Tag Archives: Self-Care

I’m Afraid to be Naked in Front of My Boyfriend…What Should I Do?

Hello Joy Diva. I am 23 years old and I am still insecure of many things I used to be insecure when I was a teen. I am short and fat and I have stretch marks all over my body. I used to have zits and now the marks are all over my face. But this young man, 19, who’s been my friend for over a year now confessed he had feelings for me. And now, we’ve been in love for a couple of months now, but we haven’t been so intimate yet. I know there will come a time when he’ll finally get to see the ugly skin I have I kept hidden underneath my clothes. I’m really afraid my insecurities would ruin up our intimacy and worse our relationship. What should I do?

Ugly Duckling

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Hi Beautiful,

I simply cannot call you the Ugly Duckling because the last thing that you need from me right now is to reinforce this painful image of yourself. You may think that calling you “Beautiful” is taking things too far in the other direction, and I know better. I am confident (and I imagine your boyfriend is, too) that there is exquisite beauty pouring from every aspect of who you are.

Dear, sweet girl—my heart broke a little when I read this post and it was filled with so much love and compassion for you that I can only hope that you feel me wrapping my arms around you with my words. I feel your fear—how real it seems to you that you could be rejected, that you could lose love, that you are not worthy to receive it in the first place because of the way that you look. You’ve gotten pretty good at rejecting yourself, withholding love from yourself, and deeming yourself unworthy through the years, haven’t you? Food itself has probably become both a tool of comfort and punishment as you try to fill those unloved spaces and simultaneously punish yourself for adding to this state of being somehow “unlovable.”

First things first: Fat or thin, tall or short, outgoing or shy, lighthearted or serious, brain surgeon or high school drop-out, etc., etc. you will ALWAYS be worthy of the same amount of love as everyone else—the same love that you feel and wish for your boyfriend, or anyone else who crosses your path. You were born inherently lovable and inherently worthy of being loved. Period. Nothing will ever, ever change that. Being inherently lovable is one of the gifts we get to have for being human.

So, I’m going to give you some tools to love yourself up right now:

1) I want you to honor your fears and insecurities by communicating them to your boyfriend. Right now, you are feeling ashamed about your body, ashamed that you feel insecure about your body, ashamed that you might “ruin” your relationship with this insecurity…and then you’re even feeling ashamed about feeling ashamed. The best way to rid yourself of this shame is to speak it out loud—shame evaporates when we speak it out loud. I know that you’re afraid to let him know that you are anything less than confident, and the truth is that you’re not feeling confident right now—far from it, and what you are feeling is 100% OK and needs your attention and acknowledgment. Let him know how nervous that you are, afraid of pushing him away, afraid that he might not like what he sees…lay it all out there. Honesty is sexy. That’s right…downright I-want-to-make-sweet-love-to-this-woman sexy. 🙂 Chances are really good that he is just going to fall more in love with you through your vulnerability, and if he doesn’t, then he is not a right fit. Any guy who doesn’t embrace you in your vulnerable honesty is not a man worth your time.

2) I want you to start exploring your body as the extraordinary pleasure center that it is. You are a WOMAN! A curvy, soft, sensuous, nurturing, exquisite, radiant flower in your own right. Unlike a man, you have an organ on your body whose sole purpose is for pleasure! How awesome is that?! (Yes…I’m talking about your clitoris…if you haven’t visited it yet or often, I encourage you to get to know it and make it your best friend… 🙂 ) Your body isn’t for your boyfriend! It’s for YOUR pleasure, your enjoyment, your love. Give yourself the gift of exploring all of the ways that you can give yourself pleasure. I want you to enjoy taking showers and feeling the water on your skin, enjoy making yourself smell good, wearing beautiful fabrics…giving yourself all of the time that you need to be fully present in nurturing your body. Dance to music around your house, feel your body flowing with the music. Enjoy the food that you eat—take time to savor it on your tongue. Your body is magnificent. It is the house for your beautiful soul and it is made for you to enjoy what it means to be alive. Women who love their bodies through self-care and pleasure…bodies of all shapes and sizes, are irresistibly sexy.

3) Beyond your body, I want you to explore your inherent fabulousness. Take 5 minutes and make a non-stop list of all of the reasons why any man would be blessed to call you his girlfriend. You were born as a unique expression of the divine, equipped with wonderful strengths. You were born to be a blessing by simply being who you are. So who are you, Gorgeous? Now is not the time to be humble. Go nuts, fill up the page and brag about yourself like there’s no tomorrow.

4) What do you LOVE to do? What do you love about being alive? Make a list and pick 3 things that you can bring into your life daily/weekly/monthly that fill you with joy…and then create time to do those things.

I get that some, if not all, of my assignments for you probably make you super uncomfortable…and that’s the point. You are safe. You are in your own loving hands with every one of these steps, and you deserve to allow yourself to get uncomfortable for the sake of your growth. You deserve to feel sexy and sassy and worthy of all of the love in the world…because you are. Consistently practicing these actions will increase your sense of confidence and love for yourself and begin the process of setting you free. AND you will start to discover that taking care of yourself in these ways just feels damn good…and you so deserve to feel damn good, my dear.

Picturing you happy, healthy, and free.

:) Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

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

©2013 Melissa Simonson

How Can I Rediscover the Fun, Happy, Optimistic Me?

Dear JoyDiva,

I am a young woman of 20 and I want to find out why I can’t accept myself although i am average height and weight. I feel ashamed when I’m naked because I am not your typical playboy model. I have differences that even though my boyfriend tells me over and over again that I am normal or I have read that I am, I still don’t feel this way. It scares me into thinking I can’t explore outside of this little life. I can’t feel free. I have also hurt my boyfriend twice because I am so insecure. I want to be able to be free and be me without feeling I am obligated to stay with my boyfriend or that I have to take up anyone who gives me attention or anyone that is sweet to me. How can I rediscover the fun, happy, optimistic me? Before I would do nothing but draw in my spare time, and I even went to college but shortly gave it up because I felt as if my boyfriend couldn’t handle it and I was afraid he would leave me and even though I love him, I was afraid I’d end up alone. We fought all the time about the past things I did. Help.

Feeling Guilty

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Dearest Feeling Guilty,

I’m sorry to hear how “little” that you are feeling in your life, right now, and I commend you for reaching out in honor of the freedom that you are longing for and deserve to feel.

What I love about this question is that you are already halfway to answering it for yourself. 🙂 You know what’s going on here. You know that you are abandoning yourself by your current choices. You see the fear. You also see how your choices to follow the fear rather then taking the actions that make you feel free and expanded are dimming your light and clipping your wings.

You will feel fun, happy & optimistic when you start pursuing yourself again. Your choice to draw, go to college, or do anything you damn well please has nothing to do with your boyfriend, and if he’s being bothered by your pursuing that which brings you alive, then he’s the one responsible for the misery he creates for himself. A healthy relationship consists of two individuals pursuing themselves, and celebrating & supporting each other in their individual wholeness. You’re not responsible for his happiness, nor is he responsible for yours.

You will feel sexy when you start choosing & claiming your own life again & expressing your unique individuality. This isn’t about your body. This is about you cherishing yourself through your time and attention. This is about you speaking up for what you want and what you don’t want. This is about you owning that you CAN have freedom and joy when you choose it for yourself. All of your focus on trying to keep your relationship has had you in a constant state of self-abandonment. You will rediscover all that is magical within you when you start risking this current false illusion of comfort in your relationship for the sake of what you really want. If he can’t walk beside you as you transform, if the relationship ends because he can’t handle your pursuing your life, then THANK GOD! Anyone or anything that does not support you in coming alive is way, way, way too small for you. You weren’t born to be in relationship with this guy. You were born to gift the world with your aliveness. What a waste of a beautiful precious life if you squander it for fear of being alone! (When you choose to love yourself you will discover that you are never alone. You are always supported. You are always loved.)

Make a list of all of the activities/choices/ways of spending your time that make you feel free and by gosh, start doing those things! Imagine a time in your life when you were really happy. What were you doing & experiencing? What was it about that experience that contributed so much to your joy? How can you start bringing those qualities into your life TODAY?

It’s time to take action & choose yourself, Beautiful.

Here are some nurturing resources for you:

Visit my website & grab your FREE Self-Love SuperStar Kit—a WONDERFUL gift to yourself (It includes a free report of “85 Ways to Feel Happy, Confident & Free…No Matter What”, along with 3 other goodies for your expansion.)

Christine Arylo’s Books: Choosing Me Before We & Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend

You are an extraordinary woman who was born to do extraordinary things…always know that.

Much Love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

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

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

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