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Posts Tagged “love”

What You Need to Know About Setting An Intention for Love

What You Need to Know About Setting An Intention for Love

L. O. V. E. Four simple letters that spell a very BIG word. Even the most eloquent of us, from John Keats to Carrie Bradshaw, have stumbled over words as big as LOVE. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all set an intention for love in hopes of avoiding these stumbles. Whether we are entering into new relationships, or refreshing old ones, we have a vision of what they will be. We might want to set the course in a new direction, or bring in someone who does not replicate the problematic situations of previous relationships. Whatever the specifics of our intention for love, it is a focus on what is important to us now and what we want to experience in the future.

Intentionality is an important practice that, with understanding and dedication, can bring beneficial change to our lives. For one thing, intentions take work. We do not just wish things into being. We set an intention, and then we identify and practice the things that will support that intention. For another, it is important to practice intention without attachment. Intention without attachment means creating and holding an intention without becoming attached to a specific manifestation of the outcome of that intention. Setting an intention for love is no different.

What you need to know about setting an intention for love is that you will still stumble in love (or out of it) despite your best intentions, and that’s ok.

No amount of intention for love will save us from seeing what we need to see and learning what we need to learn, through relationship. No matter how awkward or painful, some lessons are only learned through experience. And that’s just the way it is. The best thing you can do is learn how to be more loving with yourself and others so that, whether or not your intention for love manifests, you can be in relationship with clarity, understanding, and conviction.

If you are ready to open yourself up to bring love into your life, you should be happy and proud of your assuredness in doing so. Know that Love is a journey, not a destination, and use these reminders to help you set your intention for love.

REMINDERS FOR SETTING POSITIVE INTENTIONS FOR LOVE

Be clear: I can’t tell you how many people I have heard say, “I made a list of exactly what I wanted in a partner and I met him/her! It is uncanny how he/she is everything on the list.” It is true that if you are clear about what you want, you will find it. So, go ahead! Make your list, and make sure it includes everything you can think of that you want.

Open to more: The flip-side to the list exercise is the reality that we don’t know what we don’t know. Your most detailed list of the traits you know you want in a partner won’t include the traits you didn’t think of – which might be wonderful – or the traits you’ve never encountered – which might be challenging. We want to be open to what is in our highest and best interest, regardless of whether we are consciously aware of it or not.

Hold onto the feeling:The best way to stay on track with an intention is to connect with the feeling that is associated with this intention. By connecting and reconnecting with this feeling, we are strengthening our process and intensifying our result. If we become doubtful or hopeless, it is this feeling that will help us stay the course.

Get rid of the baggage: It is hard to get something you do not feel like you deserve. If you have unresolved emotions or negative beliefs that are holding you back from being free and clear to get what you want, I suggest you do what is necessary to get them out of the way. A Breakthrough session with me can be helpful in this regard. However, you want to pay attention to when and where negative emotions and beliefs show up after you set your intention. This will help you open and receive what you truly want.

Remain unattached: To get what you really want you can’t get sidetracked by everything that is almost what you want. This means that when presented with an option that falls short, you acknowledge the shortcoming and let it go, holding your intention for what you truly want. It also means that when something comes your way, you both accept that it might be what you are truly looking for and give it the space and time to be what it truly is.

Learn to receive: We can be as intentional as we can be, but unless we learn to receive, our intention will not come to fruition. Receiving is an art that can be practiced. If you think that you might be challenged in this area, then start small. Start receiving compliments, gifts, and well-wishes as completely as you can. This practice will help you get more of whatever you want in your life, including love.

I help people set positive intentions for their life and achieve them. To learn more, click here to sign up for my newsletter or click here to learn more about my programs.

The Power to Change the World Really Does Belong to You

The Power to Change the World Really Does Belong to You

It’s easy to feel disempowered when reading the news, driving down the street, or simply moving through life.  We read about the recent terrorist attack in Paris. We get stuck in traffic next to a driver who yells profanely at the person who cut him off. We find out that a family member became sick. And we slowly emotionally withdraw from the world around us.

Throughout our lives, we experience so many negative things that it can seem impossible that our actions could make a positive difference or have a lasting impact on this ever-changing world. We ask ourselves: how can one person change the world – how can I stop hatred, face adversity, and create social equity? When we don’t come up with an answer, we resign ourselves to the “fact” of negativity. We stop ourselves from seeking solution.

The hard truth is, though, that apathy is noxious. Giving up in the face of adversity leaves us feeling like a half a person.

Yet – as many brilliant leaders have shown us – you can’t fight your way to a better world. When we use anger and angst to resolve a problem we only create a new problem or compound the old one.

We need different tools to create the change we desire. These tools are love, truth and compassion. They make up a set of holistic and healing approaches to adversity that transforms the world around us. The best part is that these tools have always been with us.

I believe that the entire world benefits when you choose to build your life with these tools. Bringing love, compassion and truth to each situation you face takes practice, though. And this is why I developed my LifeWork Virtual Program – which offers weekly practices that help you cultivate awareness and develop skills that make your life easier and more rewarding.

These practices are instrumental in creating positive change in the world around us. For this week’s article, I’m going to talk about three of these practices today.

Love

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Buddha

    Love is the most powerful, world-changing tool we have. I’m fully aware of how Pollyanna this sounds. My challenge to you, though, is: try it! Get your heart-broken, feel disrespected, lose something you really cherish and see how quickly you can move on from the negativity you feel into LOVE. It takes a high degree of awareness and sophistication to experience our negativity and move beyond it into a place of love. Anyone who has walked this path knows that this is the way of a REAL bad-ass.
    The first thing we need to do is cultivate love inside ourselves. To do this we need to hunt down the barriers to love that live within us more ferociously than we hunt down barriers to love in the world outside us.
    This does not mean that we turn hatred toward these parts of ourselves. It means we see them, accept them and let them go.

Truth

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Jesus Christ

    Truthfulness is a time-honored and respected trait. To be truthful is to be honest and trustworthy. It requires a commitment to speaking and acknowledging the truth, and to acting with integrity. When we have our truth we also have our respect and love.
    While philosophically there are many types of truth, the truth I’m talking about here has a dynamic holism that is much more easily experienced than written about.
    There is a paradox around truth, though, and it’s this:  truth does not make anything untrue. Whenever you negate something, there is a lie present. Truthfulness allows for multiple perspectives in a way that honors each of those perspectives.
    One very common example of this is that if you make yourself wrong you’re not living your truth – nor are you allowing others to live theirs.

Compassion

“No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself.” Muhammad

    To be compassionate is to open your heart to the suffering of others. Compassion, to me, is a healing action. When we offer compassion to ourselves or others we are, in fact, healing ourselves or others. One of the best ways to practice compassion is to tend to our own pain and suffering. Without a doubt, one thing we gain from our own hardship is an ability to give love to others while they experience hardship of their own.
    Still, sometimes we might find ourselves feeling closed off or judgmental about others who are in a difficult spot. We can feel wronged and because of this feel justified in wanting understanding from the other person. When we do this, we withhold our compassion and do not give our understanding to the person we feel wronged us.
    If you want to have an impact on the world,  each time you feel wronged stop and take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective.

While none of these skills are easy, they are all quite simple and in the reach of every single one of us all the time. We don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have an impact. We only need to focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world.

I will leave you with this quote from Rumi. “Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the Language of love.”

Me, You, Us: Healthy Boundaries in Your Relationships

Me, You, Us: Healthy Boundaries in Your Relationships

Relationships are the one of the most rewarding and challenging parts of our life. There are types of personal development that we are unable to do unless we are in relationship and there are ways that relationships push us to do work that we would not be otherwise motivated to do.

One of the greatest challenges in relationship can be our boundaries –maintaining a connection to our self, being open with another, and caring for the relationship that exists between us. We can run into challenges like losing our self in the relationship, over-caretaking, shutting down, passive aggressiveness,  or saying things that are hurtful and can’t be taken back. Any of these sound familiar?

In the 1980’s Melody Beattie wrote about co-dependence. This is the pattern of behavior that a person develops when relating to a loved-one who has an addiction. However, Beattie’s writing hit a chord with most people whether they were in a partnership with an addict or not. Chiefly, she focuses on understanding what is ours to deal with and what is another person’s. This level of clarity is essential for other relational skills to develop. It is impossible to create healthy connectedness if we lack the ability to hold onto our self.

Holding onto our self is the ability to stay connected to what we think, feel and want while being in a relationship with another person. This is particularly important when that person is under stress or in a crisis. In intense situations, it is easier to get consumed by another person’s experience. Even sexual intimacy, as positive as it might be, requires not only that we can deeply connect and even merge with  another but that we can come back to ourselves as well.

The truth of the matter is, when we do not know or understand something, our ability to be in relationship to it is limited. This means we need to be able to see our self ,or in other words be aware, to “hold onto our self.” The less we are aware of ourselves, the harder it is for us to know when something is us and when it is not. So, this is one of the many ways that personal development work serves you. The more that you know the easier it is to navigate relationships.
It is necessary to know our self to be open to a relationship in a healthy way. Being open in a relationship is both about the ability to connect and to disconnect. However, primarily it is about being able to choose when we want to connect and disconnect. This allows us to be consciously open or to consciously choose not put up a boundary when something is not healthy.

However, what I often hear people struggle with is determining what is healthy or not healthy for them. I have said that self care is anything and everything that is affirming of the entirety of who you are. It comes up here again because determining what is healthy or not healthy is guided by the same concept. Does it affirm or support who you are? If it does then it is healthy for you even if it is difficult. If it is does not, then it is not healthy for you.

Of course, the greatest gift that we can give in a relationship is our willingness to be as respectful with that other person as we have learned to be with our self. This desire to support another person in honoring and caring for themselves and learning and growing in their capacity to know themselves is a beautiful gift of a relationship.

The relationship is the third part of the equation. Relationships take care and time to be able to flourish. It is not enough for people to just invest in their own awareness and growth they also need to invest in the relationship. It becomes another member of the relationship and requires selflessness as much as anything else. What can you give to the relationship? How do you give to the relationship?

Developmentally, we are not able to give to the relationship until we have learned how to take care of ourselves. We are simply too immature to really be able to give what is required. That is why we need to start by doing our own work and understand what it is that supports us as we go through life.  When we have done this work, the act of giving selflessly to a relationship is an additional joy rather than something that creates imbalance.

If you find yourself in a relationship and you are questioning your knowledge of your own needs or understanding of the different aspects of who you are, don’t worry too much about it. We are all in a continual process of growth. As you move forward in your relationship you will be called to focus on different aspects of the relationship: you, the other person, and the relationship itself. This process, if you choose to engage in it will be both challenging and deeply rewarding –ultimately offering you one of the most beautiful experiences that life has to offer.

Seven Qualities of the True Self

Our True Self is defined by seven intrinsic qualities. I initially identified these qualities during my study of Christian anthropology while in seminary. As I went on to study psychology and religion at Harvard, I found that these qualities are confirmed in the great religions of the world and in the modern scientific study of psychology as defining the unique nature of human being.

Human beings uniquely possess these qualities, and they are given to each of us. The true self is not reserved for those who have devoted their lives to becoming mystics. We are born with these resources which are available to all of us at any time.

These seven gifts guide us from within and define our unique nature. We may nurture these qualities or we may or take them for granted; if we choose the former course, our life will be opened and filled by meaningful opportunities–if we choose the latter, we will remain wanting and helpless, functioning at a level far lower than our potential. Nevertheless, even if we fail to utilize them, these qualities lie dormant, for we never lose them. They exist within us, waiting for us to awaken them:

1. Spontaneity

“Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences–“which is the mostest? Which is the leastest?” They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness: they heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

Spontaneity is our ability to express our self without hindrance. We preserve and develop spontaneity if we feel safe, cherished, and free from distress. Spontaneity captures the innocence, readiness, and freshness of a child. The spontaneous person embraces joy and affectionate humor just as children, who are less inhibited and socially constrained, naturally express their authentic and visceral feelings. Those who are spontaneous beyond their childhood years retain honest access to the full range of their emotions. People may attribute spontaneity to those with a youthful character; but while spontaneity involves innocence, child-likeness, and having fun, it also entails resilience and the ability and readiness to heal, mature, and develop, to expand our competence. Our spontaneity spurs us to growth because we are destined for expressing our aliveness.Psychologists have identified six universal emotions that we express cross-culturally: happiness, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, and fear. While we often associate access to the positive emotions as a sign of maturity, awareness of and access to the full range of one’s feelings more accurately characterizes one who is spontaneous. To assess our spontaneity, we must ask: Do I feel openness and readiness in my activities? Do I possess a freshness and enthusiasm in life? Do I have access to only certain emotions? Do I feel greater restraint or greater ease with these emotions?

2. Reasoning

“The first reason for man’s inner slavery is his ignorance, and above all, his ignorance of himself. Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave, and the plaything of the forces acting upon him. This is why in all ancient teaching the first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation was: Know Thyself. ” –George Gurdjieff

Reasoning is sound thinking; it accounts for our understanding of life and our progress in it. Through reasoning, we can discover more about the world and about ourselves and participate in life in endless ways. With the potential depth of our ability to understand, we are designed to explore, engage the world, and find solutions to our problems.

3. Creativity

“Creativity is…seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.” – Michelle Shea

Creativity is a unique expression of our ability to make something out of our “originality of thought.” Although we cannot, like God, create ex nihilo(“out of nothing”), we have the power to generate and transform things: to convert our ideas into new forms, to make our dreams realities, to shape our self and our world–to inspire, excite, incite, calm, and originate. When we create in connection with God, we feel inspired and empowered. Through creativity, we can develop skills which we often do not fully understand or engage. By applying our abilities to new possibilities, creativity builds self-awareness and strengthens identity.

When we create, we take risks and embrace new possibilities. The creative process taps the source of both our intrinsic nature and our individuality. This permits us to discover and express more of our other intrinsic gifts and more of our self. It helps us to recognize those qualities and to harness their power.

We generate creativity from within rather than accepting external formulations of it. For this reason, we often feel that what we create is who we are–it is part of ourselves. When our work permits us to create, we often call it art and equate the product with our self-worth. One of the miracles of each of our lives is the possibility of leaving our distinct — creative — mark through the expressions of our creativity. Creativity is a unique expression of our own experience and achievements.

4. Free Will

“The most tremendous thing granted to humanity is choice, freedom.” –Søren Kierkegaard

Free will is our ability to choose. Moreover, it is our ability to think outside ourselves–to gain an observational sense of our situation. Exercising free-will, we recognize that we can draw upon our own voice, rather than echo what we have been told. By examining the choices we have, we can establish our voice in relation to others and feel integrity in our position.

To not make choices is to give up a part of our self. Those who feel as if they have lost their will often feel trapped. If we feel that we have no choice or are locked in, we need to examine what constrains us. By drawing upon our spontaneity, reasoning, and creativity, we can release ourselves from these shackles.

5. Spirituality

“A return to reverence is the first prerequisite for a revival of wisdom…Wisdom comes from awe rather than shrewdness. It is evoked not in moments of calculation but in moments of being in rapport with the mystery of reality.” –Abraham Heschel

Spirituality is our response to God’s call–our communication with the spirit of life’s Mystery. Spirituality is a Mystery not only because it involves something beyond our mind and knowledge, but also because it comes from our experiences of God. The power of that relationship to spirit is unique for each of us; we tap the power of spirituality in our encounters with God, which gives us a clear vision and an understanding of life. That is why there are different paths to spirituality. Our ability to grow spiritually is made possible through a recognition of, and commitment to, developing our relationship with God. By penetrating beyond the temporal and engaging the Mystery we can find the guide for our journey of fulfillment. To engage our spirituality we must engage our personal relationship with God and make this relationship central in our lives.

You can experience God, but whether you subscribe to a particular religion, develop a personal understanding of spirit, or deny all divinities and are an atheist, there exists one certainty: things occur in life over which you have no control. You can attribute these things to fate, randomness, nature, physical reality, or God. I personally believe that it is the Spirit that provides the answers for us in all things. We find the Spirit when we discover and actively engage our True Self –connect to our Self, Others, and God and hear the voices of our thoughts (our mind), our feelings (our heart), and our spirit (our soul), we both explain and understand our nature and how these connections bring us fulfillment.

6. Discernment

“The supreme end of education is expert discernment in all things–the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and counterfeit.” –Samuel Johnson

Discernment, as Johnson notes above, is our ability to distinguish Good from Evil–and to choose the Good. When we choose between Good andEvil, we demonstrate what principles are guiding us. Discernment is thus the ability both to make moral choices and to act accordingly. It is not being judgmental, as in disdainful and imperious moralizing; it is judgment driven by Truth. Discernment emerges from knowing, choosing, and acting on the Good.

The simple ability to distinguish “right” from “wrong” begins at age three according to psychologists who study moral development. Howver, from even our earliest experiences, we begin to grow in discernment by developing virtues. Therefore, the extent to which we develop virtue (such as kindness, justice, caring, truthfulness, courage, and the like) we ignite the quality of our ability to discern. While our individual temperament may be drawn to one virtue over another, refining these proclivities through the discipline of enacting virtue shapes both our character and our ability to discern. Through discernment, we express our connection to the concerns of humanity at large and define our character.

7. Love

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.” –Sophocles

Love is the culminating point–where we put the True Self to its greatest use. Love is a profoundly caring and intensely passionate and personal connection that generates respect, honesty, and reciprocity. Love also involves a physical, emotional, and spiritual attraction to another. We are driven by the powerful urge to love and to be loved, for love is intrinsic to our social nature. By trusting another to know one’s own self through their eyes, we free our self to union–to love and be loved. Loving connections convey the ultimate expression of the authentic self through an active engagement of Self, Others, and God. But while love is frequently identified as life’s most fulfilling experience, it can also be our most difficult pursuit — it often gets confined to only one of these three crucial relationships. Authentic love may begin by engaging only Self, only Others, only God–but if the love is authentic it always leads to the other two.

Loving will be a sacred connection — the highest human function, entrusted to us by God. When that sacred trust is broken, by us or by another, we feel it. When a lover does not act with the kindness and respect that a sacred love naturally includes, we can feel that opening up to that person was a big mistake. Although loving may include sex, a relationship based only on sex is not love. Love is a connection that opens the inner floodgates of one’s being to another. Because of the inherent vulnerability of exposing the self in a relationship, you feel love when you feel safe and are comfortable enough to “let go” of your defenses. In this healthy expression of love, both people are accessing their True Self.

John T. Chirban, Ph.D., Th.D. is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of True Coming of Age: A Dynamic Process That Leads to Emotional Stability Spiritual Growth, and Meaningful Relationships. For more information please visit www.drchirban.com.

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Simple Tools For More Fulfilled Relationships

Many of us believe that we should “just know how” to relate in ways that bring us happiness. However, creating healthy and fulfilling relationships is an art and a practice. Before we get into some tools for creating more fulfilling relationships take a moment to look at some of the components of a healthy relationship. The following is not an exhaustive list but it will help set the stage:

Open communication: knowing what you think and feel and being willing to share it.

Trust: behaving in a way that is trustworthy, fostering trust, and being more trusting. 



Respect: understanding that the other person is an individual and should not be criticized for not being like you or any other person. 



Love: I like the expression, “Love is a verb.” Healthy relationships seek to continually work to foster love through behavior.





Integrity: the understanding that each person has his or her own path and it is not loving to take them off their path. 



Partnership: the desire to share life ― its struggles and its joys.





Tool #1: The first tool is to figure out what each one of these categories mean to you –and to your partner. By writing down a sentence or two describing each of these components of a fulfilling relationship you will understand better how to create them in your relationship.

Tool #2: To maintain the love inside and outside of ourselves, we need to give it regular and careful attention. If you find yourself feeling frustrated or disconnected with someone close to you, see if you can take a moment to think of three to five positive traits ― things you love about the person. You can do this with your partner or your friend or a parent. You can even take an extra step and tell the person one or more of the things that you really value about them.

Tool #3: Sometimes we block the love coming from another person because of our own inability to feel worthy of love. If you find that you are disconnected or judgmental, check in with yourself to see if you really love yourself. If you are not sure, what is your self-care like? Are you eating, sleeping, attending to responsibilities, and having fun? If not, the problem might not be with the other person ― it might actually be with you.

Tool #4: Do you feel that a person or certain people should be there for you no matter what? No matter how you act, no matter how you treat them, no matter whether they show up for themselves or not? Sometimes we think that a person showing up in this way means that they truly love us. This is more the case in a parent-child relationship. However, in a peer relationship or partnership, expecting this is not about love ― it is about dependency. Check yourself; see if you want someone to take care of you ― whether it is emotionally, financially, or physically instead of creating true adult relationships and deeper love.

This week on Real Answers Radio, Dr. Kate offers simple tools that you can start using immediately. If you are craving more from your relationships – more caring, more connection, more meaning – then this show is for you!

Dr. Kate always welcomes your questions and this week’s show is the perfect opportunity to call in with your most pressing relationships questions and get the real answers you need.

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Love ALL Of You!

Recently, in my Celebrity Expert spot that will be on CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX affiliates across the country, Bob Guiney asked me if people are put off by my tattoos. I said that my work is about being yourself and living fully. So, whether people like them or not they at least show I am walking my talk!

The world is constantly going to give us feedback about ourselves, some of which is bound to not be positive.

One of the things that I see happen to my clients is that they sometimes get caught up in the idea that  since they want to improve themselves that means there is something wrong with the way they are now and they should try and change as quickly as possible. They take negative feedback from others as sign that this is true. This way of thinking is very logical but not very accurate.

There does not need to be anything wrong with a flower for it to closed for a time before it blooms, right?

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to actually love and accept where we are when we are starting. Today’s starting point, was after all, a desired destination at one point in time whether or not we were conscious of it. And, where we are headed will one day be what we are eager to leave behind.

Then, of course, there are those parts of our self that we don’t like that never seem to change at all. For example, I can’t spell and I am often late. These are not my favorite traits but I can either love them or hate them but they are more likely than not going to be hanging around for a bit.

When we are confronted with parts of our self that we just do not like, it is helpful to remember that we are multifaceted people and that our strengths may actually need our weaknesses to be what they are. Who ever came up with the idea we were supposed to be without flaws anyway? Everyone has them and somehow they are still viewed as something that needs to be fixed.

 

What would happen in your life if you decided it is ok to have your flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings?

One of the things that I always liked about the Greek gods is that they are all incredibly flawed. They were not powerful because they were perfect. They were powerful because that was the truth of who they were – flaws and all.

The best change comes from a loving unfolding of who we are in the world and a deep appreciation for the truth of who we are, every last bit of it.

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Build Fences, Not Walls: Your Guide to a Healthier Relationship

Good fences make good neighbors, and nowhere is this more true than in your romantic relationship. But many people hide their stance on a subject, or at least soften it, to be more likable at the start of a new relationship.

“I like hanging out with your family every weekend.”

“Your vegetarianism is no problem for me. I hardly eat meat now anyway.”

“Sure, we can keep the lights off.”

Over time, it becomes too difficult to move that boundary back to where it feels right for you, whether you’re talking about how much time to spend with your in-laws or how much sex you want to have. And it’s confusing to your partner, who thought you liked things this way because you always went along with it before.

Perversely, you make your life less desirable in order to be more desirable to your partner.

Over the years, this can get messy and you might eventually complain that the love of your life doesn’t really know you at all. But if you aren’t stating your boundaries and desires up front, how could your beau know?

The Difference Between Walls and Fences
Walls are built to keep people out, figuratively and literally. You can’t see inside someone’s house unless they invite you in, and even within a home each room is blocked from view unless you enter it. When you hide something from someone, you are walling it off.

Fences, on the other hand, are built to maintain a peaceful coexistence with others. You can usually see right through a fence because it is simply a demarcation of the boundaries of your property. It’s a public statement on where you stand on issues.

Your fence keeps soul sucking people who would disrespect you on the outside. They will go find an unfenced property to do their damage, not willing to expend the effort to climb yours (soul suckers are nothing if not lazy).

Fences are also easily moved or enlarged when a property is expanded, unlike walls which mean a reconfiguration of the entire house.

Walls destroy a relationship. Fences make it stronger. Big difference.

How to Determine Your Boundaries

1: Know Where You Stand
The key to setting your boundaries lies first in identifying them yourself. If you don’t know what you want, how in the heck will anyone else? This is no time for guessing games, with yourself or with your mate. And be very, very careful of the “I don’t really care” mentality because in truth you really do, about everything. You just don’t care about making a fuss right now.

It’s important that people should know what you stand for. It’s equally important that they should know what you won’t stand for. ~ Mary H. Waldrip

So give a damn now and you won’t be damning your partner in the future. Think about how you really feel about every new situation or question and answer honestly and thoughtfully. Because what you say and do now determines what kind of life you’ll be living later.

2: Identify Boundary Breaches
Sometimes it takes a while for a message to sink in. It’s not usually because your one true love doesn’t care. Your partner just needs firm reminders of your boundaries. You can do this gently at first with a pretty white picket fence surrounded by flowers and escalate all the way up to barbed wire and electricity if you need to (though at that point it might just be better to ask them to move).

Everyone pushes a falling fence. ~ Chinese proverb

Demanding the respect you deserve takes diligence on your part. Again, most of the time this is a simple and clear reminder to people.

No, I don’t want to do that.

It’s not okay for you to talk to me this way.

You said you would do this and I depend on you to honor your word.

When you allow your boundaries to be breached again and again you’re telling the other person it’s okay to be late, to not follow through on their commitments, or to otherwise disregard your feelings. But when people know there are consequences – “I’ll wait for you for 10 minutes, but if you’re later than that I’ll leave without you” – they can no longer breach with impunity.

You cannot control the actions of others, but you can certainly control your own.

3: Survey your property
When you live a life of experience, your boundaries will change because you will. You’ll grow and evolve, and so will many of your preferences. It’s important to regularly survey your boundaries to make sure they still fit. Your requirements for intimacy, communication, social activity, exercise, education, and entertainment will evolve with life and circumstances, and you have to be clear with yourself and your partner when they do.

Read more by Betsy Talbot here

Continually poking at your own boundaries will make it easier to explain them to others. How to Establish Boundaries Know where you stand on the important issues. When you know for sure how you want to be treated, it makes it easier to clearly state this to another person. Begin by asking yourself every day if you’re okay with what’s going on around you. If not, why? If it’s not clear to you, it won’t be clear to your partner. State your boundaries along with a consequence. “I understand you are really frustrated at work right now, but I’m not okay with you taking it out on me when you get home. I’m not your enemy here. The next time it happens I’m going to suggest you burn it off at the gym and I’m going to leave the room.” You can’t control the other person’s actions, but you can control your response. Test your boundaries. As you evolve as a human, your priorities and feelings will change. It’s important to question yourself on a regular basis to make sure the beliefs and ideas you hold are still true. When your boundaries change, it’s time to move your fences and let your partner know. (more…)

How you do your personal work is how you do relationships?

So many people don’t see the patterns that keep them stuck in their love life even when they are right in front of them. To discover what is truly in the way of your ideal partner coming into your life, you can look at other areas and how you relate to yourself and others that give a huge clue.

One place to start is with your relationship with yourself and others when doing personal development. Every workshop, teacher, coach or class you interact with is a reflection of you and how you do relationships. When I coach with someone personally, I actually get a feel for how others react to them in their love life. I can sense how they are acting with me and the process which gives me the insight to share with them HOW they are being so they can see where they are stuck.

If you don’t have a coach, here are some examples of how you do personal development and how it shows up in dating and relationships:

  • The passive one. You aren’t making an effort, always looking for some quick fix with minimal emotional involvement. You may even feel afraid of looking deeper or invest too much in yourself because you doubt that anything can help you. You never really try so you can justify why you don’t get anywhere in love.
  • How it shows up in love: You meet people who won’t go deeper either. You wait passively for divine timing or when your astrology says the time is right. You think that love isn’t meant for you anymore. You got hurt too many times and you just want to wait and hope for things to change. But… they never do.
  • The Extremist. You go full-on into every workshop, coaching program, class you take. You get really excited and hopeful each time you try something new. You jump from program to program hoping that THIS will be the ONE. You do the work to GET the man without valuing the journey. You get caught up in fixing yourself so you can reach the finish line but you end up feeling worse. You are trying too hard and getting the opposite result because as you do the programs you hold fear and anxiety and forget how wonderful you already are.
  • How it shows up in love: You jump into relationships and try SO hard to make them work. Every NEW person is “the one” for you and you try to force it to a commitment. You are filled with fear and anxiety when you meet someone. You lose your ground and feel if you can just get him/her to commit, everything will be okay. You may tend to attract men/women who do the same to you. They try really hard at first even when they hardly know you. They are in love with the idea of finding someone/anyone more than seeing you.
  • The Half-Committed. You jump in with full force and give up quickly. It takes you a long time to make a decision and then you change your mind frequently. You have a hate/love relationship with the process. You love it when things seem to be going your way and you easily give up when the first obstacle arises. You blame external (the workshop, life, the coach, the teacher) instead of looking inside. When faced with deeper issues, you run away. You resent having to do personal development work and you doubt if anything will help you because you keep looking outside for results before they have time to manifest.
  • How it shows up in love: You change your decisions often about whether someone is good for you or whether you should go back to your ex. You get angry easily at the universe and the men you date. You believe life isn’t fair. You aren’t clear of what you want and if you can consciously create your life. The men/women you attract are half-committed too. They just can’t seem to make up their minds about you or whether they want a relationship.
    • Solution: Design your ideal relationship (not the ideal persona of who you want to attract). Describe how you want to be treated, how you want to feel and how you want to live. Then, approach everything in life (your work, your friendships, your personal development process) as YOU want to be treated yourself. If you want a commitment, then commit to yourself, if you want someone to make an effort with you, then make an effort for yourself. As you make this shift in your mind and behavior, you will start to see others mirror back to you how you deserve to be treated.

      You always get back what you put out. That is the law of karma. So, what will you put out today?

      Debi Berndt and Dr. Robert Maldonado are the co-founders of Creative Love™, a personal development company that helps people attract, master and teach love. They’ve worked with thousands of singles across the world to find true love and their Creative Love™ Process is now taught in 13 different languages.Learn more here.

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    Love Burns Everything Away

    I recently had a bout with jealousy. I started to compare myself to someone else and just kept coming up short. Everything this other person excelled at was something that was in my wheelhouse but not my gift. I started to feel the pain of being “less than.”

    I know that there is a way out of this bind. So, I spent some time and got some support in coming back to a place of love. Because, in this place of love all the rest gets put in perspective.

    This time of year many people think about the state of their relationship, their love life, and the like but love is much more than dinner dates and flowers. It is much more ever-present than your last crush or even your long term relationship.

    Love is quite simply the most powerful tool you have in your toolbox. Because, love can burn everything else away –everything that does not serve you that is.

    I think that it is a force more powerful than any other. Mystics have spoken about it throughout time. They have tried to teach us that if we can connect to our hearts and return to this space of love then we have the ability to move mountains and part seas.

    But, what does this mean for you and me?

    When you are faced with a situation –maybe it is a coworker, a lover, or a friend—where you are at odds with someone else, see if you can return to a place of love. This might seem like a foreign concept to many people. It might bring forward thoughts like, “How the heck do I do that?” So, here is one way you can do it:

    Take a few minutes for yourself. Get comfortable. Close your eyes… Actually, no!! Scratch that. That could be a method but I think it is time to approach things from a new angle!

    What secret negative longings do you have? Take an inventory. If you can figure out your negative intent then you can clear it. When you clear it it is that much easier to return to a place of love.

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    The 6 Keys to Fulfilling Relationships

    You might notice that as you begin to change your life, you will see changes in your relationships. Sometimes, unfortunately, change means some relationships will need to fall away, but the ones that do not – or the new ones – will likely get deeper and more fulfilling. For those who have not had the joy of being in a fulfilling relationship, I will spend a bit of time describing some of what you might look to foster in your relationships.

    Of course, you are the final judge of what truly makes you happy and fulfilled in a relationship, but these might offer some useful signposts.

    Open communication: Knowing what you think and feel and being willing to share it.

    Trust: Behaving in a way that is trustworthy, fostering trust and being more trusting.

    Respect: Understanding that the other person is an individual and should not be criticized for not being like you or any other person.

    Love:I like the expression, “Love is a verb.” Healthy relationships seek to continually work to foster love through behavior.

    Integrity: The understanding that each person has his or her won path and it is not loving to take them off their path.

    Partnership: The desire to share life – its struggles and its joys.

    excerpt from Life Fulfillment Formula: 120 Ways to Activate Your Potential (more…)