A Painful Kind of Love

flickr, neal

It’s truly wonderful when love works out.

I mean, love is SUPPOSED to work out, right?

You love someone and they love you back.

But, what if they don’t. Or did. But don’t now?

Since everyone here is “of a certain age” (what a dumbass phrase) – since we’ve all been alive for four to six or more decades, I’m guessing we’ve all had a turn at giving and receiving broken love.

We get older, we get more philosophical about love. Perhaps it doesn’t sting as much as it did in the early years.

Even still, unrequited love simply hurts. I’m guessing we all can agree on that.

Anyway, that’s the stipulation I’m gonna make before I tell you about this next part which is this:

If unrequited love hurts, why would you have a dream that you LOVE and not give yourself the gift of doing it?

Why would you have a love for yourself (as expressed in a Big Dream) but not give it to yourself?

In other words, why would you have an unrequited dream – a longing that you never pursue, a wish that lies dormant, a desire that is allowed to shrivel and die?

I’m gonna take a great big guess right now and say, “FEAR!!!”

Yep, we’re afraid to take a chance on love again (for ourselves) because we’ve let ourselves down before. We’ve broken love pacts we’ve made with ourselves.

These are the promises we’ve made but not kept along the way:

I’m gonna write a book (that one’s mine.)

I’m gonna travel the world (I like that one, too.)

I’m going to get fit again.

I’m going to get myself out of debt so I can enjoy x or y or z.

I’m going to change my career.

I’m going to make art.

I’m going to volunteer to work with children, or animals, or the elderly.

There are others, I’m sure you can make your own list.

All those “I’m gonna’s” from yesteryear amount to a big old barrier of self-doubt that now must be surmounted anytime we want to fantasize about anything that even LOOKS like a dream.

Another reason we have unrequited dreams is because we are afraid we don’t really want what we think we want. We’re afraid of “picking wrong” cause, we don’t have all that many chances left now so every choice is so very important we better not mess this up and since we’re not sure what we really want anyway why don’t we just sit here with another chai latte and THINK about it some more?

Got it?

So far, we know that:

We have unrequited dreams because we don’t trust ourselves.

AND,

We have unrequited dreams because we don’t know ourselves.

But there are two more big reasons standing between us and the Great Love Of Our Lives (um, our Big Fat Unrequited Dreams).

One reason we have unrequited dreams is that we’re afraid of screwing up. After all, we’re talking about our BIGGEST UNREQUITED DREAMS NOW and if we screw them up then it’s all over and we don’t even have the dream left cause WE SCREWED IT UP!

So, we don’t try, which, in essence, ENSURES we never get to live into our biggest dreams.

In other words, we have unrequited dreams because we don’t believe in ourselves.

To me, though, the saddest reason BY FAR that we don’t love ourselves enough to requite our dreams is that we somehow equate our happiness with selfishness.  We either think we don’t deserve to live our biggest dreams or we believe that we win only at the expense of those we love.

In other words, not everyone can have their big dream, so you go ahead and take yours, love, and I’ll just sit over here (with my chai latte) and cheer you on.

We have unrequited dreams because we don’t think we deserve any better.

So, let’s bring all this together and see if we can’t find the holes in our logic and move past stagnation and into our dream instead:

Here are the four KEY “reasons” why we have Unrequited Dreams:

1. We have unrequited dreams because we don’t trust ourselves.

2. We have unrequited dreams because we don’t know ourselves.

3. We have unrequited dreams because we don’t believe in ourselves.

4. We have unrequited dreams because we don’t think we deserve any better.

 

What if I were to tell you that you could have the greatest love affair of all time – you could be completely in love with your one beautiful life, if you would just allow yourself the gift of yourself?

What if I were to tell you that it’s as simple being willing to try to trust again — To know ourselves and advocate just a tiny bit on our own behalf – to act as if we deserved more.

We don’t even have to believe any of these things to make a strong beginning. We just have to show up and try.

That is my greatest wish for you, love.

I want you to show up and try.

And what’s better, you don’t have to come all the way by yourself, I’m going to help.

I’m offering a FREE mini-course for women with Unrequited Dreams. It’s a three-part webinar series and it begins on April 14th.

I’m gonna share more info with you in just a sec but here is the MOST IMPORTANT PART:

 

SHOW UP EVEN IF YOU CAN’T SHOW UP.

In other words, don’t worry if the dates don’t work for Beautiful You. Sign up anyway. We’re recording everything and can share it with you for several days afterwards.

Okay, so here’s the scoop:

Click this link for all the details on the Free Mini-Course: Requiting Your Dreams, Because There’s No Time to Waste.

REGISTER TODAY.

I can’t wait to see you there.

Love, Jen

photo: flickr, neal

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Exactly How Selfish Are You?

Jamie McCaffrey

I’m concerned.

Truly concerned.

A week or so back, I sent Beautiful You a wee little survey about the challenges you face when making and KEEPING the priorities you make to yourself.

Before we go any further, I have to mention that, statistically speaking, the survey results were solid. The response rate was at the high-end of industry standards, so we know the results are representative of our beautiful LAT community.

In other words, what I’m about to share with you is NOT an anomaly – it’s really really what (half of) you believe to be true.

In some form or another, nearly HALF of all LAT community members feel that making and keeping the priorities you make for yourself is SELFISH.

This is ESPECIALLY true when doing your thing conflicts with what others around you want. In other words, you start out okay, but at the very first little sign of pushback you let go of your deal to let the other person have theirs.

Now, certainly, there are times when this is absolutely necessary. We live in community with others and I completely appreciate that the happiness of those I love contributes greatly to my own.

At times, I forsake my own shizzle for the shizzle of those I love.

But I think what we’re talking about here is something deeper. It looks like what is happening is that nearly EVERY time what you want conflicts with what you OWE others, you yield.

Cause, if you didn’t, you’d feel guilty, right?

Of course, once you let your thing go, it’s harder to get back to it.

Long periods of time go by.

Then something sparks inside you. Maybe it’s a conversation we’re having here at Life After Tampons, maybe it’s something you see out in your community, but whatever the impetus, you DECIDE to take a chance again.

Cue Mr. Barry Manilow – Ready to Take a Chance Again.

But you hesitate. Cause now you can’t trust yourself, right?

That makes sense. You wouldn’t trust anyone else who always broke her promises to Beautiful You, would you?

It gets a bit uglier, I’m afraid.

Cause intertwined with those results, was a very STRONG theme of lack of deservedness among those who responded to our survey.

Deep down inside, or maybe even very close to the surface, you don’t believe you DESERVE to be a priority in your own life.

This isn’t everyone, of course.

Only HALF of our Beautiful Yous

I think we need to have a conversation about this.

I’m not a therapist, so I don’t have anything therapeutic to add, and, besides, it would be unethical to go there in this forum.

But I’m so very curious. How can I help you?

How do we get over this hurdle?

Love, Jen

P.S. For those of you in that other half, can you help us understand how you overcame the roadblocks of fancied selfishness and lack of deservedness?

P.S.S. In a few weeks, we’re announcing a new course about making and keeping the priorities you make to yourself. If that appeals to Beautiful You, go here and sign up for advance notice and stuff.

photo: flickr, Jamie McCaffrey

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Time Management for Your Last Day

bigbirdz

Every day, you have a day.

One day, you won’t.

 

We all know that, of course.

We just don’t think about it.

 

Let’s think about it now, but just for a minute, okay?

Causing REALLY thinking about it is scary, right?

 

<Deep Breath>

 

Okay, ONE day will be your last day.

And you don’t get to know what day that will be.

 

Maybe it’s in 30 years or so.

But maybe it’s this June 27th.

 

June 27th WILL be somebody’s last day.

This we know.

 

But, even though we know this, we act like it couldn’t possibly be OUR last day.

But, it could be.

 

Let’s just say, for a minute, that it WILL be.

That gives you about 12 weeks left to live.

 

If you had 12 weeks left to live, what would really matter?

 

I’d write my book.

Yep, I’d write my book, but I’d publish it in daily blog posts on Life After Tampons, in case I died before I finished it and also because I could combine writing my book with connecting with Beautiful You.

 

And I’d set aside some of my money so that my husband and boys could get it published.

 

And, I’d set it up so you could buy a copy if you wanted one.

 

I’d also make supper for everyone I love. Every night.

(Oh, wait, I already do that.)

 

Okay, I’d give one final flute recital.

And invite everyone I know and raise money for . . .

 

The Mahila Partnership cause my friend, Angela Devlen runs it and I really believe in her and her work.

 

And I’d find some other charity that helps young musicians in need.

Cause music changed my life.

 

I’d put my former band director, Carl Jeffrey Bianchi, in charge of that.

Cause everything I know about excellence I learned from him and Barbra Schultz, my high school honors English teacher.

 

What about Beautiful You?

What do you currently spend time doing that you would stop doing?

Whom do you spend time with that you’d say “goodbye” to?

 

Whom would you say “hello” to more often?

 

Now, some of you may think this post is a downer.

That’s fine. And fair, even.

It’s just that I don’t really give a hot damn.

Downer or not, it’s REALITY.

 

We all know reality in the back of our minds, but we LIVE as if reality doesn’t apply to us.

 

We live as if we have lots of time left.

Therefore, it doesn’t really matter when we quit on ourselves cause there’s always tomorrow, right?

 

If we can, let’s just pretend for a second that we are brave enough to talk truth.

Here we go:

 

Your life is RUSHING by.

Truly, think back to when you turned 40.

Wasn’t that like 5 minutes ago?

 

How much longer are you going to let your fear of selfishness keep you from living –REALLY living – your one beautiful life?

 

Think you don’t?

 

Well, guess what, buttercup?

I just completed a survey of our readers and you know what the NUMBER ONE reason was that you don’t make and KEEP the priorities and promises you make to yourself??

 

FEAR OF SELFISHNESS.

 

Yep, nearly HALF of you said in one way or another that when you claim some space for yourself, you are afraid that, in taking something for yourself, you’re STEALING something from someone you love.

 

Further, when you make plans for yourself and someone else’s shit rises up, you completely QUIT on what you want in order to take care of the other person’s shit.

 

What’s with that?

 

A bunch of the rest of you talked about your lack of deservedness.

 

I’ve been crying for three days about that one.

 

Now here’s the thing: I’m getting ready to launch a course for women who want to make and KEEP the priorities they make to themselves. I know it is the NUMBER ONE problem for women here at Life After Tampons.

 

I KNOW it is.

 

But what are we going to do about this tremendous Fear of Selfishness we face?

How are we going to solve that problem so we can take a turn in our own damn lives?

 

And what does this all mean for Beautiful Me?

 

Am I working for nothing? Will you see the opportunity – the ANSWER – and refuse to “pull the trigger” on making that answer yours because of your fear of being selfishness?

 

How long will we let this go on?

 

If your last day is June 27th, you don’t need my upcoming course.

 

Don’t buy it.

 

Cause the reality of knowing your last day is just weeks away WILL CRYSTALLIZE what matters most to you.

 

“I guaran-damn-tee it,” as my mother would say.

 

You will be compelled to ACT, at long last.

 

But for the rest of us, what are we going to do?

We can talk about it and talk about it and all agree and stuff,

 

But, UNLESS we ACT,

We’re gonna be having this exact same conversation next year.

 

And the year after that.

 

And, if that’s what you want to do, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

 

Cause my last day is out there, too. And I absolutely KNOW that it has to matter that I lived.

 

I HAVE to make a difference, and I WANT to make that difference to other Difference Makers.

 

And I don’t care if that’s selfish.

I’m not stopping.

Love, Jen

P.S. To find out more about our upcoming course, sign up here:

photo:flickr, bigbirdz

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19 Dream-Killing Thoughts

Purple Slog

This post is for women who are sometimes unkind to themselves. It is for those of us who have tried to change something about our lives (weight, work, finances, health, whatever) and been thwarted in our efforts.

This post is for women who sometimes think the following:

“This wasn’t supposed to happen.”

“How’d I end up here?”

“I thought my life would be different by now.”

“Why can’t I make changes that stick?”

If that’s not Beautiful You, feel free to go out for a celebratory donut while the rest of us figure this shit out.

Before I continue, I’m raising my right hand and saying, “Been there. Done that.” Still in process, in fact, on some things.

You all already know it took me twenty YEARS to go for the life I really wanted to live. (For the rest of you, read “My Deepest Regret.”)

What I have slowly come to realize is that, often, I was my own worst enemy. I now understand that most of my “problems” were of my own making – or, rather, THINKING.

Here are some of the most common mistaken beliefs that trip us up:

 

  1. We think way too hard about stuff.

 

  1. We tend to make things way more complicated than they need to be.

 

  1. We have trouble battling the gremlins in our head that tell us “it doesn’t matter” or “I’ll do it later.”

 

  1. Or, sometimes the voices in our heads tell us that we can’t do this, that we don’t have any self-confidence, or that someone else is doing it better. The bottom line is that our mind tells us that we’re not good enough.

 

  1. Sometimes the voice is really really mean and goes so far as to invoke shame – “Who do you think you are,” for wanting x or y or z?

 

Well, we’re just like every other woman who ever lived. Maybe we don’t even want all that much. But we just want something a little different than the way it is right now.

Okay, some of us want things to be a LOT different, but we can’t even get a steady foothold on progress.

 

  1. We question our decisions and doubt ourselves.

 

  1. We worry about the stuff that’s either in the future or in the past, forgetting that life happens in this moment. Nope, I mean THIS moment. And then, THIS one.

 

  1. We worry desire ebbs because we think we have to stay excited about our dreams or they’ll never happen.

 

  1. We lack self-assurance in our will, talent, and ability because we can’t get past our limitations and the mistakes we’ve made in the past.

 

Basically, we’ve let ourselves down so many times in the past we find it difficult to believe that “this time” it will be different.

Because it won’t, love. Until we correct the problems with our thinking, we can’t begin effect right action, since all action begins in thought.

So, we barrel ahead with life unaware that is our habitually thinking that keeps us stuck.

 

  1. We don’t believe that we’re worth it, or that we can do it. We feel SELFISH or like we’re cheating those we love if we take “too much” for ourselves. (click to tweet)

 

  1. We think we have to be sure of what we want before we begin, since we have lost faith in ourselves we doubt what we think we want, perpetuating the problem.

 

  1. We tell ourselves that exploring the things we THINK we want is frivolous, and we feel guilty for wanting time to do that.

 

We still want it, though. And that gap between what we have and what we will allow ourselves to have causes all sorts of pain and chaos.

 

  1. We have trouble keeping our focus on the promises we make to ourselves.

 

  1. We can’t sustain our commitments because we forget that if we, for example, go to the gym today we’ll be glad tomorrow. All we can think about is how much we don’t want to go right now.

 

Oh, we yield way too often to the whimsy of the moment. Cause change feels hard, the results are “out there” in the future, but the sacrifice is happening RIGHT NOW and we’re not sure we really want that thing we said we wanted when we signed up for that gym membership … masters degree …. charity event… whatever.

Instead,

 

  1. We think we need to know WHY we’re not ready and fix that problem first. This is such a flawed strategy, because we spend most of our lives navel-gazing instead of LIVING into the bigger reality we want for ourselves.

 

  1. We think we need to see “the big picture” and all the steps involved BEFORE we begin.

 

  1. We can’t allow ourselves to take comfort in the journey because we fear we won’t end up where we want to be. After all, look what happened the last time we didn’t have the whole thing mapped out.

 

  1. We have difficulty keeping the momentum and excitement as strong as it was at the beginning of the promise we make to ourselves; and, even worse, we think that actually matters.

 

  1. We don’t understand that it is DEVOTION, not love or passion that takes us to where we want to go.

 

Basically, a whole lot of our thinking is Bass Ackwards.

Fortunately, this is a simple, yet not altogether easy, problem to address. Changing our minds takes time. It’s a process.

Anyway, something to think about.

Love, Jen

P.S. Big stuff is coming up. In just a couple of weeks we’re going to get very serious about making yourself a priority. To get all of our updates, and join an amazing community of like-minded women, sign up here:

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