I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to write this post, and I decided that, since it’s been on my mind so much, I need to.
Last Friday I attended the funeral of one of my very first clients. She was a young, vibrant woman who was into health and fitness, and left behind two beautiful teenage sons, and a loving husband.
When I first heard that she had passed away, I couldn’t believe it. She had done everything in her power to fight the cancer that was attacking her body, but never her spirit. She had thousands of people praying for and encouraging her. She was so loved that in just two days, her friends and family raised almost all of the $30,000 that was going to go toward helping pay for her to participate in a completely natural and holistic healing program.
Unfortunately, she passed away the day she was supposed to travel to the center to begin her treatment.
As I walked through a store the following day, I found myself hurrying to pay and get to my car because I knew I was about to break down in front of everyone. I just kept thinking about her and the time we spent working together when she attended one of my courses. I thought about how hopeless she felt at the beginning of the course. I remembered her sighing heavily and saying, “I don’t even know if there is hope for us” (referring to her and her husband’s marriage).
She wasn’t the “easiest” client. Almost every suggestion I made was met with resistance and a reason why it wouldn’t work for her and her husband. There were times when she felt hopeless, where she didn’t feel like doing the exercises I’d assign between sessions, and where I wondered if she would come around. I worked with her with loving compassion, because I know how scary it can be to get your hopes up when you wonder if things will ever really change.
Over the past five years we didn’t keep in touch very often, except for a few phone calls and commenting on and liking one another another’s Facebook posts. I did, however, always smile when she would post a picture of her and her husband. I’d observe their smiles, their eyes, and their body language. I could tell they were happy together, and it made me smile, too!
It was during that walk from the store to my car that it hit me that, while I hadn’t been able to do anything to stop the cancer from taking her life, because of the work we did together, she and her husband got to experience five more years together – fivehappyyears together. I smiled through my tears as I realized that those five years may not have been possible, and that, instead of dying inside of a sad or broken marriage, she had left this world knowing that she had loved and been loved by her husband.
His eulogy of her was beautiful. He spoke of his wife, lover, and friend. He challenged us to live our lives as she did, trying to make this world a better place. Having lost my first husband, I couldn’t help feeling my heart break for him as I thought of painful days to come as he works through his grief and the reality of her not being here any longer begins to set in.
But I also thanked God that I had the opportunity to make a difference for him and his wife. That, in some small way, I was able to help them experience and share their love for just a little bit longer.
As I sat by the ocean after the funeral, thanking God for my husband and kids and the gift that it is to be alive and love and be loved by them, I thought about what her husband said about living our lives to make a difference in this world. I thought about all of the women I’ve worked with and who I’ve been able to make a difference for, and said a prayer of thanks for them. I thought about all of the women out there who haven’t had the courage to reach out for help as she did, and I prayed they’d find the strength to do so. And I thought about the difference there is still to make!
I don’t know where you are right now in your love life. I don’t know if you’ve begun to give up hope on whether you’ll ever be able to have the type of loving relationship you dream of and your heart desires. I don’t know what it’s going to take for you to gather the courage to reach out for support so that youcan begin to make that dream a reality.
What I do know is that tomorrow is not promised and that continuing to wait, expecting for things to change on their own, isn’t going to have you create and experience the love and happiness you truly want.
So, just as I did that day by the ocean, I’m saying a prayer for you today and hope it moves you to take one step in the direction of your dreams.
And, as for my former client, I know that wherever you are, you are radiating love, beauty and joy. Thank you for allowing me to make a small difference in your life. I love and will miss you! Rest in peace and know that you are loved!
I sent this message to my community today and was overwhelmed by the emails that came in response — women sharing what opened up for them as they read the message.
What about you? Has anything begun to open up for you? If so, please share it with us in the comments below. We love hearing from you!
P.S.If you’re moved to talk and take that first step, you can alwaysreach outand set up a time to talk with me so that I can help you get started on making your dreams come true.
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.”
“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!”
Comments? Questions? Let us know below! We love hearing from you!
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!
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!
I’ll be responding to questions and comments on that page, so make sure you leave me a comment!
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 formy 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?
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