shots. If she/he intends to save the marriage, she/he will try to work things out positively. However, it all depends on the violations picked from the betrayer.

It is crucial that both spouses work together from one level. The possibilities of falling off the marriage wagon at this point are very high. There must be some mutual understanding and support. The betrayer must work hard to rebuild trust while the wounded spouse must create the opportunity and show support

Expectations in Rebuilding your Marriage:

Although there’s an open window for rebuilding your marriage, the emotional turmoil from infidelity is not anywhere close to over. There’s going to be a recurrence of certain things like grief, suspicions and sometimes accusations.

When this happens, the best thing to do is to reassure the grieving spouse that it will never happen again. As time goes by, the relationship will begin to get stronger and trust might eventually kick in.

What to Avoid:

Having an opportunity to rebuild a broken marriage should not be taken for granted. It’s more like walking on glass until the solidarity is once again proven. For example, if the betrayer is a man, the last thing he would want to do is continue visiting bars and showing up late in the night.

Such behaviors will keep the woman in a grieving state. She will not be able to move on and forgive because she thinks her spouse is still running around with the woman he cheated with. This will push her limits and eventually she will completely give up on the marriage. The same goes to a man betrayed by his wife – which isn’t unusual nowadays.

Facts:


A couple that prays together stays together

Things happen and temptations are always present. Infidelity for the most part is normally premeditated. The will to walk out of it depends entirely on the betrayer. If they arrogantly continue the deception, the betrayed spouse is left with two options. To either live with that pain for the rest of their lives or completely shut the door.

I personally don’t encourage people to divorce but nobody should live an unhealthy life due to stress-related illnesses just to hold a marriage together. Life is short and should be lived at its best. Every married couple need to understand that they can love their spouse but cannot control the decisions they make.

The only option is to commit the relationship to God. His Holy Spirit will always guide you into the right direction. My conclusion? Pray for each other. l have never known of couples who pray together going through wreckage. Please take time and read about forgiveness in marriage here. Good luck with your marriage.

Understanding the source of anger

UNDERSTANDING THE SOURCE OF ANGER

Os Hillman

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
(Proverbs 29:11)

The workplace can be a pressure-packed world. The demands that are often put on us can bring out things that we never knew were there. Sometimes we begin to think that the source of that pressure is to blame for our response to the pressure. It could be an event, a spouse, a boss, a client, a child, or even a driver who cuts us off in traffic.

I recall responding to a close friend one time, “If you had not done that, I would never have responded that way.” Later I learned that this response had little truth to it. We all choose to get angry. No one else is to blame for our anger.

“The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am” [Dr. Sam Peeples].

This simple quote has had a profound impact on how I view my anger now. Anger only reveals what is inside of me. I can’t blame anyone but me for my response to a situation. I have learned that anger is only the symptom of something else that is going on inside of me. This quote now resides on my refrigerator door as a daily reminder of the truth about my response to life’s situations.

It has been said that anger is like the warning panel on the dash of your car. It is the light that tells us something is going on under the hood and we need to find out what is the source of the problem. I discovered that the source of anger is often unmet expectations or personal rights. We believe we are entitled to a particular outcome to a situation. When this doesn’t happen, it triggers something in us. At the core of this is fear, often a fear of failure or rejection, fear of what others think, fear of the unknown.

If you struggle with anger, ask God to reveal the source of that anger. Ask Him to heal you of any fears that may be the root of your anger. Ask God to help you take responsibility for your response to difficult situations.

Why Communication Won’t Save Your Marriage (Part 2) – What Will

WHY COMMUNICATION WON’T SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE (PART 2) – WHAT WILL

The Relate Institute

So after readingpart 1, you’ve recognized this annoying little cycle in your marriage (one of you pursues and one withdraws, you both withdraw, you both pursue, etc.).  But while your spouse is going on and on about that thing you do that bugs them so much and you know you’re about to get into a fight, how do you stop it?   How do you break the cycle?  This is the question we get from couples everyday.  “Okay, we get it.  We do that thing, but how do we get out of it?”

Here’s the trick: We all have insecurities and fears in our relationships that we need help overcoming.  When you can help soothe each other’s anxieties about where you stand in the relationship you can avoid eruptions that turn into fights.  When we soothe each other, we can feel calm and discuss issues calmly and safely, instead of from a place of fear and reactivity.  So basically, you are trying to respond to your partner’s needs and give your partner the chance to respond to you by expressing your needs to them.

Here are three ideas taken and adapted from Sue Johnson’s theory of emotionally focused therapy for how to do this:

1. Recognize your cycle when it happens.

This may sound trite, but honestly, just being able to stop yourselves and recognize, “we’re getting caught in our cycle” in the middle of an argument can change everything. All of a sudden you are fighting a common enemy–”the cycle”–instead of each other.

2. Understand what’s driving the cycle.

​It’s not going to help you very much if you can say, “We’re stuck in our cycle right now,” if you don’t know why the cycle is even happening.  It’s important to understand what goes on for each of you internally during the cycle.  In general, our visible responses (yelling, crying, running away, shutting down, etc.) are being driven by something deeper.  This “something” will be different for everyone, but it usually involves feelings of inadequacy, fear of losing your partner, shame, hurt, fear of not being important, embarrassment, loneliness, etc.  These feelings are often driven by the most fundamental and important unmet attachment needs of belonging, acceptance, safety, and connection.

Why Communication Won't Save Your Marriage (Part 2) - Here’s the trick: We all have insecurities and fears in our relationships that we need help overcoming. When you can help soothe each others’ anxieties about where you stand in the relationship you can avoid eruptions that turn into fights. When we sooth each other, we can feel calm and discuss issues calmly and safely, instead of from a place of fear and reactivity. So basically, you are trying to respond to your partner’s needs and give your partner the chance to respond to you by expressing your needs to them.

3. Learn how to express the emotions driving the cycle when it happens.

Instead of continuing to shut down and walk away when your wife starts nagging or yelling, recognize that you are shutting down, ask yourself what you are really feeling (beneath the annoyance and frustration), and communicate that to her. For example, you might be feeling overwhelmed by her nagging because you feel like you’re already doing so much and you don’t need her to add to your to-do list. This “nagging” makes you feel like you’re not doing a good enough job as a husband because she’s not happy, even though you’re trying your best, and this makes you feel inadequate as a husband.  It might even make you feel like a failure.  That’s a pretty scary place to be. Try sharing the fear of failing as a husband with her, instead of running away from her and your emotions again.

And to the “nagging” partner, try to really consider what’s happening for you.

​Are you feeling like he’s not responding to you? Is that why you have to complain? Does it feel like you aren’t being heard in your marriage?  How is that making you feel?  It might make you worried that when he forgets to do things you ask, it means he isn’t listening to you, which means what you say isn’t important, which means you aren’t important to him.  That’s also a pretty scary place to be – to not feel important to your spouse, the person who has committed to love and cherish you forever. Try sharing those fears with him instead of reaching out by nagging.

It’ll be a lot easier to respond to each other when you change the way you reach out to get your emotional attachment needs met. Instead of nagging to make sure he hears you, or running away to make sure she chases you, try actually sharing your deep-dark-scary-fears and see what happens.  We have found that it’s natural to respond to those we love when we can see and feel their pain with them.  If you can access that pain for yourself and share it with your partner, you’ve reached an entirely new level of safety, acceptance, and connection.

**Now, that example was pretty stereotypical, and it happens the other way around as well–with the husband nagging and the wife shutting down.  And it also happens around different issues.  For one couple it might be that one partner is cheating on the diet they are working on together, for another it might be that one partner always has to be right, for another it might be that one can’t keep the house clean, etc. etc. etc.  The issue is always unique to the situation, but it always comes back to the same cycle and same underlying emotions, fears, and attachment needs that need to be responded to and soothed.

Keep in mind, it may sound like 3 simple steps to changing your relationship, but accessing your underlying emotions is very difficult, and sharing them with your partner can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task because of the vulnerability it requires.  Don’t rush the steps.  Take your time helping each other figure out what you’re really feeling.  You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your relationship.

Forgive Your Spouse

FORGIVE YOUR SPOUSE

You never realize the strength you receive once you forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology you never received. Today you must decide to forgive your spouse who hurt you intentionally. Not because they apologized, or because you enjoyed the pain that they caused you, but because your soul deserves peace.
 
Forgiveness is a choice to show mercy. It is a commitment not to hold on to count the offense against the offender.
 
Forgiveness is an expression of love. Just like God forgave you, forgive them also and pray for God’s intervention. Once your heart is sincere and pure, your prayers are heard. That’s when God starts moving into your situation and takes revenge against those who intentionally troubled and hurt you.

Read more

Major causes of domestic violence in Nigeria

MAJOR CAUSES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

Here are the leading causes of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE in Nigeria and most countries. The problem is quite widespread so it is better to know the main reasons, and maybe this will help to avoid such anathema at home.

Major causes of domestic violence in Nigeria

The list of domestic violence causes

Read more

Love Opens Doors

LOVE OPENS DOORS

Richard Innes

“Love never fails.”1

According to an article in Today in the Word, soon after Queen Victoria’s marriage to Prince Albert, the couple had a quarrel, whereupon Prince Albert locked himself in his private apartment. Queen Victoria knocked furiously on his door.

“Who’s there?” asked Albert.

“The Queen of England, and she demands to be admitted.”

Read more

Relationship Arguments – 23 Dos and Don’ts to Remember

relationship arguments

RELATIONSHIP ARGUMENTS – 23 DOS AND DON’TS TO REMEMBER

Elizabeth Arthur

Ever wondered how some couples fight, but are still so much in love with each other? Here are 23 relationship argument dos and don’ts that can help you.

Arguments in a relationship are inevitable for most couples.

Of course, there are a few happy couples who rarely argue and understand each other completely.

But for the rest of the mere mortals, a petty fight in love over a confusion or a misunderstanding is pretty common.

Getting into an argument with your lover doesn’t make you a bad partner, nor does it mean that your relationship is less than perfect.

Read more

How to deal with difficult emotions

HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT EMOTIONS

The Gottman Institute

The key to dealing with difficult emotions like anger, confusion, fear, loneliness, and sadness is mindfulness.

Practicing mindfulness enables you to calm down and soothe yourself. When you’re calm, you have space to reflect and thoughtfully respond, rather than react.

Following these six steps will help you to understand and deal with your difficult emotions in a mindful way.

6 Steps to Mindfully Deal with Difficult Emotions

Mindfully dealing with emotions is hard and it takes time. Be kind, compassionate, and patient with yourself and your partner.

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