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Dian replaces her resentment with love and forgiveness

At Cara, we recognize love as one of the most essential skills to transforming ones life. During their training, we have our participants engage in the Love Exercise to redevelop a sense of love, vulnerability, and trust in a broken relationship.

The Love Exercise is setup as such:

  • Identify a person who you love but have a challenging relationship with.
  • Meet with this person and ease into a conversation.
  • At some point during the conversation, place your hands on their face, look into their eyes, and say “I love you.”
  • Then write a letter, describing what happened and how you felt when you put your hands on their face and said those three powerful words.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked Dian, Cara alum, to reflect on completing the Love Exercise, and how it impacted her life, relationships, and self-worth.

“Before I joined Cara, I was newly in recovery. A little over a year sober. I had never had a job before, but I had a baby that was dependent on me. Because of him, I knew I needed to change my life. My step sister told me about Cleanslate, so I gave it a shot.

“When I heard about the Love Exercise, I told myself that if it’s coming from Cara, then I gotta give it a shot. I have to make this work. Trying to figure out who to do it with was tough at first. I had never met my dad and I wasn’t very close with my mom. She wasn’t there for me as a kid. But I had to write this letter and let go of a lot of the things I was feeling. So I decided to write the letter to my mom.

It was freeing for me. I cried throughout the whole letter. Her response wasn’t anything profound, but I did my part. And I was fine with it. The point is to get things off your chest. I forgave her and told her I love her. Today, we have a better relationship. I believe it was because of the Love Exercise

“I forgave her and told her I love her. Today, my mom and I have a better relationship. I believe it was because of the love exercise.”

“It was a much needed exercise. You can’t go forward when you’re holding onto resentment for others. It’s going to make you sick. It’s even more profound when you handle it face-to-face with the person you have issues with. You need to let them know how you feel. Oftentimes the people that you hold resentment against don’t even know how much pain you’re holding onto because of them.

“Finding Cara was a Godsend. Not just because I got a job, but because it changed my outlook on life. It helped me release a lot of the stuff that I needed to let go of in order to be successful.  Everyone at Cara became an instant family for me. I didn’t grow up with my siblings. I was in group homes and foster homes as a child. So, having support from Cara was special. I still consider them all my family. 

“Everyone at Cara became an instant family for me. I didn’t grow up with my siblings, so having support from Cara was special.”

“Cara and Cleanslate will always be so near and dear to me. It changed my life. I live by those transformations every day. I don’t look at situations like I used to. I keep an open mind, an open heart, and I’m always willing to learn. Cara isn’t just about the job. It’s about changing your perspective and letting go of everything keeping you back.

This Valentine’s Day, you can help more job seekers like Dian transform their lives through the power of love. Please consider giving a gift today.