We interview Puneet Grewal about the lessons learned from heartbreak, the perspective shifts from her experience at the Renew wellness retreat and how life and love has changed since.
When was your first heartbreak. How did it affect you?
-I experienced my first heartbreak when I was in my early 20’s. It was with my first boyfriend during University from the age of 18-23. I was cheated on and that experience completely devastated me. Experiencing that with my first love and not knowing who I was, it really took a toll on my self-esteem and how I saw my self-worth. As well as, from my childhood I had feelings and thoughts of not being good “enough” and this heart break and experience only further exacerbated my feelings of not being lovable or worthy enough of a healthy & good love.
As I tried my best to pick up the pieces, I continued to focus mainly on my outer shell, on superficial and ego based things, thinking they would give me the happiness and the love that I had been wanting, my entire life. This was all I knew. Especially being from an Indian background, as a little girl I was told I was beautiful, but that my worth was only defined if I met and married a successful and handsome man. It was like the Disney princess dream on steroids. Outter beauty, being soft spoken, agreeable and being married by 25, meant I was successful and worthy. This was something I had been chasing my whole life because that’s how I felt I would experience true love.
Along with this social conditioning from my family and society, I remember thinking, if I was just prettier, skinnier, more successful or agreeable that I would finally be enough to be loveable by a successful and handsome man. Again, my world was consumed by the material and superficial, where my relationships with men was all based on ego, rather than a deeper soul connection. My thoughts and mindset of ego resulted in finding men that were also searching for the same thing. Go figure, you ask and you shall receive! But, this wasn’t good stuff coming into my life, however they were lessons I needed to learn. I ended up meeting the second love of my life, where being treated poorly continued, because again I had not healed my heart or learned to truly love myself from a place that wasn’t ego driven.
What did you learn from that heartbreak?
From the first relationship, I learned that once a cheater, always a cheater and that love alone wasn’t enough. Once the trust is broken, both people in the relationship have to work extremely hard to get back that trust. No matter how much I loved my boyfriend, I couldn’t be responsible for the change that I was hoping for in him. It had started a dialogue inside of me, of how you had to be responsible for your OWN actions and that you cannot, no matter how much you love someone, change them into someone you want them to be. But, I was still too weak and broken to truly listen to my inner voice, trust my intuition and tap into messages that the universe was sending me to heal.
However, I did gain insight of figuring out slowly who I was, and what I stood for. After that experience and at my young age of 23, I realized that I was someone that had integrity and that my word meant something. I knew I would never do what he had done to me- it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced, again it was my first love- always the most intense. This was a small window of building my light and tapping into the woman I was.
I am extremely thankful that I went through all of that pain in my 20’s and even the second heartbreak in my 30’s, as they were all chances for me to heal and dig deep to find out who I really am. Today, I am really proud of the compassionate, intelligent, humble and loving woman that I have become. I’m glad I am no longer consumed with my looks, material things or external happiness. Equally, I am not attracted by shiny, materialistic or ego driven things. The type of men I am attracted to has totally changed. I value a man that listens, a man that can speak his authentic truth, a man that can show his vulnerability and compassion. A man that is ambitious, but still genuine, real, generous and humble. I’m looking for a soul connection where we uplift one another, commit to learning, growing and supporting one another’s spiritual growth and in finding our souls purpose.
What is a reoccurring pattern you have experienced romantically?
-I would go for the same type of man; successful, type A personality, a go-getter, ambitious, but was emotionally unavailable. These men were very charming, but when I got to know them, they were deeply broken inside and were unable to give love or receive the love I was giving them. At the same time, I was also broken and not healed, that’s why I kept dating these types of men.
The more I healed my own heart, the more I could recognize my patterns of choosing these types of men, and slowly I began to become less and less attracted to those types of qualities. It wasn’t that I didn’t notice these men instinctively, but now I was able to be aware and choose differently, to choose consciously. This time, deep down in my core, I finally believed I was worthy of positive, amazing and unconditional love. Again, you have to heal in order to make this conscious shift and then you open up your heart and that is when all the goodness flows into your life- love, light and happiness.
What has helped in shifting these patterns?
To take a deeper look at myself. It was so easy to turn around and point fingers at all these men of how they cheated on me and how they were emotionally unavailable. I decided to take a look at myself because I couldn’t control others, but I knew I needed to be able to choose differently. It wasn’t until I decided that I needed to heal my own heart- not only these past relationships, but from everything that had happened in my childhood to the present. Only then was I finally able to become fully aware and to shift these patterns.
I learned the great lesson of how you cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to what happens in life and what you decide to let into your life. The belief, that only you can really create your own happiness; love starts first, within you. Once you fill your own heart up with authentic true love, only then can you really be able to give love unconditionally to others. Otherwise, you will always be looking for external happiness and the love you give will always have conditions. It’s the idea of how you will give love, but you want that person to make you feel “happy” or complete. That formula of love comes from a place of fear, and not from a place of love. Once I realized that I was the key to my own happiness and ultimately in control of feeling and creating authentic LOVE in my life, I felt the most powerful shift. It was the first time I was able to connect to my soul and not just be in my personality and ego.
This is a life long journey as there is no constant in life, but everyday, I get to choose how I live my life, how I react, what I give and receive. I’m mindful and conscious- this leaves me feeling empowered, as well as, I have this peacefulness that I had never experienced before.
I started my journey of self-discovery and my path to finding love a few years back, it all started with really healing my own heart before anything else. Ultimately, the search for love, lead me back to my very own heart, to my soul. It always starts with you, no one else. Start with you and you will find the greatest love, I promise.
What was your experience of Renew? How did you go in and how did you leave differently?
I had started my healing process of all my past relationships and all the pain I had experienced in my life up until the present time, so it had been about a year that I had started seeing a counselor and practicing meditation almost daily. But, coming into Renew I still had doubt in my heart and therefore pain, sadness and something just wasn’t connecting for me. I felt that I was in a better place, but I was still going up and down, I didn’t really believe to my core that I was enough or that I was on the right path.
I remember praying and meditating for the universe to send me a sign if I was on the right path and if I would ever be able to ‘find’ love. Although I was healing slowly, something was still missing for me. No joke, a few hours later, the universe presented me Renew and I just knew that this was the sign I was waiting for! The universe had heard me and was guiding me to further heal and find the LOVE I had been searching for.
The powerful way that this opportunity came into my life, I would say I was going in with an open mind, but I have to admit I was afraid. Afraid of coming out the same, afraid of not learning enough and afraid my deep sadness and hurt would always be there. But, I remember saying to myself let go and trust in the universe, so I was completely open to everything I was about to experience.
When I went into Renew I had not just broken up, in fact it had been years since I had dated someone. My last relationship where I really loved someone was my second real relationship, and it was an on and off again relationship, because he was unable to fully commit. I had tried to of course move on and meet someone else, but either I wasn’t ready or I just didn’t meet the man that was right for me. I am very thankful now, as that painful experience allowed me to really dig deep and heal my soul. Part of that healing was going to Renew. Even after I had healed a lot, I still felt pain and hurt that I had not yet met a great man. I felt cheated, angry and upset as to why the universe had not sent me Mr. Right. I was embarrassed that my only version of love was with a man that was emotionally so unavailable and closed off. I had been alone for a really long time and was beginning to lose hope if I would ever find love again. Again, I was looking for a sign and something that would release me from this cycle of hurt. What a blessing Renew was! This experience, gave me the confidence to say that I am all the love I need and I finally had the tools to be able to create happiness, and to consciously make decisions and choices that would now serve me, rather than hurt me. My goal in life is to create a beautiful life for myself first and foremost. To continue to be committed to LOVE by giving and receiving unconditional love. My heart is open and I know I will meet an incredible man to compliment my life and where we can build a life together. I can’t thank Renew enough for gifting me with this amazing perspective.
The biggest thing that Renew did for me was that through the experience of going to a spiritual retreat where I would meet women from all kinds of background and experiences, I was able to experience a deep connection to the human mind. Knowing I wasn’t alone in experiencing some of the things I did, gave me a fresh perspective and almost a sense of relief, I felt like I was now part of something bigger and that I wasn’t alone. I feel that this is something that you cannot get obviously if you try to do this all on your own, it’s impossible in my opinion to do it alone.
I realized that our mind was the most powerful tool that we have. Renew taught me the tools and guided me to fully make the mind, body and connection shift, where I left for the first time seeing my ‘light” and who I really was deep down to my soul. I finally was able to believe for the first time that I was enough and had the full confidence that I was on the right path and that I was already creating a beautiful life by investing in myself before anything else. Knowing that LOVE comes from me and that I can shift my mind in times where my thoughts want to take me to a different direction- that was the most valuable thing I can say that any human can benefit from! It really is life changing.
What is your advice to other women going through heartache / pain?
Start with healing your own heart through compassion, love, acceptance and forgiveness that you would give to any person that you love. Give that same love to yourself.
Self-love will lead you to becoming love- by learning and experiencing that it is something that you have to choose and practice every single day, then also leads to gratitude, which is one of the biggest healers and provides true peace and happiness.
You are enough exactly as you are. Invest in yourself: work on your mind, listen to your inner voice and control your inner dialogue, because our thoughts and words are so powerful. What we put out there, the universe is listening! The thoughts and words we say about ourselves and what we think our life is, ultimately will transpire. If you’re in pain, you decide to speak and think pain, you will stay there and not heal. But, if you are in pain and you decide to speak, think and take on the perspective of love and not fear, then you will become love, therefore experience it.
Heartache and pain in life are all lessons for us, which are true blessings to help get us to our true souls, without these low points, we cannot grow, or truly appreciate what we have. I remind myself of this when I am disappointed, I look for the lesson, I receive it as a gift and once again I am filled with gratitude- LOVE.
What do you do to practice self-compassion and love?
Every day I practice gratitude by thanking God and the universe for the small things to the big things. Every single time, instantly my heart is filled with love. One of the most powerful exercises for true happiness, love and light is practicing gratitude. Gratitude is the cornerstone of being happy.
I practice prayer and meditation every single day, where I fill my heart with love, I release any negativity, heal pain through a lens of love and give unconditional love to the world and individuals that come into my meditation and prayer that day.
I’ve learned to ask the universe for what I desire and want in my life. I trust the universe and I know it has my back no matter what, and I have never been let down. If I need signs or clarity on something, I ask for that as well. It’s pretty amazing to witness things that when you have a clear intention and then you consciously make choices based on coming from a place of love and trusting a higher purpose, gratitude and blessings are there for you! This is true for every single one of us, we just have to open ourselves up and come from a place of gratitude, love and trust. Whatever you are ready for and what is meant to be, will transpire for you.
Everyday or every other day (I try to not skip more than 2 days in a row) I do heart pumping cardio exercise, where it’s my time to connect with my body, feel powerful and vibrant. Some days are better than others, so I do what I can and I always thank my body for being able to move, heal and carry my soul. Our bodies go through so much, and it’s a miracle that they allow us to carry so much without breaking down. For that I am so thankful.
I focus on things that serve my soul like cooking nutritious meals, going for walks and connecting to nature, writing, reading books for the soul and I also joined a book club, where the discussions are incredibly uplifting and transforming for all of our souls. Again, there is no wrong or right way to live, as long as you feel that it’s feeding your soul, rather than hurting it, you are living your best life!
What is your mantra?
I am love, I am light and I am laughter. This mantra helps center me and helps to heal my heart whenever I feel sadness, disappointment or anxiety or fear. It helps me to continues to grow my self love and unconditional love for the world and others.
I am always now aware if I am coming from a place of fear or love. I will ask myself that question to uncover where I am coming from. That insight has helped me significantly in changing negative feelings, thoughts and emotions into authentic empowerment- where I move from fear and into a place of love and connect to my soul.
I also now take every challenge or painful moment as a chance to heal. I believe the universe sends you situations and will keep sending you opportunities to HEAL, so that we can become more aligned to our soul’s mission of love and light.