Fast 15 with Carlos J. Malave: Relationship Building through Direct Communication


Casey J. Cornelius (00:03):

Hey everyone, and welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I am the founder and president of ForCollegeForLife, and I am also the host of this podcast. There’s probably some correlation between those two things, but we’ll save that for another day. Today I get the opportunity to interview Carlos J. Malave about one of the topics that I think is so important, not only for us in our relationships with others, either romantic or friendship, or coworker, colleague, whatever it might be, but also in the relationship that we have with ourselves. So we’re going to be talking about something that’s really, really important and we’re going to be doing it in 15 minutes or less. At least we’re going to try. So without any further ado, let me go ahead and bring to the mic none other than Carlos J. Malave. Carlos,

Carlos J. Malave (00:54):

Thank you. Thank you.

Casey J. Cornelius (00:55):


Carlos J. Malave (00:56):

Appreciate that. Appreciate the intro. I’m excited about the conversation.

Casey J. Cornelius (01:00):

Of course. Glad to talk to you today and also glad to talk about a new program that you’re putting out into the world. Absolutely. Before we get started, I want to make sure that I share with those listening the title. It is, set Your Boundaries with an Exclamation Point, set Your Boundaries, relationship Building Through Direct Communication. And Carlos, I know that one of the elements that is really important to you as it relates to building better relationships, how to do so, how to communicate better, is the topic of forgiveness. So I’m going to get out of your way and let you talk about that for just a minute. Why is forgiveness an essential element in building better relationships?

Carlos J. Malave (01:44):

I think when it comes to being able to build proper relationships, the key is forgiveness. We’ve heard this over and over again over the last couple years of forgiveness isn’t for the people that you’re forgiven, it’s more for you. And diving into that work is the essential part of being able to become whole. I think that is what I try to focus on and getting people to understand there’s a deeper meaning than just forgiving for the situation to be over with because we’re afraid of conflict or we just don’t want to have those difficult conversations go any further. And I think being able to step into your truth is a part of that forgiveness, like diving into having those internal conversations of why did I feel that way? What made me react that way? How can I be better? And that is what we need to get to.


The forgiveness is aligned deeply to improvement, and if we want to grow, we have to continuously have to improve. There’s never going to be a stage in your life that you don’t have to improve. That is what keeps us going. That is what makes life interesting. That should be the purpose of it all at the end of the day, to improve as an individual, as a business person, as a professional, as a family man, as a family person, doesn’t matter. The end goal should be improvement. So when it comes to forgiveness, I think we need to look at all the relationships that we’ve had, whether past or present, and dive into whether they are worth keeping the relationships. I think you should still dive into understanding what happened and what could have been done better, and what can you forgive yourself for, right? Because you are an improving individual constantly thinking about, okay, I was at this stage, what made me behave this way? Okay, I understand it. And that’s where forgiveness will truly be able to be possible when you figure out how you can improve from that situation and understand why you were in that situation.

Casey J. Cornelius (04:06):

I want to dissect a couple of elements of what you just said. I think it’s so important, and I think all of us, regardless of where we are on life’s journey, student professional, wherever you might be, we have gone through the experience of having this internal debate about whether or not to forgive someone else. And I think I heard you say that forgiving someone else is as much for me, is it is for them. Is that correct? Absolutely.

Carlos J. Malave (04:37):


Casey J. Cornelius (04:39):

Yes. It’s So talk to me a little bit about that then. So it’s almost like this is a bad word, but I can’t think of one better right now. I apologize. It’s almost like a selfish act, right? I’m doing this for myself, but for the other person also,

Carlos J. Malave (04:56):

Yes. I can’t stress enough. And it goes back to the title of the new program, setting Boundaries, exclamation Mark. That’s how we started it, right? So you can’t set your boundaries if you don’t forgive. Lemme say that again. You can’t set your boundaries if you don’t learn how to forgive first. Because if you could forgive, you can understand what happened, and therefore you can understand what do you need from the next situation or what do you need for this situation to move forward? We have to align it. That’s why it’s more for you than it is for the situation so that you can set boundaries, understand where it is that you’re at, what stage you’re at, and what you are able to endure and focus on. And I think that is what we need to talk about even more, and that’s what I do in my engagements when I work within schools, is helping really understand what it takes, the work that it takes to build healthy relationships. It’s not just having conversation. It’s about you doing that work of discovering why you were in situations prior so that you could set the boundaries so your relationships are healthier moving forward.

Casey J. Cornelius (06:18):

So I can imagine someone listening to this right now and saying like, okay, okay, I get it. I have to forgive people, but what about the person who has offended me in some way or embarrassed me in some way or cheated me in some way, is I guess probably what the pushback would be. Carlos, you’ve heard this before I’m sure, is that it’s easier to forgive someone if the offense is minor, but what about when it’s significant? What would you say to them?

Carlos J. Malave (06:51):

I love that question because a lot of my work is also understanding that there’s different forms of forgiveness. When we talk about forgiveness, we think it’s a conversation. Most of the time we think that we have to go up to the person and have that dialogue. One, that person may not be ready to receive that dialogue, and that’s the growth that you need to be able to understand that’s happened within you, that you may be ready, but that person may not be ready and you were at that place that you were not ready at one point. So one, there’s grace in it to be able to develop grace. But two, just understanding in different ways. When you forgive a situation or a person, you have to do that work internally first. So when you’re forgiving, you have to understand what transpired, how it got there, understand it to a T, really dive in of all the possibilities so that you can actually set your boundaries, understand how to move forward and then move differently.


Sometimes just your demeanor moving forward after you have forgiven a situation and a person. There’s no malice left or bad intent when you are around the person. So hear me. When you forgive, you move differently. When you’re around the person, when you don’t forgive, it’s still like they walk in the room, you get tense, you get bothered, you start thinking things are happening that aren’t really happening just because of their presence. When you do that, forgiveness internally, first you move differently, and then you present yourself in a way that you are ready and then they will sense that, and then they might be ready to have that conversation. Then you should prepare for that conversation as well, that dialogue as well. But that dialogue will never happen if you don’t do that internal work first to forgive and then move differently in the situation moving forward.

Casey J. Cornelius (08:56):

Is the flip side of that also true then, that failing to forgive someone is a way of getting off the hook of doing that internal work also?

Carlos J. Malave (09:06):

Yes. Yes. And we see that often not being able to forgive somebody for something they’ve done, whether it was consciously or unconsciously, we need to be able to forgive both ways so that we can become whole and move forward. We, and I’ve experienced a lot in my life, some particular traumas that I wouldn’t push on anybody, and I had to constantly do that work with my father. We all know that my father committed suicide in 2019, but before then, there was a lot of trauma that transpired before that point that I had to get to a place where I have to forgive and be able to have that dialogue. I have family members that weren’t able to forgive on either side of the table, and those relationships were left in a bad place where they have to live with that. Now that the person isn’t here anymore, I think that they move differently in a hurt place and then it damages their relationships moving forward, if that makes sense.


So not being able to forgive will hurt you moving into the next situation because you haven’t truly healed. So the healing process is aligned directly to forgiveness, and we have to be able to do that so that we can build relationships properly moving forward. You can’t run away from it, and that’s why you see the divorce rate at an all time high and relationships that become toxic because people haven’t healed from their prior situations of understanding what happened, forgiving themselves and the other person, and understanding that everybody is in it at that place. And then you can do the discovery. Once you do the forgiveness, you can identify certain things for your next situation, and then you set those boundaries and then you have those conversations way before anything happens. So there’s a clear understanding, and then you set the time like, okay, if this happens, I will be able to walk away at this time so that I’m not put in the same situation I was prior.

Casey J. Cornelius (11:34):

That’s really powerful. For those who are listening again in 15 minutes, we can’t possibly dig deeply enough in this topic to do it justice. Please make sure that you check out Carlos’s new program, set your Boundaries, relationship building through direct communication at For college for It is really super important. Carlos, I want to ask you what I think is maybe the next layer of this conversation as well, and one that probably more than forgiving other people we struggle with, I’ll at least say I struggle with the most, and that is forgiving yourself. And it’s one thing to avoid those conversations with someone else who you feel like has wronged you in some way or that things have gotten off the rails. But what about the relationship that we have internally and the importance of allowing that same sense of forgiveness for our actions and thoughts, et cetera, et cetera as well?

Carlos J. Malave (12:41):

Absolutely. And I appreciate you being vulnerable and expressing that you struggle with it. I’ll go deep into my bag of experiences with my father. I missed his call before he jumped. He called me to try to convince him not to jump. I had to live with that for years and I had to heal, and that directly affected my marriage for the year after my father committed suicide, I was damaging the hell out of my relationship with my wife, and it was aligned to me running away from one voicing why I felt the guilt and I couldn’t forgive myself. And then two, processing the whole situation as a whole, that took a lot of work, that took therapy, that took me having the internal conversations in the dark room, everybody’s afraid. The biggest fear I think that most people have, and definitely with men is being alone and being alone with your thoughts and then being able to dissect them and do that work.


My mind goes crazy when I’m alone and I start thinking about a bunch of different things. I have to be organized. I have to strategize when I’m alone and think about what to dissect and one at a time, and then leave everything else at a day-to-day basis where I can continue to grow off of it. So I think that is something that you need to be able to do the most. Sit alone in your thoughts process, understand and create a plan. It’s the key to success. We hear those things, but we don’t talk about it in the way of those forgiveness conversations with yourself. That is, if you’re able to do that, then you can take those strategies into any aspect of your life and see success. It’s worked for me and it’s worked for people that I’ve worked with and been close to, and I just hope that I can inspire anybody that’s listening or that I work with in the future to do the same, because that’s the most important work.

Casey J. Cornelius (15:07):

We’re going to probably blow past these 15 minutes and to Kristin who’s editing this podcast, pulling back the curtain. Kristin, I’m sorry that we’re blowing past these 15 minutes, but this point is super important. My feeling is that most successful people or accomplished people or so forth are probably harder on themselves than they are on anyone else. Has that been your experience as well?

Carlos J. Malave (15:38):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Casey J. Cornelius (15:40):

So what’s interesting is that when thinking about this topic and trying to grow on it as well, is also saying to yourself, Hey, look, the mistake that you made six months ago, or six years ago, or 16 years ago, or whatever it might be, you’re not the same person now that you were then, right? So why are we hitting replay on this thing that is a learning opportunity and so forth? Is that where you go in this dialogue as well?

Carlos J. Malave (16:14):

Yeah, I think people tend to use that conversation as a rebuttal. Well, I’m not the same person that I was that time that I did it. But if you don’t process it and actually dissect it and understand it when it’s presented again, you might go back to the same behaviors.


It’s just like when you know that one person from your past that knows you at a particular stage in your life knows how to press your buttons, and every time you get around them, those older tendencies come out and then you have to like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. They don’t see me like that, but I can’t allow myself to go back to that and experienced that and that. That’s the same feeling that you will get if you don’t do the work. It’s going to come back one way or the other. And it’s going to, like I said, it directly affected my relationship. We were on the edge. My relationship was going to end, my marriage was going to end. And if I didn’t start doing the work and had those tough conversations with myself and then with my wife, I probably wouldn’t be married today. And that’s a fact.

Casey J. Cornelius (17:34):

Carlos, knowing you and knowing the work that you do, there is always a higher frequency to it. There’s always a higher purpose to it, and I know that that’s just embedded in who you are. And I want to thank you for that. And folks, if you’re listening to this program, you’ve heard Carlos before, you recognize that about him as well. He doesn’t do a lot of small talk, a lot of useless stuff. So when he puts a new program out into the world about how we can have better relationships both externally and internally, I would encourage you to give it a few looks and see if it would be a fit for your campus, for your organization, for your professional development, whatever it might be. Please make sure you check it out Carlos, thank you so much for this conversation. I genuinely appreciate it.


Folks, if you have enjoyed this, please make sure that you do the things that you’re supposed to do with the podcast like and share and subscribe and comments. And also try to get this episode in the hands of someone who maybe is working on this topic too, maybe someone that needs to work on forgiveness both externally or internally. And more than that, if there’s something more, extra different that you want to hear from these podcasts, please let us know because we always want to deliver to you the content that is most helpful. So until next time, please be well, and we will talk to you soon. Thanks everyone.


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