Category: Self-Love & Self-Worth

How to Break Unhealthy Relationship Patterns For Good!

How to Break Unhealthy Relationship Patterns For Good

The Sweet Empowerment Podcast

Episode #51  Show Notes

Link to Show

 

Are you tired of relationships not working out? Perhaps being cheated on, abandoned, disrespected or not being a priority?

 

In this episode, I’m going to share why our unhealthy relationship patterns persist and what we can do to break them once and for all.

 

How we think about ourselves and treat ourselves is what is reflected back to us in our relationships. Where we were hoping our person would fill the holes in our heart, we are left with even more when the relationship breaks.

 

If we don’t see our value, our person won’t see our value either.

 

Then we blame them for treating us badly and we try to change them.

 

Which never works.

 

So, we become frustrated upset and build up resentment. A chasm is inserted and eventually the relationship breaks. Or at the very least we stay in an unhappy, unfulfilling relationship.

 

All because we tried to change them, instead of changing ourselves. We tried to make them value us instead of us valuing ourselves.

 

Remember, how we think about and treat ourselves is what is reflected back to us.

 

The only true power we have in relationships and life is loving ourselves so much, we are willing to speak our truth, set boundaries and walk away if necessary.

 

It’s the defining moment. The moment we see whether our partner values the relationship enough to do the necessary work or not.

 

And whether they do or not, has nothing to do with your worth! No one has the power to determine our worth. That was determined by God, long before we even came here.

 

Their choice to grow will only depend on how motivated our boundaries make them combined with their level of humility and willingness to take responsibility for their behavior.

 

Are they blamers? Are they arrogant, spoiled and entitled? Are they willing to own their stuff?

 

Are they emotionally weak, emotionally immature and/or childish?

 

Or are they humble and willing to see truth and act on it?

 

Are they fearful of losing of you or willing to cash you in for someone who doesn’t challenge them to grow? Some people are just that stuck and it has nothing to do with you!

 

YOU did not create this.

 

You might ask yourself… If they are not fearful of losing the relationship and willing to cash you in, is this the type of person you want as your lifer? Is this someone who would make you a priority and be there for you no matter what?

 

I’ve had my share of lopsided relationships. Not once, but several times. In fact, it’s why I now teach what I teach. I learned how to break the pattern so I could attract and maintain a mutually loving and respectful relationship.

 

I learned that by setting limits, men who didn’t value me or were ready for the caliber of relationship I was, left. It’s never fun when someone leaves you, but in hindsight, I realized it was the best thing they could’ve done for me.

 

Have you ever considered that a person’s rejection is your protection? Yeah, that’s a good one isn’t it?

 

I also learned that the ones who valued me and the relationship, were willing to grow.

 

Here’s the deal, when we begin to see behaviors we don’t like (and this could take some months), it’s important to start setting the precedence of what you require by speaking up and setting and maintaining healthy boundaries if necessary.

 

Iyanla Vanzant says, “People violate you when you don’t have clear boundaries and they run amok!”

 

But setting clear boundaries is next to impossible if we are desperate or needy because we tend to overlook, ignore and deny what we’re seeing.

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We make excuses for what they do so that we don’t have to push the limits because we’re deathly afraid of losing them.

 

But the problem is, we don’t weed out people who are not good for us. People who will not treat us respectfully and honorably. And we end up with people who will continually cause us pain.

 

Who wants to live like that?  I sure don’t!

 

When we don’t question behavior and/or set limits when we start to see questionable or unacceptable behavior, we teach them their behavior is OK. I say when we “start” to see the behavior because many people wait to long.

 

And that’s on us, my friends, because we are responsible for how we let others treat us. It’s time to speak up!

 

Otherwise, their poor treatment eventually eats at us over time and we become attacking, blaming, angry and resentful or the contrary of distant, shut down, detached and uncommunicative.

 

When we wait too long, our person is not motivated to change. Because they’ve been getting away with it for so long. Have you ever had someone “change” for a week or two then go right back into the same crap? That’s because there was no motivation for long-term healing. They adjusted for a minute most likely to shut us up, but there was no real motivation for long-term healing because they know we’re not going anywhere.

 

Another point is we’ve also not deemed ourselves as valuable so we are often taken for granted or not made a priority. We don’t matter to ourselves, so why should we matter to another person?

 

To be honest, being a pushover is not an attractive quality either. In truth, it’s often seen as boring and weak.

 

So, let’s back up to when we are initially faced with bad treatment and behaviors.

 

Know that THIS is the magical opportunity to teach our person how to treat us by communicating what is okay and what is not. Learning to speak up from the start is how we demonstrate our value and teach others what’s required to be with us. It’s how we sort through who has the potential be an ideal partner and who does not.

 

At that point, if the person is open to personal growth and has deemed you/relationship valuable, the person will adjust his/her behavior in order to keep the relationship. Remember, any change or morphing based in love, respect, honor, ethics, morals or values, is always good thing!

 

So please know, your boundary is aiding your person in their spiritual development and growth. It is truly a win-win situation for both parties.

 

Keep in mind, we are not asking someone to change the essence of who they are or their unique individuality. In fact, we are not asking for change at all.

 

We are simply demonstrating that we will not stick around for crap behavior. If our boundary motivates them to heal or grow, then beautiful! If not, we can exit the relationship without deeper investment. Because we all know once we get further invested with sex, finances, children, property and in-laws, it becomes even more difficult to exit when necessary.

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Unfortunately, there are millions of people who get caught in the excitement that someone might “complete” them and ignore potential warning signs.

 

So, what stops us from speaking up and setting and maintaining healthy boundaries?

 

We are unable and unwilling to set boundaries and speak up for ourselves when we are desperate for a relationship. And why are we desperate?

 

Because we think there is no one out there for us or this is our last chance.

 

We may also think I can’t get better than him/her or time is running out. Or maybe you think there’s something wrong with you because you are single, short, tall, old, young, black, white or rainbow. There’s many, many reasons we compromise our sacred self.

 

The bottom, bottom line is we want someone to love and accept us so we can feel better about ourselves.

 

Because deep down we don’t feel like we are enough. Since we don’t believe who we are, we believe someone or something outside of ourselves will make us feel enough.

 

Which is flawed thinking because that job is ours and ours alone.

 

Furthermore, when we enter any relationship with an energy of desperation, we are weak. We are so dependent for the relationship, we will not challenge our person’s bad behavior the way we should. Because there’s a possibility our person will leave us.

 

This is NOT gender specific by any means. This is true in males as well as females.

 

This desperation also masquerades as love because it feels powerful. It feels addicting and like we can’t live without the other person.

 

And calling it love gives us an excuse to stay. Because saying I am staying for love sounds more acceptable than I am staying because I am desperate and afraid.

 

But when we get radically honest and sort through our patterns, we clearly see the root of all we do and do not do in relationships is based on our level of self- worth.

 

The level to which we matter to ourselves is directly proportional to how willing we are to challenge poor behavior from others.

 

Let me say that again…

 

The level to which we matter to ourselves is directly proportional to how willing we are to challenge poor behavior form others.

 

It’s also a clear indicator how likely we will attract, create and maintain a reciprocally loving and respectful relationship.

 

Hence, the one true antidote to bad relationships is, “Clean up your self-worth, clean up your life!”

 

If you’re interested in the work I did to heal my self-worth and reclaim my personal power, you can buy my book HERE.

 

Or if you’d like to dive deeper, you can contact me for specialized coaching to help you reveal and heal your unhealthy relationship patterns.

 

I’m interested in specialized coaching.

 

It’s always good to speak and hear truth. I hope this episode landed in your heart in a way that sparks hope and inspires you to reclaim your personal power so you can end your dysfunctional relationship patterns for good!

 

 

 

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.

Ladies: Is Your “Number” Getting Too High?

tic marks

There’s a pop culture term for the amount of people we’ve had sex with. It’s called “your number”.  The mere fact this is a thing within our youth, says a lot. People are always paying attention to how we conduct ourselves sexually.

Historically society has made promiscuity okay for men, but multiple partners takes on a completely differently meaning for women. Throughout the centuries, one might typically be called a whore or a slut if her number is too high suggesting she is giving away the “cookie” (as Steve Harvey refers to it) too often and easily.

However, I see a high number in a completely different way. So, let’s take the words whore and slut out of this conversation because judgment will only interfere with this very important message.

Without even knowing you personally, I can bank on a few reasons why you continually give up the cookie too soon:

  1. You believe sex will secure the relationship.
  2. You believe a man’s sexual desire for you means he is interested
  3. You have no idea how truly valuable you are.

Most men are driven by a primal need to disperse his seed. It is built into his physiology to procreate. He is easily turned on visually and when touch is added, he’s quickly pushed to the point of no return. Most often he will do or say anything to get what his body is craving. Remember the Meatloaf song “Paradise by Dashboard Lights?

Considering these hard facts, it’s almost stupid how easy it is to get a man to have sex with you. (To be frank, it’s really no great accomplishment)

Then once in throes of tongues, thrusts and sweat, the cookie-giver tends to think: Look how much he wants me. I’m special and different than all the other women. He won’t be able to live without me!

Until he loses interest and stops calling. Ouch.

goodbye

Why? Because to a man sex is never about securing a relationship. Period.

There’s a sad truth afoot here, ladies… men can pretty much get their rocks off with anyone, even with himself.  You are not special and you are not different than any orgasm before you.

At least not yet!

When we have sex with a prospective partner too soon, we mistake his sexual desire for love and affection. Sure, he may think you are cute and funny, but he hasn’t even gotten to know you. All that happened was you provided an outlet for his innate primal desire.

Even if he does stick around for a bit, he hasn’t connected to your personality, your values or your soul. He wasn’t given the time. The only thing that’s been established is you are willing to screw. Is that really what you want your worth to be judged by?

I didn’t think so.  Please read on.

The point when a man truly connects with and commits to a woman does not come from sex. It arises organically when the woman keeps a steady pace of abstinence until the man has earned the right to be with her.

I’m not making this up. Any emotionally healthy, self-aware man will tell you this.

Emotionally healthy men are highly attracted to and stay with women who are confident, know their worth and formulate healthy boundaries for him to honor and respect.

Unless or until you start treating yourself as valuable, your number will continue to increase without the payoff of a lifetime partner you so desperately crave.

Let’s break this down into 3 Simple Truths:

Simple Truth #1:

Your vagina is not your worth.

 If you could readily adopt that idea, I’d stop writing right now. But chances are you don’t yet fully understand.

Stop listening to the BS society and the media throws at you. Your eyebrows, hair, clothes, toenails and fancy Cirque de Solei sex positions is not what secures an emotionally healthy man. He may enjoy those things, but they will not ensure a lifetime commitment. Sure, there are superficial dudes out there who only care about how you look on his arm, but all you will ever be is a thing to make him feel better about who he is.

Not really what you’re looking for is it?

Simple Truth #2:

A man wants a woman who is authentic, open-hearted and acts in alignment with her own worth.

After years of poor choices and behaviors stemming from my own unworthiness, I learned a man is truly looking for a woman to feel safe with. Yep, you heard me! He craves safety and intimacy just like you do.

A woman tossing out the cookie left and right does not yield safety I assure you.

A safe woman is one who understands her value and is willing to act in accordance with her worth thus becoming a shining beacon amidst a tumultuous hurricane of cookies flying everywhere.

When a man feels authentic truth, self-worth and integrity within a woman, he will do what it takes to secure her to him. This is the point she becomes special and different. And if he doesn’t, he is not a man of integrity and you should move on as fast as possible.

Simple Truth #3:

Men desire connection and safety just as much as women.

An emotionally healthy man will choose a woman who makes him feel safe over a flamboyant romp in the sack every time.

Have you ever stayed in a relationship too long waiting for him to commit only to watch him marry the next woman he meets? What did she have that you didn’t? Oftentimes, a man doesn’t even know what he is looking for until that glowing, confident, self-assured women whirls into his life. She can be a game changer for even the most steadfast of bachelors.

foundsafety

Sisters, there is a way out of the ever increasing “numbers” game and into the arms of a wonderful man so listen up.

Step One: Recognize you have a pattern of giving up the cookie-too soon.

Step Two: Let yourself off the hook. You are not a whore. You have only mistakenly believed that you could gain love by offering your body. Give yourself grace and forgiveness for acting in a way that did not support your highest self.

Step Three: Stop dating until you do the work to heal your self-worth and unequivocally know you are able to protect and support your sacred self in your next relationship.

And always remember there is nothing more attractive and stimulating to an emotionally healthy man than a woman who values herself.

Stop Feeling Guilty for ‘Me Time’ – It’s Actually Benefiting Your Children

I woke up the other day feeling a bit antsy and irritable. Since that is not typical Kristen character, I checked in with myself by asking:

What’s missing? What do I need right now?

The answer was emphatically clear. I need more me time.

me-time1

I knew immediately I had fallen into the guilt trap a-gain! Because guilt is the only reason I refrain from taking me time. Straight up, no chaser.

Six years post tsunami, two years rockin’ a new book, a successful coaching practice and multitudes of self-empowerment blogs and articles in my portfolio and I still fall prey to the guilt monster. ((sigh))

Here’s what the despicable beast sounds like:

You need to be available for your family all of the time.

You cannot take care of yourself until everyone else is set.

You’re last on the list.

Everyone’s needs trump yours.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you? If yes, read on, my friend!

Yesterday I had a fabulous conversation with my dear friend, Sherry. I shared how guilt stops me from doing the things I want to do for me. Things that expand my soul, grow my spirit, fill my life and make me feel good. Sherry understood far too well as she too experiences the same voices in her head and allows them to control her actions as well.

In fact, Sherry suffers from a chronic illness right now that oftentimes puts her to bed for days. She expressed to me how she often pushes past the needs of her body to alleviate guilt she would feel for taking care of herself. Which only then exacerbates her weakened state and categorically adds days to her down time.

Sherry and I agreed we both would have benefitted from more quality attention in our youths and due to our desire to do things “better”, we’ve overcompensated in a bad way.

Mommies, what are we doing to ourselves?!

Here’s what I know for sure.

Over-correcting is not the way to do it.

Giving ourselves away at the expense of our own well-being and self-care never serves anyone. It runs us ragged while it may enable our children to be self-serving, demanding, unable to work out their own problems, unable to keep themselves occupied and/or keep them locked in a state of instant gratification.

Keep in mind they don’t have to act like Veruca Salt to be exhibiting these behaviors. They can be subtle and manipulative as well. Believe me, our kid’s got our number!

Disclaimer: This does not mean we have horrible children. They aren’t purposefully trying to drain the life out of us. They’ve been tended to from birth and unless we set boundaries, they will continue to seek our tending because they won’t know any better.

You see, when we compromise our sacred self, we sacrifice our self-worth and we simply will not show up as the lightest and brightest version of ourselves.

It’s impossible because we are not tending to ourselves as a whole. It’s like washing, waxing and polishing only half of a filthy car. We only show up a fraction of our full potential.

The first sign I recognize when I’ve been putting myself last is irritability. Then I notice a deep internal pull to be doing something else. I feel empty, antsy, half-interested, detached, going through motions, pretending I’m listening but zoning out and the worst part is the feelings of resentment that sometimes come. The very thing I’m trying to avoid, I actually create!

Which then begs the questions:

Is it really better to give all of me away?

Are my beloveds getting the best  version of me when I’m not tending to my soul?

Are my children really getting a better experience than I had?

Am I teaching them patience, boundaries and self-care by running myself ragged?

When put like that, the answer becomes emphatically clear.

No.

Being a mommy doormat is not serving to our children or to us.

So let’s get off the problem and onto the solution. 

taketimeforme

What does it look like when we do carve out more me time?

For me, I’m more centered, engaged and relaxed. I don’t feel rushed or harried. I am better focused, happier, more patient and definitely more present. Hands down, I’m a better version of me when I take care of myself and stop putting everyone’s needs above my own.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I understand everyone’s situations are different. I’ve seen a lot in my 26 years working closely with the public and I understand it’s not always easy to etch out the space we desperately need.

I want to encourage those of you who do have extenuating circumstance to do your best to whittle out some me time. If there is a will, there is a way! It might be uncomfortable at first as you work through your limiting beliefs and guilt, but I implore you to keep at it!

You cannot  be your best self if you are not treating yourself as valuable.

To all the mommas out there who find yourself pinched up and beginning to begrudge your role as mother, I implore you to heed the words herein. Do you want to be an average momma or do you want to be an exemplary momma?

Remember we are the greatest role models for our children. We have the choice to model doormathood or to model loving self-care.

Trust in knowing your self-care will benefit your children as much as it will benefit you!

takecareofyou

Here’s to guilt-free (if there is such a thing) parenting!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Much Love,

Kristen

How To Act When Dating Someone New – Today’s Question & Answer

 

Question:

When you first meet someone that you feel chemistry and connection with, how are you supposed to act?

You are supposed to act 100% yourself. Period. If we wear a mask of any kind portraying ourselves as something we are not, we run the risk of duping our partner into “liking” us.

Short-term we “win” the man, but long-term we’ve signed up for a partnership that was not built on truth. This is often where disharmony, affairs and/or divorce stem from. (Disclaimer: But by far not the only reason)

It is much better to be ourselves from Go rather than bob and weave between the lines of who we think our potential partner wants us to be. In doing that, we are dishonoring ourselves first and our partner second. Not a great way to start out a relationship.

100 % authenticity, baby!

I’m myself but I sense men still play games. I grew up with the concept that if a man wants you in his life he will make it happen.

I do believe if a man truly sees your value and wants to secure you (and he is commitment ready), he will make sure you know it. He will want to seal the deal so to speak so he does not have to worry about you being “out there”.

If a man is not securing his position with you there is reason to pause, rethink what the relationship is actually built on, what is acceptable to you and what you are truly desiring in a relationship.

You are responsible for your own happiness regardless what he decides.

But I’m a bit older now and my dating pool of men are divorced with children. So that white night drives a minivan now.  :) I just met someone who I am very attracted to, but he is not only divorced with two kids but his ex-wife recently moved across the country with their children. And to top it off he is a high ranking military man. I have never dated a military guy before and that is a whole other topic.

I invite you to release the need to attach labels, excuses and/or stigmas onto him. He’s a man and soul first before anything else. Deal with the person, his personality and behavior, not an imposed belief or stigma attached to his situation and current status.

We handle our relationships best when we believe what we are seeing through a clear filter, not the filter of an attached label or excuse attached to a label. 

Until then, pay attention to how he treats you. Are you being respected? Do you feel his interest? Are you high up on his priority list?

This is super new and I really like him but need to get to know him better.

Great idea! Although there are those moments “jumping in” works, it is a rarity in long-term success! When we release the need to rush, we allow for graceful unfolding – a true blending of energies and personalities. That is where the magic is.

I do want to show him I care and want him in my life but don’t want to scare him away. How would you advise in this type of situation?

A courageous and open heart will show care naturally. A heart that is “afraid” of scaring him away will give off energy incongruent with your true essence. Instead he might feel: neediness, insecurity or a “scripted behavior” which is not attractive to pursuers male or female.

Appreciation, light touches and your happiness and inner glow with him is encouragement enough for him to continue pursuing you.

When I think of him, I’ll send him a quick text. He has confided in me a little about his ex but I’m not sure if I should allow that or ask that he not discuss her with me. Isn’t it too soon to go there? Or is it?

My personal philosophy is there are no topics off limits.

We cannot get to know our person or anyone else for that matter, if we only discuss superficial topics. Getting to know someone on the core level requires open-hearted conversation around everything!

We can’t know what or who we are dealing with (and decide if it works for us or not) if we don’t enter into unknown space. Furthermore, if he’s not far out of the relationship, talking about it and processing space will be vital to his healing.

I fear I am going to mess this up even if he is the one with the heavier baggage.

Carrying fears into a relationship has the capacity to “mess it up” depending where both parties are at. Fear brings with it a dank energy. You might want to explore your shadow to see if your fear stems from an unworthiness associated with men or a sense of urgency or neediness that does indeed have the capacity to push him away.

My advice is to continually work on yourself. Fear dissipates when we know and love ourselves. This is the pathway to a mutual loving and respectful relationship. If you are unable to do this alone, contact a good coach or therapist to assist you.

I want to get to know him because I sense this could be really great. Call it intuition, but I feel there is something really special about him.

There is something special about him – he is God’s child just as you are. All relationships serve us in some capacity or another. Our person may be here for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Whatever the purpose may be, may we open our hearts to follow Spirit’s guidance and open our eyes to see the shadows this relationship will bring to the forefront for healing.

Everything is purposeful.


Beloved Sister, I’m honored you called upon me to hold space for you while you navigate through your confusion. I hope I interpreted your email correctly and this tidbit helps you in the highest way. Sending you much love on your journey!

~KB