How to Cope With a Divorce You Didn't Want

I was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how cope with divorce. Here are my best tips:

Remain openhearted.

When our hearts are broken, our instinct is to protect ourselves by closing off to prevent further injury. We become angry and fearful, and we may lash out or shut down, which only makes us feel more helpless and more in pain.

This is the opposite of what is needed to maintain connections to people who can support us, grieve as much as needed, and move forward as peacefully as possible.

Discover your wholeness outside the relationship.

Let go of the need cling to the illusion of control by blaming yourself or your spouse. See what aspects of this unwanted situation you can find gratitude in.

For example, there may be places in this relationship where you lost sight of who you are and what you really want out of life.

The ending of the relationship may be an opportunity to rediscover who you are outside the context of the other person.

Give yourself everything you thought you needed from your spouse.

Don’t allow the divorce to lead you to believe you are somehow messed up or unworthy of love.

Don’t use it to come up with examples of all the ways you’re not kind, lovable, and desirable. Use it instead as an opportunity to come to a new understanding with yourself that your essence is innately lovable.

Demonstrate this to yourself on a daily basis by learning to love yourself without condition and engaging in a process of radical non-judgment and self-discovery.

You can read the full article here: How to Cope with Divorce

#Write It Down

My latest publication is in Learn Evolve and Thrive. I was asked to be a contributor for an expert panel on 11 Powerful Techniques and Practices to Cultivate an Abundance Mindset and I wrote about the power of journaling in cultivating abundance in your life. Below is my contribution, and you can click the link above for the full article.

How do you cultivate an abundance mindset?

#Write it down

Putting pen to paper can give us a happier, more intentional, more meaningful life.

Our thoughts create our reality and when we journal, we are able to consciously take control of the power of our thoughts. This helps us to manifest more of what we want in our lives such as abundance, peace, and joy, and to process, heal, and ultimately let go of what we want less of.

Here are some ways to use journaling to bring more abundance into your life:

Write down all the good that you already have.

Starting and/or ending each day with a gratitude practice is one of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to bring more of what you want into your life. This can be a simple list of what went right during the day, things or people you are glad to have and know, or anything else that feels positive to you.

Tracking the good shows the universe that you acknowledge and appreciate what good it’s flowing to you in the present moment and that you welcome more of it.

Having trouble getting started?

Keep it as simple and as general as you need to to get yourself into a positive mindset about the all the abundance you currently have in your life.

For example:

  • Did you wake up and breathe this morning? Plenty of people would give anything for the opportunity to wake up one more day.

  • When you woke up, did you open your eyes and see the world around you? The gift of sight is a precious one.

  • Do you have a roof over your head? Consider how much more unpleasant your life would be if you didn’t!

CHALLENGE: Spend 5-15 minutes each day for the next week making a gratitude list. At the end of the week, journal on what positive changes you have seen as a result of this simple practice.

Process the things you are having a hard time letting go of.

A journal is a great place to make sense of emotions that are overwhelming us and to become aware of thoughts and feelings that are holding us back from what we want in life.

Writing down the difficult parts of our lives gives us much needed clarity. It helps us heal ourselves as we go within and give loving attention to the places that are hurting and in pain.

In doing this, we become able to let go of the things that once had so much power over our lives and to move forward with a clear mind and a softened heart.

Use your journal to practice nonjudgmental curiosity in order to understand your hurt and pain more deeply and with less inflammatory thinking.

CHALLENGE: Spend an 30 minutes to an hour writing about one situation that has been weighing heavily on you.

  • Who is involved?

  • What about it is triggering for you?

  • What would you like the situation to become?

  • What would need to happen for you to be happy or find peace with the situation?

  • Since you can only change your own thinking and actions, what steps can you take today, independent of any other person or circumstance to start to heal?

Move forward in your life with intention.

Your journal is your place to dream big. You can use it to discover what you really want out of life and what would allow you to be the fullest, freest, highest version of yourself.

But we can’t get from where we are to where we want to be without a plan.

Your journal is the place to let go of the limiting thinking that holds you back. It allows your intuitive mind to explore the places that your rational mind says you can never go.

Note: aim to strike a balance between gratitude and peace in the present moment and the desire to continue to grow and expand. Journaling gives you space to both dream big and love what already exists at the same time. The more you are able to merge both sides of this coin, the more abundance your present and future selves will experience.

CHALLENGE: Take as much time as you need to complete the following exercise:

Imagine that it’s five years from now and you are living the life you were dreaming about today. Describe in detail what an ideal day would will look and feel like for you when this happens.

Some areas to consider:

  • What are the dominant feelings you have throughout this ideal day?

  • Who is in your life and what are your relationships like?

  • How do you spend your time?

  • What are your surroundings? Where are you located?

  • Is your ideal day structured or open-ended? Or a combination of both?

  • What smells, tastes, sights, and sounds do you experience as you move through your ideal day?

  • What is your mindset?

Journal on these questions until you have a very detailed description.

Mark the page in your journal and come back to it periodically. As you review it, allow yourself to experience the day in your mind. Let the feeling-tone of gratitude to be gently present as you do this. Practice feeling and knowing that you already have it. In your mind you already do!

 

How to Deal With the Difficult Person in Your Life

Dealing with a difficult person in your life? Here are some ways to cope:


1. Realize that you are never going to feel peace when you are in the mindset of needing to justify yourself to someone else.

2. Remember that someone else’s opinion of you is never personal. They’re just treating you as they would anyone who represents whatever it is you happen to represent to them.

3. Be okay with the fact that not everyone will see you for who you authentically are, and you don’t need to spend time worrying about it. Don't waste valuable time and energy explaining yourself to someone who is never going to get it.

4. Use your feelings to guide you to a place of balance. Luckily, unlike the opinions of someone else, our feelings are one thing we can actually control.

If you're looking to feel joy and inner peace, focusing on the part of your life that you're not happy with is never going to help you to reach that goal - no matter how justified you are.

5. Use your thoughts to guide your feelings. Many people think that when they feel better, their thinking about the situation will improve, but the opposite is actually true: your thoughts create your emotions. This is good news because it means you have the power to improve your situation all the time - it’s all a matter of focus.

6. Look at the situation and see if there is any room for gratitude and appreciation. You might not like most of it, but is there any part that is positive? Focusing on the positive aspects doesn't mean you're ignoring the negative. It just means you're choosing peace in the moment!

New Article in Psych Central: Warning Signs of Perfectionism (and How to Fix Them)

Perfectionists believe that there is no such thing as "good enough." There is either "fail" or "don't fail." Perfectionists never feel successful because there is always more to be done, more to be improved, more to "fix". In my latest article, out today in PsychCentral, I discuss the warning signs of perfectionism and how to fix them.
You'll learn:

🔺How to let go of judging yourself and others with compassion and grace.


🔺Why perfectionists often feel disconnected from their feelings and how to get connected on a day to day, moment to moment basis.

🔺Why perfectionists tend to have an all or nothing mentality and how to start living in life's gray areas.


Click the link below for the full article!

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/09/04/warning-signs-of-perfectionism-and-how-to-fix-them/

If you want to learn more about working with me to drop your perfectionist mindset for good, click the button to set up a free consultation:

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.

Interviews with Equitable Mediation

I, along with a panel of counselors, was recently interviewed by Equitable Mediation divorce mediators located in New Jersey and Chicago.  

mediation.png

Click on the links to see the full articles.

What advice would you give to an individual whose marriage is clearly beyond repair, yet despite unhappiness and desire to divorce, they take no action to start the process and instead remain miserable for months, or even years, frozen in fear?

https://www.equitablemediation.com/blog/when-to-leave-a-marriage

My response:

It is understandable that it would feel in many ways more comfortable to remain in a broken marriage than to leave and have to deal with the unknown.

Instead of looking at it as a leap into a completely different (and possibly) worse life, it is helpful to see the change as one that can be leaned into deliberately with the goal of transforming that fear into greater freedom and joy in life. 

It is also important to remain clear on the reasons for leaving the marriage and let those lead the person in purposeful, conscious action. Individual therapy may be needed to address issues of self-esteem and self-worth that may be holding the person back.

Writing down all of the fears on paper in order to begin addressing them one by one in tiny, manageable steps can also be helpful.

Finally, getting a solid support system in place is crucial. Making a list of people that are currently supportive as well as those that may be of support, and how, can be extremely reassuring.

What are some signs that progress is being made in marriage counseling and the marriage is back on track?

https://www.equitablemediation.com/blog/how-to-know-if-marriage-counseling-is-working

The greatest barometer for how well couples counseling is working is how the partners are feeling both as individuals and as members of a whole. Can they identify new tools and techniques to communicate their needs effectively? Are they able to hear their partner out without feeling the need to defend or judge? Do they feel greater personal sovereignty and authenticity as a result of the inner work they are doing as a couple?

Oftentimes children are exposed to dysfunction in their parents' marriages and later in their own personal relationships. They enter their marriage without the skills to engage in the relationship in a conscious, just, open-hearted way. Counseling is a way to build the foundation they may never have had in the first place.

How would a couple know if the marriage isn't working and it might be time to end the marriage?

https://www.equitablemediation.com/blog/how-to-know-if-marriage-counseling-is-working

The decision to end a marriage is intensely personal. One needs to look at the benefits of staying in the marriage and how they compare to the benefits of leaving it.  In which scenario would the person feel more whole, more authentic, more free? Are the issues that are leading them to consider leaving the marriage insurmountable?

Many people enter couples counseling hoping to change their partner.  However, it is crucial for each member of the couple to take an honest look at their role in the conflict and the shame/blame cycle.

In other words, is this marriage still serving you? If not, and it is clear there is no way for it to serve you and fulfill you in the way you need to feel whole in the future, it may be time to shift the conversation to how to step away from the marriage.

To learn more about my services or to schedule a free phone consultation, click the button below:

The Quickest and Easiest Way to Self-Care

When you're already overwhelmed and overloaded and your to do list is a mile long, it's easy to see self care as another source of stress. It becomes another thing you're supposed to be doing, another thing to feel guilty about not doing.

Pretty soon it becomes a source of self-criticism:

"I'm not taking good enough care of myself."

"What's wrong with me?"

"I should meditate or something, but I just don't feel like it."

I used to see self care as something to feel guilty about not doing. It was another thing on my to-do list like laundry and taking out the recycling. But as I've gotten more in touch with my feminine energy, I have come to realize that self care is a gift that only I can give myself.

It's not something that inhibits my freedom by taking up time I don't feel prepared to invest. Self care actually gives me the gift of pleasure, the gift of comfort, the gift of expressing love to myself.

As women, it is our birthright to experience pleasure and joy on a daily basis. I make time to do this by waking up at 4:30 in the morning and taking an hour and a half before the rest of my family wakes up to spend loving time with myself.

Here's how that looks:

::I wake up and wash my face with warm water to help energize me.

::I look up at the moon to see where it is in its monthly cycle

::I honor the gift of my body through stretching and exercise.

::I give myself the gift of clarity through meditation

::Finally, I make myself a quiet cup of (decaf) coffee and spend devoted time with my journal

When I do these, things, I feel filled before the day has even begun for my family. If nothing else gets accomplished that day, if the rest of the day gets away from me, I still carry with me the gifts that my morning routine brought to me.

Of course, I always have the freedom to decide that a 4:30 wake up call just isn't worth it and sleep in. But most days, I truly do see it as a gift to myself, nourishment for my soul that only I can provide for myself.

So experiment with making sacred time for yourself a priority as important as getting to class or paying a bill. Experiment with making it a non-negotiable.

Make your presence with yourself your present to yourself.

 

To learn more about my services or schedule a free phone consultation, please click the button below:

You Might Find You Get What You Need

There have been times in my life where I felt with every fiber of my being that I would only be happy with a specific outcome to a situation. I prayed for that outcome, visualized it, did everything in my power that I could do on a practical level to manifest that outcome and still it didn't happen.

The result was always anger, guilt, disappointment and shame. I questioned if there was more I could have done. I wondered if there was something wrong with me that made me unable to bring what I believed I needed into my life.  I was pissed at the universe. I was pissed at myself for failing myself. I had made my happiness contingent on an outcome and if that outcome didn't happen, I wasn't happy.

In other words, I was closing my heart at the exact moment I needed it to be open.

These moments of disappointment are as inevitable as our very breath. We are not in this life to have our every desire delivered with a sprig of parsley and an after dinner mint. We are here to grow, to expand, to become the freest, highest, most authentic version of ourselves. Unfortunately, our human brains are woefully inept at predicting how to make that happen.

We believe that the universe operates in simple, easily understood rules, and we believe our internal happiness is contingent on external events.

Basically, we want it all to make sense.

Our highest selves can be found not in thought, but in the experience of love. The more we love, the more we are in tune with our highest selves. The more angry and disappointed we are, the more disconnected we are - not just from the targets of those feelings, but also from ourselves.

The truth is that events can never block us from experiencing love; only our thoughts can do that. Our growth is about understanding this.

Life doesn't always give you what you want, but life always gives you what you really want, which is an abundance of opportunities to connect with unconditional love. No matter what happens, that can never be taken away because unconditional love is the essence of our being. So while we are not protected in our lives from anything bad ever happening to us, we are protected by life when they do happen because life has already infused us with all we need to handle it.

 

If you would like to learn more about infusing your life with unconditional love, call me at

973-769-2401 or email amy.beth.acker@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

To the Woman Who Isn't Getting the Help She Needs

To the Woman Who Isn't Getting the Help She Needs:

I know you have been suffering in silence with anxiety or hopelessness or feeling like you no longer exist in any recognizable form. I know you are feeling so many things right now: shame that you can't seem to get better on your own, sadness that things are this bad despite all you have done to fix it.

I know you feel like your spirituality or meditation or self help studies or exercise or diet changes should have fixed things right now. You feel like if you just tried a little harder you would start to see more progress. But you're tired. You don't know how to get yourself out of this. You feel weak. You think maybe you just need more self control. Maybe that would fix things.

I know you don't want one more day of feeling panicked, helpless, on edge. I know you want the waves of anxiety to stop. I know you've been snapping at the people you love the most and then beating yourself up over it.

The people you have confided in may have been dismissive - even those who supposedly know you the best. They don't see your situation as being as bad as you feel it is. You think you might be overreacting, but you know deep down inside you're not.

I know you wonder: what if this is the way you are and nothing can change that?

To the woman who isn't getting the help she needs, I want you to know this:

What you are going through right now is an exercise and a lesson in self-love and self-compassion, just like everything else in life.

If you love yourself, you are willing to give yourself what you need, even if it goes against what your ego (fear) wants, which is to stay stuck.

If you love yourself, you don't berate yourself for not taking one specific path to get to where your soul needs to be. You do what is necessary and you don't shame yourself for doing what is necessary.

When you love yourself, you follow your intuition. It always knows the right path, even if fear is doing everything it can to talk you out of it.

If you don't love yourself enough to stop judging yourself about this, then think of your love for the women who have come before you and the women who will come after you. Do you want to leave a legacy of silent suffering? Of being a woman who only allows herself a specific kind of help because you have arbitrarily decided that certain kinds of help are acceptable and others aren't?

Your soul knows what you need to do next to get the help you need.

Do what you need to do now. Love yourself now. Be an example now. You are deserving of it now.

To find out how to get the help you need, call me for a free phone consultation 973-769-2401

 

 

 

 

How to Introduce Spirituality to Your Toddler

"Spirituality" is a term that generally refers to the values and meanings by which people live. It is a connection to something higher and bigger than the individual and also a connection to the deepest, most authentic parts of the individual.

Introducing these concepts to children from a young age is a great way to create a foundation of emotional literacy and self-awareness that will carry them throughout the life cycle.

Here are some ways to introduce spiritual concepts to young children:

We Are All Connected

Our words and actions have the power to effect others both positively and negatively. We live in a world with ecosystems, food chains, seasons, and moon cycles. Connectivity is in every aspect of our lives, and our connections to others and to the world help us to define who we are as individuals.

Notice the small and big ways this is true in your daily life.

For example, in my family, we try to spend as much time in nature as possible. This means heading out to one of several local parks every weekend, trips to the beach in the summer, and time in the grass after dinner.  We also read books and discuss the lessons or morals that we gleaned from them. We discuss how the characters might have felt and imagine how we would feel if we were in the same situation.

Create Family Rituals

Special breakfasts on Sundays, going outside and observing the full moon, and taking a yearly trip to the lake are all simple rituals that give us something to look forward to, ground us, and create a sense of meaning and belonging. They don't have to be fancy or expensive. The important thing is that they have a specific time and/or place and/or activity associated with them.

In our house, the kids are usually up by 5:30 AM and we like to go outside and look at the moon before breakfast. We discuss the weather and what phase the moon is, and it's a small fun way to discuss what's going on in the world around us that day.

To celebrate my family's Jewish cultural roots, I make latkes every year during Hanukkah, and every year, they turn out terribly. When fall hits, we make a family of scarecrows to put on the porch.

We don't do anything big or fancy or Pinterest-worthy, but we do things that reflect us, that are fun, and that remind us of our place in the larger picture.

Set an Evening Per Week Aside for Review, Planning, and Gratitude

As our kids are four years and eleven months, extensive discussion of the previous and upcoming weeks is something we have not really fully implemented at this time, but I look forward to building in the coming years. Here are some ideas I have for what this will look like:

  • Discuss what could have gone better in the previous week and why
  • Discuss what will make next week great
  • Review family goals
  • Review the family calendar and identify upcoming holidays and other things to look forward to
  • Affirm who you are as individuals and as a unit
  • Take time for gratitude and appreciation for the people, places, and things you love in your lives

For more information about how you can integrate more meaning and ritual in your family's life, call me at 973-769-2401 or email amy.beth.acker@gmail.com

 

 

 

How to Make Epic Progress on Your Goals Today

Goals are tricky things. They can feel overwhelming, terrifying, and even immobilizing. When we do manage to get started on them, we may find ourselves questioning whether putting in the time and effort to do something that feels hard or even painful is worth it.

For example, I had a goal to build a website that would be a resource and source of support for women, but as soon as the idea came to me, I immediately built a solid case for why it wasn't a good idea for me to create it. Here were just some of the excellent points I made to myself:

  • I am not tech savvy and learning to build a website might be hard and frustrating.
  • It would take a lot of time and I don't have a lot of time.
  • I might feel overwhelmed and I don't like to feel overwhelmed.
  • It might take time away from other things that are important like my family or my self-care, or my time watching Orange is the New Black.
  • I like writing but people might not like what I have to say and that would be disappointing. Then I might not like writing anymore.
  • I might work really hard only to realize that the whole thing was not a good use of my time.

But in the end, I felt that a website would be a creative outlet and a way to connect with and support other women. In other words, it would be a means of expression for my most authentic self.

I decided to implement some mindset shifts to help my new project develop and two weeks later my imperfect but good enough website was live!

Getting Super Clear

The first thing I did was to get really clear on what my goal was and why it was important to me for that goal to happen. One aspect of this was to think about the tangible results I was looking to achieve: a place to give my clients information about my services, a place to provide support and encouragement to women through my writing, a platform for other future creative endeavors like a webinar.

The more important aspect of getting clear, however, meant articulating to myself what I was looking to feel as a result of my efforts. For me, the answer was that I wanted to feel expansive, creative, excited, connected, and joyful. These are feelings I am always looking to feel more of in my life, and they serve as great motivation for me to try things outside my comfort zone.

The Journey and the Destination are the Same

There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.
-Mahatma Gandhi

How could I guarantee that in the end my website would give me the feelings I was seeking? By making sure to acknowledge and appreciate the opportunities for those feelings that existed in the journey to get there. For example, working with my clients, writing, spending time with my family all give me the opportunity to feel expansive, creative, and joyful on a daily basis. The path to the completion of my website could be all about frustration and anxiety, or it could be all about creativity, being led by my passions and desires, and having new, life-enhancing experiences.  The choice was always mine and mine alone.

Take the Smallest Step

I decided what the smallest step I could take without feeling overwhelmed and then took that step only. So I started by writing one article for my blog. To be honest, just that step caused me to feel frustrated and overwhelmed repeatedly throughout the process and despite my desire to focus on enjoying the journey, I did question multiple times whether it was worth the effort.

But each time I asked myself that question, I had to answer that it was because even if there was no other positive outcome to my work, I do truly love to write. This quote was always helpful to come back to during that time:

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
-Rumi

And I did. I was so proud of myself for writing that article that I truly felt like if I stopped there and never created the website, I would still have achieved something big for myself. But at that point I had gained momentum and wanted even more of those feelings, so I kept going.

Go With the Flow of Life

I'm at my best when I'm at my most authentic and going with the flow of life. I'm not at my best when I'm fearful, anxious, and stuck. When something feels hard, I try to remember to give myself grace. What this typically looks like is to stop resisting the "hardness" of a task, and instead question with genuine curiosity what's really holding me back in that moment.

It's natural to feel resistance to doing something outside our comfort zone. The trick is to stop fighting it and instead examine what that resistance is really trying to tell us.

It's similar to situations where my three-year-old is having a meltdown. If I respond with frustration, anger, or attempt to shut her down by wanting her to feel instantly better, she usually feels the need to justify herself even more and escalates to epic proportions. If I calmly acknowledge that I can see she's upset and having a hard time and that it's okay to be as upset as she needs as long as she needs to be, she usually regains her composure pretty quickly.

When I'm not honoring my uniqueness, it's easy to get discouraged. When I'm feeling relief because I'm reminding myself that I am enough and have something of value to offer others, I know I'm on the right track. I also try to remember that no woman's value comes from doing, it comes from love and self worth, and I am in full control of those things.

As I write this, I'm so glad I followed my intuition and inner-wisdom and created this website and blog. The feelings I'm having are expansive, creative, excited, connected, and joyful, and so it is exactly as I thought it would be.  

If you would like to connect to learn more about how I can help you to reach your goals, I invite you to give me a call at 973-769-2401 or email at amy.beth.acker@gmail.com

 

 

The Problem With 'Make Him Love You Forever'

I was recently asked by an old friend for my opinion on companies that run Facebook ads with promises like "make him love you forever" or "how to make a man fall in love with you." She said she thought she was being targeted because her status is "single." She wanted to know my thoughts on the ads and I agreed it would be a great idea for a blog post.

Side note - I love to hear suggestions for blog posts from my readers, so if you have one, don't be shy!

When you're single, it can be almost impossible not to constantly think about the ways your life would be better if you were in a relationship. You may feel lonely and left out and you probably started wondering a long time ago what's wrong with you that you can't find (or keep) a relationship.

If you're mid-20's or older, you've most likely been in at least one "major" relationship and so you know what it feels like to have someone loving and committed in your life which makes the contrast of not having it all the more intense.

We're hard wired to connect with others and seek out intimacy. Of course a company that promises to help you end the feelings of loneliness and isolation would sound intriguing: they are appealing to one of your greatest pain points and offering an easy solution. 

Full disclosure: I've been in a relationship with my husband for 10 years . That being said, one thing I can say for sure is that if you feel lonely, isolated, or stuck as a single person, you will continue to have those feelings as someone in a relationship.

The bottom line is that the areas where you are most unhappy in life are the areas where you are giving away your power.

If you are waiting until you're in a relationship to feel good again, you are giving your power away- in this case to an idealized but imaginary significant other. Inside, your subconscious will resist you getting into a relationship with someone else when at your core, you're not okay with yourself.

R1SCM3R58Y.jpg

The main objection I take with those ads is the word "make." It implies there is some secret formula to being in a loving, committed relationship and that you don't have it. It also implies you can control someone else's feelings, and of course, you can't. It's as if love is something that can be achieved, when the reality is that love is something that is received.

Here's the truth as I see it: our value as women doesn't come from doing, it comes from self-worth and self-love. When you criticize yourself, when you place your value on external factors like the love of someone else, you disempower yourself.

If you are single and wanting to be in a relationship, here are my suggestions:

  • Continue to put yourself out there but don't attach yourself to the outcome. I know this sounds easier said than done, but enjoy the process of getting to know new people with no expectations or strings attached.
  • Let it come from a place of wanting, not a place of needing. As you put yourself out there, take note of the things you enjoyed about each experience. For example, maybe you met someone who you don't really feel a strong connection with per se, but who you found has a great sense of humor. Put the sense of humor - or more specifically, how you felt around the sense of humor on your list. Use this time to really think about what your preferences for a partner in a future relationship are.
  • Enjoy the process. You cannot have a happy ending to a journey that has not been enjoyable. Though not every interaction with a potential mate will lead to a lasting relationship, the thing you are really seeking is union and connection. Focus on the ways those feelings already exist in your life and the feeling of gratitude and appreciation that they bring to you.
  • Realize that opportunities for connection and intimacy are always there and that it is entirely within your power to focus on them now.

Ultimately, you want a partner who loves you for who you really are, but unless you yourself truly feel that you're enough, your subconscious will never allow it to happen. Heal the parts that are critical, that believe you're flawed and in the meantime, enjoy the process of learning more about what you are looking for in a potential partner.

Paradoxically, as you focus on ways that true, passionate, intimate connection already exists in your life, especially with yourself, you will expand its potential in other areas of your life as well.


"My Life Would Be So Much Better if She Got Fired!"

Years ago, I had a job that I dreaded going to. I had a colleague who was hostile, aggressive and antagonistic to everyone around her, and it caused me a huge amount of stress. When we were working together, I felt defensive and vulnerable, sometimes finding my heart pounding at the thought of having to ask her a question or communicate an issue to her.

Her outrageous behavior was well known at the agency where I was working at the time. Everyone was afraid of her, and no one wanted to do anything about it.  As time went on, I began to feel trapped and helpless. I loved my job, but she was making me miserable!

It came to a point where I dreaded every interaction with her. I felt that if only she would get fired or quit, my life would improve dramatically and everything would be good again.

I didn’t realize at the time, but I was putting my sense of joy, freedom, and power in a very unpleasant and unstable person. No wonder I was miserable!

If you are in a situation like this, here are some ways to turn your thinking around, reconnect with your authentic self, and eventually get yourself unstuck from the situation.

  1. Stop feeling the need to defend yourself.

Realize that you are never going to feel or be free when you are in the mindset of needing to justify yourself to someone else.

As executive coach Stewart Emory says, “you’re just an extra from central casting,” meaning that someone else’s opinion of you is never personal. They’re just treating you as they would anyone who represents whatever it is you happen to represent to them.

Be okay with the fact that not everyone will see you for who you authentically are, and you don’t need to spend time worrying about it. By feeling the need to explain myself to my colleague when she was giving me a hard time, I was wasting valuable time and energy. The bottom line was she was never going to be a reasonable person, and I needed to stop wanting her to be.

2.  Use your feelings to guide you to a place of balance.

How do you know when you’re not being authentic? You feel like shit! Luckily, unlike the opinions of a crazy person, our feelings are one thing we can actually control.

As Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from man except one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist whose entire family was killed and his life’s work destroyed in the Holocaust. Yet through it all, he maintained that we always have the choice of a better feeling thought.

If my younger self read that quote, I might have said that it was impossible to feel good with that woman in my life. In fact, there was a certain satisfaction and camaraderie in bitching about her with coworkers and to my husband. But that did nothing to improve my situation and in fact, it only made it worse.

If I was looking to feel joy and inner peace, focusing on the part of my job that sucked was never going to help me reach that goal - no matter how justified I was.

3. Use your thoughts to guide your feelings.

Many people think that when they feel better, their thinking about the situation will improve, but the opposite is actually true: your thoughts create your emotions. This is good news because it means you have the power to improve your situation all the time - it’s all a matter of focus.

When you’re focused on thoughts that you’re being treated unfairly, you’ll be stuck in a shitty situation until someone else gets fired or quits. If you’re honest with yourself, there is always going to be someone treating you unfairly in life. If you’re waiting until you are treated well by everyone in the world to be happy, you’ll be waiting a long time.

So how do you use your freedom to choose better feeling thoughts? By focusing only on the parts of the job you enjoy. Make a list every day of the parts of your job that are awesome and that make you feel great.

Here are some examples:

  • I’m great at my job and I love how I’ve been asked to head the new project. It feels good to know that my hard work is being recognized.

  • I love that I have friends at work. It’s great that we connect and support each other throughout the day.

  • My job gives me a daily opportunity to be creative in new ways.

  • I love that I’m taking care of my family with my income.

Look at the situation with a sense of gratitude and appreciation and then think about the feelings. The great part is that the more you use these tools, the more they’ll work for you!

             

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to learn more about how to use your thoughts to guide your feelings and find a place of balance, get in touch with me. You can call me at 973-769-2401 or email at amy.beth.acker@gmail.com.