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mindful

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Long, hard look

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You may or may not know of my current situation, but I am almost a year into my marital separation. It's amicable, but that doesn't make things easy. We just went to court for the final hearing, and now we wait for the decree in the mail.

I sit here baffled that our almost 15 year relationship is ending. Throughout this divorce journey, I have had to face more of my demons than ever before. Facing those demons isn’t easy, but it has always been worth it.

After the hearing, my ex and I went to eat and discussed the ups and downs of the marriage, sharing some more pain from the past and hope for the future. We both had moments of emotion, but mostly there was an air of uncertainty as we awkwardly navigated our budding new normal.

It was extremely difficult to sit across the table from him as he shared his new life. A life without me. A life where my opinion doesn’t count, or at least doesn’t have to count. A life where I let go and let him be him in a way I was never capable during our marriage.

We were 22 and 23 when we married and we were still those ages when we had Kiddo who is now fourteen. We barely knew ourselves and knew each other even less.

Life without each other is a brief moment compared to life with each other. I have more years of memory in a family with my ex than I have years of conscious memories in my family life growing up. Whether we were best for each other or not, that’s a lot of time to spend with someone.

As I drove to pick up my son to spend the night with me, I thought about the conversations between my ex and me over the last year. I thought about the times in my marriage I dug in deep to be everything to everyone and the times I skated. I am and always have been imperfect and have always struggled with my imperfection.

Fortunately, during this twenty-five minute ride, I experienced a new tape being played in my head. Not one of accepting imperfection, rather one of “I gave it my all, damn it!”

The pain I had experienced as my ex told me of the things he was now doing which I begged him to do for years, began to turn to strength. I suddenly felt empowered. I began saying aloud, “I was worth it. I AM worth it.” 

I know it sounds unlikely, but the change felt instant. Suddenly I felt an emotional healing that physically lifted my posture, strengthen my spirit, and softened my heart. In the blink of an eye driving north on the 163, my usual self-talk tapes of defeat, failure and guilt turned to strength, power, and love...for me.

I didn’t know what to do with the feelings or how to process the information that changed so suddenly, so I decided to drive to work to do a couple of things to gather my thoughts. As the thoughts gathered, I realized the only way for me to solidify this tape change was to share this with my ex.

I drove to pick up my son, and when I arrived, I asked him to go to the car so I could talk to Dad. When my son was out of ear shot, I told my ex that I had to share something important for my own sense of closure. I said, “I hurt because you wouldn’t do the things I was asking for and now that I am gone, you are. I am happy for you, but I hurt because I am worth it. I am worth the work and I always was. I am worth it, and I need you to know that. Its not all your fault. I didn’t know I was worth it, so I didn’t ask for it. But I am and was worth it.”

He apologized, I cried, we hugged, and I left. No grandeur.

When I got in the car to take my son and his friend home, we chatted and laughed a bit. Nothing like two teenage boys to provide some comic relief from the heaviness of the day. I am and will forever be grateful my ex and I had that moment together, and I am grateful it was brief. 

Since we have been back home, I have been trying to write this blog. I want to write it because it is a hugely defining moment in my life that I believe needs to be shared, but I also want to be careful not to vilify my ex or expose the intimacies of our situation.

Since writing this blog (and I have been doing it for at least two hours), I realized something more important than finally believing I am worth it…In case that wasn’t enough…

I realized that I have waited my whole life for someone to show me I am worth it, but I have never tried to treat myself with that same respect. I have constantly measured my worth and value by the yard stick others use for my life. That's not how I want to live any longer. 

This divorce has taught me so much about me. The more I am willing to take long hard looks in the mirror, the more I can confront. The more I confront, the more beauty and depth I see in the woman before me. I’m elated and terrified that this is just the beginning…

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The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

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The #1 Reason You’re Unsuccessful & How to Change It

Success comes in all forms. Only an individual can define success for him or herself, but somewhere along the way, our American culture decided to streamline what success is for all of us. What were we all told when we were young? “Get good grades so you can go to college, so you can get a good job, find a good spouse, buy a nice house and car, have 2.5 kids, own a dog, and be happy.”

Although we may have been the few blessed with good parents who saw the world a little more well rounded, the truth is that the rest of the world’s message held more weight. I never knew I had an option to do anything but go to college after high school until I was recruited by the Marine Corps for my music skills. Wait! What? I can be a US Marine AND play music! WHAT?! I’m sure my mom told me that I had other options of what I could do after high school, but they never felt like options because the information never even stuck in my brain…PEOPLE! The only reason I became a US Marine was my mother convincing me that I could do all the things she knew I wanted to do and didn’t have to go to school right away.

I had turmoil in my decision making process, but not for long. I am a “balls to wall” decision making person at my core, so I don’t sit on decisions too long. (Obviously, I was destined for the Corps.)

My point remains the same. How do we define success? Well “we” collectively cannot determine success for any one person. We have a unique journey to fulfill and there are no duplicates in the world.

So why have we bought into this one picture of how life is supposed to work? Of how success should be measured?

The reason you’re unsuccessful in life pursuits is most likely because you’re trying to pursue some fake life of success.

Who said you have to go to college to be successful? I don’t think anyone is doubting the success of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Sophia Amoruso, David Neeleman, Paul Allen, and Larry Ellison.

Who said you had to get married to be successful? There are many unsuccessful married and unmarried folk.

Who said the big house with the white picket fence is what makes you happy? I have an uncle who can buy a dream home in any city in the country and he chooses to rent a small 3-bedroom house because he wants to move when he’s ready to move, and he has no need for extra space to fill with extra stuff. He’s a guy who loves experiences, not things.

Who said….OK. I think you get my point, and if not….The #1 reason you are unsuccessful is because you are allowing society to define success. Only you can define your own success.

You will never be successful trying to live someone else’s version of success.

And to that point: How many people consciously want that life for you? If you ask most of your friends and family, they will probably say, I just want you to be happy. Well good news! It’s easy to please them! Just choose to be happy, and if you find that difficult, it’s probably because you’re attempting to live someone else’s life.

So today, instead of trying to choose happiness in a life that isn’t meant for you, choose you. Choose what you want out of life. Maybe that means you choose to go back to school so you can eventually leave a job only your parents wanted for you. Or maybe you choose to leave school to experience the world the way you always wanted to experience it.

If you don’t know who you are at your core, you’re not going to be able to choose wisely. And all of the personality assessments in the world won’t be able to decide for you. They couldn’t possibly supply enough questions to determine the infinite possibilities of who you could be.

The good news? You can work to know yourself better and define your own version of success. Success that only you can define. In order to get to know yourself, you have to be purposeful and intentional about understanding your ins and outs. And here are a couple of activities that can help you with that.

Question it. Even if you think you know how you define success, there may be more you haven’t figured out. So spend a little time asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what makes you happy?
  • And what makes you sad?
  • Do you have a fire that feels like an inferno every time you hear of or see a particular situation?
  •  When do you feel energized, like you’re on top of the world?
  • When do you feel completely drained?
  • Do you know any things at which you seem especially gifted? You’re a natural _________
  • Can you describe yourself in 4 words?

Another great way to know how you would define success is to write your own eulogy. I did this exercise once with my business coach, and L-O-V-E-D it! You know why? Because my life isn’t over yet! I can make all of those things real – until the day I die, I have that chance.

What is it you want people to say about you when you’re gone? If you can write that down, you’re on your way to redefining your own success and setting your path on the right trajectory. Don’t be hard on yourself, nothing is written in stone…yet. Until the day we're buried 6 feet under, we still have a chance to make our dreams a reality.

And let’s be honest. I’m sitting here writing this as a 36-year-old woman, a mother of a 13-year-old, running a business, and on the verge of some big changes in my life – I expect my eulogy and my definition of success to change and grow as I change and grow. Don’t be so married to this picture of success that you aren’t allowed to change your mind. You always have that right, so be kind and forgiving to yourself.

If this is something you're interested in discovering more about, but you're not sure how to proceed, you may consider signing up for a complimentary 30 minute health and wellness coaching consultation. Our coach will help you pin point some of the areas that you may be holding yourself back from being your authentic self. We'd love to walk with you on your journey, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Visit our homepage, fill out the form, and our health coach will contact you to set an appointment time. 

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Celebrate! Good Times! Come on! It's a celebration!

What was the last accomplishment you celebrated? I ask because I know, that in my own life, I have a hard time celebrating small accomplishments.

As I continue to bring awareness to my own thoughts and habits, I have taken notice of how unwilling I am to be content. I am regularly unkind and unforgiving to myself because I feel if I give an inch to contentment, I will become lazy and unmotivated forever. Why is that? Why do I believe feeling content or proud of a small accomplishment is somehow succumbing to the idea that I am settling for less than my best?

 

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