Tag Archives: Cherishing Yourself

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

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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

Should I End My Relationship…For Good?

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! Visit my website, 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

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

I’m Sad When I’m Not With My Fiance…What Do I Do?

Dear JoyDiva,
   I have been with my fiance for 5 years now and I love him. The problem is that lately I haven’t been able to see him as much and it makes me sad. He recently started his own company and is trying to make it work, as well as, he is trying to balance school. I know that is a lot to handle but I don’t know why I have been recently getting very upset. I feel really sad when I don’t see him like lonely and depressed and I have doubts about his love. I feel like he will stop loving me and I will be left alone with my heart crushed.
   It has not always been this way, it started recently. I feel really sad like I am empty inside and when I see him I forget about it until he is ready to leave home and again the sadness starts. I wish I could be anywhere but home (I live with my parents). My sister just got married and my parents get along very well with her new husband. I feel left out like my fiance is not that good in their eyes. It makes me feel so sad inside. I don’t know what to do or how I should feel around. He has shown me that he loves me time after time and I know I truly love him and want him in my future. I don’t understand why I feel like this. Please help.

Sincerely,
LetiShining

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Hi Love,

My response is simple: It’s time to focus on yourself and your own life.

Right now, your world is very built up around him and your relationship, and now that he is invested in his company and school (Yay for him!), you are experiencing a shift in how much presence and attention he has for you. It’s time for you to discover what lights you up in your own world and pour your presence and attention there. What lights you up, Sister? What are you passionate about? What kinds of self-care practices make you feel really yummy and loved up?

You crave attention because you have been so focused on your relationship with him as the source of your happiness that you have become absent from yourself. Those of us with a feminine core thrive on presence and attention and we commonly make the mistake of thinking that this needs to come from our partner. As long as you think that you need this from him, all you will see is what he isn’t giving you and thus begins the shaming, blaming and feelings of emptiness. He will feel frustrated and unappreciated and you will continue to crave what he cannot give.

This lovely man in your life is pursuing what matters to him! YES! Now it’s your turn. I promise that when you focus on you, and pursue yourself with the level of devotion you’ve focused on this relationship, you will create the space to see him for the loving man that he is again. Right now, you are just far too attached and stuck in story about the relationship to see him OR you for who you really are. When you choose to focus your attention on pursuing what lights you up, you create room for the relationship to breathe, and then your fiance gets to show up as he is and you will be able to appreciate him as the gift that he is without needing anything from him. When you create a life that you love, the relationship gets to be the icing on the cake rather than the whole cake.

Your homeplay: Make a list of activities that nurture you and excite you. Make a list of the things that you really want to do that scare you a little bit (or a lot). When you start getting wrapped up in thoughts about your fiance and the relationship, stop. Breathe. Think to yourself, “I am so frickin’ beautiful and lovable!” and then pick something from these lists and get into action. I want you to practice ridiculous amounts of self-care and start moving toward your own kickass goals.

It’s time to focus on everything else in your life that is juicy and give your relationship a rest, and I promise you’ll be back to appreciating both yourself and that sweet man in your life like you just met last week.

If you are struggling to connect with what lights you up and would like more clarity on your soul purpose and where to focus your time and attention, I would love to meet with you. I’ll give you a Soul Purpose Astrology session that will have you aligned, on fire, and clear on the actions to be taking to create a life that you love.  Send me an email and I’m happy to set up a free connection call to talk with you about what that could look like.

With all my love,

:)Melissa AKA The JoyDiva

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