A Letter To Pain

927667_76264679-001

In the past, as some of you know, I wrote different letters to myself and recently, after reflecting on how far I’ve come, I think it’s time to write a letter to Pain.  Instead of blaming Pain for all the heartache it caused me over time, I’m going to look at Pain from a spiritual point of view and how it changed me into the woman I am today.

One thing I know for sure is that we always have a choice in our lives, for every decision that comes our way which makes us accountable for ourselves.  If things are decided for us, then we get to decide how to handle it.  What we decide becomes our new life path and leads us to exactly where we need to be in order to learn what we don’t know yet.  Even if it’s the second, third or hundredth time around.

Author Caroline Myss says there is no wrong path, we are all on the right path; but here’s the thing, we just might not be managing it very well.  We may have taken a detour along the way.  Therefore, in knowing we have a choice to get back on track and more aligned with who we really are; the path we are on always leads us home.  Back to ourselves and to our purpose.

 

Dear Pain,

Unfortunately, I know you well.  A little too well, actually.  I’ve seen you come and go throughout my life, sometimes disguised as pleasure, and I have to say, it is never easy or comfortable when you come to visit me.  Most of the time you appear without warning out of nowhere and end up making me feel scared, angry, disappointed, confused, upset, and hurt.  Your timing is incredible because it’s always inconvenient with my plans, forcing me to stop what I’m doing or take another detour.

However, these stops and detours have served a purpose while you were here.  All because of you, Pain, I found ways to handle you, heal you, and let you go.  There is no strength if there is no struggle and if there’s any silver lining to be found within you, Pain, this is it.  You’ve given my emotional muscles a real workout.

You see, Pain turned up the volume of the unworthy voices in my head and I believed them.  Pain knocked me down, but I fought to live.  Pain was my best teacher and worst nightmare all rolled into one.  I’ll never forget the lessons learned in the classroom outside the classroom.  Pain tried to make me fail but after a while, I passed the tests and received the blessing of insight.  Looking back, I see what needed to be learned and why.  So many rich meanings and a spiritual awakening occurred.

Pain, I can’t carry you around on my back anymore, you are too heavy and dark for me.  Not only do I need light, but I also need to feel light.  I finally realize Pain is a reverse role model of what not to do.

Here are some examples of what Pain brought me on the left, and on the right are some things Pain taught me:

Lies = Honesty

Mean = Kindness

Revenge = Walking Away

Selfish = Giving

Stealing = Generosity

Negative = Positive

Self-Righteous = Forgiving

Betrayal = Setting Boundaries

Quiet = Vocal

Closed Minded = Open-Minded

Ignoring Myself = Self-Care

Physical Symptoms = Exercise

Emotional Symptoms = Asking For Help

Holding On = Letting Go

Old Me = New Me

Thanks to you, Pain, I found new hobbies, interests, friends, work, perspective on life, parenting skills, awareness, and a new life.  Everything got better.  I even taught my kids how to handle you because unfortunately, they have seen you too.  Now I have more compassion, empathy, strength, understanding for others dealing with loss, suffering, and divorce.

Thanks again to you, I discovered the power of music, reading, writing, practicing mindfulness, living in the moment, accepting truths, and forgiveness is a gift I give to myself.

Writing is a big part of who I am, it leads me back to myself.  It is my life purpose, so much so that I wrote a book about you, Pain, and I still can’t believe it.  Don’t get too excited, just because I write about you doesn’t mean I like you.  I’m simply trying to understand and decode you for myself and others.  Happiness doesn’t come to me, it comes from me.  It is a choice and how I perceive life experiences.  Writing makes me happy.

You taught me the hard way to put the relationship with myself first, so I don’t put myself second with others.  I question what real love is, what do I want, need, from a meaningful relationship.  You showed me dealbreakers, pitfalls, narcissism, toxicity, and wove red flags in my face.  Now I ask more questions, and I’m careful with who I trust.  You’ve sent me difficult/selfish people, heartbreak, loss, tragic events, unfortunate circumstances to handle which taught me many things about myself and life.  Because of being cheated and deceived, I’ve become more vigilant and discerning.  Respect is a 2-way street, I  accept nothing less.  You certainly tested my patience and my ability to control my emotions.  Now I can see one of the reasons why you showed up was to protect me from other forms of pain.

At the moment,  I am practicing gratitude on a daily basis, my heart feels lighter, more peaceful.  I’m finished hiding behind you Pain, now I’m more obvious.  I found the courage to stand up and live my best life, imperfections and all.  What I’ve learned is this: if you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer.  If you focus on the lessons, you will continue to grow.  All because of you, Pain, I grew, learned, discovered, and even avoided you.  People came and went thanks to you.  I also apologize for being just like you at times, a royal pain in the A**!

The new me feels free, empowered, happy with myself,  and never gives up.  I can walk away from you, but with a grateful heart for all the life lessons.  I know I can’t live my life “Pain-free” but the next time you do arrive, I aim to be more prepared.

I never thought I would say this, but thank you Pain for showing up in my life, and for everything you’ve taught and brought me.   I’m exactly where I need to be in my life with my work, friends, family, love, and myself.  No experience goes unwasted, no mud, no lotus.  If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be me, right here, right now.

Dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

One of my favorite songs Never Give Up, by Sia is what I listen to while I go for my walks down by the river.  I love it, I hope you do too.

**Hello Everyone and Happy September!  Copies of Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak are still available at all online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU ❤

Project-Self: Self-Respect and Self-Worth

20180704_080112

As I live my life and deal with everything being thrown at me, there seems to be this recurring feeling that never really goes away.  Whether it’s on my good days or not so good days, the topics of self-respect and self-worth are front row and center.

For the past few years, I made a commitment to myself to get to know myself better from within.  When you give yourself what you need first, you get it in return.  For example, if you feel you are not getting respect, ask if you respect yourself first.  If you feel like you are not feeling worthy or validated, are you aware of your own worth?  It also works on the flip side.  For example, if you don’t respect yourself, it is difficult to show respect to others.  If you don’t see your own worth, you will not see it in others either.  This is why it’s so crucial to pay attention to how we behave in all our relationships.  So many people give unsolicited advice to friends, family and even strangers on how they should live their lives but when it comes to themselves, they can’t take their own advice.

Ironic?  Absolutely.

So where do we begin?  With ourselves; by realizing we are enough and deserve happy and healthy relationships right from the get-go.  When in doubt, it’s time to have a little pow-wow with self-respect and self-worth to remind us we need to set boundaries with people and sometimes walk away from it all.  Self-compassion plays a huge role when we are struggling through something like this and we can start talking to ourselves the same way we would to a good friend, in a loving and forgiving way that supports our mental and emotional health.  If you are not a priority in someone’s life then why is it ok to be an option?  If that person you are with is not a priority, then why do you keep holding on?  If someone is treating you badly, ask yourself why you keep letting them?  If someone can’t see your worth, make sure that someone isn’t you.  Rise up.  It takes a lot of strength and courage to let go of toxic relationships that only feed your ego and not your soul.  If you are in an unhealthy relationship and know it, ask yourself why are you staying?  What I know for sure, is that I would rather be on my own than with the wrong person.  Life is way too short and wasting time with someone or with yourself is not a good idea.  We all have a choice and whatever you decide, you are responsible for it.  If you want to make a change, then you have to take action because thinking about it won’t change anything.

By taking action, you are showing self-respect and self-worth because you know in your heart you deserve more than what you’re getting and you are honoring your feelings.  Bravo for realizing it because as soon as you do this, the world opens up and the Universe responds by supporting you.  Draw a line in the sand, stand up, say no, walk away, let go, do what you need to do but just make sure you do something that supports YOU.  Speak your truth!

I would like to share a short letter I wrote.  It isn’t for one person but for the collective bunch who try to disrespect any of us and can’t see clearly.

 

“Dear You,

I know you are struggling to pay attention to me, see me for who I am and make me a priority in your life.  I just want you to know, I don’t need your validation because as of now, everything is over and I’m validating myself.  I’m not upset, I’m awake.  I see what I want and need in my life and I know I deserve more because I’m so worth it.  Out of respect, I have to walk away and since this is a one-sided relationship, this doesn’t work for me anymore.  I can no longer sit here looking straight ahead and seeing the past and no future.

All I ever asked was for you to spoil me with loyalty, love, respect, affection, attention, friendship, and great conversation.  I can finance myself just fine.  Apparently, that was asking too much of you.  What is too much for me is waiting, wondering, and wishing for a life that doesn’t exist with you.  It’s too expensive for my mental and emotional health, I am worth so much more than you’ll ever know.  It’s unfortunate that previous relationships poison present ones because when things are not dealt with at the moment, they carry over into the next relationship.  That isn’t fair to either side but it happens all the time.  Future relationships lose their chance of being healthy if nothing changes from within.

Now I realize that sometimes you have to love people from a distance to let them become who they need to be and sometimes you need to love people from a distance so you can be the person you need to be.  I am owning my emotions so I can let them go while moving forward.  Due to the circumstances and as a sign of self-respect, I have to go.  Maybe one day you will realize you hurt the one girl who would never hurt you.

“People will teach you how to love by not loving you back.  People will teach you how to forgive by not apologizing.  People will teach you kindness by their judgment.  People will teach you how to grow by remaining stagnant.  Pay attention when you’re going through painful and mysterious times.  Listen to the wisdom life is trying to teach you.”  ~ Meredith Marple

All the very best to you and thank you for all the life lessons.”

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
XX

** I hope you are enjoying the Project-Self blogs so far. Thank you to everyone for reading and liking them.  As I write I learn and as I learn I write.  Working on myself is a process but it’s also one I enjoy doing and I hope you do too in your own life ❤

** “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at online bookstores worldwide and at FriesenPress online bookstore.  I am grateful for all the love from my readers.  Please check out the wonderful reviews people have left on my website 😀

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

Project Self: Self-Betrayal

tumblr_nefpbnuziI1so87rwo1_400

Welcome to August everyone!  I hope you’re having a wonderful summer spending time with those you love and time on your own.  As promised, I am starting a new blog series titled “Project-Self” which will include several topics related to how we can take better care of ourselves.  Sometimes when we are busy taking care of everyone else, we forget that we count too and if our tank is empty, how can we give to others or be at our best?

My intention is to keep these blogs positive and reflect on life.  Self-betrayal is a great way to start this series because how many times do we put ourselves last, or people please to control an outcome?  Every single relationship begins with us, whether that’s at work, with friends, family, lovers, kids and especially with ourselves.  If you want love, you need self-love, if you want to trust, you need self-trust first.  If you want to be true to yourself and your needs, you cannot betray yourself.  Finding happiness begins within yourself first and once you can feel it, even in the slightest way, you begin to radiate and attract it.

To know yourself, you need to spend time with yourself.

Author Caroline Myss talks about knowing what your life purpose is and how you can be true to who you are without it costing your power.  She says when you betray your own happiness for the sake of others and their feelings, you are betraying yourself and what’s inside of you.  Your intuition never shuts off and you feel that nagging knot in your stomach.  Sound familiar?  I know I’ve been there before.  That’s how you know you’re going off your path.  Self-betrayal is when you feel you have to negotiate your sense of integrity, and you compromise who you are as a person.

When you no longer betray yourself and put your happiness first, you no longer feel like it is costing you your power, psyche, soul, you’re not confused or drained like you are losing yourself.

Compromising within a relationship is different and necessary if you want it to work.  If the choice enhances your spirit, you made a compromise.  If the choice drained your spirit, you just betrayed yourself.

If you are in a relationship where you are pretending that everything is ok when it truly isn’t, you are betraying everything in your heart and you can feel it.  Is that fair to you?  To the people around you?

Are we ever on the wrong path?  Caroline Myss says no, you are always on the right path but sometimes, you are just not managing it well.  You are making choices that are harming you and that’s why it is hurting.  When your life path begins to harm you, you’ve taken a detour.

What I’ve learned is that blaming other people for our choices is the easy way out because they may have done something bad, but we allowed it to continue.  Everything starts with us and what we are willing to tolerate.

For example, someone may have betrayed you in the past, and maybe you think that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you when in fact the ultimate betrayal, is the betrayal to yourself.   When you sell yourself short of what you want or need, you always lose at a very high cost. Not only that, Caroline Myss says when you do betray yourself, you are no different than the people who harm you.  Wow…and ouch!  That to me is a double whammy and a huge wake-up call to make a change in how I manage myself. I honestly never thought of it this way but she is right.  If we want to be happy, we need to find what makes us happy and do that as often as possible with people who bring out our best.  We need to realize that the opposite of self-betrayal is self-trust and being loyal to us.  We all want healthy relationships but we need to get healthy ourselves so we attract that in return.

These are the reasons I decided to start with the topic of self-betrayal to bring awareness and show you do count, it is not selfish to take care of yourself, you can do this while maintaining relationships, and be kind to yourself because you are so worth it.

Here is a short video of Caroline Myss in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, talking about self-betrayal.

For those who are new here… Welcome!!  For those who are returning, Welcome Back!! If you are interested in my book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” it is available at online bookstores worldwide and at FriesenPress.

“Project-Self” to be continued…

 

Much Love and Gratitude ❤

Jen

 

 

Let Go or Be Dragged

c33304259a7c80f6e4d6a891ec4567cb--love-life-real-life

As we move closer to the end of 2017, it’s a wonderful time to become more reflective of what happened, ask ourselves what we desire in 2018 and determine what’s important to us and why.  I recently did this exercise with my wonderful friend Basak.

For me, it’s been a year of ups and downs, and at the same time, I’ve learned so much about myself in the process like how to apply some additional coping mechanisms to decrease stress.  How to surrender and let go has been BIG on my agenda.  Letting go of who and what’s not right for me is a constant learning experience and I know I’m not alone.

One thing I am grateful for this year is how well our co-parenting scenario is going.  Especially for the sake of my kids because we are all doing the best we can with what we’ve got in our new normal and that’s a huge relief for everyone.

The dating world is another story, I am still learning how to recognize red flags more, and let go of those clever wolves in sheep clothing.  Dating has been both good and not so good but I refuse to let that drag me down and around.

Just like Richard Branson says; “If I cut you off, chances are you handed me the scissors.”  It’s better to let someone walk away from you than all over you.  Just let them go one way, and you go the other way.

I learned how to park my brain and engage my spirit by being grateful for everything I have both internally and externally.  I crave inspiring things and people in my life.  It’s what’s on the inside that matters most to me.

Let’s be honest, life is complex and our emotions even more so when you are being dragged.  This can be painful like when you’re swinging on those monkey bars and hanging on so darn tight.

c69b8cd5ddd5da4bfb789083e93a55b7

We can’t move forward if we are always looking backward.  Sounds simple but it’s true.  Try driving a car while always looking in your rearview mirror.  I’ll make sure I’m off the road that day!

Stop trying to fit in and go where you belong.  That’s where you can be your true self and feel comfortable with who you really are.  Find your tribe, let go of bad vibes and people that drag you down.  Lean into support instead.

I learned to stop hanging on for the sake of other people’s feelings.  This is the most disrespectful thing you can do to yourself.  There’s a saying; “There’s no need to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.”  So let go before you get burned.

Forgive yourself for making mistakes, you’re only human just like everyone else.  This will bring you peace.

Above everything, love yourself with every cell in your human body by being self-compassionate.

As author Mark Nepo says “Maybe there’s a better life plan for you that you don’t know about.  Hope for good, allow for even better.”

There will be times in your life when you don’t know why something is happening.  Create your own closure if you can’t obtain it from the source.  Instead of trying to find a happy ending, why not try and create a new beginning?

I learned it is physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally exhausting to hang onto something that is dragging you around, especially for so long.  Listen to your body and intuition.

Picture this…

horse-dragged-in

A guy is on the ground being dragged behind a horse and is hanging onto the reins for dear life.  The horse goes about his business every day, eating, galloping, doing number one and two, but the guy will not let go despite knowing it doesn’t feel good, smell good, or look good, he’s just hangin’ on to hang on!  The horse gallops and jumps in all kinds of weather and there’s that guy, still hangin’ on through the air, mud, and tall grass.  From an outsiders point of view, what do you see here?  What do you think of him as he gets dragged right in front of you?  Are you screaming inside your head saying “OMG just let go!”  This guy doesn’t realize he has a choice; to be courageous and do something about it.  Excuses like being in “limbo” don’t cut it but making a decision certainly does.

Remember those scissors?

Life situations are very similar.  We hang onto something dear to us that we can’t accept has already left and we end up being dragged.  Or we let go but keep running back to the same problem in the first place, even though we know it’s not right for us.  This destroys our self-respect, dignity, and self-worth.  It’s poison to our brain and once we realize we are sick and tired of being dragged, only then can we finally let go.

If someone or something is running away from you, let go because that means it wasn’t meant for you anyway.   It was there for a reason, but now it’s over, so time to move onto something much bigger and better.

Being dragged by someone or something blocks the Universe from letting the light and good enter our lives.  However, once you let go, you create an open space that’s always been there but now the blockage is gone and something better can arrive in its place.

Back to the horse scenario, learn how to let go of the reins, get up, dust yourself off, and don’t get dragged anymore.  Run your own race and stay in your own lane where you belong.  I’m sure that horse is tired of dragging you around anyway!

From what I’ve learned, when you do let go, you attract what’s right for you in return.

So here’s to less drama in 2018 and continuing to learn more about how to let go of what’s not meant for us so we can choose the path to true happiness.  Why?  Because we’re so darn worth it!

Let go or be dragged.  You always have a choice.

c33304259a7c80f6e4d6a891ec4567cb--love-life-real-life

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck” ~ Dalai Lama

Enjoy your holidays, much love and gratitude to you ❤

Jen
XO

PS:  My book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at all online bookstores worldwide.  Dare to live courageously…

 

 

 

Genuine (A to Z Challenge)

0cf0eb21b49757fa62ada7faed1e270e

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.” ~ Margaret Young

Is being genuine something you have or don’t have or is it a practice?

I believe being genuine is a choice we make every day where we show up and be real and honest.  We show our vulnerable side to others by letting our true selves be seen.  It’s a daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we really are.

There are people who consciously practice being genuine, then there are those who don’t and there are most people who are genuine on some days and not so genuine on others.  After all we’re human not robots, therefore we’re all made of strength and struggle.

It takes courage to allow ourselves to be imperfect, vulnerable and to set boundaries.  We need to live and love with our whole hearts even when we feel unworthy.  Being genuine isn’t always easy or the safe option.  Sometimes being real over being liked is about living outside your comfort zone.  When we do that, we are exposing ourselves to potential cruelty attacks but cruelty is cheap and hurtful whether it is true or not.  Yes there’s risk in putting your true self out there in the world.  But there’s even more risk in hiding yourself and your gifts from the world.  Our unexpressed ideas, passions, contributions don’t just go away, they gnaw at us from the inside out and at our worthiness.  If you decide to hide being genuine, you might feel anxious or even depressed which doesn’t get you very far.

Why would you want to sacrifice who you are for the sake of what other people think?

Maybe being genuine is contagious and if I’m brave enough to be genuine, it will inspire other people to be genuine too.  I mean let’s face it, if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve gotta walk the walk 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Genuine Jen 😉
xo