Change doesn't happen overnight
I coach and guide other people AND I still work on my own stuff. I still have my own moments of fear and doubt. I still have to work through my own challenging emotions. I still have to check myself and my beliefs. I have to test my assumptions, debunk old stories, and get out of my own way. Sometimes I over-complicate things. I know I have a tendency to over-think and try to solve problems that aren't even there yet.
Sometimes it feels like I take giant leaps forward and then get stuck. Other times it feels like I take one step forward and then ten steps back. I don't have it all figured out and I still make mistakes.
Rather than getting frustrated with myself for falling back to old habits, I remind myself that I am human and that this is all a part of my change and growth process.
I've been reacting to life a certain way for over 40 years! It's not fair to expect that I change all of my unproductive habits and patterns overnight. Just the awareness that I'm getting stuck in unproductive habits is a sign of my growth. Because before, I wasn't even aware that I was doing it.
I know that going through my own experiences and challenges have made me a better listener, a better friend, and a better coach.
When I work with my clients, everything is welcome. My goal is to create a safe space for self-exploration, learning, and change. I want my clients to practice new behaviors without feeling judged - even if things don't go as planned. I do my best to listen, show support, and help them get down to the heart of the matter. There is no judgment of their experience.
And there is no judgment here, either. If you feel frustrated with your own stuff sometimes, know that I get you because I've been there. I invite you to extend yourself compassion. You're human and real change takes time. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you keep moving forward. Know that I am in your corner, offering silent cheers of encouragement and support.
Our relationships are a rich source of learning and growth (if we allow them to be). When I work with clients, we don't dig deep into the past - because coaching is about acknowledging where you are now, choosing where you want to be, and exploring how to fill that gap.
Even though I don't go deep into the past with my clients, where appropriate, we do look at past patterns and themes. Seeing these can open some rich dialogue, which leads to fresh insight and increased self-awareness.
When I've done this kind of work for myself, I noticed the behaviors I was repeating in my own relationships, such as:
*Settling for less than I want/compromising what’s important to me
*Putting my needs and desires under/below his
*Ignoring my intuition/body wisdom/inner knowing about which flags were red and who wasn't the right fit for me
*Not using my voice or speaking up when I needed to
*Distancing myself from friends or losing my sense of self in relationships
*Not loving myself well enough
*Talking myself into relationships that weren't healthy or trying too hard to make it work even though I knew deep within it just wouldn't.
These are a few examples of what I've noticed about my own behavior - and some of the work I've done within and for myself. It started with me and my willingness to look at myself, my own behavior and the ways that I am contributing to relationship challenges. Clearing these, I've noticed a difference in my ability to co-create healthier relationships of all kinds. I've created deeper friendships (because I show up differently now) AND I've noticed a shift in the type of men I attract AND how I interact with men.
And now I help my clients explore the patterns in their behavior, in their relationships, and/or in the type of partners they tend to attract. The first step to making change usually is awareness. We need to know what we want to change in order to change it. And sometimes we need support, guidance, and accountability as we attempt to shift our thinking, beliefs, or behaviors. Even desired changes can be difficult to make because staying in the status quo is often easier. But the status quo doesn't allow for a new kind of experience.
If any of this resonates with you, I invite you to a discovery session with me. These complimentary sessions are an opportunity for us to explore your specific relationship goals, desires, and challenges and determine if we may be a good fit for working together. There is ample time for dialogue, questions and exploration.
What does it mean to live truthfully? I pondered this question for myself the other day... To me, living truthfully means:
*pursuing my deepest callings and following my unique path
*taking action toward my desires
*doing what brings me joy
*creating the life I long for
*using my voice
*sharing my gifts and talents with others
*coming out of hiding
*cultivating authentic relationships
*choosing how I spend my time and energy, and continue saying no when I need to
What does living truthfully mean to you?
Are you free to express your true emotions in your relationships? If you're a deeply emotional person like I am, you need a safe space to allow your emotions to flow. How your partner handles your emotional processes can strengthen or inhibit connection and intimacy in the relationship.
I don't know how many times past partners and others have suggested I "stop being so emotional" - but however many times I've heard it, it was too many times. Being emotional and feeling deeply is one of the most natural things to me - it's how I'm wired. And frankly, EMOTIONS ARE PART OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE! All of them... even the ones we'd rather not feel.
Our lower frequency emotions such as sadness, anger, or frustration are not a problem to be solved; they are a natural, normal part of life. What matters is that we learn how to process our emotions in healthy and productive ways, and that we take accountability for how we react when we are feeling them.
I've learned the techniques that support me best in emotional processing. I've also discovered that what's best for me, whether I'm dealing with a stressful situation or heavy emotions, is to allow the emotions to flow through and allow the extreme highs or lows to pass before I respond to the triggering situation. I need time and space to process. If I'm forced to make a decision in the heat of the moment, I will almost always choose wrongly.
When my partner does not honor my requests for time and space in these kinds of situations, it becomes a boundary issue. My needs are not heard or honored and I no longer feel emotionally safe, which has a negative impact on the relationship.
I know that my emotions are too much for some people - not everyone knows what to do with a deep feeler such as myself. I've come to accept that. I know that the person who is right for me will accept me as I am, honoring my emotions and my emotional needs without trying to change them.
When in a relationship, we need to remember that our partner will have needs that are different from our own - emotional and otherwise. How each partner chooses to handle the differences when they are noticed can either help the relationship grow stronger and closer, or create distance and disconnection.
Focusing on specific qualities we want in a partner may not bring the results we are seeking. Someone may show up who has all the qualities we said we wanted, and it still may not be the right fit for other reasons. We may create these lists out of the desire for a perfect partner - one who meets all our needs. But expecting perfection, or one person to fulfill all of our needs may set the relationship up for challenges and frustrations later on. When we expect perfection, we will be disappointed. Because people aren't perfect.
I've learned that I don't always know what I want or need from a partner. I often *think* I do... but in reality, this is often a way to try to feel more in control. If I know what's coming, then to some degree, I know what to expect. But sometimes it's the unexpected and the unfamiliar that makes the biggest impact in our life.
Broadening our perspective away from personal characteristics to relationship qualities creates space for those unexpected surprises.
Rather than focusing on specific qualities you are seeking in a partner- focus on what you are seeking from the RELATIONSHIP, instead. What kind of relationship do you want to co-create? How do you want to FEEL in the relationship? And what are YOU willing to do to create that?
Relationships require effort from both parties .... so ....
If you want a loving relationship, are you willing to be loving? If you expect honest communication, are you willing to be honest? If you want to feel safe in the relationship, how will you contribute to creating a safe space?
Shift your focus to the kind of relationship you desire and put your energy and effort into co-creating it.
When you're a strong, independent woman, and you've learned to take care of yourself AND you've had a string of unhealthy relationships... you start to question - am I just not cut out for a relationship? Am I better off staying single?
I do know – I don't NEED a relationship. I don't mind being single. I meet many of my own needs, and I meet other emotional/social needs through my friendships. So no, I don't NEED a relationship.
I just want one. And until recently, I’ve been afraid to admit that to myself….
I learn about myself from every relationship. I’ve seen the ways that my beliefs and behavior patterns inhibit my relationships. I’m aware of the ways I block love. I've learned to speak up, express my needs, and address challenges in relationships rather than sweeping conflict under the rug. I’ve learned that the art of giving and receiving is more important to me than "compromising."
I've learned to trust myself and my body's signals about who isn't a good fit for me. My intuition always warns me but I’ve not always listened to it. That was a very hard lesson – I had to practice that one several times before deciding I’ll never make that mistake again. I've learned to let go and end the relationship when it’s not a good fit – even when it’s incredibly painful to do so.
Through my relationship challenges, I’ve had many moments of doubt - maybe it's just not gonna happen for me. Maybe I'm not relationship material. Maybe my expectations are just too high….
I had an insight recently – these doubts – they aren’t real. This is a fear thing.
I’ve been afraid of what I might have to give up or what I might lose… because I’ve been working so hard to create more freedom in all areas of my life and I used to equate being in a relationship with a loss of freedom. I've explored what RELATIONSHIP FREEDOM means to me and how to balance my need for autonomy with my desire to be in a relationship.
Being in a relationship and feeling free aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve proven that I can have ample time for myself, quality time with my daughter, AND still spend quality time with friends while in a relationship. And I've learned that being in a relationship can actually bring MORE freedom in unexpected ways.
Once I shifted my beliefs around this, I created space to allow a genuine relationship into my life. And… I gave myself permission to express my needs, set boundaries, and address it when my needs and boundaries are not being honored.
And now I’m helping some of my clients explore these concepts for themselves, too.
If you are a strong, independent woman who experiences inner conflicts about maintaining your sense of independence in a relationship, I invite you to schedule a complimentary discovery session with me to see how I can support you.