Should You Be Friends with Your Ex?

The age old question of “should I be friends with my ex?” will never have a surefire answer and it is personal to everyone, but this is my opinion on the matter. Some may agree and some may disagree, but nevertheless it is merely an opinion and this is not a personal attack on anyone. Feel free to feel whatever you may please.

For starters, this question is not a “should I hate my ex,” versus “should I respect my ex?” Because you should not hate anyone and you should (try to) respect everyone. This is more of a…”should I incorporate my ex into my life just as I do my other friends?” Of course it matters what the situation regarding the break-up was. In situations of abuse and obvious mistreatment, that person does not deserve access to you and your life. When children are involved things get difficult…but for this case I’m focusing on break-ups not concerned with children or abuse.

Everyone starts to date for a reason and one of those reasons (most likely) was that you and your ex got along and found pleasure in spending time with each other. So, you are both friends and significant others, because you wouldn’t date someone that you weren’t friends with (in most cases). But then if you found such pleasure in each others time…why would you break-up? The reasons are endless…but it seems that all of the reasons go back to one person being more committed than the other. When you find yourself becoming committed to someone and only having a desire for them, your heart, soul, and body become involved with that other person. There is something about humans and the way that we love that just consumes us. By consuming I don’t mean that you revolve your life around it, but you consider that person in everything you do….because when you have a relationship with someone, especially a romantic one, your actions effect them whether you like it or not.

So, when you experience such deep emotions and then someone cheats on you, or decides that they don’t want to be in a relationship with you because it is just not what they want anymore…and you’re not on the same level of disinterest as them…it hurts…badly. You find yourself questioning everything you did. Asking yourself, “where did I go wrong? what could I have done differently?” You just keep fighting yourself until eventually you realize that you did nothing wrong. And you did not have to do anything differently. I’m guessing that most of us distance ourselves from our exes for a while because we all know that we cannot heal if we are surrounded by the person that left us feeling broken every day. That would be like sending a former alcoholic to the bar after they get their first sobriety chip. You need distance from what hurt you before you can surround yourself with it without feeling the negative feelings you did before. Even if you still love them, and you still will, sometimes we have to keep the things we love the most the furthest away from us.

But when you find yourself feeling better and you find that you no longer have an attachment to that person. You see their name on your phone or see them on social media and your heart no longer skips a beat. Someone mentions their name and you don’t feeling a pang in your chest. Your emotions are no longer easily influenced by their presence. You have healed (mostly) from the tragedy of a broken heart. What do you do then? What you shouldn’t do is go out of your way to have them in your life. If you come across them in public…say hi. If you see something they say on social media and you want to like it, retweet it, share it, or anything in the like…do it. If they say something to you in public or social media, then respond. But if you start to let them into your life more, then the chances of you gaining back the deep emotions and feelings that you have spent SO much time training yourself to not experience and live without will more likely than not come back. You have to remind yourself, as painful as it sounds, that they do not feel for you the way that you’ve felt for them….unless of course they say so. But, then again, the idea that someone only realizes how much they feel for you when you are gone are risky waters to be treading in. To me that just sounds like uncertainty…but that’s a different topic.

What I am getting at, since I have really dragged out the question of, “should I be friends with my ex?” is that…you should be friendly with your ex but you shouldn’t be friends with them. The term friends is used very loosely these days, but if you really think about it…you guys aren’t really friends. I’d say the word phrase old friends would be more suiting. Eventually as you grow into the person you are without them you’ll even seem more like strangers. Pain changes people and the person you were when you were with them will not be the same person you are when you aren’t with them.

If you think you can maintain close contact with your ex and not gain feelings for them again…then go for it. There is nothing stopping you, but remember there is nothing forcing you either. It does not make you a bad person to not maintain a solid friendship with them. As long as you respect their name and send love their way (as you should do for everyone, whether you know them or not) you are doing everything right. If they want to be friends with you and it is too painful for you, be honest with them and if they cannot understand that…they eventually will…I promise.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to burn the bridge because burning bridges is never good. Just don’t work on the bridge for a few seasons. This is not a grudge you are holding. It is just you living your life the healthiest way for you. There are many people that we have met that we care for, but don’t necessarily go out of our way for them to be in our lives. If years pass and you two have grown into different people…maybe things can work. But also remember to NOT wait on that and to carry on your life without the thought that maybe you two will meet again. Just let life happen and try not to actively wonder about those things.

I pray that you all feel better if you are going through a break-up or any painful experience…it gets better. The new you will be beautiful and thriving and wonderful. I pray you all find love for yourself and find yourself surrounded by everything good.

My First Trimester at Professional School

I love school. I love learning. I love listening to professors. I love discussions. I love homework. I love studying. And I love seeing results reflect my effort. Starting at Palmer College of Chiropractic has been my dream since I was eight years old. I’ve always had the dream of helping others, but through natural medicine was the way I wished to do so.

Although I love being at Palmer, it has not been an easy road. During my first year of college, at DePaul University, the fall following my high school graduation in May 2018 I took a full-load my last two quarters at DePaul along with an additional two online courses at Illinois Valley Community College. This was very challenging for me. I was in seven classes at a time and I constantly had work to do. What kept me motivated? I knew that this was what I had to do to reach my goal…besides I loved all of the classes I was in and I learned a lot of material that was of much benefit to me.

As I arrived for my first day of class at Palmer, I knew that I was about to embark on a four year journey that would consist of heavy struggles, stressful tears, and endless smiles of achievement. As I am currently in the undergraduate program at Palmer until July 2020, I have had light course work in comparison with what is to come. I know that as I begin the doctorate program in July 2020 that I will be in a whole new world and have an entirely different level of responsibility on my shoulders, but even this first trimester has been different than all of my years of schooling.

The environment at this school is wonderful, but it took a little while to get adjusted to. Being 19 years old at a professional school where the average age is 26 is more rewarding than it is not. I have definitely felt myself mature and grow stronger focus during these past three months, and I am grateful for that. Sometimes it is difficult when I see videos and pictures of close friends at their college homecoming football games, constant Greek life events, dorm shenanigans, and the mountainous supply of food from the dining hall. I realize it was my choice to cut my time at a four-year college down to one year and I have no regret with that choice, but sometimes it all really does stress me out. I find myself surrounded by like-minded individuals that are decades older than me and some that are just half a decade. I think that there is maybe one other student that I have met that is under 20 years old. It makes me feel out of place sometimes, but this school has been nothing but welcoming. Regardless of whatever emotion is running through my body, I know that this is all for something great and that all of the stress will be worth it and that is what pushes me to keep on keeping on.

I’ve dedicated myself completely to myself and to my schooling and it has been good for me. I used to fear missing out with my friends at home while I was at DePaul and I was constantly visiting because I didn’t want to be forgotten, but since I have been at Palmer things have changed. I miss my friends and family and I miss being home, but I know that they’re still here no matter what. I find myself feeling a since of home here and I have started to find great comfort in my own company. Spending weeks by yourself, day and night, is healing for the soul and I don’t fear being alone anymore. I look forward to coming back to my apartment after class to make note-cards, study for my next exam, or just watch a few episodes of a favorite show. As the trimester ends and as my grades are in a very strong place, I look back at the trimester and I am pleased. I had many nights full of crying and feeling broken for various reasons, and overcoming those feelings with no one around me was difficult, but necessary for my growth. I worry less because I know that most things are not worth my energy and most things do not matter that much. I developed a great study ethic and uncovered a form of determination that I never knew I had. This first trimester has changed my life and has molded me into a stronger person in ways that extend much further than my life as a scholar.

There is a long road that lies ahead of me, but I know that I am equipped with the grit and resilience to get past anything that comes my way. And let me tell you, with absolute confidence, that you are too. Go out and chase your dreams right now, because there really is no time like the present. We aren’t too young to start turning our hopes and dreams into reality. You are capable of greatness, all you need to do is believe that you are and it will come.

Reactions

In my last post I made a comment on reactions. I know this is something that is difficult and not even close to being simple…but nevertheless it is important. The life that we are living is going to be filled with people who are put here to build and test our strength. The stupidity and the carelessness of others is out of our control and it is ultimately inevitable. No matter how good of a person we are or how selfless our actions are, we will never have complete control of the world that surrounds us. Whether is is nature or other people, some things are out of our control…and that is just life.One thing that we can control is the way we choose to live our lives and react to the good and bad things that happen.

Starting with the bad, I know at times life seems impossible, but we must fight like hell and carry on. We are powerful, resilient, and flexible beings. We are able to withstand great trauma and pressure…we have the ability to adapt to many different circumstances. Our bodies can utilize different systems and our parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous systems can change the way that our bodies function in order to survive. Survival is written in human DNA and survive is what we all must and will do.

When things go bad, it is okay to recognize that it is bad. Do not ignore the bad because that will lead to nothing good to come. Acknowledge the bad, even look yourself in the mirror and vocalize the bad to yourself. Feel the bad. Experience the bad. But then tell yourself that this bad is not forever. You have to realize that whatever has happened has happened. The past is tricky because although the past can effect the present, the past is ultimately the past and it can never be changed. I am going to say that again. The past can never and will never be changed. No matter what we do, no change will ever occur to the past. What can be changed is the future. We can better our mindset and try everything in our power to make this life a better one. I know it may sound silly, but you really do have to tell yourself that everything will be okay. Talk to yourself and be there for yourself, because if you are not there for yourself…why would the world? Even when the bad seems to be the end…you have to try and ease your reaction in a different direction. Once you start to focus on the way you react to things, you will notice that the anger, sadness, guilt, jealousy, and despair that you feel won’t last as long. If someone does something that would normally make you angry or if someone hurts you and makes you sad…you can feel that emotion, but work on feeling it for a shorter time. Life is too short to be clouded with negative emotions that ultimately only take their toll on the self.

Now for the good, each and every time something happens in your life that makes you smile or makes your eyes light up, thank the universe. Even if it is something as simple as hitting all green lights on your way home or getting eleven chicken nuggets when you ordered ten…smile because as cliche as it may sound, the little things in life are often the profound ones. You have to find joy in all things in life because this life we have only lasts for a set amount of time…and why live it with anything other than joy? Step outside and look around you. The sun is shining, there is that plentiful oxygen in the air, and the sky is blue. Even in the wake of a storm. The smell of oncoming rain fills your nasal cavity, the booming sound of thunder and lightning vibrates your tympanic membrane, and the breeze chills your skin. You are alive and you are feeling and experiencing the beautiful world around you. Once you start to feel joy in all the things that surround you, you will notice that joy will be abundant in comparison to despair.

Do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. Do the world a favor. Choose to be happy. It takes effort. So much effort. It will not come easy. You need to tell yourself that you are worth it and I’m telling you right now that you are worth it. You need to decide to react to things that have happened and that have yet to happen in a positive way. That test you are dreading? Stop dreading it. Thinking that, “I am going to fail,” “Nothing good will come,” “I should have studied more,” that will not change anything. Instead think, “I will do my best and the grade I receive is what I receive and it is not reflective on my ability or who I am as a person.” If you don’t get the best grade…accept it and move on. What is done is done. That relationship didn’t work out? Be sad about it if you may, but then realize that it happened for a reason and it cannot be undone. Heartbreak and sadness are inevitable, but happiness and joy are always possible. Some things may take longer to get over and to grow past…but as long as you tell yourself that you will see brighter days…keep on keeping on. Your reactions lead to actions which leads to changes in your life. Your reactions are very powerful. I want you to understand that as deeply as you can. We are all in this life together and we all experience hurt and trauma. You are never alone, so please never feel that way. You have the power to control the way you react, take charge of your life and commit yourself to yourself because you deserve that. Make your life beautiful despite the unavoidable evil that lurks in the dark depths of the universe. You have the choice, so choose you.

I Forgive You

Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

It is oftentimes the hardest things in life that are the most rewarding. Whether it be a test that takes several days to study for that you ace or that car you finally purchase after working doubles back to back—nothing good ever comes easy. One thing in life that is essential to the survival of the self, but is a rather challenging feat is forgiveness. I am not talking about short apologies through text that is merely a subtle, “I’m sorry,” I am talking about true forgiveness.

Forgiveness, although crucial, is not something that comes easy. In fact, reaching forgiveness takes great strength from an individual. We are a protective species and when another person hurts us or someone we love, those protective instincts come out. What is also instinctual is our ability to adapt and adjust, because without that ability we would perish. Forgiveness is a form of adaption and adjustment. We must adapt, or learn to live with what occurred and adjust, or find a new balance that is suitable for survival. I realize that there are certain instances in which forgiveness seems impossible. Sometimes someone can take a person you love out of your life or a person can hurt you so deeply that you can never bounce back to the same person you were before. But if there is one thing that never changes, it is that holding a grudge and hate towards someone will only make you feel worse. Negative energy is like a slowly developing illness. It starts off as something as simple as a scowl, then it turns to dwelling that makes you feel sick to your stomach, then it turns into petty comments made to others, and from there it only gets worse. Holding a grudge will hurt yourself more than the person you are choosing to hold the grudge against and that is something that I can guarantee.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

While forgiveness is important, something that one should never do is forget. Do not forget the wrongs that people have done to you, because that will only lead to history repeating itself and for the same hurt to be brought on your soul. Think back and reflect on possible signs that could have been there, because red flags are often very hidden. Also know that it is not your fault for getting hurt. A good friend once told me that. Being blinded by feelings is not a point of failure, it is a point of being human. I found myself blaming myself for the hurt that others caused me. I told myself that I should have known better and that I saw it coming and should have protected myself—but then I would have stepped away from a part of myself that I do not want to change. I would have stepped away from the part of myself that believes in the good in people and believes in giving people a chance even when you’re unsure. One thing, though, that I have been working on is taking the past and using it to help myself live a better future. I refuse to let myself get hurt again like I have in the past. I will not accept it—but, I will also not close my heart off because no matter what happens I will never stop loving and showing people my love. That is the important thing about the past. It is the past. It can never be undone, and it can never be changed.

The only thing that you can do for the ones that have hurt you is to pray for their growth in all aspects of life. It does not have to be a religious being that you pray to, just address the universe and ask it to guide them in the right direction. Those that hurt us are hurting the most and need the most guidance. I always remind myself that the universe would never send anything my way that the universe knew I could not handle. I could very easily, if I wanted to, not forgive several people in my life. I could go about my day constantly thinking about how certain people did me wrong, but what would be the point of that? As I sit here and dwell, that person goes on about their life and doesn’t think twice about me and my feelings. Instead of not reaching forgiveness, I could take as long as I need to accept what has happened and use the pain that I experienced to become a stronger person. There is no time limit on forgiveness. Some will forgive right away, while others may need some extra time. Never let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be hurting as much as you are and that you should be healing faster—everyone experiences pain differently.

If I could go back in time and change a few things—I wouldn’t. If I could go back in time to feel a few things again—I wouldn’t. I choose to live in the present with aspirations for the future because what has been done is the past can never be undone. I choose to accept that what has occurred in my life is all part of my path in becoming the best version of me that I can become. To the one who introduced me to racism—thank you. To the friends who have left me—thank you. To the girls who harassed me in high school—thank you. To the first boy who broke my heart—I thank you the most. To everyone who has ever hurt my soul, whether it was on purpose or by accident, thank you. Taking all the bad that has been done to you and manifesting it into good, positive energy is the only way to survive. There are going to be several people in everyone’s lifetime that causes them pain, if we internalize the pain constantly and never let it be the seed for something better—we will only fail to grow and never see a better day.

Even though forgiveness should be reached, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t hurt. Sometimes a person can cut so deep inside of your soul that the pain will linger there forever—they change your DNA. But even the strongest souls cry sometime—it is never not okay to cry, and it is never not okay to feel. Nothing that you feel on your journey of healing will ever make you weak. Allow yourself to hurt, but do not let that hurt consume your entire life because there is so much more beauty to life than constant pain. If there is anything that you do today, tell yourself this, “I am greater than all of the pain and hurt that I have experienced. I am worthy of abundance, bliss, love, and joy. Only growth can come from here.”

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash