A Letter To Pain

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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

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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…

 

 

Dr. Shefali Tsabary-Conscious Parenting

As many of you already know, India holds a special place in my heart as do many of my friends who are from there.  The spiritual connection we all share is something I cannot describe but can definitely feel.

I recently came across a TED Talk by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. clinical psychologist, and author of the book “Conscious Parenting.”   Her Indian background compliments her style of work where Eastern spirituality and mindfulness meets Western world psychology, creating one of the most transformative ways of thinking while raising children.

Whether you are a parent or a non-parent, Dr. Tsabary’s insight is remarkable because all relationships are intimate connections and relationships with our children are the most intimate of all because they are a part of us.  As children grow and learn, we relive our own childhood and this includes the challenging times they experience which can trigger the challenging times we experienced as children with our own parents.  The same is true with love relationships, new situations can trigger old wounds which continue to revisit us until they are dealt with.

We all carry around something called our emotional shadow which is our emotional baggage of unacknowledged pain and our own ego.  Whether you are a parent or not, we all have it and carry it.  Maybe your emotional shadow is made up of pain, neglect, abandonment or dishonesty.

As a parent, we can’t expect our children to embrace painful feelings if we haven’t taken the opportunity to do that with ourselves.  They need to experience pain in order to grow because it’s where we learn the most from life.  Hiding, covering up or avoiding pain only adds to the emotional baggage and when you become a parent, our children will do something that triggers that old wound, and instead of reacting in an outburst, we need to look within ourselves and ask why we are reacting a certain way so we can awaken ourselves and start being better parents.  We need to explore our emotional shadow to face the unprocessed emotional pain and tune into our own essence, therefore, tuning into the essence of our children.  This is how we face our own ego and become better parents.

As you help your child, you are helping yourself and as you look within yourself to ask your inner child what this is trying to tell you, you are helping your children.  Children are our teachers and this is why it’s so important to put yourself first so you can be the best possible parent for your children.  It is the most transformative swing of the pendulum because you are changing your perspective from ego to wisdom and both sides are winning.

Dr. Tsabary also talks about how we always have choices in life and we can look at life situations in two different ways.  One, life is happening to us or secondly, life is happening for us.

In the first example, life is happening to us, essentially means, you vs me.  It is a separation from our spirits, a victim of life perspective.  People become passive aggressive and find addictions as an escape route.  Perhaps it’s someone who lost their job or a failed relationship.  People see themselves as chronic victims and find an addiction such as drugs or food and they lose their spirit and connections in the world.  It’s the easy way out.

In the second example, life is happening for us.  People rarely take this approach, but it is always a choice that exists.  Life disguises itself in painful ways such as trauma, shock, darkness, yet even in these times, we can look at this pain as an awakening and we can ask ourselves “What does this experience mean to me and how do I need to grow?”  Life mirrors back to us the ways we have yet to develop.  We miss these signs, calls, and invitations because we look at it as if life is happening to us.  Every difficult relationship is a calling because it’s asking us to wake up.  Ask yourself, “What in my emotional shadow has been triggered so I can reach my authentic self?”

Dr. Tsabary developed an acronym as a reminder when owning your own emotional baggage, which is ACT.

A-Aware of yourself.  Aware of your anxiety, energy, words and beliefs.  See things as is, as they really are.  What is really going on?

C-Consciousness.  Noticing the cause and effect.  Where do our cause and effect occur?

T-Transformation.  There are 3 ways to transform.  One, embrace the situation, take it for what it is.  Two, stop being a victim, change it, go to therapy, and start healing.  Three, leave it.

When people see the work and effort that is required to own their emotional baggage, they take the first approach where life is happening to us and therefore, no ownership is taken because it means giving up too much.

Every moment is alive with meaning and purpose, and we can lead joyous and peaceful lives for ourselves and for our children.

We just need to awaken into conscious parenting.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

 

 

Hope (A to Z Challenge)

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Hope is a function of struggle. When hope leads, love follows and miracles can happen.

Hope is often thought of as an emotion but it’s not. It’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions accompany hope but it does not stand alone. Hope happens when we have the ability to set realistic goals and we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes. In other words, you know how to get there by being persistent and you can tolerate disappointment and try again. Expectations are more rigid.  Most importantly, you believe in yourself by saying “I can do this!!!”

People with high levels of hopefulness often have experience with adversity. They have been given the opportunity to struggle and in doing so they learned how to believe in themselves found their way and carried on.  I know I have been in this situation before and I struggled my way out of it with the love and support of people around me who didn’t judge or criticize me.  I have high hopes for my future and I am doing my best to get there.  Whatever your personal drought has been; love, health, money or work, I know how hard it is to get to the other side but with hope it helps to increase our resilience.  There will definitely be times when our hopes are low and our knees hit the floor.  Maybe while we’re down there we could pray for a miracle and sometimes when we loosen our grip that’s exactly when the miracle arrives.

If we want our children to develop high levels of hopefulness, we have to let them struggle and stop protecting them so much because they need to learn that they have the ability to dare greatly on their own too.

That is a great sign of strength and it’s how we encourage them to grow.   And when we witness them growing, we grow too.  Funny how that happens.

The important thing we need to remember is that we must never take away someone’s hope because it might be all they have left.

We don’t always get what we want but we can hope so.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo