Looking Back While Looking Ahead

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I read somewhere that you should never look back on things that happened but only look back to see how far you’ve come.  I would like to add that looking back can be a positive experience if your intention is to find the life lesson or silver lining hiding within the situation.

“No experience is wasted…everything in life is to grow you up.”  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Looking back, it’s been one year ago today, October 27th, 2015 when I signed my divorce papers.  Since then I’ve done a lot of soul-searching, writing, learning, and personal growth and development.  The year 2015 was the most difficult time of my life and in 2016, I needed to make it one of the best years of my life.  Looking ahead, I just finished writing my first book which was cathartic.  My new start began with my trip to India in January 2016 and it was the best way to push the restart button on my new life.

I’ve definitely come a long way in a short amount of time.

I am currently in the editing phase with my publishing company and I am expecting to have my book released in early 2017 which I am crazy excited about!  It will be available everywhere online, more details on that to come later on.  I wanted to share this news and blog about it to let you know it’s coming and give you some background information at the same time.

This book is about how I dealt with my separation and divorce and how I overcame adversity by self-reflection and finding the silver lining in my crumbling life events.  It’s not a book of venting or blaming.  It’s about my journey to recovery, accepting my own responsibilities and how I kept a positive outlook and learned some life lessons while living through the most difficult time of my life.  For every chapter, I describe the before, during and after phase by including my reflections now and a blog I wrote on my website in real time with the real emotions of what I was going through in 2015 and 2016.  Therefore, these chapters are the real and personal stories behind the blogs I wrote, alongside my reflections now.

We all fall down in life and I admit I have fallen many times which is painful and hurts so much.  It’s normal to stay down for a while but eventually, you need to get back up and face reality.  This requires some action steps and commitment. But for some, this is where the rubber fails to hit the road.  They may know what they need to do but they can’t even begin to even try.  I know how hard that is because there were days I felt the same way, but I realized that by keeping an open mind and open heart I may fall again and what’s important is finding the strength to keep rising with an incredible support system.

If you’ve ever had a relationship end in a traumatic way and change your world or if you are in the middle of one right now, rest assured you are not alone, I can sympathize and empathize with you and I am by your side.   My intention is to let you know you’re not alone and you can get through it.

Even though every story or scenario might be different when it comes to any type of loss in life, the one thing we all share is our emotions and the grieving process we all go through. That’s how we’re all connected and if we can support one another during our most difficult times, this I know for sure is the best way to survive.

It definitely worked for me, I didn’t do this alone.

Once you have the support you need, you can begin the healing process by taking some responsibility for your own actions because let’s face it, it takes two people to make or break a relationship.  This might come as a surprise to some because when there is a breakup, one person may be more to blame than the other.  This might be true to some extent but the other person definitely plays a role in that relationship which led to its demise whether they want to own it or not.  Life is a journey of imperfections, and trials and tribulations.  Some days, weeks or years are better than others but let’s not forget we’re all human.

Not robots, not perfect and not superior.

I would like to share some words by author Brené Brown that helped carry me through some of my toughest times and I hope they help you too.

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look at it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.”

I feel proud for sharing my story with all of you in my upcoming book and I appreciate all of your love and support.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

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Reckoning, Rumble, Revolution

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If you are a Brené Brown fan like me, you will recognize these three words because they are in the title of her latest book called “Rising Strong.  The Reckoning.  The Rumble.  The Revolution.”  If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall.  This is a book about what it takes to get back up.  I love that.

Ah, the emotional adventures in life are the ones we didn’t see coming, the ones where we got hurt, disappointed, heartbroken.  It feels like our emotions just swallowed us whole and that’s an uncomfortable feeling for anyone, it’s where we fall.  However, uncomfortable means finding your courage to get back up and start over by recognizing and finding out where you are as of now, how did you get there and where do you want to go next.  It’s the emotional reckoning of finding the silver lining in a tough situation we’re facing and how we walk into our story.

Then comes the rumble and that’s where we own our story, it’s the middle part, the hardest and messiest part where all the work needs to be done in order to understand and learn what happened by being honest with ourselves.  This is where change begins at the heart of it all and this is where we learn more about ourselves.  We need to get real about the stories we’re telling ourselves because our mind believes what we tell it, therefore we need to keep it positive and honest.  The accumulation of all the imperfections we find in this mess is where we struggle to find our inner beauty which in turn leads to positive personal growth and development.  Sometimes the rumble can last longer than the others but that’s okay, you’re getting there.  The magic is in the mess.

The revolution is about the process when our rumble changes become a way of life and are integrated into how we live day to day and interact with others and ourselves.  Even small series of changes can change the world and how we engage with it.  We need to have open minds and hearts to be able to even start this process.  Some people around you might not like this stage because on the outside it might look confusing or even scary to some.  This is what transformation is all about which are possibilities and opportunities then carrying them out into the world to inspire others.  Respect and trust in the process because everything is unfolding exactly as it should be and this is where we rise strong.

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.” ~Brené Brown

“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness-even our wholeheartedness-actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.” ~Brené Brown

I have fallen, struggled and transformed through all the R’s a few times in my life.  Every time I do this I rise even stronger.  I am imperfect and damn proud of it.

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Perfection and Connection

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The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued: when they can give and receive without judgment: and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. We are wired for connection, it’s in our biology. We need connection to thrive emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually. The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force.”  ~Brené Brown

 In order to truly connect with others, we need to show up.  Get out of our own way.  Stop listening to the little gremlins inside our head that tells us we’re not good enough.

All types of relationships are based on connection and whether we see and feel that connection or if we don’t.  To feel is to be vulnerable, putting ourselves out there.  It’s about self-acceptance and knowing we are not perfect and that it’s the imperfections we carry that make us beautiful.

When someone reaches out to another person, they are being vulnerable, courageous and aware of their imperfections.  What they are looking for is empathy which is very different from sympathy.  Empathy makes us feel like we are not alone and that somebody cares and understands us.  We feel connected.  Sympathy only drains us and makes us feel even more alone – disconnected.  Sometimes it’s not the response that makes things better but it’s the connection.  This short and cute 2:53 minute video explains it very well.

If we want deep, authentic connections we need to get out of our own way, start being vulnerable by feeling every emotion and forget about perfection.

Dare greatly!  ❤

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Hustling For Worthiness

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Brené Brown is #TheQueen of defining worthiness, therefore I will quote her instead of trying to interpret her outstanding research. 🙂

“Love and belonging are essential to the human experience.  Only one thing separates the men and women who feel a deep sense of love and belonging from the people who seem to be struggling for it.  That one thing is the belief in their worthiness.  It’s as simple and complicated as this:  If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.  When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness-the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging, right this minute.”  ~Brené Brown

Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites but many of us have a long list that we have created or have been handed down to us.  I would like you to play along and ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as possible, just for your own knowledge.

I’ll be worthy when/if……

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong somewhere?

Or had the thoughts that you weren’t good enough?

What did that feel like?

How did you handle that?

Were you able to feel that you were worthy and deserving of love and belonging?

How do you feel about love and belonging right now?

If you could give yourself some advice right now on how to deal with worthiness and love and belonging, what would you say to yourself right now?

Imagine you are talking to a child about worthiness, love and belonging, what would you say to that child?

Are you able to accept this advice you just gave to a child and use it for yourself?

And now for the biggest question of all;

Are you a hustler for worthiness?  Do you constantly perform, perfect, please or prove yourself to everyone around you? If you answered yes to this, you are giving away your power to someone else to decide if you are worthy or not.  This is not helpful despite your good intentions.   Self-worth, self-confidence, believing and knowing you are enough gives you full access to love and belonging and you deserve nothing but the absolute best. ❤

You are enough so no need to hustle.  You’re actually more than enough.

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Being Enough: Fitting In vs. Belonging

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“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
~ Brené Brown

I am slightly obsessed with Brené Brown and if you have never heard of her before, allow me introduce you to her.  She has a Ph.D. in Social Work and has been studying shame, courage and vulnerability for over fifteen years now.  She has appeared on TED Talks, Oprah and has written inspiring books such as The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are and Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.

One of my favorite chapters she writes about is on fitting in vs. belonging.   They are not the same thing and one gets in the way of the other.  They are two sides of the same coin.

Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted.   It’s the disease to please.  It’s chasing down some acceptance and worthiness so we can feel better about ourselves.  “I will feel worthy when…” or “I’ll be whoever or whatever you need me to be, as long as I feel like I’m a part of this.”  It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Remember high school?

Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.  True belonging only happens when we present our authentic selves, imperfections and all.  It’s about self-love and self-acceptance and embracing who we are.  Essentially, it’s the act of courage and unconditional love for ourselves.  You know when you belong somewhere or with someone because you can feel it in your body.  You feel loved at peace and free.

Therefore, fitting in gets in the way of belonging.  It’s the gremlins that set up camp in our heads that tell us “you’re not good enough.”  It’s hard to feel worthy of love and belonging when you listen to this little monster.   The truth is, love and belonging means uncertainty but they still go together.  And according to Brené, those who have a strong sense of love and belonging, have the courage to be imperfect.

I found this concept really interesting because many people believe that fitting in and belonging are the same thing when in fact they’re not.  My question to you is this; are you living your life according to fitting in or belonging?  The next question is why?  Sometimes you just have to say “enough already” and let yourself off the hook.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau

The Power of Vulnerability: Brene Brown

If you are not familiar with Brene Brown’s work, allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite speaker’s on earth.  She is a researcher, a storyteller and a Texan according to her Twitter account. When we live with vulnerability, we live with our whole hearts which creates a beautiful feeling of happiness. This 20 minute TED talk is so inspiring I highly recommend you take the time to watch it because in the end, we are all enough.