Love Story Blog

Controlling Your Emotions – CHEAT SHEET

I know what happens to me…I read all this wonderful stuff about working on myself and my love life that seems to make total sense. Then I have an argument with my partner, and everything I read goes right out the window and I totally forget what to do. I’m so angry, hurt or disappointed that it takes me over and I feel completely powerless. I am so caught up in my negative emotions, that I don’t always make healthy choices with my words and actions.

After the last post, The Next Best Thing to Reading Your Partner’s Mind, I received some questions about what exactly you need to do in that moment of loss of self control. Many were asking me what exactly to do when you feel like you want to scream and yell and just tell him off.

So, consider this a practical guide and part B to the last post. (The Next Best Thing to Reading your Partner’s Mind)

I thought long and hard about the times I am able find some relief and the exact inner process I go through. The steps I follow allow me to become fully aware of my emotions before they have a negative effect on my relationship or my own sense of well-being.

From that, I developed a cheat sheet that will guide you through a healthier inner process when negative emotions creep in. You will see how you can be in complete control instead of at the mercy of how your partner is making you feel.

Maybe you’re on the verge of a fight, maybe your partner did something that made you feel hurt, maybe you did something to make your partner angry. The cheat sheet will give you the practical steps you need to get you out of this place of suffering and feeling out of control. So that instead of reacting negatively and making things worse, you can diffuse the situation.

I’ve worked on this in my own relationship and tried many different tactics. The cheat sheet below has worked for me every single time, without fail. I’ve kept it close by my side in case I ever need to remind myself of what do do when talking to my partner and we’re on the verge of a fight or disagreement. I still have it folded up in my purse!

It took me some time, but it became easier and easier to remember how to get out of my head and gain some control in the moment. Eventually I didn’t need to look at the sheet but it was important for me to have something physically close to me so I knew I had a way out of the negative emotion. I literally had something to reach for that I knew would snap me out of feeling powerless and out of control.

Now, it is effortless, I don’t even need to check the sheet because I am immediately aware when I’m having a negative emotion and I can change it instantly. It’s amazing. I am able to look at the situation from a more compassion and understanding place. However, I would never have gotten there without the sheet.

Download it here. It’s only a few pages and you can fill in your own answers because everyone is different and I want you to make it your own.

The insights and concepts I’ve been sharing are a great foundation and important to know, but practicing is crucial if you want to see real change in yourself and your relationship. So, I thought it was time for a practical tool that you could print out and use. It’s powerful and can change your relationship.

Good luck and as always, I want to know what happened when you tried it. I want to know if you felt any better. I want to know if you can see any patterns being broken. I want to know how powerful this made you feel. I want to know if you’re seeing any shifts in your energy that are inspiring shifts in your partner’s energy.

I love when I hear from someone that they tried something that worked. It brings me so much joy.

I also want to hear about any pain or frustrations you are still having or if you’re having trouble with any of the insights I’m sharing with you. This is just as, if not more, important than the success stories. I’m here to help, so please let me know!

hilary@heartstringstory.com

Love,

The Next Best Thing To Reading His Mind

You have an amazing power within you that gives you control over how you react to anyone or any situation. Unfortunately, you can’t control what someone says or does or what happens to you, but you can control how you deal with it and react to it.

I brought this idea up in the 5 Simple Steps Guide and I received a lot of questions on it, so let’s dive a little deeper!

Let’s be specific with this idea as it relates to our romantic relationship; even more specifically, when are in conflict, on the verge of a fight perhaps.

Accepting this universal truth that we have no control over how our partner behaves or what they say will change they way you communicate with your partner; particularly when entering an argument. I believe that if you can really believe this, you can prevent arguments all together and deal with conflict from a healthier, more productive place.

There is really only way to stop an argument from happening, and that is to stay present; like there is crazy glue in your brain keeping you stuck in the awareness of the present moment. This is sometimes considered a ‘woo woo’ concept but it is actually very practical.

I can tell you exactly what is going on in both of your heads in the moment right before a big fight. You are both drudging up old negative thought patterns from your past. You may be thinking of something he did last week or last year and are still mad at him for it. He is most likely doing the same. You may be thinking how someone else treated you in a past relationship that felt similar to this moment. It’s not. You can’t compare any moment to anything from your past. This is dangerous territory because you aren’t living in the present. You are totally unaware of what is really going on now.

Being Triggered

When you are not in the present moment and only thinking about what is happening right now, you are being triggered. It’s an incredibly important thing to understand and be aware of; not only in you but in your partner as well.

What happens in relationships is that our partner or spouse does something that irritates us, angers us, makes us sad…pretty much anything that sets off a negative emotion. You know when it happens because you feel it. You want to get defensive, or yell at him or scream silently inside or stomp off in anger or roll your eyes. We’ve all had these moments because we’re human.

The next time you feel like this, consider for a moment that it may not be him that is the problem. I want you to stop, count to 10 and consider that perhaps you are being triggered. Dig deep. Is this really about him or something else going on in you?

Take a deep breath, relax and instead of reacting from the normal angry place, ask yourself when in a past relationship or in your childhood have you ever felt like this. It may not have anything to do with the situation but it’s the feeling you’re paying attention to. You won’t be able to figure it out, if you try to relate it to exactly what is going on. Instead get super aware about how you are feeling and try to think of a time you felt this way in your past. Stop using your brain and try not to think too hard. Feel it.

A True Story

I had a client that was so angry at her husband because he would remind her about little things she’d forget to do. Particularly annoying was how often he’d tell her to turn lights off when she left a room. The trust was that they were on a budget and money was tight so every little bit helped. But she wasn’t being logical and aware of the truth, she was being triggered and believing something else; taking it personally.

She would roll her eyes and stomp back to the room and turn the light off in a huff. He would get defensive and it would end up in a fight about her feeling like he always had to order her around and tell her what to do. She would end up yelling at him “You’re my husband, not my Father! Stop treating me like a child!” and stomp off in a rage.

What she figured out after a session or two with me around triggers, was that her angry, defensive reaction had nothing to do with what her husband was doing and saying in that moment. She realized it must have had something to do with her past that was coming up in those moments. In our session, she couldn’t think about what that was. So, I told her to pay attention to the feeling next time and see if she could come up with it in the moment.

The next time her husband asked her to do something she had forgotten to do, she didn’t react (she admitted how hard it was to stay calm!). Instead she took a deep breath and really tuned into her body and what she was feeling. It was like a lightening bolt, the memory of her mom being controlling and critical came flooding back.

Her Father had left them when she was young and her Mom had three kids to look after and was exhausted and frustrated for most of her childhood years. Her Mom had no patience and not a lot of time for nurturing. She had no awareness around her children’s mental well-being and how her stress could be effecting them. There was barely enough money to keep them going, she worked a lot and demanded help from her children. She constantly ordered them around and didn’t have time or patience for anyone doing anything wrong.

As an adult she could fully appreciate where her Mom was coming from. She had a lot of compassion for what her Mom went through. However, her young mind during those painful years was scared of her Mom and she lived in fear of not doing things right. She didn’t understand what was really going on and the feelings of being controlled and unappreciated were ingrained and sat there dormant for years. And this is why she couldn’t come up with these feelings from her past in our session. Her brain understood why her mom was like that but her deep seeded feelings still haunted her and she wasn’t even aware. They came out in moments in her present when she felt the same way.

This was a huge eye opening moment for her. She came to realize that her husband wasn’t a mean controlling jerk with little regard for her feelings. Asking her to turn the light off was a fair request. She was projecting onto him how she felt and couldn’t react as a young child from her Mom. It was this strong feeling of shame she felt based on her mom’s controlling nature that made her react negatively to him. It had nothing to do with the current situation at all.

And even though she forgave her Mom as an adult, she carried around a hardwired belief system and a pattern from her childhood that she was totally unaware of until something triggered it, even a small, well-meaning request.

Once she communicated this to her husband, he was able to understand her anger and became more tactful and compassionate when letting her know that something needed to be done or that she had forgotten to do something.

How To Deal With Others Being Triggered

That takes us to the second part of triggers and the other side of the coin; being aware that other people may be triggered in a situation. And then being able to come at it from a place of understanding and compassion instead of taking it personally.

When you are sensing a negative reaction or mood from your partner, keep in mind that there is a very good chance that they are being triggered.

This awareness allows you to step back and realize that he may not be reacting to you at all in the moment. It is so freeing if you can do this, because no longer do you have to take things so personally. You can stop and realize that any negative behaviour or mood you are seeing in your partner or anyone else for that matter, has nothing to do with you.

By taking yourself out of the equation, you don’t have to get defensive or angry. You can detach from the situation and come from a place of kindness and objectivity. Coming from this place, allows your partner to hear your words and energy differently and the situation will always be diffused.

Knowing he is being triggered is the next best thing to reading his mind. You don’t need to know what is triggering him. Simply being aware that something is coming up from a past situation for him is enough to allow you to let it go because it has nothing to do with you!

And from there, you’ll shift your perception from defensiveness to compassion and move forward from a healthier place diffusing the argument!

Hope this helps, email me anytime with comments or your success stories!
hilary@heartstringstory.com

Sending you all my best,

Understanding Men – Why They Pull Away

There is a secret that somehow got missed as we journeyed toward understanding the all mysterious man! Well, the day has come to finally discover the truth about men and is really going on inside their heads. It’s simple if you can wrap your head around it and accept it as the truth…

Your man wants to be your hero!

You have the power to inspire your partner to be your hero. It’s not as hard as you think because it’s who he really wants to be. Believe this fact and you’re half way there!

The hero complex men have is a universal truth. It’s who men are at their core. As women, we need to understand this. There is nothing we need to do, really. Instead it’s more of a mindset shift and involves making some small tweaks in the way you communicate with your man.

Most of us have a hard time believing this truth. However, once I can get my clients to understand and embrace it, I’ve seen everything in their relationships change. When your mindset changes, your energy changes and your man will feel it. It will inspire him to change his energy toward you. He won’t even realize when and why the shift happens. It just does and boy, do we feel it! And it feels great! He, however, has no idea. He might feel better inside but he isn’t totally aware why.

Men are very simple creatures. I mean no disrespect. In fact, I’m sure most of them would agree with me if I said this to them face to face. Women are wired completely differently. So, that makes it difficult for us to understand.

Stick with me here, and try some of the ideas I’m about to tell you about and see how he responds. If he’s completely shutdown and doesn’t seem interested in doing the things he used to do for you in the beginning, how can it hurt? It can’t get much worse, right?

Don’t you long for the days when he used to plan special dates for you? I bet he thought of buying you little gifts he knew you would like or sent flowers just because he loved you and wanted you to know. Most of my clients tell me that in the old days, their man always wanted to help out around the house, fix stuff, help with chores, take the garbage out without asking, cleaned up after himself etc etc. Then it happens all of a sudden: he seems uninterested in helping you with anything and makes you feel like you’re such a nag for reminding him to do the things he used to be so happy to do for you.

It’s super annoying and really not fair. But there is something that happens as a relationships matures and you both had a part to play in how you got here.

Here is the mindset change I would love you to embrace:

Your man loves making you happy!

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s true. I’m not making this up. It is based on research from PHDs, researchers, best selling authors, relationship coaches etc. It’s a common theme when it comes to uncovering and understanding how men operate in relationships.

So, in the beginning, it’s easy. He did so much for you, right? You were so happy and grateful and were probably having a lot of sex so all was good!

Then, like in every relationship, as we all know too well, the inevitable happens; you get more comfortable with each other and the euphoria of a new and exciting lover slowly wears off. You start to get irritated about everything he does. We all do it. You fall into bad habits of nagging and not being grateful because you are so focused on what he’s NOT doing and what he SHOULD be doing. Again, it’s normal, but you stop seeing and appreciating what he IS doing.

Here is another truth about men that most of us women have no idea about:

Men are super sensitive to whether or not he is fulfilling his partner’s needs.

Again, I know, it doesn’t seem so. But he will be super happy and excited to do anything for you based on these two things you can do to inspire him:

1) how clear you communicate what you need and 2) why you need it and how it would make you feel.

I fell down on both of these things. My first mistake was that I assumed that he should just know what I needed without asking. I thought he should be able to read my mind…wasn’t it obvious what should be done?? And my second mistake was that I would ask without telling him why it would mean so much and what the benefit would be to me. This is crucial info for our men to know. Without it, we are just considered to be nags!

Your man’s brain does not interpret you asking them to do things for you like it’s something you really want and need him to do. You need to spell it out for him and what it means to you and more importantly, WHY you need it.

And on top of that, women are doing so much for themselves these days, that men feel emasculated. And this is why they shutdown. They believe we don’t need them and that is the worst thing in the world to them. This is a super important thing for us to understand:

Men need to feel needed.

They need to know WHY we need them. That is what inspires them to be our hero!

Here’s how it usually goes: You ask your man to do something and he puts it off because he doesn’t know how much it would mean to you if he did what you asked. This is because you haven’t told him how it would benefit you and how much it would mean to you. So you end up doing it yourself. Unfortunately this sends a horrible message to your man. It makes him think you don’t need him so why should he do anything??? It’s not laziness. It’s not resentment. He’s not punishing you. It’s in his DNA. We have to understand this important fact:

If he doesn’t feel like you need him, he shuts down!

Just knowing this helps us make the mindset shift, doesn’t it? It takes the resentment away that he is purposely being unhelpful and lazy. It takes the whole idea that ‘he must not love us enough’ out of our female brains!

The most common example I hear from clients is the dreaded toilet seat. One client was so hurt, disappointed and furious that her husband wouldn’t put the seat down for her. She would think how horrible and selfish it was of him. Doesn’t he know how gross it is that she has to touch the seat to put it down and that if it’s dark she might fall in and feel the cold toilet water on her butt??? She believed that if he really loved her, he would do that for her without her having to ask; that he should just know!

Here are the three problems with this old mindset:

1) She never asked him specifically to put the seat down so he wouldn’t think to do it. It’s efficient for him to have it up is how his brains works. So, the first step was to get over the assumption that he was being selfish and unthoughtful. Even if she made a dig or a subtle hint, he doesn’t hear it. It’s not that he’s ignoring us or doesn’t care, it’s just not how his brain works.

2) Not only did she have to tell him clearly that she wanted him to put the seat down but also WHY it would be great if he did. So, even being clear that he should put the seat down would not be enough incentive. She needed to tell him the reasons why. It’s gross and she falls in at night.

3) If he ever did do it, she never told him how much she appreciated it.

Once she communicated the ‘what she needed and why’ clearly to her husband without blame or criticism, he understood her frustration and started putting the toilet seat down immediately. The new incentive for him was that he would be saving her from all the ickiness that goes along with the toilet seat being left up. And she thanked him every time he did it making him feel like a true hero.

You can see how important this mindset change is to both of you. If you don’t communicate properly to your man about what you need, he won’t do what you need and even if he tries, he usually gets it wrong. What ends up happening is that you misinterpret his lack of initiative to mean that he must not love you enough.

And this is when the resentment starts on yours and his part, right? If you don’t tell him what makes you happy, he won’t know! I know you’ve heard this at least once in your lifetime from your man “Nothing I do ever makes you happy” He starts to really believe that he will never be able to make you happy; that you’re never satisfied. He doesn’t know what to do now. All he can do is back off from doing anything. His manhood is in question and he starts shutting down because he feels useless.

It’s in his DNA to want you to be happy and he wants to be the one that is responsible for your happiness. Let him make you happy! Tell him what you need and why. There is nothing romantic about letting him guess. He probably won’t get it right and you’ll be disappointed. He would love nothing more than an instruction manual. And since that doesn’t exist, tell him! You will see the shift in his energy. He will be more romantic, helpful and heroic!

You’ll see.

So, now that you understand why you need to let your man be your hero, I invite you to download my Free Guide: 5 Steps To Getting His Attention back for more insights!
The 5 steps are already pretty simple but along with your added knowledge about how men think, you’ll have the relationship of your dreams in no time!
Subscribe below by filling in the form with your name and email address and get your free download right away. We will not share or sell your email. We respect your privacy.

 

 

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*NEW! Get His Attention Back Free Strategy Session

With so many questions and positive feedback based on my latest blog post How To Get His Attention Back, for a limited time only, I’m offering a free ‘Get His Attention Back’ strategy session where together we will:

– Get a crystal clear vision of what your happily ever after looks like.

– Uncover challenges that may be blocking you from having the relationship you deserve.

You’ll leave the session feeling re-energized, renewed and inspired to breathe new life back into your relationship so you can feel reconnected, fulfilled, supported and adored like you did in the beginning…even if he’s shut down completely.

Email me today to book a 30-minute free strategy session: hilary@heartstringstory.com

Getting His Attention Back

…even if he’s completely shut down.

You have most likely at some point in your life, felt the sting of neglect from a partner who seems to be interested in everything else in their life but you. In fact you may be experiencing it right now, or you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

I’m so sorry you’re going through it. It is a horrible feeling. And sometimes if feels like you’re the only one it’s happening to. You’re not, I assure you. We all experience it, we just don’t like to admit it. I know. I’ve been there and I get it. So, let’s not mess around.

Download my Free Guide: 5 Steps To Getting His Attention back for more insights!

It’s time to get you happy and satisfied in your love life! You deserve your partner’s time and attention and to have the relationship of your dreams. You don’t have to put up with a loveless, unsatisfying relationship, void of passion and connection.

Don’t settle or accept the crumbs. Those days are over. Let’s start at the beginning…

What Happened?

You know the drill…we finally meet a guy who we feel an instant connection with and a strong attraction to…the spark! “Finally”, you think “He’s the one!” You tell all your friends how perfect he is; how you can’t believe you finally found a guy that can make you truly happy.

He showers you with complements, gifts, calls, texts. He plans dates. He wants to see you all the time. You breathe a sigh of relief. He’s finally here…the one you’ve been waiting for your whole life; the one that will make all your dreams come true; the one that will finally make you feel complete and loved and taken care of forever. With a spark this hot, how can he ever stop making you feel so adored, so sexy, so perfect?

Everyone told you that relationships take work? Well, lucky you, apparently you found the super special man that doesn’t need any effort or work. This one is different, somehow. This man is your soulmate. It will be natural and always feel this good because it’s meant to be. You truly believe that this relationship will solve all your problems. And you’ll live happily ever after.

Then it happens. Reality kicks in. Your Prince Charming stops bringing you presents, stops setting up special dates, stops calling and texting as much. And if you’re living together for awhile, he’d rather watch tv, then flirt with you while you clean up the dishes together after dinner! What happened?

You become more and more disillusioned. What happened to the perfect man who made you feel like a Princess every single minute? Now, here you are a year in and…he’s lazing around on the couch, burping, farting and scratching himself?

You become frustrated and angry and think, “What have I done??”. Am I with the wrong man? If it gets bad enough, you start to wonder if you should leave. Surely you’ll find someone who treats you how you want to be treated forever!

Your Super Powers

This is where you have to stop and get really honest with yourself. You have these really awesome powers within you that will stop the pain and confusion completely. It’s true. I found my power and it changed my life completely. I’ve helped so many find theirs, and it’s pure magic. It will completely turn around even the most hopeless situations.

The most important thing to start realizing at this point is that neither of you are doing anything wrong and there is no one to blame. Write that down somewhere and never forget it. You can’t move forward until this is a strong belief system.

To do this, just look inside for your powers of forgiveness and awareness. It’s who you are naturally. Stop listening to your inner critic who loves to judge, blame and criticize you and everyone around you. That voice is not who you are. It doesn’t define you. That an influence or a wound from your past coming back to haunt you. Your ability to access your inner powers beats your inner critic every time.

The problem is that we believe our inner critic but it’s lying to you. It is your childhood influences and your past relationships that caused you pain. It’s just trying to protect you but it’s still lying. Your powers of awareness about this and forgiveness for this allows you to leave your wounds in the past where they belong. You’re projecting these wounds on the current situation. They have nothing to do with your life now. Perhaps they served you in the past but they have no place in the present.

Just know and believe this: You are not the only one that has felt the loneliness and sadness of being in a loveless relationship. It’s completely normal. Don’t feel bad about how you’re feeling. None of this is your fault or his!

What Now?

While you’re working on forgiveness and awareness, let’s get real…I’m guessing, you’re pretty pissed at him, right? You are probably asking yourself, why did he change? You may even feel like you’re going crazy. You become completely obsessed with getting him to pay attention to you. You get needy and demand to know what happened.

What does he do? If he’s like most men, he defends, he attacks back. He feels like you’ve become a nag and that no matter what he does, he can’t make you happy. He stops doing anything. He shuts down. The more you want to talk about it and fix, it the further away you push him. It’s a horrible feeling that leaves you at a complete loss as to how to fix it. You start to feel badly about yourself. Your self esteem is at an all time low. It feels hopeless.

You crave the days when he made you feel like the most special woman in the world; when you were the center of his universe.

And if you feel like you’ve tried everything and it’s bad enough, you’ve thought about leaving. Sometimes, doesn’t feel like you only have two options?:

a) Stay and suck it up…this is just how relationships go.

or

b) Leave in hopes of finding happiness in a new relationship.

Tough reality check, right? But it’s so important to get in touch with how you really feel. Remember your super power of awareness. This is where that comes in really handy. Suppressing how you feel will just make you angrier.

Another Option…The Only Option.

There is a third option. There has to be. The two other options won’t solve anything.

(**SIDE NOTE: Unless you’re in a toxic relationship, that’s a whole other story and I am working on a blog post about that. It’s a whole different situation. If you’re in a toxic relationship, Subscribe to my list, and I’ll send you info on that. I have a lot to say on that subject. Or email me at hilary@heartstringstory.com)

So, you’re in a relationship rut. He is completely shut down. You aren’t communicating. Counselling isn’t an option or didn’t work. What now? Do you give up? I say, no. There is a lot you can do to turn your relationship around.

My own experience, years of research and my coaching practice has allowed me to develop insights that go beyond what we’ve been taught in the past. I have seen some amazing results based on my findings.

One client was on the verge of separation. The whole family was stressed out. Her husband was threatening to go live in a hotel. There was no communication. The kids were starting to suffer in school and in their social lives. There was a dark cloud hanging over the household. Her and her husband barely spoke. There was so much anger and resentment. She could barely get herself to work, and kids to school, never mind work on her relationship. She was full of shame, disappointment and guilt.

Before this point, she had tried everything. She planned date nights. She tried to communicate her feelings to him. She begged him to talk to her about what was wrong and why he changed? She tried to rally in front of the kids and give in for the sake of peace. She was strong and did everything she could to keep everyone happy. She made her husband feel loved and wanted, made his favourite meals, organized poker nights with his buddies, she even went to counselling to see how she could be a better spouse and mother. Nothing was working. She became very depressed. She became a nag and needy. She demanded to know why he treated her so poorly after everything she did for him and the family.

She finally hit rock bottom in the shower one morning and melted down. She was at a loss. She is beautiful, athletic, smart and had a successful career. She didn’t understand how they got here. They were that amazing couple everyone was jealous of in the beginning. They were hot, successful, crazy about each other, had to much in common, their kids are gorgeous and athlete like their parents. They had money and it seemed like from the outside looking in, they had the perfect life. When she came to me, she couldn’t believe this was her life. Everything had always come so easily to her. She was at a complete loss. She loved her husband and didn’t want to lose him.

The Simple Mistake We All Make

The problem was simple. She was trying too hard. She had forgotten to take care of herself. She was so worried about everyone else and ensuring that they were happy, she forgot that she deserved to be happy too. Isn’t that typical of us, women? We assume if everyone else is happy, we will be too. It doesn’t work like that.

It’s the complete opposite. If we’re happy, everyone around us will be. Once my client realized this, everything changed. She started to forgive herself and her husband. She stopped demanding that he talk to her and share his feelings. She joined a yoga class, joined a sports team that energized her and stopped worrying about forcing her husband to ‘see’ her again.

He came around like she had never seen. Not only was the spark reignited but their love became deeper and stronger than it had ever been. She discovered how to love herself and about what was going through his head that was the opposite of what she believed. It allowed her to refocus her energy which had a huge effect on him. He didn’t know what hit him.

The Secret About Men That Changes Everything

There is a secret about men that we don’t realize. And every time a client hears this, everything changes. Their whole energy shifts!

Men want to make us happy. The minute it feels like we’re not happy, they shut down. They think we blame them. They think they’re doing something wrong and they don’t know how to fix it. It’s so simple. It’s almost too simple. However, it’s the key!

This secret deserves its own post..perhaps a book, so more on this later!

Now, It’s Time Learn How To Take Care of Yourself First!

Be selfish! I’m guessing you’re not the selfish type. You believe that if everyone else is happy, all will be good in your world. This is the biggest mistake, I believe, that we make in our lives. It’s not true. Somewhere in our past, in society, our religion our parents taught us that this was the way to live; the key to happiness. It’s a lie.

Here is the absolute truth: You’re not good to anyone if you’re doing everything for everyone else. I know it seems backwards. But think about it. How is it working out for you? Are you happy, inspired, fulfilled in your relationship?

Of course kids, work, family commitments, friends, etc are important and need your time and attention. However, you need to take care of YOU first.

Why do you think the flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen masks on first? Because in order to be any help or any good to anyone else, you have to look after yourself first.

This is particularly true in your romantic relationship. We tend to get to the dreaded point in our relationship when the passion slowly diminishes and the excitement and thrill of being in a new relationship is gone.

What we tend to do as women, is to try harder. We miss so desperately how it used to be and we’ll do everything to get it back. We are desperate enough that we sacrifice everything else in our lives; including our own feelings. We get needier and needier and do everything we can to get him to treat us like he did in the old days.

It’s important at this point to access your super power of awareness and believe it’s okay. You’re human. You’re completely normal.

Then access your super power of forgiveness and then…STOP doing! What I mean by that is stop taking care of everyone else. Stop obsessing over him and what you can do to get him to appreciate, adore and want you like he did in the beginning. This is exactly what is pushing him away and why he has shut down.

Why Being Selfish is Really Being Unselfish

It is very likely that over the course of your relationship, you have forgotten who you really are and what you really want and need in life and most importantly what makes you truly happy on the inside. Your partner loved you for you when he met you. He loved your quirks and all!

Start to focus on things that make you happy outside of your relationship. You will start to feel better about yourself. This will be the start of your journey to authentic self love, not just the surface ‘positive thinking’ crap. The great thing about loving yourself that we don’t hear about as much, is that men are incredibly attracted to women who take care of themselves. They love it when you are confident in who you are and what you want. They love when you do things to make yourself happy.

And to remind you of the secret key to keeping a man’s attention is that he wants you to be happy! He will not feel good about himself if you’re not. Men tend to think they’re the key to your happiness.

There is something about the vibe of a woman taking care of herself and her own needs first that make men run after them. They can’t even explain it themselves. They find it irresistible!

Taking care of yourself means finding time to do things that make you feel good. It will feel selfish and over indulgent at first but you’ll get used to it! And you’ll see a shift in the energy between you and your partner.

So, as you can see, the mistake is human and easy to fix. Stop doing everything for him. Lean back. Let him take care of you. Appreciate him. See if you can stop blaming, criticizing and nagging him for one week will do. Just let things go. Make him aware that he makes you happy and you appreciate everything is does for you and why. He wants to feel like your hero. Accept that fact and let him!

And take care of yourself first…with no guilt. Have a spa day…or weekend, go shopping, have dinner with a friend, take a dance class, cooking class or art class. Do something that gives you joy and makes your heart sing. You deserve it. And you’ll see in no time how much attention you get from him. You’ll be irresistible to him again!

Sooooooo, I have received such amazing and positive feedback from this post and so many requests for more of my insight on this topic.
I got to work right away and created a FREE GUIDE with four more steps. If you liked this blog post and want more advice on getting his attention back, fill in your name and email below and I’ll send you a copy right away.
Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*NEW! Get His Attention Back Free Strategy Session

With so many questions and positive feedback based on my latest blog post, for a limited time only, I’m offering a free “Get His Attention Back’ strategy session where together we will:

– Get a crystal clear vision of what your happily ever after looks like.

– Uncover challenges that may be blocking you from having the relationship you deserve.

You’ll leave the session feeling re-energized, renewed and inspired to breathe new life back into your relationship so you can feel reconnected, fulfilled, supported and adored like you did in the beginning..even if he’s shut down completely.

Email me today to book a 30-minute free strategy session: hilary@heartstringstory.com

Best Life Lesson Ever!

“Life is simple. Everything happens FOR you, not TO you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment; neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” ~Byron Katie

This quote is my favourite ever. My last few years have been kind of interesting. I haven’t experienced anything super traumatic or horrific. But when a few difficult things started happening all at once, I became a little overwhelmed. It allowed me to pay attention to my thoughts and what was going on inside of my messed up brain.

Why Meeeeee?

For most of my life, I was on autopilot, out there trying to do my best, wanting to prove my worth to the world, looking for validation, love and happiness from other people and my circumstances. I believed that we met people for a reason and things happened to us for a reason. I still believe that is true but I used to put a different meaning on it. I used to believe that we met people so that we could have friends to support us and romantic relationships to fulfill our lives and make us feel loved and wanted. I used to believe that we worked hard in school and in our careers to prove to people that we were capable and important. I used to believe that circumstances happened because stuff happens to everyone and that life was hard and that sometimes it wasn’t fair and would often think, why me? Why is this happening to me?

Because You’re Human, Duh

After a few years of things happening TO me, I began to shift my thinking around the fact that maybe it was all happening FOR me. I didn’t come to that conclusion easily. It took a few moments of hitting rock bottom, reaching out for help, getting some therapy and reading a lot of self-help books.

It wasn’t a ‘one day I woke up and had an epiphany’ moment. I wish! It has been an ongoing journey. What has begun to shift for me is; instead of feeling sorry for myself and thinking ‘Why is this happening to me?’ ‘Life is so unfair!’, ‘People are hurtful’, ‘How could they do that to me??’ and of course ‘How dare they!!’ Maybe I was causing my own pain with my own thoughts and false beliefs about why life happens the way it does.

I figured there had to be a better way. I was so sick of myself! I was tired of living like I was a victim of this horrifying painful world full of people who leave you and let you down and nothing ever turning out the way you want it to. It was exhausting. Luckily things got bad enough that I had no choice but to desperately want to find that better way.

I don’t think we have to hit rock bottom to have this shift in perception. I wish I hadn’t hit rock bottom first, I think we can learn this lesson anytime.

Rock bottom is different for everyone…mine was simply not feeling like I’d done as much as I ‘shoulda coulda’ with my life. I was divorced, transitioning careers, caring for a widowed aging father and in a relationship with someone I loved very much but our logistics were very challenging causing some communication breakdowns. Stuff everyone goes through. And it’s only human that life can start getting to you you down, right? I figured I could stuck it up and keep plugging away.

The Universe kept knocking at my door. One day for a seemingly minor issue, I completely lost my cool, like embarrassingly lost my cool! I knew I needed help in that moment. I went to a psychiatrist that after half an hour of hearing my story, prescribed an anti-depressant. I filled the prescription, took one and panicked. I told the doctor I just couldn’t do it. It just didn’t feel right and I don’t judge it, it just wasn’t for me. So I turned to yoga, meditation and self help books. I was determined to take a good look inside, dig deep and find out what was really going on.

Not Quite There Yet, Hilary

Well things did improve, I’m happy to report. I developed a more positive outlook on why things happened and that I wasn’t the victim of my circumstances. I chose to be happy despite what was going on around me. I got my career back on track and decided to make my relationship work with the man I loved. That worked for a bit…but obviously the Universe wanted to make sure I really did shift my perception!

My Dad became very ill and I was looking after him full time, so career back on hold. Communications were breaking down in my relationship. I was a mess and I started to feel sorry for myself again. I believed that no one was there for me. I felt totally alone in all of this. My Dad passed away and my relationship ended and I had barely worked in six months. So I’m feeling all alone with no job and pushing 50! Ugh. I was angry and in my self pitying moments, I thought:

How dare you take my Dad away and leave me alone to deal with everything

How dare that I’m the only one that has to take care of everything because my brothers live far away.

How dare this all happen when I was just getting my career back on track!

How dare my boyfriend fight with me while I was going through this!

How dare my friends have lives!

How dare no one sees how much pain I’m in!

How dare no one knows how lonely this life is!

How dare the world let me down in so many ways!

This could have gotten ugly but I knew better than to go down this path. I knew none of this was true. It was my own thoughts getting in my way and making my pain and anger worse. I knew that it was my interpretation and beliefs about the situation that was causing my pain, not what was really happening. It was happening for me and there was no one or no thing to blame for any of it.

Choose A New Way of Looking At It

I accepted that I was angry and feeling sorry for myself. I forgave myself for it but only when I acknowledged the anger and pain. I had to really embraced it in order to move through it. Maybe the world wasn’t really out to get me??

I lost my Dad. However he was very sick and unhappy that he couldn’t live like he used to and he was so lonely without my Mom. I was able to look back from a different perspective and believe that I did my best. I was there for him and I had no regrets. Instead of blaming the world for his illness. Instead of resenting the countless hours spent looking after him. Instead of believing that this all caused problems in my relationship and my career, I was able to look back and be grateful that I could be there for him. I can be grateful for the career interrupt, as I would still be doing something I didn’t love. And I no longer blamed my friends and boyfriend for not being there enough when my Dad was sick and passed away. I could genuinely let that go and know the truth is that my friends and boyfriend were there for me as best as they could be. They did their best for me because they love me and I could find gratitude for everyone who cared. And they actually do have their own lives and families to take care of! If feels good seeing the truth instead of talking yourself into negative belief patterns that aren’t based in reality.

I choose to believe that yes, people come into your life for a reason and things happen to you for a reason but it’s not a punishment; the world is not out to get you. Sometimes it’s just about not judging the moment and not putting your own meaning on it. Shift your perception to look at these life challenges from a higher perspective.

I believe that the Universe has plans for you that may not seem like what you want or need at the time, but believing things are happening for you, sure does make life more bearable. Look for the gift in everything and if you can’t find it, one day you’ll realize that everything happens for you and not to you.

Woman’s Best Friend

My search is over, after years and years of looking under every rock, I found the perfect model of the perfect man. He’s not necessarily the most attractive, or the tallest, or the best smelling, but he will give you more affection than you ever dreamed possible. He is loyal to a fault, will love you unconditionally and will make you feel like the most important thing in the world.

He may, however, leave muddy footprints on your new white carpet, leave hair in the sink, occasionally drink from the toilet bowl and will definitely want to hump your leg every chance he gets. Ok, I think by now you’re on to my poor attempt at humor. I’m of course not talking about a human being but a pet; hear me out:

Often, we find it’s easier and less complicated to love our pets than our partners. “Please note: I’m going to use the example of a male dog for this post but this idea is relevant if your partner is female or if you’re a cat, bird, and rock etc. owner as well”. Sure, our dog can be smelly, messy; can have some annoying habits, but doesn’t it seem sometimes like our relationship with our dog is the best one we have?

Why is it so much easier to forgive and love our dogs, despite their bad habits than it is to love our partners’ through theirs? When our dogs behave badly, sure we discipline them when it’s serious but when it’s just an annoying habit, we roll our eyes, laugh and let them back in our beds. We NEVER put our dogs in the “doghouse” like we do our partners for the same offenses.

And the same is true the other way; our dogs love us despite our ‘humanness’ that’s what makes this relationship so perfect. In all seriousness though, when you really think about it; most of us love our dogs unconditionally, no strings attached. And we feel completely and unconditionally loved by them as well. No matter our moods, our dogs love us. They don’t take our bad moods personally.

Let’s say you’re having a bad day, you come home from work and your dog is welcoming you home, wagging his tail, wanting to play. You are miserable and cranky and not in the mood. Your dog won’t be offended. Once your dog realizes you don’t want to play, they will go about the business of being a dog and find something else to do. They will always be happy to running back to you when you feel better and are ready to play. They won’t sulk and they are certainly not hurt or offended.

Dog’s Take Nothing Personally

We need to learn from our pets that we don’t need to take our partner’s bad mood personally. Sometimes they just had a bad day. Sometimes they don’t feel like talking about it and want to be left alone. We don’t have to keep prying and asking what we did wrong or why they are upset.

Sometimes we just have to accept that we cannot help. As humans, we tend to be overly analytical and assume that our partner’s bad mood has to do with us. Sometimes we feel this overwhelming desire to do everything we can to make them feel better and to fix the problem.

I guarantee you that 99% of the time; your partner’s mood has absolutely nothing to do with you. Like our pets, we need to take cues from our ‘humans’ and be alert to the fact they may just need some space instead of us in their face! Always offer an ear but if they don’t want or need it at that moment, go grab a snack or a chew toy and let them come to you when they are ready to talk. Don’t let it bring you down. Sometimes it’s important to remember you can’t control anyone else or their moods. Take care of you and your side of the relationship and let your partner take care of theirs.

The Canine Does Not Opine

Humans tend to take other people’s opinions far too seriously; dogs don’t care what we think of them. We are constantly worried what our partner’s think of us and how they feel about us; to the point of sabotaging the relationship because we’ve misunderstood their behavior toward us.

Humans are funny that way. We are so caught up in our own insecurities and neurosis about ourselves that we assume everyone sees us the way we see ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies and can be horribly critical toward ourselves. Often, we believe things we shouldn’t, we misinterpret and it leads to a negative place. Dogs just ‘are’ and just let us ‘be’. It’s a very peaceful and positive place to live.

“Those who teach the most about humanity, aren’t always humans” by Donald L. Hicks

If we could just be more like our dogs and realize that our partner’s behavior comes through their own personal lens; their filter of their life experience. Opinions often have nothing to do with us and everything to do with the person giving them. So, a double whammy with all the perceptions and misinterpretations can get very messy and cause serious trouble. We have ours, they have theirs. No wonder we’re on a constant emotional roller coaster ride in our relationships!

Our pets get it. They come from a pure place of acceptance. We are never worried about what our pets think of us. It’s the complete opposite when we deal with humans. We live in constant fear of what our partners think or expect of us. It’s so relaxing and good for the soul to just hang with your pet. Let’s bring that peace of mind into our human relationships.

The answer is to simply be aware that we all have different perceptions and ways of interpreting the world. When we fully understand this, we can show compassion, acceptance, and selflessness toward our partner and ourselves.

Dogs Accept People For Who They Are

When we’re in a relationship, often times we want to change our partners to fit our ideals. We expect them to make us happy. We want them to read our minds and predict exactly what we what, when we want it and how? We can be super critical of our partner if they don’t make us feel good about ourselves. We tend to come from a place of “What am I getting out of this relationship?”

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog” by M.K. Klinton

Unconditional love means we can give love freely without expecting anything in return. Sometimes our capacity for showing love is completely dependent and conditional on how our partner is treating us, so true, right?

To give love unconditionally means that we accept our partner completely and we don’t want to change them. We allow our partner to be who they are. We understand that change should only happen if they want it not because we want them to change for us. Loving someone unconditionally is affection without any limitations. It means we care about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.

Why can’t we be more like our dog? No matter what, they just love us, pure, simple, true love. Why can’t we just accept and love our partners for who they are? Why are we so critical and demanding? You cannot change other people. It’s impossible and will only bring misery and conflict. You can, however, change you. You can look at love differently; through the eyes of a dog. “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” by Josh Billings

This all seems obvious in theory and hopefully, after reading this post, I have given you some insight into learning to be happier in relationships by letting go of your insecurities and expectations of your partners. Easier said than done, right?

The hard part is when you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a difficult, emotional situation with your partner. If we are angry, anxious, insecure, resentful, jealous-all those fun negative feelings-we tend to be self-absorbed and victim-like so we can feel better despite what our partner is feeling. It’s human! We all do it. We get stuck in our head and react emotionally.

Instead of getting sucked into the dark, emotional land of fear that makes you do and says things you may regret; try to be alert to what is happening. Pay attention to where it is coming from. I bet it’s less to do with your partner and more to do with your own pain and fear. You can stop at this point and try a new approach. You have the opportunity at this point to break the automatic subconscious pattern.

The next time you find some negative emotions rising, either in you or your partner or both; think “What would my dog do?” And stop yourself from going straight to a place of fear, judgment, and control. See if you can focus instead on showing love, acceptance, and allowance. It can’t hurt. What’s the worst that can happen? I can guarantee you’ll experience a peaceful exchange that has a better chance of leading to a healthy conversation.

Dogs Never Lie About Who They Are and Who They Love

In order to do this, there is a crucial first step. Accept yourself! Believe yourself worthy of love and happiness. Every one of us is. Your dog definitely thinks you’re worthy! And so do me. Never pretend to be someone you’re not. And never apologize to anyone for not being who you think they want you to be. Be yourself. Honor your inner and outer strength and beauty. You are perfect exactly how you are. Believe it!

If you are single; coming from a place of authenticity will increase your chances of finding a good match. You will exude your true loving energy to the right people. If you are in a relationship, knowing yourself and finding love in yourself allows you to be confident in whom you are. You won’t look to your partner for validation because you already have it.

Neediness is the worst; no one needs a partner to feel loved or complete. You already are complete. It is much easier to give and receive love unconditionally if you are a whole person who enjoys and CHOOSES to be in love and in a relationship. If you feel like you are only half a person and you NEED someone to complete you and make you whole, you’ll never be in a truly loving relationship.

The next step is to accept your partner. Let them be who they are. You have no right to judge or decide your partner should be anyone other than who they truly are. If you can’t stop wanting to change someone, they are not a good match for you. Walk away. Let your partner find someone who truly accepts and loves them for who they are.

The next step is to get very clear about what you want and the kind of person that fits your ideals, that’s why accepting who you are first is critical. Once you know and you project that out into the world, it’s easier to attract and find a partner that is aligned with you and who you won’t feel the need to change.

Just follow the three step process:

  • Accept and Embrace Who You Are. Never Hide Your Truth.
  • Accept Who Your Partner Is Or Let Them Go
  • Be Clear What You Are Looking For In A Partner.

If you’re being authentically you, you’ll find the right dog deeper, I mean partner. Who knows, if you really start to embrace who you are and decide what kind of relationship you want, you may realize that you really wanted a cat Instead of making your dog start to act like a cat, just get a cat. Because good luck on getting your dog to ‘meow’

If you need some more help getting there, visit www.heartstringstory.com/love-workbook to learn more about an online workbook I created that makes going through the process fun and easy!

The #1 Reason Relationships Fail

Don’t believe it for a second!

It’s so simple and seems so obvious but really believing it and working toward fixing it, can be tricky! It’s doable, I promise…keep reading!

The #1 reason relationships fail, (in my humble opinion) is…

We believe that our partner is going to make us happy, complete us, make us whole and we end up resenting them if and when they don’t.

What a huge mistake in thinking! Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s self destructive. Most of us treat love as if it is something outside of us that we have no control over. It’s something that happens to us. There is a problem with thinking of love this way, and that is that it makes us believe that we have to look outward for our happiness. It overlooks our own sense of power and leaves us to believe that we are victims of our romantic fate.

Perhaps you already believe this in theory but being truly happy and fulfilled in a relationship means you have to get to a place where you genuinely believe that no one can complete you. When you do believe that you need someone outside of yourself to complete you, you think/say things like:

“My partner just doesn’t do enough for me.”

“My partner should be trying harder.”

“I do way more for him then, he does for me.”

“My partner should know what I want without asking.”

“I deserve more!”

“My partner doesn’t fulfill me.”

Admit, it, you’ve said out loud or to yourself – and even sometimes to your partner – at least one of these things at some point in your relationship. We have all thought from time to time, that we should be getting more out of our relationship than we are. It’s human! I said things like this to friends and to myself many times…daily! It made me miserable and caused all sorts of fights and misunderstandings in my relationship. I totally believed that a romantic relationship was the key to my happiness. I was so wrong. In fact, this mindset was sabotaging my relationship and making us both miserable and unable to communicate in any kind of healthy way.

The good news is that if you can truly see the problem with these statements, it can be as simple as shifting your perception. It takes a lot of awareness and patience, and practice but we are all capable. In fact, I think we were born to give and not expect anything in return and to love ourselves as whole people. Somewhere along he way, humanity forgot that important tenet of what it means to truly love someone.

Here’s some things that I have done in order to make my relationship better and it has worked! Things in my relationship have gotten a lot more peaceful. We are communicating better and I am much healthier and more confident with who I am, which is super attractive to him! And there has been a bonus about the fact that I’m being less needy and feeling better about myself in my relationship; without even knowing it, my boyfriend has begun to give more and be a lot more attentive.

Here are some of my own personal insights on how this can be accomplished:

  1. I know it’s cliche but the first step is getting over any minor or major beliefs that you are unworthy in any way, shape or form. You are completely worthy. It’s a fact. You just have to believe it. You dishonour yourself and your partner if you have insecurities around deserving to receive love. The truth is that only you can complete you. If you are unhappy, no one else can fulfill the emptiness inside. In fact, it will only make you more unhappy. Just accept and honour yourself for you who are and don’t pretend to be anyone else to make your partner happy. I will post another blog asap on this thought alone.
  2. Once you accept yourself just the way you are, the next step is to accept your partner. Never ever try to change anything about your partner. Let them be who they are. It is just going to distance your partner from you when you constantly put demands on how they should be. Despite what you may believe, your love is not going to change anyone. Get out early if there are things about a person’s personality that you cannot live with. Don’t be delusional that you can change anyone! It’s disrespectful to them and causes trouble later when they aren’t changing for you! If you cannot love your partner the way are, someone else can.
  3. Having expectations that your partner knows what you need to be happy will only cause problems and disappointment. No one knows what you truly need. You can communicate it but you have to stop expecting that your partner can read your mind and know what you want. Even when you do communicate it, they should not be expected to complete you. It is unfair to expect this of anyone. I can assure that you will always be let down. Neediness is not a quality that any of us should possess. It feels awful to need someone to fulfill you and it is unattractive to your partner that you are always expecting more than they may be capable of providing you with. That makes them feel bad and you!
  4. Stop waiting around for your partner to do things to make you happy. Make yourself happy! Find a hobby, hang with friends, or just tell your partner what you want to do. People like when we tell them what we want to do, so there is no guessing and they are more unlikely to let you down. However, it’s just as important is to remember that the more fulfilled you are outside of your relationship, the more fulfilled you’ll be in it.
  5. Your confidence is contagious! Other people can feel it when you have fears around finding and sustaining love. When you approach a relationship from a place of insecurity and belief that you need a relationship to complete you, your partner or potential partner will sense it. It is an unattractive quality. When you’re confident, the energy you give off will convey that being in a relationship is your choice. You can then relax and be aware enough that you choose a suitable partner.

Seems simple enough?? The good news is that we don’t have to lose weight, get a better job, be funnier, be more affectionate, be better at sex in order to be happy and fulfilled in a relationship. I don’t believe changing who we are makes for a better romantic experience.

The key is to be confident with who you are and let your partner be free to be him or herself. This shift in perception is all it takes.

Jerry McGuire was so wrong! I want to ban that movie. When he said “You complete me.” I threw up a little in my mouth. I hope I’m not the only one who wanted to scream out loud about how wrong this was! I would have run so far from him so fast! Just as much as you can’t expect anyone to complete you don’t take it upon yourself to complete anyone else either. It’s a lot of pressure to have that much responsibility for someone else’s happiness. We are not in charge of each other’s happiness and two halves do not make a whole.

Meet your partner halfway and come together as two whole people. You should never need anyone that badly. Why would you put every hope, dream and expectation into one person or relationships. Nothing lasts. The honeymoon ends, relationships end, things always change. Go with it and accept that the one things that never changes is you. You always have you to complete you and you will never let yourself down! You are and always will be a whole person.

Now “Show the money”, I can get on board with!

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If you need more help with getting this idea to stick, download my love workbook or contact me for a free half hour consultation

You Are Not Your Story

“Your past is just a story. And once you realize this, it has no power over you.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk

Who doesn’t love a good story? It can be fun and entertaining when we share our creative ideas and thoughts about what life is all about. We love watching and listening to people’s triumphs and failures, successes and heart aches. The thing is, these stories are never completely true! They are a fantasy made up to entertain us. The more drama, the better, right??

The Stories we Tell Ourselves

I used to think this was true, but recently I woke up to some truths about myself. The ‘stories I’ve been telling myself’ have actually caused some problems in my life. There is nothing wrong with enjoying or telling a good story. We run into trouble when we become attached to or identify with these stories. These stories are tall tales we’ve made up about ourselves based on our past experiences and relationships. We all have stories we can tell about who we are and where we came from. I call them ‘stories’ because often times, we’ve developed and created these stories and they are not actually based on accurate information. We’ve only interpreted what really happened. Which is exactly what happened to me…

Drama

I created a lot of drama in my life. I made up a story about who I was based on what I was told and experienced in my past and therefore attracted into my life what I believe I deserved. It wasn’t all bad, I have so much to be grateful for but the drama was unnecessary! I attracted this drama as a defense mechanism to hide the truth of who I really was and it became my system of denial. It worked for awhile but the truth wanted to come out and it started shining through my blissful state of denial and hit me hard over the head yelling; “For God’s sake, Hilary, wake up!”

I discovered recently that I’ve been pretending to be someone I’m not; just to be accepted by others. Ugh, I hated that! I was doing it and hating myself the entire time. I believed it when people from my past told me who I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to live and behave. I don’t blame anyone. No one meant any harm. They were just passing on what they had learned about who they thought they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to teach me about life. Gets complicated I know but it’s worth figuring out. It is life changing. This realization was for me, anyway.

Making The Past The Problem

The problem was that I had spent my entire life trying to live up to the expectations of others, forgetting what I wanted, who I was and what I really needed to be happy and fulfilled. My family was male dominated and slightly old fashioned by today’s standards. My Dad was a very dedicated teacher at a private school and took his job very seriously. My Mom stayed at home. I had two older brothers. By no fault of their own, the men in my family were considered more important, more likely to be smart and athletic and land good careers.

No one meant any harm, it was just the way it was. I grew up believing I wasn’t important, that I never knew what was right and that I should always look to the men in my family for the right answers. I revered and worshiped my older brothers because they always knew what was good for me! I followed in their footsteps on may aspects in my life. To make a long, long…LONG story short, based on this influence, I started creating my story about always needing a man to tell me what to do and how to do it; that a man would always know what was best for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I was never emotionally scarred or attracted to abusive controlling men. I had wonderful fulfilling relationships but always looked to my partner to tell me what to do. I got married and started a business with my husband at the time based on his skill set. I went to school to learn this skill set so I could be his partner in the business. I deferred to him often on the operations and direction the business would take.

Changing The Story

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I actually had some good ideas and wanted to make my own mark on the world. Unfortunately that was part of the reason that led to the end of our marriage and our business but I got my fresh start. It was exciting at first but I had some inner work to do! I almost had to start over completely in every way. I even got into another relationship where I nearly followed that man’s career dreams as well! Good news is that I realized early enough that perhaps this was a bad idea and now I am enjoying a great partnership in love and not work!

These men in my life were good men. I take responsibility for ‘following their lead’ and ‘riding their coattails’ I used those terms a lot in the last 10 years! I knew I was coming to a new realization about myself when my story started to change. I was starting to feel badly about myself, I was starting to see that there was something I was missing that many decisions I made were based on what these men wanted. I was fortunate to have some very close trusted friends who understood; sometimes better than I did! It became blatantly obvious that the story I told myself was not serving me anymore.

It wasn’t an easy discovery, my thoughts became pretty dark at times. I had to look at my past and let go of some deep seeded beliefs. However, when I look back, I’m so grateful for the low point I got to because it meant I could work my way back up the be the way I wanted. It meant I could learn how to be myself for me; not for anyone else. I like the new me a lot. I have more energy, passion and drive. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And having gone through it, I want it for everyone else! I want to share my journey with others because if I came out the others side, believe me, anyone can!

Your Story

My story is not unique. We all experience things from our past that create our story in the present; good and bad. From a very young age, we are told things about ourselves and everything we see and experience, we interpret as truth. We develop thoughts about the world based on what the people around us are teaching and showing us. We see and hear everything and we start identifying with those experiences to develop the story of us and who we think we are supposed to be. Our parents, our friends, our siblings, etc., all influence us and we develop habits and beliefs on the ‘right’ way to behave based on others’ beliefs and ideals.

It is easy to get caught up in these stories and become the victims of our life circumstances. We blame people from our past for the things we experience in our lives and relationships today. Often, we’ll make excuses for our behaviours believing we can’t help it because it was how we were raised.

It’s Not Your Parent’s Fault!

Having said that, you cannot blame anyone else for the stories you’ve made up about yourself. Sure we were influenced but others but they were also influenced by others. They weren’t purposely trying to control you; they only told you things that they believed to be true and taught you how to survive in the world in a way that they believed was in our own best interest.

I was adopted at six weeks old and I often think about the fact that I would been a completely different person if my biological mother had not given me up. Messes with your head! I’m fortunate though, because the family that adopted me was absolutely amazing!

The point is that thoughts about, who we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to live were imposed on us. It’s not anyone’s fault. We didn’t chose our family and they didn’t chose theirs, and so on. We are a product of the values and belief systems of our parents, schools, religions, friends, tv, movies, media, advertising, books, magazines etc. We are often exposed to things that we don’t choose to be exposed to. We learn from our early influencers and continue to develop similar belief systems and ways of learning the right and wrong ways of behaving and approaching life and relationships.

From a young age, we are very influenced by our parents, or caregivers. We are rewarded for good behaviour and punished for bad behaviour. We learn quickly how to ‘be’ to get rewarded for our ‘good’ behaviour. We learn to adopt the same belief systems as those who are rewarding and punishing us. Regardless if we think it’s fair or not, we develop habits and ways of thinking to please others.

Are you Stories Serving You?

It’s important to realize that the people who instilled these ideas had their own thoughts imposed on them growing up. So, stop blaming your parents for your issues!

Everyone has a story to tell about who they are and how they got here. It is human to say “My Dad ignored me so I’m in therapy to work through my bad habit of being needy and addicted to attention.” We all have thought at some point that we are the way we are because of how we were raised.

We have all experienced relationships and circumstances from our past that have caused fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, etc that continues to haunt us in our present. These are limiting beliefs and they effect our career, friendships, feelings of self worth, health, economics and our romantic relationships. If we don’t stop blaming everyone else for our problems, we’ll be stuck being a victim to our past and our current situations forever. Who wants to live like that; in denial of the power we have to make ourselves happy despite what happened to us in our past? Only we can take responsibility for our lives, no one else can make you happy because no one else really knows who you truly are.

There are good news stories too! Most of us have experienced moments of pure joy and affection. For better or for worse, we have become the story of our past. We don’t live in the present because we are so deeply influenced by our past relationships. And nowhere is that more true than in romantic relationships.

Your Love Story

Love and romance is where we are most vulnerable, where we tend to feel the most pain and pleasure. We created beliefs around love and intimacy from our experiences with friends, families and romantic relationships. We were told things about ourselves that we fully believed at the time and still believe to be true in our present. Perhaps someone hurt you and you built up a wall of fear and self-preservation. Or maybe we hurt someone and built up a wall of shame and self-loathing. We become very attached to our story!

At a certain moment in time when we did experience pain or hurt, the negative feelings were needed to keep our hearts and minds safe. However, it was a moment that ended but we carry these hurt feelings around with us for a long to protect us in case it ever happens again. The problem with that is, we enter into new relationships expecting to be hurt. We carry around our past pain like a safety net and react to current situations based on what happened in our past.

This becomes our story. For example, you may develop a thought pattern based on your past experience with being hurt that “people get hurt in relationships”. This becomes a limiting belief and your behaviour in relationships becomes destructive because you are certain you will be hurt. So you wear protective armour expecting to be hurt. The messages your sending out are ones of distrust and defensiveness. That won’t be conducive to a loving, trusting, joyful union of souls!

This pattern of fear starts and you begin to attract relationships that cause you pain and hurt because you are attracting them to prove that you are right; that “people get hurt in relationships” This story or limiting belief will keep you stuck in bad relationship patterns.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way!

What happened to us in our past is our interpretation and not based in fact. For the majority of us, these stories or limited beliefs are buried deep. We don’t really know why we feel the way we do. Why are we attracted to a certain type of person? Why do we behave the way we do in relationships? Why do we often have feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, distrust within ourselves and our partners? Why do we sabotage our relationships? Why do we get stuck in patterns and continue making the same relationship mistakes over and over again; with different people but always with the same outcome?

Just by becoming aware that our relationship patterns were developed based on a bad experience that doesn’t exist today is a huge step forward in being happier in our current relationships.

Once we see that the stories we’re telling ourselves  are not true and are only our perception, we see that these limiting beliefs are not serving us anymore. We start to understand that we are in complete control to change them. To do this, we have to be introspective on our past relationships. Try to uncover where the fear/anger/blocks/patterns came from; what people or situations created these limiting beliefs that we can’t seem to let go of.

Maybe you don’t feel like you are worthy of love or deserve to be loved, maybe you believe all the good ones are taken, maybe you’re scared of being hurt so it’s safer to stay single. Whatever the story you’ve been telling yourself is, you can start to see it is not true so you can stop identifying with it and begin to detach from it.

Your Happy Ending

It may take some time to let these stories go. You may need to get some counseling to uncover some hidden feelings, sometimes journaling or meditating is all you need. The key is to clear your mind of the day to day clutter and get out of your head to be able to ask yourself, if you’re truly happy with your love story.

Keep the good stuff, let the bad stuff go. We deserve to be happy and fulfilled in our relationships. And that has to come from you, you have the power to create a beautiful love story based on who you really are and what you really want.

You are not your past and you are not the story based on someone else made you believe. You are whatever you need to be to be happy. You are the director and the hero of your story. Create and live your happy ending.

Your Love Workbook

Continue your journey to becoming the hero of your journey and check out the Love Workbook where you can:

  • The Secret Patterns That Could Be Sabotaging Your Love Life
  • The Mistakes That Every Woman Makes When It Comes To Romantic Relationships
  • The One Thing You Can Do Today to Smash Broken Patterns and Destroy Limiting Belief

Click here for more info

 

7 Roadblocks To A Healthy Relationship

Bust through them by simply changing the stories you’ve been telling yourself!

ROADBLOCK #1: LOOKING OUTWARD. Thinking someone else can make you happy is old news, so why are we determined to keep believing it? Never ever believe that you need a relationship to fulfill or complete you. Ask yourself what happened in your past that you haven’t been able to let go. What ‘tall tale’ have you been telling yourself that is keeping you stuck and unable to love and forgive yourself? You have a choice and the power to change your story from a tale of waiting and wanting to one of self-love and fulfillment.

ROADBLOCK #2: JUDGING. We are human, we constantly judge everyone; including ourselves. Every time you have any thought that makes you feel like you’re better or worse than anyone, snap out of it. Change your perception of the behaviour and instead of judging it; accept it, forgive it and let it go. There is someone from your past you haven’t forgiven and it could very likely be yourself. Once you can see that you are projecting those past judgments onto yourself and/or your current relationship, it’s easy to recognize that it is not doing you or your partner any good. You have the power to change your story from one of judgment to acceptance, starting with yourself.

ROADBLOCK #3: MALE BASHING. Don’t believe the stories you were told or you told yourself that gave you a general negative view on men and/or relationships (ie Where have all the good guys gone? Men are going to think I’m too old! All men cheat). This limits our potential for having a loving relationship if we’re always assuming relationships and men are only going to bring us pain and conflict. You can choose to change your story from one of  ‘guilty ‘til proven innocent’ to one of trust and innocence. Don’t assume all men are bad based on past negative experiences…you’ll only keep attracting bad relationships!

ROADBLOCK #4: RESISTING LOVE. No matter how much you have been hurt in the past, believe you deserve to be loved today. Receive love whole-heartedly. Sometimes we’re so stuck in the pattern of being wounded from past relationships, that we are closed to believing that anyone could truly love us. The past is over and done with. You are not the same person and not in the same relationship. So, change your mind and break the pattern by leaving the wounds in the past. And don’t forget that our partner has past wounds that come up and limit their capacity for giving and receiving love as well. Change your war story to one of peace and acceptance.

ROADBLOCK #5: BEING A VICTIM. Many of us believe that our lives have turned out they way they have because of circumstances outside our control. Stop the drama! You are where you are and have had the relationships you’ve had because of you. Stop blaming everyone else for your pain and your problems. Take full responsibility for your life and your choices. Change your story’s main character to be a hero instead of the victim. You alone have the power to rewrite your story!

ROADBLOCK #6: HAVING EXPECTATIONS. Stop having unrealistic expectations and don’t get too hopeful on desired out-comes. You’ll always be let down; every single time. Accept what is and what could be and understand that you really have no control over how someone treats you or even if someone breaks your heart. You can control leaving them if  they’re not right for you. You are stuck in a pattern from your past that is telling you; if he doesn’t do that, or doesn’t treat me like this, then he must not love me. It is time to change your story from one of thinking you can control to just letting it soak or letting it go!

ROADBLOCK #7: CHANGING YOUR PARTNER. You can’t change how anyone feels about you or how they treat you. Of course there are certain behaviours you can have a grown-up discussion about that comes from a place of ‘no blame’. However, first take a good look inside to see if you’re annoyed because of bad behaviours from past relationships that you’re bringing into your current one. Change your story from one of a need to change someone to one of acceptance that you can only change yourself and open yourself up to all sorts of possibilities. Even if one door closes, it means another is open for better options.

Hilary Caters is the founder of Heartstring, a corporation committed to driving happiness and performance in work, life and love by bringing awareness to how we can change the stories we tell ourselves. To receive more articles or for more information on personal consultations, contact me at hilary@heartstringstory.com