“Sometimes Reclaiming Your Life Means Giving Up The Fariy Tale”

Couple in conflictHave you ever felt that you walked the path of your life alone? That you were the only woman who has ever made a painful, stupid mistake? That you settled for less than you deserved?  Did you desperately desire love above all else? Did you yearn for a real partner so much it hurt: Have you ever thought “Why is every woman but me in a great relationship?  “Why can’t I be that happy?” Or found yourself rejected by the person you loved and it left you feeling that something was wrong with you?

When a devastating breakdown of a relationship ends it can feel like a wild boar‘s tusk ripping through your heart. You can become convinced that you are the only woman who has ever made a complete mess of your life. You feel alone, rejected, and furious that you had deceived yourself for so long. That you had given up on “yourself” to keep the love of another for years, only to be left with a heart torn to shreds.

What women learn shortly after the initial blow of their relationship’s end is that, they failed to understand above all else, is that they needed to honor the most important relationship of all “the one with themselves.” The ending of a relationship becomes the beginning of a journey for women  to learn many things about themselves and how to love and honor themselves.

The journey of being a woman can seem crazy and confusing but for better or worse, women have many of the same stories, heartbreak, obstacles, and expectations. The good news is that women don’t have to remain captive to the limiting beliefs swirling in their psyches and in society, which keeps them far from their dreams. We always have a choice. Along life’s path, we all have the opportunity to gain wisdom from our mistakes, the self-awareness that comes from healing our wounds, and clarity by claiming our needs.

If we are lucky enough to wake up to the immense power that is available to heal our hearts and teach us how to love ourselves, we have a responsibility to share our stories and insights with others. Otherwise, the true power of our realizations will be lost. Sharing allows us to see ourselves in the words of others, gain witnesses to our personal journey, and broaden the possibilities that lie before us.

I, too relied on the wisdom and support of many women, some of them total strangers, to progress through my journey to wholeness.  By watching others and listening, I learned that to fully and wholeheartedly love another I first needed to fully and wholeheartedly embrace ” myself.” This realization is a major source of inspiration in my decision to share my knowledge and experiences with  other women. Women need to share the wisdom gained on their personal path as they went from being a person they thought they had to be to be loved to being the one they actually are.

In them I gained wisdom while on my personal path as I went from being  a person I thought I knew and loved to being one I actually do know and love. We shared our stories about living ordinary lives, raising children, creating a safe home life, the ups and downs of stay at home moms to the working moms. Some of us were married and some single. We talked about many issues like paying bills, being young, and getting older and the list goes on and on and lets not forget divorce as well. We also talked about trying to find sources of love and happiness but often looking in the wrong places. When we stopped and took a careful look at the life we had created and honesty answered this question “Am I honoring the most important relationship in my life first?  The one with my self and God.

We discovered reclaiming our lives meant giving up the fairy tale that we had created about ourselves and instead finding out what reality was. The new path may did not seem clear at the beginning to us  and we felt like we were fumbling in the dark grabbing for something to hold to, then one of my dear friends said, remember this is a normal feeling and keep moving forward and don’t go back. During this time we discovered within ourselves the spirit of survivor and a deeper faith we never knew existed.

 We also learned that loving ourselves is knowing ourselves, enjoying and valuing the women that we are, and understanding that getting to know ourselves and God  is a lifelong personal enterprise. It meant that we needed to  appreciate ourselves as much as we appreciate the ones we love. Loving ourselves is recognizing our gifts and talents and then putting them to good use, acknowledging our flaws and forgiving ourselves for them. We learned that loving ourselves was reaching for more, it was reaching for the best, in ourselves. We discovered that our hearts can only hold as much love as we believe it can. So often women put up with shabby treatment in love because they don’t believe they deserve better or they are still stuck in fairy tale thinking.  So treat yourself better, believe you deserve to be treated well, and you will get treated even more wonderfully in love than any fairy tale woman has ever been. 

Carol. M.

Would Your Rather Clean Your House Than Spend The Day With Your Mother In Law?

 Would you rather clean your house than spend the day with your mother in law? A survey by iVillage in 2010 found that 51% of DILs (daughter-in-laws) said, they would rather spend the day cleaning their house than with their MIL ( mother in law); and 28% percent they’d rather have a root canalA Cambridge University study of hundreds of families over a twenty-year period found that more than 60 percent of the women said, their relationship with their mother-in-law was stressful for them! Daughter-in-laws had a chance to vent about  their mother-in-laws and grandmother in-laws. The answers were immediate, intense, and anxious often saying, “What ever you do, maintain my anonymity. 

They might not apply to you at all, but it’s good to get a window into what DILs are thinking. If you’re sure you want to know what they said, here’s what they said… Thanks, but no thanks when it comes to parenting advice. They want to raise their kids their own way and make their own mistakes. The story you tell about how your son loves your home-baked deserts that you tell just as your daughter in-law brings out the cake she bought at the bakery is an example of a mother in law being passive-aggressive in her  behavior and if you are a mother in law you may be surprised to be told you are still being aggressive even if you are being subtle stop it!  Let’s stop standing on ceremony.

 One daughter in law said, it bothered  her mother in law when she didn’t send her a thank-you note for the baby’s birthday present. She though of her as family and felt like saying, to her mother in law, ” I am not the rude ingrate that you think I am and yes, I am good enough for your son”. It’s sweet that you think your son is so perfect, as long as you also understand that I’m perfect for him. DILs would appreciate it if  their MILs would ask them for some gift ideas and respect the limits  for birthdays and holidays.

They know that they are not like their mother in-laws. But that doesn’t mean they don’t respect the heck out of them.  Remember, she married your son knowing full well that “She married the whole family.” All this  Mother in law business is not a great mystery to daughter in-laws because after all they understand that  their mother in law was the first woman in her husband’s life and have known him longer (and maybe better) than she does. She has taken care of him… and did it very well.  She may be expecting to share holidays and all special occasions with her son’s wife and  family.

The mother in law has her own relationship with her children…the grandchildren and she will usually take her son’s side… even if she doesn’t say so aloud.You can decrease the issues somewhat and sometimes but not all the time. If  you are a mother in law you may be saying to yourself why brother? The answer is simply, you try your best for your grandchildren! You may wonder why should you make the first move? For your grandchildren’s sake that is why! Why let things pass? For your grandchildren that’s why! Let’s start with a few suggestions: See what your daughter-in-law is like with other people, and don’t expect her to be different with you.

On the other hand if she is kind and considerate to other family members and her close friends and not to you. There’s your answer, she doesn’t really like you but you still have to be kind to her for your grandchildren sake! Treat your daughter-in-law with the same patience and politeness you show your own daughter or your close friends or even new acquaintances. The odds are that your daughter-in-law will not have the same kind of personality as your daughter or your close friends because they are like you so go for new acquaintances.

If things get really tough, pretend you’re writing a movie and become an observer instead of participant… it will help to give you psychological distance and enough emotional breathing room to feel in control of your emotions, and sometimes a laugh. Look at the up side of this one you could end up writing a book or a movie script or just feel better and don’t forget to vent with all the other mother in-laws who are in the same boat. Remember you’re not alone just take a few minutes and read any book about DILs and MILs.

 You may be surprised to learn that there are many of blogs used for DILs or MILs as a place to vent. Take a look on-line there are thousands of  women venting about the women in their lives. The most important thing to remember is keep your sense of humor and pray, pray and then pray some more. Want to calm the stormy seas? Here are some tips: Never, never, never…say, “My son is right. Never say, “I think you should. Never say, “I just assumed that…”  You may be asking yourself is there anything we should say? Here are a few suggestions from seasoned mother-in-laws and grandparents…

Tell her stories about your son that will amuse her and interest her and not stories that will make her feel that you think he’s perfect. Make sure you say positive reinforcement statements and yes that can be a challenge when you know in your heart of hearts that she doesn’t like you or resents you but do it for the grandchildren. Say positive statements, like “I respect how you’re raising your kids.” They may not do things the way you did, but it’s a different world today. Find something positive to say that will ring true. Offer to do the dishes or the laundry… or make dinner, be there to help. Don’t be surprised if she tells you “know” that she prefers to it herself it’s an ego issue.  Try saying things like,” Don’t worry; you’re wonderful parents.” They’re probably nervous about every decision they make, and those kind words can make them feel so great and so warm toward you! Your children are wonderful.” All kids go through difficult stages. Tell her your kids did, and they turned out great.

“I’m here if you need me.” You know they’re up on all the latest information about child safety, diet, and development. Just let them know that if they want your advice, they can ask for it and you’ll be happy to share it. Daughter-in-laws usually turn to their mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts before they’ll ask their mother-in-law. Oops! Does that sting? “Keep in mind that all parents feel insecure sometimes.” Parenting can be learned only on the job, and not matter how many blogs and books they read or experts they consult or even if they ask for advice from you, nobody knows their child as they do.

In the Bible, Ruth praise, respects, and loves her mother-in-law, Naomi. Although some of your friends or maybe even you think that your daughter in law (DIL ) feels the same way, most say they are not as lucky as Naomi. They describe their mother in law/daughter in law relationships as one of the most sensitive and complicated relationships they’ve ever had. But at the same time, they know in fact we all know it’s one of the most important relationships we’ll ever have, because if we don’t have a working relationship with our daughter in-laws, we won’t have a relationship that works with our grandchildren! So if you have an excellent relationship with your daughter in law cherish it! And if you don’t, there are things you can do to improve it, the first step is to pray about it and talk to a seasoned mother in-law you respect.

Fight The Good Fight

No relationship is without conflict and differences of opinions, preference, and even direction and a relationship is only as good as the conflict it can contain.

 This means that a relationship has vitality only to the degree that it can endure the stresses of each difference and resolve them through healthy conflict, so that the relationship and the individuals in it can move toward greater authenticity.

Then notion of the totally tranquil, we-never-fight relationship as the paragon of love is a dangerous fallacy. All too often the persons in such a situation are scared to death of testing the resilience of their relationship by airing their real differences, or have so suppressed their individual selves that their differences seem invisible.

Many couples are scared of conflict because they don’t know how to fight. They are afraid their own anger will run away with them, that they’ll lose control and become vicious, vituperative, or even physically destructive. They maybe afraid of the other person’s anger. They wonder will he or she yell, throw things, slam the door, or maybe walk out?

These behaviors can sometimes occur and can even be a real danger, especially for people who have been abused with anger themselves. But even they can learn to express anger in a constructive way.The sign of a good fight is that it makes you both feel you have discovered something, that you know one another better.

Even if you fight again and again about the same issues (and most people do), a good fight gives you hope about the future because you have gained a measure of insight about something that previously baffled or frustrated you. Here’s some help:

1. Try to see what you’re upset about. This is usually something very specific:”That he or she didn’t call you” not “Because life is miserable.”

2. State your feelings and why you feel that way: “I’m upset that you didn’t call because it makes me feel unloved.”

3. Say what you need in recompense: ” I need you to apologize.”

4. After your mate has given the apology, ask yourself and him or her if you feel totally resolved.

5. Kiss and make up.

For example: “I’m upset with you for yelling at me about burning the tea kettle. You embarrassed me in front of Jane. It made me feel belittled to have to have her hear you talk to me like that. I need you to apologize.” I’m sorry, honey. I was in such a rush this morning and was anxious about that big meeting. I was out of line. I don’t want to make you feel that way. Please forgive me.”  

 

This kind of fight could win the  “Academy Awards for the Most Civilized Fight”. There are many people who agree to disagree about an offense and make it a point to resolve it in a timely manner.

They never go to bed upset with each other. Yes! They do deserve an award for being the kind of people that we all should aspire to be like. Don’t they?

You can learn to be gracious when someone offends you. To start with try to remember.

1. A good fight isn’t a free for all. Don’t say everything you feel like saying even though you may have a legitimate gripe. Remember that words can wound, and after the fight you don’t want a battered mate.

2. Be specific with your complaints. Don’t throw in all your grievances since time began.

3. Let the other person’s words sink in before you take up your cudgel. Remember, you’re having this fight to learn something, to arrive at some new insight as well as an immediate resolution.

4. Go easy on yourself and your honey when you don’t do it perfectly.

Find A Mentor

A mentor is a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professions have “mentoring programs” in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people, who advise them and serve as examples as they advance.

Schools sometimes offer mentoring programs to new students having difficulties. Today’s mentors provide expertise to less experienced individuals to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks. In many different arenas people have benefited from being part of a mentoring relationship, including: Athletes Eddy Merckx (five-time Tour de France winner) mentored Lance Armstrong (seven-time Tour de France winner). Bobby Chariton mentored David Beckman.

Mentorship refers to a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The person in receipt of mentorship may be referred to as a protegé’ (male), a  protegée (female), an apprentice or, in recent years, a mentee. “Mentoring” is a process that always involves communication and is relationship based, but its precise definition is elusive.

Think about the things you have learned over the course of your life. Many of those skills and bits of wisdom have stuck with you because of how you felt about the person you learned them from. When a coworker, friend, parent or even a casual acquaintance asks you if you can help them succeed.

 If you are a parent or a grandparent you are a mentor and its an honor; however, if you are feeling a little wary, here is a good reason to cast off your fear, its to experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from teaching your children, grandchildren and others in its purest form.  If you want a life that is larger than life be a mentor or find one.

 

 

 

I’ll Always Choose You

I’ll always choose you! When you choose to love one person in a special, committed way, you are unchoosing or giving up your option to choose all others, for a time at least, in that same particular way.

The feeling of “being in love”  is the raving experience that makes us willing, even daredevilishly eager, to make these sacrifices. It’s a joy to choose one above all others, a delight to feel graced and blessed by their uniquely delicious and heartwarming presence.

But this choosing, grand as it is and willing as we are to make it, it is also symbolic of the many choices, little renunciations, and revisions of priority that, for love, we shall come to make as we walk the path of relationship. There’s a great deal we do (or discontinue doing) precisely and only because we love.

 When Jane fell in love with Brand she postponed graduate school to take care of Brands two little girls, whose mother died of cancer. Jane did this with no regrets and a lot of love. Later in life when the girls left home to go to college Jane went back and finished her postponed educational goals.

Jane’s brother Dan moved out of the house he’d built for himself to live in the town where Jen, his new love, lived. She was a tenured professor and couldn’t move to the town where Dan lived. The corporation that Dan works for transferred him to an office in the town that Jen lived in.

Dan excepted the job transfer and proposed to Jen. Hooray! Jen said yes. One year later they had a little girl. Dan has no regrets because he made those compromises out of love. Oh, he still owns the house that he built and hopes that when they retire they will live in it but if not he is willing to compromise because he loves Jen more than the house he built.

Such revisions are only the tip of the iceberg. Each day, in love, you will be faced with decisions and choices, invited to make compromises that represent a willingness to meet the one you love halfway on the playing field of love. Thus, you may find yourself adapting to uncomfortable  schedules or meticulous (or sloppy) housekeeping habits (the proverbial toothpaste folded up wrong or far too perfectly), taking vacations you never imagined ( but ended up loving anyway), preparing food you never even liked. or entering into financial arrangements that stretch your equanimity to the limit.

A compromise for love needs to be just that: a conscious revision of your own preferences. As such, it becomes a creative, imaginative act, and surprisingly beautiful frame. But, above all it shows you the depth of your love. For when we smooth off the corners of our own dogmatic priorities, we reach toward one another. In so doing, we see that love, the deep recognition of the soul of the one we love.

 In the spiritual journey of love it is our soul who choose us for each other. We meet through the eyes of the pulse. we do not choose, but each is chosen for this love, This path, this new green road, this first kiss, the single beating heart, the compromises made for love. This us!