Tag Archives: relationships

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.

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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 Need Boundaries in Your Relationships and Life

Have you been feeling drained, tired, stressed out, and exhausted?  Do you feel under appreciated, unseen, and unsupported?  If so, it may be that you need to learn how to set some boundaries in your life and relationships.

So why exactly do you need boundaries in your relationships and life?  Here are 5 reasons:

#1 – They give you a sense of self

When we don’t have boundaries in our lives it implies that we don’t have a solid sense of self.  We will tend to take on other people’s thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, and values rather than to have our own.  This is commonly referred to as enmeshment.

When we are enmeshed with another person it means that there is no distinct boundary between you and another person.  There is very little sense as to where one person ends and the other begins.  One or both people will then have difficulty identifying their own unique individual experience and how it differs from the other person.

When this is present, it implies difficulty in differentiation from a parent in early childhood.  This doesn’t mean that it is “good” or “bad”, as it is quite common for most people to have experienced it at least somewhat in their development.

Being enmeshed can be very stressful, draining, and overwhelming.  Relationships can easily get “messy” and a person can feel like they have no control over themselves or anything in their lives.  As a result, a person’s natural tendency would then be to try to control other people, which is codependent.

Learning to recognize our own internal experience and then setting boundaries in a way that honors our internal experience, helps us solidify our sense of self with the external world.  It also helps create less stress and more balance in our relationships.

#2 – You are able to decide how you want to be treated by others

When we have boundaries we are able to effectively tell a bully that we will not tolerate their behavior.  We are able to leave a relationship that isn’t serving us in what we know is in our highest good.  When we have boundaries, we are able to enter into relationships that do support us in our own personal growth and healing.

#3 – You are able to make life decisions that serve and support you

When we have boundaries, we are able to say “no” to that job that is potentially wearing us out by working overtime for little pay.  We are able to say “yes” to taking new career path without getting locked into feelings of guilt or “what other people will think”. 

#4 – You are able to make choices that are better for your health and well-being

By having boundaries, we are also able to make better choices for our own health and well-being.  We are able to say “no” to smoking that cigarette or having a glass of wine and, instead, say “yes” to having some green juice and going to the gym.  We are more aware that we’re going to feel shitty after eating that brownie, so we’re able to turn away and eat something healthier.

#5 – You feel empowered

When set boundaries in our lives, we feel more connected with ourselves and more in control of our lives.  We are able to live for ourselves, rather than through this desire to please other people.  We are able to be in relationships that are healthy, balanced, and equal.  And we have the ability to create a life for ourselves that we’ve always dreamed of.

BoundariesConnectedControl

Click to Tweet: When set boundaries, we are able to feel more connected with ourselves and more in control of our lives. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

How will learning to set boundaries in your life support you in creating a miraculous life for yourself?  Share it in the comments below!

3 Keys to Manifesting a Healthy and Loving Relationship

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

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

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

#1 – Have an amazing relationship with yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2 – Believe that you deserve it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take action now!

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

How to Deal with Difficult Family Members Around the Holidays

The original version of this article was published here.

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

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

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

#1 – Accept others as they are.

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

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

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

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

#2 – Set your own personal boundaries.

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

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

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

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

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

#4 – Take time for yourself.

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 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!

When You Want More Love and Support in Relationships

This article was originally published on TinyBuddha.

For years, I felt unfulfilled in my relationships.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PossessLoveWithin

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 – We get what we give.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 – You gotta focus on making yourself happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which leads me to my next point…

#3 – Always be open to possibilities.

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

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

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

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

FoundationForChange

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

#4 – Have faith. 

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

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

Take action now!

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

5 Steps To Forgiveness

Forgiveness.  It is one of those things that can sound so challenging and difficult to do, yet not doing it can be detrimental our growth and overall well-being.  When we don’t forgive and hold on to bitter resentments, we can find ourselves feeling stressed, miserable, angry, or sad for years after an event happened.

Maybe it’s that ex boyfriend who seemed to always take more from you then give.  Or maybe it’s that friend who rarely told the truth.  Or — maybe — the person you’re struggling to forgive is yourself — for doing something that hurt someone else.

Regardless of who it is that we need to forgive, the act of forgiving is equally beneficial.  When we forgive, we free ourselves and others from the binds of pain and hurt and open ourselves to true healing and love.  Through the power of forgiveness, we open ourselves to the a new way of being, which allows us to attract and create more loving relationships in our lives.

Here are the 5 steps to forgiveness:

#1 – Identify why you have been struggling to forgive.

Have you been making yourself the victim?  Have you been putting the other person up on a pedestal?  Have you been putting yourself down?  Have you been putting yourself up on a pedestal?  Have you been feeling guilty for the things that had happened in a past relationship?  Have you been blaming the other person?

#2 – Be willing to forgive.

Though we often see forgiveness as a challenging task to do, the reality is that, really, the most important thing that we need to do is to be willing to forgive.  When there is a willingness for a change to occur then it is much more likely to happen.  If we are holding on to our past hurts and unwilling to forgive for whatever reason, then we will continue to find ourselves stuck in a place of suffering.

#3 – Release it.

Once you have identified why you struggle to forgive and have a willingness to forgive, the only thing you have to do is to simply let it go — just like that popular song from “Frozen”.  Release it to the universe.

#4 – Trust that healing will occur.

Once we release it, we may find ourselves going into a bit of a panic in our minds.  We may start having thoughts of “What if this doesn’t work?” “How is this going to work?” or “But I don’t feel any different!”  These are merely fear-based thoughts created from our ego, which is the cause of our struggle to experience happiness, joy and love to begin with.  So trust and have faith that a shift will happen.

#5 – Be open for healing.

Once we are in a place of trusting that a shift in our perception will happen, we must be open to receive.  What I mean by this is to be an observer.  Pay close attention to the things that come up for you in your day to day life.  Make note of the people you see, the things that people say, the songs you hear on the radio, the ideas that pop up in your mind, how you feel emotionally throughout your day and so on.  By being an observer of ourselves and our own experience, we are able to be aware when healing does occur.

So if you are in place where you need to forgive someone or yourself, go through these steps.  These guidelines are not meant to be a “do it one time only and everything changes”.  Rather, it’s something that we may need to do every day or a couple times a day for several days or a week or so before we can begin to notice ourselves feeling lighter, happier, and more free.

Be committed to this process of forgiveness. It is by being committed that we will be able to truly forgive and create relationships and a life filled with love.

CommitToForgiveness

Click to Tweet: Being committed to practicing forgiveness is key to creating relationships and a life filled with love. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

In the comments below, we’re going to do Step #1.  So, share why you have been struggling to forgive either someone or yourself.

11 Tough Love Lessons I Learned from My Ex-Boyfriends

We learn a lot from every partner we have. Here are 11 things I’ve learned from ex-boyfriends that have made me a stronger person.

1. Sometimes “unanswered” prayers are truly blessings in disguise.

Though you may really want to be with someone, years down the road, when you are happy in a new life, you’ll see breaking up truly was a blessing.

2. When someone is venting, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want advice

…or any kind of help at all. Sometimes all they really want to do is vent. That’s it.

3. You can’t help someone who is unwilling (or unready) to help themselves.

Trying to would be codependent.

4. Just because someone verbally told you that they are committed doesn’t mean that they are.

That being said, just because someone told you they love you doesn’t mean that they actually do. Actions speak louder than words.

5. If someone shows you they are non-committal, believe them the first time.

6. You can’t always trust that others will respect your boundaries after you state them.

You have to be sure that you make actions that reinforce your boundary — no matter how painful and difficult that might be.

7. Putting your partner on a pedestal is only going to cause more suffering.

Remember you are both equals — always.

PartnerOnPedestal

Click to Tweet: Putting your partner on a pedestal is only going to cause more suffering. via @jenilyn8705

8. You can’t force someone to love you…

…nor can you force someone to commit, be loyal or reciprocate.

9. Relationship “labels” really don’t hold that much clout.

Things can always change. No relationship is ever completely concrete.

10. If you’re ready to deepen and become more intimate in your relationship, then you’ve got to find someone who is ready to as well.

Being in a relationship with anyone who is less ready will only cause things to be stagnant.

11. Nobody is responsible for your happiness — only you are in control of that.

 

Now, I want to hear from you…

What lessons in love have you learned from your past relationships?  Share them in the comments below!