Project Self: Self-Love

Screenshot_20180831-062020_Instagram

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Transformation Is A Beautiful Thing

13263944_10153520577791512_5405579081386326402_n

Inspiration can be found in many corners of our life and in the lives of others.  Life is in motion at all times and if we stop and pay attention, that’s when we notice inspiring moments, people, places, and things.  Personally, one of the greatest things I love to see is how someone can transform themselves from being in a negative state to becoming their own superhero.  It’s not about winning a popularity contest but about being the best version of yourself after struggling with something so difficult for so long and coming out of it beautifully.

When I think about transformation, I think of metaphors because what metaphors can do is open our mind to a new perspective and deeper understanding of the potential transformation.  It’s like a window or a doorway we can move through and find ways to relate it to our situation.

‘Meta’ means over and beyond and in transformation, it is over and beyond reality.  My favorite metaphor of all is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly through the power of metamorphosis because one step over and beyond the caterpillar, the butterfly emerges.  In life when we try to step beyond a belief, behavior, fear or circumstance, a metaphor can transform a person ‘s perspective and trigger their values which allow them to step into joy in their life.

For example, a person who has a fear of public speaking may be struggling inside this cocoon for some time but wants to overcome it through transformation.  Just the mere thought of having to get up and speak to a few or many people can start the heart palpitations and make someone freeze right in their tracks because of stage fright.  This person’s main goal is to avoid public speaking and social events at all costs, mainly because they are shy.  The struggle is within their own mind and trying to silence the  negative voice.

I was speaking with a friend recently and he said not only can shyness get in the way but add a language barrier on top of everything and you’ve got yourself a fearful scenario.  I can only imagine how hard and uncomfortable that must feel to be around people you can’t connect with.  He gave an example where his workplace required them to do impromptu group speeches in front of everyone and his first instinct was to run and hide but since he wanted to transform his fear into something more comfortable, he remembered the first lesson from the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Be Proactive.

In this lesson, Covey talks about taking responsibility for your own life and stresses the importance of focusing your time and energy on the things you have control over in life.  In a matter of minutes, my friend took this lesson and applied it to his own life right before facing one of the most fearful things; public speaking.  He changed his self-talk from negative to positive saying “Don’t freeze, focus on the audience instead of your own awkwardness, think of how you would want to see a speaker, put yourself in the shoes of the audience and see yourself from their perspective so you can transform your fear into something you love.  Imagine yourself being courageous even if you think you aren’t.  Be yourself, no stress or pressure, you are surrounded by friends.  Learn to laugh at yourself, life is too serious, be imperfect so people can connect, enjoy yourself and live outside your comfort zone.”

He stood up and managed to convince himself of everything he said and faced his fear by talking about his imperfections by making jokes with the audience.  People were laughing with him, and it gave a soaring boost to his self-confidence which made him continue even more.  He felt both shocked and happy with himself that day because it was a life changing moment, a real transformation where he struggled so long with negative self-talk but in the end after all that hard work, he emerged beautifully like a butterfly.  What a perfect example of going over and beyond his reality and honoring the value of courage.

More times than not, we struggle in our minds and hearts about who we are and about how we want other people to see us. We wrestle with worthiness and shame all at the same time when really we all belong together and we are more similar than we are different.

When I asked him how he felt about that day he said “It changed my outlook towards socializing, facing fears, being vulnerable, handling pressure situations and making friends in general.  And every victory I have had since that day, I attribute to this one act of mine where I overcame myself.  And, needless to say, making friends has been not as difficult as I feared since that day.  I survived.”

Bravo my friend for daring to live courageously, keep rockin’ the shark fin 😉

Transformation is a beautiful thing.

“How does one become a butterfly?  You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”  ~Trina Paulus

 

Much Love ❤
Jen

Unconditional Love (A to Z Challenge)

slide12

It’s wonderful to feel loved but profound to be understood.

Love is a beautiful thing but what’s even more beautiful is unconditional love.  It’s the kind of love that sets you free, it doesn’t depend on another person, situation, or romantic partner, and you can access it any time and in any circumstance.  You love and accept without judgment for who they are or whatever the situation may be.

This is the deepest and truest form of love and is the key to lasting joy and fulfillment in life.

What we fear is being unloved, unlovable, abandoned.  Perhaps for good reasons but when we can embrace who we are and love ourselves and others as they are, those fears begin to slowly fade away and we feel true unconditional love, therefore, joy.

There is so much love and light inside of us we don’t even realize it’s there.  Or maybe we do realize it but don’t know how to use it which makes it our deepest fear.

Let it shine, because with unconditional love, there is nothing to fear.

 

All my unconditional love ❤

 

Jen
xo

To The Daughter I Never Had

664ba0f96b97813f4f888552e60b8eb9

~ This post goes out to those who have suffered a miscarriage, or knows someone who has.  Often times when this happens, it’s the child that gives birth to the mother.  Thank you for reading…

 ❤

Welcome beautiful little Georgia to your new world of Divine Love
I promise to support, guide, mentor and motivate you
Appreciate, protect and respect you for who you are

I’ll give you the inside scoop of what I know about guys, love and heartbreak
But with a positive perspective of course
Boys and men can be hard to understand and sometimes shy
Give them a chance they can also be sweet, loving and inspiring
We’re all fighting some type of internal dragon, be patient

Strive to belong instead of fitting in with the crowd
Be proud of your body image, perfection doesn’t exist
Our imperfections make us beautiful, remember this always
Wear sunscreen to look forever young
Eat whatever you want but remember to exercise
This way you will never need to diet and that’s a very good thing

Love yourself first and enough to walk away from people or situations that hurt you
Learn how to practice self-compassion and self-appreciation
When the world withholds these two things, trust me it will sometimes
You need to learn how to fill in the blanks yourself
Daily gratitude creates perspective and joy

Be daring, courageous and awesome like your mom…LOL
Don’t be a princess, be a Queen and let someone treat you like one
Being a Queen has its perks
Have a sense of humor but remember to laugh at yourself too

Find your passion in creativity and let it flow
Maybe you will like writing as much as I do
Find your groove, I support you all the way

Listen to your female intuition because it’s right
Don’t be a doormat for people to walk all over you
Give unconditional love while setting personal boundaries
People will compete with you so get yourself ready for that

Music and books are a great way to feed your soul
I hope you take it all in because you are going to love them
Learning a musical instrument is a beautiful thing
Inspiration can be found all around you so keep one eye and ear open at all times

You need to travel beyond your own backyard, the world is waiting for you
Travel with friends, family and solo like I did
Solo travel is a great way to discover new places and yourself

School is very important, try your best at all times
Respect your teachers, they are there to help; not give you a hard time
Peer pressure can be tough to deal with, please come and talk to me about this
We will work through it together

Friends will come and go and you will learn who is true during tough times
They will stay by your side no matter what
Take the high road whenever possible
I want you to know you’re so worth it

Money is important but it isn’t everything so use it wisely
Don’t be a slave to it
Hire a career coach when you are young to help in choosing your right path
Strive for happiness first and success will follow you
Know what your values are and live by them accordingly

Your Mr. Right should not be selfish with you, find a conversationalist
They are interesting and funny which makes life grand
Make sure you are his priority and that he keeps his word
Quality time and communication are what counts
Whether you have children or not, I’m with you

Feel all your emotions
If you are anything like me, that won’t be much of a problem
It’s okay to cry; you will feel much better afterwards
Dealing with disappointment is a tough one, I’m still learning how myself
Try to find the silver lining in tough situations, this is a gift if you can

Life is a journey and a roller coaster at times
I hope you can enjoy the ride either way
So dance in the rain, sing in the car and love with your whole heart
To the daughter I never had…
You’re amazing and I love you ❤

 

**This blog was inspired by the song Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles when I was sitting in a restaurant during my trip in Bhubaneswar, India recently and I am including the version by Jamie Foxx who played Ray in the movie.  Enjoy…

Much Love,

Jen
xo

Light A Candle Instead Of Cursing The Darkness

candle-heart-hands

We are all victims of circumstance but we have a choice of remaining in victim mode or stepping out of it and living our life.  Sometimes we can see trouble coming and other times it catches us right off guard sending us into a downward spiral but either way, we need to decide if we want to be happy or not.  Initially, it’s natural to feel great disappointment, hurt and grief but it’s not healthy to live there permanently.

Things happen, I’ve seen trouble coming and it has also knocked me off my feet, leaving my head swirling and my heart broken.  However, I cannot and will not let that define me.  When I read this quote, it was like I heard music and corks popping out of champagne bottles!

 To me, darkness represents being deeply disappointed, the hard times, handling tough emotions, the struggle, the pain and even change.  Everyone defines it differently depending on what they’re going through.  When you think about it, if you try to navigate through the dark without any light, it’s very difficult to see where you’re going or what is right in front of you.  You might bump into things, trip over something or even worse, stub your toe which only causes more pain.  The other thing about darkness is that it seems to hide us well.  Maybe people like the dark for that reason alone.  They don’t want any help so they don’t want to be seen.  The question comes when that same person endlessly criticizes or complains about their situation but doesn’t do anything to make it better; cursing the darkness.  Or maybe they just want to be found by someone, be seen, heard and understood.   After all, we all crave connection.

The simple act of shedding some light on the subject can change the entire space where darkness lives.  You can see what and who is around you, what is ahead of you and that feeling of being on edge is less.  It’s a more comforting, positive response, a new perspective.  Igniting a spark inside you is an action step in moving forward because you are no longer thinking about making it better or wishing for it, you are making the effort and doing it.  Lighting a candle could mean reading positive daily affirmations, finding activities that bring you joy and doing them as much as possible, practicing gratitude even in the dark moment, trying to find the hidden life lesson inside your situation or reaching out to your support system to help you and accepting their help.  It can also mean stop denying and start feeling the pain because the only way out of it is through it.  When you decide to do this, your mind shifts from controlling to allowing and your body shifts from stress to peace.  It doesn’t magically disappear but it certainly becomes more manageable.  Having an open mind and an open heart changes a negative into a positive with an intention to do so.  Darkness is a wonderful teacher that helps us grow through personal development because without darkness there can’t be light.

No-mud1

All of our life’s tragedies big or small have their time and space for darkness.  Just keep in mind that at some point, you will need to turn on a light to be able to see clearly instead of wishing it wasn’t so dark.  It’s time to live in the joy zone.

Much love,

Jennifer Juneau

13746-800w

Thank You For Being Such A Pain ~ By Mark I. Rosen

{A8BF5DBB-474C-4F67-A482-3D28EF0FB0D1}Img400

Not only is this a catchy, punchy title for a book, it makes a lot of sense…once you read it.  For some this may trigger some laughter and for others they might find it offensive at first glance.  Personally, I found it funny and real. Little did I know it was going to wake me up to something bigger and better.

I was at a conference last year when I came across this book and after reading the description on the back cover and browsing through the table of contents, people around me started to ask me questions and we joked about the title.  Even when I bought the book, the volunteers working the table asked me to read it and come back to give them a report on it!  This was a big conversation piece and I could hardly wait to dive in and read it.

As it reads on the back cover, “With wisdom and humor, Thank You For Being Such A Pain offers gentle and compassionate guidance for understanding and healing relationships with difficult people.  The author Mark I. Rosen, Ph.D., reminds us that nothing in your life happens randomly and your pain has a deeper purpose; frustration and pain are as necessary for your personal and spiritual growth as love and joy; transforming enmity and completing unfinished business may be the most important skills you can learn in life; and when you make an effort to work on your inner self, your outer relationships will be transformed.”  The bottom line is that after reading this book, it can change the way you see the difficult people in your life as well as the way you see yourself.  The silver lining awakening is that over time, you will be able to thank the difficult person for what they said or did to you because it helped you learn something about yourself and it made you grow into a better human being.  Your higher self.

Everyone can relate to this book because there are difficult people everywhere we go and there have been times where we are the difficult person.  (I know, harsh but true…).  We can’t always point the finger at someone else, it’s important to take some responsibility for our own actions and how we may have contributed to the situation.  After all, nobody’s perfect.

Gasp! 

I really love how the author explains the emotional and spiritual side of understanding the difficulties, options for dealing with difficult people, why people are difficult, healing the difficulties, embracing the adversary and relating to difficult people overall.

I would like to share a powerful exercise from the book that I recently found to be helpful in my own life after being heart broken and it’s called Three Healing Letters.  The purpose of this exercise is to use writing as an outlet for emotional release, most commonly anger and sadness.  For all the writers out there, just remember do not send, post, give these letters to the difficult person!  This exercise is just for you and your heart.

Letter 1:

With pen in hand or computer in front of you, write a letter to the difficult person.  Feel free to say whatever is on your mind and in your heart, don’t hold anything back.  How were you hurt?  What was taken away from you?  How has your life been affected?   What do you think of the person?

Take your time when you write and there is no deadline so add to it as needed over how many days, weeks, months it takes.  Pay attention to how you feel in your body, what physical sensations are happening as you write?  These are your emotions being released, be kind to yourself.  Keep writing.

Read what you have so far out loud with all your emotion while imagining the difficult person is sitting in front of you not interrupting or defending.  Find a quiet, private area to do this… 🙂

When you no longer feel the intensity of emotions inside you as you write and read the letter out loud, the letter is finished.  Resist the temptation to mail it!

Letter 2:

Now you can write the fantasy reply you would love to receive to letter 1.  Take a different position by writing as if you were the difficult person.  What do you want to hear?  What would you like the person to say to you that would ease the pain and make you feel better?  What type of apology would provide some closure for you?  What would you like to be acknowledged?

Continue to pay attention to your physical reactions as you write, cry it all out if you feel like it.  Even though you may never receive a letter like this it will feel good to express it.

Letter 3:

As strange as it may sound, write the difficult person a thank-you letter.  Thank them for all the positive things they did for you in your relationship despite the wedge that sits between you now.  What might be the blessing in disguise here for you?

Thank the person for teaching you valuable life lessons that you wouldn’t have normally seen if it wasn’t for them.  Not only did they teach you about patience and compassion but also about sharpening your relationship skills for future use with others. You may even want to thank them for not seeing the real you because now you are free to find someone who truly appreciates you for who you really are.

If you are having trouble finding anything positive or unable to say thank you, then your anger hasn’t been fully vented or dealt with yet.  Please know this is okay and that you need to spend more time on letters 1 and 2 while reminding yourself there is no deadline.  Time is your friend.

When you have completed letter 3, you are finally able to forgive, let go and surrender.  You have healed from within because love replaced fear and gratitude shifted your perspective.  Burn the letters, shred them or even bury them in the sand and have them washed away for good.  Do something profound to mark the occasion of putting the past behind you where it belongs.

You are light and free.

Now you can say “thank you for being such a pain” with compassion for yourself…and mean it.

Hugs,

Jennifer  xo