Q&A: How to Leave A Toxic Relationship

NOTE: From time to time, I turn to you (yes, all of you) when I have no idea about what to write on this blog. Feel free to drop an email or DM me on Instagram if you have any ideas/questions for the blog!

Q: How to leave a toxic relationship?

Disclaimer: I am only sharing my personal take/experience related to this issue. I am not an expert, so please do not consider this post as your final answer. Take it with a grain of salt, do your own research, and reach out to an expert/authority figure if you need professional help to get out of a toxic relationship.

A: I guess I would answer this question with another question: “What makes you stay in that toxic relationship?”

I believe that to know how to leave a toxic relationship, we need to know why we’re staying there in the first place.

However, before going further, let’s make sure that we’re on the same page. Here’s an excerpt from a TIME article about toxic relationships:

Dr. Lillian Glass, a California-based communication and psychology expert, says that a toxic relationship is consistently unpleasant and draining for the people in it, to the point that negative moments outweigh and outnumber the positive ones.

Dr. Kristen Fuller, a California-based family medicine physician who specializes in mental health, adds that toxic relationships are mentally, emotionally and possibly even physically damaging to one or both participants. And these relationships don’t have to be romantic: Glass says friendly, familial and professional relationships can all be toxic as well.

With that being said, logically, we know that we need to get out of a toxic relationship. That’s crystal clear. The problem is, we don’t always feel like we’re capable of getting ourselves out of that relationship, for many different reasons (one can be more complicated than another).

However, most of the times, it’s fear. We are afraid to leave.

What do you get out of that relationship?

We’re afraid of leaving that relationship because we believe that despite being toxic, we get something out of that relationship. Maybe we get the feeling of being loved, assurance, friendship, comfort, a sense of familiarity, security, or financial support. The fear is about missing these things in our lives if we decided to leave the toxic relationship.

Now, the question is, how can you get those things you (think) you need outside of this relationship? How can you give yourself those things? Are there other people that can provide you with those things and who are they? How can you get them to help you?

Make plans on how you can get those things that you need (or want) outside of your toxic relationship. Get it from other people, or get it from yourself. Once you know that you can have the things you need outside of your toxic relationship, you’ll gain the confidence you need to leave. You won’t be afraid to leave anymore because you know that what you need (or want) can still be obtained outside of that toxic relationship.

This is what I did to leave a toxic relationship I was once in.

Do you think this toxic relationship poses a serious threat to your life, either physically, emotionally, or mentally?

If yes, immediately reach out to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a social worker/activist, or an authority figure you respect. If that sounds like too much of a stretch, reach out to a friend or family members you trust. Yes, it can be hard, but do it. Save yourself. Your life matters. Love and respect yourself by seeking help to get out of the relationship as soon as possible.

Cutting ties.

While you’re in the process of getting out of a toxic relationship, when possible, I find it best to totally cut ties with the other person. Do not stay with them, be with them, talk to them, or meet them. For me, this is important to prevent me from swaying or changing my minds (oh, maybe s/he’ll change. oh, this time s/he promised. oh, s/he said sorry).

It will be more difficult and more challenging to get out of the toxic relationship if we are frequently in touch with the other person. Their pull can still be so strong, and we’re risking ourselves to get sucked back into that relationship again.

However, if it’s impossible to totally cut ties with the other person at the moment, try reducing your time/interaction with him/her. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. Sign yourself up to join various activities that you love. In the meantime, reach out to the people you trust and make plans about how you can distance yourself from this person.

But, I love him/her. I want to help him/her.

I know that this, sometimes, becomes our excuse to go back into a toxic relationship (I was guilty of this!). However, we need to know that we can’t love them if we can’t love ourselves. And we can’t help them when we have terribly wounded ourselves. The best thing to do is to love ourselves first by healing our wounds and nursing ourselves back to health. Once we’re completely healed and strong, once we’ve gained our confidence that we can be completely OK outside of that toxic relationship, then we can decide if we want to ‘help’ the other person, or if we want to get connected/interact with them again.

I hope this helps!

Q&A: How to be Consistent with Journaling?

NOTE: From time to time, I turn to you (yes, all of you) when I have no idea about what to write on this blog. Feel free to drop an email or DM me on Instagram if you have any ideas/questions for the blog! This post is to answer a question from @gendutsantiago


Q: How to be consistent with journaling?

A: I think the first step would be to answer these 2 questions:

  1. Why do you think you need to journal?
  2. Why do you think you need to be consistent with it?

I actually keep several ‘journals’ and I journal in them for different reasons.


I have a private journal that serves as a diary, to write down my deepest thoughts and feelings whenever I feel the need to unload those things from my chest (or my brain).

I also have a decorated journal which I adorned with stickers, stamps, and collages–the one I shared online via my Instagram or YouTube channel. I work on this journal whenever I feel the need to wind down by doing something creative with my hands.

I have my messy ‘work journal‘ that mimics the functionality of a bullet journal, and I have it next to me whenever I am working. It’s my go-to journal to track the progress, to-dos, payments, and other stuff related to the clients I’m working with or the personal projects I’m working on. It also serves as a medium for me to think ‘on-paper’ about other work-related stuff, like generating ideas for communications training, drawing an outline of a proposal (or a new book), recording meeting results, or planning my moves for the next 3 months.

A journal I updated on a daily basis is my daily highlight journal.

It simply records what I do on a particular day: waking up (at what time), how do I feel upon waking up, where do I go, what am I working on, who do I meet, what do I buy (if any), what do I have for lunch and dinner, what book I am reading, what time I go to sleep. Just mundane things that I summarize in 1-2 word(s)/line(s): Wake up late. Coffee. Silent time. Re-read The Four Agreements. Shower. Editing works. Reorganize my drawer.

Sure, sometimes there are big things: like being proposed, signing a new project, or traveling to someplace nice; but on most days, just simple things.

I have been writing in this journal since the middle of last year, and I am enjoying it so much! As I am working on this journal, I can review how my day goes (do I like it? do I need to do something else tomorrow?) and as I am flipping back through my previous days, I can see how each day is actually unique.

I guess we tend to compress our weeks, months, or years into a few ‘big’ moments, life-changing experiences, or amazing encounters. But recording my days on a daily basis helps me to cherish and remember each day as its own. The practice also allows me to be mindful about how my day unfolds.


I think if we understand why we do certain things and can see the value they bring into our lives, we’ll find more reasons (and motivations) to be consistent.

Sure, we can force ourselves to be consistent and be disciplined about keeping up with our practice (like journaling, for instance), but what’s the point of doing so if we don’t gain any benefit from that practice? However, if we can feel the benefit of any practice, we have all the reasons to be consistent with it, because we can feel its positive impact on our lives.

With that being said, I also need to let you know that I think, ‘being consistent’ is not equal to ‘doing things on a daily basis’.

Sometimes I missed updating my daily highlight journal when I’m traveling or on a road trip, but I immediately record those 2 or 3 days I have skipped when I have the time. Thus I can always catch up. I work on my other journals only when I feel the need or the urge to do so. Sometimes I fill them up every day for a month, and some other times I do not touch them for a week, a month, 2 months.

But it doesn’t matter, because I know I’ll come back to them when I need them.


It helps me to let things go (and let some things in), to detach myself from my noisy and chaotic monkey mind, to reflect on my life, to remember the things I thought I have forgotten, to discover something new about myself, to record my fleeting thoughts and feelings (and mood swings), to spark my creativity, to have fun.

Thus, I am still coming back to my journaling practice whenever I feel the calling to do it.

Do you think this counts as ‘being consistent’?

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Q&A: Have You Ever Felt Lonely?

NOTE: From time to time, I turn to you (yes, all of you) when I have no idea about what to write on this blog. Feel free to drop an email or DM me on Instagram if you have any ideas/questions for the blog! This post is to answer a question from @_ryuniarti.

adjective (lonelier, loneliest)
1 sad because one has no friends or company: lonely old people whose families do not care for them.
• without companions; solitary: passing long lonely hours looking on to the street.
2 (of a place) unfrequented and remote: a lonely country lane.

Q: Have you ever felt lonely?

A: Yes, and actually, quite often.

What’s strange is that I rarely feel lonely when I am alone (which may sound like a contradiction). I feel lonely mostly in the presence of other people: like in a crowd or a big group; but sometimes also one-on-one.

Being an only child, I am used to being alone and I grow up enjoying the solitude it brings. I have the confidence of someone who can always entertain herself and get herself engaged either physically or mentally. It is being around people that make me feel out of place; especially when there’s a lack of meaningful interactions.

For these reasons, I feel lonely during such circumstances when people are compelled to make small talk or exchange pleasantries just for the sake of politeness. And feel the loneliest when I am talking to my closest ones—knowing that (for some reasons) we put our guards up and choose our words carefully instead of being real.

2 Questions to Ask If You’re Looking for Your ‘Prince Charming’

When I was young, I used to get ‘trapped’ in the prince-charming mindset: that there will come a man with all the qualities and criteria I have ever dreamed of to love me and to make me happy.

But here are the flaws in that:

  1. We put the effort in ‘finding’ the ‘right’ man who meets our criteria.
  2. The man who meets our criteria may or may not be interested in us.
  3. The man who meets our criteria and ends up being in a relationship with us may not bring us the love and happiness we thought he would!

I think the biggest flaws is that the prince-charming mindset focuses on finding or searching for ‘the right man’, an external factor that is out of our control.

When I started to do more sessions in writing/journaling for self-discovery, I found a better way to approach this. I asked myself 2 things:

  1. how would the ideal relationship I want to experience look/feel like? (detailing the qualities, feelings, and activities I’d like to experience in the relationship itself–NOT about the man)
  2. how can I improve myself so I can offer that kind of relationship to the people I love/care about?

Doing this shifted my focus from ‘searching for the right man’ to ‘creating the feeling/qualities I’d like to experience in a relationship’. It made me feel more like an active participant rather than a passive one, and in a way, more empowered.

What about you? Have you ever experienced something similar? Have you ever met a man that seems to meet your ‘criteria’ but the relationship doesn’t flourish? Or what is your take about the issue?


How I Set Resolutions & Plan My 2019

Hi, lovelies!

I have spent the last few weeks in 2018 to rest, relax, and reflect. Mostly, I choose to stay at home or catch up with my closest friends, read some books or plan the upcoming year, clean my space and sip loads of nutmeg and turmeric latte.

I have also gone a bit absent from social media, especially Twitter and Facebook (have deleted these 2 applications from my phone), and for the past week, I haven’t published anything on Instagram (but still checking some new updates from friends on my feed for 10-15 minutes every day).

I would like to simply enjoy the feeling of being me, of being alone, of reconnecting with myself, of doing things for the sake of doing it–not for social media.

This New Year’s Eve, I am at home, reflecting on 2018 and setting my intention for 2019. I always prefer a quiet New Year’s Eve, because I love the feeling of ‘closing the year’ with solitude and serenity–writing how I feel, what I think, and how I’d like the upcoming year to be.

I once wrote about creating a feeling-based New Year’s Resolution, and today I want to write about this topic again–since I have extended my previous approach; making it more effective and efficient for me. It all begins with this question:


There are 3 reasons I can think of, based on my experience:

  1. They are too big/overwhelming. Most of the times, we tend to set up huge goals for the upcoming year and overestimate our capabilities to achieve those goals. On another note, this could also be our way of self-sabotaging ourselves: by setting a goal that is too big, we would feel less guilty if we fail to achieve it–precisely because we can tell ourselves that the goal is just too big/overwhelming.
  2. They are insignificant. If we set a certain goal/resolution, but our lives will still be relatively okay even if we don’t achieve that goal/resolution, we won’t have enough drive to pursue this goal. Often times, we set goals that would be nice to achieve, but the goal is not that important/significant for our lives. (Think about the goal of ‘losing weight’ because we think it-will-make-us-look-better vs we-can-get-hospitalized-if-we-don’t-lose-weight; can you feel how different the level of motivation would be?)
  3. They are never ours in the first place. Yes, sometimes our goals/resolutions are the things we thought we should want. Maybe these goals are something the society believes to be great or something our parents would be proud of. It could be something that our peers desire. We choose a particular goal, thinking that is what we want, but actually, it’s what other people want–we just feel as if we need to want that same goal to conform.


In the previous year, I also did a mistake of not reflecting or evaluating on my life before making any resolutions for the upcoming year. I would hurriedly list down all my wishes and desires like an impatient child writing a letter to Santa Claus; without being clear about what I really need to focus on.

We need to know where we are to better navigate our way to where we want to be.

So, this year, I started out by evaluating and scoring 12 areas of my life:

  1. Physical/health. Am I healthy? Do I exercise? Do I eat well? Do I sleep well?
  2. Emotional/mental health. How do I manage my emotions? Do I have mood swings? Do I get stressed easily? Do I feel tension or anxiety?
  3. Career. Do I enjoy what I do? Is this how I want to grow professionally? Do I get fair compensation for my work? Do I attract clients I like?
  4. Financial/wealth. Do I have enough money to fulfill my responsibilities? Do I have enough savings for rainy days? Do I manage my money well? Do I spend my money wisely? Do I feel financially secure?
  5. Family & friends. Do I spend enough quality time with them? How is my relationship with them? Do I feel comfortable to be around them? Do I like them? Are they supportive or toxic?
  6. Love & relationships. Do I feel loved? Am I a loving person? Do I spend quality time with my partner? How do we connect with one another? Am I content in this relationship? Can I trust my partner?
  7. Environment. Do I like the place where I stay/its surroundings? Do I enjoy spending my time here, in this venue/room/house/office? Can I feel content staying in this environment?
  8. Intellectual/creativity. Do I grow intellectually/creatively? Do I learn new things or master new skills? Do I feel challenged intellectually/creatively?
  9. Enjoyment/entertainment. Can I rest and relax? Do I have enough me-time? Do I have time for self-care? Am I happy about how I spend my holiday? Do I have a hobby that I enjoy? Do I feel like I have enough time, means, and opportunities to have fun, recharge, and refresh?
  10. Spiritual. Do I feel connected with something else apart from the material world? How is my relationship with myself, with Source, with God? Do I feel faithful or doubtful? Do I have peace of mind?
  11. Meaning/contribution. Do I inject meanings in the work that I do? Do I live a meaningful life? Do I have any contribution to anyone apart from myself? Do I make a difference?
  12. Social/communal. Do I feel like I belong to something? Can I feel at-home and at-ease in my community? Do I enjoy being a part of a certain group/community? Do I share certain interests/concerns with other people/group?

The next thing I do is scoring these 12 areas of my life.

Because when we need to score on a scale of 1 – 5 we don’t have the means to explain how 4 is different from 5, or how 1 is different than 3, I came up with these scoring explanations:

5 – Of course I want things to be better or to improve (who doesn’t?), but even if they stay the way they are for the upcoming year, I am still okay with that.

4 – It’s quite good, actually. But I know I haven’t given my best in this particular area.

3 – It’s okay. Not that bad, but I am not happy if things stay the way they are for the upcoming year.

2 – There are some problems here. I hope I can have a better experience or be more at ease in this area of my life.

1 – I don’t like this at all. I am desperate to see changes/improvements.

With this 1 – 5 scale as a guide, I start scoring the 12 areas of my life.

When I finish, I choose 3 areas with the lowest score that I’d like to work on in the upcoming year. If there are more than 3 areas with a similar lowest score, I will have to choose 3 things I’d like to prioritize and focus on.


Once I have decided on the 3 areas of life I’m not happy about–the ones I want to change/improve in the upcoming year, I transfer that particular area into this 3-column framework:

On the 1st column, I write down my wish/desire about that particular area. How is the ideal situation would look like? What kind of improvement do I want when it comes to this area of life? I just write the ideal vision I have related to this area of my life.

On the 2nd column, I write down how I would be or how I would feel if I have achieved my wishes/desires in column 1. Am I going to be a different person? How? Am I going to feel differently? How? How am I going to change from the inside if I have achieved my desired reality? How am I going to think about myself if my desires have manifested?

On the 3rd column, I write down what would I do or experience on a daily basis if I have achieved my wishes/desires on column 1, and have become the person in column 2. How would I act in different situations (at work, at home, among friends, etc.)? What are the things I could do or experience? How does it change my day-to-day habit/interaction? What can I contribute to others?

>> If until this point you haven’t done the exercise above, I would strongly recommend you to do so! Grab a pen and paper, then do the exercise before continuing reading this post! <<


Next, I look at my answers in column 2 and 3, and for my resolutions setting in 2019, I ask myself:

What is the one thing I can do in a year, in a month, in a week, in a day, in 2 hours, to get me closer to the things I wrote in column 2 or 3?

To my surprise, a lot of the things in column 2 and 3 can be injected into my life through many different ways or means–without having to rely on the achievement of that particular wish/desire! And look at your column 3, specifically–are there things you can already do right now?

Most of the times, we are blinded by our overwhelming wishes and desires, having no clarity in why we want the things we want. Column 3 is the simple things we want in our daily lives, something that we can do or experience if we choose to do so. It’s the window to have a peek into why we want the things we desire, and surprisingly, most of the times, we only want the simple things. The one little thing that can make our days more meaningful and enjoyable.

So, cheers to a simple New Year’s resolutions, to tiny steps to get closer to the person we have always wanted to be, and to those little sparks of joy that we can bring into our lives any moment now.

much love,

The Month to Stop, to Give Up, to Rest, to Slow Down.

Why do we have the tendency to feel guilty when we have to stop, to give up, to rest, to slow down?

Maybe because we’ve been brought up believing that to be ‘productive’ we need to keep going, keep trying, keep moving, keep running…

But sometimes, to travel further, we need to stop and rest to recharge ourselves. When things are no longer serving us, we need to give them up instead of holding on. When we want to enjoy the journey, appreciate the experience, and make memories, we need to slow down.

This month, let’s give ourselves the time to do all of them–when we need to, unapologetically. Let’s give ourselves the ultimate permission to dedicate this month for ourselves, so we can have the chance to stop. To give up. To rest. To slow down.

Because we deserve it.
Because you deserve it.

Hanny Kusumawati

Breathe Like A Turtle.

“Breathe like a turtle,” said Dr. Suresh, my Ayurvedic doctor.

He then mentioned the way some animals breathe: a dog (+24 breaths/minute), a bear (+15 breaths/minute), a turtle (4 breaths/minute).

“Animals that breathe slower live longer,” he said.

Thus, the turtle breath.


I know that breathing correctly and mindfully has a vital role for our wellbeing. We can clearly notice how we breathe when we’re angry, tired, anxious, rushing–and how they differ from how we breathe when we’re relaxed, calm, and slowing down.

I learned a few years ago that if you don’t know how to change your mood, change the way you breathe.

If you’d like to feel a bit calmer, breathe the way you breathe when you have just arrived in a beautiful, pristine place, and about to relax while admiring the gorgeous view. Or breathe following the rhythm of the ups and downs of a cat’s (or a baby’s) belly when it’s soundly sleeping.

Writing on my journal, decorating it, and flipping the pages unhurriedly in the morning helps me to breathe slower. Noticing the way I breathe throughout the day also helps me to know my mental state at a particular moment, and give me the opportunity to consciously ‘breathe’ a better mental state.


How do you breathe today? 🙂

Hanny Kusumawati




PS: Oh, there’s also this beautiful app called Tide I installed on my phone as it has some guided breathing exercise.

The Last Month of 2018 and Free Affirmation Calendar 2019

Can you believe that it’s only less than a month to the end of 2018?

I have been a little bit busy with work these past few months (and I am also working on my YouTube channel on journaling), but I have been missing working on my blog and sharing my thoughts & musings the way I used to do in the old days.

I always feel as if time flies away so fast, and I have to admit that sometimes I am being hard on myself–feeling that I haven’t done anything great, anything meaningful, anything worth remembering.

Maybe this is why one of my end-of-year favorite moments is actually having my me-time, flipping over the pages of my journals and reading all the small things that made me happy, tiny fragments of life that made me grow or rethink my beliefs and perspectives, delicious food that makes my belly purrs in delight.

This year’s end-of-year me-time involves creating an affirmation calendar for myself.

I found it a bit challenging to find a lovely calendar for 2019 that is already equipped with some Indonesian national/public holidays; so I decided to create one with the pictures from Unsplash in passport size for everyday carry.

When I finished, I thought: “Why not share it with everyone else?”
And so, the calendar is available if you’d like to download or print it. Just click here: Calendar 2019 – Passport Size

All in all, maybe it doesn’t matter if there is nothing big happening in our lives, as long as we can recall and reminisce the tiny ones as we remember them with gratitude.

Hanny Kusumawati

Intuitive Journaling: October’s 31-day Challenge

Intuitive Journaling Challenge: Why?

Well, first, it was because of #inktober–the 31-day challenge in the art community to draw something with ink throughout October. I was thinking of joining, but I wasn’t sure that I could actually do it for 31 days. Drawing (or painting) is still something quite new to me, and I’m still trying to get a hang of it.

However, I always love the idea of challenging myself to complete a tiny project, like when I posted about the things I’ve learned every single day for 28 days in February. Then, as I migrated into my new bullet journal this morning, I thought, “Why not having a journaling challenge instead?”

I was trying to come up with something that won’t take a lot of time to do and won’t need any specific tools/supplies; when it suddenly dawned on me that in 3 months, we’d say goodbye to 2018! How time flies! So, I thought, why not having a journaling exercise that will help us to reconnect and discover something new (or old) about ourselves–thus, we have 2 more months to prepare our smooth transition to 2019?

And just like that, this challenge was born.

Intuitive Journaling: How to Do It?

Some refer to it as free writing or automatic writing. The idea is to set a timer for a certain period of time: one minute, three minutes, five minutes, ten minutes up to you (although for this challenge, we’ll do a 3-minute session per day).

As the timer starts, begin writing (with pen and paper) on your journal, without really thinking, without really stopping.
Write whatever crossed your mind.
It doesn’t matter if things appear to sound weird, funny or senseless.
The idea is to translate your tangled and busy mind into the paper.

Here’s the secret: DO NOT stop as you write, not even for a split second. Do not think. Just write until your time is up. Follow the chaos of your mind and write everything down. Everything.

You could even write something like, “I don’t know why I am doing this, oh, I’m so hungry, like so, hungry and my foot itches and what should I write this is strange really…”

It’s OK.

Keep writing no matter what until your timer beeps.

I like to call this technique ‘intuitive writing’ or ‘intuitive journaling’ because after doing this practice for a while, you will notice the magical moment when your intuition starts talking to you from the chaos of the page.

This is exactly why you need to relax and let go of the need to control; set aside the urge to think, to edit, to look for the right words or sentences.
When you’re still trying or thinking, you are not letting your intuition take over.

So, let it flow. Let whatever needs to come out from within you find its way onto the page.

How to Join This Intuitive Writing Challenge and More.

Here’s how it’ll play out:

  1. All you need is a pen, a notebook to write, and a timer (you can use the timer on your phone). Set the timer to 3 minutes to start your intuitive journaling session. Can you do more than 3 minutes a day? Sure. However, remember that we tend to go strong at the beginning of a project and then lose our drive a little bit more every day. Personally, I believe that completing the challenge by writing 3 minutes a day for 31 days will benefit you more than writing for 15 minutes a day, but stopping after the first 7 days. And please only write by hand! Why? Find the answer here.
  2. Every day, before 8 am, I will post your intuitive journaling prompt on this page (at the end of this post). I don’t want to post all the prompts right away, because I think it will be overwhelming. Plus, there will always be that temptation of “thinking” about what to write for tomorrow’s prompt, which is something that will beat the purpose of intuitive journaling. So, every day, when you’re ready to write, open this page and see that day’s prompt. I will also share the prompt via my Instagram Stories.
  3. If you want, you can share your experience of going through each challenge or even share what you write. But you don’t have to do this. Just know that you’ll benefit from it even if you want to keep the journal to yourself. Don’t feel the obligation to share if you don’t feel like it.
  4. I am using the hashtag #intuitivejournaling #writeandwander and #octoberjournal to talk about this challenge/project on social media. I might not share what I have written throughout the challenge, but I might want to share some lessons, memories, or sentiments that come up when necessary. You can also share your experience by using those hashtags, so we can find each other. Know that you don’t have to share or use the hashtag if you don’t want to. You know I’m not fussy about those kinds of things 🙂
  5. Have fun, and don’t forget to set your intention to use this challenge as a way to discover something about yourself, or to hear the message you need to hear.

The 31-day challenge.

until then,
Hanny Kusumawati