Category Archives: Personal Growth

My Ex-Boyfriend Really Hurt Me. How do I move on?

 Hi JoyDiva,

My ex and i broke up a few weeks ago. I was in love with him and adored him until one night he….ahem…. took my clothes off and insisted that I workout even more and start dieting. I was humiliated and ashamed and I still am in shock over this. Now that he said that, I can’t stop thinking that i’m fat. I can’t look in the mirror anymore without feeling shame that I didn’t try harder to please him (working out more and dieting). Never have I ever cried so much over what a man has said to me but for some reason, this really affected me. Please help me. I am scared that every guy I get with is going to act like this whenever we get intimate.

Scared Little Bee

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Dear Scared Little Bee,

I’m so sorry that you experienced such a trauma. In order to feel in control of the pain, your mind is already starting to add stories to what happened in order to help you cope—stories like, “I can’t trust men;” “Men won’t find me attractive;” “There is something wrong with me;” “I’m not lovable as I am.” Your mind wants to search for meaning for WHY your ex-boyfriend said this to you, and the pain you are feeling is because his words fed a story in your mind (that goes back to a very young age) that there is truly something wrong with you. (There isn’t.)

I want you to notice when you start to revisit that moment with him and play it out in your mind. Your mind has no gifts for you at times like that—it is just trying to make you feel in control in face of the pain, and it actually FEEDS the pain and creates suffering. I want you to be aware of your breathing in those moments and find the point of emotional pain in your body (you’ll notice that all emotions show up in the body). Bring your attention and your breath to focus on the center of where you feel the emotional pain in your body and continue to breathe, relaxing your shoulders and feeling your heart opening. Focus your attention in this way until the pain dissipates. This is how we begin the process of healing and open our hearts.

I recognize that you may have fear every time you approach a new relationship with a man, and particularly, when it comes to becoming physically intimate. You actually have a choice whether or not you let something that happened in the past dictate your future, and the primary way you burn through the fear and mistrust and come into love is by facing your fears head-on, by continuing to date and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, despite the fear and the voice in your head telling you to close yourself off. It is not actually true that all men will speak to you or feel in the manner of your former boyfriend, and by facing your fears, you are actually honoring yourself as worthy of love, and your courage alone will do much to bolster your confidence and heal this trauma.

Life is always bringing us exactly what we need to heal and be free. I want you to know that even the painful moments (especially the painful moments) are here as gifts to help us to see where we are not trusting in life’s unfolding, where we have yet to embrace and love ourselves. In your search for approval outside of yourself, you chose a partner who did not honor you or see you as you truly are; you put him on a pedestal, and he then mirrored your own insecurity about your body. As painful as this was to experience, it was a gift for you to notice the ways in which YOU reject YOURSELF. I want you to imagine that it’s possible to love yourself and your body so much that the next time (if ever) someone speaks to you that way, you would just walk away in disbelief and simply feel compassion for the limit of that person’s thinking. It is possible to be that confident and free in yourself.

You are loved in every moment. There is nothing in life that is truly intended to hurt you—pain and inner disturbance are an inevitable part of life, and rather than punishing us that pain arises to reveal to us where we’ve not be in alignment with reality. In this case, the reality is that you ARE lovable for all that you are and you now have the opportunity to see where you still struggle to embrace this as true.

You are not your body. You are the consciousness housed by this precious body—this body that has been gifted to you in order to experience life for the short while that you are here. You are the one who is peering out from your eyes as you gaze at your body in the mirror. You are infinite, limitless, constant, love itself. This body you have will change over time, your weight will fluctuate, your skin will wrinkle and loosen and eventually this miraculous body will die. It is fleeting, precious, and it is the one you were given to play with and explore in this lifetime. It is not worth it to waste even a single moment thinking that this body defines your worth or to ponder over what is wrong with it. There are so many other wonderful ways to live your life, to create, to discover, to serve while you are here. Can you see from this perspective how futile it is to put so much energy into focusing on your body? What would it look like if you were fully cherishing your body and receiving it as the gift that it is? How would you care for your body and respect it as the powerful, magnificent tool that it is?

I encourage you to read this blog post for insights on ways to embrace your body: https://askthejoydiva.com/2013/02/25/im-afraid-to-be-naked-in-front-of-my-boyfriend-what-should-i-do/

And start seeking the power of your life beyond relationship, beyond how you look. There is so much to life, and so much life wanting to express through you.

Much love, Beautiful One.

:)Melissa A.K.A The JoyDiva

P.S. If you would like some additional support in taking a look, getting underneath, and transforming those painful thoughts and gaining clarity and freedom on your path, I would be honored to hold-up a loving mirror so that you can experience yourself in all of your magnificence and step into your power. Visit my website to schedule a free connection call so that we can explore what that could look like.

©2015 Melissa Simonson

How Can I Love Myself?

Dear JoyDiva

I am 23 years old, I have been in  a relationship with a man for 7 years and we broke up a over a year ago, 8 months ago I found this amazing man that I am with now; he makes me laugh and  I know we are going to go far but there is one thing that is hurting me.

When I was a teen I developed back acne and as I got older,  the scars remained…when my ex saw my back for the first time the  first thing he said was “Is it contagious?” and “What did you do to yourself?” as if it was my fault! He was the closest person to me and he made me feel like I had a disease. Ever since I have not been comfortable with my skin and I never show my back. I would like to be able to wear tank tops and dresses without having to wear a jacket on top, it’s hot! But the most thing I want is to be able to be happy naked around my current boyfriend.

Just a side note, I am chubby and that adds to my insecurities but he is a big man also so it is not the biggest issue but I still push his arms away from my tummy. He says he loves everything about me and he shows me a lot of love he always tries to make me love myself, he kisses my “thunder” thighs and my belly but I push him away. We have slept together and every time I refuse to take off my shirt, and if I do take it off the room must be pitch black because I don’t want him to see my skin.

I just want to be happy and not worry, I want to be able to sleep next to him and not panic over what he’s going to wake up to…my scarred back. I love him very very much and we have talked about engagement but I don’t know how I will manage to keep my body hidden for the rest of my life from the man I truly adore and just want to be free with.

How can I love myself JoyDiva, I have been crying every night and hiding those tears because I’m afraid if I do tell him he will ask to see my back…I just can’t do it.

Sincerely

Broken

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Dear Broken,

Hi, Honey. You’re not broken. You are a whole and complete person who is just experiencing herself as broken. The great news is that, over time, you CAN transform how you experience yourself.

So, you dated a guy (who was really just a grown-up boy) who blurted out his thoughts about your skin in ignorance because he didn’t get it, and likely was not mature enough to communicate in another way—not his most shining moment, I’m sure. :/

Here’s what I want you to notice, though: He said some things, and then because you’re human, you added meaning to it. And it’s the meaning you added that is causing your pain. You added meaning like “It’s my fault”…which I’m guessing led to “There’s something wrong with me,” “I’m ugly/unattractive/not sexy,” and “I’m unlovable.” And at some point you chose to believe those thoughts, which is what hurts so much—you can be certain that anytime you are having thoughts that hurt when you think them it is because they aren’t true.

Here’s the good news: Because it’s not what happened that hurts so much and rather it’s the meaning that YOU brought to it, you can actually do something about that. You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to letting those thoughts run the show or not.

You ask me how you can love yourself. Here’s how: By courageously taking action as someone who loves herself, step-by-step, choice-by-choice. You’re going to have to take deep breaths and face your fears. That looks like catching yourself when you push his arms away from your tummy and letting him caress you there while you breathe and allow your fear to move through you, letting him kiss your belly and thighs without pushing him away while you breathe and allow your fear to move through you. That looks like taking off your shirt WITH the lights on while you breathe and allow your fear to move through you. That looks like wearing tank tops when it’s hot out, and wearing whatever damn-well feels good whenever and however you want to, all the while breathing and being present to the fear…and any other emotions that arise in your body.

Loving oneself is not a magical, wave-the-fairy-wand, overnight process. Everyday, I discover more parts of myself that I’ve rejected and have the opportunity to embrace. Girl, I don’t love myself! And I’m becoming someone who does. Loving yourself means facing the fears that you won’t be safe, you won’t be in control and you will lose approval. It means practicing, every day, doing the opposite of what the bully inside of you is telling you to do.

I get that it is scary. You probably didn’t want me to say, “Go do all of the things you’re afraid to do.” AND you asked me how you can love yourself. How blessed are you?! I’m showing you the path.

Your homeplay: Pull out a journal or pieces of paper and a pen/pencil. I want you to answer this question and explore it in all areas of your life: What would I be doing/what actions would I be taking if I were a person who loves herself? (Explore how you would be acting regarding relationship stuff and body stuff, yes, and also look at career, free-time, friendships, family, money, etc.) And then, start practicing. Take those actions, one at a time. And remember to breathe, Love. You’ve got this.

It is through that continual process that you become someone who loves herself.

Other posts that I’ve written that will also be supportive for you:

“How can I love myself past all of my fat rolls?”

“I’m afraid to be naked in front of my boyfriend. What should I do”?

If you would like some additional support in taking a look, getting underneath, and transforming those painful thoughts and gaining clarity and freedom on your path, I would be honored to hold-up a loving mirror so that you can experience yourself in all of your magnificence and step into your power. Visit my website to schedule a free connection call so that we can explore what that could look like.

Hugs to you and that sweet man in your life.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2015 Melissa Simonson

Bullied as a Child: How Can I Trust in Intimate Relationships?

Dear JoyDiva,

As a child, from ages 6-12, I was bullied first physically and then mentally.  My parents never openly advocated for me, and teachers turned a blind eye.  As a result, I advocated for myself, and have learned to be strong in that sense.

However, as I grow older, my childhood haunts me.  I feel like I will be left holding all the bags at any moment.  I have issues with trust and intimacy, and this wrecks havoc for relationships that I am in.  I question all the good things that come to me because I was told by everyone that I did not deserve it.  I feel hardwired to think this way, and it feels terrible.  I feel that it would be irresponsible to find someone who could handle all of this baggage, so I desperately try to solve my own problems.  However, this drives a wedge between my partners and myself as I will seem moody and distant simply because I cannot express my feelings in a constructive way.

What can I do to get rid of this ‘baggage’ that prevents me from becoming intimate with another person?

Thank you for your time.

The Bullied & The Beautiful

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Dear, “The Bullied & The Beautiful,”

Thank you for your heartfelt note. I’m going to do my best to give you something concrete to work with through what I offer here, and at the same time, it is clear to me that these thought patterns that feel “hardwired” to you at this point are going to take time and TLC to re-wire, and the most effective way to get clear on and release the blocks and blind-spots keeping you from deeper intimacy is for you to partner with a coach or therapist to help. I can absolutely help you unpack that emotional baggage and support you in taking the scary and ultimately, rewarding steps on the path to trust. I can help you gain the confidence to ask for what you want, believe you are worthy of having what you want, and to open up your emotional world to someone and allow yourself to be supported.

Some resources: I highly recommend the Work of Byron Katie as a simple set of tools to help you question the thoughts and stories that are creating your suffering and open you up to your life NOW, rather than being led by your past. Another experience that could be quite powerful for you might be to participate in the Landmark Forum—the experiential learning there would also support you in the breakthroughs your are wanting. Psychodrama group therapy could be a powerful experience to help you process, re-frame and let go. Brené Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly would also be a helpful resource in helping you strengthen your shame resilience so that you can open yourself to being vulnerable in all of your relationships.

The work that I encourage you to start moving through is to start differentiating between what happened in your past and the stories that you created around those experiences that are now shaping your future. The past is truly in the past. As painful as it was, it is now over, gone, never to be as it was. Even the terrible, nasty things that people said to you are in the past, over and done with. What is living NOW is the story you created, the meaning  that you added to those experiences in your life. Stories like, “I don’t deserve to be loved.” “I can’t trust anyone but myself.” “Love isn’t safe.” “If I’m vulnerable you will hurt me.” “I’m a victim and you are the perpetrator,” “I will be left holding all of the bags at any moment.” As a small child, you couldn’t help but buy into these stories. You were doing the best that you could to protect yourself and survive. As scary as it is as an adult, you don’t ACTUALLY need these stories to protect you, anymore, and the most powerful place to be is in the heart of your vulnerability, rather than gripped by the fear that these thoughts of mistrust create for you.

And if you were to go back and get really clear on what actually happened in your past, (ie. My classmate called me fat, ugly and stupid) and then the story you may have created around what happened (ie. My classmate hates me, she said that because there’s something wrong with me, everyone hates me, I really AM fat, ugly and stupid, people think I’m undeserving of love, etc.)…the more you separate out the story from what happened, the more you will be able to take responsibility for the meaning you added to those experiences, and set yourself free. The wonderful thing about life is that all kinds of stuff happens, and WE get to be the ones who make meaning of it. At any time you can choose to shift your reality based on how you are choosing to perceive it. At anytime, you could choose to open up your heart and know that no matter what the other person does or does not do, you will never leave you, you will always be there to love and support you. (another one of my posts that has great wisdom in it for you: https://askthejoydiva.com/2012/01/18/why-is-it-so-hard-to-accept-that-my-boyfriend-loves-me/)

So, my love, like I said above, this kind of letting go and thought-shifting may not happen over night and will best be addressed via the support of a professional to hold up the mirror and help you with this process of differentiation. You most certainly do not have to do this growth work on your own, and truth-be-told, as someone who has also built quite a wall of self-reliance through the years due to former abuse and bullying—it doesn’t really work to do that kind of growth work on your own.

I’m always here if you should want to take your healing to the next level and you don’t want to go it alone.

Much love to you. dear heart.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

My Husband Left and I’m Devastated…What Do I Do Now?

Dear JoyDiva,

I’m in a relationship for 13 years. My common law husband migrated to Canada and though he is far, our communication is constant. We have a daughter and allowance and support was never a problem. And we agreed that after he saves up enough money, he’ll come home and marry me so that we’ll be together as family in Canada. For no reason at all, last December 2012, supposed to be our 13th anniversary, he suddenly stopped replying to my calls and texts. Then, two weeks after, I saw a picture in his Skype account with another woman. And my world crashed. I have no idea what happened. I never saw it coming. There’s no indication that he already had found someone new. Now, I’m so depressed and down. I don’t know what to do. He was my world and my future. I love him more than myself up to now. What should I do? How long do you think can I move on? What’s the best thing to do for me to move on cause I’m really having a hard time to let go? I still don’t want to burn my bridges with him and his family. Should I still hope that there’s still hope for us even just for our daughter cause I really want her to have a complete family? Please help me. Thanks.

Rose

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Dearest Rose,

Hi, Sweetheart. I’m sending love to your tender heart, right now. I’m so sorry that you are in so much pain as you try to make sense of this confusing situation and scramble to pick up the pieces of your shattered dreams. I know this pain very, very well, and there is no other pain like it. Let’s take some deep breaths together, right now. Take a nice deep breath in, and let it out. Though it may seem simple, remembering to pause and take deep breaths is going to be an important part of moving through this transformational journey.

I can’t speak of him or your relationship, what he is or isn’t doing because there are too many gaps in information for me—I hope that if it hasn’t happened yet, that you are able to address what you saw and receive an honest answer from him. Whether he has or has not been in communication with you at this point in time, what I can speak of is how you can nurture your relationship with yourself, and support you in picking up the pieces. What I’m going to say is not going to take away the pain—grief is a fire that has to burn a new path through your life right now, and there will be days that seem unbearable, and then, day by day, as you take gentle care of yourself, the pain will start to diminish, and freedom will be born in its place.

I want you to know that you are loved by every process unfolding in your life. Even this time that has you raw and on your knees is being offered up as an opportunity for you to discover what it means to really love yourself and pursue a life that fills you up and makes you come alive. Your statement that you “loved him more than [yourself] up to now” is telling me that you have not been pursuing yourself and your own life with the passion you deserve. Sweet Rose, despite the false messages we ladies receive through the years, it is not noble or even healthy to love another more than ourselves, to be so consumed in our loving that we neglect ourselves and our own unique expression in the world. Know that your loving is a tremendous and beautiful gift to the world that has not been in vain. It’s just time to focus that tremendous loving on yourself and your daughter now.

There is no magic formula to make your grief go away, and there is no set amount of time for the process, either. Ways to nurture yourself right now:

1) There are 5 stages of loss that are a natural part of your journey right now: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. You will find yourself swinging among these with each day that passes. Allow yourself to feel it all—journal, cry it out, purge, write down everything that you feel you have lost and are losing—revisit this process as often as you need to and make good friends with those intense feelings, as hard as that may be. I’d encourage you to be aware that you may want to lash out on the days that the anger phase comes up and you may also be incredibly angry at yourself, at times. These are days when it’s important that you write, and do not send letters to your former partner because, as you wisely mentioned, burning bridges may not be what you want in the long term. That doesn’t mean that there may not be a moment of clarity when you need to speak your mind with him—by all means, you have a right to be pissed off and hurting! It just means that those intensely emotional days are going to be days when you want something from him that he may not be able to give.  Be aware that the bargaining phase is often one of the most difficult—this is the phase that I call “I’ll send you my left arm if you just take me back” phase. In your devastation and the deep sense of rejection that you feel it can be so easy to be willing to sacrifice all to make the pain go away. Those are the days when you need to keep yourself busy—take good care of your body, as hard as it is–pursue things that you normally enjoy, pour your heart into being present for your daughter, and my next point:

2) Surround yourself with friends and loved ones as much as possible, right now. Reach out—go out to lunch/dinner or have them over. Make sure that you don’t have too many days to get trapped in your head and that you get out into the world. Allow yourself to receive support as much as possible, to feel uplifted and surrounded in love. This means being honest with yourself and your loved ones about what you are feeling and experiencing day-to-day and having support systems to uplift you with words, time, deeds when you cannot do it yourself. One of the greatest gifts of grief is its ability to bring us close to the people who truly matter in our lives. There is so much magic there—allow yourself to rest within that as much as possible.

3) I don’t know how old that your daughter is, but it’s going to be really important that you are also being real with her about your tender heart on a level that she can understand, right now. This does not mean bad-mouthing her father or making her responsible for your happiness—you can share your feelings without making him wrong or making her feel like she needs to make it better. This means showing her the strength that lies in vulnerability by sharing your feelings and communicating with her the ways that you are taking care of yourself, right now. This means letting her know why you might be cranky or sad or needing some alone time. No matter how old or young she is, this is a wonderful opportunity for her to learn about how to cope with life’s inevitable loss and what it looks like for a woman to love herself. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it weren’t for my mother sharing her growth journey with me and being so real with her feelings and what she needed following my parents divorce when I was 7 years old. I remember thinking that she was so beautiful and strong when she let herself cry, and it was a great gift to me as she shared her learning.

4) When you have a reprieve from the bring-you-to-your-knees level of pain, when you’ve really purged and come face to face with the weight of what you’ve lost, I want you to start thinking about what you want your life to look like (beyond your partner). What are some things that you couldn’t do before that you now have the opportunity to do? If you could craft any life for yourself from this point forward what would you like it to look like? Do not rush yourself to this point before you are ready—it’s important that you be with the experience of loss as it arises. With that said, many people spend so much time looking at the closed door that they intensify their suffering and ignore the abundance of opportunities that lie before them. When you start to feel ready, I want you to start exploring what kinds of seeds you want to plant in your new garden. This chance to build a whole new beautiful life will ultimately be the extraordinary gift of this great loss.

As far as whether or not you should hope for the relationship: Now is a time to focus on you and your daughter and not on your relationship with him. I would absolutely hope that he will continue to be a father to his daughter, but that does not mean that you should or need to be in relationship with him in order for him to be in her life.  Also, as I mentioned above, you now have the opportunity to show her a strong woman who loves herself and a NEW kind of completeness. I understand that you want her to grow up with her parents being together, and that may not be possible or a healthy choice for any of you in the long run. It is not healthy for her to witness her mother pursuing a man who is not acting in integrity. You, my dear, deserve a man who will cherish you for all that you are, and abandoning yourself and chasing after a man who is not cherishing you is not teaching your daughter how to be the strong woman that you want her to be someday. Now is the time to start pursuing yourself, your own dreams, your own beauty with the passion that you were pursuing your relationship with him. Cherish yourself in all of the ways that he could not, and you will feel loved in a way that you may have never before.

You deserve to have  and to give yourself everything that you’ve ever wanted in life—I know that you thought he would be part of that picture, but there is a much better life awaiting you on the other side of this grief. One foot in front of the other, right now, and know that you are so very loved every step of the way.

All my love,

Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 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

P.S. If you would like some additional support in taking a look, getting underneath, and transforming those painful thoughts and gaining clarity and freedom on your path, I would be honored to hold-up a loving mirror so that you can experience yourself in all of your magnificence and step into your power. Visit my website to schedule a free connection call so that we can explore what that could look like.

©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

What if I Make the Wrong Decision?

This Q&A comes directly from me today. I found myself journaling this morning and coming up on some fear around a big decision. “What if I make the wrong choice?” said the voice in my head. In my five years of coaching clients one-on-one, this is one of the most common questions that rears its head as I witness my clients trying to make decisions for themselves. The mind says, “There is a right choice and a wrong choice, and you better not mess up.” Oh, the pressure! The truth is that when it comes to choosing along our life’s journey, we can’t actually make a wrong choice.

One of my favorite quotations that I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately is that of Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” In our search for joy and fulfillment, we can paralyze ourselves with thoughts of “right turn, wrong turn.” The irony is that it is our INACTION that ends up leaving us feeling stuck in a dreary ditch, not a “wrong turn.”

I want you to imagine for a moment that God/Universe/Spirit/Source is like a GPS system. You set the intention, the destination, and you are infinitely supported in getting there. What happens when you make a “wrong turn?” Your GPS system recalculates to help you arrive at your destination. So really, you didn’t take a wrong turn, you simply took the scenic route.

Just like a GPS system, the Universe is with us every step, supporting us along the way–our inner “yes’s” and “no’s” help us to know how on track that we are. If we choose something that ends up not feeling quite right, the Universe helps us recalculate until we find something that does. We are never truly off-path, just going through some twists and turns. We are loved by every process that unfolds and never abandoned. It is only when we stop and turn off the engine, or choose not to act when hitting that fork in the road, that we keep ourselves from our destination. AND rather than finding happiness at the END of the road, we discover that taking action itself creates a deep sense of fulfillment, no matter which way we turn.

One way to work through the fear so that you can take action is to dialogue with it. When I was journaling this morning, my dialogue looked something like this:

Fear: I’m afraid you are going to make the wrong choice.

Consciousness: Thank you so much for always looking out for me. Can you tell me more about what you mean by a “wrong choice?”

Fear: I’m afraid that you will be unhappy and that you will fail in what you set out to do.

Consciousness: I hear you. The thing is that in all of your protectiveness, I’m not actually feeling very happy. Is there a way that we can work together so that we can ensure my success?

Fear: It would make me feel better if you were clear about where you want to go and had a plan.

Consciousness: What a great idea! That makes me feel very grounded. I’m going to get really clear by breaking my goal down into tiny steps right now….

This process of dialoging with my fear gave me a wonderful insight into the ways that even my fear was trying to love me, and I followed up that dialogue with a great plan of action that left me feeling grounded and clear on how to achieve my goal.

In what ways have you found yourself paralyzed by your fear of making a “wrong choice?” I would love nothing more than to support you and celebrate you as we create a plan for you to step beyond your fear and take action on the things that matter most to you. Feel free to contact me and set up a free consult.

In the meantime, I invite you to celebrate each and every step that you take (especially the little ones)–they all count!

Much love,

:)Melissa A.K.A The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson