Tag Archives: acceptance

Nobody Really Wants Intimacy

The other day a few colleagues of mine were discussing intimacy on a lunch break.  The one had his own therapy group that was focused on the topic of intimacy and he was expressing his distress in how often people sign up for the groups on topics like “anxiety”, “depression” and “grief” but few wanted to sign up for the intimacy group.

“People don’t want to be intimate anymore”, one of my colleagues said in response to his distress, “We’re living in a separate individualistic culture”.

“Yeah, a lot of people are just focused on their phones and technology now,” said another, “Nobody really wants intimacy”.

Up until this point in the discussion I was merely an observer, like a bird looking in through the window, but I felt an urge to say something to add my own two cents.  “Well, I think the problem is that people don’t like conflict,” I said, “and you need to be able to work through conflict in order to be more intimate”. 

Now, of course, when I say this I don’t mean that we need to have conflict in order to be intimate.  There are plenty of relationships out there that are full of conflict and the intimacy is severely lacking.  However, what I do mean is that by avoiding conflict, we are also avoiding more intimacy.

Contrary to what some may think, intimacy is far more than just sex.  Sex is just a mere expression of physical intimacy.  But there’s also intimacy on an emotional level.

When we’re emotionally intimate with someone, we are then able to share someone our true emotions.  Our sadness.  Our fears.  Our worries.  And even our anger.

By becoming emotionally intimate, we allow ourselves to slowly and gradually be more and more seen by another person. It creates more love and deepens the relationship.  The other person is better able to know us for who we truly are and we are then better able to know the other person.

This process isn’t easy. In fact, it’s terrifying because it requires us to be incredibly vulnerable.  To be intimate requires us to take down our defenses and expose ourselves with another person with the hope that this other person is going to react with acceptance and love.

And for most of us we haven’t had that reflected to us in our childhood.  We’re used to being judged and shamed.  We’re used to feeling guilty.  We’re used to not being accepted.

We’re not used to other people giving us a safe and loving space for us to express our emotions and to simply say something like, “I know that’s tough.  I’m here for you and I love you no matter what”.

I think this is where dealing with conflict makes things tough.  Because while we want to be accepted and loved by another person, conflict can feel like the exact opposite of that.

Depending on how we were raised, conflict can feel very rejecting.  We may have come to believe that conflict means separation or that fighting leads to the ending of the relationship.

However, the reality is that — and some people have grown up knowing this already — is that conflict is simply a discussion of differences and that it’s naturally a part of being in a relationship.

The reality is that through conflict, if we can communicate in a way where both people take responsibility for themselves and both are able to share their own genuine internal experience, we can actually become much more intimate.

Through conflict we have the opportunity to see another persons’s deep inner wounds, so we can better understand what makes them who they are.  We then have the opportunity to give them assurance that all is okay and that they are loved and accepted no matter what regardless.

ConflictWounds

Click to Tweet: Through conflict we can see a persons’s deep inner wounds, which can allow love to deepen. @jenilyn8705 

So how can we better deal with conflict so that we can become more intimate?  Here’s a few tips:

#1 – Be aware of your own relationship to conflict

Are you one who avoids conflict at all cost?  Do you tend to believe that a happy relationship means no arguing?  Do you have difficulty holding the idea that a debate can be healthy and free of anger and resentment?

#2 – Track yourself

When a discussion starts to turn a bit sour, be sure to check in with yourself.  How are you feeling?  Are you angry or anxious?  Are you tense?

When we’re triggered and become angry, anxious, tense, or upset, this is when we are unable to think clearly.  We literally can’t process information the way we can otherwise because our nervous system is outside of our normal window of tolerance.  So it’s important to stop, breath and recognize that you’re triggered.

#3 – Recognize where the other person is and focus on the discussion

Does the other person appear tense and angry?  Are they saying things like “you always” or “you never”?  If so, then it’s likely that they’re triggered.

Remember how I said we can’t process information clearly when we’re outside our window of tolerance?  Well, when you can’t then the other person can’t either.  So its important to recognize that and know when to walk away and cool off. 

When both are cooled off, then a real discussion can happen.

#4 – Be mindful about language

If you want to be loved and respected then know that the other person deserves to be loved and respected as well.  So be mindful about your language by avoiding saying things like “childish” or “selfish”.  Avoid saying things that may imply trying to place all the blame on the other person because, realistically, it takes two to tango anyway.

So, do I really think people don’t want intimacy?  No, not at all.  I think deep down in our core we really truly do want intimacy it’s just that our own wounds and fear get in the way.

How do some of your wounds block you from intimacy?  What’s your relationship with conflict?  Share in the comments below!

5 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy — and How You Can Start Being Happy Today

So maybe you have the awesome house or apartment, a great relationship, and an amazing job.  But despite the fact that everything in your life looks so great on “paper” or upon someone viewing your Facebook or Instagram accounts, for some reason, somehow your just not happy.

What I’ve come to realize that while our societal views on what constitutes a happy and successful person, it’s rare that someone who actually fulfills all of those things are going to be genuinely happy.  Our true happiness is not determined by our external circumstances, but rather our internal focus.

So here are 5 reasons why you may be unhappy — and how you can start being happy today:

#1 – You’re living in the past or future

Out of all the reasons in this list, I think this one is the most impactful of our level of happiness than all of them. 

You’re focused on what you did have in the past or what you could have in the future rather than what you have right now.  Your mind is focused on how things were so great back in “the good ol’ days”.  Or, you’re focused on the idea of how things will be great “someday” in the future.

The reality is that by focusing our attention on the past and the future, all it does is prevent us from really living in and enjoying the present moment, which is the key to really living and being from a place of true joy and happiness.

So when you catch yourself thinking about how things were great in the past or how they could become great in the future, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the floor and look around you.  Notice what you have right now in this moment and how amazing it is to simply be living right here, right now.

#2 – You’re caught up in thoughts of judgement and criticism

Are you caught up in judging yourself about not being “good enough”?  Are you often trying to, somehow, be “perfect”?

Or, on the flip side, do you get up in judging and criticizing other people?  Do you get caught up in criticizing the way a co-worker dresses?  Are you often getting caught up in judging others for their own life choices?

When it comes to judgement and criticism I think it’s important to remember this: When I am judging others, I am judging myself, because we are all intricately connected.

When we are judging and criticizing, its a sign that our ego mind is bringing out our inner critic.  All this does is block us from being able to truly experience love, happiness and joy in the present moment.

JudgingOthersSelf

Click to Tweet: When I am judging others, I am judging myself, because we are all intricately connected. @jenilyn8705

#3 – You’re seeking fulfillment in material things

Do you find yourself thinking things like: When I’m able to get that house then I’ll be happy, when I’m making six figures I’ll be happy, or when I can get that new car I’ll be happy?

One of the biggest fabrications that our ego mind likes to tell us is that being rich, famous and successful we are somehow going to be living the best lives ever.

While getting a new car, house, and make more money may certainly make our lives easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to be happy when we get these things.  True happiness comes through our mindset and how we choose to live and be in the world — not a pair of Manolos and some Gucci.

#4 – You’re focused on what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving

To you tend to get caught up in thinking that if you did X favor for Sally then she better give Y favor for you?  Or, do you tend to get caught up in thinking about how much money you’re getting from your employer rather than how much you’re giving at work?

It’s interesting, but often when we’re focused on a mindset of always thinking about what we’re “getting” then there never seems to be enough — there’s always lack.  However, when we shift our mindset and start to focus more on what we’re giving, then we are able to see what we are actually receiving.  In turn, we can then find ourselves more grateful and content with what it is that we do have right here, right now.

#5 – You’re trying to push your feelings of sadness, worry, and anger away

In the world of self-help and personal growth, there’s a lot of talk out there about a need to be positive so that you can be happy and joyful and live the best life possible.

Well, I’m going to tell you right now: Thinking that we need to be positive all the time is BS. 

Honestly, it’s not even remotely realistic.  We all have our good days and our bad days.  People die.  Pets die.  Relationships end.  Health issues happen.  We lose jobs.  We move.

And as a result, we cry, we scream, and we worry.  Someone does or says something to hurt us and we struggle to forgive.  We have wounds, addictions, and disorders.

And you know what?  It’s all normal and perfectly okay.  In fact, we need it.  Why?  Because we can’t have light without darkness.  We need both to be whole and to feel complete.

We all have wounds because we’ve all been hurt in various ways and those wounds need our love and attention.  We have to give ourselves time to really truly feel and process those emotions.  When we don’t, this is where other problems can emerge, such as an addiction, an eating disorder, or maybe even a case of depression.

So allow yourself to really truly feel — both the good and the bad, because it is all a part of you, and by loving and accepting it, you can start to tap into your own true authentic happiness.

3 Keys to Manifesting a Healthy and Loving Relationship

We all want a healthy and loving relationship.  You know, a relationship filled with compassion, affection, and acceptance.  A relationship where there is respect.

Whether you are single or not, the desire, to some degree, is likely there.  Unfortunately for many of us, even if we are married or in a relationship we can find ourselves wishing that the relationship was different in some ways.  We may feel that the “spark” has gone away and we wish we could find it again. 

Fortunately, regardless of our relationship status, we can give our relationships a “tune up” when we stop to look within ourselves and consciously choose to make some inner shifts.  Here are 3 keys to manifesting a healthy and loving relationship in your life:

#1 – Have an amazing relationship with yourself

If you hate being alone and you’re self-worth is determined by how active your social life is, then you’re going to be giving off a “I need you to validate my self-worth” kind of vibe when out on a date.  If, on the other hand, you enjoy spending time with yourself and feel totally comfortable in your own shoes, then you’re going to be giving off a “I feel comfortable with myself” kind of vibe.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you do hate being alone and have a low self-worth that you’re not going to find a boyfriend.  The truth is that you probably would.  However, there would be one big problem: The guy has equally as low of a self-worth as you.  Which, would then create a relationship where both people need the other person to validate their own self-worth.

It’s a foundation built on sand — and it’s certainly not where one wants to be if they truly want a healthy and loving relationship.

So get comfortable in your own shoes.  Spend time with yourself.  Take yourself on dates.  Go to the movies, go to dinner or take a mini-vacation with yourself. 

Treat your body well by exercising and eating healthy.  Do activities that you enjoy doing.  Give yourself things that you know you need.

When we become masters of our own self-care, we are giving ourselves the love that we truly deserve.  So focus on doing amazing things for you, so you can have a great relationship with yourself.  It will help in manifesting that healthy and loving relationship you desire.

MastersSelfCareSelfLove

Click to Tweet: When we become masters of our own self-care, we are giving ourselves the love that we truly deserve. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Believe that you deserve it

Many of us want a healthy and loving relationship, but, deep down, we don’t believe that we truly deserve it.  Or, we may even think that it’s not possible for us.  Unfortunately, this prevents us from making any kind of progress in getting that loving relationship.

So if you find yourself struggling to believe that you truly deserve it, make a commitment to reframing that mindset.

One way to do this is by saying affirmations.  Every morning or night you can spend some time standing in front of the mirror and stating out loud, “I deserve a healthy and loving relationship”.  Say this 10 times in the morning and 10 times at night for at least 30 days.  You may not notice the shifts right away, but over time you’ll notice a shift.

#3 – Ditch the checklist and, instead, connect with how you want to feel

We all hold expectations.  If you’re single and dating, it may be an expectation that the person you date has a nice car and isn’t working in retail.  If you’re in a relationship, the expectation may be that you want your guy to clean the dishes after he uses them.

When we get ourselves caught up in such expectations it’s like we are creating for ourselves an internal “checklist”.  We have a list in our minds of things that we want and “need” in order to be happy and fulfilled in the relationship.

Unfortunately, these “checklists” take us out of the experience.  It takes us out of what is happening in the moment in your relationship with this other person and, instead, focused on what the person is or isn’t doing.  It’s a way of rating or judging the moment, which blocks us from truly connecting with the other person and experiencing love.

So the key here is that rather than focus on the “checklist” or expectations, we must focus on how it is that we want to feel in the relationship.  Do you want to feel love in your relationship to this other person?  Joy?  Happiness?  A sense of calm?  A place of comfort in their presence?  How do you want to feel in being in the relationship?

When we focus on how it is that we want to feel rather than on the surface-level details, we can find that what we thought we needed, we don’t really “need” after all.  We realize that the “needs” were all arbitrary — and they weren’t helping us get what we truly wanted, which is love.  Rather, they blocked it.

So let go of your “checklist” of expectations and sit back and ask yourself: How do I want to feel?  And then connect to that feeling.  Feel it within your own being and carry it with you throughout the day.  And, eventually, your relationships will start to reflect your internal state.

Take action now!

In the comments below, share with me how you want to feel in your relationship.  Or, if you’re not in a relationship now, share with me how you desire to feel.

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members Around the Holidays

The original version of this article was published here.

Even though we often associate Christmas with a time of gathering with family and friends in a state of harmony and giving, we all know that’s not always the case.

Sure, we experience joy and love in the process of giving gifts and spending time with our loved ones, but it’s not always peaches and cream. There are challenges, conflicts, and arguments. These conflicts can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and make the holiday less enjoyable than we want it to be.

But there are things that we can do. There are 4 simple mindset shifts can help turn a potential challenging holiday into an enjoyable one. Here are four tips to remember during this holiday season to make yours a better one.

#1 – Accept others as they are.

People are going to do what they want to do when they want to do it. It’s not our responsibility to do it for them. Everyone is their own unique individual with their own personal power and responsibility for their own lives. If we try to push or control others in some way, then we are only going to cause more conflict not only for them, but also for ourselves.

So if you don’t necessarily like something that another family member is doing, then it’s okay to say so casually and calmly but then leave it at that. Let them take care of it and make their own choices for themselves.

You are also not going to change someone else’s personality or way of doing things – they have to do that for themselves when and if they want to. You can voice your preferences, but let go of the need to control or force anything because if you do you are crossing over into the other person’s personal boundaries. Everything will happen in the way it is meant to happen. Trust that.

LetGoControl

Click to Tweet: Let go and trust that others will learn and grow in their own way on their own time. via @jenilyn8705

#2 – Set your own personal boundaries.

If someone is asking you to do something that you don’t want to do, then tell them. If there is something that you would like to do, then be clear about telling them. Be clear about what you want and try to avoid falling into the whole “Oh just do whatever you want to do” response. Be assertive and clear about your own personal preferences.

That being said, also be aware of what you want to deal with and what you don’t want to deal with. For instance, if a family member brings up some topic to discuss that you don’t feel comfortable with then say so. Focus inward and take note of how you feel. Be true to that and voice that so others know.

#3 – Try to avoid the political or religious debate.

More often than not, when a political or religious discussion arises around the holiday table it ends up causing an argument or, at least, get fairly heated.  I’d recommend to try to steer clear of these types of discussions. If they come up, we can try to defuse them by changing the subject.  If other people bring up the religious or political debate, it may just be easier to go into the other room and find something else to do.

Most of the time, these discussions aren’t very proactive – meaning, it doesn’t really change or impact anything. It just ruffles people’s feathers. So try to focus discussions more on “catching up” and discussing experiences.

#4 – Take time for yourself.

Even though Christmas and New Years are very “extraverted” kind of holidays where there is a lot of giving gifts and dinner parties, this is actually a very good time to reflect over the past year and reconnect to spirit.

So get out a journal and reflect over your experiences.  Write out a list of new year’s resolutions. Sit down and read some of your favorite Christmas stories.  Watch some of your favorite Christmas movies.  Find ways to reflect and to really tap into that Christmas spirit in whatever way works for you.

Allowing yourself the time and space to look within and connect can really help turn a stressful and challenging Christmas into a truly magical one.

What are some of your biggest challenges this holiday season? What are some concepts that you feel that you really need to remember during this time? What helps you really connect and get into the Christmas spirit?

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.

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.

3 Things to Remember When You’ve Been Screwed Over

At some point in our lives, in some way or another, we have all been screwed over by someone else.  Maybe it was by an ex or a friend.  Maybe it was by a colleague or classmate.  Maybe it was even by a family member or a roommate.

Regardless of your relationship to the person, being screwed over by someone can really, well, suck.  We have placed our trust in this person and, somehow, they have let us down.  They have done the thing that we didn’t think they would’ve done.  As a result, we feel hurt, angry, and, overall, betrayed.

Dealing with these emotions aren’t always the easiest thing.  We can find ourselves caught up in these emotional responses — and so, as a result, we unable to think clearly about the reality of our situation.  So here are things to remember when you’ve been screwed over by someone:

Revenge may not always be the best option.

When these types of things happen, it is likely that we may feel the urge to “get back at” the person in some way.  This may be by telling anyone and everyone about how this person hurt you in hopes that “what goes around, comes around”.  This may also involve doing other things a bit more strategically in order to get back at them in some way.

The problem is that, in doing this, many times (not always, but many times) we are actually dragging ourselves down to their level.  In trying to get back at them, we aren’t necessarily making ourselves “the bigger person” in the situation.  And, as a result, it is also likely that we are just wearing ourselves out with all the stress we are giving ourselves in the process of it all.

Often times the best thing that we can do is to simply let it go and trust that the universe (through the process of karma) will take care of it.  Know and trust that everyone will ultimately get what they deserve — including you!   Remember that! 😉

The only person who you really have control over is yourself.

Another thing that we may try to do when we’ve been screwed over by someone else is to try and control the entire situation ourselves.  Maybe we may try to talk to them in hopes to try to force them to change a decision they had made or just really try to get this other person to see and understand our side of things.

Though I can 100% relate to this, the unfortunate reality is that we really can’t control the other person.  The only person is this world who we really have control over is ourselves.  Which leads me to saying that the reality is that…

The let downs shows us how we can improve so it doesn’t happen again.

When we’ve  been screwed over we can find ourselves wishing we could turn back the clock and do things in a different way so that we somehow could have avoided being screwed over all together.  Maybe it involved saying “No” to a request earlier in the relationship or asking the person more questions before making an agreement.

Even though being screwed over does certainly suck, the benefit is that it does teach us how to be stronger in the future.  It teaches us how we can better cover our bases in our future relationships (of any and all kinds).  It helps us to better refine our boundaries of what we are willing to tolerate and what we are not willing to tolerate.  It also helps us know all the right questions that we need to ask and things we need to talk about with the other person so that all the things we need to know are out in the open.

And, finally, it does also teach us about forgiveness.  It reinforces the teaching that people do not always know how much they have really truly hurt us — and that goes for both others and ourselves.  Rarely do any of us really truly fully know how much we have hurt other people in our lives.

Because of this truth, it is vital to forgive — both ourselves and others — for not knowing better.

VitaltoForgive

Take action now!

Take a moment right now to reflect on someone who has screwed you over.  This may have been recently or several months or years ago.  Based on the list above in the article, which of the 3 things do you most need to remember in order to heal from this let down?

Do you still find yourself wanting revenge and you need to let go of it?  Do you still find yourself wanting to control this person to change their mind?  Are you struggling to really accept how you can change yourself so this doesn’t happen in the future?  Share it in the comments below!

5 Ways to Love Yourself Unconditionally

This article was originally published on SheNow.org

Most of us aren’t well-developed in the whole self-love department.  We are great at doing things for all the other people in our lives, but whenever it comes to doing things for ourself and giving ourselves what we truly need we struggle.

We loan that friend that extra money that they said they needed, but forget or feel bad whenever it comes to asking them to pay us back.  We tell our boss that we will work overtime, but we forget about all the things we will be neglecting for ourselves by working the extra time.

When we put ourselves and our own needs and desires on the back burner, we can find ourselves feeling emotionally and physically drained, tired, and unfulfilled.  So what are some things that we can do to love ourselves unconditionally?  Here are 5 ways.

Treat your body well! Are you starting every morning with a coffee and a McMuffin?  You may want to change that.

What we eat and how much we exercise directly correlates to our mental and emotional health and well-being.  If we’re feeling tired and drained, going out and having huge pizza with a pitcher of beer isn’t going to make you feel better.  Rather, it’s only going to make you feel more tired and drained afterwards.

So ditch all the fatty and processed foods while watching primetime TV after work and opt-in for some fresh fruits and vegetables and a trip to the gym.  The better we eat and the more we move our body, the more we are expressing our love for ourselves by giving ourselves a better chance to feel good!

Take time every day to get centered.

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of our lives, many of us forget about the importance of taking some time to relax and just be still.

So take about 5 to 10 minutes every morning and evening to do something that allows you to get centered.  This may be through meditation, breathwork, self-reflection, journaling or even just some stretching.

Getting into the regular habit of taking a few minutes to stop and look within enhances our well-being by giving us the chance to stop focusing so much on what’s going on around us and to look within.

Forgive yourself — and others!

One thing that can keeps us in a place of suffering is holding on to past hurts and resentments.  These can be things that we feel bad about ourselves because we had not done better or known better, such as saying something to someone that you wish you hadn’t or agreeing to something that turned out to be a bad idea.

On the flip side, it is also very important to forgive others because otherwise we can find ourselves filled with bitter resentments that weight us down.  So in order to truly take care of you, it is vital to take the time to accept what is, release any resentments, and to just forgive.  In doing so you allow yourself to evolve, grow, and become who you are truly meant to be.

Accept where you are on your journey.

The trouble that many of us can have is that we have trouble accepting where we are in our journey.  We tell ourselves things like: “If only I had enough money to buy a house now” or “I wish I already had my book written.”

We can find ourselves on this train of always focusing on what we don’t have and what we want to have instead that we forget about all the things that we already do have!  We forget to acknowledge all the things that we already have accomplished.

So take the time to reflect on what good things you do have right now and be easy on yourself so you can fully accept where you are on your journey.

Create and sustain relationships where you are loved, supported, and appreciated.

Do you have people in your life that you always do favors for but they never acknowledge what you have done for them?  Do you have people in your life aren’t really supportive of you?  Then you may want to re-evaluate your relationships.

If you are in a relationship with someone who is not really giving you the love and support that you know that you deserve then you may want to distance yourself and find people who do love, support, and appreciate you as you truly are.  After all, you deserve it!

YouDeserveLove

Based on the list above, what can you start doing today to love yourself more?  Eat better?  Forgive?  Start meditating every day?  Tell us in the comments below!

It’s Okay to Be Angry

In the past few weeks, I’ve found myself experiencing some spouts of irritation.  I kept finding myself with more and more things that I had to do, but with less and less motivation to do any of it.

The demands of my other part-time job, the demands of schoolwork, and other demands were causing this built up irritation.

It was very difficult to admit to this irritation because, logically and rationally, everything that I was doing was right.  I was doing the things that I needed to do that would, theoretically, help me grow and achieve my goals.

When I’d paint the picture logically, it’d flow perfectly and make sense.  I mean, I was doing things that could help my own personal development and growth, so how can I not like that?

This would then lead to thoughts of, “Oh but maybe if I’m resisting all of this so much then that means that I need to work on that more, right?  I mean, that is what can happen during some personal and spiritual development activities.”

I’d talk myself out of my own feelings because they seemed so out of place to where everyone else was.  So I’d simply go along with it and only express my frustrations vaguely to a few select people in fear that my irritation was somehow “wrong”.

But the truth is that honestly, I was pissed off.  I hated it.  I hated doing all these things that I was being told to do.  “Their” way didn’t gel with me.  Something was off and I was feeling like the alien because I felt like I was definitely not doing the same kind of process that everyone else was.  I just wanted to do my own thing, in my own way, in my own unique process.

The fact that I simply felt like I couldn’t really do things in my own unique way and in my own unique time pissed me off.  I felt trapped and I hated that feeling so incredibly much.

This was so incredibly hard to admit to myself because, I mean, how can I really be angry over something that I, first of all, not only chose to do but, second of all, it supposed to help me?

It was kind of like one of my earlier experiences where I found myself angry at a therapist (or two) of mine during my undergrad.  I was very irritated and angry from working with her, but I had told myself to simply go along with it because “she’s qualified to be helping me”.

Needless to say, trying to convince myself that it’s okay and to ignore my own frustrations just caused more harm then good.

Though we may not like our own anger or feel that, for some reason, it is not okay to be angry, pissed off, or hate something, the truth is that our anger can be the key to truly discovering the desires of our heart.  It is by acknowledging our anger that helps us to see what it is that our soul is calling us to do so that we can take proper action and move forward.

Allowing ourselves to feel our own anger and irritation can be the key to discovering what it is that our intuition is guiding for us to do next.  If we allow ourselves to simply be mad and then take personal responsibility for it by taking action to help release that anger, then we allow ourselves to progress and move forward.

AcceptAnger

So how can we acknowledge and release our anger so that we can become more in-line with our soul’s true calling?

Acknowledge and accept that you are angry.

Many times if we are angry and aren’t acknowledging it it is because we’re telling ourselves some mental dialogue that it is not okay to be angry.  Either to not express it or to simply allow ourselves to feel it for this person or situation.

If you aren’t really sure if you are angry or not, you can do one or two things:

Check in with your body.  Are you feeling a lot of extra tension?  Do you feel kind of agitated in the body?  If so, it could be representing some kind of anger.

Recognize the words you are using to describe your experience.  Are you just saying that you’re stressed?  Are you saying that your frustrated?  Sometimes we can use these words to describe our experience even though, deep down, we’re honestly just angry.

Allow yourself to really feel it and let it out.

Know that it’s okay to just vent your frustrations to others.  It doesn’t make you a bad person to let it out.

Also, know that if there is any physical action that you can do to help release it then let that happen as well.  Need to punch something?  Punch a pillow.  Feel the need to cry?  Then just let yourself cry it all out.

Accept what it is that you need to do to move forward and then do it!

Are you angry at your job and it has helped you realize that you need to quit?  Then do it.  Are you angry at your partner or a friend for something they did?  Then talk about it to make your frustrations known.

Take action now!

Have you found yourself angry about something lately?  Make note of what it was and then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to help process this and move forward?”  Share any of your thoughts below!