Author: Kristen Brown

What Your Man Really Needs From You

We hear a lot of talk about oppressed women, but do we hear much about repressed men? Quite frankly, I never have. At least not in the way I’m about to explain.

As a life coach and hairstylist for 28 years, I have had my share of personal conversations with men. I have also had countless conversations with women. I’ve always been fascinated with relationships and human nature and have compiled a large amount of organic data through both my careers and personal relationships.

The one thing I have seen repeatedly is what I call “The Knight in Shining Armor Syndrome.” This syndrome is comprised of women thinking a man is going to fill all the gaps in her heart. He will ride into her life atop his steed, emotionally healthy and always doing the right thing. He will be complete and whole in his emotional body and deliver her from all the evils of the world.

It’s about time someone advocates for the men out there because quite frankly, this has gotten way out of control.

Somehow through the passage of time and in addition to television, movies and fairy tale stories, a “good” man has been stigmatized to have to be darn near close to perfection. Women have gotten the insane notion that this God-like human is going to sweep into their lives and rescue them from all the bad men who came before them and heal their insecurities. 

He’ll know just what to say and just how to do it. He will build me a beautiful house, buy me pretty gifts, let me cry on his shoulder, put his jacket over rain puddles, brush my hair and always, always make me feel special.

What a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a person. No wonder so many men are afraid of commitment. I would be too.

Today I am going to bat for the repressed man — the human who’s not allowed to feel. The boys behind the brawn.

The boys who had their heart broken by a parent or were bullied through school. The boys who weren’t allowed to share their emotional pain or given tools to heal their hearts. The boys who repressed their feelings not to feel ashamed, unmasculine, weak or unworthy.

I know men who have gone through all types of painful backgrounds and dysfunctional relationships and here’s the whopper…

Are you ready for it?

Men feel deeply.

They just don’t show it.

We do our men a grave disservice when we attach a persona to them they cannot possibly live up to and then feel let down when OMG he’s not perfect!

Today I’d like to give our men a fighting chance to heal their hearts and their stories. My deep desire is to see men get the emotional support they’ve always deserved. I’d like to see women everywhere treating their men like they wish themselves to be treated. By giving their man the same love and support they desire when they’re afraid, betrayed, confused or in pain.

You see, our men are not given the opportunity to be human. They are not allowed to cry, fail or be weak. I heard a man say to an author at a speaker’s conference, “My wife and daughters would rather see me die than fall off my white horse.”  That broke my heart in more ways than I can say.

In that moment, I decided it’s time for a world view shift. A radical change in perspective regarding the males in our lives

Men suffer painful stories as equally as women; however, they are taught to repress their emotion by the repressed men before them. And the pathology continues. To the men reading this (because I know you are) I ask if you can recall a time you were told to:

Suck it up!

Stop being a pansy!

Man up!

Quit being a baby!

Men don’t cry!

I bet the farm you have. In fact, I imagine it’s a high percentage of you.  You are in good company.

If men were “allowed” to openly discuss their pain, the shame attached to feeling emotion would decrease immensely!

Ladies, it is time for us to stop this madness not only for our partners and the state of our relationships, but for the children we’re raising. It’s time for us to shift the outdated perception of:

Man = Invincible

to

Man = Human Being

Unhealed wounds is the number one cause of divorce. Behind any disempowered behavior is an unhealed wound. This is not a gender specific issue; this is a human being issue.  As the sacred feminine, we have the power to help our men heal their wounds and teach our sons a new way of being in the world.

Your man’s heart is as big as yours. He loves as deeply as anyone else and he is hurt just as easily by the words and actions. Just because he isn’t openly displaying it does not mean it’s not there. Bring me any man’s unsavory behavior and I will find the unhealed wound behind it.

I was recently read this quote on a yoga studio wall:

“The role of every woman is to birth the God in every man”.   Sigh…

That quote was my inspiration to write this article.

What I hear in these words is that a loving, good woman has the capacity to serve as the gateway to a man’s healing if she chooses to see him as imperfect and fallible, but lovable nonetheless. We must understand that men are not put into our lives to save us. As a couple, we are put into one another’s lives to save each other!

A Course in Miracles speaks of the difference between a Holy Relationship and a special relationship. The Holy Relationship is one where both parties equally show up to help one another heal their fears and pain while supporting their growth opportunities and potential. A special relationship is based on ego: what we can “get” from our partner. The special relationship says, “What can I get from you?” not “What can I give to you?”

It has been said, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” This does not mean a man cannot achieve success by himself. What is does mean is men (and women) achieve far greater success and achievement when they are supported by a loving, compassionate partner.

Like any human being on this planet, we all need a soft place to fall. As depicted in movies like Braveheart and 300, the “hero” had a strong, loving woman supporting him who allowed him to break down and cry on her breast. She didn’t judge him, she supported him. She stepped up to meet his heart and offered her love.

Ladies, the truth is this, men are not going to say, “Hold me” Or “I just need a good cry.” They need us to read between the lines and have compassion for their situation or story. They need us to offer the security of our unconditional love. Your man does not need more negativity, shame or stigmas attached to him. He needs your kindness, love, security and tenderness.

Love heals all wounds. Ego, fear, control and manipulation perpetuates them.

The next time you feel compelled to attach a perceived persona to your man and then feel disappointed when he falls short, ask yourself this: How can I better support him right now?

Don’t be discouraged if your new course of action doesn’t work right away. If you have a backstory of non-support, he most likely won’t trust your motive. Instead learn to see the soul inside your man. Learn to understand his hidden emotions and act from this new perspective. Teach him that you are trustworthy of holding his innermost feelings and fears sacred. Provide a solid place for him to open his heart.

He may try to push you away, tell you he’s fine or he doesn’t need your help, but I implore you to keep on. After all you are dealing with an ingrained societal norm that won’t be dispelled easily.

This doesn’t mean become pushy or smothering. It means teach him over time that you have his back. That he can trust you like no other person on this planet. That you see both his strengths and his weaknesses and love him just the same.

What Does Broadcasting Love Mean?

Awhile back I answered an email regarding what it means to “broadcast love”. Usually when one person asks a question, there are others wondering the same thing. So I decided to share my reply. I have removed the person’s name for privacy purposes.

Hello,
Learning to broadcast love by being a conduit of light is the most effective method available when dealing with difficult relationship situations.

When we are in difficult situations where emotions are high, most often our ego or lower self steps up in attempt to “get power back”.

This is only a distraction and never works for true resolution because Love is the only reality. When we come from a place of Love (meaning any word or behavior rooted in Source Energy) we act from Truth and actually steer situations to better outcomes/results.

I used to say, “Why is it I always take the high road and I don’t get to see results?!” That was my ego wanting revenge, to be right, or to see someone’s karma returned. The problem is we don’t always get to see the results quickly or if at all.

When we “broadcast” love, true healing begins even if we can’t see it right away. There is an energetic shift we are often not privy to. Stuff happens behind the scenes we are not privy to. And people start to grow in ways we are not privy to.

In some instances I never got to see the results, but in other situations I have. One time it took 10 years for a person to own their shit and in another instance it took the person 10 seconds.

Only the ego wants to see results quickly. Our soul does not. Our soul is only concerned with how WE show up to the situation.

By connecting with Source, we position ourselves to live a better life. And when a person comes from a place of Light, it often illuminates the way for others as well!

Just to be clear, rooting ourselves in Love does not mean we bow down. It means we come from a space of Love whether it’s setting a healthy boundary or removing yourself from the situation. Either way, we pray for an outcome that is best for all concerned.

When we seek to come from our Highest Self and learn to detach from outcome, radical shifts in healing and personal evolution ensues. When Love is the essence we exude, healing is the result. We just don’t get to choose how or when that will happen.

At first it may seem difficult to choose Higher Self over control, winning or the need to be right (ego), but I assure you over time you will begin to see the results and think…

“Wow, it really is that simple..”.

How to Recognize Your Intuition

Intuition:  The ability to acquire knowledge without inference or use of reason.  It comes from the Latin word, “Intueri” which translates into “to look inside”. Intuition is our communication with God, the very essence of the Universe, whose intelligence far outreaches our human understanding.

Intuition is an innate gift or trait we are born with. We all have it.  Male or female.  Young or elderly.  Black, white and everything in between. It is an inner knowing, sense or feeling.  A gentle nudge pushing us in the right direction.  Sometimes it is a warning and other times it’s a clear step to the next step to take on our path.

Our intuition comes in moments when our mind is free-flowing- the times we are not attached to outcome, but are allowing for truth.

It is best described as a whisper resonating with truth.  Our intuition does not come attached to emotion.  On the contrary, intuition feels emotionless.

Many of us have difficulty discerning between what is intuitive guidance and what is not.  Many times our intuition may guide us in a different direction than our thinking mind is.  With this, we are oftentimes confused as to what is real and what is not.  The best way I have learned to distinguish between the two is this:

Intuition is a whisper, fear (over-thinking mind) is a shout.

Fear yells at us. It’s emotional and subjective. It’s screams WARNING, WARNING, WARNING even where there may not be real danger. It’s the loudest voice in our head, thus the easiest one to pay attention to.

Intuition is gentle. It’s non-emotional, neutral and objective.  It is found in the space between our thoughts. It has a different quality than every day passive thinking and is outstandingly different than fear. It’s the moment God speaks to us and we consider a different possibility. One rooted in peace, truth and for the highest good of all concerned.

Oftentimes, we may discount our intuitive message because it is not as loud or overpowering as our fearful mind is.  Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease? We often pay attention to our fearful mind because it’s loud and intrusive.

In moments like this it is imperative to get quiet.  Whether your quiet comes through meditation, exercise, driving or other experiences. To truly hear your divine guidance, it is important to make time to create space between your thoughts.

I used to think I had to handle all my life’s questions and decisions by myself.  (I only called upon God in times of great pain and distress) In those times I found myself repeating the same behaviors over and over again because my thinking was always the same.  I may have received guidance, but quickly discounted it because I was sure I knew better.  My egoic/fearful mind wanted to control.

I learned that God is in/through/with us at all times. I didn’t need to “save” my calls only for desperate times. I could connect any time, any where. My life changed in a profound way. I began to co-create with God instead of believing I had to do it alone. Things got easier. I made better choices and life began to flow like never before.

We all get intuitive “hits” and often choose not to heed our message. Afterwards, we say, “Ugh! I knew I should have done it the other way!” A great way to learn to trust your intuition is to recall the times you knew better, but chose differently. Remember what your knowing felt like. Remember the medium through which it was delivered:

Did you hear it? See it? Feel it? Or just know it?

When we become aware of  those times, it opens our consciousness and we are better able to recognize and receive our guidance the next time.

As with any practice, getting good at hearing/seeing/feeling/knowing our guidance will take time.  As long as you are diligent to the practice and truly wish to connect with Universal Intelligence (God), you will prevail!

Our life’s decisions and choices become much easier when we learn to connect to our center (God) and trust in the divine guidance we receive.

I believe in you!

How to Get Comfortable Taking Risks

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend about taking risks. She said she wasn’t a big risk taker. She also said it seemed to her like I don’t have a lot of fear. I was a little stunned by her observation. I remember saying, “Well, I feel fear. I feel fear all the time. I guess I just don’t attach to it.”

I thought about our conversation for weeks. I wondered how I learned to feel fear, but not attach to it. I thought back to my childhood and what it was like growing up with four brothers and a neighborhood full of boys. The boys were always on the go doing something “scary”. They would roam the neighborhood at night, play rough games or meet up with other kids I didn’t know. As a little girl, those things were quite scary.

Oftentimes they would offer me to come and I wouldn’t respond right away. I’d have to think about it. But during my thinking time, they’d leave, and I’d spend the next couple hours wishing I was with them. Each time the boys returned from their adventures, I would feel regret for allowing my fear to rule me. I would always wish I wasn’t so afraid and had said yes!

Growing up with boys taught me that I didn’t have the luxury to feel fear for long. My young mind learned that even if I feel fear, I must act, or I will miss an opportunity.

I learned to feel the fear and do it anyway.

So, when they asked me to partake in a “scary” activity, I started answering without hesitation. I would say yes! And the super cool part was, the event was never near as scary as my mind had conjured up. I learned my mind had built things up to be so engulfing and overpowering, I was sure I would get hurt or worse die!

I learned to get what we want out of life, to move forward, to experience big stuff, we are going to feel afraid. And our only two choices are to freeze and stop or to grab the opportunity and go.

I will disclaim if there was something I didn’t want to do (like ride my bicycle into the pool!) I didn’t do it. I’m not saying to take physical or emotional risks that can harm you. Risks that you are not equipped to handle, or your intuition is telling you is not a good idea.

What I am telling you is fear is an illusion. It’s a thought we make up in our heads designed to keep us comfortable and to keep us small.

So, when my girlfriend said I don’t look afraid, I am afraid.

I feel fear all the time, but I have learned to push through it because it’s exciting and inspiring!

It feels like I am living to full capacity!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the market to play small anymore.

Some of you might know that public speaking was my worst fear. So much so that I’d rather take an “F” for a project in school than to speak in front of people. I would even turn beet red when speaking in front of as little as three friends.

In June 2010, I was in my first month of coaching school. I got invited to be a guest speaker on a local morning television show. Without thinking I said yes, then I completely freaked out. No joke. The gig was weeks away and my heart was already pounding in my chest.

The day arrived, and I sat in the “green room” waiting for my segment. I watched as guest after guest shared their knowledge without skipping a beat.

The fearful thoughts rose up again.

Who I am to be here? Why is this happening? Why did I say yes?! I’m going to get this over with and hightail it out of here. No one will even know I was on the show, so they won’t have to feel embarrassed for me.

Then something magical happened. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself.

I loved being on that stage!

I loved it so much I skipped out of studio and raced home to watch the recording. My desire to reach and teach large audiences hit me full force! This is what I want to do! Not only did I do okay, they invited me back three more times and referred me to another local show as well!

And even though I felt the same horrific fear each time, I did it anyway!

Recently, I’ve been thinking about measures I need to take to expand my business. I was thinking about how the change required is going to take some risk. This change felt extra risky to me because I had made this same change years ago and it backfired in a big way.

But somewhere deep inside I knew this was the next best step. I also knew the thought, “this is risky” is a thought, nothing more. It is no sign of how my future will play out. It has no power over me. I also know, when I align myself with my intuition, my center and my truth everything always works out.

I also reminded myself my situation is not the same as it was the first time. The circumstances are completely different.

For example, let’s say you were cheated on in a past relationship. You were devastated and heartbroken. Then a new relationship opportunity comes along and you think, “Oh, heck no! I will never do that again because I don’t want to get cheated on again.”

My questions to you would be:

Do you know that thought is true?

Can you absolutely know it is true?

Because it happened in your history does that mean it’s going to happen in your future?

Are you closing off your life?

Are you shutting down because of a thought?

Would you be willing to take a chance if you didn’t believe that thought?

Friends, I’ve been scared. I’ve been petrified. I’ve been anxious, depressed and frozen. I believed things would never get better – that this is what life dealt me and I am basically screwed. My fearful thoughts begot more fearful thoughts creating a dreadful cycle of doom.

But I found a way out. I transcended the doom by realizing those fearful thoughts were not true. Yes, I was dealt a dreadful situation, but it did not dictate my future. I realized that I have the power (as do you) to respond to any situation from a place of fear or a place of inspiration. The choice is mine and the choice yours.

To achieve the life of our dreams, to reach those places we’re craving to reach, we must be willing to transcend our fear. We must be willing to question our fearful thoughts, reveal the truth and be willing to move through them.

Here are four powerful questions to ask yourself:

Am I allowing fear to guide me?

Am I missing out of a great opportunity because I’m afraid?

Do I want to stay imprisoned by my fearful thoughts?

The reason we are not getting what we want out of life is we believe the fearful thoughts standing in our way. We are sabotaging our own greatness, our own fun, our own passions. It’s up to us to ask ourselves: Do I want this or am I going to let another opportunity pass me by?

No person is any greater or more deserving than anyone else. We all have the same capacity for greatness. We are all divinely wired and inspired to live a full life! The difference between us is some people are willing to transcend fear and act while others are not.

Can you guys feel how much I want you to get this message?!

I know you can achieve anything you want!

I invite you today to think about a place in your life where you are holding back out of fear. Whatever the fear may be. The fear of failure? The fear of disapproval? The fear of being disliked?

Whatever fear you come up with, question it.

Question it!

Is it worth giving up the things you crave because of a thought?

Let’s live a no regrets life, friends. Let’s live knowing we ran a good race. We gave it our all. And we did not let fear stand in our way.

Here’s to feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

Check out my podcast episode On Taking Risks (iTunes Link) Don’t forget to leave an iTunes Review!

 

Why Your Boundaries are Not Working

boundarycartoon

“I keep setting boundaries and they are not working!” Said the distraught and frustrated person.

Boundaries are often misunderstood and therefore, improperly used. Thus, having little to no effect on the disrespectful or hurtful situation you are trying to remedy. So, let’s have a little Boundary 101 lesson on what boundaries are, why they are not working and how to set them effectively.

Step One – Setting a Word Boundary  

This will look something akin to…

“I feel disrespected when you often make me the butt of your jokes in social settings. I’m requesting that you please stop doing it.”

Your person will respond in one of two ways:

(a.) Understand and honor your request which allows both parties to continue forward happily. Or…

(b.) Disregard your request and continue to do it.

With response (a.) you’re good to go!

With response (b.), unfortunately, you’re not finished yet…

Many people think a boundary is set only with words and if you’re lucky, it will be. But if our person chooses to disrespect our Word Boundary, we must be prepared to back up our words with action.

Step Two – Setting an Action Boundary

The difficult part about Action Boundaries is oftentimes the most effective action/boundary we could choose may be the hardest or scariest one to set. We are terrified what might happen or what we’ll lose if we stand behind our words with action. Thus, we repeatedly use words over action in a feeble attempt to feel “safe” by disrupting as little status quo as possible. This is where we become the most frustrated.

Ugh… I don’t want to go further with this. Why can’t my person just heed my [word] boundary?!

The answer is simple. Because your person is not motivated or has reason to introspect or adjust him/herself. (Self-reflection is something many people avoid like the plague unless motivated or inspired to do so) Additionally, you have shown your person over time that your worn-out words mean nothing. They can continue to say and do as they please because there are no consequences.

what you allow

By providing a “consequence” or action behind your boundary, you will provide the necessary motivation and inspiration to introspect because they will lose something of value if they continue with the same behavior.

Setting healthy Action Boundaries is in direct proportion to our level of self-worth. When we have a healthy self-worth in place, a firm boundary is easy-er because our joy, worth and value are not reliant on another person.

Healthy self-worth says: I understand my value and won’t allow another person to minimize it no matter what. My job is to take care of me.

When we are continually hurt or disrespected, we have two choices only:

Put up with the crap. Yay, I get to live with this for eternity.

Or

Remove yourself or something from the relationship/situation until your person acquiesces to your respect request. There is hope this situation will change!

Action Boundary Sample:

 “I will no longer attend _______ with you because I will not put myself in position to be disrespected by being the butt of your jokes.”

And don’t attend again.

Ever.

Unless or until Mr. or Mrs. Disrespectful stops making you the butt of his/her jokes.

Are you getting the picture here?

For a Boundary to reign success, the offender must feel a consequence of their action. Otherwise, they will have no reason to introspect into why he/she is being a shit in the first place.

Boundaries Serve Both Parties

The best and most awesome part about boundary setting is it can serve both parties. Our boundaries and clear sense of self-worth can shine light on our person’s dependencies, controlling tendencies or disrespectful behaviors and potentially start them on their own healing path.

menholdinghands

It’s important to remember what others are doing is oftentimes a pattern set in place long ago and they may not even be aware how detrimental their behavior is. When they begin to receive the message enough, they will eventually have little choice but to take a good hard look at themselves.

Above all else, remember this…

If words are not working, back them with action.

 You matter.

You always have.

They will not respect you until you respect you by setting a boundary that says: I’m worth more than that!

Get it?

I knew you would.