Tag Archives: love

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.

11 Signs of a Truly Authentic Person

In the last week or two, the topic of authenticity has been coming up in my life.  The discussion of authenticity came up a couple times in a class and then it came up again during a therapy session.  This led me to sit back and ask myself: What actually constitutes a truly authentic person?

Upon deeper introspection, I came to the conclusion that becoming authentic is a lifetime — and beyond —  process.  It’s like peeling an onion and over time as we grow, heal, and love ourselves more and more, we become more of who we truly are.

There can be moments when we are truly expressing our authentic selves and then there are moments that trigger our inner wounds.   We then find ourselves acting in a way that’s out of alignment with our own inner truth and, instead, acting as a reaction to our wounds being reactivated.

So as I said before, it’s a lifelong process, but this doesn’t mean that it’s something we shouldn’t aspire to.  Just because it may take time and practice to do a headstand in a yoga class, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother doing the work so you can eventually do it with ease.

So here are the 11 signs of a truly authentic person:

#1 – They recognize the emptiness in material things

They’re not out buying Gucci with the hope that it will make them happy.  While they may enjoy material things, they don’t see it as “If I just have this one item, then I’ll be happy”.  They also don’t rate other people based on the material items that they have or don’t have because they know it doesn’t hold much meaning.

#2 – They recognize that experiences make their lives richer

They’re aware of how life experiences create more meaning and richness in our lives.  They are open to explore and learn, both externally and internally.

#3 – They truly listen to others

They don’t listen in order to respond.  Nor do they listen to others while being distracted by their phone, the TV or whatever else may be a distraction.  They’re able to be fully present with another person.  They’re able to listen to others with a genuine interest and care for the other person.

#4 – They express their true thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically

They don’t say things that they don’t truly mean.  They don’t do things that they don’t really want to do.  They are able to share their own unique thoughts, feelings and views without fear of other’s opinions.

#5 – They’re not out to please people

They know that by living their lives to please others all the time disconnects them from their own inner experience.  The know the importance of being aware, acknowledging, and expressing their own unique thoughts, feelings and views to the world.  They know that by expressing their true internal experience, they are able to share their gifts with the world.

TrulyAuthenticPeople

Click to Tweet: Authentic people know that expressing their true internal experience, they are able to share their gifts with the world. via @jenilyn8705

#6 – They see value in giving love to others

They see value in giving love and kindness indiscriminately.  They understand that we are all connected and are willing to give others a helping hand.  They know that by helping others, they are helping themselves.  They allow and encourage others to express their own truth with love and acceptance as well.

#7 – They love themselves

They see themselves as a person of value who deserves love, kindness and support.  They provide themselves with adequate care to support their own health and well-being.

#8 – They are willing to see and acknowledge their own faults

They are aware they we are all wounded and may have various prejudices.  They don’t judge others for their own prejudices, but rather see it as a part of the person’s own inner wounding that has yet to be healed.  They know that there are aspects of themselves that they don’t like either, and they’re willing to swallow their ego and acknowledge those parts regardless. 

#9 – They understand that we are all unique — and that’s okay!

They know that not everyone is going to agree on everything all the time.  They are accepting of differing views and opinions.  They don’t label themselves as “right” and another person as “wrong” or visa versa.

#10 – They take responsibility for their lives

They don’t blame other people for what happens to them in their lives.  They take personal responsibility for how they’re actions created a certain outcome.  They are willing to look at how they influenced each and every situation and act accordingly.

#11 – They’re connected to their own inner guide

They’ve been able to clear their minds of the constant mind chatter in order to hear an inner voice that is greater than them.  They are able to act in accordance to their inner guidance with trust and faith, despite not having external validation.

Take action now!

Out of the list above, are any of these 11 signs of authenticity harder for you to do than others?  Do some come a little more “natural” to you?  How do you struggle to be authentic in your relationships and life?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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

I’ve seen this scenario multiple times.

Girl is having problems with relationship with guy. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a few realities about loving other people:

#1 – Love is a choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RelationshipSuccess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 – You gotta focus on making yourself happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which leads me to my next point…

#3 – Always be open to possibilities.

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

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

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

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

FoundationForChange

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

#4 – Have faith. 

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

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

Take action now!

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

How to Know When to Say I Love You

For several weeks — possibly even over a month — I had been debating about doing the one thing that take any new relationship to the next level: When to say I love you.

I can’t remember exactly when the thought first crossed my mind to say those words to my current boyfriend.  However, I noticed that whenever I saw him after being apart for several days or after he did something incredibly sweet or supportive, the words would almost pour out of me.  I feared that one day I would accidentally say it — surprising both myself and him.

The whole process of saying “I love you” was a bit different in this relationship in that in my past relationships normally the guy dropped the L-bomb shortly after I began thinking about saying it.  I had never found myself caught up in this inner debate with myself as to when to say I love you.  In the past, the guys were always the bold and vulnerable ones… I just followed their lead.

This time though, I found myself waiting and waiting and waiting… but he would just never say it.  As a result,  I found myself doing the silly thing that most young people do nowadays when they are bounded by fear at the thought of saying those three words: I went to google for advice.

I read article after article with all kinds of theories and ideas on the topic.  Some people proclaiming how women should never be the first to say it because it can sound needy, while others saying that men shouldn’t be the first to say it either because it might freak the woman out.  Others were giving statistics on how most guys say it at 3 months and how women often wait until the 4 or 5 month mark.

After a searching google for advice for days and (admittedly) weeks, I found myself a bit overwhelmed and all this online advice to be, well, just flat out silly.

You see, all these articles and google searching was only doing one thing for me: It was keeping me in a state of fear.  All this did was waste my time and put more energy into my own fear of being vulnerable.  This fear of him not reciprocating was only keeping my heart closed and preventing me from really speaking my truth and allowing myself and the relationship to move forward.

This is what many of us do when it comes to doing anything that requires some vulnerability in our relationships.  Whether it be saying “I love you”, asking whether to move in together, or proposing marriage.  There is often that period where we get caught up in fear.  We start second guessing and asking ourselves things like “How will the other person react?”, “Will they reciprocate?”, “Will this help the relationship move forward or will it move it backwards?”

This fear disconnects us from the truth that is within our heart.  It makes us uncertain as to how and when we should proceed.  It can make us hesitant as to when and how it would be a good time to say what we want to say.

So what should we do when we find ourselves caught up in fear of being vulnerable?  How can we clear out the fear so that we can truly know with confidence that it is the right time to say “I love you”?

Be still.

For starters, its important to take some time to be still and simply breathe.  When we get all caught up in fear of being vulnerable the mind can begin to overact.  When the mind is on overdrive, it can be hard to really tap into what we feel in our heart.

So take some time for a day or several days to meditate for 15 minutes.  Focus on the breath and allow yourself to become calm over hearing the nature sounds or meditative music.  If sitting still doesn’t quite work for you, then it can also be beneficial to go for a walk or do some kind of exercise.  Getting into your body by doing some kind of movement can help calm the mind down so you can really know when your heart and intuition is guiding you to do.

Know that it’s not the end of the world if it is not reciprocated.

Realistically, who doesn’t like to hear that someone loves them?  Chances are that whether it is reciprocated or not, your partner is still going to feel flattered.  And yes, if the other person doesn’t reciprocate it is going to suck for a while (trust me, I know), but it isn’t the end of the world.

Yes it hurts and it will hurt for a while, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t survive it.  You’ll get through it.  It may not always create the most comfortable situation, but by expressing your true feelings it does open the door for more opportunity and personal growth to happen — both for yourself and the other person.

Follow your heart.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, only one thing truly matters: The truth of your heart that wishes to be expressed.  If you can really truly feel it in your heart that you love the person, then say it.  Life is too short to live bounded by fear.  People deserve to know that they are loved, appreciated, respected, and supported — whether they are really truly open and receptive to hear it and accept it or not.

So how can we really know when it’s the time to say “I love you” when we are centered and feel that it is true in our heart — not when we know 10 of our partner’s hobbies or immediately once you hit the 6 month mark.  Ditch the rules, ditch the statistics, ditch the fear… just take a moment to stop and get centered and look within your heart.  If the calling is there, then follow it.

SayILoveYou

Take action now!

Stop what you are doing right now and allow yourself to get centered.  Sit up straight in your seat, focus on your breath, and focus on how you feel in your body.  Allow yourself to relax and be calm.

Once you feel calm and centered, ask yourself the question that you have been contemplating lately.  It may be whether to tell your partner “I love you”, whether to ask them to move in together, whether you want to propose, or whatever.

When you ask yourself the question, focus on your heart center.  Do you feel expanded and open open when you say it?  Does it feel like there is a sense of release when you think about doing it?  Then go ahead and do it! 🙂

10 Characteristics of a Vibrantly Healthy Relationship

We all desire a happy and fulfilling relationship.  You know, that partner who is our perfect half who can help bring out the best in us.

Unfortunately for many of us, we have been exposed to so many unhealthy and less-than-fulfilling relationships in our lives that we don’t know what a truly healthy relationship even looks and feels like.

Here are 10 characteristics of a vibrantly healthy relationship:

1.  Both partners know that they are responsible for their own individual happiness.

Many people unfortunately fall into the bad habit of believing and expecting that our partner is meant to be our source of all happiness, love and fulfillment in our lives.  However, in a truly vibrant and healthy relationship, neither partner expects the other to be the source of all their happiness in life.  Both people know and understand that they themselves are responsible for their own happiness and well-being.  They each know that they are there to support and help one another, but they both know that they are ultimately responsible for themselves.

HealthyRelationship

2.  Neither person is really trying to control or “fix” the other person.

If one person is more of a procrastinator while the other always gets their work done early, the other person isn’t going to try to “fix” them by pushing them to get their work done early in a healthy relationship. Both people respect one another’s differences.  One doesn’t try to force the other to change or be anything different then themselves.

The reality is that nobody wants to be changed or fixed — especially if it’s unsolicited!  If the person really truly wants to change, then they will ask for help on their own terms and in their own way.  Change isn’t going to happen through nagging or force.

3.  The relationship is balanced.

No one person has any more power over decisions made as a couple than the other.  Both people have an equal say and have equal control over decisions made and both equally respect each other as a different and unique human being.

Now, it may be that the decisions made are different for each person.  Such as, one person is more focused on interior decorations while the other is more focused on finances because it better highlights each person’s strengths.  But, aggregately, everything is 50-50.

4.  Conflicts are dealt with head-on and then dropped.

In a heathy relationship, conflicts aren’t a deal breaker.  Just because a conflict happens, it doesn’t signal that it’s time to just check out and move on to something else.  Rather, the conflict is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow.  Both sides openly share their feelings and views honestly and with respect.

Conflict is accepted as a natural part of life and any frustrations are dealt with early rather than repressed and brought back up time and time again.

5.  Feelings are shared honestly and openly.

Both people share their genuine feelings with one another freely.  Both partners respect and accept the other’s feelings.  Expressing one another’s true feelings aren’t repressed because both partners know that by not sharing them and that by not accepting the other person’s feelings it will cause conflicts later on.

6.  Each person makes the time to take care of themselves.

Both people in the relationship understand and know that self-care is an absolutely vital component for a healthy relationship.  They know that if they don’t take care of themselves and do things for themselves that they will be stressed, drained, and exhausted.  They know that when they don’t take care of themselves, they have little love to give to their partner.

7.  Both partners are willing to put the relationship before themselves.

In a healthy relationship, both partners are able and willing to consider their partner when making decisions.  They don’t just go off and plan a trip for themselves without discussing it with the other person.  They make room in their lives for the other person and are willing to work together as a unit.

8.  Both people understand and accept that they’re not going to agree on everything.

In a healthy relationship, both partners know that it is perfectly okay to agree to disagree.  They know that just because one partner has one viewpoint, it doesn’t mean that the other has to completely agree.  They know that having differences in opinion and beliefs doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

9.  They both truly value the relationship.

Both partners are loyal to one another and willing to work through conflicts together.  They both truly believe in the relationship and are committing to the lessons and growth that come while being together — despite the challenges that come up.

10.  They want to be together simply for the sake of being together.

For some of us, we can find ourselves staying in a relationship because we want some kind of security.  That can be emotional, physical, financial, or whatever.  In a truly healthy relationship both people want to be together because they genuinely want to be together for the sake of living a life with the other person.  Security isn’t a primary motivation to be in the relationship, as the motivation of genuine love runs so much deeper than the security that can be gained on a physical level.

Take action now!

Ask yourself: What characteristics on this list are you amazing at?  What characteristics could you use some work on?  Share your thoughts 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.

Create a More Joyful Life with This Super Simple Technique

 We all want a more joyful life.  But, more often then not, it can feel like an impossible task to achieve.

There always seems to be something in the way… a troubling relationship, the lack of financial security, feeling unsupported, a feeling as if you’re just wandering through life and unable to find your true life’s purpose that will make you feel fulfilled and overwhelmed with joy.

While all of these things are certainly valid concerns and issues to have, we often make these things worse than what they really are.  Having the issue is one thing but holding on to the issue for days, weeks, and months on end while wishing that one day something is going to magically shift and make it disappear is something totally different.

The irony is that, often times, the real problem isn’t what we proclaim is our issue at all.  Instead, the real issue is the fact that we spend too much energy focusing on the problem and not enough energy in actually finding things to be joyful and happy about.

We dwell about the failure of our past relationship and spend hours, days, and weeks replaying the past events in our mind in hopes that somehow that will magically make things better.

We dwell on our financial struggles rather than taking action and some potential risk in order to improve it.

We waste our time thinking about how we don’t feel fulfilled and wondering what our life’s purpose is but we fail to take any sort of action steps in order to give ourselves even the slightest chance in actually discovering what will truly satisfy our heart’s desire.

In a strange kind of way, we are addicted to suffering.  It’s as if there’s a part of us that likes the fact that we have problems.  A part that likes to have something to complain and whine about.

Author Eckhart Tolle of The Power Now and A New Earth, along with Buddhism and other philosophies, would describe this other part of us as the ego.  The part within our mind that is fear-based and likes to keep us in a state of suffering, rather than a state of true genuine fulfillment through our soul and inner spirit.

The ego is the very thing that prevents us from really truly living in and focusing on the present moment.  It distracts us by either living in a place with our nostalgic feelings of the past or hopes that one day things will all work out and become better in the future.

This is a huge discrepancy because by focusing most of our time in the past and future, we prevent ourselves from doing the absolute most important thing: To act in the present so that we can create happiness, joy, and fulfillment in our lives right now.

Not 5 years ago or back in high school.  Not next week or 10 years from now.  None of that jibberish.  Rather is to take control of your life right now so that a life filled with love, joy, and fulfillment in all aspects of our life — relationally, professionally, and personally.

So how can we start taking action today in order to create more joy in our lives right now?

The key here is to place all of your focus on the present moment.  So this is what I want you to do…

Stop thinking about all these other things that might be going through your mind as you are reading this.  Stop thinking about all the things you have yet to do today.  Stop thinking about your failed relationship.  Stop thinking about your financial concerns.

Instead, just stop and focus on every single word that you are reading right now.  Put your full attention into focusing on each individual word as they come up fully and completely.

Take a moment right now to bring that focus to an object in front of or around you.  A cup, a plant, a chair, or whatever.  Stop and focus completely on that one thing.  Do not think about anything else.

If a thought comes up about anything else, simply acknowledge it and let it go.  Resist attaching to it and allowing it to consume you and your energy.

Now look to something else in the room.  Place all of your focus on that one thing.  Look at that one thing with 100% of your attention.

Tell yourself, “This is life right here, right now.”  Ultimately, there is nothing else that exists in this world other than now.  Nothing happens in the past.  Nothing happens in the future.  Everything comes out of this very present moment and everything can only come out of this present moment.

Carry on with this idea and activity for the rest of your day.  Whenever you catch yourself dwelling on a relationship problem, financial concern, work issue, or general life problem stop and draw your focus completely on the present.

With time, effort and practice it will become easier to be fully engaged in the present moment so that you can live a life of genuine happiness, joy, and love.

Joyful Life

Take action now!

Choose one activity that you must do today and do it with the intention of being completely focused and engaged in the present moment while doing it.  This can be while doing the dishes, going for a run, doing yoga, writing a paper or article, talking with a friend or colleague, or whatever.

Just draw your attention completely on the present moment during the activity.  With greater time and practice you’ll eventually realize just how much more joyful life is.  You’ll also gradually begin to feel like so much more can be done in smaller periods of time with less effort on your part.

Do this every day with this one activity for one week and make a note to yourself in a journal of your progress.  Share your progress at the end of this week below.  OR share your experience of intense focus of the present moment that you did while reading the article in the comments below!

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!