How To Know You've Truly Healed. From 'Him'.

Heartbreak happens. Make sure healing occurs too.

Love & Relationships

The timing of writing this is really something. While I was doing some keystroking, I got a call from one of my clients. They recently broke up with someone and are actually displaying some of the very behaviors that we're about to get into today. So, while it's on my mind, let me just say that if you just called it quits with someone, I'd say around 4-6 weeks ago, this article doesn't necessarily apply to you. Ending relationships can be quite painful and it takes a little bit of time for the "heart scab" to form so that the healing process can truly begin.

Oh, but if it's been a few months now (or more) and you're not able to tell much of a difference between today and how you felt on the day when the relationship official came to a close, this is something I would recommend that you at least skim through. The reality is that, for most of us, heartbreak is indeed sure. A bigger reality is if we don't make sure to fully heal—"to make healthy, whole or sound"; "to cleanse"; "to purify"—from the situation, not only is it going to hold us back, it can also hinder us from getting into a relationship that is so much better.

So, how can you know, for certain, that you've truly healed from an ex? I'm so glad that you asked. Here are some telling signs that you can gauge your mind and heart by.

1. You’re Not Bitter


I'm thinking that one of the most telling signs that someone hasn't healed from shoot, just about anything that deals with relationships (any kind of relationship), is they are bitter. And yeah, bitter ain't good. Whenever I think of that word, as it relates to romantic relationships, the first thing that oftentimes comes to my mind is the synonym "acrimonious" which ties really well into the Tyler Perry movie Acrimony. Yeah, I know that film triggered a lot of folks yet something I did appreciate about it was it showed a very bitter woman and how she came to be that way (because very few are bitter for absolutely no reason). It also revealed an extreme example of what can happen when you don't let bitterness go. Know another in-real-life example of bitterness? A lot of posts that I see on social media. It's like some folks think it's an Olympic sport to dog out Black men all day long. And what's a trip about this particular example is the fact that, when someone is bitter, they tend to, by definition, generalize.

What are some other indications of being bitter? Holding grudges. Being jealous of other people's relationships. Always seeing things with negative slant. Staying stuck in the past. Not acknowledging the good things that are happening in your life. Comparing the next guy to the old one.

To be fair, when you first break-up with someone, there do tend to be stages of grief that can sometimes feel like bitterness (check out "Why You Need To Grieve Your Past Relationship"). Yet if it's been so long since the relationship ended at this point that even your friends, your mama and your auntie are like, "Girl, we're still talking about this?", it's worth asking yourself if there is some bitterness within you that still needs to be addressed. Then resolved.

2. You’re Not Rebounding


The flip side to being bitter? Oftentimes it includes being on the rebound. I've mentioned in articles before that I actually-pretty-close-to-loathe the saying, "The best way to get over someone is to get underneath someone else." One of the main reasons why is because that typically speaks to using another person as a distraction—and, well, as the saying goes, everywhere you go, there you are. Yeah, trying to get over someone by getting involved with someone isn't the best way to heal from the relationship. More times than not, all it does is cause you to compare the new guy to the old one and worse, you can end up making him pay if he shows even remote signs of being like your ex.

What's so wrong with that? Well, say that something you didn't like about your ex-boyfriend was that he wasn't very romantic or attentive. Let the new guy show up 10 minutes late to something and all of a sudden, now he's selfish and too immature for a relationship. And it's all because you're too jaded to see things from a balanced perspective (which I'm gonna address in just a sec).

A healed person is fine standing on their own. That's how healed they are. If you can't imagine getting through your break-up without someone else being around, that's not fair to the-new-him—or to you. Rebounding rarely ever is.

3. You Have a Balanced Perspective


When I speak of having a balanced perspective, this can actually go a few different directions. First, when you're healed from him, you're not holding the guys in your future to "his" standard. You are able to see each person as an individual and "judge" accordingly. Another example of having a balanced perspective is you don't just remember all of the bad times or all of the good. Another sign of being balanced is you don't see only what you want to see.

A great example of this particular point is the movie (500) Days of Summer (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel). One of my very favorite scenes is when Tom (Gordon-Levitt) went to a party that Summer (Zooey) threw and it showed his expectations vs. the actual reality via a split screen (you can watch it here). Because Tom was still so hung up on Summer following their break-up, he had a one-sided perspective. He saw what he wanted to see which was Summer inviting him to her party to get back together when the reality is that it was really her engagement party to some other guy.

When you're not healed, you tend to have quite a bit of tunnel vision. More times than not, it's because you're trying to protect yourself—even if it's by doing things that are only putting yourself in harm's way. That said, you know you've healed when things aren't unrealistic or extremely. You can process things for what they are because you've got a balanced insight on matters.

4. You Can Own Your Own Ish


I don't care if it's your BFF, the First Lady of your church or your favorite relationship coach, be careful of listening to people who, when they speak of their own relationships, you never—and I do mean NEVER—hear them say what they did wrong or could've done better. One of the things that is super annoying—and dangerous—about the state of our society these days is how so many people seem to have a total lack of personal accountability. That's why, while I will do it sometimes, I prefer to work with a couple instead of just one person who is in the relationship. Why? Because when you hear both sides, things make a helluva lot more sense as you're trying to figure out how a couple got to where they are.

Whew. I can't tell you how many times a wife will hit me up to provide me with a long list of all of the things that her husband is doing wrong. When I just hear it from her end, it's easy to think that her husband is a living hell. Oh, but let him tell his side and more times than not, I get that what he's doing is a reaction to what has been said or done to him—by his wife. That they both have created the mess that they are in.

When it comes to heartbreak, I've definitely had some doozies and known some asses. The more I heal, though, the more I can see some of my own missteps. The reason why that is so important for me to do is because I'm able to acknowledge how I got into the relationship, along with the poor choices that I made, so that I can avoid getting into similar situations, moving forward. If you're trying to get over an ex and you are totally unwilling to see and then accept what you could've done to make the relationship better/healthier (and I don't mean that passive aggressive "I loved him too much" mess than somehow still soothes your ego; I mean, "I was too controlling" or "I was impatient"…the real stuff), that oftentimes means that the wound is so fresh that it hurts to step on your stuff. The more you heal, the easier it will be able to do, though. Trust me.

5. He’s Not Able to “Double Dutch” in Your Life


There's a guy in my life who, it took me much longer than it should have for me to get over him. I think a part of it was because I lacked that "balanced perspective" that I referenced. Plus, he's super charming (the Bible says that charm is deceitful; don't be impressed with it—Proverbs 31:30), so he oftentimes would do just enough to keep me emotionally invested in some level without him having to fully commit. Because of this, it was very easy for him to Double Dutch (you know, go in and out, in and out) of my life.

Amazingly, after all of that, we've managed to remain a few steps up from just being "cool". I can tell that I really am completely over and healed from the situation because, when he came through to pick up something, saw some roses in my living room and inquired who they were from, my total energy was, "Boy, bye". I didn't care what he thought. The way he tried to flirt to reel me back in was futile. I wasn't mad, giddy or triggered. I was just…over it.

One of the reasons why I'm such a fan of initial break-ups being clean breaks is so that people don't have to go through (or is it send themselves through?) a lot of what I can personally relate to. Sometimes, when it comes to an ex, we keep going around and around and around like Keith Sweat once sang about because it seems easier to keep "some" of the guy in our life than to have none of him at all. Yet that's the thing—break-ups happen because one or both people aren't able to give their all or two people don't mesh well enough to give their all. So, it's really best to just leave well enough alone so that they both can get to their better "fit".

Does this mean that I think exes aren't capable of getting back together? What I will say is, when it comes to healthy and progressive dynamics, that tends to be the exception and not the rule. Either way, being "on" one day and "off" the next, for weeks, months or even years on end, is just wasting your time and causing the attachment to grow deeper. Bottom line, if you keep letting him in and out of your life, you're not being fair to yourself. You're also allowing him to get too many of the benefits without much of the responsibility.

Eventually, more times than not, that is a straight-up recipe for disaster. And could end up taking you so much longer to heal from…it all.

6. You Clearly See Where You’ve Grown


When it comes to most break-ups, there's a season when all you can think about is how the end of the relationship is hurting you. You might even think that it is ruining your life. As you start to heal, though, you begin to notice some silver linings that you probably didn't see coming. Maybe the break-up has taught you to love yourself more. Maybe the break-up has revealed some cyclic patterns that you need to break. Perhaps the break-up has taught you how to be more tolerant or forgiving or—the other side of the coin—to set better boundaries. Maybe now you can see how you've become more sure of yourself and how to not settle. Could it be that the break-up has you more emotionally aware and mentally centered than you've ever been?

The thing about relationships is, if we're really paying attention, they are lessons. And the purpose of a lesson is to teach us something. When we learn, our minds expand. As a result, there is growth. When you're able to step back from a relationship and be like, "Yeah, it hurt. But man, it taught me this, this and this and I'm all the better for it", not only does that also reveal that you've healed—it has taken a lot of the power away that the person and relationship once had in your life. You can thank it and him for how it influenced you to become who you are. So that you can move on—fully and peacefully.

7. You’re Able to Wish Him Well


How many of y'all rolled your eyes when you read this point and then followed that expression up with, "Wish him well…for what?" Listen, author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer once said something about karma that a lot of people could stand to blow up and hang in their office as a daily reality check—"How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours." Some of my exes? When I tell you that I don't ever have to see them again and even never would be too soon, I mean that from the very bottom of my heart. At the same time, I don't want any harm or even hurt to come to them. Why? Because I'm over it.

Folks who tend to hold vengeance in their heart are usually people who are still putting way too much energy into a person or situation. Or both.

While I'm all about setting some boundaries up in here so that I won't be hurt again (and so I won't have to keep reliving a lesson that life has already taught me) when it comes to eh, 95 percent of the people who have hurt me before—whether professionally or personally—I can definitely send light and good energy into their direction because the reality is, at one point, something was good enough about them that caused us to have a connection. And so, just like I was able to grow and move forward, I hope they are able to do the same.

Healing isn't easy. Don't let anyone tell you something different. The only thing that's harder is to think that you've healed when you actually haven't. I hope all of this provided a bit more clarity for if you have fully healed from an ex—or not. If you have, celebrate yourself. If you haven't—be gentle with your being while still acknowledging that there is more work to do—for your greater good.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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