Tag Archives: giving

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.


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.

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?


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.

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.


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.

5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

Another year is coming to an end and, with that, comes the annual hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Buying gifts.  Baking cookies.  Traveling.  Cooking dinners.  Mailing gifts.  Mailing Christmas cards.  Tying up loose ends before the year ends.  The list goes on and on.

Even though the Holiday season is marketed “to be jolly”, it can very easily become anything but jolly.  Stressful?  Sure.  Road range?  See it all the time.  Crazy shopping?  Totally!

The good news is that the holiday season doesn’t have to be so stressful and draining.  With a few little changes, it is possible to turn your exhausting holiday experience into one filled with joy and cheer — it just all boils down to how you take care of you.  Here are 5 ways to do that:

Set boundaries with others — and yourself.

You don’t have to do everything for everyone all the time.  Nor do you have to get everything done right here right now and not a day later.

The reality is that some of those things we are so urgent about getting done so quickly can, in fact, wait an extra day or two.  Just like some of the things you think you need to do for everyone else, could be easily taken care of by that same person or by asking someone else (who has some extra time) to do it for you.

So the key here is to set boundaries for yourself.  Ask yourself: Realistically, what can I get done today that won’t make me feel completely overwhelmed and stressed?

Anything that goes beyond those limits you’ve made for yourself you can do one or two things: 1.  Say no, or just don’t do it (like, seriously, are getting all of the Christmas cookies made this year really necessary if it’s going to make you freak out?) or 2. Ask someone to help you.

Give yourself a break.

When it’s colder outside and the days are shorter, it is only natural for us to want to stay inside, bundle up in some blankets, and just relax.  Be sure you give yourself time to do that.  Not only will it reduce your likelihood of getting sick and reduce stress, but in doing so you’re accepting what you body is being naturally drawn to.

So curl up in some blankets, have a cup of hot chocolate, watch some of your favorite movies and just enjoy!

Give yourself some gifts too!

Even though it’s only natural to think about all the gifts that you have to buy and give to others, don’t forget about another special person who deserves a gift from you: yourself!

So sign up for that massage you’ve been waiting for or spend an afternoon in a sauna or hot tub.  Maybe even get a manicure or pedicure.  Think of something that you’ve been longing to do and give that gift to yourself.  After all, with all that hard work you’ve been putting in this holiday season you totally deserve it!

Reflect on the past year — and your true desires!

When the days are shorter, it’s colder outside and the year is coming to an end, it is natural for us to go into a state of reflection over our past year.  The only problem, however, is that we may find ourselves so incredibly busy that we forget to sit down and really reflect.

So get out a journal and ask yourself the following questions about this past year: What events happened?  What was life changing?  What worked?  What didn’t work?  How did you grow?  What did you learn?

Once you have that done, then go ahead and look to the upcoming year.  How do you desire to feel during this new year?  What would you like to change?  In what areas of your life would you like to grow and become better?  Is there anything new that you’d like to try?

Trust that all that needs to get done will get done.

The single most important thing to remember is: Be easy on yourself.  Everything that needs to get done will get done in due time.  If you’re a little late or delayed with something, try not to stress about it.  We are all late on things and make mistakes sometimes, so don’t let it get you down.

Make that your mantra this holiday season: “Even if I don’t get everything done, I still love and accept myself.”


Click to Tweet: Even if I don’t get everything done, I still love and accept myself. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

What do you feel that you most need to do this holiday season in order to take care of yourself?  Share it in the comments below!

Transform Love Addiction into Pure Love

Ah, love.  It’s such a blissful feeling when you’ve found it.  The sound of birds singing sounds so much more peaceful.  Every day feel so much more brighter and happier.

You feel like you’ve been floating on cloud 9 and you don’t want anything to ever take you off of this wonderful high.

If you’ve ever experienced this early on in a relationship, then you know how great it is — and you probably wish you could just stay in that state all day every day for the rest of time.

And, really, I don’t blame you.  It’s a great feeling — believe me, I know — but there are also some problems that can come from it.

You see, when we experience these kind of highs early on in a relationship with someone and find ourselves in this blissful state of falling in love, many of us also find ourselves a bit addicted.

This love addiction comes from experiencing all these great highs and then wanting that feeling to stay there forever.  So we try to hang around with our love interest as much as possible so we can maintain that high.

We drop our own hobbies and interests, we stop hanging out with our friends, and we basically spend less time doing things for ourselves in order to spend more time with this person who we get such elated feelings from being around.  Pretty soon we find our love interest out doing things by themselves while we’re sitting at home waiting by the phone and going through their facebook profile photos for the 10th time that day.

It is at this point where it is safe to say that we have crossed over into codependent territory.  We are completely relying on our love interest to provide us with happiness.  We have lost our sense of self.

What we don’t realize, however, is that this is, in fact, a vital time.  It is a time where we can actually turn our love addiction into something remarkable: By expressing the love that we have found through our connection with another out into the world, we help make it better.

You see, when we have found love through a connection with another, it energizes us.  It gives us that extra “spark” of love and joy.  It is then that we must shift our perspective.  Our habitual response is to focus even more on our partner and rely on them to supply us with more of those feelings.  When what we should really be doing is shifting our mindset to: Look at all these wonderful and loving feelings that I’m experiencing, how can I express that love out into the world?  How can I help make other people feel and experience more love through my own inner love and joy?

Though there is no direct “this is what you must do” answer on how to express it, here are some suggestions:

Give something unexpected.

You see that homeless person on the street?  Give them a few dollars.  See someone at the coffee shop who looks like they could use a “pick me up”?  Give them a warm smile and ask them how they are doing.  Send out cards to loved ones.  Call or e-mail an old friend.  Give whatever your heart feels drawn to give.


Allow yourself to create something that you love.  Start writing.  Paint a picture.  Take pictures.  Grow plants.  Do some crafts.  Do something that you love to do that nourishes your soul.

Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, but have never done.

Have you always wanted to volunteer but you never have?  Have you always wanted to donate to a certain cause but you haven’t before?  Have you always wanted to travel somewhere but you never allowed yourself to?  Have you always wanted to do a speech but never let yourself do it?

This may not necessarily seem like your expressing your love into the world by doing things you’ve never done but have wanted to do.  However, the reality is that when we use the fuel of this love that we’ve gained through out connection with another and use it to fuel our own inner desires, we then help ourselves, our relationship, and all those around us.  We help all that is around us when we say yes to the calling that is within us.


Click to Tweet: We help all that is around us when we say yes to the calling that is within us. @jenilyn8705

That is how we shift into a place of pure and true unconditional love… and that is how we can really change the world and create lives filled with love.

Take action now!

Whether you are in a relationship now or not, think of at least one thing that you can do today that can help bring more love into the world and your own life.  What can you create?  What can you give to another?  What can you do that your heart calls you to do but you haven’t let yourself do it?  Share that one thing that you have identified in the comments below!

3 Ways to Bring More Love into Your Life

We all want happiness, fulfillment, and love in our lives.  It’s the one thing our souls strive for, yet, for some reason, it seems so much easier said then done.

For many of us, it seems that there is always something in the way that prevents us from finding love.  Always finding the “wrong” people to date, not feeling supported by friends or family, or simply feeling a lack of passion or purpose in life.

What we often fail to realize is that love isn’t something that is going to come from finding something outside of ourselves — the “right” partner, perfectly loving and supportive family and friends, or a career that you’re truly passionate for.

In fact, it doesn’t come through finding anything.  Rather, it comes from taking actionable steps in your life to create more love into your life.  So here are three ways to help bring more love into your life:

Savor each moment.

Love is everywhere.  It is all around us — in the morning dew, in a warm breeze, in the sweet smell of jasmine flowers, in a piece of art, and so on.  Take the time each day to really focus on these things and take in the enjoyment of it.

When we allow ourselves to really focus intensely in the present moment, we can open ourselves to unlimited joy, happiness, and love.

Express Gratitude.

Make it a daily habit to be appreciative about everything — food, shelter, plants, books, friends, a job, a car, and whatever else.  To be appreciative is a loving action, so when we put forth the action step to express our gratitude we, in turn, acknowledge the love that is within us.

Gradually, over time of expressing more and more gratitude, we end up finding more love in our lives because we have been giving the loving action of thankfulness.

So you may want to start every day or end every day with writing down a list of things you are grateful for.  Another option would be to mentally say, “Universe, thank you for ______” (or using whatever language you prefer) every time something happens in your life that you are appreciative of.

Give without needs.

Often times when we feel as if we’ve been giving too much it’s because, deep down, it’s coming from a place of fear.  We give and then feel like we haven’t gotten anything in return because there’s this feeling that “Something is being taken away from me” or to be quickly focusing on what one is getting rather than to really focus on the joy of giving.

When we let go of any expectations, shift our mindset to “I am good enough and it’s okay for me to be big in the world” and release any fears of vulnerability and rejection, we can then allow ourselves to give from a place of genuine love.

A great place to start with this is to donate your time to a cause or to do some kind of work that can help those in very challenging situations.  For instance, you may want to volunteer at an orphanage or help kids with special needs.  It could also be something simple like helping an old lady cross the street or giving something to a co-worker in time of need.

And you know the extra bonus to volunteering or doing work for a special cause?  It can actually become easier to be grateful — which is exactly one other thing we need to bring more love into our lives!

Ultimately, remember this:  Love isn’t something to look and search for.  It’s something that we open ourselves to.  It’s a matter of finding the love that is already within us and expressing that out into the world so that we can create the love in our lives that we desire.

Bring more love

Click to Tweet: Love isn’t something to seek out. Rather, it is something we must choose to open ourselves to. via @jenilyn8705

Create more love in your life today!

In the comments below, list three things that you are grateful for in your life right now.

3 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself to Be a Healthy Caretaker

In several of my posts, I have discussed learning how to set boundaries in order to break our habits of being a people pleaser, caretaker, codependent, and “giver giver giver”.

Though establishing boundaries are essential in order to avoid feeling drained or overwhelmed by others, many of us caretakers (especially when we are first learning how to set boundaries) is to go overboard.  We often set too strict of boundaries, which, unfortunately, cuts ourselves off from truly expressing our real gifts in order to truly help others and the world.

The key, as I have stated previously, is balance.  We want to be mindful over taking care of ourselves while also being open and receptive to helping others in their time of needed.

However, this can be very tricky — especially when we are just starting out with this whole boundaries thing and we’re not too confident over what is okay and what it not.  We tend to fear falling into our old unhealthy caretaker patterns.

And so, this week I have included a video blog (or v-log) to share with you 3 essential questions that you need to be asking yourself in order to be a health caretaker.


I hope you have enjoyed the video!  Just in order to recap, here’s the 3 questions to remember:

1.  Do I feel like this person is expecting it from me?

Do I feel like there is a “pull” coming from them?  Is there a feeling as if they need you there in order to “survive”?  If so, it’s a sure sign to give a little as needed but set a boundary and take care of yourself!

2.  Am I feeling a need to control this other person or their situation?

In other words, am I not allowing them to process their grief or sadness by crying?  Am I trying to be a Ms. “Fix-it” for their situation?  Is there any feelings as if I am “proud of myself” for helping this person?  If so, then we may be crossing into the other person’s boundary space a bit and it’s time to back away, focus on our own self care, and trust and have faith that the other person will be okay.

3.  How am I feeling?

This is the ultimate question to remember!  If answering this is difficult, you may want to ask: How does my body feeling?  Am I depleted or tired?  Do I feel like I’m pushing or trying too hard?  If so, then it’s time to back away and focus on ourselves.

Or — do I feel genuinely fulfilled?  Often if we are giving from a place of true genuine love we will notice an opening up in our heart space.  We may feel some flutters and movement in our heart area.  We may feel more expanded or as if we are “shining” in a way.  This may not happen every time, but if we do feel it then it’s an absolute guarantee that we are actually giving from a true genuinely healthy and loving place!

Start giving more from a loving space!

Reflect on the last time that you really “gave” to someone.  It may have been something that someone asked you to do or something you willingly did.  How did it feel?  Did you feel fulfilled?  Did you feel an opening in your heart space?  Or did you feel like you were “pushing”?  Or did you feel like the other person was “pulling” on you?  As if they were depending on you?

Share your experience and/or realizations below!

The Difference Between Healthy Giving and Unhealthy Giving

Giving can be a wonderful and beautiful thing. When we give money to help a child with leukemia or help an elderly woman get a cart at the grocery store, it is a reflection of the giving that we, as a society, deeply desire to see because in our current society healthy giving is severely lacking.

When we give in these types of situations in a balanced way that doesn’t make us feel like we are rejecting or overextending ourselves it comes from a place of genuine true love. It is absolutely beautiful and can reflect a deeper understanding of our own interconnectedness to one another.

However, the trouble is that many of us are imbalanced in our lives. We find ourselves stressed because we give with a motive of “I hope this person will accept me if I do this for them”. We give with a hope to avoid rejection or criticism. We may give because we fear losing emotional support in some way.

This is the unhealthy kind of giving and it can drain us and cause us stress if we give out of this place of fear too much. For this reason, we need to strive toward healthy giving instead of unhealthy giving. So what does each one look like?

Unhealthy giving comes from a place of fear or lack.

It comes from this place of “I need to give X, Y, and Z to this other person so they will not reject me.” When we give in an unhealthy manner we may be afraid of doing something that we truly want to do because we feel that we will lose emotional support from others.

Unhealthy giving can also come from a place of wanting to control people and situations. We may see a friend or family member in suffering and because we do not want to see them suffering, we may try to push them with advice that they did not ask for in hopes to “take away the pain”. When in this place it is hard for us to accept and watch other people cry and suffer. We reject what the other person is processing and going through in the moment and try to control it in according to what we think should be happening.

Because we are so used to giving in an unhealthy manner, we can also have trouble asking others for support. We may feel guilty for asking for help and fall into a tendency of “I can do all of this on my own”. We may feel like we don’t receive the support we desire from others, but, ironically, we don’t allow others to support us. We may simply act like we don’t have any problems or struggles and feel like we are a burden if we ask someone for help and support.

When we fall into the pattern of unhealthy giving, we have difficulty expressing our true selves. We have trouble expressing our true emotional pain and may not know how to give others the opportunity to support us.

Healthy giving comes from a place of fullness and love.

When we give healthy love it is because we are coming from a solid loving place within ourselves. We feel comfortable expressing who we truly are unapologetically and, in doing so, allow others to give to us.

Healthy giving is patient, kind, and always accepting of the moment. We allow others to fully be who they are and do not rely on other people to make us happy. We accept what is and are willing to express whatever we are experiencing without any hesitation.

In healthy giving, we are aware of our own emotions and our own personal experience. We give in a healthy way when are independent and responsible for not only ourselves but our emotions. We are in-tune with ourselves enough to know when to stop giving so that we don’t feel drained or stressed. We come from a place of knowing how to properly take care of and love ourselves. We are free of guilt for doing things for ourselves.


Begin to give more healthy giving!

Take out a sheet of paper or a journal and answer the following questions for reflection purposes:

Based on the information provided, what are some of your unhealthy giving traits?

Now considering each of the unhealthy giving traits that you listed, reflect on how you can begin to turn those unhealthy giving traits into healthy giving?  *Hint: What can you start doing for yourself?  What can you try to be more aware of in your interactions with others?

Share some of your realizations and thoughts below!

How to Maintain Proper Boundaries When it Comes to Advice

Last Monday, I posted an article What To Do When Someone Gives You Unsolicited Advice, where I gave guidelines and examples of how to respond when someone is giving you advice that you just don’t want.

This week I’m turning the tables a little bit. Rather than focus on how to respond when someone advises you when you really don’t want it, we are going to focus on how to establish boundaries in a way so we can be sure that we are not the ones giving unwanted advice.

In my experience, this is a much more difficult feat to accomplish because it really challenges us to see the not-so-great aspects of ourselves. Yet, the irony is that if we don’t like it when OTHERS do it to us then its very likely that we ourselves do it to others. It’s how what Swiss psychologist Carl Jung referred to as the shadow: simply, the not-so-great parts of ourselves that we are not always aware of.


That’s Tweetable!  Click to Tweet: When we ask if people want advice before giving it we respect the person’s boundaries. And so, they will respect US more. @jenilyn8705

That all being said, what guidelines can we give to ourselves to be sure that we don’t give unsolicited advice and end up ticking someone else off? Here’s a few guidelines to keep in mind:

Don’t give advice unless the person asks for it.

If the person didn’t directly say something like “What do you think I should do about this?” then don’t give them advice. It may feel very strange at first especially if you’re one who tends to be an advice-giver (like me!), but in doing so it really helps the other person stand more in their own personal power. It encourages them to take responsibility for their lives and know exactly what they want and how to ask people for it rather than blame others.

Though many of us don’t fully embody the concept, most of us simply just want a listening ear and emotional support rather than advice. Focus all your energy on holding that safe supportive space for them and then it’ll be a bit easier to fall out of the advice-giving habit.

If you get the sense that someone is wanting advice but they are not asking for it, then ask them.

If the person is off venting away and you seem to start getting a vibe that they want some sort of feedback or guidance of some sort then ask them something like “What are you wanting from me right now?”or “Would you like some advice?” This puts the power back in their court. They now have to take personal responsibility to know exactly what they are looking for, which prevents them from really placing the blame on others.

If the person has some codependent tendencies, then this will be difficult for them. It will take time for them to really get used to really “taking the drivers seat” so to speak, so be patient and give them time to really answer.

If you do give advice, ask for feedback.

If it does come to a point in the discussion where you do give advice, then ask them if it was helpful. Ask them how they feel now. Does it feel like it was right on or was something “off”? Be willing and open to hear what they have to say no matter what – good or bad.

All of these tips here are a way to help you encourage the other person to fully focus on themselves and take responsibility. This reduces the chances of the person getting offended or aggravated.

These guidelines also encourage you to really take full responsibility and be strong enough to really be willing to hear what others have to say – good or bad.

Overall, this is very difficult and can take years to really get used to it. Be patient with yourself and remember that practice makes perfect! So the more you do it, the better!

Set proper boundaries with your advice-giving today!

Think of a time recently where you gave advice to someone who didn’t really ask for it. Imagine how you could have acted differently. What could you have said or asked this person? How could you have better supported them?

Share your thoughts below!

What Are You Giving?

Are you tired of always giving and hardly receiving?  Feel like you’ve reached your cap on giving and feel that there’s no good way to give without feeling disappointed?  Well, it’s not that giving is all THAT bad, it’s more a matter of: What are you actually giving to people?

You’ve probably heard the song “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals. In some way it’s like the

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

theme song to people pleasers, with our philosophy of “If I’m always giving then I will eventually feel fulfilled”.

Though it sounds good in theory, for those of us who are drained, unfulfilled, and perhaps a bit resentful it doesn’t really do much for us. So you’re probably wondering, “Okay Jen, I get the whole ‘you get what you give thing’ and it doesn’t work. Trust me I’ve done it, but to be a giver it isn’t very fulfilling over time. It’s draining. I give and I hardly get anything back.”

Don’t worry, I understand exactly where you are coming from. If you are in a place where you feel like you’ve given a lot then chances are you’ll just become more and more drained over time.

However, the question I have for you is: What were you giving? I don’t mean this in a practical sense but in a more emotional or energetic sense. A more specific question would be:

When you gave, what was your motive? Did you give out of fear or love?

For people pleasers, the majority of the time we are actually giving out of fear. We give in order to avoid rejection or to “fit in”. We give so that we don’t disappoint anyone because we have this belief that if we disappoint someone then we won’t be loved. The paradox is that by acting in a way to avoid being hurt in some way, we are actually only keeping ourselves more separated from love. When we don’t act out of love, we can’t get love. We literally “get what we give”. When we give love we get love, and when we give fear we get fear.

Start giving love today!

So next time you “give”, ask yourself: Am I doing this because I fear being rejected or alone? OR am I doing this because I REALLY want to? Meaning, has my intuition has guided me to it? As the song says, “You’ve got the music in you” so, to give out of love, listen to and follow the rhythm of your own inner song. It’ll never steer you wrong.