How to Not to Lose Yourself or Your Dreams

by Gladys Diaz

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The other day, I was watching one of my favorite TV shows with my family and they were featuring a mother in her 40s who was almost 200 pounds overweight. She was beside herself with sadness and self-loathing because she said she had given up her dreams and could not believe how much she had let herself go after having been an athlete and gymnast in her youth.

Her reason for having gotten to this point?

Being a mom.

She shared how she had gotten pregnant in college and thrown herself into being “the perfect mom” and pastor’s wife. She described how she had put so much focus on being there for her kids that she’s lost herself and forgotten who she was.

I’d like to say this is an isolated incident, but it’s not.

One of the most common fears women share with us is that they are afraid of losing themselves in a relationship.

I work with women all over the world who are trying to prove that they are Superwoman or Supermom, doing everything, working themselves to the point of exhaustion, and ignoring their own needs so that they can please and impress others.

And this isn’t an issue that only affects mothers and wives. I also see women who are single and are throwing themselves into and losing themselves in their careers, giving all of themselves, their time and attention to their bosses and companies and leaving very little time or attention for having fun, dating, and just taking care of themselves.

Unfortunately, all of these women have forgotten that the MOST important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself!

If you don’t take the time to care for yourself by making time to relax, laugh, play, nurture your mind, body, and spirit, you literally have nothing left to give – to yourself or anyone else!

Giving to the point of feeling depleted, mentally and physically exhausted –and many times resentful, because you feel you’re giving, giving, and giving without getting very much in return – not only leaves you unable to have the energy, patience, and enthusiasm to date or create a loving relationship, but also teaches people how to treat you. So it’s unfair to resent the boss who keeps adding things on your plate with no recognition or additional compensation, the PTA President who knows she can call you the night before to do a task that would take anyone else weeks, or your husband who is not helping you around the house or with the kids.

When you don’t take time to make time for yourself, don’t expect others to go out of their way to do that for you, either!

It’s essential that you do something for yourself daily. Whether it’s read a book, talk on the phone with a girlfriend, take that class you’ve been saying you want to take forever, or just sit and do nothing (one of my favorites!).

When you make your needs, dreams, and self-care a priority, you are letting yourself – and the rest of the world know – that you value yourself, believe in your dreams, and know that there isn’t a need to “sacrifice” what you love and makes you happy in order to be a great woman, partner, or mother.

You’ll also find that when you make yourself a priority, all of those people who you love and are trying to make happy will rally around you, be your biggest supporters, and help make sure you have time for yourself and to make your dreams come true!

As we were watching the show, my older son said, “Wow… She had to give up her dreams so she could take care of her kids? “

I responded, “No, she didn’t have to give up her dreams. She chose to. We get to create our lives and make our dreams come true. A woman can be a great mother, have a happy relationship, and still follow her dreams.”

His response?

“Oh, yeah, Mama. Like how you take care of us and you’re also helping your clients and building your dreams for Heart’s Desire!”

My response?

Exactly!”

 

Comments?  Questions?  Let us know below!  We love hearing from you!

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Three Mistakes That Can Cost You Intimacy (and how to fix them)

by Gladys Diaz

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Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, and, at our house, I love making a big deal when it’s someone’s birthday by celebrating “Birthday Week.”  During this week, the person gets to choose what we watch on TV, what we eat for dinner, and, basically is made to feel special all week long by everyone else in the house!

Well, Sunday night, I almost ruined Birthday Sunday for my husband.  The boys had misplaced the remote control for the TV (again) and were arguing about it in the playroom.  It was already late and past their bedtime, so my honey and I were ready for our “alone time,” so we could watch our shows and relax together.

When I saw that my husband was getting upset at the boys for arguing, I jumped in to “help.”

(Mistake #1 – Offering Unsolicited Help: Stepping in “to help” without there being a need or a request for it. This sends the message that you feel he is incapable of resolving the issue on his own. Instead, trust in your partner’s capability to resolve the situation himself.  If he needs help, he’ll ask for it. By the way.. he probably won’t.).

The truth is that there really wasn’t any reason for me to jump in to “help.” My husband had the situation handled.  I jumped in because didn’t want him to be upset with the boys (especially on Birthday Weekend) and I just wanted the arguing to stop.  Now, even though these might be “good reasons” for stepping in, had I stayed on the couch and allowed him to handle things, it probably would have been resolved right away.

Instead, I jumped in and noticed that, the more I tried to “help,” the more angry he was getting.  At first I thought he was angry with the kids, but, in retrospect, I can see that he must have felt like I didn’t trust him to handle the situation.

I did an exercise I do with the kids that helps them to remember where they last saw and held something, and, the remote was found!

(Victory #1 – Resolving the problem.  This was short-lived, however, because of Mistake #2!)

Now, if I’d just left it at that, everyone would have felt happy, relieved, and the situation may have been over. However, for some reason, I simply had to make sure that I emphasized (rather loudly) that this is what you should do when you can’t find something.

(Mistake #2 – Proving I’m Right and You’re Wrong: This is an ego-driven need to prove the other person wrong. While there may be a sense of “victory” in having been “right,” essentially, there is no “winner” in this situation because your partner is left feeling as if he’s wrong or in some way “lesser than” you.)

Then, to prove my point further, as my husband was talking to the boys about them being responsible so that they don’t lose things, I butted in again to mentioned that things in the house don’t get “lost”; they simply get “misplaced.”

(Mistake #3 – Wanting to be “Right” AGAIN: This adds salt to the already-tender wound.  By correcting or contradicting your partner, you once again disrespect him by pointing out how “right” you are.  There is no demonstration of support or encouragement for your partner, which can leave him feeling upset and alone).

Well, that did it.

My husband yelled, “Okay, things in the house don’t get ‘lost,’ they are ‘misplaced!  Is that better?’”

Now he was in an official funk…and so was I.

I was upset at myself for getting involved, sending the message that he couldn’t handle a simple situation, and that I was the one with the “right” solution.  I saw how disrespectful and condescending I’d been.  I was ashamed and angry with myself, especially since that’s not the way I am committed to treating my husband.

I wish I could say that I immediately apologized and that we were soon in a snuggly, blissful space, but that wouldn’t be true.  It took me a while to get to the point that I could forgive myself enough to apologize to him.  I made a first attempt to apologize, but I have to admit that it wasn’t very sincere.  It came from a place of trying to “fix” things.  I think he could tell, because he remained cold.

A little while later, I noticed it was past midnight (we always try to be the first to wish the other a Happy Birthday). I moved closer to him on the couch, looked him in the eye, and said, “I’m sorry I disrespected you, and I know you’re upset. I just want to say ‘Happy Birthday.’”   

He leaned forward, we kissed, and I snuggled up next to him and said a prayer of thanks. (smile)

In the past, I wouldn’t have apologized. I would have made it seem like it was not such a big deal and then made him wrong (again) for not forgiving me right away.  Now, even when it’s hard, I choose to apologize – because that’s something I can be responsible for – and give him space to work through his own feelings.

(Victory #2: Sincerely Apologizing.  It’s not always easy to admit when you’re wrong. However, if you can put aside your pride and realize that what’s more important than being right, staying angry, or pretending like nothing happened is restoring the intimacy in the relationship, then you also recognize that it’s really a small price to pay.  And now you’ve got a win-win situation going!)

 

Having a loving and intimate relationship isn’t about perfection. You may not always say or do the right things.

So what can you when you’ve made a mistake that impacts the closeness and connection in your relationship?

You can continue to focus on becoming your best self.

You can forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness along the way for those times when you don’t reflect the best side of yourself.

And you can recommit to restoring intimacy in your relationship.

In doing all of these things you can be confident that you are on the path to creating the happy, loving, intimate relationships your heart truly desires.

 

Questions? Comments? Let us know below!  We love hearing from you!

 

 Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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What to Do If You Love a Married Man

by Gladys Diaz

 

You love a man. You’ve loved him for years, and you think he loves you, too.  The only problem is he’s married to someone else!

So, what do you do?

Do you keep loving him from afar, waiting for him to end the marriage?

Do you go with your heart, ignore the fact that he’s married, and become “the other woman”?

These are tough questions, and the answers may be even tougher for the woman who sent them to handle!

If you or someone you know needs to know the answer to these questions, then click the image below and read the response I wrote to a woman who had these questions in InspireMeToday.com’s “Ask a Luminary” column!

Ask a Luminary - What to do if you love a married man

I’ll be responding to questions and comments on that page, so make sure you leave me a comment!

Thank you!

 

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MORE Secrets for Making Love Last

by Gladys Diaz

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As you know, this week is “Anniversary Week,” and in celebration of Ric’s and my 14 years of marriage, I’m sharing 14 of the secrets for making love last!

In the previous blog post, I shared with you the first 7 secrets.

Below I’m sharing 7 more of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on how to make the love in a relationship last and grow stronger over time!

7. Being vulnerable is a sign of strength, not weakness: For so many years I was in “survival mode,” just trying to get through this life. Inside of that view of myself and the world, I felt like I had to take care of myself, do things myself, and give off the impression that I had it all — meaning everything in and outside of my control – handled. When I started practicing being more vulnerable – asking for help, sharing my heart, allowing my husband to see all of who I really am (warts and all) – I learned just how much courage is involved in being vulnerable and trusting him to take care of me and my heart.

8. Your past is not a predictor of your future: I didn’t have very good role models for a loving, happy, intimate relationship. I saw, heard, and went through things as child that I wish no child would have to witness or experience. And, yet, I have created an amazingly beautiful relationship with my husband and my kids get to see what love and partnership look like every day (to the point where they beg us to stop being so mushy!). No matter what your past is, if can accept it and leave it in the past, where it belongs, you get to create the type of love and life your heart desires! You really can!

 9. I’m 100% responsible for my relationship: Another myth out there is that a relationship is a 50/50 deal. Not true. I’ve come to learn that I am 100% responsible for my side of this marriage – regardless of what my husband chooses to do or not do. I can’t control him or what he chooses to do or say. I can, however, control my own thoughts, words, and the ways in which I choose to respond and react to him. Being 100% responsible is great, because if you can be 100% responsible for your part in the relationship when things aren’t going very well, you also get to take 100% of the credit when it’s going great!

 10. Taking care of myself is not selfish: For too many years, especially after I became a mom, I saw my role as the giver and nurturer in my marriage and family. I felt “guilty” putting myself first, taking care of my needs, pampering myself, or doing things that didn’t involve my husband and/or kids. I’ve grown to learn that the most important relationship I have to nurture is the one I have with myself, and that, when I take the time to replenish myself mentally, physically, and spiritually, not only am I a better mother and lover, but I am also a much better version of ME!

 11. All he really wants is to make me happy: For many years, I complained that my husband didn’t help me enough around the house or with the kids. I felt exhausted, unappreciated, and taken advantage of. I’ve grown to learn that one of my husband’s top priorities in life is not only seeing me happy, but making me happy. Inside of his desire to provide for and protect me is his desire to please me. It’s what gives him a sense of purpose inside of our relationship. I’ve also come to learn that seeing me happy makes him feel good, but he also likes knowing that he had something to do with the smile on my face!

 12. Not everything that pops into my head needs to pop out of my mouth: I’m a well-educated and many times strongly opinionated woman. For many years, I thought that “good communication” meant saying everything I thought to my husband. Too many times I ignored or didn’t even consider the impact that those words were having on him, his sense of self, or the way he thought I saw him. My words caused a lot of damage in the beginning years of our marriage. Now, I choose my words and how I express them wisely. It’s not that I weigh and measure my words, or that I’m walking on eggshells. Instead, I choose to speak words that let him know how I feel and what I want without complaining. I choose words that lift him up, rather than tear him down. I choose words that bring love and intimacy into our relationship, rather than destroy or strip it away. My thoughts and words are powerful and create my reality, so I choose to create a reality that is completely overflowing with love!

13.  I get to choose how to see things: Perspective is everything. I can choose to see the fact that the kids had popcorn and pizza for lunch as evidence that my husband is unable to care for them properly, or I can see them as his way of having a fun day with them so that I could go get my hair done in peace! I can choose to see the fact that he got me a gift that I wouldn’t have necessarily gotten for myself as him being selfish or not caring about or really knowing me, or I can see it as him having seen something that reminded me of him when I wasn’t there! I can see the fact that he wants to stay home and cuddle in front of the TV as him being boring, or I can see it as evidence that there is nowhere else he’d rather be than at home with me. I’ve grown to learn that if I’m going to tell myself something about me, him, and our relationship, I can choose to tell myself things that upset, frustrate, or sadden me, or I can choose to say things that help me feel happy, peaceful and grateful. These days, I choose love, peace and gratitude above all!

14.  Keeping the love alive is a daily opportunity: Having a great relationship doesn’t “just happen.” Fourteen years of being happily married and feeling just as in love as we were in the beginning (if not more) doesn’t just happen, either. Keeping the love, fun, and passion alive means making choices every day that lead to nurturing and increasing them! Doing and saying things that demonstrate your love; laughing and playing together (both with and without the kids); and ensuring that sexual intimacy is fulfilling, satisfying, and enjoyable are all part of the daily opportunities we can create to keep our romance alive. So, kiss and hug him every day, flirt with him every day, and let him know that you love him every single day!

Yes, making love last takes work, but it doesn’t have to be “hard work.” Instead, it can be fulfilling, exciting and fun!

And, isn’t that what we dream of as we are promising to share our lives and our undying love for one another at the altar on our wedding day?

 

For more information on how to keep the love, romance, passion alive in your relationship, be sure to get our special report, Relationship FUN-damentals: How to Keep Your Relationship Exciting, Fulfilling and FUN!

 

Comments? Questions? Let us know below! We love hearing from you!

 

 

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Secrets to Making Love Last

by Gladys Diaz

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Ric and I just celebrated our 14th Wedding Anniversary!

Making it to 14 years of marriage is a pretty big deal. Making it there still feeling happy, in love, and like we are the two most blessed people in the world – well, that’s even more impressive!

I thought I’d make a list of 14 of the most important things I’ve learned over the past 14 years. There are a lot more, but these are some of my favorites, and the ones I believe have made the biggest difference in our relationship!

Many of these lessons were learned the hard way – through trial and error, mistakes, and some heartache.  I hope you’ll be able to learn from my lessons and that they’ll lead you to experiencing as much, if not even more love than I am feeling today!

Here are the first 7 Secrets to Making Love Last:

  1. Love is a choice: I’ve come to realize that love is not something that just happens. It is not a matter of luck. It’s a matter of choice. Each and every day, I can choose to love my husband and make today the day I live my wedding vows full-out! And, guess what the great part about this is? It’s that every day, my husband chooses to love me, too!
  1. Forgiveness is a gift: Unfortunately, for many years I believed that forgiveness was something that needed to be earned. That, somehow, the other person had to do something to prove that he was worthy of my forgiveness. Thankfully, I’ve grown to learn that forgiveness is a gift that is granted. No matter what the other person does to try to apologize, make up for, or rectify what they did, in the end, I either choose to grant him forgiveness, or I don’t. It’s a gift I choose to give freely.
  1. Men spell “love” R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Respect is important for a woman, too, but we tend to feel respected when we feel that he makes us a priority, cherishes us, and shows us with both actions and word how he feels. For a man, few things are more important than feeling respected, admired, and appreciated by the woman he loves. If he feels respect coming from her, he’s inspired to want to treat her with love, tenderness, and affection.
  1. Gratitude brings more of what you want: Saying “Thank you” in a relationship is so much more than simply being polite. Letting him know that you not only noticed what he did – even if it’s simply recognizing his efforts – and then letting him know how much you appreciate inspires a man to want to do more for you. Inside of his need to provide for, protect, and please you, your gratitude makes him feel like he’s fulfilling his purpose in life (See #11).
  1. It’s more important to be happy than to be right: Arguments will happen, even the best of relationships. It’s insane to believe that two completely different human beings will see eye-to-eye 100% of the time. During those times when you’re not in agreement, just ask yourself what I ask myself: “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy.” Sometimes, I’ll admit it, I want to be right. But even then, I choose to express myself respectfully (See #3). Most times, however, I know that my need to be “right’ comes from my ego, not my love. So, unless it’s something that goes against my values, or something I feel would put me in emotional or physical danger, I simply choose to let it go and allow love and intimacy, rather than righteousness, to be what reigns in our home!
  1. He doesn’t want to sleep with his teacher or his mother: For so many years, I saw it as my role to be my husband’s instructor on how to become a better man, decision-maker, employee, and father. While my intentions were always to encourage him, I didn’t realize just how disrespectful and condescending I was being each time I tried to teach, correct, or improve him in any way. I’ve grown to learn that true love is unconditional, and that if I say I love my husband unconditionally, that means I love him just the way he is and just the way he’s not. I’ve also learned that the more respectful, appreciative, and forgiving I am (See #s 1-4), the more inspired he is to become the man he wants to be!
  1. Being vulnerable is a sign of strength, not weakness: For so many years I was in “survival mode,” just trying to get through this life. Inside of that view of myself and the world, I felt like I had to take care of myself, do things myself, and give off the impression that I had it all — meaning everything in and outside of my control – handled myself. When I started practicing being more vulnerable – asking for help, sharing my heart, allowing my husband to see all of who I really am (warts and all) – I learned just how much courage is involved in being vulnerable and trusting him to take care of me and my heart.

Like I said, I’ve learned so many lessons over the years, and I’ll be sharing 7 more in the next post, so make sure you’ve subscribed to our list so that you can receive them in your Inbox!

 

Questions?  Comments?  Let us know below!  We love hearing from you!

 

 

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