Tag Archives: Cherishing Yourself

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

My Boyfriend No Longer Appreciates Me…What Should I Do?

Hi Melissa,

 I am currently dating a guy for 3.5 years and he lives with me in my mothers house.  He pays rent and splits the  bills 50/50 with me.  I worry that he doesn’t know the difference between being in love with someone and loving them.  He doesn’t really ever seem to do anything spontaneous and kinda takes a back seat to things. Like planning and doing things for me.  It’s simple and yet complicated because we live together.  I used to feel so appreciated by him and that he would do anything and help me in anyway, but he has started to change.  He doesn’t realize that he barely gives me any affectionate anymore.  He has gotten a new job and we both are very busy, but I continuously feel like I wish he would do more.  The problem is ..well… I love him and we have been friends and dated in high school.  He is 25 and I am 26.  I think this is when we should be passionate about each other and go wild with each other still and go out and he just seems so comfortable with things the way they are and I’m not.  I have the best time with him, we joke and laugh and are so happy with each other when it’s just us.  But I feel like he doesn’t show me off or just never wants to do anything.

I feel like he should realize how lucky he is that I got him to stay at my mom’s house with me and how lucky he is, but he never seems to show it.

Joanne

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Dear Joanne,

Hello, Lovely. I hear that you want to feel pursued and fully cherished, and I love that. You absolutely deserve to have that experience in all arenas of your life! I hear that your boyfriend is not behaving in ways toward you that feed your experience of feeling cherished. I also see that you are giving your power away every time you believe that it’s his job to pursue and cherish you rather than your own job. You cannot control his actions, and there is no advice that I can give you that will make him love you the way you want him to, that will make him be in love with you the way that you want him to be. What I can help you with is to gently nudge you back in the direction of the relationship that is in your control: the one that you have with yourself. I can definitely help you fall in love with yourself again, and when you do that, whether or not he’s in love with you and in the way that you want him to be is just not going to matter to you nearly as much.

In fact, it’s possible that once you start focusing on how to give yourself the love that you are longing for, once you start pursuing your own passions, your own life with your whole being, you may actually find yourself appreciating what he does offer in his own way—you might actually recognize that his love has been enough the whole time. You might also discover that when you remove the focus from him and put it on yourself that he may feel less pressure to be who you want him to be and start pursuing you more. You may also discover that he’s not a right fit, that you continue to feel unsatisfied in your relationship and need to walk away, and that will be ok, too. Whatever the outcome, the answer lies fully in your turning your focus back to you. While you’ve been focusing all of your precious energy on all of the ways that your boyfriend is not being who you want him to be, you have flat out been ignoring you, and isn’t that sorta kinda what you’re accusing him of doing? Yeppers. It’s not his loving attention and presence that you are so needing, its yours.

Here’s your assignment: I want you to do a little journaling about your dream life. How are you spending your time in your dream life—both professionally and recreationally? How does money flow in? What kind of people are you spending time with in your dream life? How do they treat you and how do you treat them? What are you experiencing in your relationships that makes them so fulfilling? What qualities are present in your dream partner and how do those qualities make you feel? Where are you living, etc, etc? Really have fun with this and explore to your hearts content. Next, I want you to take a look at where your life is right now and ask yourself: What are three things you could do right away to bring you closer to this reality, three small steps that would make you feel more alive? This, my dear, is the beginning of a beautiful path of pursuing yourself as the irresistibly lovable, worthy-of-your-precious-time-and-attention, woman that you are. Do this simple assignment and you will already feel loved up in the way that you are longing for—I guarantee it. (And then, keep taking those juicy action steps, and keep on taking them…:)

Your next assignment: Share your dream life scenario with your boyfriend, and if you haven’t already, communicate with him what you’ve written to me. Communicating honestly from your heart in all of your relationships is the most powerful way that you can cherish yourself and build the necessary intimacy that makes relationships thrive. Does he know what you want? Have you fully communicated what you want, owning that you deserve it? You cannot control his response, and you only sell yourself, him and the relationship short by withholding what is true in your heart for fear of losing the relationship. By keeping silent, you lose yourself. By communicating from your heart, you can create the opportunity for both of you to discover more about yourselves and your relationship. You can create the opening for him to step up and pursue you the way you want to be pursued. He may not want to do that—by communicating honestly with him, you give both of you the opportunity to see that truth and to know whether it’s time to continue forward in your relationship or to move on.

Your sweet soul is just screaming for your attention—she’s feeling pretty darn abandoned in your focused pursuit of your relationship with your boyfriend. She longs to feel desired and cherished and recognized as the irresistible love kitten that she is. 🙂 You can give that to her by shifting your focus from what is outside of your control and bringing it back to the calling of your own heart. Make plans with yourself. Spontaneously surprise yourself by taking a step outside of your comfort zone and seeing how capable that you are. Take a step that your future self will thank you for, and then appreciate yourself for it. Speak your truth. Get wild and passionate about your life  and who you are and show yourself off—these are all simple ways that you can give yourself all that you are longing for, and let me tell you, when you start radiating that love from the inside out, there is nothing that compares to the completeness and joy of that experience. Plus, you will be so irresistible to everyone around you that that they’ll start to form a line outside your door. 😉

Thanks for sharing this with me–I’m honored to support you in your shining.

Much love to you and your boyfriend,

:)Melissa A.K.A the JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

My Husband Has Become Abusive…What Should I Do?

Dear JoyDiva,

I have been married almost two years now, I’m approaching 30, he just turned 24.  When we first met it was like I could not get enough of his soul…it was a positive energy that I had never experienced before and I fell in love with his beautiful  approach to life.  ( HE is from a different country)  But almost immediately after we got married things started to drastically change, he was immigrating and could not work in the US and got depressed due to lack of social connections and took everything out on me.  I always just chalked it up that he didn’t have a lot of life experience so I just forgave and moved on… Then things started to get more verbally abusive.  Suddenly I was the reason for his lack of motivation, no friends, not enough money, etc.  And yes there was even a point of extreme physical anger towards me.  Now I am a forgiving individual and I try to look at the good of the situation. And I def pray about these things…but it is not getting any better.  Now I am getting sicker and more stressed out about these things.  (we have already tried seeing a counselor also)  What are your thoughts?  I feel so beat down even though I am trying my best.  Help I am lost in translation here.

Lost in Translation

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Dearest Lost in Translation,

Hi, Love. It sounds like you’ve been through a doozy of a Saturn Return over these past couple of years, and you are being forced to pay attention to how you are nurturing the most important relationship you will ever have in your life: the one that you have with yourself. You have been overriding a lot of her messages, the messages from your inner voice, these past couple of years, haven’t you? (God speaks to you through that inner voice and has been answering your prayers all along.) This whole Saturn Return time has been here to bring you down to earth through this experience so that you can start operating in full integrity with that inner voice and begin to understand how to TRULY have a healthy relationship that does not involve all of this sacrifice.

I can hear your pain and desperation, sister, and you’ve reached out to me, your mind wanting me to tell you to stick it out just a little longer, to do x, y and a little of z and watch the relationship transform back into the magic that it initially was; and your heart wants me to tell you the truth: It’s time for some radical self-love. It’s time to stop buying into the blame. It’s time to stop putting him and the relationship WAY before yourself and your own well-being. It’s TIME to walk away. (Take a deep breath….and let it out.)

Your job is not to be nice or even to be forgiving—I hear that you have a sweet, compassionate soul and you’ve been buying into some of these ideas that his current state of being is somehow your fault. Please own this: His happiness is not and never will be your job. Ever. Your job is to love yourself fiercely, to make choices that make you come alive, not ones that diminish you. (Who are you really serving by being a diminished version of yourself? Certainly not him, let alone anyone else who crosses your path…) Your husband’s job is to love himself, and no matter how much you try to love his pain away through support and understanding, he’s never going to be able receive that loving until he stops his own cycle of self-loathing. By staying in this toxic relationship, you are not only harming yourself, but you are not giving yourself OR your husband the precious opportunity to grow.

I get it. You think that if you can just get through this time with him, if he can get his life on track again and rediscover his spark, that all will go back to the positive energy of yesterday. But living your life today because of what was two years ago is not accepting reality. What you are having the opportunity to see  is how your husband copes with stress and change. He’s not practicing self-care. He’s not loving himself, and he’s projected that lack of self-love into detrimental abuse toward you; and Dear Heart, let me repeat: None of this is your job to fix. It’s his job and only his.

I know, just as you know, that your husband has a beautiful core. He is completely lovable and I know it breaks your heart that he doesn’t see it. It’s now time for you to be a beautiful example of self-love, to create the opportunity for him to transform, by choosing to love yourself and walk away. Walking away from him does not make him bad or unworthy of love—it’s the opposite. You are giving him the chance to finally stand on his own two feet, pick up the pieces of the shambles he’s created and learn just how worthy he is. He may or may not take that opportunity. He may continue to spiral downward, and that remains his choice. It is not your job to go to that dark place with him.

I want you to honor your feelings of grief. It is so painful to have found something so magical to watch it disintegrate into darkness right before your eyes. I know that you don’t want to let go of all that you saw was possible for your future with this man, but the truth is, he has A LOT of growing to do before he is in position to be in healthy relationship with you. A LOT. And that will require A LOT of humility on his part and a willingness to completely transform these negative patterns. No abuse, whether that’s verbal or physical is ever, ever, EVER an acceptable coping strategy in any relationship—I don’t care what the excuse. You deserve nothing less than someone who knows fully how to love himself and can pour that love right back toward you, consistently. That relationship will exist for you when you start loving yourself enough to demand nothing less. This is your lesson right now, and I know that it is oh so painful, but God is loving you up with this challenge.  God wants so very much for you to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to any form of abuse against you. Honor your inner “yes’s” and “no’s,” and you will discover great joy through this painful time.

I want you to surround yourself with love and support at this time—with family and friends who love you unconditionally. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need support in creating an action plan for yourself—I know that this is an overwhelming time. Rather than “going it alone” this is a powerful time to invest in yourself by partnering with a coach who will help you reconnect with your inner knowing and what it means for you to love yourself fully. I would, of course, be honored to support you as you create the life that you truly deserve to be living.

Above all, please be really, really gentle with yourself right now. Give yourself the time and space that you need to grieve. Know how extraordinarily lovable that you are. (I know this because we ALL are.) Know that you deserve to be deeply cherished, and take loving steps to cherish yourself.  Another post that I think would be great help for you at this time, as well: https://askthejoydiva.com/2012/02/14/why-is-it-so-hard-for-me-to-walk-away-from-my-marriage/

Loving you every step of the way.

Melissa A.K.A the JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

How Do I Know If It’s True Love?

Dear JoyDiva,

Is it possible to fall in love truly with a person you haven’t personally met yet? I met a guy on the internet and I think I have fallen in love with him but he’s half the world away and I haven’t personally met him yet. We communicate on Skype and I wanna know if true love could exist even without meeting each other yet. And how do I know if it’s indeed true love? Please help me. People say I am too young to know what true love is. Thank you. I’m glad I stumbled upon your blog. I’ve been reading a lot of your entries and it’s helping me a lot.

19’sTooYoungToFallInLove

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Dear 19’sTooYoung,

Hi there, Darlin’. To address your questions as a whole, I want to say this: Take your time. Explore. Get a little messy in the learning process. Enjoy yourself, and know that when it comes to true love, there is no rush to know if it is a “for the rest of your life” kind of thing or a “just for now” kind of thing.

I see that you have found someone with whom you’ve had an initial spark, which is exciting! It sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time chatting on Skype, which is certainly a useful means to get to know someone halfway across the world, and to feel attraction and discover how you communicate. It is a worthy starting point. Do you need to meet him to fall truly in love? Well, my dear, I think that you’re asking the question because you kind of already know the answer. Relationships certainly can’t fully blossom from a distance—there is all kinds of real life, day-to-day stuff that you need to experience together before you can really know what your bond is made of. Right now, you have the initial seedlings of love. You have the romantic feelings and the joy of possibility. Those are wonderful things worth exploring, and I bet you are learning a lot about yourself in the process…which is the true gift of relationship.

People have said that you are too young to know what true love is—well, I hate slapping age labels on things because I’ve met some extraordinarily astute ladies your age, but I’m going to say that there is of course, a fair amount of truth to this statement, no matter how astute that you are. True love comes as a reflection of how deeply you love yourself, and my dear, you are only just discovering who you are. Is it possible that at your age you can meet someone who you could enjoy spending the rest of your life with? Yes—I know a handful of people who are married to people they met when they were teens. With that said, if you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone, I want to stress again that there is NO RUSH in knowing that—that long-term commitment will come out of doing a whole lot of learning and growing together and as individuals over time, and you will know it’s right because your love for one another, and for yourselves, will continue to grow through that bond. You know it’s “true” because you continue to be true to yourself, you continue to pursue your own passions, advocate for your needs, and you cheer on and support your partner as he does the same. You know it’s “true love” because as you continue to communicate honestly about who you are, as you be more and more fully YOU and live your life to the fullest, he will still be at your side, loving you all the way and vice versa.

I want to invite you to commit yourself to an adventure in intimacy, and not the idea that you will be with this particular person forever. What I mean by that is this: It can be so easy to get attached to the idea that, “This person who I’m loving right now HAS to be ‘the one.’ It’s him that I want and nothing can sway me from that,” but coming from that place makes it really easy to tune out what your heart is telling you and to start sacrificing who you are and what you need in order to be happy—no person or relationship is worth your compromising who you are and what you really want, ever. (Love at ALL costs is not actually true love.) Instead, I want you to see this relationship experience as an opportunity to learn as much about him and about yourself as possible. Recognize when your “forever” agenda can get in the way of your fully sharing about yourself or asking him clear questions for fear that you might lose him because of the answers you find. The most important relationship that you will have, the one that it is your primary job to nurture, is the one that you have with yourself.  Be committed to discovering what he really values and be honest with yourself and him about what you really value. Tune into your inner “yes’s” and “no’s” in response to all that you are discovering—“Does what I’m discovering make me feel free and alive?” or “Does it make me feel constricted and drained?” If all that you discover in this relationship continues to make you come alive, then by all means, keep saying “yes” to discovering more! But please don’t give up any of your own dreams or make a choice that makes you feel stuck in order to make the relationship happen—then it is not true love and you’ve mistreated your dear, sweet self for the sake of someone who is not right for you.

Let this relationship experience be a glorious opportunity to discover who YOU are and all that you want for your life. I encourage you in your own time to do some journaling around all that you envision for your life as well as qualities that are really important to you in a potential life partner. Continue to get clearer and clearer on what it is in your own life as well as in a relationship that makes your heart sing, and then be as honest as you can possibly be in every aspect of your life. Through knowing yourself and expressing yourself honestly, you will discover the love that is true and the love that isn’t. And most of all, HAVE FUN! You have a lifetime to fall in love with all that you are and that is something to celebrate.

Much Love, Dear Heart.

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

©2012 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 of 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

What Can I Do About My Relationship with my Family?

Hello,
I found your site through Jenny Shih’s.  Although I don’t personally know either of you, I am a big fan of each of your gift’s.  I just got through reading your response to the woman with her daughter.  I listened to your song afterwards and it made me cry.
Here’s my situation: I had a 40th birthday mid July.  I have a younger sister (by 2 years) move back to live temporarily a block away with my parents a few months ago.  I live in my brother’s house. My sister & I weren’t close growing up, but in the last 11 years we’ve continued to get closer.  She’s on a spiritual path to become a shaman in South America and my brother is a regular construction guy that really doesn’t get me or my sister half the time. Bottom line, I’ve been having a hard time feeling connected to family and friends in my life lately. I’ve had a lot of change in this last year too. Relationship breakup, 15 yr bff “break up”, move my business to brother’s as well as myself. I feel connected to the universe, as I had an extreme experience with death that gave me a close relationship a few years ago. I try to be very mindful of how I speak to myself, others and how things feel in my body as I say things and what I eat in general.
So my sister texted me to ask what I had planned for my birthday a week before the date.  I thought about it and asked if she might be interested in planning something.  She was just getting back from a trip, so I said to think about it over the weekend and just let me know by Monday… I said I wanted her to do it ONLY if she felt inspired to.  This year, I didn’t feel great about planning anything big as I really wasn’t talking to many of my old friends.  I felt like I was still grieving 2 really important relationships. I did want to celebrate but didn’t want to plan something myself unless my sister didn’t want to.
So ultimately my sister said she wanted to do something for my birthday but then proceeded to tell me that she wondered if I would mind if it was celebrated on the day before or the morning of because she was feeling spiritually called to meet this woman for a vision board party.  I could tell she wanted me to be excited about it but I felt like I second best and not very special at all.  She berated me and said “see!! you do have preferences!” To me, it felt like she wanted to prove that I wouldn’t be able to let go of control and let someone plan something for me.(which I honestly would have been fine with anything but I just wanted it to be a surprise and planned for me) Anyway, she said that it’s obvious that she wasn’t the one to plan it and that was that. My birthday was good anyway, but obviously spending it with 2 girls I recently met was odd since my whole family lives one block away and up the stairs from me.
(Obviously there are issues of connection that go way back to childhood that I keep hoping will workout.)
So, I wasn’t expecting anything from my parents because I had asked if they might want to visit Colorado together for my birthday celebration.  The trip was scheduled for a few weeks after my birthday…
During those 2 weeks I went to a tarot card reader who told me some disturbing information.  She said that my sister and I would have a big fight and that there would be an emotional break. Something gut wrenching and emotionally tough.
I told her that we already had a big fight…she said that there will be another one but more so and that my brother and her will conspire together to work against me in some way. She also said during this time that I need to stay true to myself, hold strong, that I will find love within myself.
So I didn’t sleep that night much because it felt so true, but so surreal…but I calmed down eventually and took it with a grain of salt.  My brother did not go on the trip but my sister did.  We ended up having a good time and had a wonderful heart felt talk on the Colorado Trail.  We didn’t talk specifically about the bday fight but broad strokes about our career’s and our heart’s desire about them and how we wanted to be there for the other one.  I thought that the lady must have been wrong or that we had changed our destiny by talking things through.
Not so.  Tonight she came over and I helped her with getting some ideas on paper for her website.  She listened to me (which I’ve been desperately praying for someone to be a sounding board and a cheer leader to show up) talk about my fears surrounding my upcoming business changes and even shared some tears about my still tender heart surrounding my ex…
Then somehow we got on the subject of the fight around my bday. I told her that it hurt me deeply and that I felt second best, and that I wanted to know her thinking surrounding everything.
She said the she heard me but that she didn’t believe in saying sorry because it makes one person wrong and the other right.  She felt that I wanted her to heal something inside myself that she couldn’t.  I obviously wanted to understand and have a heart felt sorry.  Then she says that I am very ridged and it’s hard for people to be open with their hearts around me..and that I’ve always been controlling all of my life and that I should ask anyone and they would tell me.
Her eyes were piercing and so enraged. I said that I know I haven’t been a good sister growing up and I am sorry for anything that I’ve done to make her feel so angry.  She said that she is angry because she’s responding to the frustration I put on her regarding my brother. Ugh!–at that moment I remembered the tarot card reader say that lots of my cards were Higher Arcana and that means the circumstances are just fate.
How do I show up for myself, protect my heart, not over react and stay grounded?
Sorry this is so long and I would understand if you might not want to respond as this seems somewhat unusual.  (I want a good relationship with my family but my intuition says that my siblings can’t see me for who I really am right now)

Sisterly Love Gone Wrong

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Dearest Sisterly Love Gone Wrong,

Thanks for taking the time to reach out—know that you are not alone in your struggles with your family relationships and your willingness to share will bring great insight to other readers. I’m going to do my best to keep my response as short and sweet as possible—you’ve given me a lot to chew on, but responding point-by-point is not what I feel is needed right now.

With that said, one specific that I must respond to up front has to do with your reading from the Tarot card reader. I’m going to preface what I’m about to say with the fact that I’ve had some great readings in my day and as an Astrologer, am fully aware that there are some amazing healers out there who use a wide array of modalities to connect people to their truth, Tarot being one of them. But here’s the deal: YOU are 100% in the driver’s seat with regard to your relationships with your family, not fate. How you choose to perceive their actions, what you project onto them, how you choose to react—you create the stories that shape how those relationships will unfold. Will they “conspire” against you? Perhaps. But that sounds like classic, manipulative hooey from a “psychic” who’s using her gifts in questionable ways.  Instead of focusing on some fatalistic advice from someone who just met you about a future that you have yet to create—information that is  already causing you to painfully project that reality onto your family relationships—why don’t we shift your focus back to you, the only person whose actions you can actually affect in this situation (or ever, for that matter)?

On one level, I hear you saying that you want to have good relationships with members of your family, and I believe that there is truth to that. On an another level, I also hear that you bring a lot of expectations, a lot of “should’s” to those relationships. If you really look at what you are saying, it looks more like, “I can only love you and be in relationship with you if you love me the way I want you to love me.” You’re bringing all kinds of thoughts that are gunking up these relationships that are clearly of great value to you—thoughts of, “It’s your job to be there for me. It’s your job to understand me and accept me. It’s your job to love me. Family is supposed to put family first. I’m second best and not very special to you at all. Given that my family lives so close, they should be the ones to plan and celebrate my birthday with me, etc. ” And thanks to the Tarot card reader, you can throw in the thought, “My brother and sister are conspiring against me.” So many thoughts that are creating your suffering as your mind argues with reality.  Who do you become/how do you react/how do you treat them and yourself when you believe these thoughts? You create a pain-inducing filter through which all of their words and actions flow. Your mind looks for ways to prove that these thoughts are true and you create pain and suffering as your thoughts argue with what is. Who would you be without these thoughts? How would you be in relationship with your family if you weren’t attaching to these limiting beliefs that are untrue? (My guess is free…and full of love and acceptance for not only yourself, but your bro and sis, too.)

Yes, family relationships can be challenging as hell because we have more years with those people than with anyone else to create false stories that make them hell—stories we created as children with under-developed brains to try and make meaning of our experience. If we don’t stop to question those stories we live in a continual horror story of our own making. We become wounded victims who can only be healed if our family becomes who WE want them to be rather than who they are because—somehow in our minds, they are “supposed” to love us and be there in all of the ways that we want and need. Dear one, you have been so focused on having your family love and accept you for who you are and be there for you in the ways that you want them to be—which can actually only be YOUR job—that you are not noticing all of the ways that you are not loving and accepting, being there for them OR yourself.

I’m glad to hear that the words of my song touched you because they are good medicine for you hear, right now. “The truth is, we’re all trying to be good, and all of us just want to be understood. And when we seek the truth through another’s eyes, we realize that we are all the same…when we forgive ourselves and love despite our frailties, we are divine.” What if you came from the thought, “My brother and sister’s actions toward me come from a place of good intentions?” From that place you might see that despite not being able to relate to your spiritual journey or growth path (it’s not actually his job to understand you, it’s yours), your brother loves you so much that he is sharing his home with you. You might see that your sister was trying her best to honor all of her priorities around the time of your birthday. She wanted you to feel loved and she was also trying to honor herself. When you surrender your personal agenda, you also would be able to see that those two new friends that you got to hang out with were the perfect right people for you to spend your birthday with, not your sister. You enjoyed yourself. Perfect. As it should be. What a gift that your sister offered you by choosing not to plan your birthday for you—you got to spend it with people who were able to be fully present and wanting to celebrate with you.

As painful as it is, I invite you to listen to your sister with an open mind and heart. As my favorite spiritual teacher, Byron Katie, says, “Our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends will continue to press every button we have, until we realize what it is that we don’t want to know about ourselves, yet. They will point us to our freedom every time.” In what ways is your sister communicating truth to you in what she is saying? I’m sure that she can be just as rigid and controlling as she is accusing you of, but changing her behavior is not your job—changing YOUR behavior IS. It only takes one person in a relationship to step back, to seek to understand, to see loving intentions and to choose to act from a place of love. It only takes one person in a relationship to transform it. Why not have it be you?

Whether or not you choose to mend these relationships is up to you—there is no “right” or “wrong” choice here. I just want to challenge you to notice how freeing it can be when you let these wonderful relationships transform you by choosing to do the hard work of listening and questioning your own mind—who’s been making you second best, who hasn’t been accepting and loving, who has been generating mistrust, who’s been conspiring behind the scenes? Every relationship in your life is a mirror for you to see your relationship with yourself and who you are being in the world—where you’re not trusting yourself or others, not advocating for yourself, not speaking your truth, not being a good cheerleader, not fully listening. There is freedom in these relationships with your family members and deep love, if you choose to allow those relationships to breathe as they really are.

I highly recommend any of Byron Katie’s work for you–I think you will find great insight there.

Much love to you,

:) Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

Why Is It So Hard for Me to Walk Away from My Marriage?

Hi Melissa,

I am in the midst of a life transition. My husband and I are on a path to divorce. Our life paths have been veering in different directions for a long time. My husband has not worked in 4 years and any savings or retirement we had is long gone as I have struggled to keep our family above water. Unfortunately I am losing that battle too.

That is just a little background…. I have been offered a place to live for the price of maintaining the property and paying utilities. The home was in very poor shape so I have been working on painting and repairs for several months.

My question is, why is it that I can’t seem to make the actual move into the other home and begin actual divorce proceedings? I seem to be stuck in this role of continued support for my ‘husband’ whom I haven’t had an actual relationship with in years.

The worst part of this is I know so much about the laws of attraction, yet seem unable to maintain prosperous thoughts during this time.

Thank you in advance for your reply. It has been a long time since you counseled me and I know your reply will help guide me as it has in the past.

Much love to you!

From the land of Oz

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Hi Sweetheart,

First of all, let’s take a moment to be really, really gentle with you right now. Darlin’, I don’t know who would be able to think prosperous thoughts while going through all of this necessary but painful life gunk. How about we take “Having prosperous thoughts” off of your to-do plate because my guess is every time you think that you “should” be more positive, you feel more intensely in the opposite direction. There is a reason for that—because having prosperous thoughts is not in alignment with what you are feeling right now. What’s true right now is that there is a lot of scary business unfolding in your life and you feel shitty, and scared with occasional tiny glimpses of excitement for what can be thrown in there…but my guess is that you are mostly feeling pretty shitty, right now. (It’s my blog, I can swear if I want to. :)) The law of attraction is not about thoughts—it is about the feelings that our thoughts create. Right now, having a really good cry, getting angry, allowing yourself to face all of the fears that this time is conjuring up is going to FEEL a whole lot better than forcing yourself to have prosperous thoughts. Buddhist non-attachment teaches us that we have to fully feel all of our feelings and allow them to pass through us—we neither avoid them nor cling to them. You’ve been so focused on trying not to feel your challenging feelings that they are chasing you around with a vengeance. Just let it out, Sister—now is the time to grieve, to release. Only when you are good and ready (that could be months from now) can you truly start taking stock of what you’ve gained in this painful time and explore what you want to grow in your newly tilled soil. (I’m surrounding you with love right now. You are completely safe in this space.) You will find that once you face all of these painful feelings, that the path forward will come with great clarity and ease.

I want you to take some time and really look at your fear—there is a lot of it here, and it is trying to love you. Part of the grieving process means allowing yourself to look at and really feel the loss. I want you to write down everything that is terrifying and painful about this time—all of the scary knowns and unknowns. What are all of the things that your mind believes you are losing?—sometimes that loss can be simply in the form of ideas that we have (the idea of the perfect marriage, the idea that marriage is supposed to be forever, the idea that our partner needs us & vice versa).

You have come to identify for so long as the caretaker, the one who holds it all together, that it can be terrifying to let that go. I’m hearing a great sense of responsibility for your husband’s well-being in your actions. I see that some of your fear lies in what will happen to him if you leave—I hear guilt in there over wanting to pursue your own happiness as well. I also hear that you’ve come to identify much of your self-worth with this care-taking role. Your mind is saying, “Who the heck are you if you’re not caring for this man?!” I invite you to answer that question, My Dear. Who are you longing to be outside of this relationship? Who is the you that you are READY to fall madly in love with? What qualities within you are just dying to come out and breathe without all of this responsibility around your neck? Your worth is not measured by your ability to sacrifice yourself. What beautiful opportunities are you creating for you AND your husband by choosing to walk away?

It takes a long time to build a marriage and a long time to take it apart. It’s ok to take your time in growing your new self-care legs. You are infinitely supported in this process, Dear Heart. So, is your husband. There is no wrong step—tune into your heart for guidance, face those fears with compassion, and you will get to where you want to go in the perfect, right timing.

I want to leave you with my song “Be Here Now”—I wrote it at a time of great strife for both me and my mama. Let the words be healing for you today.

The Lyrics:

My bills are late. I’m underpaid.
I’m on my way to work again,
And I can’t seem to find my way out of this.
My thoughts are tired. My body aches.
I’m climbin’ up without a break.
And I can’t seem to find my way out of this,
But somehow I’ve gotta get out of this.

Chorus:
So I’m gonna be here now.
Yeah, I’m gonna be here now.
All I need is here right now.
So I’m gonna be here now.

I gave my heart and watched it break.
There’s not much more that I can take.
And I can’t seem to find my way out of this.
I’ve tried to sleep. I’m still awake.
I’m plagued with thoughts of yesterday.
And I can’t seem to find my way out of this,
But somehow I know I’ll get out of this.

Chorus

The moment before me is all that I need
The fear and the sadness, my guide
The more that I open to all that I see
The more I see it all dissolve into love
Love. Love. Love. Love.
Love. Love. Love.

Chorus

©Melissa Simonson. All rights reserved.

I send you much love.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson