90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 83 – Taking Responsibility for Inviting Dark Energy into Our Internal Homes

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 83: Taking Responsibility for Inviting the Dark Energy into Our Internal Homes

“I think we are all advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 A.M. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.”

-Joan Didion

We are the only ones who can invite dark toxic energy into our internal homes. We are the only ones who can turn our homes into dilapidated shacks by not taking care of them. No one is to blame for how we feel inside of us, but we are responsible. The outside world may take away choices from specific situations and we may be led down some paths that our mere physical survival is a miracle—Inside we have choices. We can write whatever story we want about our internal lives. We can connect and/or disconnect to any perspective of truth, story, feeling, and/or thought. We just have to be open enough to see that inside us is where true freedom lies.

In Part II, I wrote about accepting our pasts and releasing the unknown future. The more we can get into the NOW, the less likely that those stories from the past and the attachments to some unknown future will be used to tear apart our internal homes. Trauma therapy uses techniques to help detach a person from the story of their trauma. This doesn’t mean the trauma didn’t happen, but the story of it is what keeps it hurting us now even if the actual trauma happened decades ago.

When we let these stories live inside of us, we are living within a dilapidated shack that needs a re-model to make it the internal home of our dreams. The problem is when our internal world has a dilapidated shack at the center of it; we invite dark and toxic energy into our internal world on a regular basis. We actually are comfortable in that energy because that is where we internally live. We attract people in the physical world who will bring us the energy we feed on to comfortably live within our internal worlds. If we are attached to an internal world filled with chaos, we attract chaos. If we are attached to an internal world filled with fear, shame, blame, guilt, shame, judgment, hate, and vengeance—YOU GOT IT! The Universe will give you what you are asking by what you are projecting out. If your words to the Universe don’t match what is going on inside of you, what is going on inside of you will trump any words you speak. The darkness we invite in is our teacher for some VERY important lessons.

We are responsible for any darkness in our internal homes or dilapidated shacks. Every home will have dark spots, but if we are willing to see them, shine the light on them, and clean up that area where the darkness touched—WE HEAL!  We learn the lesson the teacher brought us. We get better! We strengthen the light within us.

Part of the process to being a better me is being able to see our own darkness with clarity. Our darkness has a beautiful purpose. It can serve us if we are willing to look at it instead of letting it grow, fester, and spread. When we attract someone to our lives that shows us our internal chaos, we have the opportunity to clean up our own darkness. We can’t assign this cleanup, remodel, and/or gut job to anybody else. If we want to change, we have to take the responsibility to look at ourselves when presented by the darkness in our physical world. If we are attaching to it, we bring it inside of us and we’ve invited it in.

6 Steps to Transforming the Darkness within Our Internal Homes

  1. Recognize the dark energy festering inside of you that was triggered by an outside source (person, animal, event, object, etc.). How are you responsible for inviting this energy in? What about this outside source created your own darkness to stir up inside of you? What about this source are you attaching to?
  2. See thought options that can shine light on your darkness. Don’t focus on changing your thoughts here, just look at your options of thoughts. What thoughts could bring peace, calm, joy, compassion, empathy, trust, faith, hope, freedom, positivity, purpose, etc. to the dark room in your home? These are your cleanup products and tools to help you fix-up any space the darkness affected. Once you know your options…
  3. Choose an action to help you turn your light on. The light switch can be prayer, dance, meditation, yoga, conscious breathing, mindfulness practices, walking, consciously exploring nature, and the list goes on and on. Many of these tools have been mentioned throughout the series.
  4. Spot the toxic waste left behind from past darkness. Be careful because toxic waste can be tricky to handle. It likes to spread poison within our homes making the structure weak. Like mold, it can hide inside our walls. The more open we are to let the darkness pass through us, the more we will be able to see any toxic spots that are trying to linger, fester, grow and spread. These are those deep belief systems (perspectives of truth) that are latching on to keep the dark thoughts that were triggered alive. The thoughts that were triggered are exposing some of the toxins left behind from long ago they show themselves as entitlement, envy, greed, sloth, vengeance, cruelty, victimhood, and rage—Just to name a few. All of these are derivatives of FEAR.
  5. START CLEANING! You see it; now clean it up with the products and tools you’ve been given. The more you get these toxic energies cleaned out, the closer you get to living and leading a purpose-filled life with a deep connection to your Divine source. Your light gets brighter the more you clean out.
  6. Be grateful for what the dark energy within you exposed. Be grateful for the teacher and the lesson. Now, the old you might have sunk into the depths of shame and guilt when you invited dark energy into your home. You might have contributed to making rooms darker and turning off more lights to the point where things around you began to fall apart and crumble. The better you has the opportunity to grow and expand from the exposed darkness. You have learned how to shine your light effectively into your home and find the secrets hidden in the walls. This is something to be EXTREMELY grateful for.

We now can create an even better space than we had before. We took responsibility for our mess and cleaned it up! So embrace the darkness and what it shows us. Fighting it and/or numbing it (addictions) will only make it stronger. We want to learn from what it has to show us. We want it to help us spot the areas we need to clean up and re-purpose. You have all the products and tools you need in this very moment. The more you use the tools you already have, the more that will become available to you in order to grow and expand from the place you are.

If you are reading this piece separately, I invite you to go back and see what you’ve missed in the series. The 90-Day A Better Me Series is like a puzzle. You want to have all the pieces to see the whole picture. Here’s a quick link to the category so that you can go back and explore what you’ve missed: https://fromalovingplace.com/category/90-day-a-better-me-series/

For best results: I suggest reading the series all the way through. You may find that by doing this you are led to people, places, and/or things that open up new doors and pathways to lead you to be living a purpose-filled life—Miracles abound! You just have to take the journey and trust that at this moment, you are exactly where you are meant to be.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Today’s Letter from A Better Me: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 83 – Taking Responsibility for Inviting the Dark Energy into My Internal Home

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 76 – Using Perspective Tools to Navigate Our Relationships

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 76: Using Perspective Tools to Navigate Our Relationships

“Each time you are tempted to become angry, or jealous, or fearful and you challenge that feeling, you empower yourself.”

-Gary Zukav

In Part II, I covered the topic of perspective (Days 42-46). We can’t use the tools of perspective until we understand how our perspectives of truth affect our lives. Until we understand about perspectives we want to see us as right and them as wrong. This view is a dark path that leads to fear, anger, hate, resentment, jealousy, revenge, envy, and codependency. We ALL know the effects of these things on our relationships.

Using perspective tools to navigate our relationships opens us up to hear what our family members, romantic partners, friends, coworkers, bosses, clients, and others are saying and where they are coming from. The more we can use our perspective tools the healthier we will be in our relationships, because as we ALL know NOBODY is going to agree with the when, where, how and why of everything we do, say, and feel. Just like, we won’t ALWAYS agree with someone else’s choices.

Using perspective tools is away to reduce the stress of not seeing things from the same angle, because really, that is all it is. We will never have the same exact view of life as any other person. We ALL have the journey each of us are meant to have, no two will ever be exactly the same. If we plan on taking any kind of relationship path with a person, the best we can do is be open to try to understand. It doesn’t mean we have to agree or change our ways, but by understanding our perspectives of truth, then making the effort to understand theirs—There is peace. Communication will improve, but we will talk about that a little later in the series. For now, we will focus on how to use perspective tools to navigate our relationships.

5 Ways You Can Use Perspective Tools

  1. We are either interpreting the moment from a place of love (light) or fear (darkness). The first step is to look at what you and the person you’re communicating with are projecting, love or fear. If either party is projecting fear, question where the fear is coming from inside.
  2. We ALL have a story we are telling. No matter what happens there are lots of ways to write our stories. When we don’t like the way we feel, think, and/or act we can choose a different way. We give the power to our stories. We decide if our story is going to be led by love or fear. How do we want our character to treat the secondary character in front of us?
  3. Try to see from the perspective of the other person. This means you have to ask a lot of questions to figure it out. Don’t tell the person how they should feel, think, or act. Ask questions to uncover why they are feeling, thinking, and/or acting the way they are. If you take the time to understand where they are coming from it’s easier for them to hear you when you explain where you are coming from.
  4. Speak in terms of perspective. You need an understanding of your perspective of truth that works in your life. Their perspective of truth might work in their life. You can ask: Does thinking the way you do bring joy and peace to your life? If it doesn’t, and your perspective of truth does bring joy and peace to your life, you are now open to explain without telling them they HAVE to change. The choice is theirs. It all depends on the perspectives we choose to believe. If your perspective doesn’t bring you peace and joy, maybe the other person may have perspectives you may want to implement in your life.
  5. KEEP QUESTIONING YOUR THOUGHTS!!! Please, if you find yourself blaming, shaming, and judging others or yourself— Go back to Part I (Days 1-30) of the 90-Day A Better Me Seriesand work through what is keeping you from having healthy relationships with others. The more we question our thinking, the better we will be.

If we use these tools, we start getting real honest with ourselves about the people we are inviting into our lives. We start noticing the energy they are bringing with them and how we feel when we are around them. If they are large sources of darkness, the more we spot it, the more we can protect ourselves from it. We will get more into that later. Like we talked about yesterday, we first have to stay present with the person standing in front of us. Once we are present, we see perspectives of truth clearly.

Once we see that we are all just interpreting life through our own unique perspective, we stop taking it so personally when people don’t agree with ours. We can question our perspectives of truth without feeling violated. It becomes much easier to say, we just see things from a different perspective and that’s okay. This is why mine works for me… If yours works for you and brings you peace and joy believing what you do—GREAT!

After we learn to navigate our relationships through the use of perspective tools, it makes it much easier to see which relationships work and which ones don’t in our lives. The more peaceful we remain in someone else’s chaos, the more the energy shifts and changes. The other person will either find a place of calm with you, or they may start unconsciously trying to stir up more chaos to break the relationship. Either way, you will be blessed the calmer and more peaceful you stay. The Law of Attraction will work in your favor.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 76

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 70 – Doing What I Love

Letters from A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 70: Doing What I Love

Dear Self,

You are just as important as all of the people I serve, so I’m honoring our journey by committing to do things I love daily. I want move through life with the energy of doing what I love to do. I know that by doing this, I will manifest more of what I love and will attract others around me who share my passions. There is no good reason not to spend time doing what I love to do daily. I know I might not be able to everything I love in one day, but I will commit to doing something I love EVERYDAY!

Here is a list of things I love doing:

  • Dancing to music with positive messages
  • Writing
  • Walking around the lake to look at the birds gathering at the island at the center of the lake
  • Nature walks and hiking off-trail
  • Going to the dog beach with my dog
  • Laughing
  • Yoga
  • Quality time with my family
  • Quality time with my friends
  • Quiet time to meditate and quiet my brain
  • Helping others discover their best selves
  • Eating flavorful foods
  • Spending Time Communicating with the Divine

With this list there is no excuses!  I can even add more things I love, because as I engage in this energy, more space will open up. I know if I don’t make time for doing the things I love, it’s because I’m not on my priority list and when I’m not on my priority list, things fall through the cracks. So, why not? I deserve my own time! The people I love deserve me to be operating as the best version of myself too.

Today I’m Grateful

  1. I’m grateful that I can MAKE time to do the things I love.
  2. I’m grateful for the energy I feel when I’m doing the things I love.
  3. I’m grateful for the joy that I feel when get to share my love with others.
  4. I’m grateful for today as an opportunity to do what I love to do.
  5. I’m grateful when I notice when it’s a good time to do what I love.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Are you doing what you love? 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 70 – Doing What We Love

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 58 – Manifesting Love through Self-Love

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 58: Manifesting Love through Self-Love

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

-Lucille Ball

Are you ready to create love in your life? This can be romance, friendship, familial, animal, nature, communal, and/or global. You know when you are ready by the amount of love you have for yourself. The more love you have for yourself, the more love you can manifest in your life. The greatest gift of the writing I do and the life I live is the amount of love I have to give and the amount I’m able to receive. There is never too much love to give or to be given. The illusion of giving too much comes from giving ourselves away, and that isn’t about love. We have to love ourselves first so that we don’t give ourselves away (Day 28). We are responsible for seeing our own value and worth (Day 52). This makes it possible to create healthy boundaries from a loving place (Day 53). This is how we make the Law of Attraction work for us.

One of the first things I did to manifest the love I actually wanted in my life was to make a list of what I wanted in a romantic partner. This list was a few pages long. I didn’t leave anything out. Now, this list was different than any of the lists I have ever written. When I wrote this list I was conscious of how energy works. I had to make sure my energy was matching what I said I wanted. Then I had to make sure nowhere on this list did I make this wonderful person responsible for my feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions. I didn’t focus on the future plans that I wanted with the person, because as I’ve said before in the series, that creates expectations and we stop seeing the person in front of us. I focused on the person and the qualities I was looking for. I was very careful not to put the energy of against into this list. This is similar to what I was talking about on Day 57 about representing the energy of what we stand for. It all falls under the same concept. Making this list was only a small piece in the puzzle.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”

-Oscar Wilde

The larger piece was having to turn the list around onto me, because we can only attract what we already have inside. This is where the real work came in. This is why the list plays a large part my 35-Day A Better Me Boot CampThe love affair we have with ourselves, is the most important of all love affairs we will ever have. It dictates how every other love story in our lives will go. Including our spiritual connection with the Creator of Universe itself. We have to know self-love before we can even begin to accept the love that our Creator has for us. Just like any other love, we will sabotage any level of love that goes beyond the love we feel for ourselves. We inject our fears into the love, which creates the stories of not enough, too much, and expectations. All these things are apart of our own self-sabotage.

The original list became the list of things I needed to work on to manifest this love outside of myself. During this process, I stopped seeking love outside of myself because I found my joy and peace within myself. I started manifesting amazing friendships, adventures, and opportunities to experience so much love. I felt full and complete within myself. I didn’t feel like my life was missing anything. So much so, that for a little bit I went to the other extreme of not allowing the Universe to make space for romance to come into my life. I see it like the pendulum swinging. I went from one extreme to the other, then with time settled into a relaxed place in the middle. I will go more into all the things we can attract by manifesting this love in our lives on Day 59.

Turning the list around onto what I needed to do and how I needed to work on treating myself was the inspiration for so much of the work I do now with individuals who are struggle to live life from a loving place. It all begins with us seeing and loving the people we are. I accept the lessons this body has to teach me, so I love my body for it. I accept the lessons my circumstances have to teach me, so I love my life for them. I accept the lessons that people come into my life to teach me, so I love what I have the ability to create from my experiences with them. I accept the gifts I’ve been given, so I love sharing my perspectives with others.

The energy of gratitude and love takes over our lives when we have this love affair with ourselves. We become aware of the miracles self-love creates in our lives and in the lives of others who are able to accept the love that we have to give. We see the world through different lens. Our prejudices, blocks, drama, chaos, and fear-based perspectives of truth (beliefs) fall away little by little. We become open to manifest love in our lives beyond what we could have ever imagined, because that love is coming from inside of us. It opens our eyes to see the love available in the world and creates more. If you’ve been reading this series, and your wondering if this is one of those times tears are running down my face…YES!

I honestly never knew how life-transforming self-love could be. I used to read thousands of self-help books that had beautiful concepts, but the problem was I struggled to apply them to my life. Self-love made the faraway concepts come to life. If you are not getting what you want from life, look inside. The answers to what we are manifesting, whether it is love or hate/fear (Day 24), all reside within the perspectives of truth (Days 42-46) we are living by and how we are using those to treat ourselves.

Love yourself enough to contribute to the changes you want to see in your world and the world around you.

Just for Today

Make your list! Create the ideal friend, partner, and/or family member to help you figure out how you need to work on having your love affair with yourself. What we want to attract from someone else is the qualities we want in ourselves. We have to make sure they are in-line with what we feel and how we treat ourselves to manifest this level of love in our lives. We will dig deeper into this in Part III.

Enjoy this journey! This is the love affair that will create true magic in your life. Don’t take it for granted.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece:90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 58 – Manifesting Love in My Life

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 49 – Gratitude in Our Relationships

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part II: A Journey of Perspective

What Launches Us Forward: The Stable Foundation

Day 49: Gratitude in Our Relationships

“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant.”

-Tony Robbins

When have expectations on the people closest to us, we are setting ourselves up to be let down time and time again. Nobody owes us anything. If we think that a person we love owes us something because we did something for them there is a debt to be paid, we gave to that person from a place of lack. When we demand respect, love, understanding, time, etc., we are not being honest about the intentions of why we chose to give in the first place. We might have been giving out of self-expectations, low self-worth, attachment to titles, to feel wanted, to feel needed, etc. None of those are giving from a place of love. When we have expectations of others to be more than who they are, we are coming from a place of lack. When we can be grateful for who they are and what they are capable of giving, we are coming from a place of abundance. We don’t need someone else to fill a hole inside of us. We are complete on our own. We can give without giving ourselves away because we are giving from a place of fullness. When we give from a place of love, we feel gratitude in the ability to give.

Giving from a loving place means we are keeping ourselves in the abundance of gratitude—Our relationships shift and change. The people who are stuck in their own dark place who fed off our demanding energy of lack will grow and change with us, or they will grow apart from us. Family members, friends, and partners who feel the new energy and embrace it will shift with us. We will actually see more of the light inside them too. We will appreciate those relationships even more.

“The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.”

-James E. Faust

By keeping our focus on our gratitude, we start really seeing the partners and friends we choose to have in our lives. Our perspectives of truth (Days 43-46) shift and expand to see people from a more realistic view. We aren’t putting the relationships in the future or in the past, we are in the relationship right now. We are noticing what is happening now. If we have friends from the past, and we choose not to see them now because of our connection to the past, we miss opportunities to see who they are now. We might be missing the gifts that come from the growth each person has had.

When we are in intimate romantic relationships that are focused on the future, we are not seeing the person in front of us AT ALL! We are seeing the dream of who we are wishing them to be in terms of what we want for our future. That is way too much pressure to put on a relationship. Be grateful for the love now. Be grateful for the caring gestures now. Be grateful for the challenges now where you learn if this is even a person you want in your life. If they aren’t a person you want in your life, be grateful you figured that out. When we are grateful, we see the person in front of us. We learn and grow from their time in our lives and that is something to be grateful for no matter how long the relationship lasts. If they are not meant for the long term, we can be thankful for the things we learned and grow from there.

Even in our most intimate relationships, we can’t make our partners feel, think, act, or react in anyway that he/she doesn’t make the choice to do. We can’t make our partners happy. They have to choose to be happy, if they choose to be happy, they will appreciate our happiness and the happiness they share with us. They can’t make us happy either, because we have to make that choice for ourselves too. The same is true for anger, jealousy, etc. It’s all of it, light and dark energies. If we make someone else responsible for our feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions we gave our power away from a place of lack and fear. It’s that hole some people feel that only an intimate partner can fill. That is a perspective of truth that is very painful for all parties involved. Knowing we are responsible for ourselves and our partners are responsible for themselves is a perspective of truth that leaves a lot of room for gratitude and expansion. We can help without enabling. We can serve without expecting. We can receive with full love for the gesture.

“No gesture is too small when done with gratitude.”

-Oprah

Side note: For those who have been caught in narcissistic relationships, living from a place of gratitude shifts your energy away from the narcissist. A narcissist needs chaos to thrive and feed on. Living in gratitude and feeling good about ourselves takes away their power of us. If you are still in the relationship they will fight against positive shifts. They will try anything to revert your energy back to a chaotic place where they can feel like they are in control. Keep focusing on gratitude, when you have reached a certain point the signs will be so clear when it’s time to leave. You won’t feel the chaos behind the choice. You will feel a peace inside you. It is a truly empowering moment. The shift is definitely something to be grateful for!

Communicating from the energy of gratitude and expansion keeps the defenses down. We can appreciate hearing their view, then explain ours. If we don’t treat differences like battlegrounds, we grow together. Just remember:

img_3972

If you are having trouble with a family member, partner, or friend, keep them on your gratitude list. It will help you get out of your own unhealthy space of focusing your energy on lack, which is what creates the space of expecting people to be more than they are. We want to see people from our light, because it will not only help us focus on the light in them, but we will see their dark spots and know if we need to have space from this person. When we are in a dark place inside, we can want and expect people to show up more, but when we find our light, we may see space from them is a true blessing. We want to feed our peace, not our chaos. That is our responsibility to ourselves. When we have a grateful heart and share from a loving place, we feel good! NO ONE can take that away from us no matter how they respond to our loving action. We are full. We are abundant in loving energy. We can show up to our relationships with gratitude for whatever the day holds. There are so many blessings that come with relationships full of gratitude!

Just for Today

Focus your gratitude list on relationships you are struggling with. You will feel a clear energy shift with that person once you have found your own light. They will feel it too. It’s one of the miracles of gratitude. This may take a lot longer than one day if the dark energy you feel about the person runs deep. Keep going!

This exercise helped me move out of my own toxic space in unhealthy relationships and opened me up to countless blessings that I’m still experiencing today even know those particular people are long gone. I’m so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I got to learn about myself in those relationships. Their darkness ended up helping me to brighten my light. I’ve also felt amazing shifts in my relationships with my children, friends, and family members by focusing on this list. It really is an AMAZING journey!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

Make sure to  read today’s Letter from A Better Me 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 49 -Celebrating Gratitude in My Relationships

 

 

What Now, Irma?

After taking our unplanned road trip to Georgia, we got to experience some of Irma for ourselves. Since the kids won’t be going back to school until Monday, I decided to wait out some of the chaos of worrying about gas stations having electricity and/or gas at all. I also would let all those desperate to get home to have the road. I really didn’t want to be on the road with so many people who were so exhausted and in fear of what they would find on the other end of their drives. I know it was hard enough keeping my focus as I left Florida.

Many of my friends went home to be stuck without A/C in 90°F weather, no gas, and limited food and water. Many wishing they would have stayed up this way a little longer. Lots of my Naples friends are without cell service, so I sit and wait for limited communications through Facebook and other sources. I see pictures upon pictures of damage and devastation to areas I’ve grown up. Though most of my friends and family were lucky during the storm, their battle with Irma is still not over and won’t be for a long time to come. Her damage was extensive and many areas outside of what we see on the news were affected. Truthfully, how do we even begin to cover it all?

IMG_5937

As I sit here, I wonder about going home. There is now a rising river that may cause problems on my journey. UGH!!!!! Seriously, I thought it would be good to let some time pass before going back, and now it might come with a price. I’m once again faced with: Do I go now? Do I wait? I’m sitting in utter disbelief of all the problems Irma is causing. Deaths are not over; now we have heat exhaustion and issues with carbon monoxide poisoning from generators getting us. Some of my single mom friends are struggling to get food because it is cash only, and they don’t have any cash. Tears are filling my eyes as the words come out.

I’m very guilty of sitting on the outside, thinking that once a storm is over it’s done. Without having people on the inside it can be difficult to see how hard it really is in the aftermath of it all. I’ve been through many hurricanes, but not one that has caused this much widespread damage. I can’t stop thinking about all the areas that are being hit by natural disasters now. All the fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding are consuming my mind of how they affect each individual person having to go through them or have family and friends going through them. The thoughts and feelings are overwhelming.

To love is to recognize yourself in another.

– Eckhart Tolle

I will keep my heart in a loving place. I will keep praying for all those who are suffering. I will continue to love openly. I know that my love is more important than my pain. I won’t try to hide from my feelings and pretend they are not there. I’m proud to feel all the feelings that are going through me. I don’t want to be numb for this. I need to be able to show up for my family, friends, strangers, and myself in the most loving way possible. This is how I will get through.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2017

 

 

 

Hurricane Irma: A Single Mom’s Unplanned Road Trip

Growing up in Southwest Florida, I’ve experienced quite a few hurricanes. I lived in Naples during Andrew, the one that did so much damage and the reports keep comparing Irma to, saying this one is much worse. In my early twenties, I lived in Oak Island, North Carolina. I stuck around for a hurricane coming right over us, my poor family had to watch and wait in panic. As a mom, I decided category three or higher; we leave.

When Hurricane Irma turned into a Category 5, I watched her very carefully. The long term projection showed where I live now on the West Coast of Florida might see the ugliest side of her; the north east corner. My exit strategy started forming, but I gave her a little time. As she came closer, the projected path started to turn east. This is when my mind started really spinning. I couldn’t stop thinking about Hurricane Charley. The models showed a landfall more north, then it took a sudden turn and many people were unprepared for a direct hit. Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead, but Naples had plenty of damage. Another hurricane came through as direct hit on the SW side then passed through and did a lot more damage in Ft. Lauderdale then where we were. Do I stay or do I go? I left when Katrina passed over our waters and watched intently because my ex-boyfriend and his family lived on the coast of Mississippi. I remember desperately searching the Internet to find out they were all safe. His dad and stepmom were those people who were always prepared. They had a hurricane room that looked like a convenience store. In the end, it didn’t matter. Katrina stripped her to the foundation. They didn’t live that close to the water. It was at least a five to ten minute drive from what I remember. Should I stay or should I go? I knew I needed to get calm and make a decision. Florida is not like many other states. If you live anywhere in the southern half, you need to make a decision fairly early. It takes me five hours or more to get to the border of Florida. When I was in Naples it took around six and half on a good day. Now add evacuation traffic; NIGHTMARE!

On Tuesday, I really was confused whether to stay or go, but staying was causing me so much anxiety. Not because of the storm itself as much as the aftermath. Flooding, food, and transportation were stuck in my brain. Now, I’m very fortunate to have a friend who lives close to Atlanta, Georgia that the kids and I stay at every summer. I knew I had a place to go outside of Florida. Some people would say, “It’s probably going to hit there too.” Yes, it is, but from where I am. I can go in any direction to escape Irma’s path. I don’t have that option in Florida. In Florida, she will come in as a category 4 or 5, but in this area, at most a category 1. That’s a BIG difference! I spent Tuesday and Wednesday studying traffic on an app for my phone. I watched accident after accident pop up on my screen. I checked on traffic through out the night on Tuesday to see if I leave in the middle of the night, could I avoid a lot of the evacuation traffic. Luckily, the answer was yes. Gas was out all over the state, so the fear of not being able to get any came into my head. I needed to get my head on straight. Stop getting into the fear and make the best decision for my family.

I struggle with decision-making when there is a lot of chaos going on. I spoke with a friend, the more we talked, I realized my gut wasn’t telling me to stay, despite many people telling me I would be fine where I was. I needed to get quiet and pray. I sat in my closet (safe from interruption), got still, and asked a direct question, “Should I leave?” I got my answer, a very loud and solid YES! A calm came over me and I knew I made the right decision. I figured there were three options:

  1. Irma would come into the Gulf of Mexico and hit us with her worse side.
  2. She would go up the middle and get all of Florida.
  3. She would go out to the Atlantic and hit somewhere further up the coast.

Being, I really didn’t like options one or two, I asked myself would I regret leaving, the answer a resounding NO. I put my thoughts in a less stressful place because I needed a clear head while I was driving. I decided I was going to go on a road trip to see friends. Wednesday, I packed the kids, our cat, and myself up and I was good to go. I went to sleep early and set my alarm for 1AM. We were on the road by 1:30AM.

The first few hours were easy. I even could set my cruise control. I saw traffic coming up so I pulled off at a full rest area. I slipped into one of the few spots. I’m so glad I did because all the rest areas after that were packed well beyond capacity with cars and trucks lining the highway. Many travellers were taking sleep breaks because they had been traveling so long. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about all the people leaving their family, friends, and homes. As a category 5 hurricane our lives as we know it may change very quickly.

Going through Georgia took the longest because it was daytime and the majority of travellers were on the road. So many unnecessary accidents along the way because people wouldn’t give each other space to slow down. I stayed next to the shoulder and had to use it to avoid an accident two cars ahead of me.

I have lived in Florida for a good chunk of my life. I lived in Naples multiple times starting when I was in fifth grade. My children were born there. I worked there. Most of all, many of my closest lifetime friends are there along with my boyfriend and his family. I knew many of them were staying and most of them were hoping the track was going to keep shifting east.

Now, as of 5:00AM Saturday morning this massive storm is going to hit at the least as a category 4 and a possible 5. Now, my home that I share with my mom and stepdad is also going to get a major hit as a 3 or 4, along with St. Petersburg area where I went to Eckerd College and met so many amazing people. This means a huge portion of my children’s and my family and friends are now going to be on the worst side of this massive storm. As grateful as I am that I got the gut instinct to leave, and that I could keep my calm on the road because I had a familiar place to go with my kids, my nerves are still on high alert.

I am doing my best to stay present, but I’m not going to lie, my head is in so many places and with so many of the people I love. I don’t know when the next time I will be able see any of them is. I don’t know how the roads will be or how long it will be before I can get home to my family and get my kids back to their normal routines. If it will even be an option.

We didn’t take much with us besides clothes, important paperwork, our electronic devices, and a handful of sentimental items. When I was looking around at what to pack, I thought this is all just stuff. If it all goes, it won’t matter. What will matter is what happens to all the people I love.

I’m happy I don’t have to make that last minute decision wondering if it’s too late to leave and will there be enough gas to get out, but my heart, mind, and soul are there with the people I love. I will be praying and hoping that I hear from them all once the storm passes. Be safe my friends. I love you.

I have been blessed with SO MANY AMAZING people in my life. I know I’m not alone. There are no right ways to feel right now. We all experience watching an event like this from our own personal angle. Our strengths and weaknesses may be exposed, but through these traumatic experiences we grow as a global community. I am not alone. My friends and family are not alone. I just watched so many people come together to help with Hurricane Harvey. I’m watching the best of humanity come out to help with the earthquake that just happened in Mexico and the fires in Oregon, Montana, and California. Even if the media hasn’t covered some of them, good people still will show up in whatever way they can; even if it is prayer. Every piece of positive energy matters and that is what needs to be focused on. Please stay compassionate and non-judgmental towards the people in it. They are all doing the best they can with what they have. It is much easier looking at a situation from outside the box. I’m guilty of doing it and I’m reminding myself as much as I’m telling you. We don’t know what the best answer is for anyone else’s situation, and we don’t have all the cards. So please, keep the energy positive and loving.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2017

P.S. If you are new to the blog, pictures on this blog are from my personal adventures and taken by me. This featured Image is in Venice, FL. I really hope the pier is still there when I get home.

I apologize to any grammar police. This piece is very raw. I couldn’t focus on proper grammar. 

Oh Grief!

I haven’t written for a while, because quite honestly, I’ve been lost in grief. In October my “Gifted mother” (GM) went home to my dad in heaven. So, not only am I going through the grief of losing her, but also because we need to sell their family home, I’ve been feeling like I’m losing him all over again. I have to say goodbye to a home that offered so many loving memories, when truly I so desperately want to hold onto it. I’m financially not in the position to do it. My dad, GM and I talked about me having the house many times because it was my dream home for the kids and I to live. I have pictured them growing up there a million times. So, not only have I lost them, I lost a dream of a life. I know in my heart if I was meant to have the house, a way would have presented itself, but it hasn’t. I have to believe its because that is not the direction I’m supposed to be going, but right now that reality is very hard to swallow.

Every day since I found out my GM was dying has been a struggle. So many thoughts and feelings have been eating at me. I’ve been endlessly spinning. My life has paid the price for being out of balance as I’ve watched my children suffering in their own ways and I’ve watched my joy be tainted with so much questioning. I’ve been watching myself, thank GOD with awareness; I haven’t been able to stop the thoughts from coming, but at least knowing that my natural childlike defenses are on heightened alert.

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I’ve been keeping myself endlessly busy, which is very easy to do as a single mom during the holidays. My goal was to get through the holidays and get a fresh new start in 2017. On December 28th, my 98-year-old grandmother died. She is the last of my grandparents and her and my grandfather have lived in their house since before my dad was born. So, another door closes and once again the house needs to be sold. All the memories of the house will be left to my head and heart. My kids and I visited her on our road trip this summer. Her humor was still fully intact and her love for us was abundant. She was an amazing example of a life well lived. I feel her loss to the core of my being.

In my Intro to Human Development course in college, the book Life-Span Development by John W. Santrock said, “Grief is the emotional numbness, disbelief, separation anxiety, despair, sadness, and loneliness that accompany the loss of someone we love.” Grief doesn’t just surface when people, pets, and living things die. It surfaces anytime someone or thing we have feelings for leaves our lives. When we leave any part of an old life behind, such as: loss of work, divorce, addictions, changes in location and/or lifestyle; we grieve.

Kübler -Ross developed the idea of the 5 stages of gief that came from what was considered originally as the 5 stages of dying. They are the same:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

I’ve seen this process again and again, but somehow I think I can escape these losses without going through the each stage. When I read through it in class, I could relate, but only as a past tense experience. I keep trying to believe there is some magic way to not experience the feelings of every stage. Now at least, I’m able to slow down and look at the list and go OK, I have to just let it pass through me with awareness. Most days I have to remind myself daily or I forget and spin it into a drama that I don’t want added to my life. I can spend time questioning every detail and letting all of the progress of these past years whirl around me as I’m swept up in this tornado.

Sometimes we forget that grieving isn’t exclusive to adults either. Some cultures have rituals they follow, which I believe helps them stay present to the grieving process. But in other cultures, living in a fast-paced society; the busy doing world of single mothers; teachers stretched so thin they can’t see the whole student; and mental health systems that are too interested in labeling kids quickly; we can miss what grief is doing to the children. I just recently got a taste of how some educators have become numb to a child’s emotional pain. This is not entirely their fault, teachers are stretched so thin that sometimes all they can see is behavior and they don’t find the time to see that a child may be grieving.

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My son has been struggling for a long time, but more than ever this year. Our last six years have been full of losses, but even I missed that some of his acting up may have been because he was grieving all these tremendous losses in his life. We tried therapy but they couldn’t label what they saw in the short time he had covered, so it was missed on all kinds of levels. I didn’t see it until it got so bad that it was impossible to avoid. I started researching how grief comes out in students. The results came out like a checklist of all the behaviors he has been exhibiting in school. This experience has reminded me of how easy it is to expect children to do what we can’t do ourselves. Who acts normal when they are grieving? As an adult with lots of experience with grief, I’m watching myself be totally chaotic and lost at times. How is it an 11 year old, who hasn’t studied it and is only at the beginning of understanding meaning of life supposed to process all these losses like death, divorce, addiction, moving, etc.?

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Grief is something that has been studied and documented for years. There is a formula but it is complicated and not linear. There is no escape from the process. We must face it in order to move through it. If we try to avoid any of the stages we stay stuck. Sometimes we will try to fill the void and we will endlessly fail. Other times we try to cover the void with alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescribed), food, sex, and/or some other form of addictive behavior. Once again staying stuck and digging ourselves into a deeper pit of endless sorrow. I’m deep in the grief process right now and I’m not running, but I feel far from normal. I’m just trying to stay aware of where my head and heart are and doing the next right thing. Today that meant spending 30 minutes reading with my kids before school; taking a long walk while listening to an inspiring audiobook; meditating; having lunch with a friend; and reading and writing about grief. In my research, I found one of my favorite authors, Louise Hay wrote a book with David Kessler about grieving called, You Can Heal Your Heart. I love how when we ask for help and mean it, we find exactly what we need.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Facebook.com/FromAlovingPlace

Raising Children in A World of Addiction

 

Facing addiction from the outside is hard enough, but when children are involved it is a whole different ball game. In the past few years there has been a significant increase in grandparents taking the role of caretakers due to kids getting taken away from addicted parent(s) or one parent having to take on all the responsibilities as the other parent falls deep into the darkness of addiction. Families are breaking apart and struggling through the pain of watching their beloved family members completely disappear. I’ve experienced what it is like to lose people to this cunning and baffling disease, which is so incredibly powerful.

As outsiders looking in, we can say and think things like, “Just stop doing it!” It seems obvious, right? We can say, “Just limit yourself to two drinks.” We can go on and on with logical reasons for them to stop doing these harmful behaviors. When the person has kids, “Do it for your kids” and “Do it for your family.” We all wish those were the magic words to get them back on track. Sometimes, we go as far as trying to get the children to step-up and help straighten their parent(s) out. Imagine that weight on a child’s shoulders. What if their parent doesn’t clean up, is it now their fault? The problem is, a lot of kids take the responsibility very seriously and yes they blame themselves for their parent(s) addictions.

I used to use relationships as my addiction. People would ask the same kinds of questions. Most of us have something we use that is not so healthy. We can look at ourselves in order to help us feel compassion for others who are in a situation that they are not ready to change. I wasn’t able to break my toxic patterns in relationships until I was ready. Nothing anybody did, no matter how much sense it made could make me change. When I was ready, I stopped making excuses and changed. It wasn’t easy and I still slip into old harmful thought patterns. That connection really helps me to see addiction from a loving place. If it is that hard for me to change without using a chemical addictive substance, how hard is it for people who have been using prescription pills, alcohol, heroine, etc.? Those all have chemicals that change the way the brain functions.

My heart goes out to all families in this situation. I will tell you, it is full of lessons and we will rise up and we will make mistakes, because we all want what is best for our families. Admitting the truth about addiction is a very hard pill to swallow. Here are just a few things I have learned along the way:

Leave Children Out of Rescue Missions

An addict will only get help with their addiction when they are ready. There will be no excuses!!! They can’t be forced into it. When they are not ready, they will throw blame around like it is going out of style. If we are rescuers, we think we have the power to make it better. We think if we just tell them this, or do that, they will stop. No matter how hard any of us try, we will fail if we take on this responsibility. Children will take this defeat personally, so the best advice is to not get them involved in any attempts to make their parent different then they are. This is a challenge, because if we are fixers kids will see the behavior and try to mimic it. They will attempt to rescue and will be defeated, but the difference is if they are young, they only see what is concrete. This is so hard to watch children struggle through watching a parent disappearing. The effects are endless and they different issues can show up in their interactions with other family members, school, friends, and authority to name a few. BE AWARE and BE VIGILANT!

Children Need to Know: This is Not Their Fault

We have to remember to look at the situation through children’s eyes. They feel rejected and abandoned by the first male and/or female who are supposed to love them and that they are supposed to trust. If we didn’t have this experience, it is REALLY hard to imagine what that would feel like. The addict can’t accept love from others because they don’t love themselves. They are filled with so much unhealed shame that they try to cover it up with their addiction of choice. The negative energy that consumes them inside is projected out to the world. They focus their energy on all the negative things. When good things come in, they sabotage them, because deep down they feel unworthy of the happiness. They will create chaos to feed their addiction. It is a toxic cycle that can be passed down from generation to generation. In order to break it, we have to see it in how a child sees and treats him/herself.

Teaching children the importance of seeing their best qualities and forgiving themselves when they make mistakes will help them brake the harmful patterns of shame that can be passed down. We can help them to understand that nobody is perfect because we are all here to learn. Some of us will have harder lessons than others, but the good thing is, the harder the lesson we learn, the more opportunity we will have to help others through our experiences.

Make sure they are reminded that they are not to blame for their parent(s) actions and no amount of love they feel and show can change a person who is caught up in the cycle. A person must love her/himself in order to show love to others. If they don’t what they think is love becomes warped and manipulated. They will actually use it as a tool to hurt themselves and others unintentionally, because really they are just projecting the ugliness they feel inside.

Prayer can help release children from taking on the burden of fixing their parent (s). Just remember to let them know that prayer will help them when they are ready, because we all have free will. We are capable of resisting negativity or positivity. We have to do the footwork.

Prayer: Please help (fill in name) to feel the love of all the people who love him/her. Please help (fill in name) see their good heart and find the self-love and self-worth to release them from the grips of addiction. Please guide (fill in name) to find their way out of the darkness to be able to feel, accept, receive, and give love. Amen.

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Keep the Focus on the Positive

The addict is an addict. We can’t fix that situation, so it does nothing for us to blame and resent them. It definitely doesn’t help to try to blame ourselves either. I know how hard this one sounds, but our resentment will rub off on the relationship we have with the children involved and it will not make for a healthy situation. If you have been honored to take a child out of a toxic situation and give them a loving one, keep it loving. Resentment is a toxic energy and it will play out in these children’s lives throughout their adulthood. We need to help them focus on what they do have instead of festering about what they don’t. When we focus on the positive, we attract better lives.

A gratitude jar is a great way to help kids find things daily to be grateful for. One day, they may realize how amazing their life is because of how strong the situation made them. We can’t control the addict, but we can control how we treat the people we love. By not blaming and shaming ourselves or others, we bring a positive light to a dark situation. This can make all the difference of how it will play out later down the line. For now, we are simply giving children the seeds of hope. If they keep watering them, they will grow strong.

Let Children Talk About How They Feel

Be open to let children talk, but be careful about how you respond. Listening and letting them know that you hear them is so important. Ask questions, and try to limit statements. Honor how they feel. DON’T tell them they shouldn’t feel a certain way. These are their feelings, try a response like, “Sorry you feel that way.” Let them know you understand, and if you’re sad about the situation tell them. Stick to the feeling. Don’t get caught up in a conversation that is way over a child’s head.

Sometimes things happen that we just don’t understand and it doesn’t make sense to us. This is a part of life and a lesson we all face all through adulthood. Think of it this way: When we are helping children through painful situations we are planting seeds for tools they can use for the rest of their lives. We all want to be heard. When a child feels rejected and abandoned they can feel defenseless in the world. If they learn that it is safe to express feelings and find healthy ways to cope with them, we are helping to break toxic shame cycles that come from suppressing feelings.

Repeat the emotion they are saying they feel or try to get them to name it. “I hear that you are feeling very hurt. Is that right?” By using this active listening tool we make it clear that we REALLY hear what they are saying.

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Get Support

We can’t change the addict, but we can change the effect the addict has on us. Do the research. The only way to have a positive outcome in this situation is to work through it. Denial of the truth is your worst enemy. Get help! Give children a safe place to get their anger and fear out physically. If the child likes sports, find a way to get them involved. Coaches and teams have a positive impact on kids. Find extra-curricular activities that support the children’s well-being. Acting/ drama is a great tool for children to learn how to express themselves physically and emotionally. There are plenty of forms of physical exercise that can help: trampolines, punching bags, bike riding, yoga, etc. Find the right one for the child. Some kids love reading, research books that deal with this kind of issue.

Search out programs for yourself to help you navigate your way through the situation in as healthy a way as possible. There are 12-step programs for family member of addicts. These programs aren’t focused on changing the addict. Their focus is on the health and well-being of the person attending the group. The groups are centered on what we can control, and that is us and how we deal with the situation.

DON’T Force the Addict to Participate in Children’s Lives

This can be one of the hardest things. We want to fix the situation for everyone and we know that a child having her/his parent is so important. The temptation to try to fix it and make it right will be tempting and most good people will try to do this multiple times before they realize it’s devastating effects. We can love the addict all we want, but they will only get better when they are ready. Forcing them to be and do something they are not ready to do will hurt all parties involved. For the addict, it will add to the vicious shame, hate, guilt cycle and often times sends them further down the addiction path.

For the child, they will be rejected over and over never giving their wound time to heal. If we are not addicts it is hard to understand the power of addiction, and it is not personal to any other person than the addict. No matter who they blame, addiction is a path that person went down by making a lot of poor choices to run from their lives. It is their problem, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have negative effects on the whole family. If we try to force an addict to be there before they are ready, the broken promises will keep coming and the hurt will keep growing and festering.

Teaching a child the power of prayer for the parent to get the help they need or to feel love are great prayers. Just don’t keep opening the door for them to get hurt over and over. When and if the addict is ready, they will get the help they need and will work on fixing any broken relationships they feel are important. Trust that if they are not showing up for their kids, there is a good reason and it is in the best interest of the children. It just might be that the kids are Divinely protected. If you have a spiritual practice, trust in the Divine power of the Universe and that everything will work out exactly as it is supposed to for the highest good of all those involved.

Now, the effect of addiction to family members can range all over the map. We can feel like victims, martyrs, saviors, along with having extreme episodes of depression and anxiety. I’m not blaming the addict for this, but we find a coping mechanisms that fits our thought and behavior patterns. The good news is even if the addict stays active, we don’t have to keep getting effected by their choices. This takes work, because we have to break our own unhealthy habits. How do you know if you are healthy or not? It’s all in the reaction. Do you feel like it is your job to change the addict? NOT HEALTHY! Do you think you can change the addict? NOT HEALTHY! Do you feel like a victim to the addict? NOT HEALTHY. These are not easy things to look at on our own: therapy, spiritual practices, 12-step programs, books, seminars, etc. There are many necessary combinations between them and they are all paths to recovery. We are not alone, especially now. We have access to any kind of help we need, we just have to be willing to dig deep enough.

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I’m not talking out of a place of unknowing. If you know about me and what I write about, you know AL-ANON (a 12-step program to help families of alcoholics) is apart of how I broke many of my unhealthy thought and behavior patterns. I have been through therapy; have a B.A. in Human Development, which was focused on psychology; and I took multiple courses dealing with addiction and solutions for people effected by it. I have also read countless books on self-help, spirituality, shame, and all variations that lead me to better thought and behavior patterns. My focus is on solutions. I have made plenty of mistakes in my attempts at bettering challenging situations, but I keep trying. I’m still learning daily.

My final piece of advice is be kind to yourself. Sometimes awareness can be painful. We may still freeze and feel lost at times. We may spend days crying and lose our cool out of frustration. Just because we understand things logically doesn’t mean the heart won’t feel the pain and the grief that comes from watching someone we love get lost in the throws of addiction. Keep praying, keep moving, and keep taking care of yourself. Don’t get lost in taking care of others. As they say in Al-Anon, we must put the oxygen masks on ourselves first in order to effectively help others.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff

www.facebook.com/FromALovingPlace

www.twitter.com/Wolffspirit9

www.FromALovingPlace.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Ways to Better ANY Relationship

IMG_93231.  Get Rid of “Right and Wrong” Mentality

Right and wrong mentality is about power. Healthy relationships are about each person seeing the other’s perspectives, being able to agree or disagree, and doing it all without engaging in a power battle. Each person in a relationship has different belief systems. If we keep finding a solution as the goal, and get rid of figuring out who’s right and wrong, we keep our minds open to creativity. We have reasons for making the choices we do. In order to communicate with compassion and make choices from a loving place, we have to stay open to other perspectives. When we do this, we engage in wonderful relationships with all kinds of new and interesting people. Choosing to see our beliefs as just one of many perspectives, improves our life and all our relationships.

2.  Find the Good

We prepare our defenses when someone’s actions trigger a vulnerable spot in us. We tune them out as we formulate our counter-attack. Stop at that moment and consider:

  • Why are you in a relationship with this person in the first place?
  • What do you like about him/her?
  • What are some of their better qualities?

When we focus on the love, respect, or interest we have in the person, communication get easier and solutions are apparent without any emotional or physical harm to each other.

3.  Ask Questions

Too often arguments start because we make assumptions without asking enough questions. We assume we know where the other person is coming from. For the health of our relationship, we need to ask:

  • “How did that (situations, look, tone) make you feel?”
  • “Am I understanding this/you correctly?”
  • “What did you mean when you said_______?”
  • “How do you think we can make this better?”
  • “Did I say something that is causing some confusion?”

Continue to ask questions until you reach an understanding. It shows the other person that you are willing to hear them. When we value a relationship, we need to invest in peaceful resolutions. We all have our own stories. Our responsibility is to make sure we are looking at the person in front of us, and not the ones from our past.

 4.  Listen Carefully

The truth is in the details. People who are not hurting do not hurt others. If someone is calling you or someone else a name, imagine they are calling themselves that name. When people are giving others fear, hate, and/or anger, those feelings are circulating inside them. People who feel worthy don’t attack others. Try to see them with compassion and not your ego. The ego makes the situation about you. When we truly listen, we get to the heart of the problem. From there, solutions are uncovered.

5.  Give Space to Respond

Healthy relationships are about responding, not reacting when we are having trouble communicating. Sometimes we say the first thing on our mind and risk of hurting an important relationship. If we take three deep breaths, we may gain a little perspective on the situation. Other times we need to walk away before we respond in order to process the information. Either way, take the space you need to choose the best response. Keep the goals of your relationship in mind. If you are looking for a loving, compassionate, productive, and/or effective relationship, make sure your response is contributes to that.

6.  Take Your Power Back

Why are you reacting with anger, fear, and hurt? Why do you choose to give the person you are with the power to stir up these feelings inside you? Many times we are reacting to past hurts that can be traced all the way back to childhood. Our negative reactions to the current situation are opportunities to heal the past. When we take our power back and investigate where these hurt feelings came from, we can release a lot of pain that is only hurting our current relationships. Empower yourself by knowing your feelings and actions are your choice. You can change them by gaining a little perspective about why what is happening is making you feel the way it does. What other way can you look at the current situation to strengthen your own personal power?

 7.  Investigate Your Belief Systems

 We all come with the baggage of belief systems. Some are useful, but others are destructive. It is our job to investigate them and see they are helping or hurting our relationships. Are the following “truths” for you:

  • Relationships are hard work! Are they? Do they have to be? Are we making them that way?
  • Men should/Women should/Children should/Bosses should/Co-workers should… Do we shove people into categories of what we think they should and shouldn’t do or be? Is this hurting our current relationships?
  • I don’t like being told what to do! Does this create issues when dealing with colleagues, teachers, friends, intimate partners, and/or family?
  • What I say goes! This is a power play. Is this what you are looking for in your relationships?

 8.  Find Peace Within

If we don’t know what it feels like to be peaceful inside, we won’t be able to have it in our relationships. Internal chaos comes from unhealed shame and guilt from the past. By facing the darkest parts of ourselves and forgiving all that needs to be forgiven, we create peace within. Our relationships improve and people who were attracted to our chaos will fall away. When we find peace within we present with the people in our lives. We can talk to them with love and compassion, without our past getting in our way. When we get triggered, our peace within slows us down to respond appropriately.

9.  Love Yourself More 

We demonstrate how we want to be treated by the way we treat ourselves. We allow others to walk on us if we lay down in front of them. When we love ourselves, we don’t do that. We stand as equals. If we want respect, we have to show ourselves respect. If we want love, we have to give it to ourselves. This is not selfish. We can only truly give what we have inside. When we don’t care for ourselves first we take on martyr and victim roles. We will get physically and emotionally ill. How does that better ANY relationship? Learn to say, “I love you, but I love me more.” All your relationships benefit from treating yourself with the love and respect that you deserve.

10.  Stop Taking Things Personally

 What they do and say is their stuff. How we react or respond is ours. When we make it about us, that’s when we are being self-involved. We only hurt people when we are wounded. If someone raises their voice, says hurtful things, or even uses physical violence, it comes from an internal battle inside. Knowing it is not about us, we can respond in the most compassionate way possible. Does this mean we should ever accept any form of verbal, emotional, and or physical abuse? No, but you will if you don’t reconcile your own beliefs, forgive, and love yourself more.

11.  Respect Each Other’s Differences

We are all different and have wonderful contributions to give to the world. But if we think we know a better way to live someone else’s life, we are hurting everyone. We are telling the person that we don’t respect them enough to let them live their life. We miss great opportunities to express love, compassion, and acceptance. The world needs people to be different to survive. We all have strengths and diverse paths. If we want to improve our relationships, we need to focus on what we can do, how we can work together and what will make us stronger. We all learn what we are meant to learn. We will all experience lessons to make us the person we want to become. It’s great to share your experiences, strength, and hope. Just don’t expect others to do anything with them. If it feels right to their journey, they will act on those ideas. If it doesn’t, they won’t. It’s just that simple. When we respect each other we don’t have to take each other’s actions personally. We can love and accept the person for who they are, instead of who we want them to be.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff