What can I do differently?

Recently I have been making a turn around a corner in my marriage.  Things aren’t perfect, I am not perfect, he IS NOT perfect. I have found that I am not getting all that I want out of the relationship and I have been focused on what he is not doing and what I want him to do differently.  It has been a few months of this and, in a way, I have felt lost in my focusing on what HE needs to do to make things better.  Suddenly, I realized that it is not him that I need to worry about changing, it is me1415821786232 that needs to find a new way to do things.

Almost 20 years ago after too many relationships with people that really did not have what I wanted I wrote a list of “prerequisites”, this list was 87 things that I wanted out of a person that I was with in a relationship.  After completing the list and reading it over I realized that these are the same things that I expected of myself and what I expected of friends.  It was an interesting thing to notice and I came to find that if I am coming to the table with these “prerequisites” I could ask for them in return and if I wasn’t offering those things then how could I expect someone else to offer them to me.  When I met my husband I was amazed at how easily, willingly and wonderfully he met all of my “prerequisites” and I came to find that he offered me so much more than what I had asked for.

After 13 years of marriage life has become more routine and we both have fallen into taking each other for granted.  Don’t get me wrong, there are things that he could change.  There are ways he can act sometimes that I am not ok with.  His side of the street is not clean and I have come to see that I need to worry about cleaning my side of the street before telling him about his side of the street.

So I am asking myself “What can I do different?”, “Am I offering the same things I am asking for?”.  You can’t force someone else to change and you can’t really make them do something they don’t want to do.  Each individual needs to make the choice to change.  So if I can’t make my husband change I need to look at what I can do.  I can take the first step.  I can reach out to him.  I can take the initiative to fix what isn’t working.  If I want more connection with him and I leave it to him then I may never get what I want.  If I take steps to increase connection I can reach my goal and both him and I will benefit from the connection.

I have also been asking myself how often I push myself out of my comfort zone to do something for him or for the relationship.  The answer (don’t tell anyone) is not very often.  As time has gone by I find myself being complacent in the upkeep and growing of the relationship.  I am luckier today than I was the day I met my husband and as we both insist on being human we will have struggles and every time I ask myself what I can do I am taking steps to our future and my own personal growth.

Here are 6 steps we can take to change dynamics in relationships:

  • Ask what can I do differently
  • Allow the other person to be their own individual.
  • Stretch out of my comfort zone.
  • Allow myself to be vulnerable.
  • Take ownership of my mistakes.
  • Always remember to come back to the center of love.

I want to be sure that I am clear that I am not talking about accepting and overlooking truly unacceptable behaviors.  I am talking about a relationship where there is a solid foundation of respect and love.   Also I apply this to all of my relationships and friendships.

What can you do differently today?  How can you be the change you want to see?  Take the leap, your happiness is waiting!

Self Love: It’s an inside job.

My last blog, The Healing That Makes Self-love Possible, was all about healing the things within us that prevent us from truly deeply loving ourselves.  Now that we have taken a look at the healing that needs to happen before we are ready to look at what it means to love ourselves truly, deeply, fully.  Self-love is a practice and like any other practice it takes patience, compassion and intention.  There are many parts that go into this.  There taking care of ourselves and doing things for ourselves and the bigger part of showing up fully and authentically with all that you are.

It is so important to know that there is no part of you that is unacceptable.  Sometimes we have behaviors that are harmful to ourselves and others that we want to change.  Those things we do that we don’t like are actions that keep us from our true selves and our true desires.  Sometimes we may act out of fear, False Evidence Appearing Real, and we bring old stories or past experiences into the present where they are not based on reality.  Knowing that these actions or stories do not make us bad is important.  Knowing that you came into this world as pure love and you can return to that, is key to having compassion for yourself.

A simple place to start is to do things for yourself.  Take time every day to ask yourself what you want.  What can you do for yourself in this moment that will bring you peace?  What can you do that will help you feel comforted?  How can you make yourself a priority?  Taking these steps is a band aid for the real issue  AND these actions can be a catalyst that help you recognize where you can honor yourself more and this can show you that you deserve the self-love you are seeking.

Through doing things for yourself you will begin to experience self-love and you learn more about yourself and what you want in your life.  This will begin the process of discovering new things about yourself.  How do you react to doing things for yourself?  Do you enjoy alone time or social time?  Do you like luxury or a walk in the woods?  As you learn more about what you like and what you want to do for yourself you will be exposed to the prospect of asking for what you want and being who you want to be.  With all of this you will learn new ways to define who you are and possibly learn some things that you may want to change.

I believe we learn about who we are through reflections from our relationships.  The more you look at yourself, your actions and the motivations behind those actions the more you know about yourself and the more there is to love.  With knowing who you are in an authentic and full way you accept yourself in this new way.

I have been intentionally working on self-love for over 20 years.  There are so many ways I shine and know myself.  Frequently I learn new things about myself, sometimes this comes when I am shown that I still have work to do on something which I had previously thought I had healed.  There is a person in my family that I do not get along with, this person has always belittled me no matter what I do.  Usually when I am around this person I don’t offer up much information about my life or what I am up to.  I stay very superficial and try not to have an opinion.  This summer I realized this isn’t working for me.  Even though I offer no ammunition to be used against me, this person found something anyway.  Through not showing up as my full self I was giving myself the message that I was not acceptable and these parts of me were not worthy of being seen.  So what did I do?  I showed up fully!  I dared to dive deep, I shared all of me, I had opinions and through these actions I was practicing self-love.  I was showing myself the respect I deserved.  The most miraculous thing happened, this person accepted me.  It was amazing!  My entire life was spent with this dynamic and through my choice of showing up in my strength this person was no longer trying to tear me down.

I have finally realized what it means to really love myself. Hopefully a year from now I will know even more about loving myself and I will again say, I finally know what it means to really love myself.

Show up, be you, do what you want to do, be who you want to be, follow your own dreams!  This is how you practice self-love.

I am not going to tell you that this is a simple transformation.  If it was so simple this would not be an issue that millions of people seek help with.  Here are 3 simple tools:

  • Offer yourself compassion – if you find that you are judging yourself instead offer yourself compassion. (E.G. You tried really hard and now you know some things you didn’t know before. Next time you will do even better.)
  • Spend 30 minutes a day doing only what you want to do.
  • Every day come up with something about yourself that you love (or like if love is too much to ask in the beginning) and come up with three examples that support that thing.

All these things come together with the outcome of acknowledging yourself and respecting the divine person you are.  There is a purpose for you here.  You are meant to be here.  Not you as in just another person but YOU as an individual, YOU as an intentional being, you are divine with a purpose and you have a place here that is unique to you.  You are needed.  So be all of you, be real, let your light shine through the shadows, insecurities, doubt and fear.  Shine because the world needs your light.  The world needs you.