Me After Him

You were my healer, my teacher, my best friend, my soul mate. I couldn’t fathom my life without you, let alone survive it without you. You were my world, my everything, nothing was ever too scary with you in my life. Then, in what seemed like a moment of torrential misery I watched you turn into my nightmare. How could this be happening?? Everything was great. Who are you?? Where’s my friend?? Gone. My friend was gone, lost in fear, denial and anger, never to return as the man I knew. 

Alone. Alone with my internal storm of emotions, bubbling with toxic sea creatures encouraging me to give up, let the pain sink in. Let it become me. Drowning in pain. So much pain. Give in. “No one is here to save you anymore”, they whisper while their tentacles try to take me over. “It was only a matter of time, he finally knew there was someone better out there than you” the creatures snarled confidently. My limbs are limp, my resolve to keep treading water is diminishing and letting go is starting to sound peaceful. “He was your everything, now that he is gone, you have nothing. You ARE nothing.”  They seem almost gleeful in their insults, but I know they’re right. I’m powerless against all of this, there’s too many of them and they seem to keep stinging my abdomen, weakening my core every way they can. I give up and I start to sink with all their weight hanging on me. 

My feet hit the sandy bottom. “That wasn’t far” I think to myself. Then I notice the creatures are swimming away. Was this a game to them?? It almost seems like they were feeding off of my pain. I’m running out of breath, I have to get to the surface. I push off from the bottom and voraciously breathe in the crisp morning air. 

I awake to find the sun is rising with a breathtaking orange and blue glow. The night is drifting away taking some dark emotion with it to make way for a brand new day. I feel relief. Another day down. My eyes are too swollen to see anyone today, but that’s what sunglasses are for. And ice packs. I can do this, I quietly think to myself. People don’t actually die from heartbreak. Maybe they do. I have to do something else. Something I wouldn’t have done when we were together. A personal growth institute, I need to go and start a new journey.

You were my healer, my teacher, my best friend, my soul mate. I couldn’t fathom my life without you, let alone survive it without you. You were my world, my everything, nothing was ever too scary with you in my life. Then, in one swift motion, our time was up and you were gone. I loved every moment, every memory, every argument and every laugh. For a while, I thought I might actually die. I didn’t know who I was without you. But I do now. Every now and then your calm advice helps me power through something, but mostly it’s me. My own voice. Iam my own guide now. My own hero. My own goddess. My own warrior. Thank you for teaching me how to live without you. Now I can experience the love I want and not the love I need. I have all I need as Iam, and I couldn’t have found that without you moving out of the way. đź’śđź’–

Embracing Self-Love and Boundaries

I love all of me: My huge feet, my eclectic style, my writing, my playlists, my sometimes shitty artwork, the books I read, the books I keep saying I’ll read, my chapstick, my sometimes-too-often-ice cream, my current healthy eating, my coffee, my tea, my flu symptoms that encouraged me to write, my scarf I never wear accept when I’m playing dress up in front of the mirror, my lovely new daydream mug (score!) that I found for a $1 at Goodwill, and all my change that-is-oh-so-precious-because-I’m-oh-so-damn-broke. I almost through one of my cats in but he wouldn’t stay still and I don’t exactly love either of them right now…tolerate, that’s a much better word for them.

Self-love  vs  Self-absorbed 

Self-love is not the same as self-absorbed. Self-love changes the inner dialogue from “I’m such an idiot” to “ok, it would probably be wise not to do that again, but live and learn”. It’s about changing negative self talk to counseling yourself with the utmost care and respect. No one can ever be your best friend more than you are, no one will ever know your whole story better than you do and no one will ever pick you up like you can. So, loving yourself is not about me, me, me or degrading yourself to accomplish goals, it’s about treating yourself with compassion, and learning to love who you are so that you can give that love away to others. You cannot love anyone else wholeheartedly until you have mastered loving yourself, especially when you screw up.

How you motivate and counsel yourself will be how you motivate and counsel those you love.

Boundaries with yourself

Sometimes we need to light a fire under ourselves, like those of us are procrastinators. Ahem. Personally I need to Drill Sergeant myself sometimes. That is not a license to bully ourselves. It’s never good to tell ourselves we are bad people, unless you are, but even then the true bad ones-like sociopaths- don’t exactly have negative self talk, they’re pretty grandiose…So, where was I? Oh, boundaries… Set a boundary with yourself to begin recognizing negative self talk rather than allowing it to run amok. Most of our emotions, including an amygdala hijack, can be traced back to thoughts and beliefs we are telling ourselves so it’s healthy to become self aware.

Boundaries with co-workers or roomates

Everyone desperately needs boundaries and we do ourselves a disservice when we aren’t clear with other people about what’s okay and what isn’t. Let’s say you usually let a co-worker borrow just about anything on your desk but now they have stopped asking and go into your drawers whenever they need something. If it bothers you then this would be a moment to set a boundary. You could say “I’m usually fine with you using things but I would like you to ask and not go through my drawers” politely the first time you notice it happening. If you wait and say it weeks or months later you may end up saying it in a passive aggressive way because you feel walked on. This will take some time getting used to but the more you do it the more clear your boundaries will become. It will help you to not harbor any resentment and your co-workers will respect your honesty. But it will take time if you aren’t already doing this. Be prepared for them to begin setting their own boundaries as well.

The same goes for roommates, but because it’s also where you relax you may need to pick your battles more carefully. Maybe they took your clothes out of the washer to do a load of laundry and it really aggravated you. If you left it in there for a couple days, well then, that’s your bad. If, on the other hand, they did it the moment it finished it may be worth a conversation like this “I completely understand that sometimes we need to get laundry done right away, would it be helpful to have designated laundry times for each of us?”.

If you don’t typically set boundaries, expect pushback.

Some people will simply never take responsibility for their behavior. That’s ok. They don’t have to. Some people will challenge you just for the sake of challenging you. Sometimes they will think your boundary is “rude”. You always get to decide what behaviors and responses are ok with you. When you set boundaries for how you want to be treated you will be happier and have very little resentment.

It’s totally NOT easy

Boundaries are difficult to set, especially when people are not used to you setting them or when YOU aren’t used to setting them. Just remember, boundaries are very healthy.

Boundaries with family and partners

We build many, many, many you have unspoken contracts with the people we care about. The most common is between partners that you will be connected to someone no matter their behavior. When you voice what’s ok and what’s not ok, with LOVE and grounded confidence, you will begin to decipher who really belongs in our life. You will lose friends, you will become estranged from some family members.The ones that stay will help you grow. When you set appropriate boundaries with family and significant others your message will become clear “this is how I want to be treated, this is how I will treat you back. If that’s not okay with you then I wont make space for you in my life”. You will begin to hold one another to higher standards, love bigger and forgive more often. This is the area that will flourish the most when you marry self-love with firm boundaries. Your circle will likely change, maybe a little, maybe alot. When you set boundaries through the lens of love and compassion you realize it’s ok if some people go, because you may just need to let them go in order to grow.

The Triangular Theory of Love

Science-Based Life

I am going through a number of personal events at the moment. I have recently ended a relationship that lasted over half a decade and am beginning a new one. At the same time I am taking a free online lecture course from Yale in psychology. Where do these things intersect? At love. Or, more specifically, what love can be defined as psychologically.

The Love Triangle

Developed by noted psychologist Robert Sternberg, one widely used psychological conception of love used is The Triangular Theory ofLove.

Via Wikipedia

According to Sternburg, any permutation of love contains at its root three components. They are:

  1. Intimacy: Feelings of attachment, closeness, typified by sharing secrets, etc.
  2. Passion: Feelings of sexual and romantic attraction.
  3. Commitment: A willingness in the short-term to create and maintain a relationship and long-term plans to sustain the relationship.

Of course, a “perfect” relationship in…

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Finding heart 

I’ve been searching for lately. Asking for strength, for signs that I’m on the right path. Yesterday, a friend pointed out the heart rocks on my stove. Then another friend  called me to tell me she understands and that love can be a roller coaster. Today I heard “heart of the matter” on the radio. My heart is in love. I’m having a love affair with myself. Taking care of myself as best as I can while still showing love, respect and consideration to others. I’m grateful that I have the ability to choose my life path and the ability to love with every part of my soul. I’m grateful for my blog, my friends and my unconditional support system. Are you having a love affair, with anyone or anything? What are you grateful for?