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As a culture and as human beings, we spend just about as
much time talking about and thinking about our relationships, and our
relationship status as we do about how we are going to pay our bills and lose 5
lbs. Millions of dollars, maybe even trillions of dollars, are spent trying to
find the one, make the one we have better, and decide if the one we have is
really the one we want!
In all of these questions about our 'relationships' we often
get mixed up and lose sight of what we are really after - LOVE. So we continue
to live with a craving that never gets satisfied - we are hungry for love, but
we are feeding ourselves the wrong food. It's not your fault, your mind has
gotten all confused because of the misunderstandings about love that run
rampant in our society. Today we take a step towards getting your mind and your
life in alignment with the truth about love by empowering you with three of the
most powerful rules of love and daring acts that will help you employ them -
which when applied will not only give you the relationships you want, but more
importantly the love that you need.
Love Rule #1: Focus on Love not Relationships.
There is a big misunderstanding that love and
relationships are the same thing - while they are related, they are not the
same. Most of us walk around saying or thinking we want a 'relationship' when
in reality what we really need and desire is more love, in one of its many forms
- connection, friendship, intimacy, compassion, companionship, affection,
acknowledgement, and the list goes on. Change your focus to cultivating love
and to generating the energy of that love you desire in your life instead of on
finding or fixing a relationship and you'll find that you have more love and
better relationships as a result.
Daring Act of Love: Ask for what you really want - LOVE. If you are single, stop saying "I
want a relationship." Start being specific about the love energy you want to
pull in, "I am so ready to receive love from an awesome, compassionate, loving
life partner" or "I am so ready to receive love from a sexy, sweet lover and
companion." If you are in relationship and desire more, be specific about what
you desire to receive from this person, and be willing to give it too, "I'd
love to receive more affection and intimacy" or "I'd love to receive more
companionship and closeness." Notice how saying these words invokes the energy
of the L-O-V-E right away! Which leads to #2.
Love Rule #2: Every relationship starts with the
relationship you have with yourself.
so you've probably heard this one but are you really living it? I
haven't met a person yet who couldn't stand to improve the relationship that
they have with themselves. And if something isn't working for you in getting
the love you desire from out there, then you need to find what's first not
working with the love and relationship you have with yourself.
Daring Act of Love: Take Yourself Out On A
Romantic Date, Ask Yourself What You Really Need, And Listen. When's the last time you had a heart to heart with
yourself. How long would you put up with a person you were dating or married to
if they weren't having deep and personal conversations with you - hopefully not
very long! Create intimacy with yourself by spending the evening journaling on
the question "What do I really need right now? To feel loved? To be happy? To
be healthy? To feel safe and secure? To feel seen?" Then after you get all that
information from yourself, make a promise to yourself to make sure you receive
the love you need.
Love Rule #3:
Love Always Creates More Love.
getting the love you need? Then BE LOVE. The energy you feel inside and that
you put out there into the world comes back to you - simple Law of
Daring Act of Love:
Be a Love Generator and make love for yourself. Don't wait to receive love from someone else - you
have the power to create it right now for yourself. Here's how - do a Self Love
Soak every morning! Before you get out of bed, close your eyes, curl up in a
loving ball, hug yourself, and tell yourself, "Your Name, I love you." Keep
saying these love words until you generate love, until you feel that warm
tingly feeling of love in your body. Even if it's just a little bit at first,
keep generating love this way until it comes naturally and in big waves. Fake
it til you make it - make love that is!
And here's a bonus rule - Be unafraid to admit
you need love - we all do. If you fear
people thinking you are weak for needing love, then you weaken your ability to
receive it. Be daring - desire love, need
And if you're ready to take action to create SUPER LOVING relationships now -- consider yourself invited to join me for this 40-day self love practice ... go here to check it out.
Drama. Deceit. Devastation
. It's not just reality TV, it's the reality that most of us experience when we end a relationship, because we don't and won't leave our men until we reach the point of hating, hurting and hardly speaking. Like a pit bull gripping its most beloved doggie toy, we believe that if we feel any 'love' at all for our man, we must stay, fight and make the relationship work. And only when we think that love is gone, do we concede and dive head first into the despair of the 'bad breakup.'
Women have been doing it for centuries. Walking on coals, swallowing swords, whatever it takes, because love is supposed to conquer all. No matter if you are happy or this guy is the best partner for your life, if you love each other you must stay and make it work, or keep trying until things get so bad that you can justify the ending, right? Wrong!
The crazy line of thinking has kept women in stuck in relationships and suffering through bad breakups for way too long, telling ourselves, "If I love this man, and he loves me, that's enough, no matter how exhausted, unhappy or lonely I feel." Even if we know our guy will never be a true partner, we hang around because we "love him." But love should never require sacrificing one's self or forfeiting our joy or life dreams. And frankly, it's not enough, because the truth is: You can love a man and choose not to be with him.
Love is not enough of a reason to stay in a relationship
Like most women, I figured this out the hard way, after my epic bad breakup, which took the storyline of my fiance announcing on the car ride to our engagement party, "I don't love you anymore. I don't want to marry you anymore. And, oh by the way, I've been cheating on you for six months." Drama. Devastation. And Ouch!
After the sting of having my heart broken and with enough distance to clearly see what had actually happened, I realized that my bad breakup would have been totally avoidable if I someone had clued me into the truth that even though you love a guy, it doesn't mean you should marry him. Alas, the women in my life had failed to teach me this along with other key facts of love and relationships (mostly because they didn't know either.) The truth is that if I had known the truth instead of bought into the fairy tales, I would have been the one to end my relationship and leave my former fiance way before the situation ever got to the point of drama and devastation. We could have had a good breakup, and I could have avoided a lot of the hate, confusion and suffering that sent my life reeling for months and months afterwards.
As a 21st century woman, you can't afford not to trade the love lies in for the real relationship truths. Because when you find yourself in a relationship that has run it's course, it's far better to be able to make an empowered and healthy choice, than to end up a victim to the drama, deceit and devastation of a bad breakup. Lie: You shouldn't break up until you've fallen out of love.
Truth: Once you love someone, you love them forever. People fall out of trust, intimacy, and respect, not love.
"I love you, but I'm not in love with you." How many of us have either heard or uttered those words as we walked head first into a bad breakup? Those words are such a cop out. People don't fall in and out of love, as if love can be measured. What they do fall out of is trust, intimacy and respect, and usually for good reasons. The problem is that those reasons never get communicated to our partner because we use cop out phrases like "I'm just not in love with you any more." And when someone tells you they just aren't in love with you any more, there is really nothing you can do about it, so it leaves the receiver feeling confused and just plain awful, and it lets the person doing the breaking up feel somehow better about what they are doing. Good Breakup Rule:
During a breakup, take 'love' out of the equation. Be honest about the real why's this relationship is no longer working, which have nothing to do with love. It's okay to love each other and still choose to end your relationship, in fact it's the best way. And while the breakup will still be sad, it won't be dramatic or deceitful.Lie: If we loved each other more, we would be able to make this relationship work.
Truth: Love is only a prerequisite. Great relationships take authentic partnerships, and they require much more than love.
When we get asked why we want to marry or be with "this guy," most of us retort almost automatically, "Because I love him." While it sounds like the right answer, make no mistake, it's a danger signal that you've created a relationship based on ideal love versus the authentic partnership actually required for long-term happiness and relationship success. Authentic partnerships are full of respect, trust, truth, friendship, intimacy and unconditional love. And you've got to put energy into each of these to keep your relationship working for you.Good Breakup Rule:
Be honest about your what your relationship lacks, and what the two of you are capable of creating together, before the breakup even happens. Assess on a scale of 1-10 how well your relationship scores on the each of the six indicators of an authentic partnership: respect, trust, truth, friendship, intimacy and unconditional love. If you score less than an 8 any individual indicator, you have some work and soul searching to do. Getting real, ask yourself, "Can this relationship and the people in it create a deep level of 'insert indicator" If the answer is no, it could be time to start a good breakup. If the answer is yes, it's time to talk with your partner and start creating the relationship you really want, together. Lie: If the relationship ends, we have failed.
Truth: The failure is overstaying in a relationship.
Good Breakup Rule:
Be honest with yourself and each other when it's time to end your romantic relationship. Talk to each other instead of resorting to behaviors that cause drama, deceit and devastation. Your goal is NOT to become the next reality TV show, but to use the power of unconditional love and respect (that you hopefully started the relationship with) to gracefully transition out of this romantic relationship. Remember, you both want the best for each other, don't you?About Christine Arylo
Christine Arylo, an m.b.a. turned writer, speaker and teacher, is an inspirational catalyst who teaches women how to give up their doing addiction and to stop being so hard on themselves. A recovering achievement junkie and doing addict herself, Arylo is the co-founder of Inner Mean Girl Reform School and the author of Choosing ME before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and Love www.mebeforewe.com
. Known as the "Queen of Self-Love," Arylo created Madly in Love with ME, the international day of self-love (Feb 13), dedicated to making self-love a tangible reality for women and girls around the world. www.madlyinlovewithme.com
"I can fix him."
"He will change for me."
"Just give him some time, he'll come around."
"When we get married, move in together, have kids he will change."
If these statements, or words like them, have ever traveled across your lips, welcome to the "Queen of Illusion" Club. This club is reserved for women who have ever tried to change their mate, which essentially means all women. Because somewhere between bassinette and cap and gown, we've all gotten the message: "If I just love him more, employ the right dating/relationship rule or sacrifice myself more, he will be different, and we will be happy."
Think about all the times and ways in which you have dated or married a man's potential, instead of seeing him for the truth of who he chooses to be. Remember the energy, time and emotion you spent on trying to get this man to morph into your picture of who he could be. How well did that/is that working for you?
Probably not too well, and here is why. Trying to fix your man requires you to lie to the most important person in your life, yourself. This lack of self-honesty, not your lack of effort, is what stops you from having the partner you truly want. Want to fix your man? Get that partner that your heart's been craving? Then turn your focus from HE to ME, splash some cold water on your face, and swallow these love truths: 1. Get over yourself.
Appointing yourself as a fixer is arrogant. No matter how special you are, you have no more power than any other woman to change this man. No matter how much love, effort, sex or money you throw at this guy, there is only one person he will truly ever change for and that is himself. Not even your love is powerful enough to change a man who doesn't want to do the hard work, and make no mistake, becoming a better person is hard work. Give up the idea that you have super powers to help your guy, and realize that only he has the power to empower himself.
2. Look in the mirro
r. Focusing on fixing someone else is a sure sign that you are avoiding something in your own life. Fixers love to focus on other people because it keeps the attention off their own problems. Turn the mirror from your guy to yourself and ask yourself these questions, "What truth about myself am I avoiding? What about myself can I not be with? What needs fixing inside of me?"
Can't find the answer? Ask a trusted friend to give you their loving opinion, and listen openly.
3. Give up suffering
. Dedicating your life and energy to the cause of 'fixing your mate' will lead you straight to the land of suffering, do not pass Go. With all the suffering that goes on in this world, do you really want to add unnecessarily to the pile? The truth is that suffering is not a mandatory part of relationships, although based on how much we of it we create and put up with you would think it was. Erase any notion equating pain to honor or love. Adopt the belief that relationships need care, not suffering and sacrifice
. 4. Save your saving for helpless animals and children.
Sure, your guy has had some rough times in his life - a death of a parent, a tough upbringing, hard circumstances - and yes, have sympathy for him, but it's not your job to save that little boy from the hurt. Saving and fixing are close cousins, both are co-dependent, and both will keep you in a relationship for all the wrong reasons. Throw your guy a life preserver, but let him be the one who swims. You can inspire your mate, you cannot fix him.5. Date his reality, not his potential.
Just because you can see your guy's potential, promise or possibility does not mean he can or wants to, or that he has the ambition to ever be the great person you see in him. Your guy will tell you who he is by his actions and his words, believe him when he does.
In my book, Choosing ME before WE
I ask you to take the vow of self-honesty with yourself. Here is it, I invite you to take it and keep it:
"I vow to always be honest with ME, to never hide from the truth, no matter what. I commit to unwavering, uncompromising truth about myself and every person in my life."
When you are honest with your most important partner, yourself, every other partnership automatically falls in line, and your guy will fix himself, saving you (and him) from having to take on another project.
Notes from the Self-Love Train...
Inspiration From My Portland Trip
This past Sunday I spent four hours with 12 women in Portland, Oregon -- the first ever Choosing ME before WE Book Club Chat. I anticipated that it would be an afternoon well spent, what I got was so much more. Of course there was wine, cheese, and conversation... but there was also laughter, tears and healing. I knew we would laugh and share stories, that is what we do when we get together as women, right? But what struck me most, what always strikes me most when I sit with a group of women, is the deep healing that can come when two or more of us get together and just witness each others truth. We didn't have to solve each others problems, we didn't have to figure anything out, we just had to sit there and listen, through the tears and the honest to goodness, damn-straight truth, and give witness to this and this woman's story, who of course was so similar to my own. Our stories are really not so different - different men, women and details, but the underpining storyline - same.
Although we talked about so much that day, the one thing that really struck my heart was the story of "I did something that hurt ... and I need to forgive myself" that I heard over and over again - different details, same story. And it reminded me of how many times I have faced that myself... and how the only way through it was through it, with love for myself. ME LOVE MESSAGE TO SELF: I FORGIVE YOU!
There is no one it is harder for us to forgive than ourselves. I know for me, it took me only a year to forgive my ex-person - who was a real jerk to me -- and it took me 5 years to forgive myself. 5 years to forgive ME for putting myself in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship, for compromising what I really wanted to keep him in my life, for passing up great opportunities for fear of losing him, for begging this man to love me, for loving a man even after he spit in my face, for lying to myself about the truth of our relationship.
When I heard these same stories - different details - in Portland, it reminded me how important it is for every woman to be aware that when she doesn't forgive herself, she carries around a whole lot of unnecessary, and frickin' heavy pain. And when she does utter those words and means them, -- especially when it's in front of other women -- "I forgive ME!" WHEW!! What a load is lifted and WOW! how much more free she is!
Forgiving ME is a process, unfortunately there is no magic pill, although I think some of us have tried that route. I really believe that it starts with just plain admiting that we have something to forgive ourselves for. Admitting that we are mad at ME, that we let ourselves down, that we f**ed up, that we put ourselves in a bad situation... we just literally need to throw up those words, expel them from our being, so that we can feel the pain that's there and let it go... so that finally we can be clean and clear to have the space inside of us to love ourselves to the other side. So I guess in a way there is a magic pill - self-love. And there is a magic pathway -- doing it with other women as witnesses, because every time we show our pain, let it go and let the love in, we do the same for the women watching.
One book that really helped me was little book called The Way to Love by Anthony DeMello. That book saved my life. Check it out... http://tinyurl.com/mstpdt
And another that I found years later that has great stuff is Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping. And just cuz i like threes, you can also find some great ideas for amping that ME-Love affair up by downloading the free Madly in Love with ME Guide at http://www.madlyinlovewithme.com
Okay, I know it sounds harsh, but it's the truth... settling in our relationships is stupid, and after
spending a week talking about it on the radio, coaching on it with clients, counseling it to friends thinking of leaving their husbands, and remembering the years I myself settled, I have to just say it out loud for everyone to hear, "Let's all get this one statement straight in our heads and hearts, Settling is a dumb choice, don't do it!"
And okay, I get that just because it's dumb, doesn't stop us from settling. I know that better than most because I did it for 15 years. And I'm not alone, we've all settled at some point in our relationship. If you say you haven't, please write me a note because I want to know who your parents were so I can send them a gold star!
So the why... as far as I can deduce from my own escapades as well as those of my friends and clients, here are two common reasons why we settle:1. We are too afraid to leave the relationship and ask for more.
Instead we brainwash and bargain with ourselves. I call it Love Poker, in which we keep dealing and playing, staying in the relationship and the game, hoping that we will win back our chips, that we will get whatever we feel we are missing. We are too afraid to fold and walk away from the table, to end the relationship, so instead, we convince ourselves of crazy thoughts like, "Well, he's not always so
bad" and "Maybe I am the crazy one to want these things. Maybe I am
being unreasonable." We brainwash ourselves! Sure if you are harping on your mate
cuz he's not the perfect housekeeper or the biggest breadwinner, then
yes, get over yourself. But if you aren't getting the partnership,
unconditional love and respect your heart and soul crave, "You deserve
to have it, Period! Stop settling."2. We are on the escalator to death.
We are on a mission to get to that next life stage -- marriage, babies, big house -- no matter who we have to settle for to get there. Our focus becomes on attaining the 'thing' vs. actually stopping and asking ourselves why it's really not showing up in our lives, and being real about whether it's actually what we want, or if we've fallen prey to the brainwashing of society that until we have it, we won't be happy. I've been there myself. When I turned 30, it was time to get married. I demanded an engagement and a ring. I got it, only to be broken up with six months later. It would have been a heck of lot less painful if I had just been honest that I was trying to marry this guy for all the wrong reasons, including beating my friends to the altar. It's demented, but it's true, and I know I am not the only one.
Which is what compelled me to start a life long love affair with me so that I could stop settling in love by learning to love ME first. After I got that straight in my head, love from another literally showed up on my doorstep when I wasn't expecting it in the form of a 6 foot 3 inch bald guy named Noah. What did I 'do' to make that happen? What can you do to make sure you don't settle in love? People always ask me this question, and while there are many layers to this, it all starts with two ME-Vows you have to make to you.Vow #1.
I promise not to settle for less than my heart and soul - not my pocketbook, fear, ego, or parents -- really desire. I honor and respect myself so deeply that I only have relationships that do the same. Vow #2.
I promise to be honest with myself, always. Uncompromising, unwavering honesty, about my motivations, my actions and my reality. When I can't be honest, I will seek out people who can help me find Truth, and listen.
Not settling is a promise and a practice. It's something that you have to commit to and choose whenever the option to waver comes up. Here's what I tell myself whenever it seems hard or confusing... Remember that you were given a great gift, your life. Do you want to live it fully and be so happy that joy is streaming out of your ears, or do you want to struggle and suffer because you were too afraid to go after what your heart and soul craved and desired? Choose to live. It's not that life is too short - it's that life is too magical, fabulous and precious! If you want that great love and partnership, be willing to be that love and partner yourself first, and then accept nothing less from another.
To start your ME-love affair today, visit http://madlyinlovewithme.com for a FREE self-love starter kit.
All week long I have been talking with clients and friends and having fits of deja vu -- flashbacks of what it was like for me when I was in a relationship with a man that I SO wanted to love me... who on some occassions was able to give me the unconditional love I craved... but who on so many more days couldn't and wouldn't. In fact he would mostly do the opposite - yelling, fighting, ignoring me, telling me how F'd up I was. But yet I stayed for 15 years, waiting for the day when he would finally love ME, that he would finally be the loving partner more than the emotionally unavailable or verbally abusive mate he was 90% of the time.
After our relationship ended, which led me to loads of therapy and self-discovery, I came to realize this phenomenon as the 'BLIP EFFECT", which is when we let the small joys and moments of unconditional love make up for all the crappy times, loneliness, and struggle. It's what kept me trapped in a relationship that wasn't much different in year 15 than it was in month six - dysfunctional and unhealthy. And it's what kept all the friends and clients I've talked with over the years trapped too.
So why do we stay in these relationships that don't give us the connection, intimacy and support we so crave? Why do we get amnesia and forget about all the 'bad' stuff as soon as Mr. Nice Guy shows up? Two reasons:
- We get love mixed up with a reason to be in or stay in a relationship believing that we only end relationships when we fall out of love. And that is just one big lie. The truth is that we don't fall out of love, we fall out of intimacy, trust and respect. Once you love someone you will always love that person. Unfortunately most of us push our relationships to the point of drama, deceit and devastation so we end up hating and hurting the person, thinking we don't love them anymore, when in fact the love is lurking right beneath the surface.
- We are afraid to be 'alone.' We get 'alone' mixed up with 'being lonely' and the truth is that there is no place lonelier than being in a relationship in which you don't get the unconditional love, support, trust, respect and intimacy you crave. It's way lonelier than being single. In fact when we do choose to end a relationship and go it alone, what we find, and what I found, was that there was a whole lot of love just waiting for me. I found that love inside myself, I received it from my friends and I got boatloads from the wonderful healers and spiritual communities that welcomed me in.So much more than I ever got from my ex-person.
There is a simple truth that we all need to embrace into our lives -- we have relationships because they make our lives and who we are better. If they don't make our lives better -- and I am not talking financially or materially here -- then there is NO need to have them. We are better off without them. That is self-love.
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations
by Christine, age 37
Whether it's the girlfriend that calls crying hysterically on the phone because her heart has been broken, or the friend I watch beat herself into pieces because of something she did "wrong" or should have done "better", or even with the soul sister who is dating Mr. Jackass yet again and to whom I want to scream "Wake Up! Stop hurting yourself!" ... I have trained myself to shut my mouth for a certain period of time and just listen.
You see I used to be the Queen of Fixers, armed with great advice and a heart that wanted to help the people I loved fix themselves and their problems. I have since given up this role because frankly it didn't really serve anyone - not my friends and not me. Trying to fix someone else's life became a distraction from dealing with my own. Attempting to carry someone through their pain left me exhausted. And yelling louder just to break through to a friend who couldn't hear the truth just yet, didn't help her move any faster nor help me feel any better.
Somewhere around the age of 30 I realized that it was time to retire as the Queen of Fixers and take on the role of witness, woman who understood, fabulous listener, hugger, and sister who saw her brilliance, possibility and truth even in the darkest of self-love dumpsters. From this place, I first listen, not just with my ears, but also with my heart. I want to feel where this woman I love is at so that I can really BE there for her, so that I can really SEE her, which all we really want anyway. I now understand that I cannot lift my friend out of her self-love dumpster, she has to climb out herself. I can however, be on the outside talking and guiding her out... offering perspectives that bring her closer to the light and out of the darkness of the suffering. I can remind her of who she really is at the core of her soul, instead of the woman she is feeling like right now.
Occasionally, I admit, if I have a girlfriend who has stuck herself deeply into that stinky self-loathing, or self-deception dumpster I will bang on the walls of the dumpster with my Truth stick just to wake her the heck up. Sometimes we need someone to jolt us our of our misery or delusion, and I don't mind being that friend either, if that is what she needs, if that is what serves here. And that really is the heart of all knowing what the best course of action is... asking yourself the question, "What will best serve this woman I love, right now in this moment?" Sometimes that means banging on the walls to wake her up, and sometimes that means letting her be exactly where she is and just listening.
Christin, age 25, says:
I have one friend in particular. My very best-est friend, in fact. With over twelve years of history together all of the times I have coaxed her out of the self-love dumper have merged into all the times she has drug me out (kicking and screaming usually). It is hard to separate which memories are whose. It occurs to me now that I am insanely lucky to have a girl friend like this.
The instance that comes to mind is a middle of the night phone call. I realize that this may not seem like much thought or effort to you, dear reader. But I will tell you this: Sleep is my Number One priority. Above sex. Above cleanliness. Even above eating. (My man-friend claims that my last life was most certainly spent as a cat.) Anyway, what was so special about this phone call is that my friend needed help. She needed love and she needed it right that instant. I put aside my extra-ordinary need for sleep, in order to be with her fully. Present in my adoration and listening - even at one o'clock in the morning. I don't even think I said much. I was simply there for her to cry to. I gently reminded her that she was so beautiful she was blinding. She was the strongest, most powerful and neatest person in the whole wide world. I reminded her she was going to get through this - whatever 'this' was - because she had made it through so many 'this-es' in her life. I told her I was proud of her.
I think these words come naturally when you love some one so very much. They are easy to say when you find someone so beyond the limits of incredible. When any girl friend - or when I my Self - am in the dumper, the easiest way to negotiate out is to remember and remind of all the power, strength, wisdom and beauty possessed naturally. Who we really are. To recall that this 'dumper' stage is temporary because we are not darkness. We are the glory and shimmery shiny glitters of light.Katie, age 34, says:
When I was in high school, I had a best friend, Kelly (fictional name). Though she is a year and nine months younger, she was like the older sister I never had, and I admired her like a younger sister would. She was cool, hilarious, smart, morally righteous, drop dead gorgeous, an insanely creative theatre genius, and more centered than any other teen I knew.
If I'd ever found a stepladder tall enough, one that would've permitted me a peek into her darkness, then perhaps I would have seen all of Kelly then. But from my vantage point, she was a perfectly collected, emotionally balanced, one-dimensional, Zen-like creature.
Now a mature adult, I see all of Kelly's dimensions. Recently, she was in tremendous pain, and she reached out to me. She had been working in her dream job, acting and directing for a theatre company. Her extraordinary talent was on display, so she was setting her world on fire doing the work she loved. Then, she was fired. And not just fired, but fired in a cruel manner, by a man in the company's new management who was threatened by Kelly's light. Kelly only had to tell me a few insults he'd hurled at her, for me to see the truth of what had happened.
Kelly told me her story through tears, grasping to figure out what she, the most radiant example of a woman I know, had done wrong. Why hadn't she been good enough? What had she done to upset this man? How could she have prevented him from ruining her reputation and career the way he did? Each time Kelly brings up another angle on the heartbreak, I listen with love. I can hear that she's lost her center, but also that she's not far from it. As her older-younger sister, my job is to help her find it again.
I don't give Kelly advice, as she's wise and fierce and capable of seeing the truth. I elicit the power within her, by asking what I think are the right questions, until she tells me the "right" answers: "Katie, I was more than good enough. I was great." "I didn't do anything to cause this, and there's nothing I could have done to stop it." I love seeing Kelly gradually come back to herself. And I feel honored to be her partner in that journey.Janet, age 52, says:
Recently a dear friend called to say that her LOVE bubble had popped...not only was her Loving Relationship with her beloved coming to a grinding halt but everything else around her seemed to be following the same downward spiral! Including the relationship with her aging mother (who is suffering from Alzheimer's) pushing her further down into the abyss by berating her...and my friend was taking it All in, believing that everything was her fault! She went to that deep dark hole that we have all climbed into one time or another as a result of not feeling worthy or good enough, that somehow she had not done what she was expected to do, spoke the right words or put in the right amount of time and effort into the situation ~ she was ready to pitch a tent and have a giant pity party!
Well, that was definitely not going to happen on my watch...! I reminded and reflected back to her All the Wonderful Gifts that she possesses...the Gifts that I have been a recipient of on many occasions. Her deep commitment and compassion towards others during their time of need! I continued to share with her how I saw her...a big Shining Light & Generous Spirit who would give the shirt off her back to others...a person who would drive through the pouring rain to let my dogs out because I was delayed getting home! I shared my own inner turmoil and challenge in showing myself the same compassion I am so willing and freely giving to others ~ I know from first hand experience how much easier it is to show and give others Love before giving it to mySelf!! I also shared with her that just this past week I had a total melt-down and that my first thoughts (and reaction) was to climb into my hole...and then as suddenly as those thoughts came they went because darn it I have done way too much work on mySelf...and walked thru too many fires...to go pitch a tent in that dark stinky hole!! And I reminded my friend that she too has come too far and done a lot of hard work to so readily and easily cast it aside and buy into that crap that she is not good enough and hasn't done enough...at the end of our conversation she thanked me, and with that "Thank You" I reminded her that we are All A Reflection of Each Other...and that I was choosing to see Her Inner Beauty in the Mirror of our Friendship.
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations
by Christine, age 37
What's fascinating to me about this question is that no matter our age, big life choices happen and although when we are younger they are out of our control (our parents are making them for us), I think in many ways even as we get older they are still out of our control (our subconscious fears and limiting beliefs are making them for us.) Once we hit 18, while we may have the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" to any specific choice - marriage, kids, school, jobs - we only know what we know at the time. Think about it. All of us have made decisions where we look back later and say, "If I only knew then, what I know now."
Of course, as we grow, we learn and we make better decisions, hopefully ones that better reflect our true selves. But, what I wonder is, what would happen if older women and younger women actually talked more, shared more of their experiences and fears. Could we then alleviate some of the painful mishaps we fall into? That curiosity is actually what caused me to start this blog in the first place.
No one me that I was making a big mistake when I decided to marry my ex-person, the guy that dumped me two hours before our engagement party. But then again, I am not sure I would have listened. I was too caught in my fear of being alone. I was not self-aware enough to admit that he and I were a disaster in the making. It was only after he dropped the bomb that I went to an older woman for some sage advice. She said "Honey, you can chase him around for years, or you can leave and your life will open up into possibilities you can't imagine." On that advice, I left and she was right. My life did change so much for the better. Now, would I have listened before the bomb of the breakup? Maybe, maybe not. But what I know today is that if I had been really honest with myself, I would have saved myself a lot of pain.
So my commitment to ME today is: in all life choices, I trust and listen to what my inner voice a.k.a. my intuition has to say. And when a wise woman has something to say, even if I don't like it, I challenge myself to get real.
Olive, age 13, says:
Since I am only 13 I haven't made any of my life choices, my parents have.
My parents have always been very supportive of my wants but they have also controlled the way my life has turned out by their life choices. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be life if my parents had never gotten divorced. Would my life be better than it is now? I definitely think that my life would be different but if my parents had never gotten divorced they would always be fighting and I have a strong feeling that I would want them to get divorced. They are so much happier now and that honestly makes me happier.
In some ways I feel like I have no control whatsoever over my life but at the same time I feel as free as a bird. That is another good thing about how my parents raised me. Whenever I hear girls say how much they hate their parents I really can't blame them. It's like their parents are keeping them locked up in a jail cell and at the same time they don't seem to trust their kids at all. Sometimes I like to go off into the city and just walk around and when I invite a friend to go with me their parents almost always say no.
You need to let your child be independent! Let them experience life and then when they go off to college they won't be scared to death. Of course you should always give your child boundaries but let them have a little bit of freedom otherwise they will just rebel. Trust me.
Jen, age 39, says:
Divorce was a decision that altered my paradigm in a way I could never have imagined. For that reason, I wouldn't ever change that choice. I've learned so much about myself because of it and the extent of my personal strength became evident as a result. But if I could change anything about it, I would change how I handled the process.
If you had asked me then what compelled me to agree to marry a man within weeks of meeting him, I would not have been able to articulate it. It was driven by something other than friendship, partnership and respect. I was determined to make it work even though almost immediately afterwards, I knew I had made a mistake. I simply refused to acknowledge it. I wanted to stick by my word, choosing to believe all the while that the intense fighting between us was just growing pains of the first few years together. As time went on, I lost connection with my family and some of my friends, partially by choice to protect my false sense of security.
Towards the end, I caved in under the weight of my inability to be real with myself, my partner and others in my life. Rather than opting to end it with dignity and respect, it ended as it began: a whirlwind of immediate action. One night, the words "I don't love you anymore and don't know that I will ever get that back" burst out of my core. Pure emotional vomit. My truth had emerged and the next day, he was gone. Over the weeks that followed, he tried many, many times to get a hold of me, to talk to me, often crying and distraught. Sometimes I'd respond and attempt to explain, but even I was scared of the birth of my truth. I ended up completely shutting him out. I intuitively chose to make room for truth in my life over facing the damage I had done to both of us by ignoring it. On one hand, I felt like a coward but on the other, I saw no other way to move on at that time in my life.
To this day, he doesn't understand why we fell apart and I've been living with that guilt ever since. But year after year, my heart has freed itself more to fully embrace the gifts I have now as a result: renewed dignity, ability to own my truth, a stronger bond with family and friends and a sense of inner peace.
Linda, age 60, says:
I would have listened to my own voice more carefully when I was a young adult and followed my adventurous spirit. I gave into my family's pressure and let go of my dream of studying archaeology and discovering buried tombs in Egypt. I believed their statements of "it's not a girl's job" and "you're just going to end up getting married and having babies." And, because my voice was never my own in my adolescent years, I made them right and myself wrong. I left the university after one semester and followed the path of marriage and children.
While I have no regrets, I do wish that I had known myself better, been more determined, and understood more about my needs and how to follow my heart's desire. Marriage and babies could have still been part of my path but perhaps at a more distant time after I had achieved my goals.
That magic wand would have my name in archaeological journals, and the sand between my toes would have come from a far more distant place than the Pacific Ocean.