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 ❤

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That Girl

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Sometimes I imagine…
I am living outside myself and looking back at who I am now

As I turn my head over my left shoulder,
I see a girl who is strong and brave
And then I see a girl who is sometimes alone and scared

I see a girl who is happy and smiling
And then I see a girl who is at times sad and tearful

I see a girl who is free and independent
And then I remember the girl who was stuck and felt trapped

I see a girl who knows herself more than ever because of practicing self-care, self-love, and forgiveness
I remember the girl who turned her back on herself and forgot who she was for so long

I see a girl who counts on herself to get things done with confidence
I sometimes see the girl who gets caught up in others broken promises and simultaneously finds a way to let go instead of feeling let down

I want to hug that girl and tell her in the most compassionate way that everything is going to be fine. Healing is never linear and triggers are everywhere. Some days are better than others and your friends and family love and support you.  Always remember this

I tell her, grieve so you can feel free to feel something else

Now I see a girl living her best life each day while dodging bullets and catching curveballs

I slowly look up at myself in the mirror and I see that girl and all the girls I know who experience the same things I do from time to time

We are a collective bunch of empowered women standing together with both our soft and sharp edges

I see a girl who wants the same thing we all want…love ❤

I remind her, the power of gratitude in your worst times can change your life into your best times

And she graciously smiles, knowing she’s THAT GIRL…

Love,

Jen
XO

 

**To all the women out there, I think we are THAT GIRL to some extent at one time or another.  Right now, my good friend Diane Loubert is making some pretty powerful positive changes in her life, and it’s such a privilege to be watching her turn the page and start a brand new chapter.  I’m really proud of her so I’m dedicating this blog to her.  Long live change my friend, you’ve got this!!

**Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak is available at online bookstores worldwide.  Dare to live courageously…

**Just for the record, this blog also applies to men out there making positive changes as well.  Good for you guys… keep going 🙂

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…

 

 

Project Self: Self-Love

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How many of us think self-love is selfish?  It’s a common misconception, and you’re not alone.  There are two ways to love yourself, one being in a toxic, narcissistic way where you don’t have any regard or empathy for others, which disconnects you from others and is not recommended.  The second is a nurturing, protective way of loving yourself that genuinely connects you with others.

While I was navigating a life crisis, my divorce, I suddenly found myself under the microscope.  I realized it was time to accept my imperfections, define my needs in a timely manner and reintroduce myself, to myself.  It’s during times of rumbling and wrestling with our story that turns on the bravery switch inside ourselves.  Instead of running and hiding, it took courage to stay, understand and learn from it, and since I was under the microscope, I had to examine myself.  To know yourself you need to spend time with yourself on the good and bad days.  Own it.  All of it.

That’s when the game changed for me.

All these tasks were not easy to do but needed to be done to be able to live my best life.

Imagine…

The best way I could achieve this was to start loving myself unconditionally in a caring, and kind way that protected me.  I had to realize I was enough and not worry about what other people thought.  To find my own happiness and stop pleasing others.

The first step was to stop beating myself up and start talking to my younger self, the child inside that was hurting and scared.  I used loving words instead of critical ones.  Self-compassion is a form of self-love because as soon as you start talking to yourself like you would with a good friend, and realize we are all human and make mistakes, then you can begin to relax, and get to know yourself for who you are, your values, and love yourself for it.

The second step was to define a need from a want.  For example, we all need food, water, clothing, and shelter.  These are requirements to live day to day.  A want is something that is extra, desired, not necessary but nice.  That list is extremely long for all of us.  When looking at our needs from a self-love perspective, what do you need to love yourself?  Boundaries are a good place to start, followed by self-compassion, and good self-care.  Owning your story instead of blaming others is also essential.

People treat us based on how they see us treating ourselves.  So if we don’t set boundaries with ourselves, then other people will think it’s ok to walk all over us.  The more you love yourself, the less nonsense you are going to tolerate.  This is also a form of self-respect which is another upcoming blog in this series.

It’s common to love many things outside ourselves like different foods, movies, cars, homes, careers, and more, but as soon as you hold up a mirror, what do you feel?  Disgust, fear, shame, guilt?  Or do you feel proud, grateful, accepting and happy?  Are you at the top of your love list, somewhere in the middle or didn’t realize you even had a spot on this list?

What do you practice? Fear or self-love?  Do you ask, “What will people think?”  or say “I am enough.”

What would it take for you to love yourself more?  Try to think of 3 ways you can practice more self-love in your own life.

Ways I found self-love:

*Rebuilding relationships workshop with Diane Valiquette.  This is one of the best workshops I’ve ever taken where she says the most rewarding and powerful relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself.  It also sets the tone for all your future relationships with others.  That is the truth!

*Writing, reading books, exercising, eating well, listening to music, mindfulness, accepting my imperfections, self-forgiveness, spending quality time with friends and family and asking for help.

I’ve learned it’s best to ask for what you need instead of hoping someone will notice.  You are in charge of your own life and if you don’t speak up, then nobody will know what you’re thinking and you are to blame for not saying anything.  Plain and simple.  By asking for what you need means you love yourself enough to fill those needs.  If you are still not getting your needs met, after trying everything, that’s when you can walk away and say “This doesn’t work for me anymore.”  This in itself is an act of self-love.  Of course, it’s not easy because relationships aren’t easy, but your peace and happiness are worth it, therefore, take the time to practice self-love.  The more you love yourself, the less fear you will feel.

Since this re-introduction to myself, I am no longer the same person I was before, which is a good thing.  I am stronger and more courageous than ever, aware of my needs, and aware of what I can and will not tolerate in my life.  Self-love is an ongoing process and I am committed to it each and every day because it’s at the top of my list.

What about you? ❤

**Note to self:  “Close your eyes, fall in love, stay there”  ~ Rumi

 

Much Love and Self-Love ❤

Jen
XO

***I hope you are enjoying the “Project-Self” blog series so far.  Stay tuned for more…

***All my gratitude to everyone who bought, borrowed, read, reviewed, liked, and shared my book with others.  The feeling of joy is bursting out of me each day!  Pick up your copy of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” at online bookstores worldwide or at the FriesenPress online bookstore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You (A to Z Challenge)

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I love you so much
Your kind heart is like a bright, shining light
That paves the path of darkness in all of us

You have a way of making people feel comfortable
Especially in uncomfortable situations
You are a caring soul, a giving and helpful person

You have been through so much lately
Your wounds are still visible and hot to the touch
Despite all that, you’re healing and have come a long way, keep going

You’ve made some mistakes along the way, that’s how we learn
Realize and accept you are part of a common humanity that is imperfect
You can forgive yourself now for not knowing any better
Pieces of your soul have been shattered and scattered
People who care about you are collecting them
And rebuilding a new you, with you

You need to be gentle with yourself
It’s okay to cry or be emotional
This is how you heal from the inside out

It may take more time than you thought, once bitten, twice shy
Carve out some time for yourself so you can hear your soul speak
Be compassionate with yourself, we’re all in life this together

Your friends love you and want to see you happy
They may show their care and concern by giving you advice
You are never alone, you know what’s best for you

I appreciate you so much
You need to stop beating yourself up
Leave the insecurities behind, just breathe

You are beautiful and talented
You don’t need to criticize or judge
Listening to the inner critic only causes you unnecessary pain

You are imperfect and graceful
You are authentic and strong
You are fierce and vibrant

May you find the love you desire one day, you deserve it
May you find the one who truly cares about you unconditionally
May you find the path that is right for you

May you always remember these self-compassionate words
They are from me to you, Jennifer
Yes, YOU

 

**This is self-compassionate talk in a tough world sometimes.  It is positive talk that can heal your mind, body and soul.

Happy Friday ❤

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

#WhatTheHeckIsLifeCoaching??

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This is a common question I hear from people who have never experienced a life coaching session and with good reason.  Everyone knows what psychology is but not everyone knows what life coaching is all about.  I thought I would write a blog to help hack into this world for you.  🙂

Life coaching is about helping you achieve a desired goal and finding the inspiration and motivation to get you from the present moment to the future.  Think of an athlete you follow, he or she has a coach right?  Imagine if they didn’t.  Where would they be?  Coaches motivate, help keep you on track, strive for better and keep you accountable using different techniques and tools.  Life coaching is no different except there are no push ups involved, unless this is your desired goal.  😉

I would like to give an example of a coaching call using some key questions I ask that can get the wheels in your mind turning and possibly burning.  😉   So let’s get cracking!

“What is the one goal you would love to achieve in your life right now?  In other words, what do you want more of in your life?  Fill in the blank; “I want _______________”

“What if time and money weren’t an issue for you, what would you like to have or do?”

The first few questions represent stating what you want in your life.  The power to dream big.  Many people have never been asked this question before and have a hard time pinning something down because they think they don’t have the right to ask for what they want.  If you are like this, rest assured you are not alone.  You do have the right to be happy and be free to go after what you want.  Give this question some real thought and state your awesome goal.

“Why is that goal important to you?”

“What is the deeper meaning of having this for you?”

“What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?”

Ahhh.. the “Why” and legacy question, my favorites of all.  This is where your values come into play and the reasons you give as to why you want to achieve something are coming from your heart.  It’s where we keep our values close to who we are because our values define us.  It’s important to know your values in life because they guide your behavior.  Plus if you realize this goal is not very important to you, chances are you will never achieve it.  Pssst…choose something important!

“On a scale of 1 -10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being you’ve got it, where would you say you are on the scale in reaching this goal right now?”

“What does that number represent or look like?  You fill in the blank; “the number ____ represents __________”

“Where would you ultimately like to be on that scale?”

Scaling your goal is very useful because it allows you to see where you are now and where you want to be in the future.  It’s measureable.  You can track your progress by doing this several times and it also produces motivation and inspiration within to keep you moving forward.

“What are some capabilities and abilities that you already have and can use to reach your goal?”

“What are some of your transferrable skills?”

“How would you and your friends and family describe you?”

“What are some capabilities and abilities that you still need to be able to reach your goal?”

These questions pin point the skills and abilities you already have to get you there and what you still need which is important to know because you need to look at it from all angles.   The majority of people when they list their have’s and needs, the have’s list usually wins.  Therefore, you have more going for you than you even realized.

“Imagine it’s six months from now and you have successfully reached your goal.  What does that look and feel like?”

“If you could take one small action step that could bring you closer to your goal, what would that be?”

Ok here’s the fun part.  Now that you know what you have to do and need to do, the question is HOW do you do it?  This is where the rubber hits the road for most people.  They put the brakes on and don’t move because of fear.  Go back to the why is that important to you question again and get inspired.

You gotta walk the talk.

Make sure when you choose a small action step it is specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely.  In other words, make it easy.  Action steps start out small and you don’t have to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step.  Every step counts in reaching your goal and remember, that one small step can shift everything!

“What else can you do?”

“What else?”

Dig deep and keep asking this question over and over….you get the point.

“How will you hold yourself accountable for doing the action steps you stated?”

Ask a friend or co-worker to check up on you to make sure you did what you said you would do.

“What could possibly stand in your way in being able to reach this goal?”

Usually it’s us.  If you have the determination to get it done, nothing can stand in your way.

“When will you take this action step?”

Make sure you set a specific date and mark it down somewhere.  Otherwise if you say you will do it later or sometime this month, guess what will happen?  Nada, zip, nothing.

“Where will you be working to reach your goal?”

Sometimes people will be at their current workplace, maybe at home or anywhere really.  It depends on the goal.  State it and write it down.  You’re doing great!

After answering these questions you can go back to your scale and see where you are on the line now.  Even if you have only moved 0.5 up on the scale, it counts as evidence and a step forward.  Celebrate!  You are moving in the right direction and are closer to your goal already!

Feeling motivated yet?

Now your life coach holds you accountable for your action steps and will be checking on you to see if you have completed what you said you would do.  Each weekly session is a review of the last and involves making more plans for the future.  This is how you move forward by tracking progress with your pen and paper or computer.  Usually a number of sessions are necessary to get the results you want.

After you happily reach your goal and are living the dream, your notes are available to you from all the work we did together and you can look back at how far you’ve come since that day you had this idea in mind.  Years later, you can review it again and again and be proud of yourself for all your answers, hard work, determination, perseverance and motivation.  You did it!

You are amazing!

#AndThat’sLifeCoachingWithJennifer

Lots of love  ❤

Jen
xo