Tag Archives: Approval

I’m Afraid to be Naked in Front of My Boyfriend…What Should I Do?

Hello Joy Diva. I am 23 years old and I am still insecure of many things I used to be insecure when I was a teen. I am short and fat and I have stretch marks all over my body. I used to have zits and now the marks are all over my face. But this young man, 19, who’s been my friend for over a year now confessed he had feelings for me. And now, we’ve been in love for a couple of months now, but we haven’t been so intimate yet. I know there will come a time when he’ll finally get to see the ugly skin I have I kept hidden underneath my clothes. I’m really afraid my insecurities would ruin up our intimacy and worse our relationship. What should I do?

Ugly Duckling

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Hi Beautiful,

I simply cannot call you the Ugly Duckling because the last thing that you need from me right now is to reinforce this painful image of yourself. You may think that calling you “Beautiful” is taking things too far in the other direction, and I know better. I am confident (and I imagine your boyfriend is, too) that there is exquisite beauty pouring from every aspect of who you are.

Dear, sweet girl—my heart broke a little when I read this post and it was filled with so much love and compassion for you that I can only hope that you feel me wrapping my arms around you with my words. I feel your fear—how real it seems to you that you could be rejected, that you could lose love, that you are not worthy to receive it in the first place because of the way that you look. You’ve gotten pretty good at rejecting yourself, withholding love from yourself, and deeming yourself unworthy through the years, haven’t you? Food itself has probably become both a tool of comfort and punishment as you try to fill those unloved spaces and simultaneously punish yourself for adding to this state of being somehow “unlovable.”

First things first: Fat or thin, tall or short, outgoing or shy, lighthearted or serious, brain surgeon or high school drop-out, etc., etc. you will ALWAYS be worthy of the same amount of love as everyone else—the same love that you feel and wish for your boyfriend, or anyone else who crosses your path. You were born inherently lovable and inherently worthy of being loved. Period. Nothing will ever, ever change that. Being inherently lovable is one of the gifts we get to have for being human.

So, I’m going to give you some tools to love yourself up right now:

1) I want you to honor your fears and insecurities by communicating them to your boyfriend. Right now, you are feeling ashamed about your body, ashamed that you feel insecure about your body, ashamed that you might “ruin” your relationship with this insecurity…and then you’re even feeling ashamed about feeling ashamed. The best way to rid yourself of this shame is to speak it out loud—shame evaporates when we speak it out loud. I know that you’re afraid to let him know that you are anything less than confident, and the truth is that you’re not feeling confident right now—far from it, and what you are feeling is 100% OK and needs your attention and acknowledgment. Let him know how nervous that you are, afraid of pushing him away, afraid that he might not like what he sees…lay it all out there. Honesty is sexy. That’s right…downright I-want-to-make-sweet-love-to-this-woman sexy. :) Chances are really good that he is just going to fall more in love with you through your vulnerability, and if he doesn’t, then he is not a right fit. Any guy who doesn’t embrace you in your vulnerable honesty is not a man worth your time.

2) I want you to start exploring your body as the extraordinary pleasure center that it is. You are a WOMAN! A curvy, soft, sensuous, nurturing, exquisite, radiant flower in your own right. Unlike a man, you have an organ on your body whose sole purpose is for pleasure! How awesome is that?! (Yes…I’m talking about your clitoris…if you haven’t visited it yet or often, I encourage you to get to know it and make it your best friend… :) ) Your body isn’t for your boyfriend! It’s for YOUR pleasure, your enjoyment, your love. Give yourself the gift of exploring all of the ways that you can give yourself pleasure. I want you to enjoy taking showers and feeling the water on your skin, enjoy making yourself smell good, wearing beautiful fabrics…giving yourself all of the time that you need to be fully present in nurturing your body. Dance to music around your house, feel your body flowing with the music. Enjoy the food that you eat—take time to savor it on your tongue. Your body is magnificent. It is the house for your beautiful soul and it is made for you to enjoy what it means to be alive. Women who love their bodies through self-care and pleasure…bodies of all shapes and sizes, are irresistibly sexy.

3) Beyond your body, I want you to explore your inherent fabulousness. Take 5 minutes and make a non-stop list of all of the reasons why any man would be blessed to call you his girlfriend. You were born as a unique expression of the divine, equipped with wonderful strengths. You were born to be a blessing by simply being who you are. So who are you, Gorgeous? Now is not the time to be humble. Go nuts, fill up the page and brag about yourself like there’s no tomorrow.

4) What do you LOVE to do? What do you love about being alive? Make a list and pick 3 things that you can bring into your life daily/weekly/monthly that fill you with joy…and then create time to do those things.

I get that some, if not all, of my assignments for you probably make you super uncomfortable…and that’s the point. You are safe. You are in your own loving hands with every one of these steps, and you deserve to allow yourself to get uncomfortable for the sake of your growth. You deserve to feel sexy and sassy and worthy of all of the love in the world…because you are. Consistently practicing these actions will increase your sense of confidence and love for yourself and begin the process of setting you free. AND you will start to discover that taking care of yourself in these ways just feels damn good…and you so deserve to feel damn good, my dear.

Picturing you happy, healthy, and free.

:) Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

 

How Can I Rediscover the Fun, Happy, Optimistic Me?

Dear JoyDiva,

I am a young woman of 20 and I want to find out why I can’t accept myself although i am average height and weight. I feel ashamed when I’m naked because I am not your typical playboy model. I have differences that even though my boyfriend tells me over and over again that I am normal or I have read that I am, I still don’t feel this way. It scares me into thinking I can’t explore outside of this little life. I can’t feel free. I have also hurt my boyfriend twice because I am so insecure. I want to be able to be free and be me without feeling I am obligated to stay with my boyfriend or that I have to take up anyone who gives me attention or anyone that is sweet to me. How can I rediscover the fun, happy, optimistic me? Before I would do nothing but draw in my spare time, and I even went to college but shortly gave it up because I felt as if my boyfriend couldn’t handle it and I was afraid he would leave me and even though I love him, I was afraid I’d end up alone. We fought all the time about the past things I did. Help.

Feeling Guilty

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Dearest Feeling Guilty,

I’m sorry to hear how “little” that you are feeling in your life, right now, and I commend you for reaching out in honor of the freedom that you are longing for and deserve to feel.

What I love about this question is that you are already halfway to answering it for yourself. :) You know what’s going on here. You know that you are abandoning yourself by your current choices. You see the fear. You also see how your choices to follow the fear rather then taking the actions that make you feel free and expanded are dimming your light and clipping your wings.

You will feel fun, happy & optimistic when you start pursuing yourself again. Your choice to draw, go to college, or do anything you damn well please has nothing to do with your boyfriend, and if he’s being bothered by your pursuing that which brings you alive, then he’s the one responsible for the misery he creates for himself. A healthy relationship consists of two individuals pursuing themselves, and celebrating & supporting each other in their individual wholeness. You’re not responsible for his happiness, nor is he responsible for yours.

You will feel sexy when you start choosing & claiming your own life again & expressing your unique individuality. This isn’t about your body. This is about you cherishing yourself through your time and attention. This is about you speaking up for what you want and what you don’t want. This is about you owning that you CAN have freedom and joy when you choose it for yourself. All of your focus on trying to keep your relationship has had you in a constant state of self-abandonment. You will rediscover all that is magical within you when you start risking this current false illusion of comfort in your relationship for the sake of what you really want. If he can’t walk beside you as you transform, if the relationship ends because he can’t handle your pursuing your life, then THANK GOD! Anyone or anything that does not support you in coming alive is way, way, way too small for you. You weren’t born to be in relationship with this guy. You were born to gift the world with your aliveness. What a waste of a beautiful precious life if you squander it for fear of being alone! (When you choose to love yourself you will discover that you are never alone. You are always supported. You are always loved.)

Make a list of all of the activities/choices/ways of spending your time that make you feel free and by gosh, start doing those things! Imagine a time in your life when you were really happy. What were you doing & experiencing? What was it about that experience that contributed so much to your joy? How can you start bringing those qualities into your life TODAY?

It’s time to take action & choose yourself, Beautiful.

Here are some nurturing resources for you:

Visit my website & grab your FREE Self-Love SuperStar Kit—a WONDERFUL gift to yourself (It includes a free report of “85 Ways to Feel Happy, Confident & Free…No Matter What”, along with 3 other goodies for your expansion.)

Christine Arylo’s Books: Choosing Me Before We & Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend

You are an extraordinary woman who was born to do extraordinary things…always know that.

Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

I’m Afraid to Show My Boyfriend I Love Him…Can You Help?

Hello JoyDiva,

Let me tell you how thankful I am for finding you, even though I don’t know you :’) My question is, well is more my issue, is that you see I do not know how to love my boyfriend, I feel like if I show him how much in love I am for him he’s gonna get tired of me :( Please help me!

StarstruckbyWatermelons

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Dear StarstruckbyWatermelons, (You could make a hit record with a name like that! ;))

Without knowing a lot of back story (i.e. how long you’ve been with your boyfriend, your relationship history, what it means for you to “show” your love, etc.), I’m not going to focus on any or those sorts of specifics here.

What I can say is this: There is nothing that you have to do or be other than exactly who you are to be worthy of a deeply nourishing and unconditionally loving relationship. Your fears of rejection are completely normal, and it’s 100% OK for you to take baby steps when it comes to revealing your vulnerability in your relationship—there is no need to put all of your emotions on the table at once if that is something you are not ready for. Building a foundation for a lasting relationship happens step by step—it takes time to build intimacy, to reveal piece by piece if your relationship has what it takes to flourish and endure, and taking things slowly is a most excellent way to ensure that you’ve got yourself a good one. If he’s the right guy for you, then he’s gonna relish in taking his sweet time and in building something true and lasting with you, too.

I hear that you really like this guy and are afraid to make a wrong move. As really, super-duper, incredibly scary and vulnerable that it may feel, the thing is that when you choose to express your truth—whether that means that you gush all over him with love or express your need to take your sweet time in sharing your love for him or simply just let him know that you’re kind of freaking out—you always win, he wins and the relationship wins, too. Here’s the deal: you actually don’t need your boyfriend’s love or approval—as scary as it seems in your mind to experience him disapproving of you and/or walking away, you have everything that you need within you to pick up your life and create insane amounts of joy. By choosing to express yourself honestly, you are not only loving him, you are creating the opportunity for you to be TRULY loved for completely who you are. If he isn’t ok with how you share your love, then let him go, darlin'; because that means that you aren’t a right fit for one another, and there is another man out there who is gonna be THRILLED to receive love just the way you know how to give it. Hiding yourself so that you can keep a relationship that may or may not be right? Well, that is selling you, your boyfriend and your relationship way, way short of all of the goodness that could exist in your lives. When you speak your truth, everyone wins—you and your boyfriend both get to see if your relationship has what it takes to serve you both to the fullest and then choose accordingly for your lives. It may sound cliche, but the truth really does set us free—free to be who we really are, have what we really want and deserve, and it opens us to all of the joy that can come with that freedom.

So, I want to ask you: What is it that you really want in a relationship? What does your dream partnership look like? What do you need in order to feel cherished in your relationships? Your homeplay: Go ahead and make a really long, juicy list in answering these questions—really go all out with this one. I have a strong feeling that a core piece of your dream relationship includes you getting to be COMPLETELY yourself and being loved for it. (At least I hope so!) Some other things that you might want to include are: “I can express myself fully and it only makes him love me more.” “I can take my precious time, and my partner will not only understand, but respect and cherish the choices that I need to make for myself.” Have fun with this—it’s so important that you get really clear on what you want to be experiencing so that you can build a relationship from that awareness. The world needs you to be fully YOU, and any relationship that doesn’t support you in your “you-ness” isn’t doing any of us justice.

So, make your list, and then I want you to explore some of the ways that you can ensure that you have all of those pieces that you want. One clear way right off the bat is in choosing to share all of yourself—your boyfriend may or may not choose you in the end, but by choosing to share your truth, you are being your best partner, you are choosing yourself. There is a deep and lasting joy that can be discovered when you realize that you will always have your own back.

I want to close with sharing a video of me performing my upcoming single, “I’m Free”–it’s all about the joy and freedom that we discover when we choose ourselves. May this song serve as a loving reminder of your inherent worth and power.

Much love to you and your boyfriend, Dear One.

:) Melissa, A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

How Can I Mend My Relationship With My Daughter?

Dear Melissa,

I was spending some time with my sister (from the land of oz) and she suggested I contact you. I need some help with my relationship with my daughter. I found out after 15 years of being together my husband was having an affair. We had an awesome relationship, never fought, enjoyed many of the same things, but our physical relationship had vanished. I was devastated at this discovery. I was willing to try and work out our issues, but he wanted no part of it. He moved to another city 250 mile away and he filed for divorce. I was in counseling for months. My spouse had a great relationship with my daughter, her husband and 9 year old grandson prior to these events. We used to go to all our grandsons sporting events, had frequent overnights at our house, and they were fishing buddies. My counselor said it was important for the relationship between my X husband and grandson should be allowed to continue. Over time, my daughter stopped giving her son the letters that my x sent. Although my x and I didn’t talk much in the beginning of our separation, we have reconnected in the last 8 months. Last October my x was in town for the weekend. My daughter had asked me to pick my grandson up after work and take him to soccer practice. As it turned out my grandson also spent the night. The 3 of us had an awesome time together, just like times spent together in the past. My daughter is furious that I allowed my grandson to see his papa without her knowledge. I told her I was sorry she was upset with my decision. She chooses not to forgive me because I am not sorry for what I did. My daughter is very controlling and is allowing her hurt and anger at my x husband to affect the relationship between my grandson and his papa. She wants to hash out what happened 4 1/2 months ago. My feeling is that there are times you have to agree to disagree. Regardless of what happens between me and my x, it is important that my grandson understand both of us continue to love him. My x and I may live in different cities, but we talk daily and are trying work out our differences. Since my daughter and I are now not speaking, she has asked that I stop going to my grandsons activities. I view this as her way of punishing me for my actions since we don’t agree on this issue.

I am interested in your thoughts.

Oz’s Sister

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Dear Oz’s Sister,

Thank you for sharing your story with me–I’m honored that your sister sent you here, and that you chose to reach out.

When I read through your email, it made me want to take a big, deep breath and just let it out. I’m going to invite you to do that with me right now. Just take a couple of deep breaths, and let them go.

There are all kinds of emotions flying high here, yours, your daughter’s and your ex-husband’s, and it’s really easy for each of you to get too much in each other’s business and try to control what is out of your control. One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Byron Katie, says in her book Loving What Is:

I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God’s. Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.

Telling your daughter what she should do, and judging her for her reactions is getting out of your business and into hers, and it is clearly creating hurt, frustration and separation. You say that she is controlling. I want you to turn that around, dear one, and say to yourself, “I am being controlling. In what ways is that true?” You went ahead and decided what is best for your daughter and her child without her consent. (I get that you felt justified in your actions, yet still, withholding information is controlling, no?) You’re creating all kinds of suffering for yourself by trying to convince her that you are right and she is wrong. You are trying to mend a relationship between father and daughter that is out of your control. I would be feeling pretty crappy in that space too!

Every judgement that we hash out and every bit of advice we give to others is always meant for ourselves–look at your judgements of her and your advice to her and than turn them around. What is it that you are needing to look at and not owning within yourself? You advise her to agree to disagree with the choices you made 4.5 months ago. Let’s turn your advice around: Can you agree to disagree with her choices in parenting your grandson? It sounds like agreeing to disagree…or even better, meeting each other with compassionate understanding, is good medicine for you both. Even your interpretation that she is “punishing” you is a reaction to her behavior based on your own feelings of guilt. I realize that it can be painful to turn the lens around and take responsibility for your part in this, but as soon as you can truly own how you are contributing to this situation and making it more painful for yourself than it has to be, you can free yourself and your relationship with her from this pain and suffering.

I’m seeing that there is a great need for you all to step back and give this situation, and the people involved (including yourself) the time and space to process and heal. I’m sorry to hear that your grandson has been pulled into this, and yet, chances are that it is the grown-ups and not your grandson who are suffering greatly in response to this time–most kids only suffer over grown-up problems when grown-ups convince them that they have a reason to be upset. If he doesn’t know that it’s a problem, then it isn’t a problem. There is no need to project your grown-up problems onto him–the truth is, he will be just fine when this all blows over as long as he’s allowed to think and feel on his own about it. I’m not saying that he is not missing you and his papa, but even the experience of missing someone only becomes truly painful when we are taught that our happiness is somehow dependent on those people. The truth is that your grandson does not NEED you in order to be happy. That hurts a little, I know. And yet, isn’t it so much better to realize that he can be ok, no matter what, with or without you in his life?! You all have done a good job of making this about your grandson, and yet, the chances of him being just fine are pretty good.

It’s the grown-ups who have gotten all up in each other’s business and are creating the suffering here. Everybody wants everyone else to listen and understand. Everybody wants everybody else’s love and forgiveness, and no one is willing to own his/her part. Your daughter’s estrangement is likely triggering feelings of guilt and remorse in your ex-husband, and so he’s looking to her (and it sounds like to you, as well) to solve that for him, and he is the only one who can actually heal that wound that he is carrying–whether or not he made the right choice to have the affair and leave is not the point, if some part of him feels ashamed about his choices (most people do harbor guilt when they have affairs), he needs to own that and give himself some love and understanding. The less he seeks it from her and lets her heal in her own time, the more likely she will re-engage with him in a way that works for both of them when she is good and ready. It’s not her job to forgive him. It’s his job. It’s also not her job to forgive you, sister. That’s your job.

You’ve been so focused on feeling responsible for mending this situation and being “right” that you are discounting your daughter’s feelings. Let your daughter have her hurt and anger. Even better, seek to understand it! She doesn’t need your judgement and advice. She wants your love and understanding. Listen to her. Ask her what SHE needs in order to heal, and really listen. Own your part in this situation. Surrender your need to be right–it only takes one person in a relationship to end this kind of power struggle. Why not have it be you? We all want to feel loved, understood and validated–give that to her, and you’ll get it back 10-fold.

I want to leave you with a song that I wrote after having a painful misunderstanding with someone important to me. May these words be healing for you as they were for me when I wrote them.

Much Love to you.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

How Do I Stop Comparing Myself to Other People?

Dear JoyDiva,

I’ve been trying to think lately how to stop comparing myself with other people. Its a pretty basic question, but at the same time its what has been ingrained in me for years- I was anorexic in the past, and that’s just the lens through which I saw my life. If I wasn’t better than someone (especially thinner), I was a failure. Now the weight is back, but the problem still tortures me at times. How do I stop comparing myself to others without completely over-inflating my self esteem? I don’t want to get to the place where I just assume I’m better than others to feel good about myself, or where I stop trying all together. I want to walk into a room, know I’m not the prettiest, smartest, “best” person there, and remain strong enough in who I am and who I’m not to be happy with the woman God made me to be. So yes, that would definitely be something I could use outside wisdom on!

Thanks for your help,

Confused

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Dear Confused,

I write this response from both a personal and a professional place–I can say that you are not alone in this because I witness it on various levels in nearly everyone that I encounter as well as within myself. I also want to acknowledge you for the tremendous courage it takes to consciously overcome an eating disorder, and I hear that you bring great insight, compassion and self-awareness into this inquiry.

The ego part of ourselves, that part of us that seeks to “protect us” and “get us love” while thriving on our fear and sense of worthlessness is always what is active in situations of comparison. The ego part of us believes that we are all separate and that the only way to get love, to even be worthy of love in the first place, is to somehow be better, perfect, more flawless than everyone else. The more that we listen to that voice, the sooner we can find ourselves on a hamster wheel of self-destruction, never actually receiving the love that we so long for.

The way to begin breaking down those false barriers between you and others comes in doing the opposite of what your ego is telling you to do–you cannot choose your thoughts, but you can choose which ones that you believe and act on. So, you walk into a room and see a beautiful girl–your ego says, “The only way you can get love is to be the best, and she is clearly better than you.” Chances are when that happens that “pretty girl” is the last person that you really want to talk to, to understand, and/or be vulnerable with and it’s hard to imagine that she can relate to what you’re experiencing in her presence. In these moments, one of the best ways to break up the energy of comparison & to get to what is truly real, is to reach out in a spirit of friendship. Your ego wants to isolate, and your consciousness knows we are all connected–as you put it, all made by God, and in that way, all “of the same.” When you can reach out from a place of honesty and openness to those people who threaten you as well as those who your ego wants to make “less than,” you begin to discover the humanity that we all share, remind yourself of your compassionate nature, and discover how truly acceptable and worthy that you are. Love and kindness always break through the illusion of separation and remind us of our inherent magnificence. When your mind wants to go toward comparison, I invite you to seek the common ground–given that we are all human, chances are darn good that every person you’ve compared yourself with through the years has felt pain and is carrying his/her own wound, too. Woundedness and humanity is just sort of a package deal. Healing and humanity are a package deal, too–the more you share what is real about you and make room to seek and understand what is real within others, you’ll create beautiful opportunities to heal your and others’ hidden wounds.

My other invitation for you is to be kind with yourself when this happens–your thoughts do not make you a bad person. They simply make you…a person. You mentioned not wanting to build yourself up so that you see yourself as superior, which is an important insight, and like I mention above, would only feed your ego self and take away from your sense of well-being. With that said, I do want to encourage you to sit down from time to time and make a list of all that you love about yourself–not what makes you better than others, but rather what YOU and YOU ALONE love about who you are. Living from a place of openness and compassion means that you celebrate ALL of humanity, including yourself. You ARE a unique being–no one else on the planet is exactly like you. Each and every one of us is unique and has our own role to play. The more you remind yourself and celebrate your own uniqueness–regardless of whether or not you have others’ approval, the more you build up a well-spring of compassion in your own heart that will overflow to others.

As I write this I’m reminded of an anecdote from a client who was at one time struggling with a desire to be “special” or “greater than.” She went through an exercise that really shifted her understanding of her own unique “specialness.” At a spiritual retreat, she was led through a guided meditation in which she had to envision herself somewhere in nature. Her mind floated to an image of a giant redwood forest. The instructor then asked each participant to find what represents them in that place. My client’s ego voice immediately exclaimed in her mind, “I’m the giant redwood tree!” and yet following that exclamation, she heard a quieter voice that said, “No. You’re the soil.” Her ego voice responded, “Soil? Why would I want to be soil? What’s so great about soil?!” The quieter voice said, “The soil NURTURES the giant redwood trees.” And so she realized, she was indeed the soil. Understanding this has allowed her to own this gift and be the behind-the-scenes nurturer that truly brings her and those in relationship with her the most fulfillment.

It’s easy to see our talents and strengths as though they are “dirt” compared to other people’s, but as it turns out, we all have a unique role to play in this vast and beautiful universe in which we live. Keep opening up and sharing who you are. Keep befriending those that threaten you in one way or another. Keep exploring the uniqueness that exists within you and all who cross your path.

Thank you again for your honest sharing of yourself and for your wonderful insight–Your thoughtfulness is truly a gift.

With Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

What is the Source of My Jealousy & How Do I Make it Go Away?

Dearest Melissa,

For the past four months you’ve coached me through one of the most volatile periods of my life. Guided by your wisdom I’ve grown into a joyful woman filled with immeasurable energy and self-love. Discovering and solidifying my values has been magical and empowering, and my relationships—especially the all-important one with myself—are flourishing. What I’m trying to say is… Thank you! It’s been several weeks since we last connected, and I’ve discovered a very important and deeply-rooted issue that I’d like to explore with you. That issue is Jealousy.

Jealousy has been a persistent shadow in my life for as long as I can remember. Without the right tools to coax it out of my garden, I’ve had no choice but to watch it linger and sometimes flourish amongst the lovely things that I purposefully nurture. Jealousy has taken many forms throughout my life but most recently has manifested itself in a new relationship with a young man I’ll call “Roman.” We met on a road-trip and spent the following week of winter break in almost constant contact. I quickly became smitten with him. Naturally (for me), whenever he showed affection toward our female peers, I became green around the gills. This blood-boiling possessiveness is a loathsome feeling to hold in the body, and I often became upset with myself for not being able to control it.

Immediately after parting ways with Roman I happened upon a book by Susan Page titled “The 8 Essential Traits of Couples Who Thrive.” On the whole, I think the book is fabulous, but one section that particularly struck me was that on intimacy. Page asserts that one cannot give OR love themselves fully if they don’t know themselves fully. She says that the “inner self” is where we harbor our most private pleasures, dreams and insecurities. The deep, hidden realm where our wounds, self-doubt and fears live is called the “snake pit.” According to Page, the snake pit is something that we all must accept and face without fear if we are to love ourselves completely. I’m inclined to agree with Page, and am willing (if not eager) to being charming my jealous snakes, for if I don’t know them, I can’t love them.

Thankfully I am not wont to envy other’s looks, possessions, or status, but this issue is nonetheless quite serious. Melissa, what questions would you ask me to help discover the roots of my jealousy and start to slowly ease them out? What do you do when you feel jealous? Do you think it can ever be completely eradicated? If I am to have an intimate relationship with Roman I wish to harbor no jealous feelings, and I know it would make me a more joyful person overall if I could let go of the general jealousy I sense when others become close to my best friend. As always, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Love,
It’s not easy being green

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Dear, “It’s not easy…”

Ah yes, the green-eyed monster. You feel it. I feel it. We’ve all felt it…and hated it, and felt terrible for feeling it. After going through an intense experience myself this past fall that brought up some major jealousy, I decided that it is one of the worst combinations of human emotions that one could experience. If you want to know a bit about some of that journey you can read about it here.

Jealousy happens because we experience a perceived threat to something we 1) believe we need, and 2) is outside of us, and 3) therefore, out of our control. Do I think it’s possible for us to fully eradicate jealousy? Yes, I do–jealousy and any other emotions that cause us pain come in response to attaching to thoughts that are untrue. With that said, be gentle with yourself and let your jealousy teach you rather than trying to resist it. In this case, as you found yourself falling for Roman (fun name, btw…:), it was these other ladies who shed a wonderful light on your own “snake pit” and suddenly there was the belief followed by the feeling that you have something to lose.

But answer me this: What do you REALLY have to lose? First of all, you’ve only just met Roman, and while I’m gathering that you’ve been mutually enjoying one another, you have only caught a glimpse of the surface of each other. Have fun with that, and know that it is YOU that you “lose” when you slip into the idea of “we” so quickly. This is what your jealously has so lovingly come to show you. You feel loathsome and out of control because you’re putting your focus in the direction of things that you will never be able to control. How does Roman feel about you? How does he feel about your female peers? Does he choose YOU? Can you trust him? Can you trust those girls not to take him away? Are you enough for him? These endless questions that start to float about amidst jealousy are none of your business–you will never be able perceive or affect the answers to these questions.

Here is what IS in your control: What does in mean for you to trust YOURSELF? What does it mean for you to be fully available to yourself, to never leave you, to make YOU feel cherished? What does it it mean for you to fully accept and approve of YOURSELF? These are all things that you can take care of yourself. THIS is your business, to choose yourself. In what ways were you beginning to compromise yourself in the context of this relationship? You will understand the wisdom of your jealousy by focusing in there.

When the jealousy comes on, allow yourself to take some space and fully feel it. It’s a great time to take a step back, take the focus away from relationships and remind yourself of all of the other kickass stuff you have going on in your life. You’re asking great questions and tapping into some great internal wisdom! Be gentle with yourself and know that you are growing in leaps and bounds. I’m honored to be a part of that. :)

As a final aside, as you continue to grow in your capacity to approve of and choose yourself first, you may find that you simply do not want to spend time with guys that freely share affection with other women–that’s ok to own. That doesn’t make those men WRONG, it just simply means that you prefer something else. It’s your party. You’ve already got the love. No need to contort yourself into uncomfortable positions for someone who approaches relationships differently.

Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

Why Is It So Hard for Me to Accept That My Boyfriend Loves Me?

Dear JoyDiva,

Why is it so hard for me to accept that my boyfriend loves me? I have met the perfect man. He is kind, smart, sexy, loving, funny and generous. He tells me that he loves me, that I’m beautiful and that I make him smile every day. My problem is that I don’t believe him. There’s absolutely nothing that he has done to make me feel that his love is not true. Why can’t I accept that he loves me? Why do I have to question it? Why can’t I be comfortable knowing that he loves me? Of course, that leads me to me next dilemma. When is he going to stop loving me? I have a feeling it may be when I begin to annoy him with all these insecurities! Thanks for your help.

Julie

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Dearest Julie,

I’m so happy to hear that you have found someone who is so good at loving you up–it sounds like he is a wonderful mirror for you right now of your own kind, smart, sexy, loving, funny, and generous self. You, of course, wouldn’t appreciate these qualities about HIM so much if they weren’t values living inside of you, as well. He is no more or less perfect that you are, my dear.

His love is also a wonderful mirror for you to take a look at the beliefs you have about yourself that are keeping you from experiencing the love that you long for. You are right, Dear Heart in recognizing that it’s nothing to do with him and everything to do with your thoughts. I want to turn your question around on you and have you think on this for a moment–When he tells you he loves you and whispers all of the sweet nothings that you’ve longed to hear, what are the thoughts that come up that keep you from accepting it? Somewhere underneath there I would imagine are some thoughts along the lines of: you need his love in order to be happy, that you can’t trust love to be there–that you cannot trust him, or anyone for that matter, and that oh yes, you might not actually be worthy of receiving the love that you believe you need so much in the first place. What did you DO to make him love you so much, and uh oh, what are you going to DO to screw it up? How could you, all by yourself, without doing anything other than being you, possibly be worthy of such kindness? I realize that it can hurt to own some of these thoughts, but the more honest you can be with these thoughts, the more healing…and love can start to flow in their place.

The truth is that love has nothing to do with what we do or how worthy we are or not–and it never comes from “that person” or “out there.” Right now, the idea of losing his love feels so scary because your mind has pulled you away from one very essential truth: You source your own love. You feel afraid of losing his love because you are putting all of your love-generating capacity outside of yourself and onto him. When we fall in love, we aren’t just falling in love with the other person, we are falling in love with who we are in the other person’s eyes. We are falling in love with our own reflection. Of course that feels good! The cool thing is that underneath all of these thoughts that make you feel badly about yourself, you have the full capacity to simply look within and decide to fall in love–other people are just icing on that cake. I want you to look at the following thoughts and list at least 3 ways that they are true with regard to this relationship and beyond:

“I need MY love.”
“I do not trust MYSELF.”
“I could leave MYSELF.”

Your trust for him and your ability to receive his love will grow in relationship to your ability to trust and love yourself. Look at all of the wonderful juiciness in your life that you are creating ALL BY YOURSELF. In what ways do you step away from yourself and all of the juiciness in your life when you start believing that he might leave and that you can’t live without his love? Those are moments to come back to yourself, to spend some really juicy YOU time, to remind yourself that YOU will never leave you, that you will always be there to provide all that you need. In what ways can you become the most loving and reliable lover that you can ever possibly imagine…to yourself? I want to share a poem with you that I think is good medicine for you, right now. It is called “I Don’t Trust You” and was written by a lovely woman named Natalie Chalmers.

I don’t trust you.
I relieve you of all burden to meet my expectations.
To be anyone I need you to be in order to feel safe.
I don’t trust you and I don’t expect you to trust me.
I relieve myself of all burden to be who you think I am.

And I open my heart as wide as I feel I can.
And that part of me still behind the curtain of
old paradigm beliefs and thoughts
looks to see if you have too.

And I feel happy when I think you have.
And sad when I think you haven’t.
And I tremble with anxiety when I think I have and you haven’t.

And then I remember.
I don’t trust you.
I don’t need to trust you.
My heart is not a fragile thing made of glass.
It is strong beyond all knowing.
It can open wide enough for the whole world to flow through it.
And it takes nothing from me, even when I give it all.

Because Love flows through my heart.
A stream of energy that I can’t keep.
Can’t hold tight onto it.
It moves
Emotion.
Energy in motion.

And every break it has ever had
has only been there to tear it wider.
To open it more.
To expand it so that even more Love can flow through it.

I don’t trust you.
I relieve you of the burden to approve of me,
because I am already Accepted.
I relieve you of the burden to love me,
because I am already Loved.
But I invite you in to share my love.
Share in my sharing.
To play with this flow that bounces between people
As they wax and wane in connection.

I don’t trust you and you needn’t trust me.
Only share what is True for you
And I will do the same.

I don’t trust you.
But I trust myself wholly
to be able to handle anything that
Life can ever bring to me.

Anything.
Through anyone.

Even you.

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Be patient with this process–you deserve the utmost gentleness from yourself as you slowly release your grip around these thoughts that have caused you such fear and pain. I celebrate you as you open yourself bit by bit to discover how infinite that love truly is.

My love to you and that sweet man in your life,

:)Melissa A.K.A the JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson