Love After Heartbreak

If you’ve followed my journey for some time, you’ve known the story of heartbreak and loss.

You know the story of uncertainty and change.

You know the story of darkness and gloom.

Yet, divorces I’ve concluded are not the end of the world. Nor are heartbreaks or separations or breakups.

Endings don’t necessarily have to be the worst thing that has ever happened to you! And with every ending, there is a new beginning.

With every heartbreak, you sow the seeds for new love to flourish.

Yet this doesn’t happen automatically.  Moving on is easier said than done. How do you let go of the past? How do you move on? How do you open your heart again?

In my new book, Love After Heartbreak, I’ve written a book for all of us to move forward and love again after heartbreak.

 

Who is this book for?

It’s for you if you’ve experienced heartbreak, separation or divorce and have sworn off relationships for the rest of your life.

What will you learn in this book?

You will learn how to let go of the past and heal your heart. You will learn how to reclaim and boost your self-worth after that painful breakup. You’ll learn how to trust again and overcome your fear of commitment.

Will this book guide you to finding the right partner?

Yes! It will give you tips and strategies for landing the right partner. There’s a chapter on how to find the right partner and another chapter on what you can do to increase your chances of finding the right partner.

Does it address fear and rejection?

Fears keep us from moving forward, so, definitely; there are several chapters about overcoming fears. Overcome your fear of commitment, overcome your fear of being hurt again and overcome your fear of rejection.  Learn how to see rejection in a new and more empowering light. Yes, you might confront rejection after heartbreak but learn how to see rejection in a positive light.

How will this book change your life?

This book will only do one thing: change your perspective and way of thinking about love. It will address your fears and objections. It will help you shift your perspective and look at relationships from a new angle. It will encourage you to go beyond your comfort zone, find your courage and go after that relationship that’s waiting for you.

Why this book, and why did you write it?

Honestly? This book is as much for me as it is for you. This is what I’ve learned, this is what I’m learning and this is what I’m doing in my life. Everything I write to you is everything I’m telling myself. Everything I suggest you do, I’m trying to do.

I wrote it for all of us who are stuck in our pasts and desire to move on to new love. I wrote it for all of us who are afraid of loving and opening our hearts again.

Why love again?

You might think that your life was over after your broken heart, your breakup or your divorce. I remind you in this book that your relationship ending could be a true blessing. You have choices, you have opportunities and you have the freedom to create a new relationship from scratch. You can now do it with wisdom, experience and an open (and stronger) heart.

I want to remind you of what Hemingway said: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

Where can you purchase this book?

You can pick it up on Kindle books at the Amazon store. If you’re open to love again, click here to pick up Love After Heartbreak today.

How to Open Your Heart to Love After Heartbreak

The last thing you want to hear about after heartbreak is love.

After your heart has been shattered, your life turned upside down and your questioning of humanity begins, you wonder if it’s all worth it.

Is it worth it to put your heart out there?

Is it worth it to trust another person again?

Is love worth all the pain that you’ve gone through?

I didn’t think it was for several years after my divorce. Yes, there were highs in marriage, but the lows after divorce were so low that I didn’t think I ever wanted to return to that place again.

I never again wanted to swim in a place of loss, vulnerability and pain.

On my own journey back from this place of darkness, I realized that love is worth it. I realized that #!*!& cliché about it being better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is likely true!

I realized that one benefit of your heart breaking is that it breaks open. Your heart has the capacity to love bolder, stronger and deeper after loss.

Heartbreak won’t just open your heart; it can awaken your soul. There are so many parts of you that were sleeping that were likely shaken up.

Can the tsunami of the heart be your solid ground? Can the depths of despair and rejection be the seeds of new love?

I explore this topic below and at greater length in my new book, Love After Heartbreak, available on Amazon here.

Here are 5 ways to bounce back and open your heart again after heartbreak.

1. Process your emotions

You won’t be able to move on until you experience the emotions of heartbreak and loss.

You must let go of the resistance to feeling uncomfortable emotions.

You might feel denial and resistance is the way to go so you won’t feel the pain, but this will only prolong the time it will take you to heal.

If you grew up in a family that refused to experience emotions or denied emotions exist, this is going to be a life-changing process. I’ve found that emotions will not kill you.

To process your emotions, write it out (through journaling or a diary). Speak it out (to a friend or therapist).

Allow yourself to go to the darkest, most painful parts of yourself.

The intensity of your emotions will taper over time. It may feel unbearable in the beginning, but it does get better. Once you experience the emotional overwhelm, you’ll find you can sit with your emotions more easily.

2. Choose love over fear

Your grief and anger about the breakup will turn to fear at some point. You might think that one strategy to avoid this kind of pain is never to be in another relationship again. Brilliant! Except once you realize that, your colorful world turns to a black and white landscape where you’re barely living. Avoiding love is not the recipe for opening your heart to love.

You must choose love each and every time.

You have to choose to see your past relationship through a loving lens. You have to see your ex through the prism of love. You have to see your heartbreak as love.

You also choose love over fear in opening your heart. You realize that you have two choices: you can build walls and hide your heart, or you can venture out. You have a choice in every decision you make.

You can stay home or go out. You can put up a dating profile or take it down. You can speak to the Harvard woman your family wants to introduce you to or you can pretend you missed the email with her contact Information.

3. Take emotional risks

Loving someone takes a lot of emotional risk. You risk being hurt. You risk opening your life up to pain and suffering. You risk a marriage gone wrong, losing your house and splitting your kids with your ex.

Yes, a lot can go wrong with love, but there’s a lot to gain from love, too.

I’m dubious about love at first sight and loving by jumping all in. I prefer love to be more like how I enter a swimming pool. Some people say, who cares if it’s freezing cold? Just cannon ball in. Jump off the side and plunge yourself into the water. It may be freezing, it may be deep, but after 10 seconds in, you’ll adjust. I prefer not to enter a pool this way. I go in one toe at a time, until my body is immersed in the water.

You don’t have to jump all in after a broken heart. You can take it slow. You can share what you’re comfortable with. There aren’t just two degrees of relationships: superficial and committed. Take smaller risks each day.

4. Trust yourself

You are worried that you’ll make the wrong decision when you love again. You’ll wind up with someone else who breaks your confidence, betrays your trust and breaks your heart.

You have no guarantees or certainties when you open your heart to another person. You can’t trust or believe in anyone else; but oh, you can.

You have yourself. If you really think about it, you always know. When you’ve found the right person, you know. When you’ve found the wrong person, you always know.

99% of heartbreak begins before it starts. A sure recipe for disaster is to stay in a relationship with the wrong person.

You don’t have to trust anyone else. You only need to trust your judgment, your heart and your intuition.

5. Use pain as wisdom

Do you believe that your pain keeps you stuck in the past and prevents you from finding love again?

What if your greatest weakness, your pain, can be your superpower?

Your pain can be see through the prism of loss and heartache, or through the prism of wisdom.

If you survived heartbreak, you understand others and yourself better.

If you survived heartbreak, you know who’s right for you and who’s not.

If you survived heartbreak, your heart’s more attuned to what you want.

In the pain is your wisdom. In your wisdom is your strength. In your strength is your ability to love again.

You can do this.

You can read more about how to open your heart to love again in my new book, Love After Heartbreak. Learn how to let go of the past, bounce back emotionally and love again. Pick up the book on Amazon here.

6 Steps To Releasing Pain From The Untethered Soul

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I didn’t want it.

I didn’t welcome the pain that came along with heartbreak.

I would have done anything to stay together just so I wouldn’t feel the soul-crushing breaking of my heart. I had never experienced profound loss before and didn’t think I could take it.

So, I avoided feeling the heavy, overwhelming and life-consuming pain.

For some time, I pretended the breakup wasn’t happening. Later, I imagined that it was all a bad dream and I would wake up from it soon. I wanted to disappear from the world all together so I wouldn’t have to face this heaviness.

Little did I know that I waiting for me in my life’s greatest pain was my life’s greatest lessons.

In my heartbreak was the peace and freedom of my untethered soul.  In Michael Singer’s book, the Untethered Soul, I learn that my inner thorns were really the guide and source to inner awakening.

You can remove the prick of the inner thorns and learn that it’s acceptable to feel inner disturbances. In fact, getting through the pain and landing on the other side is the key to freedom of your innermost being.

Here are 6 practical and actionable from the Unthethered Soul to melt the pain and embrace your inner freedom

1. Know that you have two choices.

Just like being pricked by a thorn, you have experiences which prick and disturb you.  This thorn is a constant source of disturbance and your choices are to make sure nothing touches the thorn to avoid all pain or to take out the thorn.

If you do nothing about it, the thorn will run your life. You will have trouble sleeping because of it, you will have trouble staying focused on your job and trouble with everyday interactions. As people, we have so many sensitivities that can be triggered at any time. One way to go about life is to make sure that no one triggers these sensitivities.

If you’re lonely, you must avoid going to places where couples tend to be. If you’re afraid of rejection, you must avoid getting too close to people,” Singer advises. Of course, this becomes life-consuming and takes work!

The alternative? You notice this inner disturbance and realize that YOU and the inner disturbance are not one in the same. You don’t want the weakest parts of you running your life.

Realize that your consciousness is separate and that you can be aware of these things.

2. You are not your pain

Wake up and realized that you are in there, and you have a sensitive person in there with you. Simply watch the sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need and fear,” Singer suggests.

As you experience pain, become aware of the pain without interfering with it. See it, feel it, pay attention to it and observe it. You are having the experience of a human being when you experience this pain.

If you pay attention,” Singer counsels, “you will see that they are not you; they are just something that you’re feeling and experiencing. You are the indwelling being that is aware of all of this.

Once you realize that you and your pain are separate, you will start feeling a different energy within you, called Shakti or spirit.

This deeper, wiser part of you is the inner wisdom or the greater divine, what you decide to perceive it as. It is your inner being who realizes that it’s not the same as the pain that’s passing through your body.

Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, and that they can no longer disturb your seat of consciousness, you will be free.

3. Your pain is temporary.

A way to see that you and your pain are not one, is to see pain as something transient that will pass through your body.

You can view pain as a temporary shift in energy.

You are pained every day in small and big ways. You are pained by your heartbreak and you are pained by seeing your ex with someone else. You are pained by loneliness and you’re pained by your favorite ice cream flavor being out of stock at Movenpick.

So many things can cause you pain on a daily basis. It becomes less of a problem when you realize that pain passes. It’s a temporary feeling that you’re experiencing.

You can actually learn to get comfortable with it. All the feelings that come up are just feelings. You can handle feelings that are a normal part of life.

Feelings are just things that are passing through your system like a cold, for example. You notice the cold, you experience the cold and you know that once your body processes the col, you’ll be relieved of the cold.

Have fun with the temporariness of your feelings.

Laugh at it, have fun with it, but don’t be afraid of it. It cannot touch you unless you touch it,” Michael Singer writes in the Untethered Soul.

4. End the addiction to your mind.

Your mind is a great contributor to avoiding pain and being a misleading guide to safe places.

Your mind is always telling you something isn’t right, how to fix something or how to do something differently the next time so you avoid pain. It concocts a book to read, a course to take or a life change you need to make. It tells you it’s the external things that matters.

That is why people have so much trouble with relationships,” Singer explains. “You begin with a problem inside yourself, and you tried to solve it by getting involved with somebody else. That relationship will have problems because your problems are what caused the relationship.”

If you didn’t have neurotic, continuous replaying of thoughts inside your mind, you could live and experience life without thinking about what’s wrong.

Singer makes a funny and outrageous claim that we have to end the addiction to our minds. You have to stop listening to all the problems it comes up with, which don’t really exist.

Stop asking your mind to fix what’s wrong. Don’t even ask it what the problem is!!

“The mind is simply a computer, a tool. It can be used to ponder great thoughts, solve scientific problems and serve humanity. But you in your lost state, told it to spend its time conjuring up outer solutions for your very personal inner problems.”

Get quiet and watch the mind do it’s mental gymnastics, trickery and quackery. Watch your thoughts. Don’t become aware of the thinking mind but observe the thinking mind.

You are just in there, aware that you are aware.”

So when someone doesn’t say “hi” to you that you know or you don’t get invited to a party, don’t allow your mind to hijack your being and your life. Watch the melodrama of your mind instead of becoming an actor in this bizarre movie. Your mind doesn’t need an Oscar!

Don’t let your mind drive you crazy over nothing.

5. Welcome in pain by opening your heart

No, not welcome in pain like you would welcome a stroll down the Champs Elysses in Paris or a weekend of skiing in the northern Sierras.

Welcome in pain so that you’re not afraid to experience in. No one likes pain but doesn’t mean you have to spend your life running from pain.

Your heart regularly wants to pull away and avoid the pain once you’ve been hurt by something once.

If life does something that causes a disturbance inside of you, instead of pulling away, let it pass through you like the wind.

You might want to avoid feeling anger, fear, insecurity and embarrassment. You might want to run away from heartbreak or the sadness from losing a loved one. You might never want to feel rejected again so what do you do?

Run. Avoid. Build walls and keep the pain out. You tell yourself that you’ll never ever do x,y, or z and stay far away from so and so.

As your heart is trying to push all this away, do the opposite of closing your heart. Relax and release towards the unthethered soul.

Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of the tightness and pain and then relax and go deeper.”

“Let go and give room for the pain to pass through you,” suggests Singer. “It’s just energy. Just see it as energy and let it go.

6. On the other side of pain

If you can endure, experience and feel pain, without running away from it, you’ll become free.

Everything you want is on the other side of pain: ecstasy, peace, freedom, joy, beauty, love.

As the pain goes through you, you could feel hot and uncomfortable. You might feel breathless and experience unwanted feelings.

Yet, you go through this pain, by relaxing into the energy, knowing that there are good things coming out on the other side.

This is how the work of spirituality becomes a reality. This is what the works look like. This is what freedom of the untethered soul looks like.

When you are comfortable with pain passing through you, you’ll be free…You will then be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before.

There is an ocean of love under the pain.  Getting through the pain is how you reach this oasis that’s waiting for you of the untethered and free soul.

On the other side of the pain is the life of freedom and awakening waiting for you.

Pick up a copy of the Untethered Soul here.

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How Do You Keep Going When You Want To Give Up?

rupi
My handwriting, Rupi’s wisdom.

Has it been years since you had hope?

You keep hoping that things will improve but it doesn’t.

Everyone seems to be getting ahead but you seem stuck in the past. The catastrophic breakup or divorce seems to be holding you back and you can’t seem to shake it.

You want to come up for air but you feel like you’re just pulled in too deep under water.

Life doesn’t seem fair.

You just want to disappear and give up.

What’s the point after all? Some people are lucky and get what they want. Some people live their dreams, travel the world, marry their soulmates and have smart children.

Life can be so frustrating for those of us who are waiting on the sidelines of life. We watch the game of life passing us by while everyone we know is doing so much better than us.

Others making their families proud.

Others doing what they’re “supposed” to be doing with their lives.

Others are achieving success and recognition.

It can be frustrating and demoralizing to be behind and to wonder when life will fall in place for you.  When will life push you ahead?

When will you meet the man of your dreams? When will you have children? When will you buy your dream home? When will you bring home a fury companion? When can you post a happy moment on Facebook?

When can you feel joy and happiness again?

It’s been a long struggle. It may seem like your entire life has been a struggle. Why is it so easy for some people and so difficult for you?

I get it. I know it. I hear every word you’re saying because I’ve traveled the same path as you.

So, how do you keep going when you want to give up?

Well, first take a deep breath and then another. Take another breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Don’t let the unfairness or injustice of life weigh you down. As heavy as it is, a simple breath can help you feel lighter. A simple breath can release the tension and help you get more present. Take as many breaths as you need to relax.

Next, remind yourself of where you’ve been. You’ve gone through some hard times. Unlike many others, you’ve struggled and come back from places others can’t imagine.  You’ve grown as a person, you’ve learned lessons, you’ve gotten life experience that you can’t pay for or buy.

While it may seem like you’re drifting backwards in the ways of the world, you’re actually a lot further than you think. You may feel like you’re behind your peers and family but look at how far you’ve come.

You’ve stood strong in the face of hardship and challenge. You got up and left the house when you didn’t feel like it. You showed up at work when you didn’t want to.  You got out of bed when you feel like you couldn’t. You helped others when it felt like you couldn’t help yourself. Value these small steps you’ve taken.

No, you may not have love and family. No, you may not have achieved your careers and dreams. No, your life may feel unsettled and uncertain but here’s what you do have: self-knowledge, self-resilience, wisdom, compassion, kindness, empathy and understanding.  You have skills and tools that people will never acquire in their lifetimes.

Because you’ve gone through struggle, you know how to be there for someone else who is suffering.

Because you’ve found yourself on the bathroom floor, you know what it takes to get up from your life’s worst moments.

Because you’ve sat in church pews wondering if there was a God, you know where to find truth and wisdom. You know how to access the divine.

Take some time to count the small blessings that you do have in your life. Yes, your old life is gone and the past you cherished no longer exists but what have you welcomed in? Did you find freedom? Did you find resilience? Did you find achievement? Did you find spirituality? Did you find friendship?

Look at all the small things in your life that you’re grateful for. Be thankful for home, warmth, food, family, neighbors, work that pays you and transportation to get you there. Be thankful for small acts of kindness, big acts of courage and giant acts of love that you’ve shown over the years.

Acknowledge how far you’ve come as a person – how you picked yourself up and became a new “you”.

You have fallen so many times and fallen hard but unlike many others, you’ll bounce back. You’ll rise each time you fall. Remind yourself how many times you’ve done it. Take comfort in your resilience and find courage in your strength. Yeah, you did it! You got back each time and you know how to get back up every time life throws something worse at you.

Life takes time, sometimes much longer than you would have ever wanted it to take.

Instead of demanding life deliver for you or blaming life for not coming through, trust that your life will fall into place at the right time.

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Remember the story of the rabbit and tortoise?  The speedy rabbit hops off to a promising victory only to be passed by the steadfast tortoise who puts one leg in front of the other and keeps going until she crosses the finish line first.

It may feel like you’re inching away at your life but you’re going to get there. Slow and steady patience always wins the day.

You’re not going look around you and see what others are doing with their lives. There’s no point in comparison and you don’t win by playing someone else’s game. Focus on how to keep going until you win your game.

Society defines success for everyone in the same way. You don’t have to play by those rules of success.

Success doesn’t have to be marriage by 30, having kids a couple years later, buying a house a couple years later, and sending your kids off to college even a few more years later.

Yes, that’s the story they tell us but that isn’t the story you have to live.

You can create your own story. You can remain true to yourself. You can show up in the world as who you are. You don’t have to compare yourself to others or strive to be someone you’re not.

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Remind yourself where you’ve been
  3. Count your blessings
  4. Be patient
  5. Trust life
  6. Surrender
  7. Ignore those around you
  8. Don’t play by society’s rules
  9. Stay true to yourself

You’ve done this so many times – over and over and over.

Walk on your own path. Take your own time.  One day in it’s own way, life will smile down upon you.

In an instant, you will see your scars as the very thing that prepared you for your success.

Your success may come next year or the year after.

You just have to treasure this moment in front of you.

* Looking for more inspiration for 2017? Check out my books on Amazon here.

Make a Promise to a New Life

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Do you ever wonder if you’re being lied to by society?

Does it feel like you’re being hoodwinked to live a certain kind of life and it just doesn’t feel right to you?

I sure did and when my life fell apart after my divorce, I was able to wake up and come out my deep metaphorical coma.

I came to the profound realization that my whole life was premised on societal expectations. Everything from work and school to relationships and what I should be doing with my life was created by society’s demands.

This past year, I put all my thoughts about this topic into  a book called, Seven Sacred Promises.

Why do I call these promises sacred? What are these promises? What will living these promises mean to your life?

If you’d like to hear more about the book and my first podcast interview with my friend, A.G. Billig, check out the podcast below.

Pick up this book to learn how to build up courage, discover your calling, find your courage and live your truth. Read this book only if you’re ready to wake up and start living from a sacred space.

If you’re interested in reading the Seven Sacred Promises, you can pick up the e-book on Amazon here or pickup the paperback book here.

5 Steps to Bounce Back Emotionally

Life can be a paradox.

Life on the outside can seem like you have everything going for you.

You could be a professional in a lucrative dental practice with speaking opportunities all over the world. You could have a six-figure Bollywod wedding and a million dollar dream home.

Your life appears to be sailing along exactly as your high-expectation Asian parents would have wanted you to live it.

Yet while the external parts of your life are going well and it appears you’ve achieved worldly success, your life could be completely falling apart.

Neeta Bushan’s story that the world couldn’t see is one of pain, challenges and loss. Specifically, losing both her parents and one of her brothers through separate health issues by the time she was 19 years old.

As a child of Indian-Filipino parents who grew up in the U.S., Neeta found herself having to deal with high expectations and academic excellence which took her to dental school and a successful dentistry practice.

Yet, 3 members of her immediate family (including her parents) passed away in her teenage years and she later found herself getting divorced after a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.

For someone who has experienced so much pain and overcoming what seems like insurmountable life experiences, Neeta has captured her life lessons and shares her wisdom in her book, Emotional Grit.

While the book is focused on leadership and building emotional grit in the workplace, I was able to pick out nuggets of wisdom on how she overcame loss, divorce and suffering in her own life.

Here are  5 ways to help you build emotional resiliency when you’re confronting your life’s biggest struggles:

1. Understanding and accepting your emotions.

So much of your life is spent on running away from your emotions because your emotions make you feel uncomfortable and you have been taught to suppress them your whole life. To move forward, you have to be willing to recognize, affirm and apply emotional intelligence to the emotions you’re experiencing. You have to learn to process emotions and learn tools to master the feelings that show up when life challenges that come your way.

2. Positivity and gratitude.

Neeta encourages you to surround yourself with positive messages and daily reminders. “From cards and magazines to picture and clippings, fill your surrounding with images and words that inspire your confidence and enrich your soul,” she writes. Not only does positivity help with keeping your perspective in life but so does gratitude. Waking up to another day is a gift that you can’t take for granted. Remind yourself every day of all those things that you’re grateful for in your life. There are many small and wonderful things in your life that you’re likely not noticing. Wake up each morning and take stock of what you’re thankful for.

3. Be proactive with your mental wellbeing.

In addition to your emotional wellbeing, your mental health is just as important to your wellbeing. Being able to manage stress and being proactive about your mental health are important. You can’t take care of yourself or others when you’re in mental turmoil. You can’t move on or move forward in your life without clearing the mental blocks you face. Reach out to a team of professionals like therapists and counselors if you need one. Otherwise, have a solid community and friendships to listen to you and create space for you.

4. Forgive and Release

Forgiveness may be difficult for you but it’s essential to be able to move forward. Forgiving is saying out loud that you’re letting go of the emotions you’re holding about a particular person or experience.  When you forgive, you release all the pent-up energy and emotions about the person and gain your power back but as you know, forgiveness is no easy task.  You have to find the courage to forgive and remind yourself of all the benefits of forgiveness. Forgiveness contributes to healthier relationships, less stress and anxiety and higher self-esteem. Not forgiving is like moving through life with a ripped and heavy paper bag, which keeps ripping and things fall out. Forgiveness is putting down the bag and moving forward with more ease.

5. Choose Courage

When you confront difficult circumstances, your fears and anxiety about the past pop up.  There are patterns that you grew up with that cause you to act a certain way when dealing with new or challenging circumstances.

When we choose to be ruled by fear, and specifically when we allow the not-yet-happened to subsume our personal power, we’ve given up the only freedom we have: the freedom to choose,” writes Neeta in the chapter about having the courage to feel your fears.

The way to practice courage is to be more aware your patterns of fear. She encourages you to write down the things that scare you each day and then write down steps to unmask or deconstruct that fear.  Even the tiniest of steps in breaking through your fear can lead to more steps of courage.

While emotional intelligence and courage can be helpful in facing personal life challenges, it can also be helpful to your work life. Much of Neeta’s book, Emotional Grit, can guide you to be more authentic, courageous and emotionally resilient in the workplace.

Neeta Bhushan is an emotional intelligence advocate, speaker,  and founder of the Global Grit Institute. You can follow her blog here and pick up her book, Emotional Grit here

Why Is This Happening To You?

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When you’ve experienced a massive breakup or divorce, you start asking a lot of questions, and many of them are not very helpful.

You’ll ask why this is happening to you.

What happened to your life.

You might ask what you did to deserve this.

You’ll ask why God isn’t listening to you and wonder if God even exists.

Actually, some of us tend to ask these questions and then end up writing books about them! I wrote Is God Listening? asking these types of questions (you can find it here).

While writing books may be productive and helpful, asking disempowering questions of yourself is not. There’s no sufficient answer as to why this is happening. If this was a natural disaster, a tsunami, or an earthquake, what can you do? What answers will satisfy you?

Tragedies, natural disasters, and yes, even divorce, happen. Yes, divorce involves feelings and people, but ultimately they occur. Relationships start and end. It is a natural cycle of life. In all of life, we want answers to questions so we can understand the world better. “Why me?” you may ask.

It’s natural and human to ask questions like this of ourselves, but it is not healthy or helpful to healing. A couple of different ways to think about this is to believe that things happen, and sometimes for no reason at all.

There’s no positive result that comes out of repeatedly asking why certain things are happening to you because some of these questions won’t have answers.

The divorce happened because you weren’t compatible, because you married the wrong partner, because you didn’t put the time into the relationship, because of an affair, etc.

It happened for any number of contributing reasons, but the big question of “why you” has no answer.

Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.

No point in holding the universe responsible or blaming life itself for a sequence of events that resulted in divorce. You’ll just keep swirling negative thoughts in your mind, and wasting emotional and mental energy trying to understand why this happened to you.

One way to view your divorce is that nothing happened for this to happen to you.

Your divorce happened for any variety of reasons, but there will be no answer to why it’s happening to you. Like rivers and oceans and life for billions of years, nature and human experiences is just running its course. There is no reason or explanations needed.

You didn’t cause it, your karma didn’t create it, and God isn’t after you.

Sure, you might have done things that contributed to the divorce in your life, but there’s no good answer to “why you.” Divorce happened like it rained yesterday afternoon; there’s no rhyme or reason other than possibly it’s the rainy season.

There’s no particular reason why you were singled out in life to experience divorce.

Earthquakes happen. Tsunamis happen. Forest fires happens.

Your sixteen-year-old son wants to back out of the garage and drives into your house instead.

Natural disasters and life happens.

It’s not fate, karma, voodoo dolls, or anything else that has it in for you. Life happens like nature happens.

You’re a tiny speckle of the universe who has come into it for eighty-some years and will be leaving it.

Demanding to know what your role is in the universal scheme of things or having the knowledge of why your divorce happened as it did is not going to help any.

If you look at it from a billion-year view or take a meta-view (step ten thousand feet away from your situation), your divorce is just one set of events that unfold.

It’s a small part of a much larger picture. It will be a small part of your life when you look at it globally.

You don’t have to know why it happened.

If you insist on knowing why it happened, choose this message: Your divorce is happening for your greatest good. It’s happening for your spiritual growth. It’s happening to help you become the best version of yourself. It’s helping you become the person you’re capable of being so you can attract the right partner into your life.

If this isn’t a sufficient answer for explaining why you are divorced, then I challenge you to ask yourself more empowering questions instead.

Don’t ask yourself why this happened; instead, ask yourself what lessons you can learn from this experience. What is the divorce trying to teach you? How is this going to prepare you for the future? What is this teaching you about life?

If you start viewing the end of your marriage as a teaching experience and a period of growth, your mind will start focusing on more helpful and empowering answers.

You’ll be looking for lessons and insights to help improve your life.

Another way to focus on the situation is to think about what you can do now. Yes, this happened, but now what? What’s in your control? What can you change? How can you move forward? How can you rebuild a new life for yourself?

By letting go of one set of questions and focusing on more positive ones, you’ll help focus your mind on empowering questions that will lead to growth, learning and moving on.

Don’t like my answer? Want to know where God is and if God’s listening to you? Click here to pick up my book, Is God Listening?

*Photo credit unsplash

A Guide to Finding an Emotionally Available Partner

emotionally available

I thought it was my bad luck that I kept running into emotionally unavailable people.

The women I met seemed to be closed off from their emotions, wanted to hide them or didn’t want to share them.

This felt odd until I realized that the patterns and behavior I was seeing in women were the exact behaviors and patterns I had seen in myself.

I had a “slam-my-head-on-the-steering-wheel” moment. Oh…it wasn’t the other cars that were the problem. I had to look within my own.

You may also be looking for a partner but this time around you want someone who is emotionally available and willing to commit to you.

Finding an emotionally available partner is more difficult than finding vegetarian food on long stretches of a freeway littered with McDonald’s and Taco Bells.

It’s more difficult than finding a presidential candidate who aligns with your values.

More difficult than finding a yoga teacher who treats yoga like a spiritual practice, not a power exercise.

If you’ve had enough of partners who show up with great fanfare and attention but then disappear within days, here’s what to do.

Instead of asking yourself, “Why can’t I find an emotionally available guy,” approach your search differently.

I’m sharing these insights with you as a guy who was emotionally unavailable (extremely unavailable) and who made efforts to change as well as someone who is looking for an emotionally available woman.

6 ways to find an emotionally available partner.

1) Get comfortable with feelings and welcome in emotions.

You often get caught up with the idea that the right person isn’t out there for you or you simply can’t find the right person.
I’m convinced more than ever that it has nothing to do with the person you’re searching for. You have limited control over that but you do have the ability to make changes within.

One key to finding emotionally available people is to become emotionally available yourself.

Don’t run. Welcome in your feelings. Don’t hide from your emotions. Allow feelings and emotions to come into your life and sit with them. Speak to them, write about them, explore them. Get to know your feelings: the soul-stirring and soul-crushing ones.

If the feelings are overwhelming, talk to a therapist or other professional.

2) Be willing to share how you’re feeling with others.

Share your emotions with others. Share your feelings with people you trust instead of keeping them bottled up.

Share feelings and emotions to reduce the heaviness of both.

If the waves of feelings and emotions are uncontrollable, speak to a professional about them. Otherwise, make space for them to sit and breathe into them.

Know that sharing your feelings with others can be an emotional and spiritual release. It will help you become more vulnerable, encouraging you to get into the habit of speaking your truth and fully accepting yourself.

3) Work on your own emotional wounds and healing.

When you get real and welcome in your emotions, you’re bound to find those things that push your buttons. Your former partners may have pushed your buttons a lot but you never realized they were there to teach you and show you that the wounds were there.

Becoming aware of the wounds is the first step toward healing them. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Get curious about your emotional wounds. Go to the origination point. Where did it develop? How did it grow? What triggers this wound today?

Become a detective of your emotional state.

Once you identify and understand your wounds, you can breathe love into them. You can flood them with light. You can shed them with healing thoughts and beliefs. You can tend to them and care for them.

You can find meaning in these wounds, messages for your life and ways to improve your life. You can tell a new story about these wounds. You can fill the wounds with light and share your light with others who are suffering.

4) Get attentive on how your partner handles emotionally charged conversations.

Once you work on your own issues with emotional strength and openness, notice how your potential partner handles his emotions.
Take notes and observe how your partner responds, reacts and manages his emotional well-being.

Either accept your partner for where he is or don’t accept him. You have that choice but don’t deny or resist the place he’s at.

He’s not necessarily going to change, improve or become the person you want emotionally. And likely, it’s not going to happen overnight.

Become observant. Accept him for where he is and decide if this is going to work for you. Or not work for you.

5) Let your partner know what you’re looking for.

If it’s not working for you, let your partner know what you need from him.

Communicate instead of hiding your emotional needs.
Instruct him, if necessary. Show him what you need from him. Make a request as to what you need from your partner.

Do not bottle up your emotional needs or believe your partner will understand what you want without your saying it.

Speak out your emotional needs. Your partner cannot predict, guess or use telepathy to understand what your needs are.

6) Be willing to let go of relationships that don’t serve you emotionally.

Often we are so terrified of being alone that we would rather put up with anything than break off an unhealthy relationship.

You have a choice: be miserable, unhappy and unloved. Or take your emotional well-being into your own hands.

Find someone who is going to be there for you emotionally.

Let go of being imprisoned by someone else’s emotionally unavailable chains.
By letting go of an unemotionally available person, you give him the opportunity to start working on his emotional needs and opening up.

You also clear room in your life to invite in more emotionally available partners.

* “You can’t be with the right partner when you’re with the wrong one” *

How Do You Become a Better Lover?

lovers

No one teaches us about marriage or relationships.

No one shows us what good communication looks like or gives us the recipe for successful couples.

We stumble down this path of relationships in the dark.

I found myself without role models and with a dysfunctional past. People showed me love in hurtful ways and I did not know what a healthy relationship looks like.

On the way up the graduate school and professional ladders, we don’t learn the skills we need for the most important things in our lives. No one teaches us how to speak, listen, request, forgive or let go.

How do you become a good doctor? You go to school for it.

How do you become a good cyclist? You ride a lot.

How do you become a better lover in relationship?s Trial and error. Lots of experiences in the name of failure. Breakups. Divorce.

What a way to learn, huh !?!

To improve our relationships, we first have to realize that we don’t know anything about them. IF you grew up in dysfunctional ones, you have to admit that you know only what a dysfunctional relationship looks like.

There is no shame in learning. We learn in every other area of our lives, so why not sit down and study relationships? Why not figure out how to communicate and love another person?

There is a better way to communicate than through complaints, put-downs and negativity.

In this excellent book, The New Rules of Marriage, author Terrence Real outlines 5 ways to improve your communication. I wrote about this book last week and here’s part 2 of what I learned from this book.

Here are 5 winning strategies to become a better lover.

1. Shift from complaint to request.

Complaining rarely or never gets you what you want. Don’t criticize your partner for something they did in the past; instead, ask them for what you want in the future. It takes more courage, and we’re not used to asking for what we want in relationships because complaining is easier and asking poses the threat of rejection. Yet Real tells us that asking is a more empowered way of being. For women particularly, “self-assertion can trigger feelings of shame and guilt. They must learn that pleasure and honest connection are gifts and birthrights.” Real writes that asking for what you want is the only way your partner will be able to meet your needs.

2. Speaking out with love and savvy.

Always remember that the underlying goal of communication is to speak and be effective with the person you love. The goal is to strengthen your bond and relationship. “He is someone you love. Someone you’ve pledged your life to. At the very least, recall that he’s the person you have to live with.” Keep this goal in mind and ask yourself what your communication will do. Think about what you’re going to say – will it bring you closer together or take you further apart? Help your partner feel empowered, not helpless. Talk about what happened during a particular event, then talk about what you have decided about it, how you feel about it and what you would like to happen in the future. Speak to solve the problem and avoid it in the future, not to hurt and embarrass your partner.

3. Respond with generosity.

Before responding, you have to master the art of listening to your partner and understanding where they are coming from. Don’t argue or go for being right – go for harmony and repairing the conflict you’re both experiencing. After listening, you have to understand where your partner is coming from. The rule that Real describes is “understanding builds empathy, empathy builds compassion, and compassion ends combat.” Once you hear your partner out and understand what they are saying, acknowledge what they are saying as much as you can and show accountability. The final part of responding is to respond generously to as many of your partner’s requests. Find something to give to your partner and agree on sincere actions you will take in the future.

4. Empowering each other.

How can I help you give me what I want? Treat your partner as your teammate. “Repair demands that both partners ask: What can we do to work as a team? How can we face challenges life throws at us and the challenges we present to each other in a practical way?” How can you help each other? How are you going to help each other feel loved and fulfilled? Work together on a plan to help each other get what you want.

5. Cherishing.

Cherishing is what you do after you’ve agreed on what you’re going to do to resolve the conflicts between both of you. You have to cultivate your capacity to appreciate and enjoy the pleasure of your relationship. To cherish, you have to acknowledge your partner’s progress and demonstrate, through your actions, a desire to return the favor and be pleasing to them. Let them know that you appreciate them, encourage them for improvements and thank them for doing those things you asked for.

Ready to become a better lover? Or to learn the new rules of marriage so you can transform your relationship? Pick up The New Rules of Marriage today.

5 Harmful Behaviors That Ruin Marriage

marriage1“We are drawn to people whose issues fit perfectly with our own in a way that guarantees a reenactment of the old, familiar struggle we grew up with.” Terrence Real, The New Rules of Marriage.

As someone who was married for nearly a decade, I went through the ups and downs of marriage.

The downs were really down and took me through these 5 terrible behaviors that people commonly engage in during a marriage.

I felt terrible when I read about these behaviors in the book,  The New Rules of Marriage.

What the heck was I thinking?

How could I have committed all 5 of these harmful behaviors when I was married? I started getting angry with myself all over again for having been so lost, blind and hostile.

I would never treat anyone else I know like this, so why my ex?

The New Rules of Marriage hit me in the gut and awakened thoughts of unpleasant behaviors from my past. I didn’t realize they were common and showed up in all troubled relationships.

If you’re still married, I’m bringing this up to remind you that these are unhealthy behaviors that you don’t have to engage in.

If you’re divorced, you’ll remember these behaviors as a wake-up call for your next relationship.

I’ve tried to get over the shame and to stop beating myself up for these negative behaviors. I’m reminding myself that I did the best I could and now self-awareness will help going forward.

5 harmful behaviors to avoid in your marriage.

1. Needing to be right.

If you’re married, you know this one all too well. You want to be right and you refuse to see it another way, for both the small and big things. You may be factually right but being right isn’t the point. You could win the battle but make your spouse feel lousy about themselves and therefore lose the war.

Solution: “The only sensible answer to the question ‘Who’s right and who’s wrong?’ is ‘Who cares?’” Real tells us in his book. We can be right or we can be married – which matters to you more? “I want you to do this: Understand that the need to be right eats away at intimacy, no matter what the provocation. You can make a commitment to stop self-righteous indignation, no matter what the provocation.”

2. Controlling your partner.

We try to get our partners to do what we want them to do. Some do this by force and others by manipulation, but both essentially try to get their partners to behave in a certain way. Real tells us that we naturally feel attraction to people who have a way of pricking our deepest wounds and childhood pains. He tells us that we marry our unfished business. Even the best relationships bring up every hurt and anger you carry inside.

Solution: You don’t have to avoid the raw parts of yourself in a relationship. You can handle and heal the raw parts of yourself, but not in the way you imagined. Your instinct might be to change your partner and get them to behave. “Our understable, naïve and utterly dysfunctional dream is that our partners will give to us whatever we most missed in our childhoods, that we most yearn for now as adults.” Control is an illusion. You can heal and change only yourself, not your partner.

3. Criticism and negativity – giving your partner a piece of your mind.

“Hey, let me tell you in precise, lurid detail just exactly how miserable you made me by your shortcomings. I need to vent!” is the idea that Real describes with what he calls “unbridled self-expression”. It’s telling your partner in brutal honesty what you think of them. If you somehow don’t put it all out there, you feel like you’re suppressing and hiding your true feelings.

Solution: Real says that, “you will not die if you don’t express yourself whenever a thought pops into your mind. Furthermore, venting is not an inalienable right. You can vent or you can move toward a solution.” Find a more thoughtful and careful way to express what you want to say. Try constructive, not critical, self-expression. Realize that telling your partner how horrible you think his/her behavior is or what a horrible person he/she is will not help you get closer or solve any problems.

4. Retaliation.

Who doesn’t love to get even or push your partner’s buttons after you’ve been injured? It’s the idea of thinking of yourself as the victim and hitting your partner harder emotionally than he/she pushed you. Often retaliation comes across as verbal abuse: “humiliating, ridiculing, telling your partner what he should or should not do – these are all aspects of verbal abuse, and they have no place whatsoever in a healthy relationship.”

Solution: Either of you should call a “time out where the arguing comes to an immediate stop. You disrupt the interaction and one of you leave[s] it so there is no further harm done. Check in within twenty minutes or a couple hours or even half a day and see if you each need more time or if you can have a conversation in a more civil manner. “Make a commitment to take retaliation – physical and verbal, direct and indirect – off the table. If you’re mad, say so, but don’t act it out,” advises Real.

5. Withdrawal.

You can withdraw from a conversation or even completely from the marriage. Withdrawal is a passive-aggressive form of retaliation. You withdraw from certain or all aspects of the relationship – intellectual, emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual. You withdraw to avoid conflict, when you’ve given up or when you find it pointless to engage any further in the relationship.

Solution: This is the most blatant strategy that results in your not getting what you want because you’ve stopped trying. You can’t get what you want from a relationship by withdrawing from it. Instead of a unilateral, provocative drawing away, you can opt for responsible distance taking. Provide an explanation for why you don’t want to engage in the conversation now and promise to return to it later, providing a specific time to address the concerns.

You need your space while still remaining accountable and responsible in the relationship. You don’t want to sever ties with your partner. You want to find a way to work it out, have your needs met and be fulfilled.

There are new rules of marriage in the modern age. To deal with all of the marriage-breakers above, pick up The New Rules of Marriage, by Terrence Real, for tips and strategies for articulating your needs and wants, listening well, standing up for yourself and knowing how to seek outside help. You can pick up the book on Amazon here.