Category: Forgiveness

10 Things to Remember About Fighting Fairly 

 Podcast Episode #28 Show Notes

Listen on iTunes

Listen on SoundCloud 

or read the notes below!


It’s so beautiful to witness couples willing to break old habits and adopt new behaviors that support the relationship.

Whether you’ve been with your partner for 6 months or 30 years, the 10 principals below can shift the way you work through your issues in a respectful, faster and supportive way.

Even if you’re the only half of the relationship reading this blog, I’m positive you will walk away with some tidbit that you can put into action immediately. Never underestimate the power of being the only half to work on healing.

Your contribution may be all it takes to shift the dynamic of your arguments for good!

Seek to understand

Listen with an open heart. A huge issue within arguments is people not listening to understand the other person. Instead, they listen to rebut, defend or win. Opening our heart and mind allows for deep understanding and compassion of the other person’s experience. Agree ahead of time to take turns. Give your partner the respect of hearing them out even if you don’t initially agree with them. And expect the same in return.

Speak Truth and Hear Truth –

No one is a mind reader. Hinting, beating around the bush and not speaking up are not resolution behaviors. Keeping someone confused and/or guessing only confuses the situation more.

Be willing to share your observations, opinions, ideas, needs, feelings, forward movements etc. You are part of the equation and your part matters.

Secondly, we must be willing to hear the truth. There is no healing/resolution/forward movement if we deny what’s true – whether it’s our stuff to own or the facts of a situation.

Admitting the truth does not make you bad, wrong or unworthy. It makes you a responsible adult doing your part to build a healthy relationship.

Stick to Facts –

Its’ amazing what kind of mud gets slung when people are disagreeing. Sticking to the facts keeps the situation very clear and on task. Do your best to not get pulled into your person’s detouring, deflecting or projecting. Stick to facts only. Keep in mind “opinions” are not necessarily facts.

Facts are things like:

I saw the text on your phone

You said ____ blank to me.

I didn’t hear from you for 3 days.

You said you would and didn’t follow through.

Facts only.

Don’t interrupt –

Interrupting happens because (a) we don’t like what we are hearing or they have it all wrong or (b) we are afraid we will forget the point we want to make. Interrupting is disrespectful and rude. It is not a resolution behavior. You will get your chance to speak.

Secondly, (for the non-stop talkers) don’t go on and on and on because you will lose your listener. I promise you. When you continue to beat a point, they will zone out on something else because you are repeating yourself. Keep to a paragraph or two and let your partner respond.

Humility is Automatic Cease Fire! –

This is SO important. When you see the light go on in your partner’s eyes, the moment of A-Ha, or when they take ownership of their wrong… Stop. Right. There.

Your point has been taken and understood. More importantly, do not shame them when they finally take responsibility. It’s not easy for some people to take responsibility. Shaming them for their ownership will work against you in future disagreement. They will see the negative effect of what taking responsibility does and they will stop doing it. We don’t want that.

Now that doesn’t mean they’re immediately off the hook with a weak apology. That’s not what I’m saying. It means tune into your partner. Use your spidey senses. You will be able to see and feel when they finally “get it”.

When you or your partner takes full responsibility and apologizes, that’s a conversation shifter. At this point, the next step is resolution planning.

How can you/me catch ourselves from making this same mistake in the future?

No Name Calling/Degrading/Low Blows –

I would hope I wouldn’t have to state the obvious, but let’s face it, when things get hot, sometimes sh*t starts flying. I get it because I’ve been there too and it’s never helped a situation.

Name calling/demeaning/low blows is often a design of the ego to break someone down by attacking who they are. It is aimed at “winning” not at healthy resolution.

Any of the above can quickly override the initial issue because they often hurt far more than the initial offense. Now there are two issues that need tending.

There’s far better words to use to make a point than name calling, degrading and low blows.

Tone Matters –

We have the power to deliver a message with judgment and condemnation or with kindness and love. That doesn’t mean we have to whisper to our person. It means we check in with our hearts and motives FIRST and align ourselves with the intent to heal not to harm.

When we are in touch with delivering a message for healing, it comes out much better than when we deliver a message to hurt.

This doesn’t mean your honest, well-toned message won’t necessarily hurt. The truth hurts sometimes. What it does mean is you will do your part to stay within your higher self and integrity.

Your business is how you speak. Their business is how they respond.

Take a Time-out –

It’s is 100% okay to call a time-out if the situation is getting out of hand. Let your partner know you need a break, tell them where you’re going, what you’re doing and when you’ll be back. Make a plan to revisit the conversation when you are clearer.

And stick to it.

This is about respect and a commitment to resolution.

It’s not cool to walk out leaving things incomplete. That’s called emotional abandonment.

Your person cannot trust you if you continually ignore issues, brush them away or abandon conversations.

Healthy relationships require a solid foundation of trust. You have the right to take a break and it’s also your responsibility to revisit the conversation.

Commitment to healing –

Make a commitment with your partner that your intention for the conversation is to draw you both closer. Let them know it’s the behavior or situation you don’t love, not them.  Arguments can frighten people. Your person may view them as an indicator you don’t love them or you’re going to leave them. Be willing to say I Love You within an argument to ease your partner’s fear.

Provide a safe space –

Be willing to give your partner sacred space to share their truth without judgment. Allow them to have their own experience and opinion of the situation. Be vulnerable and open with your heart so your partner feels safe being vulnerable and open with theirs. Cultivate a “no topic off limits” culture within your home and relationship.

Miracles happen when we make the shift from fear to love, from lower self to higher self and from winning to grinning!

I believe in you all so much! 

Much Love,

KB

Why You Can’t Let Go of Your Ex

I’m just going to say it… break ups suck!

They are heart wrenching, sad and confusing. And they’re even more devastating when we can’t let our ex go.

I’ve been through my share of breakups and each one had its own unique brand of suck-ness. But there was one that wins the award. I hung on to that guy post-break up for two anxiety-ridden years.

Although I didn’t see him in those two years, he was rooted in my psyche like a Kansas Chigger in July. It was so off character for me, people around me were shocked and frankly, tired of hearing about it. At some point, I couldn’t stand the suffering any longer and I begged God for help.

Why am I hanging on to him? I can’t stand this any longer! Please help me let him go.

God responded.

It wasn’t what I expected, but I knew it was Truth. I was done betraying myself with illusion, so I looked to Truth instead. Shortly after, I was able to detach with peace and never look back.

Here’s what I learned:

Oftentimes, we interpret our inability to let a partner go as “love” when in fact, there’s an unhealthy attachment keeping us stuck. Those attachments can include: a need for belonging, connection, attention, validation and/or security. When we believe someone “out there” can fill our hollows and quell our fears, we naturally wouldn’t want to let them go. It appears like a quick easy fix!

But the problem is, it’s not Real Love we are feeling. It’s obsession. Real Love is compassion, understanding, forgiveness and freedom. Obsession is a preoccupation with something to a troubling extent. What may have started as love, became a hustle to fill our emptiness the minute our person left. If we’re super honest with ourselves, we will see it’s not the person we’re stuck on; it’s the deep need they were filling.

Awareness is always key to transcending emotional stuckness. Once we’re clear what the problem is, we can seek for solution. Without awareness, we will continue the suffering cycle.

In my case, my unhealthy attachment was security. I had gone through a horrific life situation and my security was rocked to the core. I had lost everything. I was not aware how deeply my security was affected until I examined it. The material world was showing me where I needed healing in my spiritual world. It became very clear why I had hung on so long. I was desperate to feel secure and somehow my psyche decided a partner was the cure.

Once I realized my desperation for security, it finally made sense. I could see the undercurrent of it in my behavior. It became clear love was not holding on to him, fear was. I healed my desperation by recognizing all the ways I was already secure. My unhealthy attachment began to dissolve.

Then my second epiphany came.

I was in my early 40’s, twice divorced, showing signs of age, had 3 kids, lived with my parent’s and more. I was cruelly judging my current situation and my worth. I didn’t see myself as valuable so I couldn’t believe a man would either. But somehow I managed to land this guy! When he left, my mind hung onto him because I subconsciously believed he was my only chance. If I let him go, I’d be alone forever. Again, I healed this false belief by recognizing all the ways I am valuable. This time, my unhealthy attachment dissolved completely. I was finally able to release him with love.

I’d be remiss if I failed to mention how important it is to grieve a relationship’s end. A break up is the death of something we once saw as alive and thriving. Give yourself ample time to grieve the relationship. Endings can be difficult and sad. They need your love and attention. You need your love and attention. Do your best to refrain from filling the void with another relationship while grieving your previous one.

But hold on! Here’s the most ironic and fascinating part of the story!

After healing my destructive beliefs and grieving properly, I learned something that shocked the heck out of me. Are you ready for this?

He wasn’t the man of my dreams.

I couldn’t believe I had held on to him so tightly!

There were aspects of his personality and the way he lived his life that would not work for me long-term. When the filter of need was removed, I could see him clearly. His leaving and refusal to get back together was a blessing in disguise. I was just too blind to see it at the time. A partner’s rejection is often our protection. It’s Divine Intervention in action. I am so grateful God took care of me when I was unable to care for myself.

Relationships are designed to show us ourselves. They are a mirror of our unhealed wounds. An inability to let go of an ex is only an indicator we are looking to the outside world for acceptance and love. The key to transcending your stuckness is to be 100% honest with yourself.

Discover what’s really behind your inability to let go and do the work to heal it.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this beautiful quote from one of my favorite spiritual teachers.

“How do you let go of attachment to things? Don’t even try. It’s impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.” – Eckhart Tolle

Apology Letter to Myself


Dear Sweet Self:

I owe you my deepest apology. I allowed people to treat you as if you didn’t matter. I did not stop people from emotionally and physically abusing you. I ignored your pleas to be heard. Instead I kept seeking love outside of you and kept you in situations where you should have held your head high and walked out.

I didn’t believe there was better love out there. I believed whatever situation you were in was as good as it would get. I know better now.

I am deeply sorry for putting you through the hell of trying to make you into someone you are not. I could feel you urging me to stop, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want people to disapprove of your silliness, intelligence, inner beauty and shyness, so I kept you small and hidden. I wanted you to blend in with the crowd so you wouldn’t be made fun of. I’m sorry I dishonored your heart and true essence.

I’m sorry I disrespected your emotions. I only allowed you to feel anger instead of the rainbow of emotions we humans are intended to feel. Emotions that would allow others to help you when you needed it.

I’m sorry I compromised your spirit by making you feel powerless to the world. I could feel there was so much more to you, but I was afraid to let the world see who you really are.

I’m sorry I disrespected your body. You clearly expressed your dislike of alcohol and I didn’t listen because I didn’t want you to stand out. I also gave away the sacredness of your body to men who didn’t deserve it. For this I am eternally sorry. I did not understand how precious you really are.

I’m truly sorry I compromised your value by failing to uphold healthy boundaries. I let others walk all over you. I let them hurt you and treat you as if you were nothing. You never ever deserved it. It was only a reflection of how little I regarded your worth.

Sweet self, I promise you, I will always, always do my best to protect and love you. You are my priority now. Thank you for unconditionally loving me and forgiving me before I even asked.
I want you to know I’m in charge now and everything is going to be okay! I have been reborn. I get it now! From this point forward you are my priority.

I love you.

Kristen

Taking Radical Responsibility for Our Lives

BuddhaPath

If we don’t own our stuff, we will never see our disempowered pattern nor will we grow and experience a better future.  As Buddha says, “Enlightenment comes from awareness.” In order for us to grow, we must first become aware.

I remember clearly the day I took radical personal responsibility for my life. It was about 7 years ago. I stopped dead in my tracks at the foot of my bed and looked back over my entire life. I steeled myself for what I was sure was going to be an onslaught of shame and regret. I remember cringing inside afraid of what I might see, but I went for it anyway.

I faced every disempowered behavior I could remember: bending and stretching to fit others’ ideas of who I should be, doing things I hated to please another, failing to hold much needed boundaries and playing small to be liked.

I kept going: one night stands, drinking alcohol or smoking weed to fit in, staying with partners who hit me, drove intoxicated or emotionally abused me and allowing disrespect from friends, family and partners. The list went on and on.

When I was finished, I just stood there unsure what was next. What I did know was the world did not end, I did not lose a limb, my children were still alive and…

I felt… free?

Holy Mother Earth, I felt FREE! I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Everything that I had kept hidden, all the secrets, all the shame, was out in the open. I was free!

Yes, I did that. All of it. It was me. I am the one who is responsible for my choices and my life.

I understood for the first time how the unworthiness hidden inside of me manifested dangerous, reckless and unkind behaviors to myself.

I gave myself a big hug and said, “I am so sorry I did this to you. You deserve so much better! I will do better by you in the future. I promise.”

And I forgave myself.

Something radically shifted that day for me. I was reborn. My path to worthiness and empowerment had begun. I now always seek to recognize when I am acting out of shame or unworthiness instead of love. I catch myself sooner and I make choices that will lift my heart and life rather than perpetuate a defeating cycle.

And you can do the same.

Ownership Practice:

Pick a date and time to be alone with yourself where you will have no interruptions. Open your mind and heart. Allow yourself to remember and replay all the times you did not love yourself or protect your well-being. Recognize each one with neutrality and non-judgment. Allow the memories to come forward one at a time. No judgment, no condemnation. Just recognition. Own it all.

When you are finished, wrap your arms around yourself and say out loud: These were my behaviors driven by low self-worth. I recognize my old pattern. I did the best I could at the time. I’m sorry for putting you through that. I will do my best to love and protect you in the future.

And so it is. Amen.

Dear New Wife

FriendsStrangers

Dear New Wife,

I remember the first time I met you. It was at my son’s birthday party. I was pleased to see my ex-husband as happy in a new relationship as I was in my new marriage. I was eager to get to know you, the newest member of our big, loving family!  When we were introduced, you hardly smiled or acknowledged me. Although it took me aback, I continued to welcome you, smile and talk to you, but again, you scarcely acknowledged me. Something didn’t feel right about that, but I quickly discarded it and went on about the business of being myself. After all, it can be awkward and uncomfortable for the new love to meet the ex-wife. 

As months passed, I felt you somewhat warm up to me and life moved forward. We continued with the pre-established status quo of joint holidays and occasional joint vacations with our kids. It was nice. After all, we had been divorced 10 years and had figured out a way to be friends. And man, did our kids benefit from it! So much so that they often told me they never felt the heartache of typical children of divorce. Win!

You see, my own parents had modeled ex-ing beautifully for us and I was so grateful we were able to do the same. It’s the best thing for the children and the circle of family involved. Divorce does not have to equal division, bitterness and hate. It can be the beginning of something new and wonderful!

But something seemed to change after my new husband abandoned our family a year later. It became apparent that my new status of “available” was threatening to you. I tried to ignore it and work around it, but it only gained force like a hurricane slowly making its way toward shore. I was shocked and perplexed.

Couldn’t you see with your eyes and feel with your heart that I was nothing to fear?

My children began to notice their parents’ friendship compromised for the first time in over a decade. They witnessed their father’s kind and respectful behavior toward their mother change to cold and distant. They also noticed how unwilling he was to stand up for or protect them in situations where a father should. It became unwittingly clear he did everything possible to quell your insecurity even if that meant choosing you over them and treating me as if I was a non-person. He put aside his priorities and his personal freedom to appease you.

Perhaps you can trust his devotion to you now.

Sadly though, none of this needed to happen because there’s something I don’t think you understand. Just because people divorce, doesn’t mean they don’t love one another anymore; oftentimes, the love has only changed forms. My ex and I simply morphed from husband and wife to a sibling-type relationship. He became my brother. It was a friendship built on healthy boundaries and respect for each other and their personal lives. We cared about each other’s well-being as family would. We were often told we modeled a new paradigm for what healthy divorce and co-parenting can be. We were proud of our friendship.

Why weren’t you thrilled to have a drama free ex-wife like me?

I tried to ease your mind and calm your fear that Spring morning in Starbucks. For two heartfelt hours I explained my ex and I’s friendship. How he and I would help each other out with tasks from time to time, work together to meet our children’s needs, but not once had we crossed the line of “friends” since our divorce. In fact, we hardly even hugged save an occasional holiday. Our only crime was being nice to one another.

I had compassion for what I was sure was your backstory of pain. I understood. You see, I did not see you as an enemy or someone trying to hurt me. I saw you as a sister. Another woman who did not yet understand her worth or trust in a man’s love. Couldn’t you feel the truth and integrity in my words? But no matter what I said, how gently I said it or how compassionate and transparent I was, it was clear your mind was made up.

My ex and I don’t talk anymore. We no longer share joint holidays with our children. We don’t help each other out with tasks or work together as cohesive co-parents. His relationship with his children has suffered terribly as they’ve watched their father bend and stretch to make you comfortable. They watched the life they knew, enjoyed and felt safe in dramatically change. Where there was once unity and peace now lies the moss covered headstone of a dead friendship.

I’m still perplexed how this situation is better than the amicable situation we had before? Are you really at peace now? I wish I could say you are, but I continue to hear stories of your insecurity aimed toward other people. Perhaps it wasn’t me after all, but you all along.

The good news is my children and I discuss life issues openly and with higher purpose and direction in mind. The years have passed and they have grown and cultivated a new relationship with their father based on forgiveness and compassion for his fear of standing up for those he cares about.

They love him more than anything. Just as you do.

I have chosen to grieve the friendship my ex and I had, keep my distance and settle into this new format of ex-ing. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about him or ever will. Love does not change, but situations do. And when my brother feels the freedom to enter back into my life, I will gladly accept him and you as well.

I pray for you often, sister. I ask God to help you find your worth and self-esteem. I pray you see the gift in peaceful ex-ing and open your eyes to the good woman I was then and still am today.

Until that time comes, I will be over here enjoying a great life.

Sincerely,

The Ex Wife