“I’m always anxious thinking I’m not living my life to the fullest, you know? Taking advantage of every possibility… Just making sure that I’m not wasting one second of the little time I have.”—Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (via starsmending) (via exsouvenir) (via booklover, starsmended)
“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.”—Byron Katie
"Measuring ourselves up against others is unfortunately a bad habit we all began engaging in pretty early in life. From the ways we are graded in school to how we attempt to fit in, the pattern of looking to others for feedback about how we should be is ingrained at an early age.
Out of all the bad habits I have set the intention to break, comparison has been one of the most challenging but perhaps the most important. I even went through a period when I unsubscribed to a lot of people’s email lists because I would see what they were doing and then would put a ton of pressure on myself to “keep up” – it was exhausting!!
When I do not compare myself to others, I can see my own gifts. When I see my own gifts, I can celebrate and express them while at the same time celebrating the gifts I see in others. When I celebrate and express my gifts, I can share them with you. And when I share them with you, I feel incredibly fulfilled because I am living the expression that is uniquely me. I am not attempting to be like someone else.
The same applies to YOU. When you attempt to be like anyone else other than yourself it’s like saying to God, “I really don’t like the gifts you gave me, I want his or hers instead.” When you are in that type of envy energy, it makes it much harder for the Universe to support you in the expansion of your own gifts. And you will never feel true fulfillment.
Here’s what you can do when you compare:
Transform comparison into inspiration. Whatever you see in someone else that you admire is a positive projection. They are reflecting something back to you about yourself that you are not fully stepping into or acknowledging. Don’t try and copy their form. Instead identify the essence of what they are expressing and embrace that within yourself.
Celebrate what you see in others!! Talent, creativity, and abundance are not limited resources – they are infinite! Be happy for others without limiting yourself by thinking you are less than in some way.
Give yourself permission to be YOU. Unleash the fullest expression of you by being FULLY who you are. You will only find the secret sauce that makes you uniquely YOU by looking within. Share whatever you find no matter what others may think or say.”
"A goddess is a woman who emerges from deep within herself. She is a woman who has honestly explored her darkness and learned to celebrate her light. She is a woman who is able to fall in love with the magnificent possibilities within her. She is a woman who knows of the magic and mysterious places inside her, the sacred places that can nurture her soul and make her whole. She is a woman who radiates light. She is magnetic. She walks into a room and male and female alike feel her presence. She has power and softness at the same time. She has powerful sexual energy that’s not dependent on physical looks. She has a body that she adores and it shows by the way she comfortably lives and moves in it. She cherishes beauty, light and love. She is a mother to all children. She flows with life in effortless grace. She can heal with a look or a touch of the hand. She is fiercely sensual… and fearlessly erotic and engages in sex as her way to share with another in touching the divine. She is compassion and wisdom. She is seeker of Truth and cares deeply about something bigger than herself. She is a woman who knows that her purpose in life is to reach higher and rule with love. She is woman in love with love. She knows that joy is her destiny and by embracing it and sharing it with others, wounds are healed. She is a woman who has come to know that her partner is as tender, lost, and frightened as she has been at times. She has come to understand the scars of the boy in him and knows that together, love can be the relief, the healing of their wounds. She is a woman who can accept herself as she is. She can accept another as they are. She is able to forgive her mistakes and not feel threatened by another’s even when attacked. She is a woman who can ask for help when she needs it or give help when asked. She respects boundaries, hers and another’s. She can see God in another’s eyes. She can see God in her own. She can see God in every life situation. She is woman who takes responsibility for everything she creates in her life. She is a woman who is totally supportive and giving. She is a Goddess."
~ Artist Rafael Espitia Perea
Been doing this exercise in therapy for years! So valuable!
By Christine Hassler:
If there is something in your life that you want and you are upset you don’t have it, I have good news for you. The good news is that you actually already have it…just perhaps not in the exact form you thought it should come in.
For example, if you are miserable in your job and searching for your purpose, you are probably missing out on opportunities you have right NOW to share your gifts. If you are single and looking for love, you are not fully appreciating all the love you ALREADY have in your life. If you are obsessing about needing more money, you may not be seeing all the ways that you ARE abundant.
We create rules around how things are supposed to show up in order to feel fulfilled. Then our stories about how things “should” look are creating tunnel vision, blind spots, and lots of unnecessary suffering!!!
I invite you to do an exercise to support yourself in really getting this distinction. Take a moment to look around the room and notice everything that is blue. Really look for all shades of blue and create a mental list of the things you see. Maybe the sky through your window, a shade of blue on a pillow, the color blue in a painting, and so on. Great job! Now after you read the next question it is very important to close your eyes immediately after you read it. No cheating! Here is the question: can you mentally list all the things in the room you are in that are brown? When you’re done, open your eyes and come back to reading.
Now look around and see how much brown is in the room that you did not remember initially seeing. You didn’t notice all of these brown things because you were so fixated on looking for the blue. And all those blue things you are obsessed with finding or having are making you blue!
Let go of your attachment to the form.
Stubborn hearts get broken more often - and take longer to heal.
Stop being so convinced that unless something unfolds in a certain way, you will not be able to experience your heartfelt desires. Trust your longings, but don’t always trust what your mind does with them!
I encourage you to ask yourself what fantasies you have conjured up about what your life is “supposed” to look like. If your life is not matching this picture you created sometime in the past, it is time to update your story and truly recognize the gifts of the present.
Your dreams are ALREADY coming true; open your eyes to see them and open your heart to receive them.
"We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." -Frederick Keonig
How do you and the people you love feel loved and express love?
Each of us has priorities and preferences when it comes to how we give and receive love. We make the mistake of expressing love to someone else according to our priorities and preferences. And we expect to receive that same kind of love back.
Don’t make ANY assumptions when it comes to love. (we all know what assuming does by now, right?)
The Five Love Languages says there are five ways that we feel love and all of us have one or two that we are most “fluent” in. The five love languages are:
Words of Affirmation - Receiving verbal acknowledgment, affirmation, validation; spoken expressions of feelings
Receiving Gifts - Getting physical things from loved ones
Acts of Service - Love is felt when someone does something for us
Affection - Feel most connected with physical touch and adoration
Quality time - Spending uninterrupted, focused time with loved ones
If you go to http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ you can take the FREE quiz to find out your love language (don’t assume you know what it is without taking the quiz). Then you can send the link to your loved ones and ask them to take the quiz as well. Share your results with them and ask they share theirs with you. You can get the love you want, but not by expecting others to be mind-readers. And you can give the love others need by being willing to adjust to their love language.
By Amy Ahlers:
It feels like everywhere I turn someone is “bragging” about how busy they are…rattling off their To-Do list with pride…almost beaming about how they have no free time, spare time or ME time.
When did BUSY become synonymous with VALUE?
When did feeling RUSHED become the only way to seem IMPORTANT?
When did being OVERWHELMED & OVER-SCHEDULED become necessary for us to say NO or set a BOUNDARY?
Today, I challenge you to stop the glorification of busy and start glorifying self-care, free time and space in your life.
It’s really about embracing your feminine power of receiving, of pausing, of allowing. This is about slowing down so you can listen to your Inner Wisdom.
It can be challenging to do this, especially when the busyness is so glorified in our culture. But I know from my own personal experience that this is when the magic happens. When the inspiration comes. When you can feel GUIDED in your life.
From Christine Hassler (with edits):
Recently I heard a woman share about how she was with her friend’s seven-month-old baby boy and witnessed him experiencing frustration over his natural limitations. He was trying to communicate his needs but did not yet have the verbal skills to do so. He was attempting to feed himself but did not yet have the motor skills to do so. The reality of his current conditions did match his desires, which was incredibly frustrating for him.
This is an incredible metaphor for the frustration we feel when our reality does not match our dreams. Our vision of what we want is clear; however, life does not look like we want it to. We have powerful intentions and heartfelt desires, yet things have not yet manifested in physical form. But just like we aren’t born walking and talking because there is a natural progression to our physical development, everything we want doesn’t happen at once because there is a natural progression to our personal growth.
Our minds love to wander into the future and dream up amazing things. We can see ourselves in love, living our passion, making lots of money, and so on. But just because you can dream it doesn’t mean you are necessarily capable of having it right this instant. That doesn’t make you a failure. And it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. Often there are simple natural limitations in life. There are lessons that need to be learned. Experiences you need to have. People you need to meet. Things you need to do. Skills you need to acquire. Time that needs to pass.
I understand it is frustrating to …
Feel so much love in your heart and want to share it with a partner.
Feel so much passion about something and want to make a living just doing that thing.
Feel so capable and want to be on a purposeful career path.
But your frustration is really just an indicator of what is coming!!! You would not feel the longing inside of you if it wasn’t coming. Wanting comes with waiting. It is just part of the equation.
There’s a lot you don’t know. There are some additional skills you are going to learn or experiences you are going to have to truly prepare you for the career of your dreams. The person you are going to be in a romantic relationship with has some things he or she needs to do and learn before they are ready to be with you! When you were seven months old, you had the instinctual desire to communicate but you had to wait for your brain to catch up so you could learn language. But eventually you did, didn’t you?
There is a magical mystery to the God’s timing. Trust it. Trust your process and accept the natural limitations. But don’t add unnatural and unnecessary limitations like buying into any old stories of not being good enough or unworthy or not deserving. And drop the limiting belief that things would be so much better if you had all your dreams right now because it’s limiting your enjoyment of the right now.
So make the best out of your current conditions. Ask yourself, “How can I enjoy where I am now EVEN MORE?” The “even more” part is essential to add because it implies that you are already enjoying it!!
Reality will eventually catch up to your dreams. Just like you eventually learned how to walk and talk, you will continue to learn the life lessons that move you one step closer to your dreams. It is impossible for you not to actualize your potential as long as you are committed to your growth. Do not give up just because you are frustrated!! Patience is part of faith.
By Christine Hassler:
There are many things I want to tell my 20-something self. Here are some of the things I would say to her:
Please don’t be so hard on yourself.
Speak to yourself in more loving and encouraging ways. Your inner dialogue is the most powerful voice you hear. Turn down the volume of the critic so the voice of your inner knowing gets louder.
Smile. A lot.
You are doing the best you can. Always looking for ways to be more, better or different is NOT the formula for success.
You think it is motivating you to create results, but it is completely exhausting.
Look for what inspires you rather than what drives you. Allow your curiosity to lead you.
You know that guy you are obsessed about getting to like you? In five years you won’t even remember his name.
You know that job you are devastated about not getting? There is a way better opportunity coming around soon.
Don’t wait for fear to go away before you go after something you want. Being scared is natural. You’ll become more courageous each time you feel fear and do it anyway.
Stop comparing yourself to others, it is preventing you from seeing and discovering your own unique gifts and what you are here to express to the world. Know that the qualities you admire in others are the qualities you need to recognize and nurture inside yourself.
Your parents are people too with issues and triggers. They are getting used to having an adult child just as you are getting used to being an adult.
You are going to get over your heartbreak. I know it feels so painful right now. Cry all your tears, get it out, and then let it go. Take the lessons you learned and move forward. You will love and be loved again. And you will be so grateful for your heartache because it taught you so much about love.
Take leaps of faith - even when you don’t know where you are going to land. You are going to develop so much courage and trust in yourself as you take risks. It’s okay not to be 100% sure…51% sure is enough to take the leap.
Be of service. Have a generous heart. That is how you make a difference in the world.
Enjoy your body. Stop obsessing about it. Stop trying to make it into some perfect image of what you think it should be. You look fantastic, take lots of pictures and wear bikinis more often.
"No" is a complete sentence. You don’t need to follow it with justifications and apologies.
The decisions you are making are not all forever decisions. I know you feel so much pressure to figure it all out right now and everything feels like a major decision. It’s not. Choose what feels the best for RIGHT NOW and trust you will learn from each choice you make.
You will find your passion and purpose. Everything that you are going through now is a piece of the puzzle. Just because you don’t know how the puzzle comes together yet doesn’t mean it’s not being assembled.
Sometimes figuring out what you want is a process of elimination. Let yourself experiment and try different things. It’s okay to change your mind, and the only way you’ll know if something is a fit is if you try it.
Cultivate your friendships. They will become the family you get to choose. Find friends who will grow with you and let go of the friendships that have reached their expiration date.
List the things you are grateful for every day.
Nurture your relationship with a Higher Power. Spend time in the silence and get to know The Divine. You are not separate.
What other people think of you is none of your business. People are always going to judge you. So what!?! It’s impossible to please everyone or be liked by everyone. Be you, the real you, not the version you think you need to be for others.
You are enough. You are perfect just the way you are.
Ask for help and support. You do not have to figure everything out on you own, and you are not supposed to have everything figured out right now. It’s okay not to know how, what, when, where and why.
You are doing the best you can. And so is everyone else.
ENJOY the moment. Your mind is always in the future. Stop living in when/then’s. Be here now and have FUN. This is a time in your life where you can be a bit selfish and focus on what makes you happy.
Forgive. Yourself and anyone else you are holding judgments against.
You are not alone. So many other people feel the same way you do. Be willing to be vulnerable.
Rejection is God’s Protection. You can’t always get what you want but you do always get what you need - just not in the form or on the timeline you may have expected.
Each step is moving you forward, even if you feel like you are moving backward.
Breathe. Slow down. Take your time. It all works out. Your dreams come true and there are magical surprises is store. Life is amazing now and it gets even better!!!
You are loved. I love you. From your 30-something Self.
There is a man that does love you. He loves you just the way you are. On your good days and your bad days. When you cook the most delicious meal and when you burn dinner because you forgot it was cooking. He loves you no matter what is going on in your life and; He will never do anything to hurt you.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him would not die but live forever.” John 3:16
God loves each of us even before we are conceived. February can be a hard month when you’re single. Everywhere you look there are couples and romance and love that doesn’t include you. If you find yourself feeling down this month (or any other month this year) remember that He loves you!
You see, the journey never ends. And it never really begins, either. As far as Love is concerned, each day is just another day along the path. There is no destination—no “place” you arrive at.
So, where you’re at right now isn’t inherently bad, even though it can sometimes feel that way.
Let’s take a deeper look…
You’re learning. You’re growing. You’re working on yourself. Right now, you ARE attracting your Soulmate. Plain and simple. FORGET the “mile markers.” Remember, it’s all just a journey, and you’re on your way.
It’s like the way a flower blooms. You do your part—you show up, you provide water, you make sure the sun is shining just right. The rest is up to God!
If your antennae is up and something inside of you is saying YES YES I want to listen to my intuition more but I don’t know how, here is an easy process to soothe the “I don’t know how” talk from your logical mind:
Make an intuitive date with yourself. Set aside some time when you turn everything off and go to a place where you will be undisturbed.
Light a candle and set your intention of connecting to your intuition by stating it out loud.
Close your eyes and ask to be guided by God. Imagine a column of white light washing over you.
Ask to be surrounded, protected and filled with Light from God. Imagine being encircled and held in a golden ball of Light.
Sit with your palms facing up so you are in a very receptive position.
Focus on your breathing. Inhale for a count of 5, hold the breath for 5, exhale for a count of 5, hold the exhaled breath for 5 and then repeat 5 times.
Then just get quiet and LISTEN. Everyone’s intuition speaks in different ways. You may see an image. Hear guidance. Or feel a sensation.
If your mind comes in because you start thinking about the past, future, or your to-do list, simply acknowledge the thought and come back to your breath.
Stay in this meditation for at least ten minutes. If connecting with your inner guidance is new, be patient!!! Repeat this process daily and the volume of your intuition will become louder and clearer.
Complete the meditation with asking for support from the God. I offer you this prayer: “God, please put the next step in front of me in a way I can see, understand and have the courage and willingness to take.”
Get quiet. Go in. ALL the answers and guidance you need is there. Trust your Intuition - it is a beautiful partner to your logical mind.
I want to be less controlling and more open to what God’s plan for me is.
From Christine Hassler:
We cannot have a new beginning without actually changing things. So here are some changes I suggest making to support you in not only being open to the flow, but making flow actually possible: Clear the clutter. Look around your physical space right now. Are there unpaid bills and unopened mail? Things you need to return? Clothes you don’t wear? My friend Ariel Joseph, also known as “The Feng Shui Guy”, shares some brilliant advice about this: “You cannot pick up something new in your life unless you put down what you are holding onto. If you look around your space through the lens of feng shui, you may begin to notice that your home is literally a reflection of your inner environment. So it stands to reason that whether you work outside in (letting go of your stuff) or inside out (making space inside your mind and heart) making space is the first step in preparing yourself to receive.” Complete incomplete cycles of action. After you’ve made some space in your physical environment, clear some mental real estate by finishing things that have been floating around in your mind. Check off what’s been on your to-do list forever. Have conversations you have been avoiding. Stop procrastinating because that keeps you in a stalling pattern (which of course isn’t good for flow). Survey your relationships. Are there people in your life who you are allowing to weigh you down? It’s time to cut ties with exes, phase out of friendships that are based on where you’ve been rather than where you are going, get away from a toxic boss, and put boundaries in place with people that have been crossing yours. Forgive. Perhaps the most important element of creating flow is forgiveness. Let go of any resentment, grudges or judgments against yourself or others. And don’t forget to forgive the Universe too if you think Its not giving you what you want. Faith is not possible without forgiveness because anytime we are holding on to a negative judgment about anything in our life means we do not trust the Divine Order of the Universe. Stop lying to yourself. The biggest block you may be facing is the limiting beliefs you are buying into. The most popular are, “I’m not good enough,” “There’s something wrong with me,” and “I’m not deserving.” We all carry around some story about ourselves that IS NOT TRUE. The moment you open to the truth of who you are, which is whole, complete, perfect just the way you are, a unique expression of the Universe, and love…the floodgates open and life truly does begin to flow.
Vision boards, lists, and visualizations alone won’t draw in the more of what you want until you make less of what you don’t want. Step into the role you play as a co-creator of flow by clearing up where you’ve been so that you can create space for where you are going.
Anchoring into a very real sense of possibility for the fulfillment of love, as though all of Life were supporting you to have that which you most yearn for, allow yourself to drop down deeper and wider and into a space of pure listening and receptivity.
Begin to notice the desires you hold for love at the deepest level of your being, as though the desire itself were pleasurable and an act of co-creation.
Welcome in all of your desires, recognizing them as Life’s desire for you, and ask yourself the following questions:
What do I most deeply desire to experience with my beloved?
(PAUSE as you allow yourself to really feel into the experiences you are wanting to have with your beloved, such as a deep sense of safety between you, a feeling of profoundinspiration, a sweet of communion as you enter into the secret language between lovers, a pervasive deep happiness that permeates your home …)
What do I most deeply desire to express to my beloved (with my beloved)?
(PAUSE as you allow yourself to really feel into what you are wanting to express to and with your beloved, such as your passionate love, your gentle playfulness, or perhaps you are a magician in the kitchen and creating sumptuous meals for your beloved is a deep desire …)
What do I most deeply desire to create for my beloved (with my beloved)?
(PAUSE as you allow yourself to really feel into what you are wanting to create with and for your beloved, such as a beautiful, supportive and healthy family, a warm and lovely home, a community where you both feel you’ve found your tribe, greater levels of joy, peace, and creativity in the world …)
What do I most deeply desire to contribute to my beloved (with my beloved)?
(PAUSE as you allow yourself to really feel into what you are wanting to contribute to and with your beloved, such as your deep well of support and devotion, or contributing together in your work so that there may be more happiness and wholesomeness in the world …)
Allow yourself to relish in the pleasure of your deepest desires for the relationship you are calling in.
Then open your eyes, take out your notebook and write down what you most deeply desire in the connection with your beloved.
From this place of connection and clarity within you, go back and revisit your original intention to call in love and either revise the one you have, using some of the rich imagery from the exercise to inform your intention, or recommit yourself to the one you’d created before.
It’s no secret that life is hard sometimes. People we love die. People we love leave us. Jobs we need we lose. Dreams have to take a backseat because of illness or injury. In the last 7 years in particular, I have known my share of hard days. And there is something I wish someone had told me when this pain began years ago for me-when life is hard you have a choice. In the midst of struggle, we do have a choice to either fight against what is happening or choose to find purpose in our pain. And while I know this is much easier said than done here are some helpful steps I’ve taken to learn to embrace the hard things in life.
Remember this too shall pass- Nothing will last forever and sometimes in the midst of a really hard season in life it’s easy to believe things will never improve. But change in life is inevitable. You will smile and laugh again and someday what you are going through right now will just be a memory.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Choose praise in your storm- Even if what you are going through is so terrible that you can’t find one good thing about it, you can still praise God for who He is. For His kindness, patience, goodness, forgiveness and redemption. I’ve found when I practice gratitude and praise it is far easier to handle even the most trying of circumstances
Get excited- Ok I realize I have probably lost you here. But just track with me for a minute. When you come to a place where you are at the end of yourself and your strength and are at your lowest point, you are in the greatest position to see the power of God at work in your life. Because our God is strong, when we are weak (2 Corinthians 12:10).
When you feel like things can’t get any worse, He will carry you through with a strength you can’t imagine and that will speak volumes to a watching world. If you let it, your biggest mess could be your very greatest MESSage to the world about the love and redemption of Christ. You never know what God will do and how He will make beauty rise from the ashes of your life.
The first step to getting on track to realize your own destiny in all areas of your life has to do with shifting from a way of creating that is strategic to one that is co-creative and magnetic.
Instead of seeking to get things from life or achieve goals externally, begin to tap into the source of creativity inside yourself.
You can do this by tuning into the deeper desires that you’re holding in your body.
Feminine Power Practice:
1. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Allow the center of your awareness to deepen into your body. Breathe into the center of the most connected, wisest part of yourself, all the way into your hips.
2. Imagine that you’re stepping into a field of limitless possibility and that you’re surrounded by a field of limitless support for the realization of your greatest gifts and contributions.
3. From this center of awareness, ask yourself the questions:
“What do I most deeply desire to…
- experience in my life…?
- express through my life…?
- create in my life…?
- contribute to others and the world…?
4. Welcome in any awareness you have of the answers to these questions, or notice the sensations you feel when you ask these questions to the deepest parts of yourself. Breathe deeply into each desire as though you were inhaling the rich fragrance of a rose, fully welcoming and embracing them with each breath!
5. Ask yourself: “What’s my next step to be able to experience, express, create and contribute these deeper desires in my life?”
6. Listen for the answer from the deepest part of yourself.
Then, act on this knowing!
By welcoming in your deepest desires in this way you begin to activate a magnetic field that will begin to support you to access the inner wisdom and external resources you need to realize these potentials.
To truly liberate yourself from false beliefs and the patterns of the past, you will need to learn to build an empowered relationship with the “self” in your body.
You may have noticed by now that there’s a “self” in your mind (who has a lot of ideas about how things should be!) and there’s a “self” in your body (who primarily experiences life emotionally).
The power to transform your life awakens when these two “selves” are in an empowered relationship with each other.
The first step in this empowered relationship is learning to bring the “self” in your mind into relationship to the “self” in your body in a loving way that allows your more mature self to mentor the “self” in your body into making more true and empowered meaning of “her” experience.
Feminine Power Practice:
1. Close your eyes and drop your awareness down into your body, breathing all the way down into your hips and connecting with a very deep and wide center within yourself.
2. From this deeper, wider center, extend a sense of deep presence and care to the self in your body — literally enveloping yourself with a sense of deep safety and love, suspending any and all self-judgments or criticisms.
3. Ask yourself, “What are you feeling?” and listen for the response, helping the self in your body to accurately name a very specific feeling she is experiencing such as lonely, uneasy, ecstatic, or confused.
4. Mirror back the response by lovingly saying, “I can see that you are feeling…”
5. Do this at least three times. Do this throughout your day to begin building a loving, caring and connected relationship between the different parts of yourself — which is the foundation from which you can begin to challenge your limiting, self-sabotaging beliefs and break through the glass ceiling on your potential.
The Power to Create Those Things You Most Yearn For is Within
How often have you said to yourself, “If only my circumstances were different, then I’d be able to have and create what I really want in my life…”
Or, “If only I had more money, more time, a better education, a better job, more support, more love, had a better figure… more (fill in the blank!)… then I’d be able to live the life that I was born to live.”
Yes, we’re conscious women who’ve done our personal and spiritual growth homework, yet the vast majority of us still identify these external obstacles as the primary barriers to our higher flourishing.
Our focus is continually on trying to source the power to change our lives by pushing harder, by managing and controlling the externals of our lives — our to do lists, our circumstances, changing other people, our schedules, our finances, our bodies and so on — only to end up feeling frustrated and powerless.
This external relationship to power is so deeply entrenched in our culture. It’s been hard to escape for most of us until now, as it’s undistinguished and pervasive it is in our thinking — like water to a fish.
To make the shift to a Feminine Power system, you need to see the primary barriers to the realization of your dreams, and deepest desires you have are internal, not external — for real.
Because the truth is, your experience of life is being generated much more by the ways that you habitually relate to yourself, to others and life than your circumstances.
So, to change your experience, you need to cultivate the power to evolve the ways you’re relating — this is the power of the Feminine.
The true source of power you need to fulfill these deeper desires is within you, and is just waiting to be awakened.
I’d like engage you in a powerful exercise that has caused an instant shift in many thousands of women already. Ready?
Practice: The Feminine Power “SHIFT”
1. Make a list of all the reasons you are telling yourself why you can’t live your best life, realize your highest creative potentials and make your greatest contributions to the world. Those phrases you tell yourself, like “I’m too busy,” “I don’t have the money,” “I’m too old,” etc. Be honest! Write down whatever those little nagging voices in your head are telling you.
2. Next, notice how many of them are external reasons. Here is the challenge for you…Just for today, let go of any and all reasons outside of yourself as to why you are not realizing your highest potentials and making your greatest contributions. Okay?
3. When you’re ready, close your eyes and take a deep breath, allowing your awareness to drop into your body. Move into a place of listening and receptivity, becoming aware of your deeper knowing and connecting to the part of yourself that holds wisdom and has access to power.
With a sense of authentic interest and curiosity, ask yourself, “What choices am I making that are contributing to my current experience of life?”
Some examples are, do you say “yes” to things you don’t want to say “yes” to because you want to be liked? Do you choose to not focus on money because you don’t really care that much about it. Do you play a smaller game because you don’t want to risk rejection? Simply be aware of what comes up for you with no judgment.
4. Finally what’s one new choice you could make today that will give you access to creating a different experience?
Excerpts from Christine Hassler, ideas that have been on my mind and I’ve been talking about in therapy lately:
When working on yourself, remember to be in a place of neutral observation and see yourself with some perspective instead of intense judgment. When you are too “in it”, meaning you are indulging in your story, it is impossible to get the altitude you need to create the shifts you want.
There will be adversity - you may do everything perfect and it has nothing to do with you. How we learn is through challenge and contrast. Nobody gets the greatest cards all the time but we can do the greatest things with any hand we are dealt. You are always doing the best you can and don’t take things personally!
It is awesome to get excited about your life and dreams. Just avoid traveling to fantasyland by placing unrealistic expectations on others or jumping to conclusions before you have information. And don’t buy into the number one delusion of them all: that anyone or anything outside of you can fulfill you.
Anything in the future we are making up so when you look ahead, make it good. Worry and pessimism is the imagination used poorly. Expect and TRUST that everything is and will happen for your Highest Good.
“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”—Marianne Williamson
“As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found—in himself.”—Erich Fromm
One of my pet peeves about the personal growth industry is the emphasis placed on consistently making only positive changes. The expectation is that over time as we do more work, we gradually and continuously “get better” (whatever “better” means). So when we feel like we are not moving forward and have even taken a few steps backwards, we doubt our progress.
Please don’t torture yourself by buying into the misunderstanding that your growth needs to be straight up. That’s a lot of pressure - and also not possible. Growth is more fluid. And over time the lows (or perceived backtracking) we experience become shorter in duration and the length of time in between them becomes longer.
The human experience is about contrast and sometimes the best way we learn is when we take a few steps that feel backwards. Often when we have a big “aha” so much to the extent that we feel transformed, the Universe delivers a situation that feels very similar to past experiences. Often people get frustrated and think, “This again? I thought I learned this already!” That may be accurate; you may have learned the lesson and now you have an opportunity to practice the learning so that you can fully integrate it.
If you feel like you are backtracking in your own behavior, choices, or feelings rest assured you are not flunking life. You learned from my UPdate last week that only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through. Your so-called issues and programmed responses got implemented decades ago so it may take some time before you totally shift something. So if you find yourself slipping into old habits, reactions, behaviors or choices that you thought were behind you, cut yourself some slack.
Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.
When you perceive yourself taking steps backwards, that does not mean change is not occurring. You may take ten steps forward and then eight steps back. But the next time you will take eleven steps forward and only seven steps back. You are making progress!! And forgive yourself! This is super duper important. Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you. Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking. I’m doing the best I can.” Then re-commit to your vision and intentions, recognize what you are learning, and keep going.
"You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."-Steve Jobs
"Well, you know when you’re rocking in a rocking chair, and you go so far that you almost fall over backwards, but at the last instant you catch yourself? That’s how I feel all the time." Stephen Wright
Rejection can really be a bummer. Whether it hits you in your professional or personal life, feeling like you weren’t the “chosen one” brings up a lot of crummy feelings and limiting beliefs about worthiness. But the truth is that rejection is totally just an illusion. It’s not real at all. What you may be thinking is rejection from someone else is actually just perceived rejection.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Rejection is God’s protection.” Consider that not being with the person you desire in the moment, not getting the job you want right now, or not having the situations you think will make you happy is a necessary part of the journey toward the person, job or situation that is the most in alignment with what is best for you. Reframe rejection as protection, and know that nothing is ever being taken away; instead potential obstacles are being removed. The answer to your prayers is not “no”; it’s “not now, not yet, or just not this one.” Trust that God has your back.
Until you surrender to that Truth, the one obstacle God cannot protect you from is yourself. You are probably your own worst enemy when you believe you have been rejected. You take it personally and make not getting what you want mean something about your worth or desirability. Perceived rejection feels like a huge punch in the gut and negative self-talk flares up so much so that you put yourself in a contracted state. So then not only are you feeling rejected, but you are rejecting yourself by buying into irrational beliefs like “I’m not good enough, I did something wrong, If only I had done xyz differently,” and on so on. And those beliefs create a self-deprecating energy around you. Ew! Who wants that?
So if you are feeling rejected in some way it is high time to get your acceptance mojo going again!! Extract the lessons you can learn from the situation. Seize the opportunity to take a GIANT leap on your personal growth path by not allowing external conditions to determine your internal conditions.
I think we can all agree that acceptance feels a heck of a lot better than rejection and it would be great if we never had to experience the feeling of being “not chosen.” However, it is part of EVERYONE’s human experience. Rejection is especially triggering and therefore illuminates our misunderstandings about not being good enough or worthy in some way. These misunderstandings are biggies and our Higher Self really wants to get rid of them. So although our ego despises rejection, our soul welcomes it because it is one way we are motivated to look at core misunderstandings that are holding us back.
For example, a client of mine was recently “dumped” by a man she fell head over heels in love with. The pain of the rejection was the catalyst for her to finally address the ways in which she consistently rejected herself by always being extremely self-critical. Once she saw that she had believed she could never be good enough in her own eyes, she was able to connect the dots to how that played out in life as not being good enough for anyone else. The light bulb went on and for the first time in her life, she began to feel the relief of self-acceptance. She is beginning to truly see herself as worthy, whole and complete, which in her words, “Is worth the price of rejection!”
The other huge lesson that comes from perceived rejection is not taking things personally. Our ego is the one that gets triggered by rejection so it’s extremely important to keep your ego in check by not making things all about you all the time! It’s not your fault!! There’s nothing wrong with you!! Sometimes we are not a match for a certain person or job. People are on different timelines, looking for different things, and there are a million other variables that play into why we don’t always get what we want. Your job is not to analyze why but rather to remind yourself of your inherent worthiness. Rest in the knowing that everything is working out for your highest good.
Remember, rejection is just an illusion. The reality is that you are 100% lovable just the way you are.
"I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours - so enjoy the view." - Michael York
"Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering" - Don Miguel Ruiz
"There’s nothing like rejection to make you do an inventory of yourself" - James Lee Burke
AT BEST all we have is influence. But the idea that we are not responsible for the actions of others in our lives is both profound, and at the same time, can also sound very cold.
I am not suggesting that we don’t CARE about others, of course not. This blog is not intended to turn you into a narcissist. But what I’m trying to highlight is the idea that when we realize we are off the hook for the experience of other people, we begin to take our power back. Of course we want to be loving, to care, to provide aid, support and nurturing to those who we love – and at the same time know that we are not responsible for how the other person reacts.
The paradox of this is that we are also partially responsible for how the other person reacts. Because in our communication, if we have empathy towards another and understand where they are coming from and what their beliefs are, we have the best chance at influencing them. If we only talk from OUR limited perspective and take only our beliefs to be true, then we are living in a smaller world.
Only thinking life should be how you see it isn’t empathetic or understanding, it’s simply just a projection of your worldview onto ALL things. Empathy and understanding call us to open our hearts, to see the point of view of others and to speak from a place that would resonate most with them. While at the same time knowing that we are off the hook for how THEY show up.
As with most things in life, Truth is a paradox. When we can accept that, we have taken a leap into a larger world.
Last weekend I had the honor of standing up in one of my best friend’s wedding. She and I met when we were both pursuing our Master’s degrees in spiritual psychology. As part of our degree, we had to design a project that was in alignment with a heartfelt desire or lifelong dream. Her project was learning ballroom dance as a metaphor for creating an amazing partnership and being a better partner to herself. At the time of her project, we did not know who her partner would be … now nearly five years later we do. I was overcome with joy for my bestie as I watched her walk down the aisle toward her future husband absolutely glowing. If only I could have told her about that moment five years ago as she shed tears over heartbreak! BUT, then she may not have learned what she needed to learn to call in the man of her dreams.
You see, all of our dreams do come true - just not always in the form we expect or the timing we want. Sometimes it is the NOT having what we want that ultimately prepares us for being ready and available for our heartfelt desires. In my friend’s case, not having the partner she wanted in her life for many years gave her the opportunity to become the best partner she could be to herself. By investing in her emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health, she learned how to say “I do” to herself. She made a vow to take care of her own needs, accept herself completely, choose love over self-judgment, and never settle for anything less than what her heart and soul desires.
Eventually she called in a partner who was everything (and then some) that her heart and soul desired. Given her promise to herself years ago, it was magical to hear the first line of his vows to her during the ceremony: “I vow to take care of myself.” Not exactly the line we hear in romantic movies that are usually filled with co-dependent promises like “you complete me.” Yet the beautiful things he shared about all the ways caring for himself on all levels would ultimately make him the best possible husband and soul partner for her had us all in tears.
We all look and long for others to love us - it’s a natural part of the human journey. And most of us have a romanticized notion of what partnership and marriage look like. If you are spending a lot of energy looking for “the one” or hoping the person you are with will become “the one,” consider that the person you truly long to commit to with a promise of unconditional love and self-care happens to be you.
When you take care of yourself mentally by choosing positive self-talk and eliminating negative beliefs, you are able to see others through eyes of unconditional love and acceptance.
When you take care of yourself emotionally by accepting responsibility for your upsets and compassionately tending to your feelings, you no longer project your upset onto others or expect someone else to make you feel better.
When you take care of yourself financially by having healthy boundaries with money and let go of any misunderstandings about your worthiness, you are creating more abundance in the world and therefore will have more to give.
When you take care of yourself spiritually by deepening your connection to God and elevating your consciousness, you are able to shine your Light even brighter in the world and make a meaningful contribution.
When you say “I do” to yourself, you are taking a powerful vow to be the best partner you can be to yourself first, which will in turn make you a more loving lover, spouse, friend, daughter, son, mother, father, colleague, sister, brother and stranger.
You are your best investment. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is self-honoring. You can exhaust yourself looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than yourself and you will not find that person anywhere. Take a vow of self-love today and say “I do” to you!!
"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." Oscar Wilde
"When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits - anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving." Kim McMillen
It feels a little silly or even vain to be asking you to help me lose weight. I know that you love me no matter what size I am or what the number is on the scale, but Lord, I don’t feel as good and as healthy as I’d like to be. My body is a holy temple, built for you to dwell in. I want to honor that. I want my body to feel good and I want to display a self-controlled life on the outside as well as the inside. With the power of the holy spirit who lives in me, help me to exercise self-control today. Nudge me to say no to the foods that aren’t beneficial to me. Encourage me to do the work it takes to get this weight off. I want to feel like the beautiful women you created me to be on the inside and outside. Allow me to hear your spirit today and talk to me when I’m faced with a difficult decision. Even if that decision is between eating a few cookies or eating a peach instead. Let me see your glory and find the miracles in the self control you give me today. Amen.
Have you ever heard of “shacking up?” Now, people describe living together with a more complimentary phrase: “a trial marriage.” And apparently, it’s all the rage:
Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing.
In fact, you may have even recently heard rumors I’m living with my boyfriend. As that gossip spread a couple of weeks ago, people all over America were applauding me for –finally! – coming to my senses and abandoning my no-sex-until-marriage policy. Others are saying that me shacking up with my boyfriend is the height of hypocrisy.
Here’s the thing. It’s not true. As I mentioned before, I recently bought a home across the lake from my parents’ house. While it’s under renovation, I’m actually living in an apartment on their property. Rest assured — there’s no way on earth my mom and dad would allow a guy to spend the night here with me.
But even if I weren’t temporarily living on their property, I wouldn’t move in with someone. Why? Well, new evidence reported in the New York Times suggests what the Bible has already told us: living together before marriage does not lead to happiness:
Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.
Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.
These so-called “trial marriages” hurt men, women, and children. So, all of you girls who’ve said yes to sex in the wrong context know this: you don’t have to say yes to living with someone in the wrong context too.
I guess it’s unanimous. Because now we have the Bible, the New York Times, and even Beyonce suggesting the best way to secure relationship success is to… “put a ring on it.”
Your smile proves that you are not a colony, that you have sovereignty over yourself, that you are doing your best… Events carry us away, and we lose ourselves. Walking meditation helps us regain our sovereignty, our liberty as a human being. We walk with grace and dignity, like an emperor, like a lion. Each step is life. —Thich Nhat Hanh
Every few days, I share a favorite quote on my Facebook page. Recently, I posted a quote about the gift of sitting in stillness by Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Soon after, a friend recommended his book The Long Road Turns to Joy. Ironically, this beautiful little book had been sitting on my shelf unread for years. It resurfaced during my recent move only days before. While this brilliant work is a guide to walking meditation, much of it’s content can be applied to almost all aspects of life.
I rediscovered this book at a perfect time. Over the past month, I’ve been moving forward after having to end a long-term relationship that meant very much to me. Throughout this transition, I’ve been actively contemplating personal sovereignty.
How can I continue to work towards this centered, autonomous state where one is less dependent on external factors for happiness (people/relationships, objects, substances, you name it!)? How do we maintain this independent place where we become more effective and fulfilled by grasping less and less? How do we remember our self-worth and infinite source of inner satisfaction? How do we find the strength to say, “This soon will pass” when things don’t go according to plan?
I know! These are big questions! What we must remind ourselves of, however, is that great change and growth comes slowly but surely, through working in gradual yet consistent increments. Here are a few simple techniques that everyone can do to begin to work towards greater personal sovereignty.
Daily seated or walking meditation help us tap into our inner wisdom bit by bit. All that takes is a few minutes, commitment, and enthusiasm. A simple gratitude practice each morning can also be transformative. Give thanks for your breath, body, mind, and social/physical opportunity. You can even do this as your make your morning cup of joe or tea…
Something else that has been invaluable to me? Smiling… even just a tiny bit, anywhere, at anytime. To share one more quote of Thich Nhat Hanh’s, “As you make the effort to let go of your worries and anxieties, please smile. It may be just the beginning of a smile, but keep it there on your lips… The half-smile is the fruit of your awareness that you are here, alive, walking. At the same time, it nurtures more peace and joy within you.”
Remember, there is no overnight metamorphosis. Likewise, the path towards self-investigation is far from level. We must embrace the challenges and remember, to the best of our advantage, that clarity and happiness will ensue.
Yet suffering is part of our human condition. In Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI states:
We can try to limit suffering, to fight against it, but we cannot eliminate it. It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater.
Sometimes, I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments, I’m hurdling across space between the trapeze bars.
Mostly, I spend my time hanging on for dear life to the trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control. I know most of the right questions, and even some right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily, or not so merrily, swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see?
I see another trapeze bar looking at me. It’s empty. And I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new bar as my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present well-known bar, to move to the new one.
Each time it happens, I hope–no, I pray–that I won’t have to grab the new one. But deep down I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moments in time I must hurtle across space before I can grab the new bar. Each time I do this I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurdles I have always made it. Each time, I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless basin between the bars. But I do it anyway, I must.
Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call faith. No guarantees, no net, no insurance, but we do it anyway because hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is over, the future is not yet here.” It’s called a transition. I have come to believe that this is the only place that real change occurs.
I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing,” a no-place between places. Sure, the old trapeze bar was real, and as for the new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But what about the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be broken through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a shame!
I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are the illusion we dream up to not notice the void. Yes, with all the fear that can accompany transitions, they are still the most vibrant, growth-filled, passionate moments in our lives.
And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang out” in the transition zone between the trapeze bars. Allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening. Hurdling through the void, we just may learn to fly.
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins 03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone 08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped 11. Visited Paris 12. Watched a lightning storm at sea 13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights 15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa 17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg 19. Slept under the stars 20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower 23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity 25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger 30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse 34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day 38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states 41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales 45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe 47. Taken a road-trip 48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving 51. Visited Ireland 52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan 55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero 58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving 62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud 64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites 70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days 77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert” 83. Gotten flowers for no reason 84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark 88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand 90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone 92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour 98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country 100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge 102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray 110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild 118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat 127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream 142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life
If there’s one thing we’ve all heard about breakups, it’s that the recovery process is going to be rough. That anticipation of rocky emotional terrain is a good reason why a lot of us choose to ignore red flags (“It’s no big deal if he doesn’t know who the vice-president is, right?”) or our gut feelings (“I can learn to be attracted to him, right?”) and stick with guys who just aren’t right for us. But what if breakups were actually good for us? What if kicking a partner (long-term or not) to the curb was actually healthier than sticking it out for the long haul? Great news: It’s true.
Breaking up can make you a better Y-O-U
A study of 92 students done at the University of Minnesota in 2003 found that the subjects reported several types of personal growth after a breakup, including more self-confidence and knowing better what they want in a partner. “Once the relationship ends, we no longer need to justify why we should be with the person, and this allows us to see some things with more clarity,” says Ty Tashiro, lead author of the study.
A Northwestern University study published just last month found that, post-breakup, one’s sense of self becomes confused. But being a little lost for a while isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “The specific change in the content of ‘who one is’ could be, on some level, positive,” says study co-author Erica Slotter. “For example, becoming kinder after a breakup would be a positive change to the self.”
"Breakups are often looked at as a time for to go in a new direction," says Christopher Fagundes, Ph.D., a researcher in the psychology department at the University of Utah. "People usually have more time on their hands, and they often try to find ways to ‘better’ themselves with that newfound time, and this is very healthy."
Physical and mental benefits of a breakup
Here are the top five physical and mental benefits you can look forward (yes, forward!) to after a breakup.
1. A CALMER YOU
One perk of not spending every spare second with your boyfriend? Having time to find your happy place. Meditation is a great way to do that, says Peter Strong, Ph.D., author of The Path of Mindfulness Meditation. Find a time of day where you can be completely quiet and sit with your hurt — a mere 15 to 20 minutes a day should do the trick. “People say, ‘I am feeling stressed because…” or ‘I am feeling angry because…’ There is no such thing as ‘because,’” Strong says. “You have complete control and complete responsibility for how you feel. How you feel is not related to what happens to you.”
How to maximize the good stuff:
Use visualization techniques to focus. If feelings of post-breakup pain crop up during your daily routine take a 30-second meditation break and say this to the suffering: “Ah! I see you. Welcome!” or “I choose to smile at you,” Strong says.
2. BETTER EATING HABITS
It’s hard to resist pizza when he’s already ordered one. “Women often complain because they tend to eat the same amount as their boyfriend and therefore gain weight,” says nutrition expert Susan Mitchell, Ph.D. “After a breakup, women can focus on their needs calorie-wise and especially on portion sizes.”
How to maximize the good stuff:
Choose foods to get you and keep you well. Foods with vitamin C (red peppers, peaches — even baked potatoes), B-vitamins (brown rice and whole-grain bread), and potassium (pineapple, spinach, or cherries) may help offset stress, Mitchell says. “Get enough protein — which many women do not — for healthy hair and extra sleep for overall body maintenance,” she adds.
3. A MORE FULFILLING LIFE
There’s no better time than now to reclaim your likes, dislikes, and goals. “Too often, women in relationships put too much energy into their partner,” says Marsha Lucas, Ph.D., a psychologist in Washington, DC. “[After a breakup,] you might rediscover things about yourself that you might have forgotten, and then you attract people who know who they are in the world. You can then say, ‘I like him, and I like me.’”
How to maximize the good stuff:
Give yourself a life quiz. “Ask yourself, ‘What do I want to create?’” Lucas advises. “If you start asking yourself what’s next, you’ll learn to get back to yourself.”
4. INCREASED PHYSICAL FITNESS
If your relationship didn’t leave much room for gym time, this is your chance to pencil it back in. “A breakup might be the motivation for a person to think more independently and start doing things she finds most interesting,” says Tommy Boone, Ph.D., co-founder of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists. “Exercise has been demonstrated to work as well in some cases as prescribed medication for depression and anxiety.”
How to maximize the good stuff:
Make silly mantras work for you. Goofy sayings are okay, as long as they get your hiney moving. “Think ‘Just do it,’ regardless of how stupid it sounds,” Boone says. “Learn that you are important, and you need to take care of yourself, and that you must develop the right habits and mental reference to deal with daily events and life challenges.”
5. CLOSER FRIENDSHIPS
Fewer couples’ nights in means more girls’ nights out: One of the after-breakup plusses that subjects reported in the University of Minnesota study was “improved platonic friendships.”
How to maximize the good stuff:
The next time you bring a guy around, ask your friends’ opinions (and listen). “Your friends and yes, even your family can predict your relationship future better than you can,” Tashiro says. “The aggregate opinion of close others leads to better predictions of how long it will be until you break up and even how satisfied you will be in the future. Asking their advice and opinions can provide some great opportunities for insight.”
A final thought
“If you can sit and hold the feelings of worry and the fear of abandonment, the suffering will begin to become malleable — allowing it to change and evolve to peace,” Strong says.