Tag Archives: Perfectionism

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

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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

What Is the Right Direction for My Career/Life?

Dear JoyDiva,

I am so scattered and unfocused, unsure of which direction my career should take and I am seeing many road blocks at this point (probably put there by me). Do you see a clearer direction that’s right for me?

Rhonda

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Dearest Rhonda,

While I cannot tell you the “right” direction for you to take (especially without more info and an exploratory session), I can certainly glean some insight from what you’ve written that I believe will be helpful for you.

First of all, I want to honor your awareness and courage in admitting that you’ve probably been the one placing roadblocks before your path. I’m going to go a step further and say that you HAVE been the one placing roadblocks before you. Any “stuck” feelings that we ever have are created in our own minds. You’re choosing to believe thoughts that are untrue about your situation (whether that’s, “I don’t have enough money, enough time, enough information, etc), and attaching to those false, limiting beliefs is making you feel stuck, overwhelmed and frustrated. Your heart wants to move, to dive-in, and you first have to let yourself believe in the possibility of your dreams if you’re going to turn them into a reality.

One limiting belief that is clear to me from what you’ve written is the idea that there is a “right” direction for you to turn. I can feel your paralysis and fear in going down a path that is somehow “wrong” for you, and sister, let’s throw out these silly “right vs. wrong” concepts so that you can feel the sense of freedom and adventure that I know you’re longing for in your heart.

What is the “right” direction for you? The path of action. The messy path that isn’t clear and freaks you out and also happens to make your heart sing. Overwhelm comes when we go too far into a future that is out of our control. What steps lie right before you and are whispering for you to take them? I invite you to sit down with a pen and piece of paper and for 5 minutes start writing about all that you envision for your life. Let yourself get really excited. FEEL yourself living that life. Then, all it takes is one step to start putting it in motion—make that  first phone call, send that email,  etc. You are infinitely supported by our loving Universe—you simply cannot go wrong, dear heart. If you fall down temporarily, you’ll gain the insight that you need to move on. Simply wait for the “yes” within your heart to guide you and then take the first step. You don’t need to know the “right” path—you need to listen to what makes you feel free and then take the first step. (NOTE: If you are like me, your strengths may not lie in creating your own plan of action. I always hire a coach when I’m trying to create big new things in my life because I can get extremely overwhelmed and paralyzed when it comes to breaking my ideas down into small steps. JoyDiva was born thanks to some wonderful coaching. It’s ok and important to recognize what you can and cannot do on your own.)

You will never be clear on all of the pieces of the puzzle before taking action. The beauty of life is that as you step forth to actively create your life, the next pieces will be revealed to you exactly when you need them. It’s time to surrender and start actively painting your messy masterpiece (knowing that you are loved and supported by every process unfolding in your life). Doesn’t that sound like more fun than waiting around for the “right” direction to reveal itself? Keywords for you to breathe in right now: Playfulness, Freedom, Joy, Adventure. What is ONE way that you can infuse those experiences into your life RIGHT NOW?

I wish you all of the joy and excitement that you deserve in your life, Rhonda!  Here is another post that I wrote in response to my own question a few months ago that I think will serve you well: https://askthejoydiva.com/2012/02/07/what-if-i-make-the-wrong-decision/

Many Blessings to you,

🙂 Melissa, A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

What if I Make the Wrong Decision?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love,

:)Melissa A.K.A The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

How Do I Stop Comparing Myself to Other People?

Dear JoyDiva,

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

Thanks for your help,

Confused

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Dear Confused,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson

How Do I Know When I’ve Found the Right Guy?

Dear Melissa,

I have been through my fair share of unhealthy relationships in the past. I have spent the last few years healing and doing some really excellent self-care which I have really enjoyed. Now that I have been feeling like I am ready for a relationship of substance and mutual honor and respect, I still find myself drawn to guys who are emotionally unavailable. I find myself developing crushes on guys who are already deeply involved in their own romantic relationships, or guys that I really don’t know very well. I have had some guy friends of mine who have been very kind, and warm hearted who have shown an interest in me and I have run for the hills. I think part of me has been unnerved by the earnest attention, scared of compromising the friendship, and also hearing that perfectionist inside me that says “Oh, you can find someone better.” While I am coming to know that there is a really great guy out there for me, I want to be sure that I know how to recognize him when I meet him and not get so caught up in someone unavailable that I miss him.

Any words of advice?

Seeking Something Real

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Dear “Seeking Something Real,”

I want to honor you for all of your excellent self-care. That is wonderful and I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed yourself!

First off, I want to invite you to explore a question: What is it that you get out of your crushes on unavailable men? Explore how it makes you feel when you get their attention, when you talk to them, when you experience them enjoying your attention. At some point along the way to crushville, you start putting love outside of yourself, and you are putting these other guys on pedestals along with that love, which even if you’ve been rocking out with your bad self up until that point, very quickly puts you on a lower, lesser tier. From that vantage point as you look up at these shiny, unavailable men, you find yourself thinking how cool it would be if they would extend their love down to you. If they thought you were awesome, given how awesome that they are in your mind, what would that say about you? (I don’t know many women who haven’t gone to this place at one point or another on the path to love.) I can feel your strength and sense of self in all that you say above, and I can also feel the part of you that harbors a desire for approval in your romantic relationships.

Who do you become and how do you feel when you are secretly wanting these other guys to be in love with you? Who would you be, how would you act around them if you did not believe on some level that you need their approval? In what ways are you needing to give yourself approval?

With regard to your male friends developing crushes on you and your “running for the hills”–you are not messed up. Just because a guy is kind and warm-hearted doesn’t make him the right guy for YOU. You are not striking me as someone who believes herself undeserving of love. (If you do, let me know, and we can address that.) You strike me as someone who just wants to feel passion in her relationships and it happens to be that those particular men that you mention, despite their warmth and kindness, have not ignited that passion within you. What has your heart been telling you? Passion isn’t something that you have to talk yourself into–it will let you know when it peaks its fiery head. When it’s truly a right fit, or even just right for now, you won’t want to run for the hills…unless he’s coming with you. 🙂

Dive in! Get messy–it’s okay to want it all, my dear, and it’s ok to experiment until you find it. You are not asking too much to want kindness, emotional availability and a whole lot of other sexy stuff thrown in for extra fun. The only perfectionism I see here is toward yourself–it’s ok that you haven’t “gotten it right” yet. Things are complicated enough without adding the pressure of “this better be the right one” into the mix. Relationships are the playground for all of the juicy learning we’re here to do in our lives–just think of all of the fun you’d be missing out on if you “got it right” already?! 😉 Keep practicing that good self-care. Explore the ways that you are still seeking approval in your relationships and how you can give that approval to yourself, get a little bit messy, and above all, trust yourself. You’ve got this thing down girl–it’s only a matter of time.

Much love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson