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Lakaza uses love to repair her relationship with her sister

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 Lakaza, Cara alumni, to reflect on completing the Love Exercise, and how it impacted her life, relationships, and self-worth.

“Before Cara, I was working multiple jobs while trying to raise five children. All of a sudden, back in 2013, I was in a bad car accident. I had to take medical leave from work and I ended up losing my job, leaving me unemployed for a while. At the same time, I was dealing with an abusive relationship that I eventually had to take to court. It wasn’t an easy time for me.

It was hard to stay motivated after coming out of traumatic experiences like that. However, I knew I had to do something to move on and support my children. I found and joined a technical skill-building and training program for single parents, which is where I learned about Cara. I joined in March of 2015. Cara taught me how to communicate better, take accountability of my actions, accept myself, and be positive. All lessons that I’ve made sure to pass onto my five children and six grandchildren.

“Cara taught me how to communicate better, take accountability of my actions, accept myself, and be positive.”

“When I first heard of the Love Exercise, I instantly thought of my older sister, Barbara. She was a drug addict. I had always held a grudge towards her. We used to be so close growing up, she practically raised me and my siblings. She was supposed to be my role model, and here she was throwing her life away. It got so bad that her son had to live with me for most of his life. 

“Completing the exercise took hours. I think she thought it was an intervention, so she kept trying to distract me and change the subject. Eventually, I got her to listen to me. I took her face in my hands, and I told her that I love her and I’ve missed her for a long time. I told her I want the best for her. After that, we cried, laughed, hugged, and talked for hours. It felt like a life-changing experience.

“I took her face in my hands and I told her that I love her and I’ve missed her for a long time. I told her I want the best for her. It felt like a life changing experience.”

A portion of Lakaza’s love letter from 2015

“Our relationship was much better after completing the exercise. It felt like a huge burden was lifted off of me. I felt light as a feather. She was still an addict, but I think that was a big step for us to move forward. We spent more time together after that. I would help her get to doctor appointments and take her on sister dates. I wanted her to trust me and to let me into her life as a support. 

“In September of last year, my sister lost her battle with drug addiction. We had her in a rehabilitation facility for a while, but when she came home for a bit, she relapsed. It wasn’t fair. We were all devastated. Thankfully, she was surrounded by family when she passed. 

“The love exercise taught me that life is short, and to cherish every moment with your loved ones. You never know what might happen or when it may be the last time you see them. It taught me to be more expressive, and to not hold things in. Most importantly, it helped my relationship with my sister. Especially since she passed, I’ve held that moment during the Love Exercise very near to my heart. I am so grateful for that moment, for Cara, and the chance they took on me. 

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