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Category Archives: Love + Relationships

You Don’t Have to “Figure Yourself Out” Before You Can Love Someone Else

I’ve seen this scenario multiple times.

Girl is having problems with relationship with guy. 

Girl goes to her friends for relationship advice… over… and over… and over again.

Girl’s friends eventually start saying, “Maybe you should spend some time just trying to figure yourself out right now instead of this relationship”.

I’ve been that friend and I’ve been that girl.  And while I think that it can be a helpful thing to do sometimes in certain situations, I really don’t think it’s an absolute must-do in all situations.

A while back I was listening to a talk by one of my teachers Marianne Williamson and it was the Q&A portion of the talk.  A man had come up and asked her a question about his current relationship problems.  He had been with this woman for a while now and they had a kid together but he couldn’t figure out how to work out the problems. 

He ended sharing his story by implying that he’s been thinking about leaving so he can “figure himself out”.

Now, I love Marianne because she can be very blunt at times.  She quickly responded, “Whoever said that you need to ‘figure yourself out’ before being in a relationship?!”  She then elaborated on why it isn’t a good idea to just leave so he can ‘figure himself out’.

While breaking away from the relationship to “figure yourself out” may sound like a good idea — it’s not going to really help the one thing you’d be trying to save: The relationship itself.  Why?  Because you’d be abandoning the other person as a result.  You’d essentially be choosing to end the relationship at that moment in order to “figure yourself out” and — frankly — you’re not really choosing to love the other person if you think it’d be anything otherwise.

Here’s a few realities about loving other people:

#1 – Love is a choice

It’s been a while since I’ve brought up this idea in an article, but I’ve always found that understanding this basic idea is crucial to having a happy, healthy and loving relationship.

Love isn’t a feeling, because feelings are ever changing and they come and go.  Rather, love is something that we choose to do.  It’s a mindset that we make the conscious effort to try and have every single day… that’s how we can create truly loving relationships.

#2 – To love someone means that you are choosing to grow together

To be in a relationship with someone means that the two of you are going to grow and evolve together.  Really, its the ultimate purpose of the relationship.  It’s about our own soul’s growth and evolution and how it evolves, grows, and learns with another.

To think that we can grow a lot while being completely on our own is pretty limited.  There are always more ideas, thoughts, and experiences that we are going to learn while in relationship with another human being.

#3 – It’s not about what we are getting but about what we are giving

One of the discrepancies that can come up in our relationships is our own thinking of what is is that we are “not getting” from the other person versus what we are, in fact, “giving”.  We may be stuck in a habit of thinking things like, “Well I’m not getting as much support as I’d like”, “I’m doing more of X than he is”, and so on. 

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it is completely focused on the other person and what they are doing rather than ourselves.  Its shows a desire to want to control the other person, rather than to be accountable for ourselves and to fully stand in our own power.

I’ve said it before in many other articles and I’ll say it again: It’s all about the energy that we are bringing to our relationships that can really determine their success.  Are you in this relationship full of fear — scared of being vulnerable and fearful of rejection?  Or are you going into this relationship filled with love— peaceful, confident and with an open heart?

RelationshipSuccess

Click to Tweet: The energy that we are bringing to our relationships can really determine their success. via @jenilyn8705

There are many ways that we can shift our own energy from fear to love, but one of the ways is through meditation, which is why I’ve created my new meditation album Ignite Love from Within.  To learn more about my new album and to receive a free meditation from the album called Healing Blocks to Love, click here.

Now — all of this being said — this doesn’t all mean that breaking up and spending some time being single shouldn’t be an option.  There are of course situations where ending the relationship may be necessary.  Maybe you’ve felt like the two of you have been growing apart or that you both have different dreams and goals in life. 

If that’s the case, it isn’t a time to end things “for a while” to “figure yourself out”.  Rather, it’s a just a time to just end it — as that would be the most loving thing to do for both yourself and the other person no matter how painful it may be.

Ultimately, remember this: “Figuring yourself out” is, realistically, a lifelong journey and it is totally and completely unrealistic to think that you’d be able to do it in a few months or years.  We figure ourselves out by living, by being in relationships with others, and by striving to bring love into our lives.

So take the risk and dive in to your relationships.  After all, the only way we can really learn is with time, effort, and practice.

3 Tips for Self-Care Around the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again.  And though the holidays are often all about family gatherings, holiday parties, and taking part in all the various festivities to get in the “holiday spirit”, it’s important to remember that self-care is vital in these few months.

When the days are getting shorter and the days and nights getting colder, our bodies have a tendency to want to spend more time in rest.

Though we may forget with all the holiday hustle and bustle, winter is a time to reflect and recharge our batteries so we can be prepared to plant new seeds for the year ahead.  It’s a time to let go of the old, so that we can be open to the new that spring brings us. 

For this reason, it is vital to give ourselves enough time to rest during this season.  If not, we can quickly as easily find ourselves drained, exhausted, and, more than likely, sick on the couch with a bunch of kleenex.

So how can we adequately take care of ourselves this holiday season?  Here are 3 ways:

#1 – Hop on the “no train”

Though saying “no”, can be difficult for many of us (especially those of us who like to “please” people), it’s incredibly important to learn how to do if you’re going to take care of yourself.  You can’t really find time to rest and do all that you want to do if you’re saying yes to everyone else.

When we’re saying “yes” to what everybody else wants from us, it isn’t very empowering.  In fact, it can make us feel like others are more in control of our lives than we are.  So if you see value in taking care of yourself, it’s incredibly important to start saying no to things you really don’t feel like doing.

#2 – Give yourself more time to just rest

The winter months are not the time to sign up for an extra evening paint class or to take part in that new book club.  The holiday season keeps us busy enough as it is.

So try to minimize extra activities so that you can maybe go to bed a little bit earlier or maybe sleep in a bit later.  Your body and immune system will thank you — trust me.

#3 – Reflect on this past year to create a better vision for the year ahead

As I stated earlier, winter is a time to reflect, release and recharge so I find it very important to give ourselves time to do that!  One way to do this is by journaling to reflect on experiences from this past year and creating resolutions for the New Year.

WinterReleaseReflectRecharge

Click to Tweet: Winter is a time to reflect, release and recharge so be sure to give yourself time to do that! via @jenilyn8705

For myself, something that I found very valuable in this process is Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map.  I used to be a very goal-oriented person, but I’ve found over time that one or two things happened when I’d make a goal: 1. I’d experience little to no enjoyment upon meeting the goal or 2. I lacked motivation to actually achieve the goal cause I just wasn’t really “feeling it”.

What I’ve liked so much about Danielle’s method is that she doesn’t have us focus on the goal itself, but the core desired feelings that we want to experience as a result of that goal.  It’s based on the idea that we don’t want to achieve the goal, but the feeling that can potentially come with it.

So if you’re interested, you can check out The Desire Map and see for yourself.  If not, I still encourage you to explore this for yourself and find your own unique way to give yourself time to reflect on what you’ve experienced this year and get a sense for what you want in the year ahead.  It’s vitally important in the growth and evolution in our mind, body and soul.

Take action now!

How can you start to find more time for you to rest and recharge this holiday season?  Share in the comments below!

3 Lessons I’ve Learned from a Bad Breakup

It was December 26, 2011.

My bags were packed and I was ready to go.  I was sitting in my studio apartment waiting for him to text me to let me know he was here to drive me to the train station.

And I was the most nervous I had ever been in my life.

More nervous than when I got my first dorm room for college.

More nervous than taking my first 747 by myself to move halfway across the world.

More nervous than moving to a foreign country where I didn’t know any of the native language.

All because I knew that this was it.  It was officially over.

No more fights.  No more miscommunication.  No more apologies and making up over and over again.

The dust was settling and the chapter was coming to a close.

He picked me up, put my luggage in the trunk and drove me over to the train station.

As we rode over to the train station we mostly sat in silence.  What more was there to say?, I thought to myself, I had depleted my entire heart and soul trying to make this relationship work.  What could I even say at this point to make any of this better?

When we got to the train station he walked me into the station and walked with me all the way to the escalator that led to the boarding terminal.

At that point I completely broke down knowing that this was the last time I was ever going to see this person in my entire life.

I went through breakups before, but not where it completely ends with one person leaving the country.  So this situation was taking it to a whole new level for me.

We hugged and he said, “We’ll meet again someday”.

As I stood at the boarding terminal waiting for the train admiring Korea’s countryside with tears rolling down my cheeks, I knew in my head that it was over but in my heart I didn’t want to let it go.  I wanted a resolution.  I wanted to feel like there was some kind of actual “closure”.

I didn’t realize it then, but there are a few lessons that I know now that I didn’t know then…

#1 – We may never receive the closure we think we should get. 

Alright so you wrote a letter, sent a letter to him, tried to talk about it but he was totally avoidant about talking about any of his feelings, and so on but it still doesn’t feel like enough (I did all of these, by the way).

And you know why it doesn’t feel like enough?

Because deep down, secretly, we just want him to confess his love to us so then everything can work out and we can ride in the back of a carriage together into the sunset and live happily ever after.

It’s not realistic.  In fact, it’s totally insane.

Look, let’s be real here: When you were with him he showed you who he was.  He showed you his personality, his interests, and his quirks.  He was totally honest and upfront with you.  And, so, maybe he didn’t quite express his feelings to the degree that you wish he did, but there’s also another lesson you gotta remember…

#2 – We can’t force someone to change.

You can’t force a guy to express his feelings for you if he doesn’t want to.  Sure, maybe you got that sense that he has stronger feelings for you than what he’s willing to admit to (trust me, I know), but, honestly, if he’s not expressing it then he doesn’t feel comfortable doing it. 

Now that could be because he doesn’t really feel comfortable expressing his feelings to you in particular for whatever reason.  Or, it could be that he just has his own issue that he has to work on when it comes to expressing his feelings.

Either way, the bottom line is that you can’t force someone to change or do something.  In fact, men are hardwired to pull away when they are being forced to do something.  So take a deep breath and let it go, ‘cause the only person that you have the power to change is yourself.

ChangeYourself

Click to Tweet: The only person that you have the power to change is yourself. via @jenilyn8705

#3 – When we feel complete and whole within ourselves, then we can create a real and lasting relationship.

When we experience any kind of “neediness” — a need for closure, a need for him to express his feelings, and so on — it’s not because we really “need” that from the other person, but because we ourselves are not feeling whole and complete within ourselves.  Why?  Because we are not connected to spirit — the Divine, God, the Universe or whatever you want to call it.  We are lacking in our own inner connection to divine unconditional love.

Now when I say this I don’t mean that every relationship is going to work just because you’re connecting to pure divine love within yourself — but it will help you see things more clearly. 

You better know when the relationship is no longer in your highest good so it’s time to walk away.  It’s easier to forgive and let go of past wounds because you’re allowing yourself to be guided by what is in your highest good.  And you are better able to create and maintain a relationship that has more balance and is filled with the real love that you truly desire.

This is why I’ve created Ignite Love from Within: Meditations for Creating Relationships and a Life Filled with Loveto help you connect to divine love deep within yourself so that you can start creating relationships filled with love.  You can start meditating today with a free meditation from the album called Healing Blocks to Love.  Click here to get your copy!

Take action now!

What is one lesson that you have learned from a breakup?  Share it in the comments below!

3 Realities About Relationship Problems

Relationship problems are hardly anything that we want to experience in our relationships, but they are an inevitable part of spending time with another person.

Here are 3 realities I’ve come to realize about relationship problems:

#1 – When you choose to date or marry someone, you’re not necessarily choosing the person.  Rather, you’re choosing the problems that you want to deal with that emerges in your relationship with that person.

Let’s face it: When we’re in a relationship problems are inevitable.  No matter how hard we try we simply just can’t avoid them. 

When we’re with one person the problems may be much more challenging and difficult than with another person — but it doesn’t meant that there aren’t any.  It’s simply the byproduct of being in a relationship.

Dr John Gottman, founder of the Gottman Method Couples Therapy, states that 69% of the problems that we deal with in our relationships are never solved.  What determines whether the couple stays together or not relies on whether both people are able to accommodate and accept the traits and characteristics of their partner that irritate them.

Seeing that statistic can be pretty disheartening, but it can also be empowering, because it shows the importance of taking personal responsibility.  We have the power to control our own behavior, actions and reactions.  And we have a choice as to how we want to behave and even if we want to be in a relationship with a person with that one trait that drives you crazy.

Which leads me to my next point…

#2 – You can’t change someone who doesn’t have a problem with their own actions.

I’m sure that at some point in your life you’ve heard someone say, “You can’t change a man”.  I know I’ve heard it many times — and boy do I know a lot of people (myself included) who have tried.

To love someone means to accept them for who they truly are — flaws and all.  Even if they do forget to take out the trash.  Even if they are habitually late for dinner.  Even if they may have hobbies you have no interest in whatsoever. 

AcceptanceLove

Click to Tweet: To love someone means to accept them for who they truly are — flaws and all. via @jenilyn8705

Nobody’s perfect and it’s impossible for anyone to actually be perfect.  And, realistically, why would you want to be with someone who is?  There’s no growth and learning that comes out of that.

When we tend to have the desire to want to “change” our partner, it stems from this inner desire to control the other person.  It’s rooted in the thinking that “they” need to change and not ourselves.

This is a distorted belief that stems from our ego (fear-based mind), which blocks us from truly experiencing real genuine love.

So be willing to recognize your own desires to control or change your partner and set the intention to let it go whenever it comes up.

#3 – What you think you need from others, isn’t really what you really need.

In relationships, there are a lot of things that we may “think” we need from our partner: To always keep the sink clear of dishes, to always have the garbage out on time, or to even get a goodnight kiss every night before bed.

While having these kind of needs are certainly valid and real, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we do, in fact, need them from our partner.

Whenever I think about needs, I always think of that old Sex and the City quote, “That’s the funny thing about needs.  Sometimes when you get them met, you don’t need them anymore”.  And that can be oh-so-true.  So I sit back and wonder, if we realize we don’t need it anymore after they are met then did we really need them at all?  Was it even worth arguing about?

One of my absolute favorite teachers, Marianne Williamson, states that our neediness in relationships don’t come from what we are not receiving from the relationship.  Rather, it stems from what we are not allowing ourselves to receive from God.

Now, whether you like to use the term “God” or not is up to you — sometimes I like to say spirit, the Universe, the Divine,  etc. but regardless of the term it all boils down to the same thing: Our own inner disconnection from pure divine love.

We think that we need our partner to do a better job at reducing clutter out of the house, but really it is our own inner disconnection from divine love that is causing our distress.  When we are disconnected from spirit, we are stuck in the distortions of our ego.  When we’re stuck in our ego, then nothing can quite be right.  We have a tendency to always be finding something wrong or that needs improvement.

By getting connected internally to pure divine love, it helps to accept our partner for who they truly are.  It helps us to be more at peace within ourselves.  It helps us to ignite the love that we possess deep within our own beings so that we can share it with the people around us.

This is why I’ve created Ignite Love from Within: Meditations to Create Relationships and a Life Filled with Love in order to help you get reconnected with Divine love so that you can shine light and love from the inside out and share it with others around you.  As my gift to you, I’m giving away a meditation from the album called “Healing Blocks to Love” so that you can get started today to ignite love from within you!  Click here to get started.

10 Relationship Lessons I’ve Learned in the Last 10 Years

About 2 months ago, I attended my 10 year high school reunion.  Because of this reunion, I’ve found myself reflected on where I was 10 years ago compared to where I am now. 

One of the areas where there has been significant change is how I approach relationships.  So here are 10 relationship lessons I’ve learned in the last 10 years.

#1 – More often than not, people just want to be heard — not given advice.

For the longest time I though that if a person was telling me about a problem it meant they wanted advice.  This would cause all kinds of problems in my relationships.  The reality is that, more often than not, people just want to be heard and understood.  That’s all.

#2 – That one “special” person doesn’t really exist.

Contrary to the many love songs out there, there isn’t that one special person out there that is going to “save you” and be there with you for the rest of your life.  Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll only be married once and you’ll be with them for 50+ years.  But to expect them to “save you” and give you all the love you desire is only setting yourself up for disappointment.

#3 – No person is going to provide you with all the love and happiness that you desire — only you can do that for you.

You yourself have the power within you to access all the love and happiness that you desire.  In my new meditation album, Ignite Love from Within: Meditations for Creating Relationships and a Life Filled with Love, I guide you through meditations to help you do exactly that!  Click here to grab my free meditation, Healing Blocks to Love, and to learn more about my meditation album!

#4 – Not dealing with conflicts head-on are going to cause more problems than actually dealing with them.

I used to have this old belief that that less conflicts = healthier relationship.  This idea is totally bogus.  In fact, by not having any conflicts ever it often means that there’s some repressed issues going on but one or both people aren’t willing to talk about it.  So if there’s issues, face them head-on.

#5 – Saying “no” to others and making your needs known is vital to your own well-being.

In order to really get your own needs met and to honor you, you have to be willing to say no.  If not, your life is going to be run completely by other people rather than yourself.

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Click to Tweet: In order to really get your own needs met and to honor you, you have to be willing to say no. via @jenilyn8705

#6 – A person doesn’t have to agree with you in order to be supportive.

A person can listen to you, understand, and give you the help that you need and still not agree with your view or opinion 100%.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

#7 – You can’t force someone to commit — and trying to will, more than likely, just push them away even farther.

You can force someone to love you, commit, or even buy you flowers on Valentine’s Day.  Everybody has their own free will and have to make that choice for themselves.

#8 – A person probably isn’t going to respect your boundary after only stating it once.

More than likely, you’re going to have to voice your boundary multiple times.  Especially if this person isn’t so great at setting boundaries for themselves.

#9 – A friend who uses you, lies to you often, is often in “competition” with you and is critical of you, isn’t a friend worth having.

We all deserve to have friendships were we can gain support and feel a sense of belonging.  If a friend has these characteristics, then we’re probably not being very supported. 

When in doubt, ask yourself: Why am I friend with this person?  If you really don’t know and this person also uses you, lies to you, is critical of you, etc. then it’s probably not a friendship worth having.

#10 – Relationship challenges aren’t necessarily a sign to leave, but a sign to go deeper.

Often if we’re feeling disconnected from our partner, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to check out.  Instead, it’s often a sign that we need to deepen in the relationship somehow.

Maybe that involves doing an activity with your partner that you haven’t done before or asking one another some more intimate questions about their past.  Regardless of how you do it exactly, be willing to be curious and vulnerable.

Take action now!

What relationship lessons have you learned in your life so far?  Share them in the comments below!

When You Want More Love and Support in Relationships

This article was originally published on TinyBuddha.

For years, I felt unfulfilled in my relationships.

I often felt drained, and as if I was the only one giving and doing things for others.

I couldn’t quite understand what I was doing wrong and why relationships were so challenging for me. All I wanted to do was to feel loved and supported. Why couldn’t I get that?

Then, nearly three years ago, after a bad break-up and a ton of other relationship challenges, I reached a breaking point. I knew I had to make some serious changes, so I found myself a therapist, a ton of self-help books, and a few other self-development professionals.

Through this journey, I’ve learned several lessons that have helped me find and create the fulfilling relationships that I have today. Here are four lessons I learned.

#1 – We have to accept people where they are.

Even though I wanted more depth, intimacy, and support in my relationships, I had to learn to accept that others didn’t always want the same things I did; or, they did want the same things, but they were simply not ready for them at that point in time.

In learning this lesson, I was able to let go of idealistic dreams that some people would one day change and appreciate those relationships for what they were.

Many times we are unfulfilled in relationships because we are lying to ourselves. We choose to reject what is while clinging to our own idealistic dream of what could be.

When we accept relationships as they are, we open the door to connecting with others who are able to give us what we know we deserve.

#2 – Love begins on the inside, not the outside.

One of my all-time favorite passages on love begins, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” When I was younger I interpreted this as though I had to find someone who was patient and kind, not jealous or boastful, and so on.

I thought it was telling me that I had to judge other people according to that criteria to determine if it was truly “love” or not. I thought it was about seeking it in the external world.

Then, when I heard this verse a couple years ago at a friend’s wedding, I had a huge “ah ha” moment: This verse has nothing to do with looking for these traits in other people. It’s telling us that this is the love that we can find within ourselves.

It is the love that makes this universe exist and keep it together. It is a love that we all possess.

We are not meant to seek love externally in the world but to connect to it within so that we can create even more of that love in the world around us.

The love that we seek is something that we already have. When we make the conscious effort to tap into that inner love and express it in the world, we can then begin to see all the love around us.

PossessLoveWithin

Click to Tweet: The love that we seek in our relationships with others we already possess deep within ourselves. via @jenilyn8705

#3 – It’s more painful to fear being authentic then to actually be authentic.

I always held back my inner truth in relationships because I feared rejection. Deep down, I felt that I wasn’t good enough or worthy.

I feared that others would automatically reject me if I expressed my unique, genuine interests and talents. I felt that by blending in with people, I’d guarantee acceptance.

The reality, though, is that it took so much more effort, more strain, and more heartache to hold on to this fear.

As I have gradually learned how to simply express my authentic truth in relationships, it has not only made my relationships better, it has also given me more energy that I can put into more proactive things.

#4 – We get what we give.

Even though I often felt like I was giving a lot in my relationships, what I was giving wasn’t necessarily healthy. I often gave to others in order to be accepted and avoid rejection, because I feared being vulnerable. I was giving out of fear, not from a place of inner love.

If you want others to be more real and vulnerable, then you have to be more real and vulnerable. If you want others to openly discuss feelings, then you have to openly discuss feelings. This doesn’t guarantee they’ll reciprocate, but it opens the door for the type of relationship you’d like to have.

Many of us know what we desire in our relationships, but we don’t realize the importance of our part. We have the ability to create the tempo. If we are willing to set the example, others will be more likely to follow and reciprocate.

The more we realize the power of our own actions and align them to our heart’s true desires, the closer we’ll get to creating relationships filled with love, support, authenticity, and fulfillment.

4 Things to Remember When You Want to Get Married, But It’s Not Happening

Back when I was in my early to mid-20s I was worried and concerned about getting married, but every attempt to create a stable, loving, and committed relationship turned into an utter failure.

Based on what I’ve learned, here are 4 things to remember when you want to get married, but it’s not happening:

#1 – You gotta focus on making yourself happy.

Be your own best friend.  Learn how to love your life whether there is a guy in your life or not.  The more joyful and loving that you are when alone with yourself, the better because others are going to recognize that energy that you are putting out. 

And trust me — being joyful, happy, and loving is a lot more attractive then being depressed, self-conscious, and anxious.  Just imagine what it’d be like going on a date with someone who is really depressed, self conscious and anxious.  Would you want to go out with them again?  Enough said.

#2 – Know that you deserve and are capable of having a loving relationship. 

We can be happy and joyful in our lives and with ourselves all we want, but if we don’t think that we deserve and are capable of having a loving and joyful relationship that can turn into a successful marriage then it’s not going to happen.  We have to really truly know and believe that we are worthy.

Doing this doesn’t have to be super complicated.  It can happen at any given moment that you choose to fully admit to yourself and the universe what it is that you truly desire and you choose to fully know you are worthy.  And, as a result, the universe can respond very quickly.

I know this very well from experience.  A few years ago I was traveling in Japan after spending several months suffering with the aftermath from a breakup.  I was working on being happy by myself but nothing new came along because I didn’t really believe I was ready for a new relationship.  I deeply believed that I’d screw any new relationship up.  I didn’t trust myself.

While walking around the Golden Pavillion (Kinkai-ju) in Kyoto I saw a section where you could buy candles for various different things and light them for a prayer.  These were all in English so I felt inclined to light one.  At first I rationalized and started telling myself to do one for world peace but my eyes kept going back to one that was for finding love. 

In that moment, finally admitted to myself and the universe my true desire and I knew that I deserved it.  I lit the candle and left — forgetting about it.

Later that day, upon trying to get to the airport, a storm came through that caused me to miss my flight.  I ended up meeting a man in this this stressful situation who helped me with language translations.   This man I ended up having a stable relationship with for about a year.

Which leads me to my next point…

#3 – Always be open to possibilities.

When we have this very specific picture of what it is that we want then we are not going to be open for all of the creative possibilities.  We may overlook or not even allow ourselves to see what is right in front of us. 

It’s okay to have some standards of what you want: Like someone who is honest, loyal, caring, and so on.  But if we’re going so far as to being very particular about how someone looks, their job, or where they grew up then we may be blocking ourselves from being with who we are truly mean to be with.

Also, I think it’s very important to remember that when I say “be open to possibilities” it’s not about letting go of the desire completely.  It’s not about shifting your thoughts in a way to be forcing yourself to be thinking, “I don’t want to get married” because that doesn’t leave you open to the potential of marriage ever.  It’s like going up to the universe and saying “I’m closing up shop” and the universe is thinking, “But, wait, I had all these customers lined up for you.  What gives?”

The key is to learn how to get into a neutral space of “I am happy and love my life no matter what happens”.  It’s about letting go of any concern or worry about the outcome and being open for all creative possibilities. That creates the foundation for a real change (or miracle) to occur, internally and, ultimately, externally.

FoundationForChange

Click to Tweet: When we let go of concerns about the outcome, we open ourselves to receive all the creative possibilities. via @jenilyn8705

#4 – Have faith. 

Trust that what is going to happen will happen.  Not all of us are meant to get married or have children by a certain age.   It’s also true that not all of us are meant to only be married once.  Things happen — it’s just the way life works out sometimes.

So trust and have faith that what comes to you is what is in your highest good.  You have you own individual lessons to learn in this life that is totally unique to you.  Nobody else shares those same specific lessons that you need to learn with you.  So trust, have faith, and follow the flow of your own intuition and inner guidance.

Take action now!

Let’s do #1: What can you start doing today to help yourself love your life more?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

How to Deal When Your Partner Isn’t as Spiritual As You

I have a confession to make.

Somewhere around 4 to 5 months into my most recent relationship I seriously considered breaking it off.  The whole dynamic of me being the “spiritual one” and him not being spiritual — well, at all — just wasn’t quite working for me.  How could we make it work when we couldn’t see eye to eye?

So I wanted to breakup.  End it.  Be done with it.

This decision of potentially ending this relationship made me quite distressed so I started discussing it with various coaches and counselors.

“Well, that really depends…”

“Yeah, I think you’re ready for this relationship to end… “

“It sounds like you’re stuck in this place and you’re ready for a change…”

… I would hear them say.

Though this advice resonated with me on some level, it still didn’t feel quite “right” to me.  So I decided to do nothing and continued on with the relationship, despite continuing to feel troubled by this whole “I’m spiritual and he’s not” thing.

Then one day I was listening to a mentor of mine giving a talk about relationships and someone had told her, “I’m so frustrated.  My boyfriend isn’t nearly as spiritual as me”.  With those words I perked up and leaned in closer, giving this exchange my full attention.  “How do I deal when my boyfriend isn’t as spiritual as me?” she asked.

My mentor looked at her with her piercing brown eyes and said…

“You gotta worry about your own side of the street, honey”.

“You’re only in control of yourself”, she continued, “and he is on his own spiritual path.  All you can do is to do the spiritual work yourself, be the light and he will gradually come to his own understanding in his own way and on his own time”. 

I was immediately skeptical.  How on earth is that going to work?, I thought to myself.  This guy wants to get into religious and spiritual debates with me.  He isn’t out to understand and accept — he’s only out to “win” his point. 

But despite these thoughts, there was a sense, a voice deep down in the core of my being that said, “Just do it and you’ll see”. 

And so I did just that. 

I stopped worry about him and started working on myself.  I started meditating daily.  I began reading more spiritual texts.  I started to really implement the work into my life.

I never once preached my beliefs  to him or share with him anything that he didn’t already express some interest or curiosity in.  And if he wanted to debate religion and spirituality I simply set a boundary stating that I didn’t want to talk about it.

I just focused on myself and did my own thing.

And over time, something amazing happened…

We started meditating together.

We started going to yoga classes together.

He started asking me about some of the books I was reading.

Somehow, miraculously, he became more open and accepting.

And you know what else?

Gradually the arguments became fewer and fewer.  And we became closer and closer.

Our love deepened and we somehow became more comfortable with each other and more in love than we were before.

Our relationship progressed to a whole new level.  A level that neither one of us have ever experienced with another person before.

All because I decided to completely focus on working on myself and not him.

So how did I do it and how can you do it if you’re in this situation as well?  Here’s a few tips:

1.  Recognize that the whole “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality is nothing but your ego. 

So when you catch yourself getting into that frame of thinking, just recognize it and let it go.

2.  Set boundaries.

If you see your partner getting into the whole “you’re right I’m wrong” mentality, then set a boundary with them.  Say something like, “Honey I love you, but because I love you I don’t think we should be talking about this right now” and walk away or go in the other room. 

3.  Be the light. 

Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.  Do the spiritual work that you need to do for yourself and, over time, maybe your partner will start to wonder, Hey!  What is she doing for herself?  Cause it seems to work.  I better check this out. 

BeTheChangeYouWant

Click to Tweet: “Be the change you want to see in the world” ~ Gandhi via @jenilyn8705

And if they don’t, so what?  It doesn’t matter because all that matters at the end of the day is that you are being a channel for your own inner transformation — and that makes all the difference.

In the comments below, share with me one thing that you are going to commit to doing on a regular basis so that you can be “the change you wish to see”.

Essential Guidelines for Introverts Living in an Extrovert’s World

The original version of this article was published on JenniferTwardowski.com on August 7, 2013 as one of my very first articles.

I’m an introvert.

Always have been and always will be. My energy drains quickly when I have to be around groups of people for a long period of time and sometimes it takes days for me to fully recharge.

Though I love teaching and leading others, I hate being the center of attention and would prefer one-on-one interaction any day over being in a group.

If you’re an introvert yourself, you know exactly where I’m coming from.

As an introvert and recovering co-dependent with this underlying desire to “please” people, there were times where I really felt unsettled and out of control. I felt like I just kept going down this assembly line of social expectation just because everybody else seemed to be doing it. Until, of course, I reached a moment where all I really wanted to do was jump off and run out of the building.

Not really the best way to handle things is it?

So here are a few general guidelines that I’ve found work for me to help maintain a balance between social connection and alone time:

1. Know that it’s OK to leave a social event early.

If you’re at a social event and you’re completely drained, tired, and all you want to do is go home and recharge, then know that it’s OK to leave early. You can say something like, “Sorry, I’m feeling tired so I’m going to head home.  I’ll catch up with you later”.

There is absolutely nothing wrong in leaving an event early! Honor yourself by acknowledging your own feelings and you’ll feel much better!

2. Set one-on-one meet times with friends.

If you’re at all like me and do so much better communicating one-on-one than in groups, then set regular times to meet one-on-one with friends. Set up regular weekly meet-up with the same friend for coffee, lunch or dinner or you may want to switch it up as you feel it’s appropriate.

If your friend happens to be an extrovert, then they may not always understand your intent for “one-on-one time.” So in order to avoid them bringing other people along, you can let them know that you only want to spend time with them. There’s nothing wrong in saying something like, “Hey I’m setting this up so only the two of us can chat cause I’d really like just spend time with you. So if you don’t bring anyone else I’d really appreciate it”.

And if they ask if they can bring someone along, then there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’d rather you not bring them” if you don’t feel comfortable with it right now.

3. Set some time in your week for your own “introvert time.” 

If you’re constantly around people at work or school and then come home to be around people again, then be sure to set some time for your own alone time. Exercise by yourself or spend some time reading or writing early in the morning or late at night. Perhaps even set time every week to paint, make crafts, play music, or some other hobby to do by yourself.

In America, it seems that the common place for introverts to hang out are at coffee shops. There is the noise of coffee makers and quiet conversation, but it can generally the introvert’s dream place to read or do some extra work without being bothered.

If, at any moment, you’re struggling to find a balance between your recharge time and social time and you’re not sure what to do, then honor your feelings in that moment. If you are feeling drained or overwhelmed, then acknowledge that you are feeling that way and do what you feel is needed to feel better. You and only you have the ability to be fully aware of your feelings and are able to act in accordance to them. Nobody else can or is responsible to do that for you.

AwareOfOwnFeelings

Click to Tweet: You & only you have the ability to be fully aware of your feelings & are able to act in accordance to them. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

If you’re an introvert, how can you adjust you day today to have more quiet time for yourself? Maybe get up earlier or stay up late? What can you do to help balance your relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

5 Steps to Stop Blaming Others in Your Relationships

Blame. It’s one of those things that seem to be a part of all kinds of relationships. It’s in our relationships with family members, with our partners or spouse, with friends and it can even be with our co-workers.

If we aren’t mindful over our habits of blaming others then it can become detrimental to the relationship. So how can you stop blaming others in your relationships? Here are 5 steps:

#1 – Recognize when you’re blaming.

Examples of blaming include (but aren’t limited t0) saying things like: “You never call me when you’re going to be home late”, “You’re too sensitive”, “You’re too needy”, “You never do the dishes when I ask you to”, “You need to change” “You never listen to me” or “You caused all these problems yourself”.

What is a common word in any of these examples? Yep, that’s right it’s saying “you”. It’s all “you did X” or “you did Y”. Sometimes there is also the element of saying the word “never” as well, which is clearly just an exaggeration. It’s not necessarily that the person “never” does what you ask, but that they don’t do it sometimes.

So the first step of the battle is being sure that we catch ourselves getting into the habit of blaming.

#2 – Take a moment to get centered.

Often when we are blaming it’s not that we are doing it from a balanced and centered place. We aren’t thinking and seeing things clearly. More than likely, we’re stressed out because of various things that happened during our day or triggered by something.

So immediately after recognizing that you’re doing the “blame game” be sure to stop and take some time to get centered in yourself. Take some deep breaths. Walk around a little bit. Jump or shake your arms to let out the stress and tension of it all. Look around at the different items in the room.

Any of these little tools can help you to get centered back into yourself so you can think clearly and respond to the situation in an effective way rather than to just mindlessly react to what is happening, like most of us do often.

#3 – Recognize that you and this other person are both equals.

When we’re blaming, we are coming from this mentality of “You’re wrong and I’m right”. It involves putting yourself on a pedestal and making yourself appear all perfect and good, then condemning the other person and making them appear imperfect, flawed, and wrong.

Not exactly something we want to be doing in a marriage where both people are meant to be equals, right?

Exactly. Yet, unfortunately being in a continuous state of blaming can often be one of the big causes for divorce.

So, it’s important to recognize this illusionary thinking that blocks us from truly experiencing and expressing love.

#4 – Own your own experience.

Once you’ve gotten centered and recognized that you and this other person are both truly equals, it’s time to really own your own experience. So check in with yourself and ask: How am I feeling about this situation? What do I think about this situation?

Once you have identified your thoughts and feelings, phrase them into an “I” statement. For instance, you may want to say something like, “I’m angry because there is a mess in the living room” or “I feel upset because I don’t think we talk as much anymore”.

Be sure that when using these statements that you don’t say something like “I feel you’re not listening to me” — because that is not true. That is a thought and not a feeling. So be sure that you’re identifying an emotion if you use the word “feel”, because if we don’t the other person will likely still think they are being blamed.

Don’t believe me? Reflect back on times where people have told you something like “I feel like you don’t care about cleaning up the apartment”. What’s your initial reaction? It makes a difference.

Finally, when you’re making an “I” statement be sure that you don’t fall into the blame game again by saying something like “I’m upset because you don’t listen to me”. There is still a “you” there.

So be sure to really own your own experience and take responsibility.

#5 – Apologize.

If you’ve said something where you were really blaming the other person, then be sure to apologize to them. If you’re dating or married to this person, be sure you express your love and affection to them. Doing so will help bring the two of you closer to each other and help deepen the relationship.

BlamingPartner

Click to Tweet: If you’ve been blaming your partner, be sure to apologize & express your love to them. It’ll bring the two of you closer. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

How have you been blaming in your life? Share it in the comments below!