Sometimes, it happens. You divorce or breakup and realize there are still feelings there for your ex.
Of course, this is natural. Some of us will always feel a certain love or affection for our former spouse or lover. This week, I answer Sharon’s question about being in that space for 18 years.
The 3 main tips I share with her are:
1. Accept that you may never have the closure you desire. Lean into that feeling and get on with your life, Sassy Pants!
2. Play a game with yourself in which you remove the possibility for a future relationship with your ex. How would you spend your days, weeks, months differently? Now go do that!
3. Realize that you deserve more. Begin to take off your “rose-colored glasses” and see him and the relationship in a different light.
As you approach your first holiday season solo, does it seem like every jeweler in America is out to get you? You know what I mean. All those commercials where a beautiful but breathless woman warmly embraces her handsome man after finding a 45-carat diamond necklace in the glove box of her brand new giant-bow-adorned car. Ugh! Sometimes, the thought of spending time alone during the holidays made me feel like the world’s biggest Scrooge. But…I had a choice to make: Either I could be a victim of the season or I could kick holiday butt. Instead of being defeated by my new status as a single gal, here’s how the latter option worked out for me:
I had a schedule. This is very important. If you don’t have a schedule, you can get caught up in woe-is-me time. My family celebrates on Christmas Eve. My first Christmas alone, I had the ENTIRE day on Christmas all to myself. Something that I really wasn’t looking forward to. After all, I couldn’t stroll the aisles of the book store for a couple hours just to get my mind off things. I couldn’t order in my favorite Chinese food or even do a Taco Bell run. Unless I wanted to hang at my neighborhood Walgreen’s (which IS open 365 days a year and would be sign of true desperation), I would have to be home…by myself…for hours…and hours…and hours. I made up my mind that I would try to make it as fun as I could and do everything that I loved.
Several days before Christmas, I chose a recipe that I’d been meaning to try and shopped for all the groceries needed to make it. I also bought myself a couple cool gifts that I really wanted and wrapped them. Yes, you read it right. I WRAPPED MY OWN PRESENTS. I am not ashamed to say that even if you think I’m a little crazy because I had the best time opening them up on Christmas morning. No joke. Afterwards, I made myself some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Easy enough. I lounged about, took a nice long bath and gave myself a manicure. I also watched “A Christmas Story” and “Grumpier Old Men” a couple times a piece. Around 6 p.m., I opened a bottle of wine and sipped it as I made myself a fabulous pasta dinner. It was a bit strange to sit down to a table alone (as my young daughter was with her father) but I did it. Then I relaxed some more and read the book that I gave myself. As I snuggled into bed that night and reflected on the day that I had been dreading, I thought to myself, “Wow. It wasn’t that bad.”
I’m convinced that having a plan and scheduling my day and being prepared really saved me. That’s what I want for you. Your holiday to-do list looks like this, my Dear:
1. Chose your activities for the day. Whether you’ve got a few hours alone or a few days, what would make you feel great? Or at least good? Do that. Figure out your morning, afternoon and evening and stick to it.
2. Prepare yourself. In other words, if you need groceries to make something delicious, go get ‘em! If you need some sensational gifts under your tree, get shopping! Also, be generous with yourself and get things you normally would never consider ~ splurge a little!
3. Relax and enjoy! Even if you have some moments of sadness creep up, allow them to be there. Give yourself a break because it’s totally natural. However, don’t let them be the boss of you. Say to yourself, “Okay. I’ll have this feeling for 5 minutes and then your time is up!” Then have your time and let it go and get back to the business of cherishing you.
My hope for you is that this holiday season is an opportunity to be gentle with yourself and boost your confidence by spending time alone and doing it with style! Do it for you.
Happy Holidays, Gorgeous! Now go kick some holiday butt!
Okay. Here’s the deal…you miss him. I mean you REALLY miss him. Let me say it one more time – You REALLY SUPER DUPER BEYOND BELIEF MISS HIM! I understand. I’ve been there too. I’ve also made a bloody fool of myself in the midst of a breakup. That’s why I’m writing now. I want to save YOU from making the same mistakes.
So, without further ado, here is a list of things you shouldn’t do during a breakup in no particular order:
1. Drunk dial him at 2 a.m. or sober dial him at 4 p.m. The timing makes no difference. He can see right through this. He knows what you’re doing and you’ll feel like a fool afterwards. Really…you will. It seems like a gem of an idea after a couple margaritas with the girls. You get home. You’re feeling lonely. You imagine him feeling lonely too. He might need to hear your voice to comfort him through this time, right? WRONG!
2. Make up an emergency just to talk to him. So you twisted your ankle playing volleyball. Or maybe you won an award at work. Or maybe your dog vomited. Or maybe you’re just hoping for a “good” reason to contact him. Is this information he really needs or wants to know? Honestly? Huh-uh. No, Ma’am. He’s no longer in your life so he doesn’t get to hear about everything that’s happening to you whether it’s good, bad or otherwise.
3. Beg. Really? You’re fabulous. Why would you beg a moron who doesn’t realize your fabulousity to stay with you? Makes no sense. It’s beneath you. Don’t do it.
4. ”Accidentally” run into him. Yeah, we’ve all done it. You get that surprised look on your face and say, “I didn’t know you were going to be here!” Really? You so did. You knew he was going to be here and you planned it like this. The only thing you didn’t plan was the look on his face that says, “Oh, no. She’s here! Shit!” Not very fun. Not a good time. I know this destroys your vision of him looking at you, suddenly realizing what a dreadful mistake he made and taking you in his arms while simultaneously begging for forgiveness and booking you a trip to Bermuda. I wish I didn’t have to crush your dreams this way but…it’s highly unlikely that your dream will come true. Instead of planning a run in, why not spend the time getting a manicure or walking your cat? Both are better uses of your valuable and beautiful self!
5. Answer when HE calls at 2 a.m. or 4 p.m. for that matter. If you do, you will be providing what I call “breakup assistance” to him. This means that whenever he’s feeling a little lonely or reminiscing or regretting his decision – you’re always there for him to lean on. Effectively, you are helping him get over you. What? You want to HELP him get over you? Get over it. You deserve better. If he doesn’t want all of you, then he doesn’t get little bits and pieces here and there when it pleases him. If you give in, it will start happening less and less because…well, you’ve helped him get over you. Wouldn’t you rather help YOU get over HIM? Now that sounds better.
If you follow this list of don’ts — no matter how tough they seem — I promise that you’ll feel more confident about YOU and the choices YOU make! After all, you are FABULOUS!
Ahhh, yes, the good ol’ weekend is upon us. Do you remember the days when you couldn’t WAIT for Friday afternoon? The rush of the anticipated weekend plans kept you going all week? Then…you find yourself un-coupled and sometimes, when you’re coping with divorce or a breakup, weekends take on a new meaning. I remember those dark days well. My excitement was replaced by anxiety. Sooooooo…how was I going to fill my time? I mean big, huge CHUNKS of time ~ not just an extra minute or two here and there. The planless weekend seemed like it would swallow me up. Either that, or I’d emerge Monday morning with tear-swollen eyes and remnants of Ben & Jerry’s in the corners of my mouth. The weekends became my enemy.
It really wasn’t so bad if I had my daughter. She kept me pretty busy and we’d go here and there and have fun. But the weekends without her…oh, dear. If you understand where I’m coming from, I’ve got a few tips that will help you get through the dreaded weekend. Soon enough, I was actually enjoying myself just a wee bit. Then more and more and more until finally…I RELISHED every moment alone! That’s right. Just me, myself and I having a great time! Woo Hoo!
Try these out if this weekend feels like this to you:
1. Make a serious plan of action. Not kidding. DECIDE what you’re going to do with your weekend. Take the power back. Make a little list with each half hour of the weekend and figure out how you’re going to spend it. Maybe you’ve got some plans. Maybe you NEED some plans. If you already know what you’re going to do, it takes the edge off. P.S. Make sure you’ve got some fun in there!
2. Do something alone that you’ve always wanted to do. I went to an art gallery opening once. Yeah, I’ll admit…it was a tad awkward but guess what? I had fun anyway. I felt good being out and about and I was proud of myself for doing it alone.
3. Head to the nearest book store or coffee shop. So what if the Friday night crew at my local Borders knew me by first name? I liked being there and immersing myself in a book or two took my mind off other “things.” Sometimes, we don’t need to really engage other people ~ but just being in their presence helps our own energy to soar.
4. If you want to feel bad, then feel bad. However ~ and I’ve said this before ~ this is a “timed” activity. Give it all you got for 10 minutes and then move on to being happier and sassier, Sweet Stuff!
5. If you need overstimulation, go for it. When I was feeling lonely, if I kept my house really quiet…I began noticing just how quiet it was. No child. No husband. No laughter. Ugh!! So silence really bothered me for a while. I’m not a huge fan of TV (unless it’s shameful reality TV like The Bachelor or Keeping Up With the Kardashians) but boy, I had it on all the time ~ just for background noise. I’d read a book and watch TV and do my nails while checking email ~ you get the picture. It’s okay to be in this space for a while.
6. Bonus tip!! Remember the quote: This too shall pass. Let that sink in. It’s hopeful and it’s true. Time passes. Heartbreak eases. You find joy again.
All right, Sassy Pants, now get out there and get your weekend on!
As some of you may know, I like to get out in the local community and connect with others. One of the ways that I do this is having an exhibitor’s booth at community events. I did just that on July 26. To set the stage, this is an outdoor event called MarketFest. It runs from 6 to 9 p.m. The night began gloriously. Not a cloud in the beautiful Minnesota sky. It was a bit windy but I was going with the flow. Around eight o’clock, the sky began to darken a bit. Oh, well ~ I thought to myself ~ we’re almost done. It will be okay.
Guess what? Right after that, the weather began to change rapidly. My husband had just arrived to visit and he had to park our vehicle six blocks away because the Fest was so busy. The wind began to howl. Everyone scattered. Next, I could hear LARGE droplets of rain start to pelt my tent. I started to chuck all my materials, tablecloths, etc. into my bins. The tent was in danger of being blown away so we had to try to get that down as quickly as possible. Once we had everything ready to go…you guessed it…my husband had to run/walk six blocks to get our truck so we could load everything in it. Luckily, I had brought an umbrella. Also, right before this little adventure began, I had ducked out to grab a burrito at one of my favorite food trucks. I had time to kill, a storm blowing through, my burrito and an umbrella.
My choices were: Try to find cover, surrender my burrito and shrug my shoulders in defeat
pull up a chair, enjoy my burrito and let nature take its course.
I went with the latter option. I sat quietly at my table, soaking wet, my umbrella trying its best to keep me dry, savoring every bite of my yummy food ~ with a big smile on my face. I knew I wasn’t in real danger because it wasn’t an electrical storm. It was only wind and rain and some discomfort. I tried to make the best of it. People around me thought I was nuts ~ I’m sure of that.
Why do I share this with you? Because I know that dealing with a divorce or breakup is a similar situation. You feel a little scared and out of control. Nothing’s in its place anymore. You wonder when it will end. It’s uncomfortable. It can be dark. You can feel alone.
Carlos Castaneda, a well-known spiritual author, said, “We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.”
So I ask you: Next time you feel scared, uncomfortable or uncertain, what will you choose? Are you going to be lost in the dark abyss or go WITH the flow and come out on the other side feeling stronger and more confident than ever?
Since I know how amazing you are, I know you’ll choose to enjoy the burrito in the rain.
How do you choose to view your breakup or divorce? Are you at the point of barely surviving? Struggling with each day? Well, there comes a time – and yes, it will come even if you don’t believe me right now – where you’ll turn “surviving” into “thriving.” How do I know? Because it happened to me, too.
This reminds me of a scene in the movie Bridesmaids. Do you remember where Megan meets Annie and is describing her fall off a cruise ship? According to her, she “broke a lot of shit. But I’m not gonna to say I survived. I’m gonna say I thrived.” After seeing this again recently, I thought to myself, “Gee, Megan’s right. We all have a choice during hard times, and we have power over our perspective.”
You see, you can’t really change the situation, itself. You are dealing with a divorce or breakup. It stinks at times but what’s the difference between surviving and thriving?
Surviving is just what the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as ~ to continue to function or prosper despite. Interesting that even Merriam-Webster (whoever they are) put the words function and prosper into the definition as those words mean different things. This, of course, fits nicely into this article because, there again, you can choose to merely function or to prosper despite the situation. So I ask you: Which one sounds better? Surviving is sometimes all you can muster for a day ~ especially if it’s a tough one. Even on those days though, doesn’t thriving sound more fun?
How do you get to the thriving, though? Well, I’ve got a few tips to help you along.
1. Reflect and learn. Even when a relationship ends and you feel like you know what, there’s usually a ton to learn about yourself and relationships if you look for the golden nugget of knowledge that’s available to you. How does looking back help? Well, you can see things that you liked and didn’t like and either recreate them or make a solemn promise to yourself that you’ll love yourself enough to never be in that kind of relationship again.
2. Be kind to you. Yes, this is a recurrent theme in my articles because why? Because IT WORKS. Paying attention to yourself and being ultra gentle to you is a great habit to begin or strengthen during a difficult divorce or breakup. After all, you’re all you’ve got. Since I’m guessing you’ve got a little extra time on your hands because you’re single now, how about doing something nice for you?
3. Kick negativity to the curb. Sure…it’s easy to focus on the so-called “rotten hand” you’ve been dealt. It’s human nature. I get it. But how would it feel to begin focusing on the good instead? Right now, you could write down ten things that you’re grateful for and change your mood instantly. You could call one of your friends and tell her how much her friendship means to you. You could compliment someone and make them feel great about themselves. There’s plenty of ways to take the edge off and put a smile on your face as you go through your day. Why not make the decision to be happier and spread some joy?
So it really comes down to what you want to do with your day. My question is: Are you going to survive or ARE YOU GOING TO THRIVE? If you’re the Hip Chick I think you are, I know you’ll declare your superpowers and THRIVE!!!
Last week, I talked about settling for a so-so relationship. You know deep down inside that it’s not going to lead anywhere and he’s not Mr. Right but you hang on anyway. Why? Why would you do this when you’re so fabulous and deserve so much more? I asked you to begin thinking about the things in the relationship you didn’t like. Maybe it was some of his qualities or the way you related to one another or perhaps you forgot about or diminished your own needs. If you missed the video, click here to watch it now.
This week, I wanted to talk about a very important list. In life, I believe it’s important to get clear ~ I mean really clear ~ like razor-sharp clarity. This list is much more fun to compile than the one from last week because we’re focusing on what you WANT in a relationship. It’s everything you’d like to see in your ideal man ~ the qualities you’d like him to have ~ the way you’d communicate ~ the things you’d do ~ your sense of you being in the relationship. It’s all of those things wrapped into ONE list.
Here are a few tips on making the most of your wish list:
1. Frame it positively. For example, instead of writing, “He’s not a cheater” write “He is loyal.” Instead of “He’s not a slob” write “He appreciates organization.” You get the idea. Make the statements from a positive angle with a positive thought in mind.
2. Keeping adding to or changing your list as you have new experiences. I remember once during a lunch date with a “Match.com” suitor I thought I noticed that he had tiny hands. I mean REALLY tiny hands. I tried to be sly and use my peripheral vision and soon it became clear that ~ YES ~ he had what I know fondly refer to as Oompa-Loompa hands. They were the smallest hands I’ve ever seen on an adult man. As soon as I got home from our first and last date (I could go on and on about why this was the case but I’ll save that for another time), I wrote down on my wish list “He has man hands.” The importance of such criteria had never struck me before that moment but suddenly, it became very meaningful.
The photograph you see is an actual excerpt from the list I made before I met my husband, Jeff. When I met him, my list was two pages long. It seemed like I had wished for a lot and I had a few doubts about finding a guy that could meet even half of these wishes much less all of them but you know what? Jeff actually did fulfill ALL of my wishes. It’s funny how when you put it out there dreams can come true.
I invite all of you this week, who feel ready to let love in, to start making your wish list. After all, what if it comes true?
I’m coming to you live this week from my backyard. Trust me, when you live in Minnesota, you’ll take advantage of EVERY chance to be outside in the beautiful spring weather.
So this week, the question I’m asking you is: Have you ever settled for a less than stellar relationship?
Do you know why?
What steps could you take to ensure you don’t wind up in the same spot again and again and again?
Please click on the video above and check out my first tip on how to break this pattern! After all, you deserve it, Beautiful!!!
Are you facing a tough choice? Wondering if you should leave a relationship or stay? Click on this video to find out what you can look forward to when you finally MAKE that tough decision.
Let’s face it. Sometimes, when dealing with a breakup, you just have one of those days. Nothing seems to be going right. Everywhere you look, there are reminders of him or something else that makes you feel bad (like empty Haagen Daz containers littering the kitchen table). Once in a while, you might even have several bad days IN A ROW. Ugh!
It’s not necessary to spend another minute down in the dumps. We make choices about our mood every day. So the question is: What are you going to do to bring yourself up ~ to make things a little lighter and brighter? Pick even one of the five ways listed and I guarantee you will return to your cheerful self in no time!
1. Fake it. Sometimes, ACTING like you’re happy actually turns into BEING happy. ”When you smile, even if you’re not genuine, it sends happiness signals to your brain and makes you feel much better,” says Simon Rego of the Montefiore Medical Center. Also, try it while looking in the mirror. It’ll shoot another round of happiness indicators to the brain making you ~ right ~ even happier!
2. Exercise. Of course I’d say exercise. Why? First of all, it helps you to release endorphins which will naturally boost your mood. Secondly, if you choose a bit more aggressive exercise, say kickboxing or a punching bag, you’ll also take out some of your frustration in a safe and positive way. Afterwards, you’ll most likely think a bit clearer and therefore have a better perspective on the awesome life you’re building for yourself!
3. Wear something new and different. Maybe you’ve got an outrageous lipstick color that you never wear ~ wear it today! Or maybe those new shoes are still sitting in your closet begging to be worn. When you feel good on the outside, you’ll feel better on the inside. How about going to a store at lunch and spritzing on a new perfume? Sometimes, just a little bit of self-care can make a huge difference.
4. Veg out. Yep, distract yourself. If we have too much free time on our hands, it can lead down a spiral of doom. Let’s stop the spiral NOW! How about rewatching your favorite movie for the 101st time? Or going out to lunch with friends? Try out a new coffee shop in your neighborhood or grab a book and let your imagination go?
5. Have a venting session! You can either do this alone or with a trusted pal but here’s the kicker: Set the timer for 15 minutes (yes, really) or have your friend do it. ”Before you start, ask your friend to set the timer for 15 minutes,” says Darlene Mininni, author of The Emotional Toolkit. ”That’s a good amount of time to get things off your chest. Any longer and you’ll start focusing on the negative stuff too much.” Then ~ vent away! Rant, rave ~ or whatever you need to do. But remember: Only in moderation. You’ll typically feel a relief after venting. Afterwards, choose to be in a great mood the rest of the day.
Whether you’re dealing with a divorce or a breakup, you will have good days and bad days. Just remember that you can always turn that frown upside-down. It’s a choice. You are powerful and you can change a bad day into a good day! Best wishes for many good days ahead!