What I’ve learned over the last decade of skin therapy work is that I’m one incredibly empathic human. I feel everything. I’ve learned just about everything I can know about marriage, divorce, heartbreak, childbirth, miscarriage and grief from my clients. Little did my clients throughout the years know, they helped me tune into my heart to make some of the most difficult decisions I ever had to when it comes to love and loss. I continuously find myself holding space for people in some of the most tumultuous times. The therapeutic skin coach approach was to help you get to the root of the emotional issue just as much as the physical, so naturally your life events come up in conversation because it's all connected. You can't have glowing skin if you're disconnected from your experience. I wanted to share some of the most valuable lessons in love that I picked up along the way.

The first lesson that I learned in my first year of skincare was don’t allow yourself to be shelved, ever! As a people pleaser, this is a lesson I have had to learned a few times ever since but because I’ve had 3 of my most significant relationships during the span of my career I'm not sure how I would have gotten through some of it without the unsolicited advice of my clients and this one really stuck with me. It’s easy for young love to not work out simply because of timing and a need for growth. When I was 19 I started working on a woman who had recently ended a 10 + year relationship. I had no idea how she was existing because of that type of heartbreak but she expressed to me that she felt that her partner and her were constantly having to shelve each other while living the rest of their lives. It’s one thing if you’re progressing through life as a partnership so that the give and take feels equal. We all go through our stages where we are the more giving partner and then it switches where we need more. This isn't co-dependency, it's human nature and I often compare it to the 80/20 rule. But that’s when it dawned on me that I was the actively receiving less because I was being shelved. I was sort of forcing along a relationship because the love was still there but probably only because I was sacrificing enough to keep it alive. If you’re not a priority to someone that you prioritize, it can significantly lessen your self esteem. When I stopped letting this person shelve me I realized that the love I was giving away didn’t necessary leave, it just shifted over to my own value. And who doesn’t want to feel 100, am I right? 

This may seem pretty obvious but it took many years of seeing people in dramatic breakups and divorces to know that even in the loneliest times, they were able to come up from it a better version of themselves. You see, I used to hold onto my past relationships so tightly to my heart so much so that it felt so difficult to move on from them. It’s as though I felt as if I lost those memories that they would never have existed in the first place. That really confused me to think that I was still in love or had strong feeling for people that I needed to let go of in my life.

When I lived in Austin, a client told me to try out a donation based yoga studio because she had just started going there after a breakup. I went to feel good about reconnecting to a practice however until my own breakup happened I didn’t realize how impactful that suggestion would be. I went through a hectic amount of change and loss around my 23rd birthday that I wasn’t sure how I could rebuild myself. I started practicing every day at this yoga studio, just to pass the time and get my mind off of what felt like my collapsing life around me. After two months of continuous practice, I felt like my mind kept promising me that I would feel okay but my heart knew better. Until one fateful Tuesday evening in a crowded, sweaty Vinyasa class. I remember it like it was yesterday because after an hour of non stop, sweaty flow we were placed in a heart opening position. I’ve done plenty of heart openers before but never felt the feeling I did during this one that night. It felt like a pop in my heart and a rush of light coming through my chest. I started quietly crying while having a non-stop release. The different between these tears and the tears from the previous multiple nights was that I was finally opening myself up again. My heart finally just opened and for the first time in a while, I felt at peace. The pain of the heartbreak was gone and I was able to keep all of the previous memories in my heart while letting go of them at the same time. I felt free, weightless and ready to finally move on. I thanked that client who suggested that yoga studio next time I saw her because it changed my whole perspective on relationships.

Oh how far this little business has come. Everything started with this corner of my living room. This is before.

Oh how far this little business has come. Everything started with this corner of my living room. This is before.

My spa now. Photo by @ kristine.lo

My spa now. Photo by @kristine.lo

While starting my relationship with my husband I was faced with moments of loss as well. However within the uncertainty there were still moments of divine strength. I opened myself up to receive my greatest love of all even if I knew that it was going to be a tough road ahead. My husband never shelved me and never has given me less than the 80/20 exchange. We decided to grow and learn our trials together. When I was faced with leaving my last spa job in 2014 after being diagnosed with shingles, he supported me through the incredible trials I had to overcome to actualize my dreams of starting my own business. He allowed me to interrupt our home life so that I can work into the evenings with clients in our tiny living room. Often times he’d sit in his car after a long day of work because I was running over my time with a client, and didn’t complain. One day, I had a colleague tell me she wouldn’t recommend anyone to me because my apartment was so small and it wasn't “spa” like enough. I know she was trying to make a constructive criticism but my heart absolutely broke. I felt incredibly defeated knowing I couldn’t go back to the way things were at the slow paced spas because I would barely make enough to pay rent. I also knew I couldn’t afford a rental space yet because I had no additional funds to invest in myself. I was ready to give up until my husband, who was then my boyfriend, saw this as opportunity. He completely reorganized our living room and turned it into my spa. His act of love gave me permission to continue pursuing my dream regardless of the criticism, because let’s face it - that wasn’t going to be the last time someone would say something to hurt my feelings.

People come and go. Your best friends may end up being strangers from your past. Your previous lovers may just be an old memory. It doesn’t mean that letting them go means you lose the good times, it just means that you reached another level of your life’s chapter and they are not matched up to your growth anymore. They have their own path where they could be on another level of distress or peace but unless you are matched by your circumstance you will only resonate with others who are going to teach you or you need to teach them. My advice is try to hold onto the ones who allow you to get sloppy along the way with no judgement or projection, just love. Each of us have been faced with our own challenges which doesn’t need to isolate us because those common experiences can really bring us together. Being able to hold space for others while I am on my own crazy path helps me realign my values when I feel like it’s all closing in on me. My clients shed some light on how that can be done all the time. At the end of the day we all just want to experience this life at the fullest, even if we don’t ever actualize our capacity for it. I'm so grateful for all the lessons in love from this past decade especially because at the end of the day it helped me discover how to truly love myself. When you love yourself your body can start to heal from any emotional scars.