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Posts tagged ‘self-love’

How Do YOU Measure Up?

compare orange

Well, first question is: How do you measure measuring up?

Second question: Why?

There are indeed very valid reasons for “measuring” ourselves in life. A look at human or societal  “norms” is quite useful in setting personal ambitions; however, the dominant measuring standard should be our own selves – and according to our own goals.

We have evolved, sadly, into a society of comparison for ego’s sake and entirely fabricated definitions of “status”; and it is undoubtedly my biggest life pet peeve. We’re born unique and happy – and then very quickly, we are pitted against each other. The how is fairly simple to dissect, and with motivation and time (lots of time!), I have faith in a course-correct; but the WHY? Seriously: WHY???

“To love is to stop comparing.” Bernard Grasset

How to shift this useless and loveless comparison nonsense? One step at a time, starting with you. Here’s some food for thought:

The Losing Game

By Sonya Derian

Comparison: joy thief.

Take a moment to think of a time when you compared yourself to another person, where you were the one on the LOSING side; maybe you were comparing yourself physically, comparing intellects, speaking ability – whatever.

Think of that moment, and take a minute to notice how it feels in your body. It doesn’t feel very good right?

Now, take a moment to think of a time where you compared yourself to someone else, and you came out on TOP; how does that feel in your body?

Maybe it feels a little better… or maybe not at all. That’s because viewing life as a competition, where you have to constantly be better at whatever — how you look, how you parent, how you write — doesn’t feel very good.

In essence, comparing yourself to others is ALWAYS a losing game.

We all do it – or have done it, at some point in our lives: we compare ourselves to others and gauge where we are based on what we observe them to be doing.

If this was simply an observation, that would be one thing, but in comparing ourselves to others, we often end up judging ourselves: and there’s no worse judge!

If you have ever noticed, it doesn’t matter how many people are on your side, cheering you on: if you can’t get on your own side, you never get past “go”.

The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having or doing more: and this just leaves us coming up short.

compare gates

But our minds do want to quantify; our minds want to rank and file and organize information. Our mind wants to know where we fit into the scheme of things: we need to give it something to do. So, instead of training it to stop comparing altogether, why not simply re-direct the comparison to a past and a present self—and keep the comparison within?

We are always becoming more. Who you are today is a result of the decisions you made yesterday. We are always in a state of creation. We decide – and then we decide again; and the direction is always toward expansion. It is our human nature to expand.

compare to no one

So, when you catch yourself comparing yourself to another: stop for a moment and re-direct the thought. Instead of submitting to the temptation to compare yourself to someone else, ask yourself a few questions, instead:

Next: Q’s to Ask Yourself (page 2)

Kiss Relationship Myths Goodbye

We’ve decided we want a primary partnership in our life, we are ready, we have some solid direction about choosing a partner.  Even with this fabulous new understanding of ourselves, old societal conditioning and limiting beliefs can still mess us up as we’re forging our healthier new relationships (or equally, as we evaluate leaving a current relationship: coming in next post!) Best to have these ideas fresh in our mind, so that when archaic thinking rears, we can immediately recognize it as such – and dismiss it.

Before we go on, let’s get the whole issue of whether or not you believe in soulmates out of the way: bluntly, I DON’T CARE! The word “soulmate” is truly very innocuous, but somehow it has Soulmates. Real?become a true or false debate, and in my opinion, you’d only debate the issue if you don’t know yourself very well; otherwise, you’d have a clear understanding of how relationships factor in your life and vocabulary wouldn’t mean a damn thing!!  The word soulmate is just kind of a handy term to indicate those bearing deeper resonance in your being, as opposed to terms like “significant other” – which let’s face it, doesn’t make someone sound very significant at all! There’s no inference here that you can’t have more than one soulmate, or that they won’t change roles in your life as you grow.  For the purposes of this article:

A soulmate (or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity more rare and unique than that of other relationships.
– Collins English Dictionary

Simple and generic as you can get. Now, onto an opinion by Dr. Phil regarding “relationships myths” to steer clear of, as per an O Magazine posting:

Ten Relationship Myths

If you are still romantically connected to someone who is not a soul mate, it’s important to discern when one particular relationship has run its course. Most of us know, but sometimes it is hard to let go. It is difficult to let go of a relationship that offers soul pathcompanionship, sex, fun, or financial security. But when you want a true soul mate, holding on to a relationship that only imitates love keeps us from the very thing we say we desire. Even the difficult aspects of romantic evolution can be considered “time served” in preparation for true love. Many of us get our best training in relationship boot camp. We may beat ourselves up for bad marriages, relationships, and dates–any time that seems wasted on Ms. or Mr. Wrong–but in truth, they are an important, instructive part of the journey. The grand awakening to what soul mate love is comes by discovering firsthand what it is not.

The quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of those involved. -Dr. Phil

Think your relationship is a failure because you and your partner aren’t following certain “rules” or meeting certain standards? Dr. Phil blows the whistle on 10 of the most common but dangerous relationship myths.

MYTH #1: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP DEPENDS ON A GREAT MEETING OF THE MINDS

  • You will never see things through your partner’s eyes because you are two entirely different people. You are genetically, physiologically, psychologically and historically different.
  • You will not solve your relationship problems by becoming more alike in your thinking. Men and women are wired differently. Attempting to blur your fundamentally different viewpoints is unnatural and even dangerous.
  • Recognize that a relationship is far more enjoyable when you’re with someone who enriches your life, not simply reflects it. Appreciate your differences.

MYTH #2: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES A GREAT ROMANCE

  • Yes, your life with your partner should include plenty of romance. But don’t kid yourself and expect an unrealistic Hollywood fairytale. The truth is that in the real world, being in love is not like falling in love.romance fairytale2
  • Falling in love is only the first stage of love. It’s impossible to remain in that stage. A mature relationship will shift from dizzying infatuation to a deeper, more secure love.
  • Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that when the initial wild passion fades you aren’t in love anymore. The answer is not to start a new relationship so you can recapture that emotional high with someone else. The answer is to learn how to move on to the next stages of love for a different but richer experience.

MYTH #3: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES GREAT PROBLEM-SOLVING

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you and your partner can’t be happy if you can’t resolve your serious disagreements. Ninety percent of problems in a relationship are not solvable.
  • There are things that you and your partner disagree about and will continue to disagree about. Why can’t you once and for all resolve these issues? Because in order to do so, one of you would have to sacrifice your values and beliefs.
  • You can simply agree to disagree and reach “emotional closure” even though you haven’t reached closure on the issue.

You'll love it

MYTH #4: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES COMMON INTERESTS THAT BOND YOU TOGETHER FOREVER

There is nothing wrong with your relationship if you don’t share common interests and activities.

If you and your partner are forcing yourselves to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don’t do it!

MYTH #5: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP IS A PEACEFUL ONE

  • Don’t be afraid to argue because you think it’s a sign of weakness or relationship breakdown. Even the healthiest couples argue.
  • If approached properly, arguing can actually help the relationship by (a) releasing tension and (b) instilling the sense of peace and trust that comes from knowing you can release feelings without being abandoned or humiliated.
  • Instead of worrying about how many times you argue, worry about how you argue. Here are some guidelines:
    • Don’t abandon the issue and attack the worth of your partner during an argument.
    • Don’t seek conflict because it’s stimulating.
    • Don’t pursue a take-no-prisoners approach in your arguments.
    • Don’t avoid achieving emotional closure at the end of an argument.

MYTH #6: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP LETS YOU VENT ALL YOUR FEELINGS

  • Getting things off your chest might feel good, but when you blurt something outRelationships ebb and flow in the heat of the moment, you risk damaging your relationship permanently. Many relationships are destroyed when one partner can’t forgive something that was said during uncensored venting.
  • Before you say something you might regret, bite your tongue and give yourself a moment to consider how you really feel. The things we say while we’re letting loose often don’t represent how we really feel and shouldn’t be communicated — especially if they are potentially destructive.

MYTH #7: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX

  • The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners.
  • Sex might not be everything but it registers higher (90 percent) on the “importance scale” if it’s a source of frustration in your relationship. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. On the other hand, couples that have satisfying sex lives rate sex at only 10 percent on the “importance scale.”
  • Don’t restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act. Touching, caressing, holding hands and any means by which you provide physical comfort to your partner can all be viewed as part of a fulfilling sex life.

MYTH #8: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP CANNOT SURVIVE A FLAWED PARTNER

  • Nobody’s perfect. As long as your partner’s quirks are non-abusive and non-destructive, you can learn to live with them.
  • Instead of focusing on your partner’s shortcomings, remember the qualities that attracted you in the first place. Perhaps some of these idiosyncrasies were part of the attraction? Just because a behavior isn’t mainstream, doesn’t mean that it’s toxic to the relationship.
  • Be careful to distinguish the difference between a partner with quirks and one with a serious problem. Serious problems that are destructive and abusive include substance abuse and mental/physical abuse. Unlike idiosyncrasies, these are not behaviors you should learn to live with.

MYTH #9: THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIP GREATMy rules

  • Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no definitive “right way” to be a good spouse, good parent, or to handle any relationship challenge that life throws you.
  • Do what works for you rather than following some standards you might have read in a book or heard from a well-meaning friend. If what you and your partner are doing is generating the results you want, stick with it. If both of you are comfortable with the principles that work, you can write your own rules.
  • Remember not to be rigid about the way in which you accept your partner’s expressions of love. There is no “right way” for someone to love you. The fact that your partner expresses feelings differently doesn’t make those feelings less genuine or of less value.

MYTH #10: YOUR RELATIONSHIP CAN BECOME GREAT ONLY WHEN YOU STRAIGHTEN YOUR PARTNER OUT

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you could change your partner, your relationship would be better. You are, at the very least, jointly accountable for the relationship.
  • Let go of the childlike notion that falling in love means finding someone who will be responsible for your happiness. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness.
  • If your relationship is distressed, the most important person for you to change might be yourself. Once you identify the payoffs you are subconsciously seeking with destructive behavior, you can choose to remove them from your life.

Appreciate the relationships that have taught you what you don’t want. Honor those loves. Express gratitude for the lessons you have learned, even the toughest ones. Send a spiritual message to your old flame saying,

“I thank you, I bless you, I release you”

… and sayonara baby!

Ever Asked Yourself Why You Want a Relationship?

awareness jung
Last week’s featured article was a another hint about being conscious in your life. “Is It Love… or Comfort” prompted us to view relationships as containers for growth.  We begin relationships at whatever growth level we happen to be in when we meet, and then — we change.  Change is the way of the world, so inevitably in our relationships, we have a choice: we can grow together or we can grow apart. A significant number of couples do not consciously make this choice.

Our social and familial conditioning often contains an autopilot that dictates partners, marriage, children as an endgame. Advocates of conscious living, myself included, view these as lovely, fulfilling choices – IF you so choose, but certainly not an endgame. Particularly, the old message of relationships often includes an element of another person being the completion of one’s life and love, as opposed to a complement to your own self-love and fulfilling “be-ing” – – which is in essence, the generator of your ability to share love in the first place.  Awareness of one’s self is pretty key to a lot of outcomes, and the following article and video by renowned relationship expert Margaret Paul explores a very fundamental view of this:

If you are a person who
wants to be in a relationship,relationship water flame

have you thought about why?

Actually, in my research and years of relationship counselling there are two very different reasons for wanting a relationship. The first is about what you want to get, and the second is about what you want to learn and share.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Get

If you ask people why they want a relationship, many will say things like:

  • I want someone to love me and make me feel special and worthy.
  • I don’t want to be alone and lonely anymore.
  • I want to have children.
  • I want to feel safe and secure.

What they might not say outright is that they want a relationship to:

  • Fill the empty place within them.
  • Complete them. They hope that their partner will give them what they are not giving to themselves and what they might not have received as children.
  • Make them feel taken care of emotionally, financially and/or sexually.

You might be thinking, “Right! Aren’t these the reasons everyone wants a relationship? Why be in a relationship if not to be loved, cherished, made to feel special, safe and secure? What’s the point of a relationship if not to fill me, take away my loneliness and make me feel okay about myself?”

There really is another reason for wanting to be in a relationship.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Heal, Learn and Share Love

The other reason for being in a relationship stems from the fact that relationships are the most fertile ground for learning about what is unhealed in us, and for having an arena to heal. Most of us have baggage from childhood that we carry into our primary relationship — such as fears of rejection and fears of engulfment. These fears generally get played out with a partner, which offers us an incredible opportunity to learn about and heal them. Relationship can be the Ph.D. of personal growth!

being the real you takes courageLearning about your fears of intimacy, as well as about control issues that may surface with a primary partner, can lead to much personal growth — enhancing your ability to love. The more you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings — learning to love yourself, cherish yourself, make yourself feel special and valued — the more you may want a relationship in order to share your love rather than to get love. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not the getting of love that takes away loneliness, but the sharing of love.

The most profound and beautiful experience in life is the sharing of love. But we can’t share our love unless we are filled with love. When we learn to fill ourselves with love from our “Source” — whatever that is for each person, such as nature, spirit, God, the energy of the universe — then we come to our partner with inner fullness rather than with inner emptiness. Rather than needing a partner to complete us, we desire to share our completeness with our partner.

When two people come together to get love rather than to learn, heal and share love, there is a strong possibility that their relationship won’t last. With both partners trying to get loved and filled by the other, and neither one having learned to love and fill themselves, each will ultimately be disappointed. Very often, one or both might believe they’ve picked the wrong partner.

When two people come together because they want to learn together, grow together, heal together, share their time and companionship, and share their love and passion, they have a good chance of creating a lasting, loving relationship.

When these people are asked why they want a relationship, they say:

  • I have a lot of love to give and I want to share it with a partner, who also has a lot of love to give. Possibly, we might want to have children with whom to also share our love.
  • I want to learn and grow with someone who also wants to learn and grow.
  • I want to share time, companionship, lovemaking, laughter and play with someone with whom I feel deeply connected.

If you tune inside and honestly ask yourself why you want a relationship, and you find yourself on the first list rather than on the second, do not despair. You can learn how to love yourself and fill yourself with love so that you have plenty of love to share with a partner.

It’s important to realize that we attract people:we are one when we are two

at our common level of health — which is the level of taking personal responsibility for our happiness and wellbeing — OR

at our common level of self-abandonment — which includes making someone else responsible for our feelings.

Given this reality, you have a far better chance of creating a healthy and loving relationship with a partner when you have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. There are many more wonderful videos on youtube.

Elimination Diet

This article’s theme area:
SELF WORK

Stalled by deadweight?
WHAT you eliminate
is worth it’s weight…

We’re a month into the new year… how are those resolutions coming along?? Well, if you’re among the majority, you made some kind of declaration for the new year and are still “preparing to get started”… if you haven’t abandoned the idea altogether! If it’s a repeat resolution, what’s changed between the past and the present to make it likelier to succeed this time ‘round? If it’s a new endeavour: what strategy have you put in place to make it achievable… and IS IT actually achievable in the timeframe you envision?? It’s so cliché but daunting – both making it hard to find the motivation.

Me, I don’t make resolutions at New Years any more. There’s no magical date to get started on a goal other than the day I think of it. Not to say that’s a recipe for guaranteed success, however, it takes away the mindset that I have a whole year to ignore any responsibility for my own inaction (for something big enough to be on a resolutions list, go figure!). Barring a change of mind, if my life priorities aren’t on today’s to-do list, something is critically wrong. My calendar now becomes a huge, wonderful map before me with all kinds of opportunity to plot mini-successes; no longer a fast-creeping, pressure-filled timeline toward one big failure.

My January acquisition of a daytimer does have me sitting down to make some resolutions, however: it signals the time for me to focus on and identify what I DON’T want for my life. Oftentimes we are so monopolized by our visions of the future, that we are blind to the simple past weighing us down. Case in point: you can’t possibly move forward on a healthy eating program with a giant donut strapped to your back. Say whad you talkin’ bout, Willis?? Well, that donut might be in the form of a “friend” using you to enable her own self-sabotaging behaviours: she coerces you with an endless supply of chocolate in her desk, daily frappes or “Tim’s” runs: just so she has a partner in crime. Kick her loose, and that donut rolls right along with her. She, however, is not the real issue; you might have to think about why that negative relationship holds power enough in your life to postpone your own needs.

The simple dissection of this stereotypical-and-all-too-common scenario is, that the you-of-yesterday didn’t see the “big deal” in having a friend that, sure, self-medicates with Reese’s Pieces (tossing you every other one)…. because she really needs you to listen to her online dating disasters… and about her cat’s insulin schedule… because you always know some insightful thing to say that she would never have thought of.  And, of course, you have full control of your own willpower: so agreeing to donuts is certainly not her fault… and certainly not a real reason to phase out a relationship!!?  Or is it? Willpower has nothing to do with anything; however, not eliminating failure-laden environments, eg. needy friends, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Are you meeting your own dysfunctional needs by being the eternally faithful friend at the cost of your own compounding goals?? Hmmmm…..

The complex dissection of this scenario is, rightly, complex. It might be insightful to figure that out some day (it’s probably your mother, lol!), but for now, just take some time to ask yourself some questions: give some contemplative thought to your thinking. The you-of-today is suddenly feeling the sneaky repercussions of not focusing on yourself, nor ensuring that you’d made conscious time to move your life forward. You’re feeling the rumblings of things that “ain’t workin for ya”, maybe manifesting as stress, depression, a job you hate, a series of bad relationships, stuckness… weight gain.  You need to eliminate the dead-weight to free yourself up for you. Recommend a mentor for donut-girl; and if you see true value in maintaining the relationship, plan a get-together the last Sunday of every month to catch up and offer up your worldly wisdom! You can make significant headway in your life without the mundane and pressure-invoking New Year’s goals simply by eliminating some of the simple past – and that can be very,very motivating!

“Give some contemplative thought to your thinking.”

Here’s some thoughts to start those wheels-a-turnin”. Read the list through first and see if any of them bring on any kind of visceral reaction, and if so, start there. If not, pick a few that you think may apply to your current circumstance.
I think the questions about “how am I being loving/unloving to myself” can really spur some self-awareness in their open-endedness!

List/affirmations adapted from Cheryl Richardson

  • What shall I now release from my life?
  • What or who no longer works for me?
  • What am I holding on to that holds me back?
  • What thoughts or beliefs belong to the old me?
  • How am I being unloving to myself?
  • What do I believe that really works for me?
  • Am I ready to let go?
  • What is going on in my life that is terrific and wonderful?
  • Where am I being very loving to myself?
  • Where am I most content?
  • What do I want to bring to my life?
  • How do I want the next year to be?
  • Who do I want to bring into my world?
  • How do I want to look?
  • What image do I want to project?
  • How healthy do I want to be?
  • How prosperous do I want to feel?
  • What kind of world do I want to live in?
  • Where do I want my spirituality to go?
  • How much love am I willing to experience?

Don’t forget also, to take time to acknowledge all of your positive growth and change in the last year. Literally making a list is an excellent exercise to remind you of the good things- because it’s all to easy to default to only seeing the negative.

And it might be useful to find some affirmations, such as:

> I am not limited by statistics, medical opinions, time or authorities.

> All good is available to me, right here and right now.

> I am one with the infinite wisdom and capabilities of the Universe itself.

> I understand that all thoughts are based on self-contrived relationships of information and memories, and that gives me power to know that they are not finite reality, and that I can change them at will to foster my desired feelings and actions.

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