Category: Healing and Personal Growth

How to Open Your Guarded Heart

The Sweet Empowerment Podcast Episode #48 show notes.

 Listen to Episode #48 on SoundCloud Here or on iTunes Here. 

 

Recognize your guarded heart – Own it. But don’t judge it. Recognize where your guarded heart is causing destruction or difficulties in your relationships and life.

 

Pinpoint the moment of lock down – It’s possible you might be open sometimes then close up when certain situations trigger it.

Identifying the moment or the “why” will aim you towards healing.

A person of my past said he would physically swallow anytime an unwanted emotion entered.

 

Change your story about feelings and an open heart – What was unsafe in childhood is often safe in adulthood because we are not at the mercy of superiors adults when we become an adult.

Use mantras –

I am safe to open my heart. I am in control of who I surround myself by and how I am treated.

 No one will die if I share my feelings – sounds dramatic but often the psyche cannot distinguish emotional fear from physical fear – it fears death. Soothe the fear.

 

Practice gratitude – Gratitude does wonders! It releases fear, promotes mindfulness, focuses on the positives in our life, centers us and balances emotions. Practice at least once a day for 5 full minutes. While driving, showering, eating breakfast, at night before sleep.

Become childlike – Lighten the heck up! Guarded hearts are often, but not always, serious and stoic. Counteract seriousness by acting silly! Sing, dance, talk in funny voice, make faces, play games, play in grass or dirt, examine it, be curious.

 

Heal old wounds – If you have trauma in your background, seek help. Find a conscious therapist or coach to work with you. Your best life is on the other side of your healing.

 

Forgive people whose behavior caused you to close your heart. If you’re not yet capable – that’s okay – at least be willing. Tell God you are “willing” to forgive. God can do for us what we are not capable of doing for ourselves.

 

Meditate! – I believe meditation is the great emotional cure all! Everyone should meditate as much as possible. Even if only 1 minute a day. It clears your mind and helps to break dysfunctional patterns by changing the chemistry of our brain. For more about this, check out Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Great ap called 10% Happier. I highly suggest you download it. Great blogs and short meditations for free!

*I receive no dividends from either Dr. Joe or 10% Happier. I simply love sharing great things with you!

 

Practice disclosing/sharing intimate details about self – Operative word here “practice”. As with any healing, it takes time. Start by sharing something small about yourself, work your way up to something bigger. As Brene’ Brown says, “Share your story with someone who has earned the right to hear it.” That means with someone who you believe has your back and your highest good at heart.

 

Cry – Yes, please cry. It releases built up emotion. It also releases endorphins that make us feel good. If you’re unable to cry for you, cry for another by watching a sad movie. Get the ball rolling. And don’t stop until you feel satisfied.

 

Physically touch others – Initiate a hug. Touch people’s arms when you’re talking. Give loved ones random back caresses or play with their hair. Start small and move up. When you see you are safe, you will retrain your brain that physical touch is not only okay, it feels amazing.

 

Be gentle with yourself while in process – There is nothing tragically wrong with you. You are not fatally flawed. Everyone has their shiz to work on. This just happens to be yours. It’s okay. YOU are okay!

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.

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

Healing Starts With Ownership

BuddhaPath

As Buddha says, “Enlightenment comes from awareness.” Our healing starts with ownership. In order for us to grow, we must first become aware. If we don’t own our disempowered behaviors and patterns, we cannot grow and experience a better future.

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. I noticed 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 shame and unworthiness hidden inside of me had 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.  Give yourself permission to review and remember 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 give yourself a heart felt apology for putting your through that. Or even better, write yourself one.

Read My Apology Letter to Self here.

 

Your Failed Relationships Can Change Your Life

The days, weeks and months post break-up are the most important part of our recovery process. Why? Because it's the time we're the most raw and do the most reflecting. During this time, we tend to replay conversations and scenarios in our head and examine all aspects of the relationship.

It's also the time we assign blame to our ex and stand righteously behind why we were S/he did me so wrong. I was so abused and mistreated. What a jerk/bitch! How dare s/he!

Short-term it feels great to the ego to point the finger outward; however, long-term it serves nothing.

When we place 100% blame on our partner and are unwilling to see the part we played (no matter how small it seems) we will continue to bring our dysfunctional relationship patterns into future relationships.

Let me explain further…

Each relationship we experience is a classroom for us to grow in. If we look only at the places our ex needs to grow, we'll never learn what's intended for us and we'll continue to attract relationships that mirror back our disowned places.

Do you want to experience another dysfunctional relationship, another breakup?

Do you really think you played no part?

Does the need to be right  and blame on your ex really trump your own emotional growth and wellness?

It wasn’t until I experienced the worst betrayal of my life did I finally open my mind to the idea that I had played a part in the downfall of my failed relationships.

I recognized I was the common denominator. I was the who allowed my partners to dishonor and disrespect me. That was my contribution. It didn’t matter if my part was only 10% or not as destructive as theirs; I still had to take complete responsibility for what was mine. And quickly learned I was not honoring or respecting myself.

Recognize the Common Theme

If we open our minds and look close enough, we'll see a common theme running through all our failed relationships. Here is a few examples of common themes.

I invite you to keep an open mind as one or several of the following may look familiar to you:

• You are fearful of communication
• You are too walled off to allow someone close
• You let your partners walk all over you then resent them for it
• You choose people who are exciting (i.e. Bad boys) rather than partners who are rich in character
• You attract commitment phobes or are one yourself
• You think nothing of yourself therefore you partners treat you like nothing
• You lie to avoid confrontation
• You avoid difficult subjects
• You allow your partner to get away with bad behavior
• You fail to set and maintain healthy boundaries
• You fail to take care of yourself for fear of losing their love
• You have high expectations that no “human” could ever meet

Discovering your common theme is…

The First Step

This is when the magic happens!

We cannot heal what we do not know exists. Once you become clear on your part of the equation, celebrate it!

I am so grateful I discovered my pattern of _______! I will focus on doing the work to heal this disempowered pattern so I may dissolve it for good!

Friends, I could not maintain appropriate boundaries with my partners when they were clearly wrong. I’d pout, cry, talk, talk, talk, and talk, threaten and yell, but nothing would ever change. I couldn’t set boundaries because I was afraid I'd lose their love or the relationship would end. I was weak and afraid. I banked my self-worth on how they thought of me and fell short of empowerment every time it mattered most.

I had no idea I was a doormat and repeatedly attracted men who treated me the way I treated myself.

When I recognized my common theme, focused on my healing and learned to transcend my disempowered places, my boundaries became unwavering because I was no longer afraid of losing the love. My emotional health and well-being had become more important to me than anything.

Not long after doing the work, as if by magic, I attracted a man who reciprocally loves and respects me. A man who works with me, grows with me and complements my personality beautifully.

And the same thing can happen for you!

Open Your Mind and Be Gentle With You

Please understand you are a work in progress just like everyone else. Give yourself grace for the points of healing you discover within yourself. Beating yourself up will only strengthen and perpetuate the unworthiness behind your fearful and disempowered behavior.

Rest knowing your healing will change the dynamic of all your relationships for the better and forever!

Allow a sense of freedom to wash over you as you now have been released from a hidden place inside yourself that has dictated the theme in your relationships. You are now on path to attracting the relationship of your dreams!

I believe in you!