Tag Archives: needs

3 Lessons I’ve Learned from a Bad Breakup

It was December 26, 2011.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ChangeYourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take action now!

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

3 Realities About Relationship Problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which leads me to my next point…

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

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

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

AcceptanceLove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essential Guidelines for Introverts Living in an Extrovert’s World

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

I’m an introvert.

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

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

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

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

Not really the best way to handle things is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AwareOfOwnFeelings

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

Take action now!

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

How to Create Balanced Boundaries: Say “Yes” to Your Heart’s Desires

The other day I heard from a teacher of mine something about boundaries that I hadn’t heard before.

She said that for many of us when we are learning about boundaries we interpret it as if it’s about knowing when to say no.  We think its about checking in with ourselves and knowing when to say “no” instead of “yes” all the time to all these demands and favors that others ask of us.  We think it’s about saying “no” to others so that we can say “yes” to ourselves.

But, as she said, that’s not what boundaries truly are.  She said that boundaries are about knowing when to say yes as well as no.

To set boundaries means to make it known what we do want in our relationships rather than what we don’t want.

HealthyBoundaries

This got me thinking — and, upon further reflection, I find this to be incredibly true.  I have seen many people (myself included) get caught up in setting too strong of boundaries by saying no so much that it cuts us off from truly having healthy, fulfilling and satisfying relationships.  We find ourselves frustrated, stressed, and unfulfilled all over again but we can’t figure out exactly why.

We think that we’ve done all the right things because we’ve made it known as to what we don’t want.  The problem is that we haven’t admitted to ourselves — and others — what we do want.

So how can we begin to set more balanced boundaries?  How can we begin to set boundaries that place equal importance on what we don’t want and what we do want?

The following steps will help you begin to establish boundaries that are more open to satisfying the desires of your heart so you can create more openly loving connections.

Check in with your heart’s desires.

Ask yourself: What is it that I desire in my relationships?  What is my soul craving to experience?  How would I like to deepen my relationship(s)?  How do I want to be more intimate with a certain person?

If you are having trouble with this, sometimes it’s easier to flip the question around by asking: What am I unsatisfied with?  What do I wish other people would do?  What do I wish existed in my relationship that doesn’t exist now?

Maybe you desire to have a deeper connection with someone.  Maybe you desire to feel like you are a part of a community.  Don’t try to make it complicated.  Just one word or a short phrase can be enough to establish what you desire.

Establish a list of what it is that you do want.

Once you have realized what your heart truly desires, then the next step is to create a list of all the practical things that you can do to satisfy your desires.

So, for instance, if you want to feel like you are part of a community that feels like a  “second family” then maybe you can to join some kind of group with similar interests.  Or if you desire a deeper connection with someone, then maybe you can reflect on what a current relationship where you would like it to be more intimate on an emotional level.  Another example could be that you simply want a romantic partner because you don’t have one right now.

Discover what it is that you can do to create more of that in your relationships.

One of the keys to remember in creating boundaries is that we want to be personally responsible for our own desires.  So if we want a certain relationship to become more intimate then we need to step up and be the guide.  We have to initiate it.  For instance, that doesn’t mean doing something like telling the other person to be more vulnerable (because that’s totally codependent, by the way).  Instead, it means to be more vulnerable ourselves to set the example for the other person to reciprocate.

Now, of course, that doesn’t guarantee that the other person is in the same place that you are.  It doesn’t meant that they are ready to move to that next stage in the relationship, but it does open the door for the possibility in a respectful and healthy way.

So ask yourself: What is it that I can do today, tomorrow, next week or next month to say “yes” to my desire?  What can I do to make it known to the universe what it is that I do want?

Take action now!

In the comments below, share what it is that your heart currently desires.  What desire to do you have that you need to start saying “yes” to?

What To Do When Someone Gives You Unsolicited Advice

Unsolicited Advice: We’ve all received it at some point in our lives and we’ve all given it as well. In some few cases, if we didn’t know enough about the circumstance to ask for advice then we are appreciative if someone tells us – but those moments are few and far between.

The majority of the time we feel that the other person is trying to take our own power away. We feel as if they belief that we are not capable of taking care of ourselves and knowing what we need. The advice gives us a feel that we have some of our own freedom and autonomy taken away. As a result, we get angry, we get frustrated, we think thoughts like “What gives this person the right to tell me what to do? They don’t even know what’s REALLY going on!”

Though these thoughts and emotions are very much so real and should be acknowledged, its not like we want explode all of those raw feelings out to the other person. The trick is in making our feelings known through a boundary, while also doing it in a respectful manner so the other person doesn’t immediately feel attacked.

The way we respond can vary greatly depending on the context: who the person is, what they are giving advice on, the nature of your relationship with them, and so on. However, there are some statements that can work pretty universally. Here are some examples

– I appreciate your concern, but I don’t need your advice.

– Sorry, but I don’t need advice with this right now.

– I know that you care, but all I need right now is a listening ear – not advice.

– I know you are concerned about me in this situation, but I do not feel that your advice is helpful right now. I’d really appreciate it if you would just listen

– I know you’re trying to help, but I don’t feel that I need advice right now. I’d appreciate it if you’d just accept it and let me learn on my own. I will ask you for advice when and if I feel that I need it.

Though you can use these exact statements, you can also create your own based on the guidelines of the statements I’ve listed above. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.

By acknowledging the other person’s point of view, it helps to “cushion” things a bit so that they are more willing and open to hear what you have to say. If we don’t do this, the other person is much more likely to get defensive and not hear you.

State your feelings.

Please make a special note with this that I said your feelings rather than thoughts. I feel that this is key. If we say things like “I don’t like your advice” then that’s a thought that we have. If we shift it around and say “I feel that I don’t need advice right now” it becomes much less attacking. In some rare cases of more intimate relationships, we may be able to go so far as to say something like “Your advice makes me feel like I’m not competent in taking care of myself”. This is MUCH more vulnerable (both for you and the relationship in general), so I wouldn’t encourage to jump into that right away. However, I do feel that it is something worth striving for relationships – especially the ones that are more intimate by nature, like with a partner or family member.

Say what you want instead.

This can be optional, but in doing so it helps to lighten the load quite a bit. If a person is giving you advice, then obviously its because on some level they really care and want you to be okay and do well. If you tell them what you would like for them to do INSTEAD, it gives them the opportunity to still be helpful. It also helps to clear out any confusion that they might have.  Stating what you want instead also HELPS YOU because it encourages you to stand in your own personal empowerment. Doing so encourages you to really fully take charge by knowing and saying exactly what you want.

Overall, when it comes to figuring out how to set a boundary and make you feelings known with someone who has given you unsolicited advice, ask yourself: “How would I feel if someone said this to me?”

This method isn’t “bullet proof” because we are all very different in our preferences. We can also be skewed in our honest opinion of how we would react if someone told that to us because we are more focus on our own aggravated feelings right now. Yet, sometimes doing the whole “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” can help us figure out the best way to word things because it encourages us to step out of ourselves and look at it from an outside perspective.

Finally, pick your battles. If you feel that some unsolicited advice has really aggravated you, then say something. ESPECIALLY if the relationships is very important to you. The reason I say this is because if we don’t say it it becomes repressed and those angry feelings may come out in some other way in the relationship down the road. By sharing what you genuinely feel and want, it helps to “clear the slate”.

Unsolicited Advice

Click to Tweet: It’s better to let your thoughts and feelings be out in the open rather than to hold on to them and have a “blow up” later. @jenilyn8705.

If the relationship is not necessarily a close one, then really check in on how you feel. It may actually be EASIER or a good way to “practice” if it is someone you don’t know very well. Yet, if you know the person may have some toxic behavior patterns and doing so may cause you too much stress, then you may want to hold off. Ultimately, it’s up to you and how you feel. Just remember to be mindful.

Set your boundaries today!

Think of a time when someone has given you unsolicited advice.  Imagine the situation replaying in your head.   FULLY imagine it — make it as real as possible.  Now imagine what you could have done differently that would’ve worked.  What could you have said or how could you have responded to make this person understand how you feel and what you’d like from this person instead without hurting them.  It may take a few tries to fully get an idea.

What did you come up with?  What could you have said differently?  Share below!