The Choices We Make

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My year of reinvention continues, how about you? 

Recently, I met with a woman who helped me with a few things in my own subconscious beliefs. She told me that my relationships would be affected. People coming; people going.

It’s been wild to watch!

Before I met with her, I was already making different choices in my relationships. This just accelerated things. As I continued to magnetize individuals sharing a similar perspective of reality, while accepting myself (finally) and understanding, we’re all f*cked up…other people disappeared!

I decided to choose love even while letting go.

It’s been rough. 

I’ve lost a relationship that was of value to me. A lot of love, amazing memories, and at one point we were kindred spirits, but alas, too many misunderstandings, judgment and change had taken place. It’s a funky place to be, when you can see the deeper picture of how it took two to get there. We either go thru thick n’ thin communicating honestly or crap expands (including others) pushing us apart.On the other hand many who disappeared, were not ‘authentic’ and frankly we never were really friends. As I felt a sense of relief… I asked myself, how did I get here.

Junior high school?

Funny, right?

We all have our jr. high story, don’t we?

Not only were parts of it happening again, BUT my issue of belonging and how I go about valuing myself really started back then!

At the time, I was cast out of my group without any interest in my truth–as only a 13 year old could be a victim, but who knows this at 13?

From that point forth, I felt inadequate in most relationships, waiting for the other shoe to drop–to be found out and told I sucked. I left a lot of relationships up to the other person to choose me; to tell me I was okay or not. I never really felt worthy; I’d always feel something was wrong with me and thank God they’re willing to overlook it!

It wasn’t til I started choosing me, accepting me (warts and all), being kinder, gentler and happier with me LOVING MYSELF….in other words taking off my mask and being who I really am, that something shifted profoundly.

It’s been hard at times, but I had no choice…I had to choose me. (If I tried to suck it up and fit my square peg self into a round hole–I’d experience a weird anxiety–I couldn’t pretend) I took responsibility where I saw my part, but stopped taking it for how others perceived me.

This was the most AMAZING discovery…..I finally realized I value myself not based on the opinions or assumptions of others, NOPE…I value me, based on me.

And it leads me to how choosing OURSELVES (not as victims), but in loving what is….we can choose the others in our lives with love too.

Someone recently sent me Choose Her Everyday or Leave Her…wanting me to talk about it on my radio show. In a perfect world it’s great to put the onus of responsibility on one person. We can all be destructive, but you have to catch yourself and at least know why….so if you have relationships, whether intimate or not….who (or what) do you choose?

From the article:

I was too focused on the anger, insecurities, demands, and other aspects of her strong personality that grated on me. The more I focused on her worst, the more I saw of it, and the more I mirrored it back to her by offering my own worst behavior.

In any relationship, we do this when we want to victimize ourselves and hold someone else responsible–to blame. The focus for this man was not on himself, it was on his partner and it was only the negative aspects.

By focusing on what you cannot control (another person), and ignoring what is going on within yourself–you remain unfulfilled–wanting–needing–and usually angry.

My personal journey is to remain connected, choosing myself, so I can be authentic and love others from that place, whether they are in my life or not.

Why?

Because it feels good! Isn’t that the point of life….to feel good?

What about you? Where will you focus?

Would you like another round?

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This has been a year of reinvention for me, how about you?

I notice it in major ways (especially when loss is associated with it) and in smaller ways, where I come up against my old people pleasing skills.
 
For instance, I went on a hike this weekend (like I do most weekends) with my daughter out in Santa Monica.
Afterwards, we wanted to have a glass of wine (or in my case a margarita) and food. We found a restaurant on PCH. We placed our order much to the chagrin of our waitress, who gave us the impression, she’d rather be anywhere, but here. She brought my margarita and the wine for my daughter. Near the end of our meal, she asked the BIG question…

“Would you like another round?”

My daughter spoke up saying “yes, I would like another one.” I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want another drink and so, it became a conversation between the two of them. I was surprised when she brought us both a drink. I looked at my daughter and said, “I didn’t tell the waitress I wanted this, you said you wanted another one when she asked, but I said nothing.” My daughter thought for a moment and said, “I think when I said I wanted another one, she assumed that we both did, since you said nothing.”
Now….this could be no big deal, right? But the truth was I really didn’t want another margarita, then I started thinking of all the reasons that I was now stuck with a $14.00 drink that I didn’t want. “I shoulda spoke up…..UGH, this waitress seems annoyed with serving us…she walks by our table and doesn’t ask us if we need anything or even if we wanted to order in the first place, UGH…..I am now going to have to drink something that I don’t want or waste the money….wait a minute, do I have to just swallow it?”
The inner conversation was ridiculous to say the least. I sat in the booth thinking about how uncomfortable it was going to be, because I had decided I wasn’t gonna say okay to something I didn’t want…nor did I want to keep the peace with a person, I didn’t even know!
Do you ever do that? Tell a story to yourself about all the reasons you shouldn’t speak up or say what is true for you, so that you don’t upset another person?
I’d like to say I’ve never done it or still do it! But, alas…here I was with the waitress who couldn’t smile and seemed irritated with every word spoken to her unless she asked.
I motioned for her to come over and told her, “I wasn’t going to say anything, because I felt bad (yup) and then I realized it was a stupid reason for drinking something that I didn’t want. I didn’t order this and I do not want it.”
Of course, as predicted…..she argued and tried to tell me I nodded my head ‘yes’ and agreed when she asked the BIG question. I wasn’t intimidated, nor was I up for someone ‘arguing’ with me as a tool for persuasion.

So…I disappointed her, I made it messy….I didn’t swallow it and I felt better, even though it was fairly intense.

My daughter actually agreed with me (she’s almost 24), usually ‘mom’ doing anything like this is totally embarrassing…. but this time, she saw how sometimes it’s best to please yourself, because you’re not gonna win a new friend or make someone like you, who doesn’t have the least bit interest in bridging that gap.
But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well. You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself “~ Ricky Nelson “Garden Party” lyric

 

No apologies; value yourself.

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We demand apologies in our society.

Why do people want an apology when someone clearly is not sorry and doesn’t want to give it?

Does it have some meaning to hear meaningless words?

As a society do we suffer from over-politeness—expected to apologize when we don’t feel regret for our words or actions, so should we do it anyway? We can insert any words besides I am sorry (car door, lollipop, vase, etc) into an apology, when we’re being forced.

I’ve a better idea….how about sticking to being authentic…it has significance and ‘value.’

In our desire to rip an apology from the reluctant hands of the offender, it is to ensure NOTHING changes. NOTHING.

People do NOT like change, especially when it’s associated with loss. (most change means loss of something)

To gain value in yourself, you need to see yourself and others clearly.

If someone hurts you or does something untenable, the first impulse might be to put it all back together again…so nothing changes.

Denial can be alright for a minute or two, but in reality you need to look at what has transpired.

How about apologizing when you’ve done nothing, but just want things to stay the same–hoping it will calm the other person down or he or she won’t blame you for their crappy behavior? Ever experienced this phenomenon?

Elevating yourself while NOT trying to convince someone else of anything you think you deserve is the key.

Let me be clear, by elevating, I mean to take yourself out of the desire to react in an old way; to gain clarity—by rising above it (to see clearly) and looking at the situation as the observer.

When you react to a situation as a victim, it is quite different than saying “I am hurt by this situation” and taking a step back.

Taking a step back to evaluate or let the dust settle, so you can clearly decide what is best for YOU…not the other person(s) is going to lead you in the direction of self-care and empowerment.

Fulfillment equals value.

Value inside means you’re not demanding payment. Instead of demanding a meaningless apology by threatening someone or falling deeper into victimhood, the movement is to care for your own feelings.

Screw meaningless apologies, they change nothing. It’s time to look at reality, the truth and make changes for your own fulfillment.

Some of you may not want to give up on the hope and dreams you have invested in the relationship or situation (personally or professionally) and so action to care for yourself is the last thing you will do.

Valuing yourself is hard to do with other people actively living in your mind. The fear of loss is more important than self-love, until it’s not.

I remember looking for books or other arguments, which supported how I felt, because no one around me understood what was going on with me…and it made me question my value. I needed something outside of me to validate that my feelings are okay.

Stepping out of the role you’ve inhabited–takes an honest appraisal, understanding the way you’ve acted isn’t your TRUE position; it was to get validation. True value cannot be felt through validation from others.

So, what is the bottom line? Give up apologizing, unless you really mean it for an action or word, which you FEEL was a mistake.

Stop waiting for the apologies from the rest of the world, they make no difference to your ultimate value. And recognize that your value is an inside job.

 

40ish Reasons Why You’re Stuck and How To Get Unstuck!

The items listed here alone or together, do create havoc in our ability to move forward.

Learn all the deeper reasons why you MIGHT be stuck….

And of course….. how to get out!

1. You were raised with the rules, structures and models of others…you have no clue as to how to live by your own rules. How do you stop? Break those rules.

2. You’re afraid. Deal with it, as Suzanne Jeffers said, “Feel the fear and do it anyways.”

3. You enjoy growing old, bitter and miserable, because you keep saying NO, when deep inside, you mean YES or vice versa. Start saying what YOU actually feel.

4. You text when you should call. Call! Better yet, have a face to face conversation.

5. The absolute wrong things are important to you. You’re more worried about what someone else will say or do and you hold back–BECAUSE IT’S MORE IMPORTANT than what you want, or feel. It’s time to re-evaluate this one precious life you currently embody.

6. You’re a failure. Congrats! You’re part of the human race, get over it and keep on truckin’. Failure is subjective–learn–grow–keep moving.

7. You’re a loser. So what? And yesterday’s winner will be tomorrow’s loser and so on, read a history book, this isn’t permanent, so don’t treat it like it is!

8. You need validation from an asshole. Someone important in your early life didn’t give you the love you needed, and you’re still looking for a sign that you’re okay…from someone who doesn’t want to give it to you. Learn to validate yourself.

9. You’re afraid to be alone. Well, isn’t it fairly lonely being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t get you, like you or want to share a bed with you? Start now. Today. Begin liking your own company, get clear on why you think there’s no one else and deal with your worth…grow your confidence.

10. You think you have to be the hare. People carry the delusion that change needs to be abrupt, like a sword cutting everything down at once, so they’re afraid to make a move. Be the turtle (he’s still moving).

11.Treating life like a destination. It’s not. Ever.  Til we’re not alive anymore. Everything changes around us, why do we as humans think we’re any different? We’re not. Remind yourself it’s a journey and just because this sounded good yesterday, and it feels like crap today….doesn’t mean you should stay where you don’t want to be.

12. You’ve stunted your own growth. Funny thing with the fear of outgrowing those around us, it can keep us stunted for our entire lives. What is the quality of those relationships? Are you fulfilled? Happy? Do you feel trapped? It’s time to allow yourself to be honest, with yourself and others, about what you want and where you’d like to head (you can be the turtle).

13.  You can’t let go. It was so good at one time–at least the 1st 24 hours and you want to recapture it. Buy a dog or a cat, release one little finger at a time by going through the pain of attachment, it’s not about them…it’s about you…and you have the cure; it’s time to feel your real feelings.

14. You’re a martyr. Self-sacrifice is a debt that will never be fully repaid. No one else but you cares and those who you want to be impressed with your pinning yourself to a cross aren’t, they actually despise you for it…or even worse have indifference toward you. STOP. Re-evaluate the goal. Are you getting what you want by being self-less? Become selfish (ie. not self-absorbed–which martyrs are–except for those who actually did it for the greater good)

15. You’re a victim. You need to blame everything outside of you for being stuck. Take responsibility for yourself and your choices.

16. You make bad choices on purpose. See #15. You don’t believe you deserve better, so you make choices, which keep you stuck. It’s an excuse.  Become aware of every decision you make, does it induce pain or pleasure?

17. You love to complain. It’s a cycle. You grew up with it…it’s everywhere, you’re just doing what everyone else does. This is non-action, no sympathy here. Decide to change your position in the situation you complain about, understand WHY you’ve preferred being stuck. It’s a very old answer.

18. Being a doormat works for you. This is a benefit, otherwise no one would do it. Get to know the benefit and find why that benefit works for you (are you afraid of loss?)…..then replace it with actual self-fulfillment, by pleasing yourself.

19. You watch reality TV. Think I am kidding? What do we avoid by watching someone else’s drama? Demeaning others makes us feel good? Turn off the TV (at least the yelling, fighting and over the top drama) and join your life–by being PRESENT.

20. You don’t trust yourself. When you don’t trust you–you don’t trust others. Not trusting means #16. Not trusting means you believe you can’t handle disappointment. Develop emotional resilience; it’ll make you trust the only person you should: YOURSELF.

21. Perfect picture syndrome. The belief that has never, ever, ever been the REAL picture of your relationship, job or life is somehow going to be destroyed if you get unstuck from the hellfire you live in daily. Waiting for that picture to come thru is waiting for the 12th of never. Start seeing reality as it is, not as you want it to be and accept it….as it is.

22. Your patterns rule you. Self-awareness is nil. You’ve no idea why your stuck in the same dance. Wake up. Really wake up! Pay attention to what triggers you to keep repeating history, daily.

23. You are dishonest. You lie to yourself and to the people who you could set free with the truth, or dramatically change things with, because you’re afraid of what will happen, so nothing changes. Get honest–dig deep, get to know what is your truth and then state it…..out loud.

24. You’re a control freak. You’d rather keep misery as company, because you know it and so you show up the same way all the time, so the balance of power doesn’t tip. Until it does. LET GO. You’re stuck in a merry-go-round that goes nowhere. You’re control is an illusion and it scares the shit out of you to think of showing up how YOU really want to, because you can’t control what would happen.

25. Scarcity. There’s not enough. Bullshit. Get clear on why you think there’s so little and shift to a more abundant thinking, slowly (like the turtle), placing focus there rather than on a void.

26. You’ve been hurt, disappointed, screwed over and so on. People can be immobilized for years, out of fear of supposed bad things happening again. Life is an experience, why would you block an experience and keep living in the SAME daily soap opera in your mind of what possibly could happen?

27. Risk is a four letter word. So is FUCK, both are action words, when you add an ‘ing’….you have verbs. If your inner critic, judge and jury are keeping you inert, because of whatever happened in the past, you’re a prisoner of your own thoughts. Time to have a Q&A with all those people in your head, once you get some clear answers…its four letter word time!!!

28. You have no meaningful standards for your life. What do you want your life to FEEL like? What are you doing to achieve it? How do others treat you? If you have “I don’t know” as your answer to those questions….it’s time for you to make some boundaries. The only way to have a boundary is to live your boundaries–be them–don’t compromise, because when you’re treated poorly, you’re not living in a meaningful way.

29. Shame. Shame. Shame. It’s probably the most toxic of all feelings to our growth, love, happiness and pleasure in our lives. We shut up, shut down, run away and hide when we feel shame. It’s someone (real or not) telling us we’re worthless, stupid, bad, etc…and we believe it on some level. Stand up to shame, show it who you are (even the part of you that was made to feel shame) and accept that you’re imperfect, but still damn cuddly and lovable…and your opinion matters most…to yourself!

30. You absolutely refuse to accept yourself. You’re trying to live up to some expectation (real or imagined) that keeps you stuck right where you are. Be disappointing, throw everything up in the air and rearrange it where you want when it lands.  Accept all the cute little dark things in your closet, we all got em’ and relax a bit on who you think you should be…and be who you are.

31. Your dreams don’t come true. Yes they do, just believe in them and do things that align with those dreams. (instead of the opposite)

32. There’s no love. When you’re stuck, where’s the love? There might be a life jacket or something to hold onto, but REAL LOVE has to be watered regularly and it grows. Stuck doesn’t equal growth. Start deserving love today–do loving things for yourself NOW.

33. You’re waiting to be saved (rescued). Admit it, if it’s true and then save yourself.

34. You’re numb, distracted or convinced that you can cobble the pieces of your life together. Get un-numb, realize it is un-fun….and ask yourself the tougher questions…if today was your last day on earth is this how you’d want to live?

35. Emotional intimacy= vulnerability; no thank you! Being in a stalemate keeps others at a distance, you find excuses to not get closer or make any movement, because you could be destroyed in the process. Protection is also an illusion, so try stripping naked and being real, you’ll feel better, no matter what happens.

36. Committing to real happiness, love or a healthy relationship feels overwhelming. There you stay–stuck–moving forth–moving backwards, rinse, repeat. Like a yoyo, you never make progress, because every time you do–you run like your foot is on fire, no matter how great the opportunity! Relax. Really relax. Breathe….allow yourself to be in the moment, understand the urge to bolt is about yesterday, not today.

37. Refusing help. First you gotta wanna help yourself to get unstuck and second, you want to enlist someone who can help you see what you might be missing. Admit you want a life, then get a flashlight (preferably one being held where you can see what isn’t clear) and start to re-arrange/organize that closet.

38. You’re stuck in the past. See number 13. If you think your glory days are behind you–then you’re immobilized to create glorious days in the present. Get grounded here and start loving what is….then you will create more of it….and voila! Your glory days are now!

If you need some help getting unstuck, please feel free to give me a ring, 818.279.1735 or an email Tracy AT tracy crossley.com. I’d be happy to help you create the present and future you’ve always wanted.

The Breadcrumb Relationship

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Have you ever taken breadcrumbs and tried to make a piece of bread?

I have, perhaps not literally, but those little pieces of bread would just crumble in my fingers while gluing them together, making it messy, sticky, and giving me crouton hands.

I, literally spent years trying to put breadcrumbs together everywhere in my life, give me a little and I would make it seem bigger, better and more amazing than it really was…at least in my mind.

You see, I didn’t know any better….I thought everyone did it, especially in relationships. Weren’t they supposed to be a struggle? Wasn’t it where one partner gave more than the other? Sort of a victim/martyr situation?

And let me also throw in the low self-esteem I had as an extra set of luggage since childhood. No one, not a single person could make a difference in how I saw myself and therefore, because I also had a blind eye toward me; I had breadcrumb everything!

Why do some allow themselves to accept so little and make it seem as though it’s fulfilling? You may do this by saying:

  • I don’t need so much, why would I want to see him or her more than once a week? I don’t want to be connected at the hip.
  • A long-distance relationship? Sign me up!
  • Married or in a relationship? Sounds like I can have my own life too.
  • Struggle and drama, doesn’t everyone have it? At least I know they care.
  • Tells me he or she has never felt this way before, but has to leave me? I will never get over him or her–they will come back.
  • I hear what he or she says, it sounds like a promising future? It doesn’t matter that there’s no action, just listen to those magical words.

And so on.

Anything sound familiar?

If so, welcome to the breadcrumb relationship! You’re on board this sinking ship, while telling yourself this is enough, it’s okay….and the fact that you’re wearing a life-vest is no big deal.

It’s painful, your insides resemble spaghetti–anxiety, stress, over-giving, not receiving, fear, and so on, it’s torture! If you share any relationship details and your friends or family cringe or look at you, like they want to save you….then you know you’re in the grips of hell.

Some of you may think this is your person, your soulmate. There are many wonderful things to connect over, but the relationship (if it exists) itself and how it operates, is one big dysfunction!

If your daily mantra, includes painfully talking yourself into staying put, because you can’t let go, or if instead, you cut it off, only to be emotionally tied up in knots over him or her still, you have to look within.

It’s not the other person.

It’s your thoughts and feelings about what you truly deserve based on what you’ve gotten so far!

If you were raised without emotional intimacy from your parents, you will be seeking it and repelling it, until you wake up to yourself.

If you were treated poorly as a child; your self-esteem stomped on by not having your voice heard, criticized with no positive reinforcement, your feelings not accepted, or experienced no support for who you were and your endeavors, then you don’t know your value or worth as an adult, until you treat yourself as someone worthy.

All of us yearn for connection, to belong, it’s physiology. Anything else we tell ourselves is meant to protect us from disappointment and because we don’t believe we can have what we really want; we weren’t created to be alone.

What can you do if you’re in a breadcrumb relationship?

  1. Get honest with yourself.
  2. Re-connect to your emotions, about you. Feel your feelings, don’t make it about anyone else.
  3. Look at how you de-value your own existence, start taking care of yourself.
  4. Set standards for what you want and the boundaries necessary to uphold them.
  5. Understand that numbers 1-4 are about you, this isn’t about what other people do or say, it’s about what you will allow for you.

 

I don’t want to spend time fixing myself.

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Do you?

I cannot imagine a more fruitless journey then to try to fix what isn’t broken. Improvement….to what?

Working my ass off to become an ideal that was created outside of myself?…By someone else?

I state this, because there’s a misconception that we’re all broken and for some of us it can be quite the obsession to fix what we think is fatally wrong.

Here’s the truth…we’re all flawed, screwed-up, messy, emotional (if you’ve compartmentalized your emotions, so you’re numb–then you ain’t living–you’re surviving!) and crazy in some aspect!

We’re human beings…..objectively speaking and subjectively we scrutinize ourselves and others with a microscope, trying to be the best…..to compete…to create an illusion.

This isn’t the key to a happy life.

At all.

It’s a never ending hamster wheel of trying to do something that’s impossible and quite frankly a waste of time…think about it, if you’re about self-improvement (subjective)…what’s the ultimate goal? Perfection?

Take a load off.

I have a better idea.

Just be fucked-up you.

Really.

Now some may disagree and like their hamster wheel, but I tend to go with the individual goal of feeling good, happy, having a lot of love in me and around me, enjoying what I do and making decisions that expand my true self.

I prefer to not be anxious, stressed-out, up in arms over someone else’s bullshit, or what the world is or is not doing, because I simply do not have control. No one does…and if you worry about it, or think becoming an improved version of yourself is the answer to world peace….you’re wrong.

It’s about accepting who and what you are….getting to know what makes you tic (not what society says should make you groove), seeing your flaws and saying, “Okay!”

You were told those darker parts of you were unacceptable at some point in your life. The hardest thing to do is not improve, but to say “okay” to what is imperfect; otherwise pretending those flaws don’t exist creates bigger insecurities.

It’s hard to be yourself and happy. Why?

Because we worry to much about what others may think of us, we have a judge and jury in our head. We worry about abandonment; the loss of people connected to us based on some identity that never really belonged to us.

Our truth is fighting to come out all the time.

We bury it, because of our fears…the unknown, criticism, what if we’re wrong, we fail, we get hurt, we have an experience we allow to prove some ugly belief true about us….we’re alone, we feel taken advantage of and so on.

And guess what? All that shit that you and I allow to rule us, is meaningless. On the last day of your life and mine, we can look at everything we didn’t do, that we wanted deep down inside…all the missed experiences and know that we’re out of time.

That’s it.

If you think improving yourself is the way to happiness, it isn’t…it’s actually how you avoid yourself.

Acceptance is deeper, it opens us up to being unlimited (which is far scarier than self-improvement), to really loving, to moving past our fears and saying ‘fuck it’ it’s only an experience…it moves us to stand for our truth…for our desires…our freedom…to be emotionally intimate, to allow ourselves to go into the deep dark caverns inside of us and come out with a smile!

Don’t waste your human experience trying to be a version of yourself that you think is acceptable to others….just be you. Right now.

  • Speak your truth
  • Bring pleasure in your life daily
  • Make choices that make you happy
  • Challenge yourself to take risks to go where you want emotionally and physically
  • Accept the dark, the light and all in between
  • Value yourself
  • Be kind
  • Get clear on your heart’s desire and make a change
  • Leave anxiety on the floor–don’t paint the future with the past
  • Let go of the illusion of control of a small world
  • Let love in–operate from that place
  • Stop being busy all the time
  • Remove people pleasing, don’t commit, unless you really want to….

This is the work I do with clients. Call it whatever you want, but discovering who you are and living that truth is the most powerful call to live your life!

The Reward Is Shame In Our Relationships?

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In our work hard, get a reward later society, many of us bring that to our relationships too.

Especially, those who were raised by emotionally unavailable people.

We think we have to do so much, to get so little. Waiting for pleasure, even saying no to pleasure; we don’t feel we deserve it. There’s often shame where pleasure could take hold.

“I must do more, be more, have more, succeed more and so on.”

This mantra is mainly subconscious, but sometimes it’s conscious. It’s what directs us in our next step. Do we go about it the hard way, like we always do, so we ensure feeling a degree of shame until we accomplish the ‘ideal’ relationship, or life?

We hear the voices of others in our heads telling us what we deserve based on their perception; it says nothing to what we really desire.

A mountain to climb, a valley to dig ourselves out of, choosing people who will force us (just by the dance they do unconsciously too) into the state of mind we say we don’t want, which in turn affects the choices we make, in what we think limits us, as we wait for the reward of being good. Perfect.

Pointing the finger, accusing the other person, or blaming circumstances keeps us stuck.

Losing ourselves in rules guaranteed for us to not receive, we become the martyr (to give our undeserving selves or shame a label). Martyrdom gives us illusive control in a relationship. It keeps us defeated, and working against our pleasure, rather than embracing it.

We picture the reward dangled in front of us, we chase it, trying to extract pleasure from pain, and it’s never the grand payoff; it lacks fulfillment.

Isn’t fulfillment the key to feeling good? Happy?

The sacrifice of self for any reward outside of us isn’t pleasure… it’s pain, filling us with misdirected anger.

Waiting for pleasure from someone else and not giving to ourselves is a sacrifice; we feel shame, because in our minds, we’re not good enough; as we twist and turn to get what we want, but never do.

We have to believe that we deserve pleasure and give it to ourselves. This is so foreign to some of us, but in essence we’re starving and it’s human to want more.

Giving to other people doesn’t mean they give back. We don’t teach people how to treat us, when our underlying current is “you’re disappointing me, unless you give what I want.”

Teaching people how to treat us is not based on telling them or how we treat them, it’s to give to ourselves first and revel in our own pleasure.

Shame has no place in bringing us what we want for ourselves. Ever. Especially in relationships.

I remember feeling shame when told, that perhaps, when my life or my business or my job or whatever it was at the time, became successful, then I’d be rewarded with what I desired.

Hearing this, I felt not good enough, but at the time….I’d no discernment and believed I was being punished.

I didn’t realize I could do something to change it.

Shame doesn’t need to be a part of how we feel in our relationships (or lack of one). There’s no reward at the end of the journey, it’s being present for the daily journey, allowing pleasure that’s always available.

How do we toss shame out and allow pleasure in and out of our relationships?

1. Recognize every moment that shame threatens to take over, remember: it serves no purpose, except to make you feel invisible or unworthy of what you really want.

2. If your mate criticizes, or uses language meant to demean you…ask yourself what is true about what they’re saying, then accept whatever kernel it is and LOVE it. Discard the rest.

3. Open your eyes, take the focus off what you usually see and bring in your surroundings…smiling is that simple. Good is present at all times, get used to seeing it.

4. Connect with other people who support you, no matter what you don’t possess.

5. Mistakes are inevitable, shame will keep you repeating the same one, because you’ll be too afraid to step out and risk…so remember: when each time it happens, purposely continue to choose what you really want.

6. Relax when you start to feel uptight by actually looking at…is the problem imaginary, or happening right now….and if it is not, learn to release it.