“Have You Forgotten the Most Important Valentine of All?”

Valentine

“Have you forgotten the most important Valentine of all?”

We are heading into Valentine’s Day and I remember with fondness, decorating many a shoebox with glitter and paper lace doilies for my classmates to put their Valentines into. Making the choice of whether to give Scooby Doo Valentines or Mickey and Minnie Mouse Valentines was a ritual I eagerly looked forward to every February. And I smile when I pull out the old Valentines I made for my parents during art. Oh, the days of love being simple and fun!

Celebrating love became a bit more complicated as I grew older. Parents lost their luster and pledges of true love turned into betrayal. I watch sadly as people once happy in love, angrily rewrite their history as never having been so. Was love just a fool’s game or is there more to why love seems to have gone from fun as a child to risky as an adult?

Love suffers from a myth which can lead people in relationships to being hurt and becoming bitter about their beloved. The myth? That if a person loves you, they are to make you happy. So… if you are unhappy, the person you love is at fault. Recognize this myth? This myth has done so much damage in relationships that when I spot this myth operating in a client’s life, I call it out for what it is–a lie which hurts all involved.

The truth is that the job of being happy begins with you. Who knows better than you what makes you feel good, what tickles your funny bone, what makes you feel all is right with your world? Only when you learn to love yourself, to support and honor yourself, are you truly able to have a happy and loving relationship with another. Without loving yourself first, you are limited in the love you can receive as well as give another person.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget your most important Valentine of all-YOU! Take some time for loving yourself just as you are. Like old movies? Then watch one this weekend instead of making excuses about why you can’t. Think a clean house is over-rated? Give yourself a day-hell a weekend!-of not telling yourself to tidy up and really enjoy a bit of mess. This Valentine’s Day weekend, shower some true loving on yourself, for loving others always begins with you.

“Why Being a Good Girl Won’t Bring You Happiness”

Good Girl“Why Being a Good Girl Won’t Bring You Happiness”

I am truly blessed to work with women who courageously take up change for being happier in their life and relationships. They are tired of compensating for their unhappiness with food, or shopping, or by (always) complaining to their friends and family. These women have spent years being the good girls they were taught to be as children. But being a good girl hasn’t brought them happiness and tired of being unhappy, they reach out for help for being happy again.

Being a good girl can serve to make important adults happy when you’re a child. But being a good girl as an adult not only keeps your happiness at bay, it keeps the happiness of those you love at bay as well. The saying “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody be happy” is not a judgment about unhappy women, but a truth about the impact a happy (or unhappy) woman has in her relationships and life.

How happy/unhappy you truly are is felt by all you care for in life. Putting on a smile and pretending to be happy does not fool anyone but yourself. When I invite a woman to be silent less and share herself more with those important to her, fear of being rejected is often the reason she has not done so. Yet the price of not being authentic in your relationships erodes your self-respect and trust of yourself and others. The woman begins to realize how pledging allegiance to relationships or institutions which don’t honor her, are relationships and institutions she can ill afford for being happy in her life.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • If you no longer believed you needed to be a good girl for being happy in life, what would you change in your life or relationships?
  • What would you stand up to-that you now only complain about or feel helpless to make better-if you had support?
  • Would you be more willing to make different choices if more happiness and self-respect would be your result?
  • If you could be happier if you reached out for help, what stops you?

The questions above are not meant for you to answer by yourself. Only recently have we embraced a belief of strength as being solitary. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty clear how that’s (not) working for us. Talk about these questions with those you trust and I’d love to hear from you!

“Are Ghosts Haunting Your Relationships?”

ghost

In my last article “The Calculus of Relationship”  I talked about how simply pointing fingers at who is wrong in a relationship not going so well, does not make things better. In this follow-up article, I talk about how what may be wreaking havoc in a relationship may not even be present. Yup, could be a ghost haunting your relationship!.

So what do I mean by ghosts haunting a relationship? Simply this-a lot of the battles you find yourself in with people close to you– your partner, your children, your parents or even yourself–can have little to do with the current situation and a lot to do with your past. Past humiliations, past rejections, past traumas all lend themselves to becoming ghosts haunting your life when they have not been resolved. I call them ghosts, for while the event was in the past, it’s wielding a LOT of power in your present life.

For example, your parents believe/d control was next to God and a good child was a controlled child. Emotions? To be controlled with your parents deciding which ones you were permitted and which ones were punished. Fast forward to the conversation you are now having with your husband who keeps asking if something is wrong. You answer “nothing”….so why do you feel like crying-or throwing the glass you are using at his head!? Ahh…the ghost of emotions not permitted or punished is haunting your relationship with your hubby..

Or you hear yourself berating your daughter for an A- (vs an A) on her report card and become aghast as you realize you’ve become possessed by the ghost of your father who found “imperfections” unacceptable. Yikes! Or you make the opposite choice of allowing your teen to diss you, patting yourself on the back for not being a controlling parent. Notice the ghost cackling in the corner?

So what can you do when ghosts are haunting your relationships?

  • Call the Ghost Busters! No really, get some help. Ghosts can be hard for you to see as they feel and look familiar. What is familiar we are often reluctant to change for something unfamiliar, even if we are unhappy with the familiar.
  • Realize your ghosts can be friendly ghosts (remember Caspar?) trying to make life better for you. They are causing mischief to get your attention and where they are causing mischief is where they want you to pay attention.
  • There are common ghosts. The ghost of anger haunts most women; anger at their power and purpose as women having been dismissed and denigrated for generations. This ghost appears in women’s relationships with men as belittling men or women withholding from men, their power to inspire and uplift.
  • Ghosts can be tricky. It is not uncommon for someone I am working with to describe the detested behavior of a parent and surprise! find that same behavior alive and well in themself! Argh. Ghosts remind us there is a difference between not liking a behavior and not having it haunt our behavior as well.

People are busy and time is precious. We are taught to ignore what is bothering us and to simply exercise more control or reach for our drug of choice. But “shoulda, woulda, coulda” are no match for the ghosts haunting our relationships or our life. As the Ghost Busters knew, people who know about ghosts are who you need to call when your relationships are being haunted by ghosts from your past.

Want some help exorcising ghosts in a relationship or life? I offer a free 60 minute consultation by phone for you to explore with me how to stop ghosts from the past from messing with your present and future. To schedule your free 60 minute session CLICK HERE .

Choose Love

choose_love

 It is a hard sell some days to convince clients whose heart has been broken, betrayed, or bruised to choose love (again). While your heart will go to the mat for choosing to love again, your mind (and friends unhappy) will call you a fool for choosing love. And, choosing love will offer you riches and miracles for healing, inspiration, and joy in life your mind can only envy.

Choosing love faces stiff opposition from your pride, your fears, your need for control. To choose love requires vulnerability, humility, and uncertainty, qualities not so popular these days as powerful. Choosing love requires making peace with how life itself is inherently risky, with risk essential to creating satisfaction, happiness, and yes, love in your life.

Today choose to love yourself, love your life, even to love what keeps you up at night for honoring your beautiful gift for love. Choosing love brings you the peace, the wisdom, and the love you will measure yourself and your life by when what is temporary falls away. Your life as human is meant to be vast and only by choosing love can your vastness be truly realized. Choose love and choose your legacy.

Finding Your Silver Linings in Life

Silver Linings 

Challenges, changes, and conflicts are the words often used for the course corrections and soul connections life calls upon you to make. A life well-lived is not one without any problems, but a life in which you embrace your problems for learning, refining your choices, and en-joying yourself more. Learning to discern between the quieter voice of your soul vs the louder demands and judgments of your personality is essential for deciphering the course corrections and soul connections your life brings you. Aka your silver linings.

Silver linings offer you deeper connection to your heart and soul for deeper trust in your wisdom and inner guidance in life. You may have been taught to believe your soul has no place in crafting your choices in life. One of the perks of being a grownup is you alone get to choose what you say “yes” and “no thank you” to for creating your life. Being a grownup is cool!

Years ago when betrayed by those I loved and trusted, a wise friend told me to receive all that was happening as a blessing. I was not convinced but I was desperate, and so I greeted whatever showed up in my life with “thank you god for this blessing”. My mind told me I was nuts and yet I could feel myself relax. Intrigued, I committed to blessing what came my way for 6 months and while my mind was not always happy with me, the results transformed my life. Don’t believe everything you think.

So what exactly does a silver lining look like?

  •  Your friends can’t wait to tell you about their latest vacation, great restaurant, or the latest play they saw and you realize you are letting their phone calls go to voice mail even when you’re home…..or you invite the silver lining of your unhappiness let you know what’s truly going on with you.
  • Your beloved is not happy and blames you, goes silent, or has you wondering if you need to be looking for lipstick on the collar. You become insecure, defensive, or hire yourself a lawyer…..or you invite the silver lining of your strained relationship bring forth your love, compassion, and attention.
  • You wonder if something is up with your body so you become best friends with denial and overeat, self-medicate, or wake up at 3 am in a panic convinced you have a terminal disease…..or you invite the silver lining of your body wisdom bring forth caring for and tending to yourself.
  • Your parent’s golden years are far from that, you get called into your child’s school over a possible eating disorder, and you fantasize being somewhere where no one knows your name….or you invite the silver lining of your faith and trust in yourself remind you again of the difference between what you can control and how you can care.

Learning how to find the silver linings in your life can turn the changes, challenges, and conflicts every life contains into choices resulting in more ease, happiness, and waaay more fun. And, choosing the silver linings in your life reminds you of just how awesome your capacity and caliber truly are. Sound too good to be true? It’s becomes easy to do once you learn how to embrace your problems as your life offering you course corrections and your soul offering you more connection for guidance and support. Life truly is on your side.

The Business of Love-Part 2

Healing Relationshisps

 In last week’s article “The Business of Love-Part 1” I talked about how the kissing cousins of intimacy and vulnerability are essential choices and actions (or what I call business) for realizing happiness and success in love and life relationships. In today’s article, I am sharing more about what is essential for your happiness and satisfaction to flourish in your love and and life relationships.

So what other business is essential for your happiness and satisfaction in life and love?

1. Correcting the habit of tending to others more or before tending to yourself.

Most women are challenged by this habit of generations. Being told serving others is noble and appropriate to being a woman is not a bad message or choice, but a message often leaving women devoid of time and energy to care for themselves. I call this mortgaging yourself to buy acceptance, appreciation, or even love and the price women pay is anger, resentment, and negativity with others. Simply put, you cannot give to another what you yourself do not have to give yourself.

2. Learning how relationships in life and love have their ages and stages.

This wisdom can bring you patience and ease when your the needs and nature of your relationship shifts and changes are required. Relationships reflect the needs and the natures of the people in them and to resist change is to resist what you or your loved one needs. As people change-and we all do-different choices are required for maintaining happiness and satisfaction in their relationships. (And did you know relationships shift focus every 7 years?).

3. Realizing what you’ve been taught about men and women-their needs and nature-is not accurate nor useful for happiness and satisfaction in contemporary relationships.

You can love your parents-and, patterns they passed onto you need not be ones you live your life by. Much of what you have been taught-consciously and unconsciously-about women, men, and their relationships, is simply not accurate. Most of what is unsuccessful and leads to unhappiness in relationships can be fixed really quite easily, once you update your learning and understanding of the needs and nature of women, men, and their relationships.

4. Making the mistake of judging what comes your way in your live or love relationship as reflecting your value or even another’s love.

The truth is, what comes your way in life and in love comes to you for reminding you of your capacity, your caliber, and your compassion. The largesse of your soul (and life) does not set you up to fail nor to feel unloved. The challenges which come your way in your relationships simply require your unique responses for making your love and your life “more”.

There is so much more which makes up the business of love and relationships in life…..learning how your personality will excel at rationalizations and justifications for continuing what is not working in your relationships vs the quieter voice of your soul urging your surrender to love, the fear you are taught about emotions hijacking you vs learning to decipher the wisdom emotions bring you, the habits and norms which damage your relationships in life and love, and more. Your relationships can be powerful, wonderful, life-changing when you update your learning about the nature and needs of women and men.

 

The Business of Love

Relationships

I have come to appreciate how love in relationships need more than the emotion of love for happiness and success in love to last. When working in India in my 20’s, I looked upon their tradition of arranged marriages as lacking the romance of love. My learning and the wisdom of my own experiences has taught me differently. The emotion of love is a verb, which means love needs action to tend and care for it. The actions of caring and tending of love I call the business of love and while I get a few wrinkled noses at putting the words business and love in the same sentence, noses relax and heads nod instead when I explain what I mean.

So what exactly is the business of love?
 
The business of love are the actions you take to tend to and care for who and what you love. The business of love can be as basic as making food you know your beloved enjoys and the business of love can be as complex as changing the unconscious patterns at the bottom of an affair. What is common to both the simple and complex business of love is your willingness to choose the intimacy and it’s kissing cousin vulnerability, love requires.
 
Intimacy begins with yourself-with your willingness to tell the truth about what you want, need, are feeling, fear, etc.  For relationships to be happy and successful, whether in love or in life, being willing to be vulnerable-not control-is required. Risky? Only if you are willing to settle for a very small and shallow version of life and love in order to avoid the risks of intimacy and vulnerability love requires. The intimacy of relationship you have with yourself is the level of intimacy you can offer and receive from another in love.

I know talking about the business of love can feel….well, kinda anti-love. And, learning about the nature and needs of women and men, the ages and stages of relationship, is required learning for creating happy and successful contemporary relationships vs relying on the defaults you’ve been handed by those you love. Love requires not only talking about what you want and don’t like, love requires your conscious courage, commitment, and clarity in action. 

Relationships offer us heaven…and relationships can be hell. We are not taught about relationships nor are we in possession of much accurate wisdom on the nature and needs of women or men. Is it any surprise your relationships of love often mirror family patterns you already know you don’t like? And by the way, the business of love is essential learning for relationships of friendship and business as well. 
 
I’ll be sharing more about tending and caring for love in relationships in my next article “The Business of Love-Part 2”, including the important differences between your personality and your soul when it comes to love.