Category: Higher Self vs. Lower Self

Dear New Wife

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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

A Sweet Empowerment Short: The Difference Between a Healthy Boundary and Retaliation

A Sweet Empowerment Short ~

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I was recently asked this question:

Where is the line between setting a boundary with someone who hurts you and retaliation against them for hurting you?

Ahh what a brilliant question! Oftentimes boundaries stem from something someone has repeatedly done that hurts or disrespects us thus kicking up some serious emotion. If we are still hot over what our person did, it may be difficult to distinguish between what is a healthy line and what is in fact retaliation.

The answer to this question is quite simple…

Check your motive.

The first step to setting and maintaining a healthy boundary is all about our energy and intention (motive).

A healthy boundary says: I love me and will set limits with you to protect my heart, soul and well-being or that of people in my charge.

Retaliation says: You hurt me and I’m going to hurt you back.

It’s important to remember anytime we set and maintain a healthy boundary, we are not only taking care of self we are equally serving the perpetrator as well.

One might wonder how that is so?

Many times our perps are not even aware of the pain they are inflicting, because they’ve never truly been held responsible for their behavior.

To explain further, many people will keep doing what they have always done because it has always worked to get what they want. They are unconscious to their behavior because no one has ever really bucked it hard enough.

This is why I love boundaries so much! They actually give our perp a chance to see themselves – sometimes for the very first time!

I’ve witnessed so much healing in my own life and of those around me by simply setting and maintaining loving boundaries. Frankly, it still fascinates the crap out of me.

Any boundary set with loving intentions will always make a positive difference in the long run. You may not be able to see it right away; however, I invite you trust the universe and let go of perceived outcomes.

Boundaries are tough stuff. I’ve had to set some hardcore lines with some perpetrators I love dearly. To this day in order to know my boundary is in alignment with a high energetic vibration, I always check my motive and intention first.

When I know for sure my intention is for healing, not for hurting, I feel more comfortable and confident to maintain my line.

Your thoughts?

~ Kristen

Drainers – Are You Helping or Enabling?

For the kind hearted it’s quite natural to want to help those in need. In fact, more often than not, we will hand over great gobs of our time, money and emotional resources to help someone in need achieve success in whatever area they are struggling with. With that being said, there comes a time when we might feel that all our efforts are in vain. We may feel like no matter how much we show up for them, nothing is changing. Our person remains stuck.

I’ve run across these situations many times in my life and I can confidently say I stayed in them far longer than was healthy for my well-being. I would find myself performing all kinds of gymnastics for them and even pondering their issues throughout my day rather than my own! At the time I thought this was my duty as a good human being because after all, didn’t I need help too sometimes? Yes, for sure. However, there is a vast difference between someone seeking for change and someone choosing stagnation and victimhood.

The Difference Between Seekers and Drainers:

  1. The Seekers – People who seek for knowledge and wisdom in order to promote themselves out of suffering. They are willing to get uncomfortable while reconstructing a new method of operation. They are grateful for what they receive and neither party feels drained after their interactions. Additionally, both parties feel happy and fulfilled when the seeker begins to see the light and takes necessary steps towards positive forward movement.

 

  1. The Drainers – These are folks who exploit your time and attention and continue to stay right…where…they…are. Conversations with them are repeating and energy draining. They are comfortable in their story of woe and as long as we’re giving, they’ll keep taking! There is little to no change happening and oftentimes the helper may feel like they are wasting their time.

It’s important to realize (and take personal responsibility) that the drainer did not waste your time – you gave your time freely. To blame the Drainer for your contempt is misplaced. You accepted the role and chose to stay in it indefinitely.

I applaud anyone who helps another and I applaud those in life who want to see the good and redeeming qualities in everyone. Because truth be known, there IS good in everyone and we all need a little TLC and help from time to time. Drainers are not “bad” people, they are stuck. However, there comes a point when we have to realize what stuck really looks like and that no matter what we do or say, we cannot make change happen for them.

A person has to want change in order to create change for themselves.

Giving to others at the expense of our energy does not create enormous growth in our people. Actually, it often promotes enabling and where there is enabling going on, both parties will inevitably be sucked into the suffering. At some point, we must recognize we are being an enabler and stop doing it by putting loving, but firm boundaries into place. If you’re not sure if you are helping or enabling a loved one, consult the list below.

6 Steps to Recognize if You’re Enabling Someone

  1. You are frustrated and unhappy with your stuck person because their strife appears never ending.

 

  1. You are aware that your “help” is not helping at all. In fact, no one’s help is helping.

 

  1. You feel drained in their company and are tired of dealing with them.

 

  1. You’ve heard their victimhood repertoire so much you can repeat it verbatim.

 

  1. Your person attempts to guilt or manipulate you if you try to change your strategy when dealing with them.

 

  1. You start to feel contempt for the person rather than compassion.

As I state in my book From Doormat to Sweet Empowerment, boundaries are beneficial to both parties involved. When we begin to set and maintain healthy boundaries, our person is “forced” to figure things out on their own. They must approach life from their own spiritual center rather than relying on yours (which is only temporary anyway). They will have to learn to become resourceful in their own life and find their own answers – answers that they are comfortable with and are willing to put into action.

Being a massively soft-hearted person, I had to really give boundary setting some serious thought. I had to know for sure that it was indeed the right thing to do before I could do it. I did my research and learned all about boundaries: what they are, what they meant and how to implement them. I was convinced that setting loving boundaries was the best thing for me AND my drainer.

I understand that setting boundaries may feel like turning your back on your person. So, I ask you this:

What if you knew for sure that boundary setting was serving to both parties?

What if you knew for sure that you were only harming them (and yourself) more by staying in something where there is no healthy forward movement or emotional advancement?

Would you be more willing to set a boundary with them?

I remember the first time I set a really difficult boundary with a loved one. It was a drainer situation that I had stayed in for over a year. I stayed because I felt it was my duty. After a year of the same dialogue between the two of us with zero change, I pulled out. I set a clear boundary that I was no longer going to be available to discuss the same situations over and over again. I explained that I had given her all the knowledge and wisdom I had and it was time for her to stand by her own power. It was scary and she did not like it, but it felt really good!

Within 36 hours, she came back to me with a dialogue full of awareness! I was stunned! By taking myself out of the situation, she only had herself to rely on. She pondered all that we had talked about and she took it to her center. She processed what felt Right and True for her and she began to act from that place. I observed my beloved transforming right before my eyes! It was fascinating and humbling to watch.

My role had been to hold loving space for her AND to remove myself when it was time.

You are not bad or wrong for needing to back up or out of a situation where a person is choosing stagnation and draining all your precious energy. Give yourself grace for being there in the first place and for offering your heart and wisdom for their becoming.

We can only do so much for others before we start sacrificing our sacred selves. It’s important for us to know when it is time to step out with love and give ourselves permission to do so.

The rest is up to them.

Be Open to the Truthtellers in Your Life

We’ve all encountered those moments when someone attempts to tell us about ourselves and we just don’t want to hear it. Somewhere deep inside a mechanism kicks in telling us their words are not relevant to what we are going through and we kick the idea to the curb shortly after word three.

If this sounds familiar, this article is for you.

First, I’d like to state up front, this article is not designed to shame or attack you. It’s designed to get you started on your healing path so you can release your self-sabotaging behaviors for good.

All throughout our lives we encounter others’ opinions – some resonate and some not so much. However, there are those “special” times when we hear what someone is saying and immediately disclaim their insight because, truth be told, they are touching a place inside us we have worked diligently to ignore – our shadow side.

The problem with this mechanism is unless we are willing to hear the truth, we will forever wash, rinse, repeat the same situations over and over again. We then return to the same friends with the same problems and hear the same thing! At this point we begin to convince ourselves that our friends have no idea what they are talking about. They just don’t get it! Instead, we go find someone who we can fool and get the validation we are craving. However, if your friends or “truth tellers” have walked in your shoes and healed those same places, they mostly likely DO know exactly what you are talking about and are trying to help you. To continue to push away their wisdom is to perpetuate your story of pain and suffering.

After having experienced an awakening some years back, I learned this valuable truth:

We cannot do it alone and the truth will indeed set us free!

We need others to shine light on our darkness when we are blind – to love us enough to tell us the truth. And believe me when I say, it’s not any easier to be the truth teller! Truth tellers often get yelled at, shunned and even ignored after sharing the truth. They become the “bad guy” when in fact, they are the good guy!

Let’s face it, some people are not so easy to talk to (and this could be you). However, ironically, the truth tellers are the people in our lives that have the courage to at least try. They often know that they are risking the friendship and/or connection by doing so, yet they desperately want peace for their friend so they keep trying. It’s difficult to go up against the ego in a blind person. The ego don’t take kindly to truth! However, by altering your perception of your truth teller from “mean and hurtful” to “loving and caring”, you will hear them differently than you have before and shift can begin.

Healing one’s wounds and disempowered places begins with truth. Just like in Alcoholics Anonymous where the alcoholic stands up and declares, “Hello, I’m John. I’m an alcoholic”, the wounded needs to own their behaviors and begin to take responsibility. Ownership is Step One.

Hello, I’m Kristen and I’m a recovering doormat.

We cannot move forward towards a solution until we are ready to recognize the problem.

I remember the precise moment I took responsibility for my self-defeating behaviors. I was standing in my bedroom some time midday and I decided to try to locate the places I did not act from my highest self and the places where I was wanting another to fill my void. Of course, my ego told me there would only be a few… Wrong! To be completely honest, out came a torrent of all my needy and disempowered places! Picture a family of hungry monkeys clamoring for the zookeeper holding a bunch of bananas. It was mayhem! It was gross, appalling and embarrassing! Even though no one was around, I squirmed and cringed as each memory came to the forefront.

And then the miracle happened…

The torrent stopped as quickly as it started. Silence. I looked around quizzically and wondered, “Is that it? Am I done?”

After noticing lightning didn’t strike me dead nor did I didn’t shrivel up into a warted troll, I felt the weight of the world lift off of me. Whoaaaa… What? I felt free… Finally free! I didn’t know what to do with all this, so I layed down on my bed to let it sink in. I observed there was no shame. There was no regret. There really wasn’t anything, but peace. My truth had set me free. Nothing more, nothing less. My shadow had finally been heard and it was now at rest.

THAT was the day my life changed forever. From that point forward, I set course to work on my self-worth and self-esteem. I finally realized I had created this whole frenetic scene and I could equally and successfully un-create it.

I occasionally wondered why no one ever brought my behavior to my attention. I considered myself an open book and knowing there is a lot of wisdom in the world, I was perplexed as to why no one had ever shed light on my darkness. Then the answer came. I had kept the really shameful parts to myself. I only shared parts of my story that would gain the oooohs and ahhhhhs from my cohorts. I never told the entire truth about the things I did because my ego convinced me those parts didn’t matter. My lower-self wanted so badly to be right; it subconsciously undermined my truth in the just perfect way to keep me stuck. Instead, I received all the appropriate statements like, What an a**hole! and You deserve so much better! My ego was validated, but my soul was not. Sound familiar?

When we are truly suffering and truly wanting for change, we must be willing to take radical responsibility for our behavior and if possible share it with a trusted friend. It’s important we share the uncut, unedited and raw version in lieu of some manipulated version that will only gain you the validation your ego so desperately wants.

I promise you, your ownership will not magically turn you into a warted troll, nor will lightning strike you down. Only healing and grace comes from radical self-honesty.

And one more thing… Always remember, there is nothing exclusively wrong with you! You are spirit having a human experience like the rest of us on this planet. You are fallible, forgivable and healable!

Show us what you got!

 

Attracting The Ideal Mate

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I’m sure by now most of you have heard the quote, “Stop looking for the right person and become the right person.” Pre-tsunami I would have had no clue what that meant. Going on the assumption some of you may have no clue what that means, I thought I’d delve into this more deeply.

Historically, I was always looking outside myself for someone to be perfect for me. I had no idea what this really meant; I just thought he’d magically show up and we’d ride into the sunset together. Little did I know that he couldn’t present himself until I had healed the blocks inside of myself that would change my energy from undeserving to deserving.

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I had to endure one hell of a bomb in order to be reduced enough to open my heart to other possibilities. What I learned was this:

I did not know who I was, what I really wanted or that I was worthy of the partnership of my dreams. Somehow I kept repeating relationships and situations that were not reciprocally loving.

I remember after my first divorce, not even being able to explain what went wrong. I just knew the marriage wasn’t right and I had become bitter and angry. I later learned that I had attracted a mate that completely mirrored back the places in me that I was not respecting or honoring in myself. It wasn’t his fault; he was just being himself. It was my responsibility because if I wasn’t respecting and honoring myself, there was no possible way I could teach him how to. I had no boundaries because I had no worth to support those boundaries.

Instead of stating my feelings/truth and following it up with actions that supported my worth, I’d be nasty and spiteful. The “nice” had never worked, so I went to the extreme. And guess what… that didn’t work either! Instead, I just became a miserable asshole.

That was a hard realization to admit because from the outside, I wasn’t being reciprocally supported, loved or honored. Of course it was his fault. In my mind, I had every reason to be a jerk because HE wasn’t treating me right. It was all HIS fault.

Wrong.

Just because someone doesn’t treat us right, we don’t have license to lower ourselves to their level. In fact, that behavior only creates more friction and chaos!

Our BEST CHOICE ALWAYS is to empower ourselves. We must be willing to do the work to heal the unworthiness wounds inside ourselves that keep attracting partners that are meeting us at that lower energetic level. In order to attract a partner that respects and loves us wholly, we must respect and love ourselves wholly! When we change our energy from the inside out, our life naturally shifts to meet us at this new level.

In my book From Doormat To Sweet Empowerment, I go in depth into the 9 keys areas I shifted/healed in my life in order to attract reciprocally respectful relationships.

No longer will we be attracted to someone who doesn’t honor our worth. We will sense the lack of cohesiveness very early on and our worthiness will support our exit.

I remember always, always, ALWAYS second guessing my feeling/thoughts/actions. Maybe I’m not seeing this right? I’d attach excuses to the person’s behaviors and I’d convince myself to “Just stay a little longer. He’ll figure it out.” They never did because they never do. We’ve attracted the wrong partner and until we fully love and honor ourselves, we will continue to do so.

Taking full responsibility for our lives starts with recognizing our unworthiness wounds.

I remember my second husband (the tsunami husband) saying scornfully to me once, “You are now going to be divorced twice! See, something is wrong with YOU, not me. YOU are the common denominator!” The complete irony of this statement is this… He meant those words as a way to point the finger outward instead of owning his sh*t and I knew that then. However, somewhere along my healing path, I remember thinking, “Damn! He is so right! I AM the common denominator!” But not in the “you suck” way he was saying. It was ME that kept attracting disrespect. It was ME who made excuses for my partner’s bad behaviors. It was ME who stayed when I saw the warning signs early on. It was ME who didn’t love me enough to say ENOUGH. I always giggle when I tell this story, because it was just so perfect! Although his words were meant to hurt, they brought awareness instead! How ironic is that?

Freedom comes when we finally open our hearts to truth.

Now that I knew it was I that was repeating a pattern, I could actually do something about it! No more finger pointing! No more shame and blame! I had some work to do and I got busy doing it.

I made a vow to not even consider dating until I felt empowered enough to be able to hold my lines. I even constructed an “Unacceptable Treatment Guideline”, a list of deal breakers, to warn me when I was with someone of non-reciprocal quality. I used the guideline as a reminder until I was strong enough to spot and respond effectively to behaviors naturally. I needed a go-to check list at first as I was fine-tuning my worth and strengthening myself.

When I finally dated again, I was Divinely put into a situation where I had to demonstrate my worthiness. He didn’t have any huge flags about it him, but there were several small ones. I asked questions to clarify my thoughts and gratefully he was honest enough with me to confirm what I was seeing/feeling. We ended after 5 weeks. Thank you for that opportunity, Spirit! The mere experience of that solidified my worth even more because each time we act from our worthiness, we become stronger, more rooted.

Shortly thereafter, I did meet my equal. I have never before experienced such respect, love and devotion! I still shake my head in wonder sometimes… However, I could not have attracted him until I had deemed myself worthy of him.

No work done on self is ever in vain! Even though you might not see the immediate fruits of your labor, it is there behind the scenes aligning people and circumstance to help lead you to your best life! With each step toward self-love, you are getting closer and closer to your life’s dreams.

Take care of you.

Love you unconditionally

Cultivate your worth

And watch as miracles envelope your life.

 

Your thoughts?