Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I can take or leave the holidays, but there is something about a new year that reminds me of clean slates, missions accomplished, and lessons learned. One of my fellow Master Coaches Michele Woodward recently wrote an article suggesting that we write down twenty five things that we accomplished this year, and better yet that we write down twenty five things that we will accomplish in 2009. There is something magical about putting wishes and dreams into voice or the written word. They are much more likely to come true that way. You can probably tell that I am a dreamer, an optimist, a believer in the power of our energy and thoughts. This is a gift that my mother instilled in me from an early age.
My husband is a bit different. He lives more in the present. He looks for the obvious and believes what he can see. This morning at breakfast, I brought up the idea of coming up with a few things to accomplish in the next year. His response was, "I want to get a job." He has been laid off for a couple of months, so this is understandable. Being who I am, I said, "How about a job that you love, that pays well, and is close to home." My practical husband replied, "Those would all be great, but I think I will just start with a job."
So here is where the relationships skills come in. I said nothing. Yeah, can you believe it, nothing! I am a life coach to the core, and I was itching to jump in and work with him to change his thoughts and help him see that he really can go for the best, not just the average. But I didn't. Because I know that he is who he is, and he will get a job and he will be happy. My job as his wife is to support him and love him and encourage him to follow his dreams, not mine.
My hope is that I will do this more in 2009. What do you want to see in your life next year? Write it down, tell it to someone, or keep it tucked inside your heart. Best of all do what works for you.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
In the past I was more likely to want everything in my life to settle into a nice happy place with a loving partner and everyone would live happily ever after. I know you have heard that one before! But since I have become a Life Coach and began working on myself, and challenging my thoughts and beliefs, I seem to have opened up a huge well of creativity that continues to want to create more.
In the month of November I did something that I had never considered before. I joined the ranks of writers who take part every year at this time in the National Novel Writing Month. The idea was to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I had been wanting to write more, and thought what's the worst that could happen, and so I dived in.
I hadn't thought much about writing a novel before I started on November 1st. Most of my writing has been non-fiction, either self-help or biography. When I began writing, my thoughts of course went to relationships and self-esteem. So, I began writing a trashy, adventure, romance novel. I must tell you that I enjoyed this immensely!! This type of writing allowed me to get in the heads of my characters and try to figure out what they would say or do next. I completed the 50,000 words at about 4pm on November 30th, and have been recovering ever since.
This is what I learned from this experience:
- If I decide to do something, anything is possible.
- That challenging myself to stretch further in relationships and creativity helps build my self esteem.
- That writing sexually charged dialogue and scenes can be good for a marriage!
- That I love to write in any form, and that more of these types of challenges are in my future.
- That challenging you the reader to stretch yourself, feels like the right thing to do at this moment.
What are you not doing that you wish you could? Do you have a dream or idea that you are putting off doing?
My challenge to you is find a way to take that first step today!! You will not regret it!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This got me thinking about how often we honor ourselves and the relationships in our lives. When you reach a goal or do something important to you and your self confidence, do you honor that? When you see others you love make a difference in the world, do you honor them? When you see a country decide that it was time to stand up for itself, do you honor it?
Today, I'd like you to sit for a few minutes and consider the people, institutions, relationships, co-workers, loved ones that you would like to honor. Then ask yourself, what can you do today to give that small show of love and respect that will lift them up and help them continue?
Here is my honor roll today:
- I want to honor veterans and soldiers, present and past, who fought for this or any other country.
- I'd like to honor my daughter for making a choice to not work in a situation that makes her feel icky.
- I'd like to honor my husband for being able to laugh at himself in any situation!
- I'd like to honor my two and a half year old grandson who refuses to let anyone help him with absolutely anything these days. He will do it himself, thank you.
- Just as importantly, I want to honor myself for learning to stand up, to be willing to shine, and to help others learn to do the same.
Who do you want to honor today?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
If you think it won't make any difference, you can take a look here in Washington state. Last election our governor was elected by just over 100 votes. In a state with millions of people that is extremely close. If the same number of people had not exercised their right to vote, the outcome would have been different. The same race is just that close again this year.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
- Go back through your life and write down anyone you are angry with or sad about, or that you feel you have unfinished business with. These might be your parents, your exes, your bosses, maybe even your children. Just make a list of all these people.
- The next step is to look at each individual situation and write down how you are feeling about it. An example for me would be my ex partner. I left him when I was making a big change in my life and I didn't give him a chance to be a part of that change. Right now I feel sorry that I did that, sad that I wasn't able to be more open at the time, and regretful that he was hurt by my behavior.
- The next step is to sit with those feelings for as long as it takes to feel them. In my case, it doesn't take long, I have done this before and although there is still some sadness, it isn't a big issue today. For some big issues, it may take a while to feel all the feelings. Be willing to devote a small amount of time each day to do this, until you feel them all.
- Once you have done that, you need to ask yourself, "Is there any action I need to take to finish grieving or dealing with this person?" In my case, what I would like to do is talk with my ex partner about this, and let him know that I am sorry for what I did. I have not been able to locate him, and so I can do this symbolically. How do I do that? I can write him a letter and express my amends to him that way. I can then put the letter away, or burn it and then I need to let go of it.
- When there are things that need to be done to finish your grieving or deal with the pain, then do them. Do whatever it is until you feel that you are done with this person. You may not ever totally feel clean about everyone, but this is a good start.
- In her book Steering by Starlight, Martha Beck offers what she calls a simple prayer to end things with. This is when I would use that prayer. It is, "Thanks, I quit." What a great way to let go once you have worked through an issue and came out the other side of the fire!
So, my hope is that you will start that list today. Just write as many people on the list, and stop when you feel you are done for now. Then pick it back up tomorrow, and keep doing this until you have navigated your own personal ring of fire.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
One of the reasons that it is difficult for people to stand up for themselves is they fear the consequences of living an esteemed life. What I mean by this, is that when you start being true to yourself, and you begin challenging the way things are in relationships, people often react in a negative way. This doesn't always mean they are bad people, or they shouldn't be in your life. It often means that they are scared of the changes you are making and worry about how it will affect them. So what happens is that both partners end up scared and fearful.
When this happens, it is important to be clear with those you love. Let them know that this is about being you and that you need to make these changes. It is equally important to let them know that you want them to be right there with you. When this works well, people get the opportunity to grow together and it benefits everyone concerned.
When this doesn't work well, and people decide that they are not going to accept change, than you can be left with the pain of loss, as well as the pain of growing. It often feels like becoming who you are means walking through fire. (Martha Beck calls this "The Ring of Fire" in her book Steering by Starlight). At this point many people decide they can't do it, and go back to their old way of life. They change their story to read something like this, "I tried to get what I wanted, but it didn't work, so I am stuck living this way." They can go telling that story for a very long time. Others begin to feel the pain, and instead of moving backwards, they stay stuck by finding ways to avoid, deny, or anesthetize the pain. They use behaviors such as overwork, smoking, drinking too much, and overeating. All of this is done so as not to feel the pain.
Neither of these ways of dealing with pain works well! In fact, both of these options can last far longer and be much more agonizing than actually feeling the pain. What does work well, is stepping into the fire. You may be thinking, "There she goes with those crazy ideas again. No way am I going to walk into pain!" Let me explain this course of action to you. When you decide to walk forward even if you are terrified, what happens is that you find something you may have lacked before. That thing is courage. You stand up straighter, you square your shoulders and you say, "Let me have it."
Then what occurs is pretty amazing. When you decide to accept and deal with the pain of loss in your life, and the pain of growing, and willingly walk forward in your life, your ability to gracefully feel, embrace and resolve pain is unbelievable. When you do this, the pain is processed, felt, released, and you move through it much quicker than if you try not to feel it, or to avoid it at all costs.
So here is my suggestion. Is there any pain, grief, or loss, that you are not dealing with at this moment? I want you to spend fifteen minutes a day over the next week, taking that pain or loss out and examining it. Look at it, describe it, feel it, embrace it, and release it in any way that feels right to you. This might mean crying, yelling, going to the beach and throwing rocks till your arms hurt, writing about it, using what works for you. Then I want you to let it go, until the next day. Let it go, and get up and keep moving towards your life. And then do it again the day after that.
I know you can do this.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Last week I asked you to think about the times in your life when you haven't stood up for yourself. This included times when you were the one who was pushing yourself down, and not living the way you wanted.
This week I want to talk more about what to do when you feel as if others are holding you back, pushing you down, or not allowing you to grow and change. So, what do you do then? Good question. I don't want you to think there is always an easy answer. Sometimes it takes time to get to the place where you are ready to change, and ready to risk the fallout of being authentic and true to yourself.
The first thing I want to ask this week is, are you ready to move forward? Are you at that point where you know that if you do not do this, that you are consciously choosing a jail sentence, a death sentence, a slow erosion of everything you stand for? Okay, I am being dramatic. What I know is the more sure you are that you are ready, the easier it is to move forward. So if where you are is still more comfortable than changing, stay there. Do nothing. Wait until you are ready, and then move ahead.
If you are ready to move ahead, here are a few suggestions on how to begin:
- First spend some time thinking about what you want and becoming clear on your needs. For example, if you want to get an education or go to school and your partner or parents are not enthusiastic. Think about exactly what you want to do, explore ways of doing it, and explore the costs and financing available. When you know all you need to know, it is much easier to be clear with others.
- Once you have clarity on what you want to do, ask yourself if you can move ahead with your plan without the help and support of others. In the example above, can you go to school without support from your parents or partner? If this is true then it is simple to move on to the next step. If it is not true, how can you make it true? Can you do something to get in a position to do this without help. If so, do it. Now you can move to the next step.
- Present your plan to the interested parties. Ask your partner or parents to sit down with you and share your plan with them. Start with something like this, "I have decided to go to college. Here is my plan. (Detail where you are going, and what you are majoring in, and your plans to follow through and pay for it). I am excited to be doing this and will keep you posted on my progress." If they start finding reasons you can't go, or telling you you shouldn't, simply answer with, "I understand you feel that way. I am confident I can do this without your support." Whatever you do, don't get into an argument, or let them feel they have control over whether you follow through or not.
- The final step is just doing it. Walk your talk. Act as if. Follow through with your plans and don't let them spoil it for you. If you find that they are constantly interfering and trying to stop you from moving forward, there is a simple way of letting them know that won't work anymore. Take a couple of deep breaths, look them in the eye, and say, "I plan on moving ahead with this. It is very important to me. I would like to have you as a supportive person in my life. I understand that may not be possible right now. So, I will simply do this without that support." And then do it.
We will keep working on this. It is not easy, but I know you can do it.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Why am I asking these questions? Good question! One of the things I have always said is that to have the best relationships whether they are at work, at home, or at play, is to love ourselves first. My definition of self esteem is self love.
I recently listened to a CD by Caroline Myss on self esteem and I really love her take on what this is, and how to get more of it. Myss suggested that every problem in the world from a single relationship to global wars are caused by lack of self esteem. Her idea is that whenever someone feels there is a power imbalance there can be conflict.
Okay maybe that is a little more than you want to read in a relationship blog! But Myss's ideas about how we lose and how we build self esteem are worth looking at. She suggests this:
To build self esteem we need to take a close look at our daily lives. First, we need to look at how many times we let others take our power by not standing up for ourselves in some way. Second, we need to look at how many times we do something that puts another person down, or hurts them in any way. This is not for the faint of heart, because until you start looking, you may not realize how many times one or the other of these things happen. To really love who you are, it is vital to begin looking at how this happens in your life, and start the process of changing those two areas. I know that sounds like a huge bit of work, so I am going to suggest you do one small thing this week to start the process.
Each time we commit to doing something for ourselves, however small, and stick with it, we show our spirit that we care about ourselves and our esteem grows. Let me give you an example. Let's say you want to be more fit, and you decide to walk every day. If you follow through with this, you feel better about yourself and your esteem grows. However, if you start doing what is good for you and don't follow through, you let yourself down, and your esteem goes down.
To begin building self love for yourself, I want you to think about one small thing you can start today to create self esteem. Make sure that it is small enough, and doable enough that you will keep doing it no matter what. If you do this, I guarantee your esteem will start growing because you will trust yourself to do something good for you.
Go on, give it a try. What do you have to lose?
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
I think there are some great ideas in the story, so I will give you my interpretation here:
Does he really need to know what you had for lunch and what happened at work today? The answer is a definite yes. When we don't take time to go over our day and let our partners into our more mundane life, we miss the opportunity to grow closer, and it makes it harder to talk about the more important things.
Is it okay to be really independent and enjoy separate interests (and like it that way)? This is more of a yes and no answer. It is okay to be independent and have separate interests. The problem is when you don't spend time doing things you enjoy together you lose out on a lot of fun, and end up disconnecting from each other. Date nights and time together are key to a happy relationship.
Is it okay to never fight? I've always said in my marriage that we occasionally just need to have a good fight! If you don't talk about the small things or the big things in a relationship and be willing to put yourself out there to work things out, there could be trouble ahead.
On the other hand, is it okay to resort to low lows in a fight? No, it is never okay to resort to low blows. These include name calling, threats, stomping around, or other forms of verbal or physical abuse.
Do you think your relationships would be so much better if only he or she was more .........(insert just about anything here)? This is a good question to bring up, and it is one of those things that I tell myself and others all the time. The only person you can change is you. However, you can be honest and live authentically for you, and sometimes people change because of the examples we set. I would suggest writing down all the things you are grateful for in your relationship and look at the whole person, not just the one thing that drives you crazy.
What if we aren't that affectionate with each other? Everyone has different needs for affection. Some people love to cuddle all the time and others are uncomfortable with cuddling. What is true is that if you want more affection try initiating it yourself. Start small. Do things like hold hands when you walk. Make sure you hug and kiss good bye in the morning. As your partner gets used to more affection you can slowly increase the amount of cuddling you do.
What if our sex life is just ....fine? There is a quote in the article that says "Life is filled with difficulty and challenges, sex can help repair wounds and bring you together." I love that. Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to fix everything first before we are willing to have sex. My suggestion is try having sex first and see if it might help fix other issues!
Friday, June 20, 2008
As I was considering writing this post, it dawned on me that running the river is a great metaphor for life and relationships. This is what I mean by that statement:
Making the choice to go river rafting is not an easy one. You need to be open to new things, you have to like the outdoors and the adventure, and you need to be able to trust yourself and the people you are with. Often when we are going through life, there are people and situations that we are not open to and we don't trust ourselves or them and we choose not to take that ride.
Once you decide go rafting, you need to gear up and learn what you need to do to stay afloat. This means that you don a life jacket, a helmet, and sometimes a wet suit. In life you take on protections in the form of boundaries to keep you safe as you move through life. Then you need an education. In rafting that is learning how to listen to your guide and when to paddle and when to hold on.
Once you begin the journey, there is no way to go but follow the river. Sometimes you float along peacefully and there is not a lot required of you. Sometimes you find rapids that require you to listen to your guide, to do your part to keep the raft on course, and enjoy the feel of the river flowing over you.
Occasionally someone comes out of the raft and if you do, you need to lean back, point your feet downstream and let the river take you until you can be picked up. If someone is in the water, you may need to rescue them. This is accomplished by grabbing their life jacket and falling backward into the raft and pulling them in on top of you! I find in relationships, if you become derailed by something, just moving forward and doing the next indicated thing is often the best advice. Then at some point, you find yourselves grabbing on to each other and ending up on top of each other again. And then you laugh, and breathe, and move on down the river.
So how do you want your life and relationships to flow today?
Sunday, June 8, 2008
This is a question I hear all the time. The answer is you stay and keep working on yourself and let the outcome work itself out. You are probably wondering why you can't fix this. I always wanted to find the easy way out and I am living proof that there isn't one. I remember asking a mentor once, "Why do I keep walking back into the same old problems over and over again?" Her reply was simple, and very wise. It was "You'll do it til you don't."
There are definitely things that can be done to work on a relationship through counseling and coaching and sometimes religion or spirit. If both people are willing to work together, things can and do get better. The problem occurs when only one person wants to change things and the other doesn't, or isn't willing to participate in working things out.
When this is where you are at, the best option is to seek help or guidance for yourself. Often there is no easy answer, and that is when you have to choose to stay and feel your feelings and work through your truth to get to the answer that is right for you. Only then can you make a decision that feels peaceful. When you have done all that you can, and worked through your issues and know exactly what you want, the future becomes clear and the path is laid out for you.
I never tell anyone to stay or go in a relationship. The truth is those answers are ones that people must figure out for themselves. I have seem brave souls who have stayed and loved and worked on their relationships in such an amazing manner, and been awed by their ability to keep going until they got to the place they were meant to go. It is a joy to be a relationship coach and be a witness to the beauty of watching someone figure it out, and step into their right life. I intend to keep doing it for a long time!
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Have you ever been the fly in a case of spider love? You know what I mean, its when it seems like you are being held captive in a web of sweet words, and carefully taken care of, and then when you least expect it the other shoe drops. It is the kind of love I like to call crazy making. It is where the person is often charismatic and exciting and you fall hard and fast for them, and then when they know they have you, they suddenly start eating you in slow, painful fashion.
I know this sounds terribly dramatic, and not like much fun. However in my coaching practice and my experience I have met people who do exactly what I have described. And the funny thing is, the other person, the "victim" of the spider keeps walking right back into the web. Why is this?
This is because many of these so called spiders are either sociopaths or narcissists. They are often smart, they know exactly what a woman (or man) wants to hear. They treat you better than you have ever been treated in your life, and they draw others to them exactly like flies to a web. When they are sure you are truly deeply involved, they begin testing the waters with small betrayals, to see if you will let them get away with it. If you tend to be insecure about your boundaries, they will see this and begin to try bigger and bigger betrayals. When you call them on it, a spider love will always find a way to suggest you brought it on yourself. They will say something like, "I didn't want to hurt you, but I had to because of (insert something you did to make them do it here)" or they will say, "I love you more than life itself, I didn't mean it, It'll never happen again," and what's worse they are so convincing people fall for it.
Why am I bringing this up here? Because if you are in a relationship with someone like this, I want you to know there is help. You are not crazy! There is no good reason for a person ever to be hurt over and over again by someone who doesn't have the capacity to love anyone but themselves. I'd like to tell you that you can fix spider love. However, I have yet to see a case where it worked out to happily ever after.
The hardest thing about being caught in the web of spider love, is that it is extremely difficult to extricate yourself. Spiders try to hold on to their prey at all costs. These are the kind who harass, stalk, cajole, try to bribe, wine and dine, and do anything to stop people from leaving. The truth is that they don't really care about the person leaving, it is that they cannot stand being left. It is once again about them and not you.
I keep trying to tone this post down, make it sound better, leave a happier note. The happy note is this. You can decide to take care of you and love yourself. You can decide to be true to you, and to have the life you want. You can be strong and get the love you want. I am here to help you, and there are lots of others who are willing to help to.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
When I am coaching people in how to find love, there sometimes seems to be a big gap between where they are and the love they want. It often seems that to bridge that gap would require superhuman power, magical intervention, or at the very least a complete restructuring of their whole life!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
This time of year I think a lot about my mother. She is often missing in the stories I tell, and my father usually gets top billing. This isn't because she didn't influence my relationships, its just that my father was the first dysfunctional male relationship in my life and is often cast somewhere between the villain and the person who told me I could do anything if I put my mind to it.My mother was the stable parent. She was round and warm and kept us dressed and fed. I was not her favorite, and I can understand that, as I was a lot like my Dad.
When I was growing up, I made an early decision that I would never be like her. She was the one who let men and children rule her life and I always thought she could have done better. Needless to say, if you have read my earlier posts, you know that I turned out to be just like her. I picked the wrong men, made many of the same mistakes, and ended up warm and round and a bit wiser as the years have gone by.
My mother passed away over seventeen years ago. I miss her a lot. I think that we would have a great relationship once I wised up and started to become the woman I am today. Each year around Mother's Day she is on my mind more than usual and I want to honor her in this post.
So, here's to my mother. If she was here today I would not hesitate to thank her for the person she was, and the person she helped me to be. She was so strong, and loved deeply, and always tried to do the best she could for her family. She loved God, and believed she would be with him when she died, and I am sure she is. We did not share that faith, but she was certain of it and never seemed to question it.
If she was here today, she could join me tomorrow as I go to my daughter's house to share Mother's Day brunch with her and my son and grandchildren. And she would be the matriarch instead of me. I would bring her back to my house and show her the Shirley tulips I planted for her, and she would cry for joy.
What is the story of your mother today? Is there a way to tell it that makes it better or honors her more? Are there truths you need to talk about with her? This is your chance. You may not get another.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Yesterday, I was literally floating on air! I think I went so high as to feel I was walking on the moon. This is the feeling I get when I am living the life that feels so right to me, I almost can't stand how good it feels. As I spend more of my time doing work that I love, and having relationships that actually work, the more often I have to pinch myself to make sure it's real.
To be honest, I don't feel this way everyday! Just a couple of days ago, I was cranky, tired, and wondering how to make sure I got through the day without causing irreparable damage in any of my relationships.
In the past, when my life wasn't working very well, I used to tell the people around me, "I'm not fit for human consumption today, so be aware that if you get too close, I might bite."
The one thing I have learned in life is that there will be highs and lows, with a lot of "life's pretty good" in between. What I need for all these situations is tools to deal with whatever comes my way. Here's what I have found works for me:
- I start each day with a routine that works whether I wake up feeling great, or I wake up wondering how I am going to get through the day. I have some time for me, I drink really good coffee, I walk, whatever the weather, with my dog, and I eat a good breakfast.
- I read at least one good meditation book and list five things I am grateful for everyday.
- I have at least a couple of people I can call and talk with whether I feel wonderful, or I feel like dog doo-doo.
- I let people know who I am. This is really important for relationships. I don't pretend anymore that life is always okay. If I am struggling or soaring, my partner, family, and confidants know the real me. I don't take my moods out on them, I am just honest about where I am, and this allows them to be open and honest with me.
- I am coachable on a daily basis. I don't know all the answers, and when I need help, I coach myself, I get coached by others, and sometimes I get coached by someone I talk to in the supermarket who doesn't even know they are sharing their wisdom with me.
- I work hard every day to be open to what life has in store for me. If I close up and am not open, I miss everyday opportunities to learn and grow.
This is what works for me. It may not work for you. I am willing to bet that you know what will work to ground you everyday, so that you can start off on the right foot, and some ways to pull you back to earth when you float too far into the atmosphere. Take a moment to consider this, and ask yourself, "What can I do each day to lay the groundwork to live my most awesome, stellar life?" And then, do it. Put it into action today, and see what happens.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
It is time to give yourself a break! Yes, YOU.
When was the last time you spent time with yourself and enjoyed just being?
I was asking myself the same question earlier this week. I have (supposedly) taken the week off. My granddaughters are here as they are out of school for the week and usually spend time with me during breaks.
I have a lot of work that is also due this week, consequently the word supposedly. I have learned a few tools along the way for relaxing even during times when we are busy or have obligations to meet.
Here are a few of them:
- Every day I get up a half hour earlier than I need to. This half hour is all mine. I get a cup of coffee, curl up on the couch and do nothing for the full length of time.
- When I have to get some work done, I allow myself time to play first. This makes the work go a lot faster when I am feeling like my needs are met.
- Make a list of all you have to do for the day and then Bag It, Barter It, or Better It.
- Bag It means: Is this something that is really necessary for me to do today or at all? If the answer is no, then don't do it, Bag It.
- To Barter It means: Can someone else do this for me? What do I need to do for them in exchange? If someone else can help, then Barter It.
- To Better It means: Is there some way I can make this project more fun, or easier to do. If so, then Better It.
- Lastly if you can't take the whole week off, then take at least one day during the week where you do only what you feel like doing. I am doing this tomorrow, as I am going to the coast and spending time with family, and just relaxing.
This week, where can you use some of these tools to make your life more peaceful and relaxing for you? Or better yet, what tools do you already use to do this? And how can you use them this week?
Monday, March 24, 2008
This week I have been joyously reading the new book by Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight. In this book Martha goes where no coach has gone before and it is fabulous.
There are many tools in the book for living the life you want. One of the first exercises in the book is a great one to adapt for use in relationships. You can use this when you are looking for a partner or when you are already involved with someone and find yourself wanting them to fulfill all your needs.
There are three parts to this exercise:
- The first part is to ask yourself, "What do I want from a partner right now?" For example, some people may want to feel loved, or cared for. Just write down what you want from either your current partner or a future partner.
- The second part is to picture yourself getting what you want. For example, if you want to feel loved, picture what that feels like. Now write down the feeling you get, when you have what you want.
- The third part is to ask yourself, "How can I get this feeling now?" If you are in a relationship, it may be as simple as asking for more time together. If you are not, you need to be creative. Do you have a pet you can cuddle with? A friend who will come over? A Teddy Bear to love?
These tools can help you get your needs met, without waiting for some future that doesn't exist. One of the best parts of working on yourself and meeting your own needs, is that other people find it very attractive, and who know where that might lead!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This week I would like to talk about another kind of crazy, the crazy quilt of patterns that can occur in our relationships and our lives. The more I work with people who are healing their love lives and figuring out what is most authentic for them, the more I find that we tend to create a pattern in our relationships.
My pattern when I was out there in relationship hell was to find men who on the one hand were exciting, adventurous, and funny, and on the other hand were lost, sometimes abusive, often addicted, and not good long term relationship material. I would meet men who were kind, loving and hardworking, but I tended not to stay with them long.
These issues became the pattern of my relationships. When I took the time to write about each relationship and look at what happened, both good times and bad, I found a familiar pattern. It was even predictable after a while. There would be a couple of squares of excitement and fun, and then a dark square of abuse and addiction. When I would add in a nice guy, there might be a mellow and peaceful square.
- If you have already made a list of your relationships and looked at what happened in each, my suggestion is looking for the patterns.
- Do they always start the same way, or end the same way? Are there periods where the pattern has shifted?
- Do the patterns remind you of other close relationships, such as those with one or both of your parents?
Once you recognize the patterns it is much easier to work on changing them, or doing something different, so that the patterns change. The patterns in my life shifted as I recognized something different. The squares of abuse and addiction started to come less often and eventually disappeared. The squares of peace and fun continued to multiply and grow. Now, my love quilt, has an occasional "We really need to have a good fight square!", and a lot of enjoying out lives together squares.
If you drew a pattern for your crazy quilt of love, what would it look like? What can you start doing today, to make the pattern work better for you? Whatever it is, start doing that!
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
When I was struggling with love, my stories all had a predictable format. I was always cast as the heroine and the men I was with were usually cast as the villains. When I began looking at my love life and realized that I was not a victim, I decided to recast these stories.
To do this, I needed to look at the real truth of what had happened in each of these relationships. I started by creating a timeline that showed each relationship and how long it lasted, and who had ended it. Usually I was the one who called it quits.
Then I wrote down the characteristics of each man I had been involved with. I wrote down both good and bad things about each one, and I only allowed myself to write down actual facts, not the embellishments my mind wanted to add.
Next I wrote down my part in the problems of each relationship. For example, sometimes I lied to my partners, sometimes I allowed them to treat me in ways that I shouldn't have allowed, sometimes I didn't give them the chance they deserved. In each partnership, there were things I had done that contributed to the problems.
The hardest thing I did was make amends to some of my partners for the things I had done. This helped me to forgive them for what they had done, and also to forgive myself for the mistakes I made.
Now the stories of my relationships are much different. There are no heroes. There are no victims. They are just stories about people trying to find love without the proper tools.
What stories are you telling about you love history? Is it time to recast and rewrite? You might be surprised by the happy endings you find!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
The Law of Attraction is on my mind this week. I actually had an opportunity to be picked to go on the Oprah Winfrey show if I had a unique story about the Law of Attraction. I thought about it for a few minutes and decided I wasn't sure if I had a unique story, or that I could be "Oprah ready" in a couple of days when they wanted to tape! But it did get me thinking about this principle. I know many of you have read books like The Secret and a lot of what I have been writing about in the last few posts is about attraction. When I suggest ideas such as visualizing your ideal mate or life, and talk about things like Wildly Improbable Goals, what I am really talking about is the principle of attraction. Being sort of ADD in the way my mind links from one thing to the next it was inevitable that I would eventually get to attraction and relationships.
What is it that attracts people to each other? I know that for me when I was struggling with my broken picker, I seemed to gravitate to men who were similar in looks and in behavior, and it wasn't usually good behavior! When I learned to love myself first, and then figured out the qualities I wanted in a relationship, I attracted a very different type of person. What is really attractive about my husband is his sense of humor and his integrity. I also love that he is an outdoor guy and we enjoy a lot of the same activities.
How did I attract this different sort of person to me. First of all, by being the type of person I wanted to attract. I wanted someone who was dependable and hardworking, so I became dependable and hardworking. I wanted someone who was outdoorsy and knew how to have fun, so I enjoyed the outdoors in many different ways and had a blast doing things I enjoyed. I wanted someone who was truly available to be in a relationship, and so I became that way myself. It is much easier to attract the type of person you want if you treat yourself the way you want to be treated and work on being the ideal you.
It also helps to believe that you will attract the type of person you want. If you go around thinking "It might work for others, but it won't work for me", then you are right it won't. So right now I want you to do two things:
- First write out a short descriptive paragraph that contains all the qualities you think are necessary for the person you want to be with. Don't forget to add some fun things too, not just serious, but maybe you want a guy who tells great jokes or make the best pies you ever ate, and loves his dog too.
- Now rewrite the statement starting with the words, "I am in a wonderful relationship with a partner who" and then add all those qualities after this. The statement has to be written as if it is already happening.
That's it. Now keep that paragraph somewhere. Take it out every so often and read it out loud if possible, and see what happens. Let's see who you can attract into your life.
Let me know what happens,
Monday, January 28, 2008
Today is a snow day. I didn't really want it to be a snow day, I actually wanted to go to work. When I have done other jobs in the past I have always wanted snow days so I can stay home and play. Now that I am a life coach I love my work days, they feel like play to me.
Sometimes the universe has other ideas for me! I am doing some work from home, but I am also enjoying the snow day, and I think there are some relationship lessons I can learn from this. Here they are:
- Most of us don't get enough time to play as adults. I bet some of you think that play is for kids. How wrong you are! The first thing everyone should do on a snow day is play. This morning when I went for my walk with my dog, I asked my husband to go along so that we could play in the snow. We enjoyed walking in six inches of glorious powder where no one else except for a rabbit had gone before. We watched my dog who is a Husky/German shepherd mix enjoy the excitement of fresh snow. We threw a few snowballs, and of course we made a few snow angels!
- The second thing to do is relax. This is the time to come in sit beside a fire if you have one, and drink hot liquids. Get out the hot chocolate, the marshmallows, the brandy, whatever works for you and enjoy. Is there a movie you have been putting off watching or a book you haven't read because of lack of time, NOW is the time
- If you and your partner are stuck at home together, and you haven't had time to talk recently or to relax together, to make love, to snuggle on the couch, a snow day is the perfect time to catch up with each other.
- If you are single or alone you can use a snow day to stay in your pajamas all day long, read trashy magazines or novels, take a hot bath, make yourself a nice pot of soup, and catch up on friends and relatives by phone or email.
Whatever you choose to do on a snow day, make sure you take time to treat yourself to some relaxation and pleasure and make it an enjoyable day! That's exactly what I plan to do.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
One of the issues I had in learning to be different in my relationships was the story I was telling. We all have stories we tell about our lives, and sometimes we are the hero or heroine in the story, sometimes we are the clown, and sometimes we are the victim.
In my stories about my relationships, I was usually the victim. They would go something like this: Girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, boy misbehaves (and this might be by being abusive, having an addiction, being unfaithful, or any combination), and then girl finally gets fed up and leaves. In each story, I was cast as the good intentioned one who just happened to find people who would need fixing in some way. What I didn't realize until I began doing work in a twelve step program which suggested I take a thorough inventory of myself, was that in each and every relationship I had been in, I had at least some of the responsibility for how it turned out. When I did this work, I was no longer able to see myself as a victim. What an eye opener!! My whole world began to change as I realized that "I" was responsible for how my relationships turned out. After this, my stories began to change, and although I still occasionally begin to cast myself as a victim, I usually end up the heroine, or else I laugh at myself and I become the clown.
Recently, while reading a daily meditation book the Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie, I came across an entry about this very thing, and it included a formal waiver of responsibility. I am going to share it with you here, because it is very powerful.
I understand that during the course of my life I will be required to make many decisions, such as where I want to live, whom I want to live with, where I work, how much fun I have, and how I spend my money and time, including how much time I spend waiting for things to get better and people to change, and whom I choose to love.
I understand that many events that occur will be out of my hands and that there are inherent dangers and risks in all decisions I make. Life and people have no obligation whatsoever to live up to my expectations; I have no obligation to live up to the expectations of anybody else. Life is a high-risk sport, and I may become injured along the way.
I agree that all decisions I make are mine and mine alone, including how I choose to handle the events that are beyond my control. I hereby forfeit my right to recourse as a victim, including my rights to blame, complain, and whine or hold someone else responsible for the path I choose to take. I am responsible for my participation-or lack of it-in life. And I take complete responsibility for the outcomes and consequences of all the decisions I make, understanding that ultimately it is my choice whether I become happy, joyous, and free or stay miserable and trapped.
Although people may voluntarily nurture and love me, I and I alone am responsible for taking care of and loving myself.
I love this, I have my signed copy! What stories are you telling today? Where do you want to take responsibility?
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
This blog originated to help women in their relationships with men. The idea was to use my expertise, in particular my experience of failing in relationships, to assist others in working through their difficulties and finding lasting love. There are still many issues to talk about and many questions to answer for this topic.
The tools I have used and outlined here can be used for any relationship in our lives, most of all the relationship we have with ourselves. This being a new year I'd like to take this relationship off the back burner and bring it front and center. One of the tools we used in looking at romantic relationships was figuring out what we wanted from our partners. Today we are going to figure out what we want in our relationship with ourselves. To do this may take a little digging, and may even require a little self care along the way!
- Use a journal or notebook and write down how you want to be treated on a daily basis. We did this when we were writing about the qualities we want in a good partner. Write down what your needs are for sleep, nutrition, exercise, time to yourself, fun, relaxation, spirituality, time with others, sex, creativity, and any other items necessary for your healthy well being.
- Many of you have already done some of this on the way to loving yourself first. Now is a good time to really expand this into areas you may not have considered. If you are in a romantic relationship, are there any areas where you have slid backwards in your own self care.
- Now under each area you have identified, check off which ones you are doing well at. For me, I have gotten good at getting eight hours of sleep each night, so I would check off that area. Don't forget to give yourself credit for all the progress you have made since you began this work!
- Now take another sheet of paper and write down the areas where you need more self care. Under each area list at least three ways you can add self care in this particular area to your daily routine. One way I have added more exercise is too allow an extra half hour every morning to walk with my dog.
- Now this is one of the most important steps. Take your time adding these to your routine! Pick only one item from the whole list to add this week. It could be eating breakfast everyday or going to the gym twice a week, or initiating sex once a week, just make sure it is only one thing this week.
- Once you have incorporated your self care item into your routine and it feels like a normal part of your week, then and only then add the next item.
- Keep doing this until you have the kind of daily self care built into your life that works for you. Don't forget that nobody is perfect and be kind to yourself along the way.
Take care, and take care of yourself,