All posts by Christine Arylo

About Christine Arylo

Christine Arylo is an inspirational catalyst and the leading self-love expert for today

3 Ways to Feel Loved When Your Relationship is Ending

relationship difficultiesMost of us have been trained to believe that when a relationship ends, we lose the love of the person who we once felt so loved by. This belief is an instant misery-creating lie that is simply not true. The truth is, love is impossible to lose. Yes, you feel pain because of this breakup, but not because you’ve lost your former person’s love. You hurt because endings of any kind are sad. You hurt because you have lost the dream of what could have been. You hurt because the loss stirs up your own fears and past pains. You hurt because there is an empty space in your life that wasn’t there before, a space that you’ve been told is the loss of love, but it’s not.

The space you feel is an opening for more love to come into your life – starting with the love you have for yourself, and then expanding to include all the love that the world is just salivating to give you. Love is everywhere, when you are open to receiving it, and when you know where to look. Opening to love can be hard during a breakup, but I know no better medicine than love for mending a bruised or broken heart.

If you are interested in taking yourself off the pain train and moving into a space where you can honor your sadness and at the same time feel more love, happiness and possibility, then read on and put these three Love-Generators to work for you:

1. Tell yourself the truth. You are not losing love. You are ending a relationship.

Do yourself a BIG favor and be honest about why your relationship ended, and don’t make it about love. Love is an easy excuse when you don’t want to be real about why your breakup is necessary to stay true to the most important partner in your life … you.

Love is indestructible. It may get masked or deeply buried under feelings of anger and disappointment, but even in the most gnarly circumstances, love never disappears, it just goes into hiding.

Relationships are dynamic, they are always changing form, and sometimes in order to be happy, two people have to go their separate ways – which has nothing to do with love. Relationships end not because the love dies, but because the intimacy, trust, respect or connection fades, because the contract with each other completes, or because you each want and need different things from life. Not all relationships are meant to ‘be forever,’ if they were, you’d never meet anyone new.

Make a list of all the reasons why the ending of this relationship is GOOD for you, necessary for you to live the life you were destined to live. Then, take an act of self-love and state the reasons out loud. Self-honesty is self-love.

Know this. You are loved. Always. And that love, starts and end with you. It’s ridiculous to give the power of feeling loved away to another, when you have the power to feel loved at will inside of yourself.

2. Mourn the loss of the dream, not of the person. And remember your dream didn’t die.

We often cause ourselves more pain than needed during a breakup because we misplace our mourning energy and end up grieving more than we need. We’ve already established that the love lives on, so you can take “loss of love” off your mourning list. You can also take off ‘grieving the loss of my ex-person’ – because they are not dead, they just aren’t sleeping next to you anymore. What is dying and important to grieve is the loss of the DREAM you had for this relationship. Your hopes, intentions and co-created dreams came to a crashing halt when the choice was made to end the partnership, and the loss of those dreams is where much of the pain lies. But when you aren’t clear that’s it’s the lost dream you are mourning, you get all caught up in trying to change and control things you can’t.

So be sad. Get angry. Move into acceptance and surrender that this particular dream is gone. But don’t stay stuck there. Keep your mind out of dramatic thoughts like “My relationship is over!” or “I’ll be alone forever!” or “What if he finds someone else and loves her more?” Thoughts like these create unnecessary pain – kind of like poking your tongue into fresh dental work. Ouch! It hurts. Don’t do it.

Move your focus from what you can’t control – bringing the old dream back – and dive into what you can, reconnecting with the dream you have for your life! The ending of one dream means the beginning of another, and you still have the power to dream forward the life your heart and soul want.

When you dream yourself forward, you create more love in your life because you are telling yourself that you are worth dreaming for. And you are. Yes, the dream of your former relationship may have ended, but your dreams for yourself didn’t, so why would you give up on yourself? If you aren’t dreaming yourself forward, who will? Love yourself enough to move towards your dreams.

3. Find proof that love exists everywhere. Fill your life with love.

While you might not be receiving the oodles of physical love you once did from your former mate, he/she is not the only love source on the planet. The worst thing you can do during a breakup is starve yourself from love… that is the surest way to get your Inner Mean Girl all riled up with rants like, “You’ll never be loved again.” Which of course, is a straight up lie.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find proof of love and fill your life with it. You live on a planet that is abundantly full of love – it’s everywhere – and it’s your job to see it, ask for it, and let it in. The more love you surround yourself with, the more love you will feel, and the easier this transition will be for you.

Here is your shopping list of love generators. Put the list up somewhere you can see it, and make sure each week you are getting your fill.

  • Connection. Connection creates love. Be with people who love you. Not to talk about ‘the relationship’ or fix you but just to be with. Walk. Snuggle. Play. Let them love on you.
  • Smiles. Show those pearly whites to anyone you can – baristas, strangers, the person sitting next to you on the bus – and when they smile back, let the love in. When they don’t – and some won’t – smile anyway and send them love. A great way to feel love is to give it.
  • Music. No sappy love songs, only inspiring, uplifting music for you. Turn it on, dance it out. This is an instant way to turn your obsessive mind off and open your heart to love. India Arie is my fave.
  • Animals and Children. Like instant shots of love, hug a puppy, look into the eyes of a baby, pet a kitty, and just feel their innocence and love permeate your cells.
  • Self-Love. Do nice things for yourself. Take yourself on dates. Do the things you love. Take a risk. Remind yourself of why you love you. Make an I-Love-ME list – 108 reasons why you love you. Keep it in your purse, and on hard days, read it to yourself. Instant love.

Orignally posted in April, 2011.

 

Is Your Inner Mean Girl Robbing You of Your Success?

08-26-11-mean-girlWhen you made the decision to start your own business, you probably got lots of advice on how to be successful, right? Solid advice like: keep an eye on your expenses, create a marketing plan, put yourself out there as much as possible, etc.

But did anyone warn you that the biggest and most likely threat your business faces is not out there in the marketplace, but instead living and breathing inside of you?

Let us introduce you to your Inner Critic or Inner Mean Girl as we like to call it (or Inner Bully for all you guys out there) That negative, self-sabotaging, self-critical voice in your head tells you big fat lies like “You’re not good enough,” “If you try, you’ll probably fail,” or “You’ve got to work harder if you’re ever going to make this business fly.”

Your Inner Mean Girl / Inner Bully is the slave driver, achievement junkie, doing addict, perfectionist and wishful thinker that keeps you working like a dog, doing all the work yourself, and spending money, time, and energy in the wrong places. It’s the voice that makes you feel less happy and successful than ever.

Here’s the truth; you can have the best strategies, the most stellar product, but if you don’t have the right mindset you will fail, and you’ll exhaust yourself in the process! Or maybe you’ll get lucky and reach your goals but be unable to feel successful or enjoy everything you worked so hard for. Your Inner Mean / Bully just loves to rob you of celebrating!

The best way to keep your mindset healthy, and your Inner Mean Girls / Bullies off your back is to know their toxic tricks and have an antidote in your back pocket to use when you find yourself in their grips.

After coaching entrepreneurs from all walks of life for over 17 years combined, we’ve developed processes that put your Inner Mean Girl and Inner Bully in their place.

Here are 3 super powered tools for turning your inner critic into your best business partner!

#1 Toxic Trick. Comparison
You find yourself going crazy, comparing yourself to every one else who is more successful, farther along, or more together than you. Your Comparison Queen / King is using the Inferiority Complex on you!

Antidote: Compliment the person you are comparing yourself to. Dig deep and find the inspiration. Yes, that’s right, reach out and tell that person how inspired you are by who they are and what they are doing. You’ll be amazed at the new connections you’ll create!

#2 Toxic Trick. Future Tripping
You achievement junkie is filling your head with lies like “When I hit that goal, then I’ll be happy!” or “When I hit 6 figures (or 7 figures or more!), I can finally relax.” Your Inner Mean Girl/Inner Bully has you running so fast to the future that you’re too exhausted to enjoy today.

Antidote: Get grateful for what you do have and get happy in the present. When you find your mind future tripping, stop, drop and do 10 gratitude statements. Write or say aloud what you appreciate about today. Notice how you can enjoy the moment!

#3 Toxic Trick. Unrealistic Expectations
You’ve just started your day and you already have a To-Do List a mile long that you are counting on getting done today. Deep down you know it’s humanly impossible to accomplish them all. But your doing addict has got you convinced that you can get through the list. So you work like an energizer bunny gone mad all day, and come 8pm you’ve not accomplished half of what you set out to. You set yourself up to fail, and now you beat yourself up with the “I’m a loser” lie.

Antidote: Take a pause and get real. When you feel yourself moving into overdrive to get it all done, pause, take a deep breath and decide on the 3 things that are most important for you to complete today. In your mind, move the rest to another day. Get real and honest with how much is reasonable for you to do today. With only those 3 things on your mind, you’re guaranteed to set yourself up for success, and find time to have a personal life too!

Here’s the truth – you have a one-of-a-kind gift to give the world through your great work. And if you don’t take care of yourself, if you try to do it all alone, and if you don’t enjoy the process along the way, you will never be able to reach your full potential.

We invite you to try these antidotes PLUS get started on transforming your own Inner Mean Girl.

 

Originally published September 2011

Are You Blocking Love? 5 Steps to Open Up.

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 12.13.54 PMClick here to read Part 1!

Build Your Capacity To Receive Love – Your Love Quotient

1. Practice receiving small bursts of love, like compliments or random acts of kindness.

We’ve all done the dance when someone gives us a compliment to push the energy somewhere else. At our best we say ‘Thank you” without fully receiving the love, and at our worst we discount the compliment, “Oh, this old thing? Had it for years.” Or we say, “No, thank you” to a stranger who offered to do some small favor for us – like lift our luggage, let us go ahead in line, carry a bag, etc. These are all instances of blocking love.

Reject love in small ways, and you block it in big ways. My friend Marci Shimoff, author of Love for No Reason, says it takes 20 seconds to fully receive a compliment. To increase your love quotient, when someone gives you a compliment, say “Thank you” and add on to it with what you love about what they’ve complimented you on. And next time someone offers to help you, say “YES! Thank you.” And receive the love.

2. Start with Self-Love.

When you love yourself, no one can take love away from you. And the more you love yourself, the more love you will naturally attract in your life. So take a vow, or several, of self-love. A good one to start with is, “I promise to give myself unconditional love and respect, always.” In my first book, Choosing ME before WE, I included the 5 vows of self love I originally took with myself – there is a chapter on each. You can also download the free Self-love Kit I created at www.ChooseSelfLove.com.

3. Smile at strangers.

Practice giving small bursts of love and letting that love in by smiling at strangers. Sometimes they will smile back and sometimes they won’t. Of course, when they smile back, it will feel good. Stay with the smile and literally feel your heart open to receive the love, melting layers of protection. But even when the strangers don’t smile back you can increase your love quotient by staying with your smile, in your heart and redirecting that love to yourself so that the love feeling doesn’t go away. Each time you smile at someone and they don’t return the smile, you have an opportunity to teach your heart that you won’t die or feel utterly rejected if love isn’t returned from another.

4. Create close, healthy connections with multiple people of your same gender & get real.

Women with women. Men with men. This is about opening up your heart to forming close, intimate and deep bonds – not just based on a shared history or because of shared work or child situations, but based on really revealing and seeing each other for who you truly are. Intimacy = Into Me See.

I meet so many women (and I was one, too) who don’t have the level of deep and vast love in their lives they crave because they don’t have deep, intimate connections with other women. They may have lots of friends, but those friendships are not the deeply vulnerable kind. They may even have one or two BFFs that they let mostly in, but they wouldn’t be caught dead in a group of other women sharing openly and vulnerably. Taking part in sacred circles with other women will give your love quotient a HUGE quantum leap, because your heart will learn to trust again in ways it can only do with other women.

5. Identify your form of protection & let it go.

What is your form of heart protection? Have you hidden your heart away in some obscure location for safe keeping, built walls like Fort Knox to keep out intruders, or even let her shrivel up to seemingly fake death? When you can identify your mode of protection, you can start working on letting them go. Take a journaling or visualization adventure to find what is holding your heart hostage. Ask yourself questions like, “What is keeping my heart protected?” “What have been the incidents in my life that have caused me to protect my heart?” “What is my heart afraid of?”

I’ve worked with clients who have rescued their hearts from refrigerators in the forest, uncovered them through layers of death shrouds, unlocked layers of steel walls, all kinds of wild adventures. Once you find what’s keeping your heart protected, thank the protection for it’s service and imagine taking your heart back by putting it in a safe place inside of you.

As you work to increase your love quotient using some of the suggestions listed above, come back and check in on your heart protection and see the progress you are making in letting your heart, and yourself, out of captivity to be free to receive love fully!

 

Originally published March 2011

Are You Blocking Love? (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 11.52.49 AMWhen I first met my now husband Noah, who I affectionately refer to as “Walking Love” for his great ability to give love fully and freely, my love quotient – my capacity for receiving love – was the size of a pea. Which meant that although I had finally manifested a man into my life that could offer the love that I had yearned for in other relationships, I was unable to let all the love in. At times, he and his love were so much to take in, that my stunted capacity to receive love would become completely overloaded.

Sure, I could allow bursts of love in – hand holding, public displays of affection, and his unconditional kindness and consideration felt so good to my love-starved heart. But there would always come a point where the love Noah gave reached a threshold that was way too much for me to receive and my internal system went haywire.

In these moments, even though my heart knew I had hit the jackpot of love, I did what any scared-to-death-of-real-vulnerability girl would do in this situation of love overload… find reasons NOT to like this man! Too bald, too many holes in his socks, not ambitious enough (by my over-achiever standards), whatever excuses my self-sabotaging subconscious could find to eject this love out of my life, and it found plenty to obsess about.

While I couldn’t see it at the time, the truth is that I was pushing out and blocking the very love my heart and soul craved. Why? Because I was scared to death.

It was like there was an emergency RED ALERT system that when Noah got too close, would trip a wire that activated a warning system that blasted, “Intruder on the premises! Security about to be breached!” Noah, because of his ability to offer love freely was about to get through walls that for many years, no man (or woman) had ever breached. He was becoming dangerously close to penetrating the deep layers of protection I had spent years building up around my heart to keep away any chance of being hurt. Until this point, however, I had no idea that these walls were there. A loving, smart, outgoing person with lots of friends and family, you never would have known either. My pea-sized love quotient at the time, unfortunately is about average in size.

We all build walls of protection – you, me, your sisters, friends, mother – because we’ve all been hurt. Our beautiful, loving, open hearts have at one time or another been tromped on, broken or betrayed and so our normal, and probably necessary action at the time, was to build walls, force fields, layers of protection around our hearts… resulting in the miniature, shrunken love quotients most of us walk around with. But there comes a time in each of our lives, when, if we truly want to experience love to the capacity we all yearn for deep inside, then we have to be willing to melt away the force fields, take down the walls, and slowly step forward to reveal ourselves, our hearts, our vulnerabilities, and our innocence to others…

It means opening up ourselves to RECEIVE more love,

which in turn allows us to FEEL more loved,

which then allows us to GIVE more love,

resulting in love quotients that grow to be as wide and vast and deep as the Grand Canyon.

Over the past 10 years, I have made a conscious effort to increase my ability to receive love. It has been my intention to create a life in which I am surrounded by love. This past month I celebrated my birthday, marking a decade of a commitment to self-love I made to myself, which I know is where all love starts. As I looked around my life and as I received all the love that came my way – from Facebook, to phone calls, to celebrations – I felt like a Rockefeller of Love. Wealthy beyond wealthy in love. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

You too have the ability to increasing your capacity to receive love, to expand your love quotient, and like building any muscle, I recommend starting with smaller emotional practices and risks and building up over time, so that when the big kahuna of love walks in, you are ready to receive baby!

Stay tuned for the 5 steps that will open your heart to love and change your life!

 

Originally published March 2011.

Do You Really Love Yourself? 5 Ways To Get The Love You Deserve

in-loveFew of us would deny that self-love is a good idea. Could you imagine telling a child, “Hey you, don’t love yourself, that’s selfish.” Of course not. And chances are that if asked, “Do you love yourself?” most people would say, “Yes, of course I do,” when in fact the majority of us don’t really have a clue what self-love actually means, or requires.

This lack of understanding about self-love isn’t surprising when you consider that the current definition of self-love on dictionary.com is ‘conceit, vanity and narcissism’ (no kidding!) Or when you look at the pressures today’s woman faces, equal to men in many ways, knowing she can do anything, but exhausted by her attempts to do and be everything.

As an independent, self-confident women with tons of self-esteem, I sure thought I had self-love, until I found myself at the age of 30 almost marrying Mr. Wrong because I was afraid to be alone. Add on how much I hated my cellulite and called myself fat (I am a size 8), beat myself up for everything that I didn’t accomplish (I have my MBA from one of the best business schools in the country), and drove myself to exhaustion because ‘resting’ made me feel guilty, and I had to stop and ask myself, “While I might have self-esteem, I am surely missing something.” And that something was self-love.

My definition of self-love is quite different than the dictionary.com version – and it boils down to this: Do you have unconditional love and respect for yourself? A big question for sure. Self-love can feel so intangible and vast to attain, but there is a path, there are milestones – I’ve experienced at least 5 of them myself over the past 10 years. I call these milestones the gates of self-love. And you can use them to see where you have load of self love and where you don’t.

In honor of this February 13th, the international day of self love, I’ve created The Self Love Test to give you insight on where you are ready to grow more self love. My self-love dare to you is that on Feb 13th, you choose one gate of self-love and make that the gate you focus on this year. You can learn more about each gate as well as the vows and hows of self-love in the free self-love kit at www.ChooseSelfLove.com For now, take this test and as you read about each gate, ask yourself, have I already passed through to the other side, or am I still climbing my way up to new levels of self-love here? Then ask yourself, “If I was to choose one area of self-love to grow in 2011, what would that be?” Dare to choose self-love.

The 5 Gates of Self-Love

Gate #1: I know who I am and what I want from this life.

This is the first factor to loving yourself, because if you don’t know who you are, how can you love that person? Most of us go through life doing what we think we are supposed to do and be, influenced by the society around us. These experiences and people form our beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions, until the day we realize that how we really feel and think is different. While you will continue to learn about yourself forever, self-love requires that a. You make a choice to live self-aware, b. You know you want from your life and you are not settling for less than your heart and soul desire. c. You know who you are NOT, as well as who you are. d. You have healed your emotional gapers.

Gate #2: All of my relationships support me to be my best me and to live the life I want, or I don’t have them.

This can be one of the hardest milestones, because it means setting boundaries and being honest about your relationships. It requires honoring yourself SO much that you only have relationships in your life – friendships, romantic partners, even relatives – that give respect, trust, unconditional love and truth. You love and honor yourself so deeply that all relationships in your life make your life better, help you reach your dreams and be a better you. This doesn’t mean that the relationships are perfect, void of difficulty, or that you are absolved of giving the same respect you desire. What it does require is that you choose me before we in every relationship – let go of ones that don’t serve you, change ones that have the potential to grow, and open up to let new ones come in.

Gate #3: My body is my temple.

I recently took part in a survey in which 78% of women admitted that the thing they were hardest on themselves about was their body. Not a shocker, but sad. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of body hate and what I call ‘body slavery’ – treating your body like a drive-me-til-I-drop workhorse, ignoring her needs completely. For me like I said, it was my cellulite. “Every time I sat down wearing shorts it screamed at me, ‘Here I am! Look at me!’ After being tortured by it for years, I did a self-love practice of loving my cellulite. Every day, I told it, “I love you.” I meditated daily, visualizing my cellulite pockets being filled up with love. Today, I can’t tell you if I have any less of it, but I do know that I very rarely notice it. And when I do, while I may not like my cellulite, I can love it. Its appearance now motivates me to walk more, instead of hating my body for having it. Self-love requires that when you notice something about your body you don’t like you choose love vs hate. Self-love also means shifting your relationship to your body from her being in servitude to you to you being grateful for this beautiful temple you get to inhabit while on this earth.

Gate #4: I am nice to myself.

We are harder on ourselves than anyone else could ever be. In fact, if the outside world could hear the thoughts inside your head, they would call the authorities. Every woman has an Inner Mean Girl inside of her spewing out rants like, “You are not enough. You should be able to get more done in a day. You don’t belong.” She compares your worst to everyone else’s best. Some call her the inner critic, but she is way more personal than that! As part of your self-love journey, your job is to love this Inner Mean Girl to death, so that instead of hurting you with her self-sabotaging thoughts and habits, she can help you see how beautiful, powerful and whole you are right now, just because you are you.

Gate #5: I can and do take care of me without the guilt or burden.

It’s like we have a DNA pattern that says take care of everyone else before you take care of you, and if we try to buck that pattern by actually taking care of ourselves, we can’t help but feel guilty or like we should be doing something more productive. This self-love milestone means being able to say, “Yes… I make self care a must, not a nice to do… I take care of me without feeling guilt… I meditate, relax, or take a walk and see it as productive time vs wasting time. I am aware of what I need, I am make sure I receive it.

Love is a practice. Start by practicing on you.

Originally published in 2011

10 Tips to Being Happy This Holiday Season

While the holidays are advertised to bring us cheer, joy and gifts, what many of us also end up with is a rack full of stress, guilt and debt. Why? Because we listen to the negative voices in our head telling us to buy more, eat more, visit more and do more – when we are already stretched for time, money and energy.

These self-sabotaging voices are the voices of your Inner Mean Girls and Inner Bullies. Some call them the “inner critic,” but they are way more personal than that! They are like the Grinch who stole Christmas. They too will steal the joy, peace and happiness from your holidays!

You have to be smarter than these Inner Grinches and take back your power this holiday season so you can really soak in the joy, connection and celebration you deserve. Following are 10 ways you can outsmart your Inner Mean Girl or Inner Bully. And for more secrets to holiday happiness, get a download of a free ‘holiday rescue’ call at www.innermeangirl.com

1. Stop Worrying About What Others Think

You can’t be responsible for how everyone around you feels about how you live your life, so stop worrying about how your family, partner and friends will react to your choices and start getting real about how youfeel about your life. Ask yourself, “How do I feel about…” Give yourself permission to put yourself first.

2. Do Things Because You Want To

Throw away the big “O”, Obligation. Give up the gnarly “G”, Guilt. And make a commitment to do what you want this holiday season, even if that means you don’t do what other people want or expect of you. And if you do choose to do something you aren’t so jazzed about, challenge yourself to do it from a place of love. Ask “What is it about this action that does matter to me?” and act from that place. It’s all about the attitude. You can choose to be a martyr and a victim, or you can choose to be happy.

3. Give Up the Image

We all construct images of who we think we are and who we want the world to see, and then attempt to live up to them. Don’t try to live up to other people’s expectations, or for that matter your unrealistic expectations either. If you’re low on cash this year, be okay with that. If you aren’t feeling super happy don’t put on a fake smile. Don’t try to impress your guy’s family or friends or fit in to what everyone else is doing. Be yourself, exactly where you are right now.

4. Boldly Express Your Unique Spin on the Holidays

Want a Christmas wreath instead of a tree? Prefer Chinese food instead of a turkey? Celebrate Solstice instead of Christmas, but love to light candles at Chanukah? Like sending New Year’s cards and gifts vs holiday cards? Love plaid pants. Tradition isn’t always better, and it certainly doesn’t always make you happy. Be bold enough to express the way you choose to interpret the holidays.

5. Know What Makes You Happy

Stop trying to fit into the expectations and ideals that outside forces – society, family, work, friends — have said you ‘should’ be in order to be successful, happy and accepted, this holiday and ask one really simple questions, “What really makes ME happy?” Think about the times that you’ve been happiest during the holidays. Who were you being? What did you have? What were you doing? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps.

6. Pay Attention To Your Emotions

We all have emotional triggers, things that set us off or that evoke an overly strong reaction, and the holidays are prime time for them to come up. Pay attention to situations that make you spin, get your mad factor going or that send you into the pool of suffering. Be the boss of your emotions by having and taking responsibility for them, and don’t let them drive your life. Happiness is a choice (yes, even when a relative is driving you crazy.) Put yourself in situations that create happiness and remove yourself from conversations and experiences that don’t.

7. Act On What You Know Will Make You Happy, Even It’s Hard

Putting your happiness first isn’t always easy. It often requires going against what everyone else is doing or thinking. But if you aren’t true to what feels right for you, even if it doesn’t fit the needs and sensibilities of other people — parents, partners and friends included – aren’t you just selling yourself out? You always know what the best action is to take for you, it’s just not always easy. Be committed to your happiness, even when it’s scary, and even when other people don’t like it.

8. Have an Opinion and Express It

If you don’t like the way things are going – like the plans your family is making or the way the holidays have created stress in the past – speak up. Know what you believe and don’t be afraid to express it. Happy people have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds and hearts. They know their Truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your truth deserves to be heard just because you’re you.

9. Let Others See You. Be Vulnerable.

Share your most real self with the people around you – family, friends, and colleagues – and let them see all of you. The strong, the weak, the self-assured, the self-doubter, the funny and the serious. Have and show your emotions fully – from sadness to happiness to anger and joy. When you keep the full range of you hidden, no one can know who you truly are, and that creates unhappiness. While it may feel scary to be vulnerable, you’ll find that the more you show the real you, the more others will be willing to share their authentic self too, and the more connected and happy you’ll be.

10. Don’t Compare Yourself.

One of the fastest ways to rob yourself of your joy is to compare yourself to someone else, or to who you think you should be. Put yourself on a Comparison Diet over the holidays. Every time you find yourself thinking or saying a comparison, stop, change the channel in your head and say something that you are grateful for in your life or something that you love about yourself. Ask your friends to do the Comparison Diet with you. You’ll all be happier.

Originally published in 2010

7 Ways To Boost Your Self-Confidence

We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded with images, ideas and sound bytes that tell us who we should be, could be and ought to be. Unless you live in a cave, you can’t escape their massive barrage, and let’s face it, even from a cave you could probably still get text messages.

Think of all you see in a day… images and words of what you should look like, should have and ought to measure up to, all pointing to one main message, ‘You are not enough.’ It’s enough to make your head spin, and throw even the most self-assured person off center. Add in a few difficult life events – a breakup, a job loss, a pay cut — and you could end up with a Hiroshima to your self-confidence.

Unless that is, you have built up your self-confidence muscles. Just like training for a marathon and building physical muscles, to be a successful, happy and confident person you must work out your mental and emotional muscles regularly.

You wouldn’t go to the gym to start training your physical muscles the day before a marathon, would you? No way! You’d peril on the pavement. So why would the marathon of your life be any different? It’s not.

Put these 7 tips into practice daily and you will develop the confidence and conviction that you can do anything… no matter what the outside world is telling you:

1. Stop Worrying About What Others Think. Trust Yourself
You can’t be responsible for how everyone else thinks about how you live your life, so stop worrying about how your family, partner and friends will react to your choices and start getting real about how you feel about your life. Act from what you think is right for you. We always know what the best action is to take for ourselves, when we slow down enough to listen to our inner wisdom. It’s just not always easy to slow down or to trust our intuition. Be committed to trusting yourself, even when it’s scary, and even when others disagree.

2. Become Best Buds with Your Intuition
Inside of you is the best life and decision making compass ever – your intuition. It always communicates what is best for you, but you have to be listening, and you have to trust its advice. Just like a best friend, if you’re not calling, it will stop trying to contact you. If you keep asking for advice but don’t take it, it will stop trying to help. Start listening for the communication cues of your intuition – through words you hear, images you see, feelings you have, and things you just know. Act based on what your intuition tells you and you will start to trust yourself more, and build more self-confidence in the process.

3. Know What Makes You Unique
Every person, including you, was born with a set of unique gifts, talents and inclinations that they are naturally good at, more so than the average person. When you find these gifts and use them, your confidence, success and happiness increases. Think Tiger Woods. Born to golf. No matter how much you practiced, you’d never be as great as him; he has a gift. You have gifts too. Ask the people that know you the best, “What are my gifts?” Take notice of the compliments you receive, especially ones you find hard to accept. Make a list of your gifts and start putting time, energy and money there.

4. Know What Makes You Happy
Stop trying to fit into the expectations and ideals that outside forces – society, family, work, friends — have said you ‘should’ be in order to be successful, happy and accepted, and start asking yourself, “What really makes ME happy?” Think about the times that you’ve been happiest. Who were you being? What did you have? What were you doing? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps. Happiness breeds confidence.

5. Have an Opinion and Express It

Know what you believe and don’t be afraid to express it. Confident people have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds and hearts. They know their truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your truth in all situations and share it with pride and conviction, knowing that your unique voice deserves to be heard just because you’re you.

6. Never Apologize For Being You
Unfortunately the world is full of people, including our inner mean girls and inner bullies, that want to keep us small, playing along and being ‘good’ girls and boys. When you listen to them by apologizing for who you are, or by discounting your contributions, thoughts and feelings, you squash your self-confidence. Be brilliant. Be you. And never apologize for it.

7. Spend Less Time in the Basement, More Time in the Penthouse
We all have emotional triggers, things that evoke an overly strong feeling and reaction–anxiety, anger, worry, shame, despair, fear–especially during times of stress. Your job is to notice when you have one of these ‘basement’ emotions that erode your confidence, and then to get yourself back up into the ‘penthouse’ where emotions like trust, peace, love, joy and happiness live. Have your hard emotions, just have them and move back on up to the penthouse, where the view of your life is much better!

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / dlemieux

photo by: h.koppdelaney

Why Smart Women Let Men Treat Them Badly

When I first met my husband Noah ten years ago, if you had met me, you would have thought to yourself, “Now here is a smart woman. She’s getting her MBA, has a great job, appears confident. Here is a woman with tons of self esteem.” And you would have been right. That was all true. Which is why what I am about to tell you is even more shocking.

By our third date, Noah was so taken aback by my big reactions towards his small acts of kindness, that he felt compelled to take me by the hands and say to me, “Christine, I don’t know what is going to happen between the two of us, but regardless, you have to raise your standards for men. You can’t like a man because he is nice to you. He is SUPPOSED to be nice to you!”

What??? My MBA brain reeled in total confusion as if Noah had just proven to me that the world was actually flat. In all my 30+ years I had never considered the fact that the minimum bar of acceptance was a man who was nice to me. And like a time-stamped rolodex, my brain reeled back to all the not-so-nice behavior I had endured, experienced, and come to expect.

So yes, it was true, I was a mentally intelligent woman, but I was emotionally retarded. And as I looked around at many of my friends, I noticed a definite trend. Beautiful and well-liked women with successful careers who constantly chose men that didn’t treat them with the unconditional respect and love they craved and deserved. Which, of course, just like me, made them chase them, want them, and change for them more.

Yes, we all had smarts. What we were missing was self-love.

What we didn’t know was:

Unconditional love and respect in your relationships is NOT an upgrade. It’s a must.

While we all knew that we could do the job, get the grades and build the career, what we had failed to see was that unconditional love and respect was where our expectation bar for men should be sitting, and that in order to do that, we had to be able to give that same unconditional love and respect to ourselves.

Fortunately for me when I had this epiphany, I was three months into my now ten year journey of self-love, so I really took a step back and asked myself, ‘How did I get to the age of 30 before I realized that men were supposed to be nice to me?’ and ‘What can I do to make sure I never sell myself short again?’

From one smart woman to another, who finally did learn to love herself, here is what I discovered:

3 reasons why women let men treat them badly:

1. Bad training. If you were lucky, your mother told you to expect men to be nice to you, or you were out of there. My mother, like most, never made it around to that talk. Not because she had some sick desire for me to suffer, she just didn’t know this fact herself. Ignorance and tolerance are like bad family heirlooms passed down generation to generation. The good news is that you have the power to break the cycle whenever you choose.

2. Set points were set with immature boys not good men. Our first experiences with the opposite sex in regards to the whole boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic are set on the playground, playing out adult dramas in totally childlike ways. One minute he’s your boyfriend. Next, he’s spitting spitballs at you. This continues through high school and college, so your brain creates set points that say this is the normal state to allow. Problem is, “spit balls” don’t feel any better at the age of 27 or 37 than they did when you were 8

3. Bad examples, everywhere. From the movies, tv shows, music and internet, it’s a constant barrage of men being jackasses. This is bad rap for men, and bad input for you. Subconsciously your brain stores bad as normal (92% of the images you see go right around your conscious thoughts into your subconscious). Add your own personal experience of men – from family, friends and strangers – and you could see how your subconscious brain could form all kinds of thoughts you had no idea were there.

So what can you do? Choose self-love.

All of the bad programmings and low expectations can be reversed and avoided by changing one thing – your relationship to yourself. The truth is that every relationship you have is a direct reflection of the relationship you have with yourself. If you don’t have unconditional love and respect for yourself, there is no way that you can expect it from someone else, which is quite often why you will settle for less.

In my book Choosing ME before WE, I talk about the 5-vows of self-love every woman must make with herself first, before she can have a loving relationship with another. Here are two of those vows. I invite you to take it and keep it, and honor the most important relationship you’ll ever have – the one with you.

Self Love Promises:

* I honor myself.
* I never settle for less than my heart and soul desire.
* All of my relationships support me to be my best me and to live my dreams, or I don’t have them.
* I give unconditional love and respect, and I expect it in return.

This doesn’t mean that all of your relationships are perfect, void of difficulty, or that you are absolved of giving the same respect and love you desire. Unconditional love and respect go both ways. It also doesn’t mean that you go cutting people out of your life without taking a good deep look at what you want from your relationships, what part you play in creating that relationship dynamic, and then taking steps to transform, let go or grow the relationships you currently have so that EVERY SINGLE ONE reflects that same unconditional love and respect you have for yourself.

Self-love requires that you choose me before we in every relationship, which is not about being a self-centered, narcissistic, its-all-about-me kind of person. What choosing me before we means is that because you have made a commitment to create what your heart and soul desire, you don’t have space in your life for relationships that drag you down, hold you back, create negative ju ju feelings (like shame, guilt, self doubt) or take more energy than they give.

You are a beautiful woman. Be nice to yourself. And believe you are worth being nice to.

photo by: torbakhopper

Do You Know Why You Drive Yourself So Hard?

Really, when was the last time you gave yourself a break?

Or gave yourself credit for all that you do in a day or have accomplished
already in your life (which I am sure is alot!)

Or celebrated your accomplishments for more than a few days or minutes,
Before focusing on what you needed to do next?

Transform the 3 F’s… Fat Lies, Frenemy’s, and Fear into your the Fabulous A’s… Appreciation, Acknowledgment, All Your Needs Taken Care Of…

Watch the video and share here what Love Dare you are going to take!

www.daretoliveyou.com/blog/2011/08/do-you-know-why-you-drive-your.html

You Can’t Fix Him: 3 Ways To Get What You Need Without Him Having To Change A Thing

Many women love to play “fix-it”—transforming people, problems, or relationships, usually in the name of “helping.” And one of our favorite targets is men. Have you ever leapt into a relationship with a man you thought you could “fix”? Have you ever told yourself that you’re the game-changer—the one woman this man will change for? Chances are good that you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. And it’s time to stop—because this mission only leads you to one place: misery.

As the former Queen of Fixers, I too tried to “help,” ahem, fix my guy and failed. I watched my girlfriends do the same—smart, educated women straight-up lie to themselves about who their men really were, because they couldn’t deal with the consequences of the truth. So they bestowed some false idea of power on themselves that, over time, they could get their guy to change. Of course, they didn’t possess this power. And no matter how much they loved him, changed for him, manipulated him or did whatever game they thought would work, the guy didn’t change, and they inevitably wound up with broken hearts, lonely lives or stuck in situations that were really difficult to get out of. Sound familiar? Too familiar, I say.

It’s time we used our real power to take the power of love back! Time to stop giving our power to be and feel loved away to another, and time to start seeing that every relationship we have starts with one person: ourselves. The truth is, spending your time, energy and money on trying to change anyone else is really an indicator that you are not loving yourself.

Commit the following three truths to memory, stop the love lies, and use the Good Love Actions to start making choices that bring more love, not more suffering, into your life.

The Truth About Fixing Men

Truth 1: Appointing yourself as a fixer is not only arrogant but a sign that you’re avoiding something in your own life.

It’s way easier to focus your energy on what’s wrong with other people and their lives, rather than turn the mirror at yourself and get honest about how your life is a mess or less than what you would have thought. It’s easier to hide your own self-doubt and pain in the guise of “helping” others, because when you are busy “helping” someone else, you have no time to be still, and feel and reflect on your own feelings. Not to mention—who do you think you are that you can take someone on as a “project”? Did they ask you to change them? Chances are that you have enough inside of yourself that needs tending that you don’t need to go out looking for more.

The healthiest role we can play in a relationship is to be a partner, not a parent or a preacher. Yes, encourage your guy to be the best person he can be, but inspire him to grow by the choices you make for your own life. Don’t push or drag any man along. You have better things to do than waste your time and energy on impossible endeavors.

Good Love Action: Inspire your mate to be his best self by being your best self.

Truth 2: His willingness to change or not to change has nothing to do with you.

How much a man does or doesn’t love you is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, how much you love, or how many ultimatums you issue. Don’t waste your energy with thoughts like, “If he loved me, he would change” or “I just need to be patient and he’ll come around.” His unwillingness to change has nothing to do with you. We like to fool ourselves with statements like, “I love my current partner more than she did, or he loves me more than her, so our relationship is different.” This too is bull. We don’t love some people more and others less. As we become healthy and self-aware, we learn to love better, not more, to choose partners who have the ability to share their love more completely and clearly.

If he’s not the man you want today, he won’t be that man tomorrow. A woman who convinces he’ll turn “good” for her, that she’ll be the one woman he stays faithful to, stops doing [destructive behavior] for, or finally settles down with, is lying to herself, and, even worse, is not loving herself.

Good Love Action: Don’t date or marry a man’s potential. Love yourself enough to be honest with yourself and not settle for less than a “good man.”

Truth 3: Changing the relationship’s level of commitment won’t change him, and if anything what doesn’t work will get worse.

How many times have you heard women say things like, “I know that in time, he’ll change”? How many women convince themselves that after the wedding, or after they move in together, or once X happens, he’ll be different? And how many times have you watched these women become stuck with a man who hasn’t moved an inch? Maybe you’ve been that woman. In truth, changing the level of commitment in a relationship—marriage, kids, house—won’t make any man really change. In fact, often the increased pressure worsens whatever it is that doesn’t work in the relationship or with him.

Lifelong commitments like kids and marriage, not to mention financial commitments and the expectation of deeper levels of emotional intimacy, create stress. Stress creates fear and fear brings out the worst in people. Unless you are both committed to self-awareness, self-honesty and self-growth it will be impossible for the two of you to successfully navigate all that comes with intimate relationships.

Good Love Action: Pick a partner who is committed to his own self-growth, who is honest and self-aware, and who is both willing and able to be a partner on all levels with you.

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