Tag Archives: Approval

Should I Stay or Walk Away From My Boyfriend?

Dear JoyDiva,

Please help? .. I just don’t know what to do?   I have recently split with my boyfriend again 3rd time over different issues.  He is very selfish,  a stress head,  and our personalities clash.   He always convinces me to get back . But nothing changes .  He tries but slips back into his selfish ways.  He says he loves me so much but each time we split gets back on dating sites immediately but comes straight back to me when it doesn’t work out… And I fall for it!!   He stays in touch with these women  as a back up  plan just in case we split again .  I’m trying to get over him but he keeps calling me telling me I’m the love of his life but I really can’t believe a word he says.   When we are together he is very loving and affectionate  but mainly sex based!  I  love him and would do anything for him but I think he’s just using me because he doesn’t want to be alone.?   So this time do I try to give him this one last chance or do I walk away for good?  Please help if you can ?

thank you,

  Joy

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Dear Joy,

Walk away. Walk away. Walk away.

Honey, I’ve been there. I get it. Despite your awareness that this hurts and it’s draining your life-force, you crave the sweetness. You see the potential in him, you hear the promises, and you want that reality SO BAD. When you reconnect, when you feel him desiring you, it’s like magic. And what you can’t see clearly in the haze of all of the hormones rushing through your body is that this addictive relationship has you placing all of your power outside of yourself and forgetting the limitless being that you are.

It’s time to stop living inside the land of “someday” and start paying attention to who he is being in the here and now. You must ask yourself, “If he NEVER changed and was this man for the rest of his life, could I live with that? Do I love him for who he is now or for who he COULD be? Does this really work for me?” Based on your sharing with me above, I think we both know the answer to these questions if you are fully honest with yourself. Relationships only work when people are clear that they embrace all of each other—values, life-style choices, behaviors, love languages, dreams and goals, day-to-day interactions etc.—in the here and now.

And in the most loving way that I can, if I were sitting across from you, I would put my hands on your shoulders, look you straight in the eyes and say: YOU CAN WITHOUT A DOUBT HAVE WHATEVER KIND OF RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU TRULY WANT. This is your life, your dream. You run the show—why on earth, out of the billions of people living on this planet would you choose to settle in any way, shape or form? Your ego thinks you need this man’s love and approval and I know that it BURNS to walk away, AND it’s time to take some deep breaths, pull up your big-girl pants and move on down the road. It’s time to face the pain, walk through the fire and discover your freedom on the other side.

When you’re attached to someone like this, it’s no different than being addicted to a drug, and you have to approach this exactly like you would if you were breaking an addiction. NO CONTACT.  It won’t feel natural. It will hurt. Your mind will tell you you’re being unreasonable, that you’re being too harsh or mean. You will likely have cravings and heartache. And just like a heroine addict feels like they need that drug, you will feel like you need that hit of contact with him. And just like we clearly see that any hit of heroine is not healthy for the heroine addict, any hit of contact with this man is not healthy for you at this time. (..and not until you can interact with him from a place of emotional detachment, which will take continued space and time.)

And if his approval is the drug, consider him the drug-dealer.  He may pull out all of the stops to convince you that you need his love and approval (and Honey, what he’s offering isn’t even real love). This is a lessen in boundaries for you. He doesn’t get to decide whether or not he is in your life. YOU do. You are the one who gets to pick and choose who enters into your life, who gets the precious gift of your time, your love, your presence, your body. It’s time to get clear on your standards—make a list of your bottom-lines, what qualities must be there, what absolutely does not work for you in a relationship—and then, stick to it. Get acquainted with the word NO…(or better yet, HELL NO. :) )

As a former goddess of giving in, I am the perfect person to give you this advice, because I was part of that vicious cycle for a very long time in my life, again and again. Craving the love and connection, compromising my boundaries, going back on my word to myself for the sake of another. And then after enough damn heartache, I got it. I’m continuing to get it more and more each day. And I’m now on the other side of the pain, and it is an experience of true freedom, true power, true love. We can have anything we want in life if we are willing to develop the self-discipline it takes to settle for nothing less.

You can do this, Sister. You are strong enough. This will require you to call forth your courage in the moments when the grief hits. Reach out to your girlfriends for comfort and connection. Start exploring and taking action on YOUR passions (what lights you up beyond this man? What are those deep-down dreams just waiting for you to act on them?) Practice amazing self-care—whatever, has you feeling loved and held. Take walks. Take Baths or long showers. Journal. Dance. Cry. Nap. Buy some essential oils. Make yummy, healthy meals for yourself. Exercise. Paint your nails, dress in ways that make you feel beautiful…

Whatever you need to do to feel good in your own skin, it’s time to amp that up now. Start making new memories in your own life that overshadow the memories of your relationship. With each step you take in pursuing yourself and your own life, you will feel a little more distance, a little more healing and a little more freedom from your past with this man. One day, you will look back and it will all be a story from another lifetime.

And if you are struggling to know what lights you up outside of your relationship, struggling to know how to go about pursuing your dreams–I am so here for you! Reach out and we’ll schedule a session and get you fully clear and empowered on your path.

Loving you today from Brooklyn, NY and rooting for you, every step of the way.

xo,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2015 Melissa Simonson

How Can I Love Myself Past All of My Fat Rolls?

Hello JoyDiva

   I am currently in a relationship and have been for 15 months. He has been away but soon he will be coming home and we will finally be able to become intimate with one another. I really cant wait until this happens but at the same time I am nervous because I am a bigger girl and the biggest girl he has ever been with and not only that but I have a problem with my bladder that causes it to leak. Maybe from my three children that I have but I have consulted a doctor and we are currently working on something for this but in the meantime I dont want him to come home and go down on me and just when I thought that I had freshened up really good he may still smell urine on me and say something. He does know about this problem but Im just not sure how to handle this. How can I love myself past all my fat rolls? Please help me.

Need Confidence

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Dear, Need Confidence,

Hi, Sweetheart. It takes tremendous courage to open yourself to love, to let yourself be seen…both on the inside and the outside. Being willing to put yourself and your heart all the way out their is a wonderful, beautiful thing. I want to honor you for your willingness to be vulnerable, even though your mind is terrified of the risk involved in sharing yourself so fully with another. As scary as it feels, sharing yourself so authentically is the path to true connection and intimacy.

Take a few deep breaths, right now, Love, and pull out a piece of paper or a journal, if you have one. I want you to read over what you wrote me and then I invite you to answer this question: What would a person who loves herself do? Really listen for the answer—imagine another woman who loves herself so utterly and has the same fat rolls and bladder leaks. What would she communicate to her partner? What would she say to herself? How would she operate in the bedroom? How would she operate in her everyday life? How would she operate in her relationship? How would she respond if her partner mentioned that she smelled like urine or that she was too fat to be sexy? Explore all of these questions fully. Write down your responses.

The only way to become someone who loves herself is to take the actions of someone who loves herself. This means facing some big fears head on. A big one here is that you are afraid of losing your boyfriend’s love and approval. Your ego has you convinced that you need it in order to be worth something, which is why you’re so focused on how to “handle” this situation, trying to be perfect and “get it right” to get the love. And deep down, if you listen to your soul’s wisdom, you’ll recognize that line of thinking is bullshit. As scary as it is to face, you do not need anyone’s love and approval. Your fear that he will reject you somehow is only a mirror for you to see how you are already rejecting yourself. You cannot control whether or not your boyfriend embraces you for all that you are. You CAN practice, bit by bit, embracing yourself for all that you are.

So, imagine your worst fear comes true: Your boyfriend rejects you. Now, again, answer this question: What would a person who loves herself do? How would you respond if you KNEW that you did not need his love and approval?

I get that your body isn’t functioning in all of the ways that you would like it to, AND I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with you, Beloved. Imagine speaking to yourself as someone who is deeply and unconditionally in love with you—what is it that you most need to hear, right now? Write it down. Speak it to yourself.

With every moment that you ask the question, “What would a person who loves herself do?” and listen and ACT on what you discover…you become a person who loves herself. This will not happen over night, and I promise, with actively committing to asking and acting on this question, choice by choice, it will happen.

Thank you for honoring me with your story. Notice how even now as you read this and  accept my invitations to look deeper, you are becoming a person who loves herself.

Always in your corner,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2015 Melissa Simonson

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