Although I'm not the most conventional Christian on the planet, the Bible, hands down, is one of my favorite books. I really like John 14:26 (Amplified) where Christ says he will leave us with a Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

Man, with this planet constantly acting like it's having a nervous breakdown, "comfort" is exactly what a lot of us need.


Don't worry, I'm not about to go all "church" on you. It's just that, when it comes to my own conscious and its instructions, I personally believe the Comforter is the voice that I hear. A big part of the reason is due to something I'm about to share with you.

This coming March, my dad will have been gone for five years. He left me (because when you really love someone, that's exactly what it feels like when someone dies) three months before my 40th birthday. He was a brilliant and broken man who loved me deeply and loathed himself—and a lot of his family. Trust me, when it came to his family, he had just cause. Anyway, because of all of the loathing, he was an on-and-off-again substance abuser for basically all of my life. In March, his demons got the best of him. I'll leave it at that.

Getting the news that he was gone was indescribable in a lot of ways, but catch how the Comforter works. The December prior to my father's death, my conscious—the Comforter—said, "You need to release your father's family." That might sound extreme but we didn't have a Hallmark movie kind of dynamic anyway (I didn't even know who my father's father was until I was 12—it's a long story). I was more…tolerated than anything, so releasing them wasn't all that emotionally-challenging to do. I sent them an email, shared the word "release" that I was given and that was that.

What I couldn't shake was the fact that the word that was in my spirit was "release". Not abandon. Not hate. Not "cut off", which is how I used to roll. RELEASE.

When my father's father reached out that following March to share the news about my father's passing, I told him that I didn't have the energy to make him feel better about how poor of a parent he had been to my father. It wasn't until three months after my dad's death that I got the details I was looking for surrounding it all. I only got that because I reached out to my father's father to get them. When I asked his wife why he didn't share them with me on his own, she said—and I quote—"He decided that you didn't want to be bothered."

Release. If that word had not been a part of my psyche, I would've hit the roof—and then some! I'm my father's only child, we spoke every Sunday for as long as I could remember and his on-again-off-again dad decided what I did and didn't need to know about the man who helped to create me? Hmph. A myriad of cuss words still immediately come to mind even as I'm typing this out but…I digress.

media.giphy.com

Why? The answer lies in the reason why I'm sharing all of this with you in the first place.

A lot of us are emotionally-fragile. That's not a bad thing. In a world that's filled with so much selfishness and apathy, being sensitive can be a blessing (don't let anyone tell you otherwise). But what I've discovered in my own life is when someone hurts me, "cutting them off" tends to be the emotionally immature way to handle matters. It's experiencing a violent and painful blow due to something that they do or say to me with my then deciding to do something equally as violent and painful by CUTTING THEM out of my life. Meanwhile, all cutting them off actually does is make everything more difficult, agonizing—HARD.

Release on the other hand? Release means "to free from anything that restrains, fastens, etc." Release means "to allow to be known, issued, done, or exhibited". Release means to "let go". See how much more healthy and productive that all sounds?

No matter how much someone has hurt me when I look at things from the perspective of "release", it reminds me that sometimes relationships must come to an end—or at least, a very long "pause"—so that both individuals can grow separately before coming back together. Why? So that both people can feel "free", so that both people can be "allowed" to do their own self-work. Release reminds me that letting go makes endings a lot less violent and painful.

The Comforter is dope.

The death of my dad devastated me enough without going through even more pain by dealing with his family members. "Releasing" made it all easier to bear. Since then, as other relationships and situations have shifted, the practice of releasing has made those easier to handle too because I've learned that when we try and force things to be other than what they are, that's what puts us in harm's way the most.

But when someone hurts us—or a matter happens that we have a difficult time accepting—and we RELEASE it all? It's basically saying, "I don't like this, but I'm not going to fight it either. I'm going to let it go, nurture myself and…we'll see." Cutting off is more like, "I don't like this but since you were violent towards me, I'm going to try and make you hurt just as much. I'm going to be so focused on that, that I won't have time to heal and let seasons happen as they should."

See the difference?

It really wasn't until my forties that I learned how to release people, places, things, and ideas. Prior to that, I did A LOT of "cutting off". So, if you happen to be someone who I did that to, I apologize. Please forgive me for not knowing better.

Pain cuts off. Healing releases.

Thankfully, I am much healthier now—and in a whole lot less pain because of it.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com

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