Follow Friday+Nicki’s Personal Updates: Letting Go


Lonely girl with suitcase at country.

One of my business advisors here at FutureDerm is also a Buddhist. I find her to be an inspiration in many aspects of my life, so her presence in my life motivated me to get books on Buddhism.

I can’t say that I’m a full-fledged Buddhist, though. I’m actually shopping for a religion right now, if one can do that. I grew up Catholic, but the whole “you should feel guilty and be punished for your mistakes” thing (oversimplified, but you get the idea) got old as an adult. I know this is not a religion-based blog, but it doesn’t resonate with my core beliefs. I believe in going through life with the best of intentions and doing all the good you can each day, but not with being fearful of making a mistake. If you never make mistakes, you can never learn. In fact, in one of my favorite stories, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist recalls spilling milk all over the floor at the age of 5. Instead of yelling at or shaming him, his mother patiently bent down and asked him to observe the situation, asking, “Do you know how this happened? How do you prevent it from happening again? How do we pick it up – do you want to use a napkin or the mop?”  He said from that day forward, he was never afraid of making a mistake. That inner philosophy guided him through thousands of missteps and even utter failures in his scientific studies, allowing for a blend of open-minded perseverance that eventually lead to the Nobel Prize-winning discovery. All because he wasn’t emotionally tied to his failures.

That said, I haven’t been writing the weekly personal updates for a while because I had a relationship end. It was very painful for me. And I’m never quite sure how much I should reveal publicly on the blog – I know what level I am comfortable with sharing, for instance, but I never want to make someone else feel like I’m over-revealing anything. I want to be respectful of his boundaries and privacy.

But I think it is safe to say it has been exceedingly difficult for me. Part of it is just loneliness. You don’t realize how much time you spend with someone else, or how many of your hobbies are co-dependent, until they’re gone. (Or you try to play trivia alone. It’s not nearly as fun, even if you always win. I kid.) Part of it is feeling like a failure. At low moments, my ego takes over: How are my friends married and I am not – is it my fault? Am I choosing wrong, or did I do something wrong? Is it me?! And part of it is the loss. I may be a scientist and a medical student, but I absolutely adore the clever feelings-based musings of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. I love it when she says, “Each love is different. The love you feel for [one man] is not the same as you feel for [another]. No one can take that away.” He was really a unique person, and I’ll miss him. He’ll always have a part of my heart – it’s the way that it is.

Moreover, I think it goes back to an idea I recently discovered: Attachment to an outcome. We all want love and security. I think we all want someone to come home to, if not physically than certainly emotionally. I think that’s nearly universal, if not completely so. And so we attach ourselves to a person, and often to an outcome we want to occur with that person. Yet such attachments are said in Buddhism to be the root of all suffering: ‘Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.’ (The Dalai Lama at Harvard, 2007)

So wherever my life takes me next, I am going to learn not to attach myself so much to an outcome. Instead, I’m going to learn to appreciate each moment more. It’s tough for someone as type A, goal-and-result oriented as myself, but I know it is an important lesson for me to learn – staying in the moment and enjoying it for what it is. At the end of my life, it’s not going to be about what I’ve attached to or acquired; rather, it’s going to be about the lives I have touched and the feelings I have evoked. While I’m still a work in progress, I think I’m getting better, slowly learning to extend open-mindedness and compassion to others, but most of all, to myself.

Got any good breakup tips? Feel free to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Follow Friday

  • Katy Perry is changing her look! (ELF blog)  Nicki’s take: The formerly blue-and-pink-haired singer is switching up her look to a more sophisticated, almost business professional-type look. Still glam, but I wonder if it will cost her any fans. I personally love her new look, but I’m also the kind of girl who wears heels and eyeliner to the grocery store. So, go figure.
  • Is this $875 moisturizer a dream cream? (Beauty Junkies Unite) Nicki’s take: The 3Lab moisturizer features a technology that is supposed to increase the binding of peptides to receptors within the skin. They call this the “Intelligent Targeting Device.” I’m a little skeptical personally: For one, most peptides are larger than 10000 Daltons, which are too large to fit in the skin. For another, peptides have been shown in some studies to enhance collagen production (increasing skin firmness), but the cream also claims to whiten and brighten the skin. Perhaps I will obtain a sample and try it in the future. For now, I’m saying no.
  • Dr. Woods Black Soap Review (Viva Woman) Nicki’s take: If you’re going all-organic or vegan, this is one of the better cleansing soaps I’ve seen, and Viva Woman enjoyed it as well. I will say, though, that I couldn’t run a household with two dogs using only a facial cleanser on home surfaces! Sometimes you need stronger bacteria-killing agents.
  • Why does coconut oil clog my pores and not my friend’s? (The Beauty Brains) Nicki’s take: I love this article. Despite what natural product companies will tell you, coconut oil can clog your pores. There are a few things to keep in mind: First, use coconut oil as a moisturizer in a formulation or alone. Do not apply coconut oil over top of other serums or moisturizers, because you can trap other ingredients into the skin. Second, buy pure, high-grade coconut oil. The organic topical skin care market is all over the map right now in terms of quality and regulation. I’ve found different brands of shea butter offer completely different levels of antioxidants and nutrients. Do yourself a favor and buy from trusted brands using terms like refined, pure, guaranteed, etc. It’s going to take a while for this market to be as transparent as synthetic products, and that’s saying something, because synthetic products aren’t really all that transparent yet!I can always be reached at nicki[at]futurederm[dot]com.All the best,

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  • Mimi

    I also have recently gone through a break-up. Two, actually in the last year and a half. The 1st one was 12 years with a child. The second one -more minor, but, when it happened, equally painful. The lesson I got was similar to what you two ladies have said, but, I want to add something else to it.

    Briefly: None of us get into a relationship thinking “This will be over in ___ many years or months. We always commit to the person indefinitely, unconsciously just thinking “til one of us dies”. I really don’t know anyone who thinks they like their new boyfriend/girlfriend JUST ENOUGH to stay only a short period time 🙂

    …Now, I will forever get into a relationship saying “However long this lasts, it will have been a success. The amount of time I spend with this person, be it months, years, or forever -will be the exact amount of time I was supposed to be in it. “Forever” is not the goal for me anymore.”

    You ladies are correct to live without attachments. I try. But, somehow, to de-myth the old “Forever” headspace in dating or committing has helped me tremendously! Hugs all around.

  • Eileen

    You’ve been taught the key concept; that is to never predicate your happiness and sense of completeness and fullfillment on an outcome–or, in your case, on another person being a part of your life. Once you’ve internalized that lesson so that you don’t have to consciously think about it, you’ll find healing peace and inner strength. We all have our separate paths to follow and life lessons to learn. If our path brings us in contact with a special person for a moment or for a lifetime, we are all the richer for having that relationship. Savor it, learn from it, become a better person for having had it in your life, but then be willing to let it go when that time ultimately comes. Here’s wishing you smooth sailing on life’s voyage.

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