A Letter To Pain

927667_76264679-001

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

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

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

 

Dear Pain,

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

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

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

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

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

Lies = Honesty

Mean = Kindness

Revenge = Walking Away

Selfish = Giving

Stealing = Generosity

Negative = Positive

Self-Righteous = Forgiving

Betrayal = Setting Boundaries

Quiet = Vocal

Closed Minded = Open-Minded

Ignoring Myself = Self-Care

Physical Symptoms = Exercise

Emotional Symptoms = Asking For Help

Holding On = Letting Go

Old Me = New Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dare to live courageously…

Much Love ❤

Jen
XO

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

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

Advertisements

Open The Front Door

pevuna140100036

I picture your heart as a beautiful house

Yet the back door is the only entrance where I can get in

As if it’s a secret to have me over

Not only that, the opening is small and guarded

I walk in and see the corners where you hide so well

Where things pile up in a mess on the floor

A small glass window fogs up, the closer I get to you

Interesting  how you are just as fragile and tough as the glass

The light shines in as you shut me out

Sometimes you are like the basement; cold and dark

I don’t like it here, I need to get out

Moving upstairs, I see the small dining area

The same place I sat beside you, hearing your laugh, your voice

The cracks on the wall say it all

But the messiest room is the kitchen, you have so much work to do there

Organizing, cleaning, letting go, fixing, how did things get this bad so fast?

Your comfort zone is your bedroom; another hiding place of peace and quiet

Where even more things pile up in a mess on the floor

Waiting to be picked up where you left off

Is everything a joke?

I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror as I pass by

And look at my reflection and ask, “Why am I here?”

I wonder if you know how beautiful your life truly is?

It’s hard to say, but I doubt it

Denial is a strange place to live, but a familiar one for some

Gratitude can change everything if you just looked inward instead

Walking upstairs to the attic, old memories and photos fill the space

I sit there taking it all in as endorphins rush through my brain

Suddenly, I hear a knock and make my way downstairs

Don’t get up I’ll let myself out, I know the way now, thanks

I need  to close that back door and leave

Time for me to open the front door…

 

Much Love ❤

~ Jen

 

***I hope you’re all having a great summer and enjoying your time with friends and family.  Life goes by pretty fast, we need to make sure we find what we love to do and do more of it.  Most of all, we need to do that with the people we care about and who truly cares about us.  Have a fantastic weekend everyone ❤

~ Dare To Live Courageously…

Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak is still available at all online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to YOU ❤

 

Breaking Up With Myself

WWL_Cover (8)

Living in the past only keeps me stuck.  Now I am living in the moment and setting goals for the future so bye-bye past, and all the things that kept me stuck.  Thanks for ALL the life lessons.  You certainly taught me a lot.

I’m tired of societal views and what everyone thinks; what I should do, say, act, and be.  I am who I am, take it or leave it.  This is what keeps people small and I am not small.

The peanut gallery never stops chatting in my head so I need to find a mute or delete button.  I will no longer let these gremlins control how I think or act because I know I’m a good person who deserves good in return.  I will no longer doubt myself in my strengths and capabilities.  If I don’t know something, I’ll learn it.  The days of self-limiting beliefs are over.

I can honestly say  I’ve taken the time and effort to do everything in my human power to heal the pain in my heart and at this point, I did it.  I’m open to handing the steering wheel over to my heart now and letting it do the driving for me.  I trust you completely, it’s time to be vulnerable again and let love in.

Enough is enough with low self-confidence!  I think you know by now you are a brave soul who never gives up so take that with you and use it to increase your self-confidence.  You’ve got this.

How do you expect to get anything done if you make excuses or procrastinate about making a decision?  Having the ability to choose is a privilege and should be used to improve your life, not take it for granted.  Laziness is ok on a Sunday, but not on a regular basis.

Stop playing games of any sort with anyone. The only way to live your life fully is to be genuine and authentic.  Fitting in is the opposite of belonging.  You don’t need to fit in anywhere because when you are who you are, you find like-minded people and you naturally belong there with them.  No need to change who you are.  If you want to play a game, learn how to play poker or something.

All my life I have held honesty as one of my truest values in how I am with others and how I expect others to be with me.  Being honest with myself is something I have been working on, even more, when it comes to what I want in my new life.  At the same time, it’s the best thing that could ever happen to me so I can create something real and beautiful.  It’s time to truly stand in my own truth and have zero tolerance for dishonesty.

I continue to live by the saying “Whenever you judge someone else, you reveal an unhealed part of yourself.”  How true is that?  I will only use judgments as my own compass to lead me back to myself.

Life can be scary but that’s what makes it so exciting!  If we live under a rock our whole lives and let fear stop us from actually trying something, we will always be wondering “what if.”  I definitely don’t want to be saying that in the end or along the way, so I’m taking chances, despite being scared of what could happen and that’s what being vulnerable and courageous is all about.  I will no longer let fear get in my way of living my life.  These walls are coming down!

I may not have the best of everything but I am happy and grateful for what I do have.  Now that I practice gratitude on a daily basis, my life has changed for the better and I can see improvements.  Whining and complaining will only keep people stuck and I’m too busy being on the move.  I will never think of myself as unworthy or not enough.  I’m done.

It’s time to stop accepting bad behavior and mediocrity as normal.  I learned how to set a boundary so it’s time to walk the other way.  The last thing I need in my life right now is any toxic relationship after all the work I did for myself.  Once again, thanks for the life lessons.  I don’t have time for jealousy either, it is poison in any relationship.

Which mask or shield do you wear?  I’m not talking Game of Thrones here, I mean what are you hiding behind?  Your stories, your excuses?  Drop the armor and start connecting with people.  Stop playing the victim or rescuer, it’s so disempowering.

It’s your time to be who you truly are and if people don’t like it, that’s their problem.  The right people will show up when you show up and you don’t need everyone to like you.  Trying your best is always better than doing nothing.

So this is it. I’m getting out of my own way.  It’s officially over.  I’m breaking up with myself and kicking the old me out and letting peace, love, and happiness in.  Hasta la vista baby!

Dare to live courageously…

Love ❤

Jen
XO

 

**Please take a moment to listen to this beautiful song called You Say By Lauren Daigle.  The lyrics go hand in hand with what is written here and the thoughts that go through our mind from time to time.  Remember to say good things and believe in yourself.  Life is too short and you are too precious.  It’s time to let go and break free.  Happy Sunday ❤

**Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak is available at online bookstores worldwide.  May 2019 is the second anniversary of my book release and I am so grateful. All my love and gratitude ❤

That Girl

20190420_185634

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 🙂

A Letter To My Future-Self

20190205_193338

It’s been over 3 years since I wrote the letter to my younger-self where I went back in time and gave my 21-year-old-self some advice on life.  I was attempting to erase any scars, blame, and grief; but as you know, you can’t change the past, but you can create the future.

This letter to my future-self is my next attempt in life, which is an exercise in self-love, a means of preserving and protecting what’s important today and into the future.

So let’s see what age 65 might look like…

 

Dear Future Jen,

Well… you are approaching that magical age of 65 years young, and it’s like all the things you’ve been aiming for are finally coming together.  What an amazing time to be living in Jen.  So many changes have happened in your exciting life and with every ending, there’s been a new beginning. You’ve had to endure some pretty major events in your life, but look at you, here you are; smiling ear to ear, despite all that.

Kids- Some of the greatest milestones after giving birth are seeing your kids graduate, seeing them get married and then seeing them have their first child.  By now, maybe you would have witnessed most of these accomplishments with Justin and Nathan.  They are amazing and intelligent kids, and you are truly blessed.  Continue to be loving and supportive of them so they can continue to be loving and supportive of you.  These kids are your two greatest accomplishments in your life Jen.  Remember to hold them close and show your love each and every day, just like you’ve done all along.  It was a tough road for everyone with the divorce you endured but don’t dwell on the past, you had so many valuable life lessons in there and that’s all that matters.  The relationship with you and their dad has improved with time, patience, and acceptance of what happened.  You are in a great space now and you have the best kids in the world. Be grateful for what you have.

Fears- You used to be afraid of public speaking, but you conquered that one a long time ago.  Now your fears are bigger than that and you manage to hide them well.  The two biggest fears you have are getting cancer and dying.  I think it’s safe to say you are not alone when you admit these, so good for you to be brave enough to say it because now your next step is to do something to keep yourself healthy.  Perhaps others will follow.

Health-Eating and Exercise – You’ve always been very conscientious about eating well and exercising.  There were a few times life was harder on you and you got off track but now you are back on and I’m so proud of you for making this a priority all these years.  Give your body energy by eating good food that fuels you so you can burn it off at the gym.  Also, continue to get enough sleep and take your vitamins.

Self-Care-One thing I can say about you Jen is that you still love getting your hair done!  I don’t think that will ever change and honestly, why should it, right?!  You will never let that gray hair show and that’s perfectly fine.  Remember to practice self-care because it’s important and makes you feel great.  Follow the pull, not the push. Keep it simple, self-care is how you take your power back young lady.

Saying No, Setting Boundaries- I certainly hope that by age 65 you learned how to say “No” and mean it.  And while you’re at it, set some boundaries for yourself.  The ’40s and ’50s are the trial years and you struggle here and there.  Just like I tried to tell you in your ‘20s, “No” is a complete sentence, my dear.  This is still true.  Never, ever settle and walk away from what doesn’t respect you.  You can detect a narcissist from miles away now, what a great skill to have!

Work-It’s been such an adventure at work for you Jen.  Who would have thought that being a nurse would lead to being an expert witness for malpractice cases, then entering the pharmaceutical industry? It has certainly been an exciting time in this regard and you don’t have any regrets.  The work relationships you made along each path have lasted a lifetime and what a gift that’s been for you.  The health care industry taught you a wealth of knowledge that you will never forget.  You chose a helping profession no matter which way you went and that’s because you are a compassionate person and it makes you happy.  You are someone who has always been patient-focused right from the get-go.  My only hope is there is someone like you who takes their work seriously and can care for you when it’s time.

Success/Failure-The best way I can describe success is because of failing at something.  This is where you learned so many life lessons and made the decision to build on them like crazy.  Good for you for having an open mind when new challenges came your way and you didn’t back down.  Failing is never fun or easy but as long as you get back up, you are succeeding.  You are also wise enough to know that being successful doesn’t make you happy, but being happy makes you successful.

Gratitude-As you know, gratitude brings you joy from within; even during the toughest moments of your life when things were falling apart, you managed to stay on track and find things you were grateful for. It’s during the worst times of your life, you need to practice gratitude because that’s what can change your perspective and shine a light in the dark. Continue to journal because it’s working.

Retirement-The time has come to complete your working years.  Congratulations girl, you did it!!  I hope you find a way to celebrate all your years of service in helping others.  Take a moment to pat yourself on the back because you deserve it.  Thanks to an entire team of financial planners and years of hard work!  What a fantastic feeling to be in this position right now.  Knowing you Jen, the only thing you are thinking about right now, is “Where can I travel to next and celebrate this amazing milestone in my life?”  Just remember to spend your money wisely…

Travel-There you go, I was right!  The world is your oyster now Jen, so get that travel app up and running! Time to start booking some trips since you’re still healthy and active.  I can see you traveling with your kids, friends and also some solo trips as you’ve done in the past.  You know people in so many countries, you can visit them as you go.  How exciting is that?  Pick some places you’ve always wanted to visit like New Zealand, Bora Bora and anywhere in South America. Get your passport and suitcase ready!

Relationships-Friends, Family-Another prize possession of yours is your circle of friends Jen.  You have been blessed with loving people in your life both near and far who truly care about you and you about them.  This alone is something huge to be grateful for.  If you are still fortunate enough to have your family and parents with you, remember to tell them you love them.  Spending good quality time with those you love is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Have those conversations you’ve been avoiding, now is the time to get it out.  Communication is key in all relationships and being able to say how you feel is where you begin, so speak up Jen.  Life is very short.  You value honesty, integrity, respect, loyalty, kindness, compassion and attention.  These values drive your behavior and it’s what you look for in others.  Keep going…

Love/Heartbreak-This is the one area of your life that’s never been an easy one for you, unfortunately.  I do hope that by the time you are 65 years young Jen, that you found that special someone whom you love and loves you right back with everything he’s got.  Someone who sees your worth and doesn’t take advantage of you but treats you right because you definitely deserve it.  He needs to take care of you because you will take care of him, that is for sure.  Even though you are a successful woman with all the freedom in the world, it would be nice to share time with someone who adores you in an authentic way.  At the same time, heartbreak has taught you many lessons and by now you know what you shouldn’t tolerate, so once again, don’t play their games and don’t settle, you’re better than that.  The next guy has to be pretty damn amazing and put some effort in, or forget about it.  You deserve a man who will pay attention to you and be there for you when you need it most.  You’ve endured enough emotional days in this area, it’s time for some fantastic days instead.  On the other hand, if the Universe has something else in mind for you to be on your own, then make the best of it and enjoy.  Keep practicing self-love, either way.

Emotional Rescue-If you had a dollar for every emotional roller-coaster you’ve been on since day one Jen, you could have retired a long time ago!  Ugh!!  Thanks to writing and exercising it helped you get out of your funk very well.  Remember this for the rest of your life because you never know how things will go and you really don’t want to look like the crazy one! You’ve come a long way with your “project-self” topics and now you can cope with life even better and take care of you the way you should.  With love and compassion. Keep writing, it is such a great healing tool emotionally.

Unfinished Business-At this point, I don’t know what your unfinished business will be, but if there is any, my advice to you is to complete it and cross it off that list of yours.  This is clutter in your life, that you don’t need, just deal with it and get it done.  You’ll feel much better afterward.

Hobbies/Interests- You wrote a book after your divorce and what an accomplishment that was both mentally and emotionally.  It’s almost like you creatively grieved it.  Kudos to you for doing this and another book is in your future as well.  The topics aren’t 100% clear quite yet but since writing is soul therapy for you, you have to do it.  Not only does it help you, but it also helps others that are in line with your values once again.  One of your latest hobbies is salsa dancing and my goodness, what a great time you’ve had, you are quite the dancing queen!  I think you need to do a girls getaway vacation in South America first!  Arriba!

Goals-Stop doing useless things, start doing new activities, continue doing your writing and travel.  Practice self-care.  Wear sunscreen.  Love with all your heart.  Repeat…

Hopes and Dreams-I hope you are living a life of peace, love, and happiness.  That you have finally stepped into who you truly are and you are owning your life, Jen. That you are surrounded by everyone who matters to you in your heart of hearts, and in your dreams.  In the end, it’s our close relationships that matter the most so take the time to cultivate them as best as you possibly can. I hope you and your kids are healthy and happy.

Advice-Live your life as authentically as humanly possible.  Not because of others expectations, but be brave and do it for you.  Work hard, but not too hard that you miss out on life, especially with your kids.  Always practice a work-life balance.  Be courageous and express how you feel to others.  Put the time and effort into your friendships and family.  Sometimes you need to break out of your comfort zone to be happy.  Feeling stuck in anything with anyone isn’t worth it.  Take the high road and apologize.  Don’t play the victim or rescuer, they are so unattractive.  Say I love you and mean it.  In the end, it’s all about relationships with your kids, family, friends, at work and with yourself.

Regrets-If you follow the advice above, you won’t have any regrets 🙂  Honestly, everything happens for a reason and leads you to the next best thing, so take the good with the bad, it’s ok.

Questions-Let me think about it, I’ll let you know in some years from now 😛

I will carefully store this letter to my future self in a time capsule for later use.  It will be interesting to read it years from now and see what rings true for me.  In the meantime, I will continue to live my best life and honor my relationships with all my heart.  After all, I’ve come this far, and there’s no turning back ❤

Your future looks bright, and you still have a long way to go…

 

Love Always ❤

Jen
XO

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to you.  Dare to live courageously…

Resurfacing

GettyImages-597572085-584819855f9b5851e593fd0b

It’s been a while since I posted a blog but so much has happened in my life these past two months.  In a nutshell, my mom had a 13-hour surgery to remove blood clots from her pulmonary artery that were blocking the blood flow from her lungs to her heart.  She developed post-op complications, followed by a stroke.  A two-week hospital stay turned into a two-month and counting hospital stay and life-changing events.

I had to temporarily stop working to be with my mom and she is in a city 5 hours from my home.  Luckily, I have friends I can stay with and that helps me and my stress levels tremendously.  I am trying to balance everything there and here while practicing the self-care tips I previously blogged about.

Things are more stable now with my mom, she is slowly recovering and will hopefully be discharged from the hospital and transferred to her hometown sometime in January.  It’s been two stressful months of tears and cheers, uncertainty and re-stabilizing.

There was a time when we didn’t know if she would make it or not.  One day I sat by her ICU bed while she was still in a coma hooked up to the respirator and wrote this poem for her while I waited and prayed.

It’s been months I’ve heard you gasping for air
In between endless appointments and tests
Your support system has been incredible as your body slid under the surface
Yet your spirit hovered above it
The human body and mind can compensate for anything
You certainly proved that to us all
After having your surgery with the best doctors, nurses, and all hospital staff
While you lay there, I sit here
Watching you
Amazed at your strength while you are weak
Waiting and praying, praying and waiting
Every day is the day of 10,000 miracles
I see you start to resurface and I am hopeful you can do it
Like watching a diver swim up from the depths of the ocean
So ready to take that first breath of air on their own
While resurfacing…

I love you, mom ❤

Jen
XO

Thank you to everyone who supported me in every way, along the way ❤

Project-Self: Self-Respect and Self-Worth

20180704_080112

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

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

Ironic?  Absolutely.

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

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

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

 

“Dear You,

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

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

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

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

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

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
XX

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

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

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

Project Self: Self-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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Self: Self-Discovery

20180410_062421

“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 ❤

 

 

 

 

Project Self: Self-Betrayal

tumblr_nefpbnuziI1so87rwo1_400

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Project-Self” to be continued…

 

Much Love and Gratitude ❤

Jen