6 min read

Excerpt from 121 First Dates

by Wendy Newman

Once you’ve been hurt, disappointed, disrespected, or dishonored, it’s very easy to close up and become hardened by the experience. You may find it nearly impossible to stay open and vulnerable until you can take the time to heal and restore yourself. You need to clear out the harm from your body and spirit. If you don’t clear away the hurt and disappointment, you might want to give up dating forever. Or you’ll keep going but you won’t be able to be generous or vulnerable or find any joy in the process. One man I knew called women like this “crispy,” as in we’ve been burned one too many times. I’ve had my share of leaving my love life in the oven too long, and I bet you have too.

This happens to all of us, and one thing you can do to clear it out is Heart Healing.

Before I teach you how to do this, I want you to know my story. I first learned of the Heart Healing practice through PAX Programs. As a staff person it’s important that I road-test the material and exercises, and I continually do independent research to really own what I learn as new discoveries come to light.

Heart Healing came along as an exercise to heal oneself from almost any injury to the heart. At first the process seemed stupid to me—way too simple and easy to actually work. I mean, come on; I say something, someone says they’re sorry (and not even the person who caused me the pain in the first place), and my pain goes away? Get real! I halfheartedly tried it, but it wasn’t my thing. I let it go. I didn’t have to do or teach this stupid exercise. Until...well, until I was d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e.

I decided to try it as a last-ditch effort because I felt like I was walking around with the weight of 120 men on my back. Before this moment I thought I could take care of myself, dust myself off, and start fresh. I thought I was a self-cleaning oven. Not true. When I finally hollered “uncle,” I called on my friend Vince because having a man say he was sorry for the atrocities of other men might be a big bang for my buck. I was right. We blocked sixty minutes but ended up spending a concentrated ninety minutes on the telephone going through offense after offense and we cleared out dozens and dozens and dozens of past date injuries. Toward the end, we were doing them in batches, “For all the men who . . .” The next day I felt so much lighter, and within days of our session, I met my partner, Dave, Date #121.

When you’re ready to clear it out and be healed, ask someone you trust to do the following exercise with you over the phone or in person (not in text or email).

The Basics of the Heart Healing Technique

Set your healer up to do this Heart Healing exercise with you by laying out the instructions before you start. Let your healer know their job is to

  • Ask if you’re ready to be healed.
  • Ask who the person is (first name and relationship).
  • Ask you if you’re ready to begin.
  • When you start, they repeat exactly what you said, starting with “I’m sorry” or “I’m so sorry.”
  • They need to give you space to breathe and to see if you need anything else. Have them ask, “Is there anything more?” If yes, repeat the process again until there’s nothing left.

Your part is to

  • Answer yes when you’re ready to be healed.
  • Tell them who the person is (first name and relationship).
  • Answer when you’re ready to begin.
  • When you start, tell them what the offense is—what this person did to hurt your feelings, dishonor you, disrespect you, or upset you. The description of the offense can be brief. You need to get to the point without telling the whole story.
  • They will ask, “Is there anything more?” And if there is, go ahead and say more or add detail if you feel it will help.

You may need to hear it in another way. For example, you may say, “He hurt my feelings when he said I wasn’t as smart as other women he’d dated.” And when that doesn’t work, if you’re not feeling better after the healing part of that takes place, you can go back and rephrase: “He disrespected me when he compared me to other women; he made me feel inferior.” Let them heal you with the rephrased version. If you’re still not feeling healed, look to see how else that same offense could be expressed. Repeat as many times as you feel necessary.

Special notes: none of the offenses need to be justified in any way. The offender may not even know you were hurt. That’s not the point. The point is that if you’re affected by something that happened, then you need to clear it out of your heart; therefore, what you’re saying is valid. Also, your healer has no special power but rather is simply providing his or her empathy and love for you. It’s up to you and your will to heal your pain. In other words, your healer can only heal you if you allow it.

Here’s a sample conversation so you can get an idea of how this might look:

Healer: “Are you ready to start? Are you willing to be healed?”

You: “Yes.”

Healer: “Okay, I’m ready for you. I’m ready to listen.”

Both of you take a breath and pay attention to each other. Treat this like what you’re doing can make a significant difference in your life, because it can if you’re willing.

You: “Okay, the person is my last date, Jim. Jim hurt my feelings when he said he’d call me the next day and he never called.”

Healer: “I’m so sorry Jim hurt your feelings when he said he’d call the next day and he never called. (Breathe.) I’m so sorry about that.”

Take it in. Breathe.

Healer continues: “Is there anything else about that?”

You: “Yes. He said he really liked me, and now I feel like he was putting me on. Maybe he was just getting through the date. I feel so stupid.”

Notice the lack of detail. It’s about how you feel, not all the details of what he said and what you said and what happened.

Healer: “I am so sorry he said he really liked you and he didn’t follow through. He didn’t call. I’m so sorry. And I’m sorry he made you feel like he might have been putting you on to get through the date. I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m so sorry he made you feel stupid.”

Note that to do this exercise, it’s okay to say, “Jim made me feel . . .” even though we are responsible for our own interpretations and feelings. While your head might know something intellectually, your heart feels like he made it happen, so it’s fine for you and your healer to say it like that. You do not need to be accountable for anything for this process. You’re healing your heart.

The healer continues: “Is there anything else about that?”

If there is, continue with every offense until you feel like you have cleared them all out. It’s also fine if it leads to something else. Maybe this happened three dates back with another guy. Or when you felt abandoned by your father. You could think of it as a ball of thread and you’re pulling one string at a time with each repeated incident.

This is something you can teach your dating ally so you can provide it for each other. It’s also something to teach an open-minded and willing male friend so he can apologize on behalf of other men. Please don’t ask the offender of your hurt feelings to be the healer. Think of it this way: if a car hit you, you wouldn’t ask the driver of that car to set your leg in a cast; you’d see a doctor. If you don’t have a person in your life to provide Heart Healing, you can set a coaching appointment through wendyspeaks.com for a private one-on-one session. My coaches are trained specifically in Heart Healing.

Heart Healing is one powerful tool that frees you from your past and gives you a shot at being restored to your former shininess. It doesn’t just mask the pain. Through this process you can completely erase it. (I disappeared a two-year hurt—Date #60: Bubble Boy—in two minutes flat.) After you’ve healed yourself, when you meet your match, he has a fresh, clean, kind, and supple you—the best version of you.

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