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The Importance Of Healing After A Breakup

There is beauty in the struggle of loving ourselves more.

Love & Relationships

Healing after a breakup can be quite a dark journey, but it's an essential part of our growth and having a more fruitful relationship in the foreseeable future. For many people like myself, I never saw the beauty in healing. I thought the power was in moving on instantly and being open to dating right after coming out of a relationship/situationship. I used to be a serial dater and played victim like it was nobody's business.

About two years ago, my toxic way of thinking used to be, yeah, it was his fault we didn't work out–he just chose to leave me like the rest of them. It wasn't until my last relationship that I realized I was just playing the blame game and not being accountable for my end of the partnership.

I really had to sit with myself and question all of my mishaps of how I'm going to work through my deep-rooted abandonment issues and why I see myself as less of a woman without a partner.

I felt like I always had a void to fill, and I knew being alone for some time wasn't exactly the option I thought I needed to do – and I avoided doing it. I went through the phase of overusing dating apps, and noticed I was beginning to see men as just a disposable swipe, just a face, not too concerned about character and values. My solution became I dated someone new to get over someone else and hoped to find my partner for life along the way.

Thinking back on how I used to think made me feel a bit shameful initially, but as time went on, I thought of it as this was what I knew then, and that season also serves a purpose for shaping the woman I am today. In order to change my perspective, I had to take a 360-approach to any triggers and hold myself accountable for doing better. You can't do the same thing expecting better results – that's just insanity.

What should you NOT do after a breakup?

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Do not go rushing back to your ex for closure. There is a reason you guys broke up, whether it be for good or maybe you guys are able to get back together after working on each other's issues separately. But right now, we don't know where the future will take either of you, so you have to only focus on you! Create our own closure, and it shouldn't start with hate but appreciation of what you learned from that relationship.

Leave the dating apps alone for now or forever.

It will not serve you or the potential partner you entertain because you can't offer the best version of yourself before working on yourself. We live in such a microwave time frame where everyone is like, OK, that didn't work out, on to the next. But your heart and healing process doesn't work like that, and you need to provide yourself space to mourn.

The unfortunate truth is that most people don't like being alone; they quickly feel lonely and go to others to fill that void. You will never be a whole, healthy partner until you make it entirely your responsibility to be happy. Don't go running to friends with benefits or dating in general either because that's just another layer of avoidance to not deal with your reality. This is a season of discipline, and in order for you to learn the lesson, you have to hold yourself to high standards to attain a healthy and healed mindset.

What are the stages of healing after a breakup?

Allow yourself to grieve and mourn your significant other. You are allowed to cry; despite what others say, it's not a sign of weakness; it's just a human trait we all have expressing deep emotions. It doesn't mean you aren't going to deal with your healing process; you are doing that now, and as time progresses, those tears will come to an end.

Therapy is a great adventure to explore after a relationship. It will help analyze your feelings in the partnership and point out areas you fell short in because that's all you have control of – is yourself. They will ask questions regarding if you paid attention to red flags and did you address them? Did you feel like you settled for less? Were you vocal about things you were uncomfortable with, or did you keep enabling traits you weren't fond of? What was your argument style like? Etc.

I would highly suggest journaling in this season. Get to a deeper level to understanding the pain you're enduring. Read it back to yourself aloud to repaint the picture to look at it in a logical perspective being that your lens is sharper because you're not in the relationship anymore.

There are also great books and games to explore during your healing process. Psychologist and host of Therapy for Black Girls, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, has created a phenomenal guided journal called Questions That Need Answers: After The Breakup. It's a great way to make sense of the chaos and set healthy intentions for your next relationship when you feel ready to date again. I've also been exploring this introspective game by We're Not Really Strangers Self-Reflection Kit, which includes a journal and a 52-card deck asking questions about yourself and your relationship with others.

Signs you're healing from the breakup

Photo by Jeremy Bishop from Pexels

Remember the date you set for being single? Well, you threw it out the window because you are finding contentment and joy in your solitude! You'll know your healing when the waterworks come to an end or just occur less. You're able to look at the relationship for all that it helped you grow as a person, and you're hoping for the absolute best for your ex-partner.

Any animosity or resentment you had prior, you simply let it go. You've learned that holding grudges doesn't help either party; it just holds them back from healing. You've forgiven yourself and your partner for where you both fell short–you were doing the best you could with what you knew at that time. You've learned that two halves don't make a whole relationship; only two whole people can sustain a progressive long-term relationship.

The best part of it all is that you're finally seeing your whole worth! Your worth isn't defined by partnership; your worth is determined by how much you know and value yourself and hold others accountable for meeting those standards. You will be handing out a lot of rejection letters once you know your value because most people don't deserve access to you.

Healing is not a destination; it's a journey. So have grace with this process and get used to loving yourself more; no one can fill your love cup up like you!

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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.

Reparations

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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