Patricia Echeverria's Advice on Breakups, Forgiveness + Finding Purpose



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Patricia believes everyone has a purpose. She is the founder of Experiment on Purpose, an experimental studio at the intersection of personal transformation and human-centered design. They have collaborated with the Hub LA, Hub Madrid, Global Innovation Summit, TED Conferences and No Right Brain Left Behind. When she's not leading her six-week Purpose Program or coaching clients, you can find her surfing.

HER MOST RECENT HEARTBREAK
“There was an initial breakup and we got back together again, and then we broke up again. In previous relationships, I wasn't fully invested. I didn't realize at the time but I just wasn't fully vulnerable. The more I've grown, the more vulnerable I've allowed myself to be - so the greater the heartbreak.”

WHAT SHE WOULD TELL HERSELF NOW
“I feel like breakups are a long process. Usually that's the painful part; that it's a process. It takes a long time. But when it's not working, you know. I would tell myself to trust my intuition with the next person. I have a really good sense of whether something will work or not. But sometimes we don't follow that. I would say to trust my intuition and follow that with whoever I meet. Towards the end there was a gut feeling it wasn't working but there was a part of me that wanted to make it work. I let myself go, which I don't often do.”

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ATTRACTION
“Nowadays, when there's an intense attraction initially, I'm vigilant of that. I don't necessarily go with it. I'll watch. I don't necessarily say, ‘That's the person!’ The best relationships for me have been when it was neutral at first. I was attracted, but I didn’t feel like I had to be with them.’”

A SELF LOVE PRACTICE
“I allowed myself to be very nurturing and loving to myself, and I focused on that. I felt there was this big thing missing physically and emotionally, so I made sure all parts of me were taken care of. I felt a lot of upset in my stomach - the most visceral part of the heartbreak was there. So I would say ‘I love you’ and put my hand on my stomach and worked with that. I did a lot of yoga. I did things to feel taken care of and it was important for me to take time off from what I was doing, to not be focused on work. I took time to go to the beach, even though I had things to do. You have to allow yourself to go through the mourning process. If you just go on to the next activity, it's still there.”

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FORGIVENESS
“I realized that: in the process of recovering from heartbreak, I did a lot of forgiveness, I listened to forgiveness meditations and practiced self forgiveness every day for at least 45 minutes, for the first months, and it was one of the most powerful and healing experiences for me. This process truly allowed me to recover from the emotional upset. It was super important for me.”

COMPATIBILITY
“I remember talking to Mary [the Founder of University of Santa Monica, where she got a second degree, in Spiritual Psychology] about how she found her husband. She was so clear. She told me, ‘Don't settle. Look for character.’ For me, it was perfect to hear that. Part of me felt guilty or responsible, like ‘Oh shit this should have worked.’ But talking to people made me feel like I did the best I could and for some reason we just weren't compatible. If you're both going the same direction, you don't have to struggle. You don't have to be doing all the same things all the time, but why not find someone who is more compatible? For me it was important for me to be with someone who is my partner, someone I'm also working with. I know it's challenging. It's tough because I have my path and I'm going on my path, and I am still developing what it is that I'm doing. But my experience with couples that work together in the personal development sphere is that there's something really beautiful and powerful there. It's the masculine and feminine energies balancing each other out. Like with Ron and Mary, it feels like they maximize each other's potential times 100. It becomes a larger thing that's not about two of them.”

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MUSIC THAT MENDED
“I listened to more depressing songs than I would normally listen to. I like the work song by Hozier. I watched this beautiful video of these couples dancing to the song and I found it so beautiful. It's a beautiful, romantic video. I never listen to lyrics. I don't pay attention or ever remember, so I wouldn't even be able to tell you which songs are about heartbreak. But to me it just has that heartbreak feeling. I also loved to listen to All I Want by Kodaline, which feels heartbreaking and beautiful all together.”

THE PRINCE THEORY
“There is this idea that men go through different stages; that they have to be kind of settled in their career, often times, before they can be with someone. It's called being in the Prince stage, when they haven't found themselves. Even though we live in a more gender equal society, there is still an expectation for a man to be stable. Before they get to that point, they're just experimenting with relationships and they may not be committed. It makes sense energetically. Men want to know that they're doing a good job. If they're unstable, it will be really hard for them to be in a relationship.”

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LETTING THE WOUND HEAL
“The vice that happens to everyone is that you breakup and you want to see the person again, even just going on Instagram to see what they're doing. I'm on a social media sabbatical right now, but I just un-followed my ex on everything. I didn't unfriend on Facebook, but I removed notifications. The vice is the part that wants to stay in it, and that’s the part that makes the heartbreak longer. I knew if I just cut it off, it would allow for the healing process. It's like a wound. You have to cut it off so the wound heals. If you just keep creating an opening for it, it just never closes. I've had that experience before, so I knew I needed to block him completely. And I told him that it was important not to see him. I told him that yes I love him, but I can't do it right now. I made it very clear.”

FOCUSING ON THE VISION
“I have a lot of willpower. I think of what I really want, and what I really want is love and I want to feel completely cherished. I want to be with someone who loves me, who is my soulmate. So it makes it easier that when it's not working, I have to let go and trust that I have this larger vision that I'm going for. In order to go for that, I have to sacrifice what's here now. I trust and I know that if this guy that I just broke up with is meant to be with me, he'll come back. I'm not concerned. I think the strength comes from having that larger vision.”

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HER SOCIAL MEDIA SABBATICAL
“Social media made my life feel very busy, when it really wasn't. It was so distracting. It depends which point in your career you're at. For me, I realized that there's something really important about going in and then creating from that space. I'm at a very generative stage right now professionally - all of these things are being created - and I don't want it to be coming as a reaction to the outside world. I actually want to take the time to see what's really important for me and what I want to put out in the world. Being on social media puts your antenna out but doesn't allow you to go in as much. It automatically puts you in comparison mode, not even consciously. I would wake up and look at other people's lives without focusing on what I was doing with myself. I'd rather wake up with an affirmation or intention for myself instead of waking up and seeing what the rest of the world is doing.”

CAN EXES BE FRIENDS?
“I think it depends how long you've been with the person. You just have to let enough time pass. I think it can be problematic if you're still single and you're searching. As long as you're at a neutral place inside.”

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VULNERABILITY
“I think being vulnerable is very difficult. I can't say I'm like that all the time. I've met some guys recently and it's put to test when you meet someone you sort of like. That's when you can assess whether you're open. But I know that if I don't open my heart, there won't be anything there. There was a period of time in my life when I was completely closed off. I could have relationships, but they weren't as fulfilling. I know that whatever relationship I have next I want it to be a completely vulnerable one. It's the only thing that counts.”

HER MANTRA: YOU ARE LOVED
“I want to remember that I am loved and I don't have to worry.”

Photographed by Ellen Huerta in Los Angeles.