New Article in Elephant Journal: "Why Inexperienced Men can make the Best Lovers"

I'm thrilled to have my latest article, "Why Inexperienced Men can Make the Best Lovers" in Elephant Journal!

In the article, I discuss men, women, and some surprising truths that I've discovered in my last decade as a counselor.

Learn how each partner can take responsibility for a satisfying sexual experience and the dos and don'ts of connecting with your partner no matter what his or her level of experience is.

If you would like to learn more about working with me or to set up a free phone consultation, please click the link below.

What Does it Mean to be a Friend?

My friend Ian gave me this plate he found with my last name at the top on HIS wedding day.

Ian and I have been friends for 20 years. He was my first boyfriend in 6th grade (our first and only date was a double date with his parents on New Year's Eve!)

A true friend knows our shadows and vulnerabilities and remains with us, offering companionship, understanding and forgiveness for our shortcomings.

Friends are aware of each other's flaws but choose to address the whole person anyway, overlooking individual acts and transgressions where we were not at our best and helping us to keep our authentic selves in the forefront.

What does friendship mean to you?

Forgiveness is Compassion

I used to be a champion grudge holder. I often got caught up in "the principle of the thing" and had a very concrete sense of what was right and what was wrong.

As I gres up and got to know myself better, I realized this: forgiveness not only doesn't remove the original hurt, it actually brings us closer to it.

And yet...

Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves (especially when the one we're loving is ourselves).

It is an act of compassion- for the one who hurt, for sure, but way more than that, for ourselves.

What does forgiveness mean for you?

4:45 on Sunday Morning

I wake up around 4:30 six days a week and then spend time before everyone gets up self-caring, creating, and introverting.

My days are spent talking to, helping, and taking care of other people, which I love, love love. It is exactly how I designed my life to be.

However, I have to respect the fact that I am at my core an introvert, meaning I recharge my batteries and renew my energy by being alone.

If I don't it all goes to shit very quickly!

So early mornings are my gift to myself. They're what make everything else (counselor, coach, writer, wife, mom, ME) possible.

PS- I also love sleep, so I do go to bed pretty early as much as possible.

If you want to learn more about exactly how I spend my mornings, and how you can start to design yours to work for you, check out my free guide- my gift to you.

To learn more about my services, click below.

 

 

You + Me = Love Embodied

From my intuition:

You + Me = love embodied.

We are love in action. The next step is the one you have been avoiding. The one that feels the least safe but is actually the most:

To be seen.

* * *

You mean visible?

* * *

I mean KNOWN. Completely known. First by yourself, then by others. Often at the same time.

* * *

Damn it, intuition! Why are you always so wise?

* * *

You cannot truly love yourself and hide yourself at the same time.

Where are you hiding yourself and how can you become more seen and known today?

New Interview: Why Former People-Pleasers Get Divorced

I was recently interviewed by Cheryl Dillon of Equitable Mediation about what leads recovering people-pleasers to get divorced.

You can find the full interview HERE.

In this interview, you'll learn:

  • What a people pleaser is and why so many women suffer from a people-pleasing/perfectionist mindset today.
  • How to know if you are a people-pleaser and what leads people pleasers to know when enough is enough and to seek help.
  • How to stop being a people-pleaser and start living authentically.
  • What happens when you hold a mirror to herself instead of your partner for validation.
  • What the impact on a marriage can be when the people-pleasing stops.
  • How a couple can grow with new values.
  • Why some couples feel that divorce is the best way to honor their marriage vows.
  • How to support your partner when he or she is on a personal development journey.

To learn more about working with me, click the button below:

 

 

Dealing with Big Feelings

My four-year-old has been dealing with a lot of big feelings lately, which can be hard not to take personally.

As mothers, it's easy to convince ourselves that a different mother could do it better -- have the right combination of words, the right tone, the right demeanor to make everything "perfect" again.

In the effort, we lose ourselves and our children lose the real us. The imperfect one is not only the one the want, it's the one they NEED.

My only job is to give them the message that all feelings are welcome and valid because they come from who we authentically are.

And to teach this truth by living it myself.

How do you deal with your child's big feelings?

Going Home, Not Going Big

If you're an entrepreneur, you're most likely familiar with the world of online business coaching. You're probably inundated on a daily basis with concepts like "going big in business," "creating a life you love," "creating a "business you love," or "creating a business that funds your dream life".

We see these promises and hear the stories of those that are living these ideals on a daily basis in social media and in our inboxes.

But this is a different story. This is a story about my friend who invested thousands of dollars on courses and masterminds and hundreds of hours on social media trying to get traction on her business.

This friend is a former nurse who worked her way through college and graduated with honors and two majors. Excellence was a concept she was well acquainted with and that she strived to live every day. She aimed to apply the principle of excellence to her new venture - her coaching business.

She did this because she wanted to feel like she was a person of value. She did it because she wasn't living the life she truly wanted and pouring herself into her business was a way to drown out the barrage of self-criticism that she constantly inflicted on herself.

Deep in her heart, a wish was being carefully nurtured: the wish to be a mother. She and her husband tried for years to get pregnant and still it wasn't happening.

She was feeling stuck.

The months wore on and she continued to pour time and money into developing her business with little to show for it. She struggled on a daily, even hourly basis with feeling useless because her creativity seemed to be stunted on all levels: physical, mental and spiritual.

The harder she pushed in her business, the more stuck she felt on all fronts. She knew that subconsciously, what she really wanted was to be pregnant, to grow a baby, not a business. And to make that happen, she approached it from every angle she could: fertility testing, exercise and yoga regimes, visualizing, praying, special diets and supplements.

But she felt powerless to make it happen. She felt blocked from the flow of creation and she felt like there was nothing she could do about it.

Along the way, she came to an important realization. She needed to have faith that her baby was out there for her but was not ready to come into the world on her timeline and that she needed to have patience.

Using her business to distract her was only causing more frustration and heartache. So, reluctantly and tenuously, she loosened her grip on both her business and her timeline for her baby. She committed herself to honoring her inherent value and letting go of the notion that her value was contingent on making money or creating and caring for another human.

This spring, she applied for a scholarship to a high-end business course. She felt confident that she would get it.

She didn't.

Several weeks later, she took a pregnancy test and it was positive.

And for the first time in her life, she realized that she was exactly where she was meant to be. She decided to put her business on hold while she focuses on being present in this brief stage in her life.

Yes, she is extremely fortunate that she has the option to do this, and she's very aware of that fact. People also have no problem reminding her of it. In fact, her choice is the subject of judgment from strangers and sometimes even family members.

And still struggles constantly with feeling worthless because she isn't being productive in a quantifiable, measurable way. But this story isn't about who has it harder and why.

This is a story about how my friend came to realize that when she lives life from her most deeply held values, she comes home to herself.

For another woman, the values might look completely different. Living authentically for you might look entirely different. The point is do what your intuition tells you to regardless of what it looks like to others.

So my friend is "going big" with what has meaning to her in this chapter in her life. She's "creating a life she loves" even if it doesn't look like much from the outside. She's modeling true bravery and conviction in the face of massive social pressure to be more and do more.

In doing so, she's contributing to the world and in a way that living from a desire to achieve or please never can.

To learn more about working with me or to set up a free consultation, click the button below or email amy@amybethacker.com 

 

 

New article in the Huffington Post: What You Need to Know When You're in Love with a Highly Sensitive Woman

This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post. Click the image for the original article:

Your partner is sensitive in pretty much every way it’s possible for a person to be sensitive. She’s sensitive to the feelings and energy of people around her. As a child, adults called her “shy”. She has a vivid imagination and rich inner-world. She may even be sensitive to food and caffeine.

Over the years she may have had to do a great deal of mindset work in order to stop viewing her sensitivity as a curse or an embarrassment - especially in a world where logic and rationality reign supreme.

Highly sensitive women are deeply attuned individuals - particularly when it comes to emotions: theirs, their loved ones, even strangers. They are mercurial and enigmatic; desiring of deep, intimate affection one minute and complete solitude the next.

They approach relationships with a combination of extreme empathy, honesty, and fear of losing themselves in the other person. 

Because of all this, they may at times feel deeply alone or unseen or that their uniqueness will forever keep her from being truly known by those they love the most.

This can be a source of endless frustration for  their partners who struggle tosupport the women they love but find them becoming distant due to bad timing or missed subtle cues.

On the other side, highly sensitive women tend to approach romantic relationships with a deep, sincere desire to share themselves body, mind and soul on a level their partners may have never experienced before.

Here are some things to remember when you’re in love with a highly sensitive woman:

She sees the world in Technicolor.

Sounds that you don’t even notice can make her hair stand on end. While you can fall asleep with all the lights and TV on, she needs complete darkness and silence or she will toss and turn all night.

This is because her sensitivity creates an experience of the world that’s amplified — sometimes to an incredibly overwhelming degree.

She recharges by unplugging from the world.

Because the world can be such an overwhelming sensory experience, she relies on her ability to retreat into herself in order to recharge her batteries. This can look like spending an hour journaling to get it all out on paper, meditating, or going on a Gilmore Girls binge with the cat.

When she’s stressed, people may perceive her as uncaring or disinterested.

Though she may appear cool and collected when the s—- hits the fan, under the surface she feels like a duck paddling furiously to keep her head above water. Her cool, calm, collected demeanor is simply a way for her to maintain a semblance of control.

She’s incredibly creative - when the conditions are right.

Highly sensitive women are known for their works of art, scientific innovations, and spiritual pathfinding. Their creativity makes the world a better place and knows no bounds — if it is properly nourished and supported.

Know that she needs the support and encouragement of her loved ones as much or even more when she’s in a creative space. She is built up by recognition of the beauty of her creations and also craves time and space to engage in her creative process.

Closeness is what she both craves and fears most.

She is deeply ambivalent about closeness and distance; love and fear. She craves connection more than anything and yet at times is also at times terrified of losing herself in you.

This applies especially when it comes to physical connection. 

Social situations are hard for her.

She may desire deeply to fit in, but feel awkward or even inept with groups of people - especially those she doesn’t know well. She may also question the value of spending her time with people and situations that feel artificial to her.

She despises being defined by others.

Adults may have called your partner shy as a child, but they didn’t understand that it just took a while for her to get to know people and feel comfortable around them. Friends may call her a wallflower, but they don’t understand that she just likes to observe a situation and understand the energy and cultural norms before opening up to strangers. You may call her “super-sensitive,” but you doesn’t realize that she just feels intensely and fiercely.

Being misunderstood is deeply distressing for her because her deepest desire is to be seen. When someone - especially someone close to her- labels her as something she knows she’s not, she feels wounded.

After all, if you don’t get her, what chance does she have for the rest of the world to get her?

She attracts (and finds herself attracted to) outgoing people.

Since people are often drawn to others with opposite and envied strengths, your partner may find her life filled with people that are warm, expressive, and sociable.

This can set the stage for situations in which the outgoing person continually tries to get closer to her while she, feeling smothered, keeps moving farther away.

It’s not that she doesn’t care for other people and love connecting with them, it’s just that she is protective of her personal and emotional space and knows that poor boundaries will only lead to feeling overwhelmed and resentful.

Creativity is key for her.

When she’s not engaged in a creative endeavor, she can’t seem to get the thought that she could and/or should be out of her head. In fact, no matter how much she tries to talk herself out of it, she can’t help tying her creativity and her self-esteem up in her mind.

She sees her creative pursuits as the purest form of self-expression that exists, and so, if it’s not well received, she sees it as a jab at the very core of her being.

Now that you understand where’s she’s coming from, here’s what to do:

1. Don’t assume she’s exaggerating when she tells you the music is too loud or that the cup of coffee she drank in the morning kept her up all night. Doubting her experience will only serve to make her feel belittled and misunderstood.

Instead, ask how you can help. If all that’s required is a small adjustment from you - like turning down the volume of your Van Halen record when she’s feeling overstimulated, don’t make it a big deal.

2. Give her space. If she gets quiet, don’t assume there’s something wrong. In fact it’s often quite the opposite: she is simply taking care of herself and reconnecting with herself. She’s doing what she needs to soothe herself when the world gets too loud or bright. Letting her know you’re there for her when she’s ready is all she needs to hear.

3. At the same time, highly sensitive women care deeply and can get stressed easily. When she’s had a stressful day at work, check in with her. Don’t assume she’s not affected during intense moments just because she doesn’t appear to be.

4. Notice the beauty of her creative endeavors and share yours with her. Telling her about your interests and passions and why they are so important to you will create a deeper, more meaningful connection with her because creativity is how she relates to the world.

5. Understand that when she needs space, she is trying to reassure herself of her safety and separateness. That doesn’t mean you have to tolerate constant rejection or neediness, if that’s what you’re feeling from her. It just means understand where she’s coming from and then communicating your needs with that understanding in mind.

6. Validate, validate, validate. Highly sensitive women are usually very aware of their internal reactions and are grateful for a place where they can express them without fear of judgment. If she’s ruminating about a conversation with a friend that didn’t sit well with her, let her vent and tell her you’ve been there - even if you can’t relate to her EXACT situation, chances are, you’ve felt the feelings before, and that’s what matters.

7. If you’re feeling shut out or ignored, address it directly with her. Her tendency to detach and need space is an addressable quality - not an insurmountable barrier in your relationship. If you feel it has gotten to be too much or is intruding on your need for connection, tell her. Let her know how you feel and what your needs are. Don’t criticize or accuse.

She is by nature extremely sensitive to the idea that she could hurt another person - especially someone she loves. Insinuate that what’s she’s doing, and her defenses will go up. Instead, let her know your needs, and she will do everything in her power to meet and exceed them.

 

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