Tag Archives: Self Love

What’s a Body For Anyway? Four Ways To Love Your Body For The Love That It Gives

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As a repeat offender, my Weight Watcher “Lifetime” status has always felt more like a prison sentence than an achievement. Chained forever to this body of mine, staying in shape (or rather, keeping a shape) means constant awareness and self-discipline. For the first 20 years of of my marriage, days began blurry-eyed on the treadmill and ended blurry-eyed at the fridge. I’d stand there petulant, demanding to know (in that bottom-of-the-barrel-last-fraying-knot tone-of-thought): “Who cares what I eat right now or how far I ran today? Why am I killing myself like this? What’s a body for anyway?”

There is an answer, but I didn’t get it until my mother-in-law passed away.

She and I were alone that day. Minutes passed to the rhythm of the respirator. Scared and bewildered, I took her hand in mine and began analyzing it in a way that you would never do with a person were they aware. I memorized every wrinkle, every fingernail, and every blood vessel. I wondered about all the things those hands had held, all the people they had touched, all the work they had done. Most of all, I thought on how those fingers had caressed my husband, as an infant, as a little boy, as a man…and how they had been nearly the first to wrap around my babies the moment they entered this life.

Two days later, in preparation for her memorial service, my sisters-in-law and I volunteered to dress Mother’s body at the funeral home. Arranging her skirt and buttoning her blouse, we were filled with reverence. Tenderly, we painted her nails, styled her hair, and brushed pink on her still cheeks, remembering the way she rocked a baby, wiped a tear, stroked a forehead, tied a shoe, fed a family, kissed a cheek, supported an elbow, packed a bag, waved good-bye. Her loving spirit had cherished us, but it was her physical self that had actually carried out the desires of her heart.

Mother’s last lesson revolutionized me. It was clear now that I had been trying too hard to “master” my physical appearance. Better to focus on working in harmony with my body, I realized, if its real purpose is to love others. Mother, for instance–though pretty and well groomed–definitely showed wear-and-tear: but her stretch marks and dishpan hands were marks of love. In fact, they made her all the more beautiful to those who really cared and really counted.

Because of this singular experience, I began to see and treat my body very differently: the way I would treat a cashmere sweater verses a worn-out sweatshirt. I called my new perspective the “Cashmere Resolution” (because Mother preferred cashmere), but keeping that resolution through the years since has not been easy. Frequent reminders are a must. Here’s how I repeatedly convince myself that my body is—in and of itself, regardless of its present shape—luxuriously wonderful. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Accept the Awesomeness

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You are amazing. We know it. It shouldn’t be as hard as it is sometimes to celebrate the awesomeness that is us. But why shouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t you? If the world operated more from a place of knowing just how strong and powerful we are instead of seeing ourselves as broken and at a deficit, who knows what kind of goodness we could pass on! Our intent is to accept our awesomeness.

You too? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Love Looks Like

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2016 was a particularly stressful year for many of us. Families and friends were divided politically, socially, geographically and that can force us to reconsider all we took for granted and expected from our relationships. What if we don’t agree? What does that mean for all of us? While this can feel scary, we want to consider a different and more empowering question. What will love look like when it’s full of intent?

We are excited about the opportunity to take an active role in deciding what love will look like for us. We are excited to be purposeful when it comes to loving those around us and beyond. To love with intent is to give our best effort at making a difference.
Today our intent is to decide what love will look like for us.

You too? Consider what it’ll look like to love these 3 groups of people in your life: Continue reading

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

Finding Love after Divorce

According to The Americans for Divorce Reform it is estimated that 40 or possibly 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce.  This means one in two couples will break their vows.

Given this trend, I am not surprised that the soon to be divorcee seeks out my help, looking to manage their sleep deprivation, weight gain, stomach pains, anxiety, depression, growing fear of financial doom, being alone forever, not making it out alive, bitterness and resentment, and of course, working through raging anger.

 I think it is safe to say that most couples at some point in the relationship profess love to one another.  At some point, they actually mean it. And at some point, it seems, for many, the love stops.  If you are one of the lucky ones, the break-up is amicable. Each person respects and values the other as they realize the relationship has run its course.  If you aren’t lucky, it can get pretty ugly, as resentment, bitterness and anger take over.

 Now don’t get me wrong. Anger is a legitimate emotion especially when you have been hurt and it serves as a signaling mechanism that something needs to be done about it.  In a healthy relationship, anger can motivate you to talk and communicate, to heal and to reach new levels of togetherness.  But when anger becomes “raging” it is usually damaging to others and more importantly, to the self.

 In any break-up, especially a divorce, a person can experience a myriad of feelings—hurt, confusion, hate, guilt, abandonment, and self-pity.  Often the emotions and feelings are confusing as bitterness and blame towards the other person and perhaps also towards ones-self ensue.  The raging anger is, of course, understandable as the result of betrayal and hurt that has accumulated over time.

 But still, I wonder how can it be that at one time, the estranged couple was in love?  How did that love turn to hate? When did it happen? Is the love completely gone?  And can one really love ones-self when one is so angry? I wonder if couples ask themselves (what the Supremes so beautifully sang) before waging war,  “Where did our love go?”

 If you are in a relationship now, trying to get out of one, or are single, can you remember being in love?  Do you remember the feeling and can you describe it?  Do you remember that feeling of being complete, special, valued, and loved?  When you think about it and re-experience the feeling, do you notice how differently you feel about yourself as opposed to how you feel when you are angry and bitter?  It’s quite a difference.

 If you focus on that “lovin feeling”, you may realize that you feel much better about yourself.  You also may note that in your angry and resentment, your actions have been less than kind and perhaps you can see that you are at least partially accountable for what went wrong in the relationship. Perhaps you expected the other person to complete you, which no one can really do.  Perhaps you have been feeling sorry for yourself and shifting the blame to the other person. 

 Perhaps now, you can shift the focus and use the situation as an opportunity to have a realistic look at yourself.  This isn’t to say that the other person isn’t to blame or at fault.  This is just your chance to look at yourself: who you are behaving like and who would you rather be?—A loving or hateful person? Because when you live in blame, anger and bitterness, no one is being loved, least of all yourself.

 When you take the time to remember love, you remember what it is you want to feel and the way you want to feel about yourself—loved, special and valued.  You can then make the choice to fill your life with activities, passions, purpose that supports you to feel this way.

You might then be able to let go a bit of the relationship that didn’t work or the anger toward that person who hurt you.  You might remember that not all relationships are necessarily meant to last forever.   Some last a lifetime, others a moment in time.  Neither is less valuable than the other as every kind of relationship offers the opportunity for you to love, grow, share and discover who you are.

 And in the end, it is for you to discover that you are loved, special and valued no matter what the circumstances.  Perhaps, this is the love we are all seeking and have the possibility of finding.

 

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.

Secrets to Not Having Secrets About Money

How to be honest with your partner and come out alive … and more loved.

When you get down to what separates great, long-lasting partnerships from ones that start with the best intentions but fizzle out over time, there are a few very basic rules and behaviors that while seemingly common sense, most people don’t have a clue about. The truth is that we can all use a boost in our E.L.Q. … our emotional intelligence when it comes to navigating the waves of our most intimate love relationships (a.k.a. your Emotional Love Quotient.)

One of the most vital components of keeping and growing a POWERFUL, LOVING, and FUN partnership is HONESTY. When life is smooth, honesty is easy. It’s when the bumps come up that the temptation to fib, to disguise or avoid the truth seem like the simplest path. But over time, little lies build to bigger lies and resentment – neither of which you want hanging around your relationship.

One of the most fertile grounds for secrecy between two people is money. We call these ‘sticky situations’ and we’ve listed a few of the most common. We’ve also included the most dangerous but often used ’emotionally-stunted’ responses… DO NOT try these at home! On the flip side, we’ve outlined for you the high E.L.Q. response, one we’ve used in our own partnership to transform financially sticky situations into deeper connection, a better understanding of ourselves, and more love.

Sticky Situation:
    •    You’ve spent a chunk of change without consulting your partner
    •    You’ve blown the budget you both agreed to
    •    You’ve put something on credit when you’ve agreed you are paying off your debt

Emotionally Stunted Responses:
    1.    Hide the bill and pray he/she never finds out.
    2.    Feel guilty, wait for them to figure it out and beg for forgiveness.
    3.    Sneak your misdemeanor into another conversation or get to them while they are busy or distracted.
    4.    Fess up but slough it off as not a big deal, you’ll find the money somewhere.

High E.L.Q. Response:
    1.    Admit to yourself that you acted outside of the agreements you had with your partner.
You have to accept responsibility with yourself that your action was outside of either a stated or implied agreement (we always recommend having explicit agreements about money choices.) But even if you didn’t have an explicit agreement, you knew what your partner expected. So face the music. Say out loud to yourself, "I chose to XX and I know that my action was outside of our agreements / expectations of each other." And then take a deep breath (don’t skip the breath, it’s important to releasing your own emotions!) Coming clean with yourself will feel good and erase some of the guilt or apprehension. You can’t be honest with your partner if you aren’t first honest with yourself.

    2.    Plainly and succinctly take responsibility with your partner and then tell them the facts. This is not the time to go into some long story to justify your actions. Just own what you did, not with guilt but with honesty. First, ask for his/her attention to talk about something important. Second, state that you broke an agreement. And third, tell them the specifics. "Joe, I broke our agreement about making big purchases without talking to you about it. I bought XX today for $XX." Then shut up.

    3.    Let your partner react. Before you get to the "Why" (which in your mind may either have been a good or bad reason) your partner will need to have their emotional response.
Seriously, it’s the least you can do. Your job is just to listen. Let them have whatever feeling they have. Don’t try and defend yourself, unless you want to create a fight. This is also not the time to explain why. Just listen. If in your partner’s reaction, they ask why, include your response as part of step four, after you own it. (Note to Partner… you are responsible for your own E.L.Q. too. You are allowed to honestly react but not to bludgeon, scream, attack, tear apart or try and make your partner – who is trying to be honest with you — feel guilty or ashamed. You can be angry but you still owe this person your respect and unconditional love. Be angry at the action, not the person… and DON’T take it personally, their action was not a personal attack on you.)

    4.    Own your action again, apologize for breaking the agreement and then, finally, you can share… not your defense but your heart. Your simple response is, "You are right. I acted outside of our agreement. I am sorry." Let that apology land. Then take a breath and say, "I’d like to share why I made this decision…" and then share with them, from your heart what motivated you to make the choice to spend money this way. Be vulnerable. Do not get defensive. Do not bring up any of their actions from the past to throw in their face. Remember, the two of you are on the same side, and have committed to helping each other be the best people you can be.

    5.    Create Conscious Next Steps.
    i.    Discuss the "Now what?" Come to agreement on how you manage any financial stress this may cause, and work together to make it work.
    ii.    Create an agreement or modify the previous one. Converse about what really works for you both and talk about it until you both feel really good.
    iii.    State your agreed to expectations out loud. This will make sure there is no confusion, and will eliminate the need for any secrets.

And our favorite last step to this whole process…

Pinky Swear on your agreement and then seal it with a smooch!

We Burn Our Badges of Busyness

What are we teaching our girls?

You can be anything.
You can do anything.
You can have anything.

Now get going.

There is much to do.
So much that you will never feel like you’ve done it all.

Allow me to introduce you to your new lifetime companion
Her name is "To-Do List"

She will follow you everywhere from now on
She will be there to greet you when you wake
She will hang out near you all day long
And she will be there when you lay your head down to rest
Making sure that you don’t forget her, even as you try to sleep

You will learn to wear her as a badge of honor
This flashing symbol of busy-ness
She thrives on attention,
lives for compliments,
She seeks out acknowledgments of her busyness,
and ability to ‘get it all done’
without a sweat, and with a smile

She is not stingy
She loves to share accolades with her sister super women
Swooning and commenting on their multi-tasking feats
As if their doingness was the latest, most fabulous, all-the-rage hat

Some days you will be tired
And will want to set down the to dos
Take a break from your badge,
Whose weight you notice has become quiet heavy

You will try to unpin it
Pull it, tear it, yank it,
But no matter how hard you try
Your badge of busyness
Will not budge

Your to-do list
Doesn’t take kindly to being set down
Or Forgotten
She is fiercely intent on
Staying alive  
Remaining on center stage
Where she can always be seen

What they (we) didn’t tell you
When you accepted your to-do list as a rite of passage
And fashioned on your badge with pride
Was that try as you might
When you tire
No matter how hard you try
You can’t hide
You can’t run
You can’t even pin that relentless list on some other unsuspecting soul

But YOU can choose

Girl, woman, sister
You have a choice to NEVER pick up
This badge of busyness
You have the choice to walk away and NEVER look back
Not because you stop doing and achieving
Which I know is one of your (my) greatest, unspoken fears
But because you know that you don’t need a
Badge of busyness or a never-ending list of to-dos
To prove your worth

Stand tall
Turn on your heel now
Do not follow us
A generation of women who unknowningly ran down the aisle
To marry busy-ness
And ended up with a sense of self
Tied to ‘what I’ve accomplished and gotten done in a day"

Turn away
Run away
And change your sense of self
for the good
of us all

As you turn away
We will burn our badges
And together we will change
The decree of women forever

"Yes I can do anything."
"Yes I can be anything."
"Yes I can have anything."

BUT NO … I DON’T NEED TO DO BE AND HAVE EVERYTHING

I am valuable simply because I am
Even if I never pick up another to do
Even when I am doing nothing
Especially when I am just being
I am worthy

Because I know the truth

I am enough
Simply because I am

And so are you.

Mother.
Sister.
Daughter.
Woman.

Does Love Ever Die?

How to feel loved even when a relationship ends

7 days ago I made one of the hardest decisions of my life.

A decision made for love, but a choice that really seemed to be set up to take love away from me.

7 days ago, I helped my best friend of 17-years, my heart companion, my soul dog, die.

She wasn’t sick. Just old.

Her body no longer worked the way it needed for her to Be the vibrant, jubilant, beautiful being she had always been.

And although I didn’t know it at the time, inside I became very afraid that Love was going to leave me… again.

Love had certainly felt like it had left before – when my father died, when my engagement ended abruptly, and in the times previous best friends became people I no longer talked to.

Through my previous experiences with love and loss, I had come to believe that when people leave, so does the love. Which has also caused me to believe that as humans, we will do most anything to avoid feeling the pain associated with feeling the loss of love. Or sometimes we will do everything to run straight into and sit in the pain, suffering to make ourselves feel alive and connected to the one that has left.

As I made the choice this time around to let someone I love go, what I found were two beliefs around love and loss – one that served me and one – a love lie — that just caused me great suffering, that I thought we all could benefit from getting to the real truth.

LOVE BELIEF

The thought of losing love is one of the scariest things we face as human beings.

This is true.

LOVE LIE

When a relationship ends or a person leaves our lives, the love dies. The love leaves with them.

This is totally false.

It is true that if you input a belief into your mind that tells you “Love is gone! Love has been taken away!” you will feel pain, excruciating suffering kind of pain.

Because just like we need air to breathe, we need love to live.

Anyone who has had the experience of losing someone they love deeply can attest to feeling like the wind was knocked out of them, because it was. And yes, losing someone we love, hurts, a lot. There is no way around the grief but through it. However, it’s been my experience that avoiding the pain or festering in the belief that love had been stripped away, brings loads of unnecessary suffering. Because the truth is that while the physical presence of that person ceases to be with us, and we will grieve that physical loss, there is evidence everywhere that the love doesn’t die, and in fact, the heart, while it may be breaking, has the opportunity to as it mends, open up to even more love.

3 Ways to Open To More Love In Times of Loss

1. Make the choice to Surrender. Surrender your expectations of what and how you should feel… and when. Surrender the belief that love could ever be stripped away. Surrender your fear of letting love go. The less you struggle and the more you surrender to love, the more ease you will have. When I am having a hard time surrendering, I take a “Surrender Plunge:” Put your body a cross-like position, or if that weirds you out, assume the body position as if you were floating on water. Arms out to the side, creating a T shape. And say out loud, over and over, until you feel a shift, the words, ‘I Surrender. I Surrender. I Surrender.”

2. Find Evidence of Love Everywhere and Open your Heart to Receiving The Love. Remember, you need love to live, so take it everywhere you can get it… and seek it. Hugs, smiles, considerate acts of kindness from strangers, all great! Surround yourself with people who love you. Ask for their help, and let them (not expect them) to go above and beyond for you. Plan dates with friends where you don’t have to ‘do’ anything but be with each other. And in the moments you find yourself alone, reach out to nature, the sun, a book or a bath to soothe you and connect you to the fact that you will never leave you.

3. Create physical touchstones that bring love to your body, heart and spirit. Having something or someone to touch you helps you feel the love still present. I have put these two love generating tools to the test: A. the Love Pacifier – a physical object that reminds you of that person or that relationship in a healthy way. My pacifier for Nanook, my soul dog, has been a white faux fur blanket that feels like her shiny warm coat I used to love snuggling up to. B. Body and energy workers working on you! In the past 2 weeks I have received Acupuncture, Emotional Freedom Technique, Reiki, Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Massage, and I am heading to a week long retreat with natural mineral salt baths this week. Grief gets stored in the body and you need to release it. Any of these forms are great release techniques. If you aren’t familiar with them, get familiar by googling them. Open minds lead to open hearts!

If you have other ideas to share on how you have opened to more love as you’ve experienced the ending of a relationship with someone you loved, I’d love to hear about it! Post it here or visit my blog http://www.daretoliveyou.com/blog/2011/04/love-never-dies.html where you can also watch a video I taped called Love Never Dies.

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