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…

 

 

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Project Self: Self-Discovery

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“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”  ~Rumi

Just when you thought you were drowning, you were actually learning how to swim.  Just when you thought you were falling, you were actually learning how to fly.  Just when you thought something was ending, something new was beginning.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle and challenge is when you see what you are made of, how you survive and where the greatest lessons of all are found.  When you are in the moment it can be pretty darn hard to see it this way, but speaking from experience, I know this to be true.

What does self-discovery mean to you?

In my own life, I’ve come to define self-discovery as many things but it all starts with taking the time for YOU.  Such as going on a journey within, by yourself and for yourself.  Becoming aware of your character and true potential, your wants, and needs, likes and dislikes.  Knowing your values, setting boundaries and what you can tolerate in different life situations.  Accepting everything about who you truly are, especially the imperfections.  It’s about ownership of where you went wrong, learning life lessons, forgiveness of others and especially of yourself.  It’s about finding your purpose; we all have one.  In a way, self-discovery is also self-awareness.

When you know yourself, you are empowered.  When you accept yourself, you are invincible.

The opposite of self-discovery is denial.  Denying who you are to others and to yourself.

Many don’t know who they are or what they want, but somehow give unsolicited advice to others on how to live their lives or they tell lies.  Unfortunately, this never ends well.

The photo above in this blog describes self-discovery so well.  Sometimes we need to let go and peel away the layers that no longer serve us to get down to the good stuff of who we really are, who we were meant to be.  If we want others to know who we are, we need to know ourselves first.  How can we expect others to figure us out when we haven’t even tried to do that with ourselves?  So how do we do it?

I’m not an expert, but one way I did it was through writing and journaling.  To be able to do this, you need to be on your own without any distractions.  Another way I went on my self-discovery journey was through solo travel.  When you are traveling on your own, you depend on yourself 100% and you quickly find out how to trust your instincts and who you are.  Thirdly, there is an amazing questionnaire designed by Patrick Betdavid that you can download and fill out on your own one quiet Sunday afternoon in your happy place.  It might be at the beach, the cottage, or wherever you feel most comfortable.  Be honest as you do this because that’s the right answer.  Yes, it takes time but that’s what it takes.  You’ll come out of it a new and improved person and how awesome is that?

When you decide to go on the journey of self-discovery, the benefits are positively endless and amazing, such as bringing more happiness, fulfillment, freedom, and opportunities into your life.  It can be a bumpy road but it’s definitely a road worth exploring simply because you’re worth it!

This is the purpose of the Project-Self blogs, like this one, Self-Betrayal, and Self-Care.  To raise awareness in ourselves because everything starts and ends with US!  It’s easy to blame others but that only keeps people stuck.  If we want to evolve in life, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in what we say and do.

Let’s be kind to ourselves, stop beating ourselves up…we are enough.

I invite you on your own journey of self-discovery…happy travels 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide and at the FriesenPress Bookstore.

All my gratitude to you ❤

 

 

 

 

Let Go or Be Dragged

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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.

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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…

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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.

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“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…

 

 

 

It’s Finally Over

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Her view was mostly of his back
He was far too busy to notice, especially her
When  pointed out, he walked away from her
Communication was his weakest link
The emotional abandonment was suffocating and humiliating for her
Being ignored was the worst empty feeling of all
She felt alone and excluded,  yet she was with him
The sting of emotional betrayal was overwhelming and nauseating
How could this be happening after everything she gave him
Gone was her independence and confidence during those years
Sadly her efforts to impress went unnoticed
Yet somehow he still benefited from the results
Her head hurt from banging it against the wall
Begging for his attention
She felt she didn’t exist and unimportant, at least with him
Schedules, impressions, ego were his priorities
Invitations elsewhere were taken with pleasure
Decided and enjoyed, leaving her behind
She felt she didn’t have a choice which took away her voice

Until one day a job opportunity came for her in a faraway land
An opportunity not just for her but for the family
To be treated like a queen and highly rewarded for all her hard work
He encouraged her to pursue this adventure
The spotlight had shifted from him to her
It was finally her turn to do more, have more
The law of divine compensation was at play
However, seething jealousy swept in
Robbed her of this happiness, this chance of a lifetime
What did he do?
He backed out, refusing this opportunity for himself
Advised her to go alone
His world was far too important to leave behind and support her in this quest
These foolish games were killing her and them
She was so tired of feeling alone
Betrayal came in many forms and shattered her heart one crack at a time
His jealousy and control were building daily over her

That’s when everything changed…
She realized this was not about her but all about him
Like all the other times he abandoned her

And then…. it happened, the day after Valentine’s

A hurling punch of ultimate betrayal slapped her across the face with brute force
Causing physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual harm to her body and soul
He took away Everything from her world
Her cracked heart was broken, bleeding and wailing
The invisible crown she wore fell, and crashed into a wall
Jewels she collected over the years shattered into a million pieces
Lifelessly falling to the floor,  she tried to pick them one by one
Screaming, reaching and crying a river of tears
Every act of control on his part felt like she was being strangled tighter and tighter
He was kicking her while she was down; the pain was excruciating
She was unable to get off this emotional roller coaster ride
And it was sucking the life out of her
Her world was rapidly spinning out of control into a downward tornado spiral
She knew this was the end but failed to realize
It was also her new beginning…

Gradually, she picked herself off the floor
Had no idea she was in the driver’s seat
She could finally break free and live her life the way it was intended
With people who care and make time for her in their busy schedule
And don’t take advantage of her good nature
Friends and family gathered round, carried her when she couldn’t walk
Resisted sleep all night until sunrise; stayed and talked with her
Buried the darkness when she needed the light
Spoke for her when she couldn’t speak
Listened when she finally found her voice and the words
Dried her tears when they wouldn’t stop flowing
Made her laugh and smile to cut through the pain
Encouraged her to shake and pound it out through exercise
Books, quotes and songs repaired her soul one phrase at a time
Hugs and virtual hugs meant everything to her
Friends and family became her strength, her lifeline, her everything
Standing by her side through every mind controlling appointment and conversation
Taking her shopping and moving her into her new palace
Helping to re-attach the shining jewels to her invisible crown
And wearing it like a boss knowing she’s worth it, dammit
While carrying on courageously and not missing a beat in her life
Rising strong like a hero and not a poor victim
Pouring out her emotions and detoxifying her soul through writing
Connecting with more friends around the world that inspire and support her
Skype, Hangouts, texts and social media bring friends who are far, close to her heart
She doesn’t feel alone or ignored anymore, she is smiling
Her heart and mind are open, she can breathe again

Finally she disembarks this wild emotional roller coaster ride
Thanking her guardian angels for riding along side with her
This girl is on fire now and has her strength back and more
She walks into the appointment with her pen in hand
Signs the document that changes her life forever and for the better
Her inked signature says it all loud and clear
It’s finally over.
And this time…
She walks away with her back to him for the very first time
And rocks it

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** A special thanks to Darshith for letting me borrow his awesome idea of adding music to my blog 😉 **Thank you** 🙂 Since this post has a before and after, I chose two songs; Foolish Games by Jewel and Brand New Me by Alicia Keys.  Thank you for reading and listening, I know it was long but I just had to get it all out, turn my back, close the door, walk away and move on.  Enjoy the music…Life is beautiful.  We’re all human.

Love, Thanks and Hugs to You,

Jennifer
xo

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

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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

The Butterfly Emerges

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

Author and cancer survivor Mark Nepo says the things we hold dear in our hearts like a relationship, an identity, a dream or an ambition acts like a cocoon.  When the butterfly emerges, the cocoon has served its purpose.  It doesn’t mean it’s false, it means it served its purpose just as everything in life serves as a purpose.  Therefore our relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions are often cocoons that lead us to the next.  The problem is when we are so attached to these relationships, identities, dreams and ambitions, we come in conflict when it breaks or falls away that we don’t see what it’s opened us up to.

Have you ever been in a relationship or a situation that has served its purpose and you know in your heart it’s time to surrender and let go?  It hurts to even think about it breaking away or never returning.  We’ve all been there.  Just the angst of making that decision to leave can be the biggest struggle of our lives just as the caterpillar struggles in becoming a butterfly inside the cocoon.  This inner process takes time and all the work that is being done is from within, it just needs the time and space to do this on its own.  Similarly, we need to work from within to find our inner strength and make changes in our own lives. After having gone through this struggle, not only does it make you stronger, it transforms you.  Like the butterfly, when you finally emerge from the cocoon and come out on the other side after having made that decision, you are so powerful and beautiful.  The cocoon which represents a relationship or situation has now served its purpose.  It is time to surrender and let go.  This process cannot be rushed, nor can anyone do this inner work for you.  For an observer, as difficult as it may be to stand back watching and waiting for this final moment to happen, you must be patient and let nature take its course.  Even the sun and rain support the process which can represent our own support systems like friends and family, we are all connected.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives to emerge us into the next great opportunity.  They strengthen us, connect us and can even make us fly.  I have learned freedom from struggling and I am very grateful for this teacher.   ~ J.J.