HOW TO CREATE CONSCIOUS RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR LIFE

With the divorce rate rising at a rapid rate, families and relationships struggling and so many people hurting and finding it so difficult to get over what has happened and move on with their lives it always triggers these questions in my mind.

Where are we going wrong in our relationships?
What preparations need to happen and what deeper understanding of what marriage or any committed relationship actually is, what it means and what has to be there for couples to create a conscious relationship.

It is time for change, massive change. The huge costs incurred, broken families, strained and dysfunctional relationships, physical and emotional damage and the ripple effect that flows out into our communities and society is overwhelming.

I remember a time when I would walk past a young couple on their wedding day and see how happy they were, how beautiful everyone looked, I felt the love and excitement in the air and quietly wished them a long and happy life together.

These days, not so much! Now I look and wonder how well prepared they are for the reality of marriage and committed relationships. I question whether they have talked at length about what plans they have in place to cope with babies, or not cope with babies, money and finances, different sexual drives and desires, periods of ‘not coping with life,’ feeling resentful and unfulfilled in their work, work and life commitments that demand so much time that there is little left for anything else.

My work of course brings me in daily contact with women who were just like the young couples I mentioned, once upon a time. Now they are struggling to come to terms with a life that is falling apart all around them, they no longer recognise the person they married or aspects of themselves as their daily reality is spent dealing with access to money being cut off, meetings with lawyers, working out custody arrangements, selling the family home, finding somewhere to live, getting emotional and practical support and guidance from professionals like me, kids off to counsellors and in many cases finding out that there is already another woman waiting in the wings ready to step into their shoes.

I recently shared a post on my Divorced Women’s Club Facebook Page about Conscious Relationships. A new concept with the presupposition that if what we are currently doing isn’t working it’s time to do something differently.  This is the edited version of what a conscious relationship is, to read the full post click this link.

Welcome to the path of the conscious relationship. This is next-level love …
1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship – growth comes first. Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out.

The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive. Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship. Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too.

2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their s#*t.
Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.

3. All feelings are welcome and no internal process is condemned.
In a conscious relationship, there’s room to feel anything. Not only that, there’s room to express those feelings and fantasies to your partner. This is edgy territory… it’s not easy to do. But it’s also one of the most healing things we can experience in a partnership

It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are, and to stretch yourself to let your partner do the same. You may not like what you hear; in fact, it may trigger the hell out of you. But you’re willing to be triggered if it means your partner can be authentic.

4. The relationship is a place to practice love. Love, ultimately, is a practice. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories.

Sometimes we treat love like it’s a destination. We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. In my mind, this is missing the whole point of love.

The conscious couple is fiercely committed to being the embodiment of love. And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before.

~ Shelly Bullard, with Maria Mesa, Huda Musa, Stuart Jeffries and Lolita Concepcion

I’m absolutely in agreement that our current paradigm is not working and something needs to change, I also believe our younger generations coming through, perhaps children of divorce, will be looking for better ways to relate with each other in all of their relationships.

The example I have used of what Conscious Relationships are is perhaps a somewhat extreme example, in which case I’d like to spend more time sourcing information and get some real world feedback of how this works in the real world for couples.

I deal with the reality of many relationships everyday, perhaps that is clouding my view, I do know though that I’m not quite ready to jump onto the conscious relationship bandwagon just yet.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

HOW DO I PUT MYSELF FIRST AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT?

When someone asks a question like this, or makes a statement along the lines of “I can’t because” there are a whole lot of beliefs about what they must do, what they should do, how they supposed to act and how much or how little they value themselves.

It becomes a very real problem when other people expect us to always be there for them, to jump when they say jump or allow them to speak to us in ways that are unacceptable. If we don’t value ourselves, our time, our goals and our dreams how can we ever expect other people to value us? We end up becoming people pleasers and as a result lose our sense of who we are and our self-respect.

We teach people how to treat to us and if we want things to be different we have to retrain ourselves first. When we change it creates a ripple effect on the dynamics of our relationships with our loved ones, our friends and in the workplace.

For those of you reading this who think you might be a people pleaser check in and ask yourself how many times you do something out of a sense of ‘duty’ or because of what someone might think about you and then notice how that makes you feel.

Now ask yourself how you feel when you decide that you really want to do something for someone, regardless of the inconvenience and take particular notice of how that makes you feel.

Deciding to do something for someone when it is coming from a place of giving is a very different experience from those times when we agree to do something that we really don’t want to do, or we alter our plans to do something to fit in with someone else and there is resentment, anger or we experience a general feeling of being pissed off.

There is nothing wrong with putting ourselves first, in fact if we don’t know how to say NO then we are giving people the green light to walk all over us. We have let them know that their life, their goals, their wants and their desires are far more important than our own.

I remember when I first started work after being at home raising my kids for many years and one of the managers asked me to prepare a report. ‘It must be completed by the end of the day as I need it first thing the next morning” he said. To do this I had to stay back later after work and arrange for the kids to stay with a neighbour for a few hours until I got home. I placed the report on his desk as I left the office.

About 4 or 5 days later I was in his office and I noticed the report still on his desk where I had left it. When I asked about the deadline he had put on having it finished he said ‘the meeting isn’t until next week, I just wanted to get it done straight away.’ A big lesson for me, it never happened again simply because I asked better questions about deadlines and timeframes.

We all want to be liked and loved it makes us feel good right? Friendships and relationships are the perfect training ground for us to learn how and when to draw a line in the sand and when it’s OK to go along with what other’s want even if we aren’t all that keen. It’s about finding that balance between what’s important and what isn’t and when it comes to friendships and relationships it’s about being willing to walk away from the ones that are no longer aligned with who we are.

I would like to share something I read many years ago from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that had an impact on me at the time and still resonates deeply with me.

“A personal mission statement based on correct principles becomes a standard for an individual, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives.

Once you have that sense of mission you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values that direct your life. You have the basic direction from which you set your long and short-term goals. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents and your energies can be effectively measured.

Many of us, me included, allow other people and circumstances to have an influence on our day to day lives that takes us away from doing the things that are most important to us. Writing this blog has been a wonderful reminder for me to go back and reassess where I find myself in relation to my personal mission statement.

Which brings me to ‘self-love’ or lack thereof.

Many people give too much and love too much and then wonder why they are left feeling unappreciated, unloved and dissatisfied with life.

If you identify as someone who gives too much and you are frustrated that your goals and dreams are sitting out in some far distant future this is the perfect time to write your personal mission statement and enforce boundaries around how you use your time and your energy.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au
With love and gratitude
Jenny xx

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WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR EFFECTIVE SELF LEADERSHIP?

As I began to think about writing this blog I went to my bookshelves and was astounded at how many books I have that are related in some way to ‘leadership’.   Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead, Stephen Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Ken Robinson The Element, Malcolm Gladwell Outliers to name a few and I’ll throw in The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz slightly off topic and yet fits beautifully and is one of my favourites.

What is self-leadership? What exactly does it mean?

Andrew Bryant in his book Self Leadership defines it as having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do and where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviour on the way to getting there.   All of this can be summed up as self-awareness and the maturity to take responsibility for your personal development, goals and outcomes.

Women come to me for help. The end of a relationship is a highly emotive time and there is not a great deal of difference in the emotional and physical responses from the stay at home mum with children, the women who have been married for 20+ years and professional women in those first 3 to 6 months. Divorce wipes people out, they can’t think straight, and many lose every inch of their self worth and confidence. Their lives have been turned upside down and they struggle to come to terms with the reality of a situation they never signed up for.

There is no way I could address all the different situations and circumstances that women come from and through because of the end of a relationship. Relationships do not fall into a common category simply because no two people involved in a relationship have the same personalities, beliefs, values or lifestyle choices as any other couple on the planet.

What role does self-leadership play in the lives of women going through divorce and conversely for those who are ready to step into a new relationship?

What’s the difference between the women who are able to get their lives back on track more quickly and those who stay stuck for years hanging onto their story?

In very simple terms the difference is this: the women who get on with their lives choose to create a different story.

This is where self-leadership falls nicely into this conversation.

Here are the three important components of effective self-leadership inspired by some brilliant writers and thinkers.

Self-leadership requires self-awareness

Women who move on with their lives more quickly after separation and divorce have a clear perception of their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

They are willing to ask for help and they are coachable. By that I mean they use the tools and resources I teach them to take control of their emotional state on a daily basis. They want someone who will be honest with them and allow them to uncover their own answers to questions and solutions to their problems.

They are willing to let go of the things they cannot control, how other people act is always a trigger in separation and divorce situations. They are willing to accept that they have no control over what the other party might do or say knowing that they do have total control over themselves and how they respond.

Self awareness is many things including:

Listening to our internal dialogue and recognising when we are making judgements about other people, circumstances or situations based on the story we are telling ourselves, essentially making up shit!

It’s about knowing what questions to ask yourself to gain insight into the what, the why and the how of a situation.

It’s about being in control of your own mind, where you focus your attention, your emotions, your responses to situations and ultimately your behaviour.

When it comes to creating change in your life being in control of your thoughts comes first, the emotions, the language you use to describe a situation and the actions you take all follow on from your thoughts and will have a massive influence on how you view the world around you.

When it comes to facing those curved balls that life tends to throw our way from time to time self awareness is critical when it comes to managing yourself and your situation.

When it comes to wanting your life to be better or different in some way, knowing what it is you want and being absolutely clear about why you want it is essential for moving forward.

Self-leadership requires living according to your values and priorities.

Living according to your values and priorities will show up in your life on a daily basis.

Being fit and healthy is both a value and a priority and it will be evident in the choices you make about what you eat and as a priority it will influence how you plan your day.

Stephen Covey discusses our independent will as human beings that make self-leadership possible: “It is the ability to make decisions and choices and to act in accordance with these.” Successful self-leaders are those who live according to their values. They know what to say “yes” to and have clarity on what to say “no” to.

Self-leadership requires taking personal responsibility for your development.

Self-leadership requires a willingness to learn from the people around us. If creating amazing relationships is something we desire then we spend time finding out more about how we can do this, speaking to people, researching and getting very clear on what an amazing relationship looks like and feels like for us.

You can substitute any other quality or trait for the word relationship, wealth, freedom, contribution, independence, creativity, community, honesty, self-expression and so on.

We all have the ability to continually improve ourselves, our lives and in turn the lives of others. It is a journey and once to take that first step you soon discover that there is no end to this journey. As we grow into being more of who we really are without all the bullshit beliefs and lies that we have told ourselves, our dreams, goals and desires also expand.

Accept that there will be times when we fail, we fall in a heap, we struggle to continue, and yet we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue on the journey knowing that we have just taken one giant leap forward.

There is no taking away the heartache and pain we experience when it comes because of the challenges we face with separation and divorce, that’s a fact.

My clients know that once they have moved through the worst of the situation and out the other side, there is a whole world of new possibilities and opportunities waiting for them to discover. And that’s when we begin to create magic together.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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MANAGING FALSE ACCUSATIONS

When I made the decision to specialise as a divorce coach to fully utilise my skills and experience and implement access to the resources that were missing when I went through my divorce, I became exposed to many aspects of human behaviour that defy belief.

When two people are involved in conflict, one or both parties driven by a desire for revenge and control with the sole intend being to destroy their ex partners life, their careers and/or their relationship with their children.

The way they go about doing this is calculated and specifically targeted where it will cause the most damage to the individual, hit them hard where it hurts the most, that means using the children and making life extremely difficult by completely stopping all access to financial support.

How they go about this is often starts by setting the stage very early in the separation phase or prior to this in some cases. Changing bank account access, moving money out of accounts and making false accusations about how they treat their children or their mental state to family, friends, day-care staff or teachers often sighting abuse against the children or that they are emotionally unstable.

A word like abuse is open to interpretation by the listener. This of course triggers all sorts of alarm bells in the listener who has their own meaning of what this word suggests. Children are the sharpest weapon with which the high-conflict parent can cut their target to the core, hit them where it hurts the most and this is why it happens far too often.

If you are in a situation where you are seeing signs that you are being ‘setup’ by your partner or ex-partner, or if false accusations about you have already began then it’s time to start taking steps now to be fully prepared for what may eventuate.

  1. You have a voice recorder on your mobile phone, ensure that you use it for all conversations you have with your ex, or other relevant parties, save them with the date and time
  2. Written daily documentation of interactions with your ex, your activities, little comments that someone has said to you that has caught you by surprise, notice if day-care workers/teachers/in-laws are saying or doing things that seem out of the ordinary
  3. At the end of each day document your daily activities, where you were, the times you where there, who you were with or who you saw, why you were there, what time you were there and what time you left Steps 2 & 3 must be done every single day
  4. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for might be a long and arduous battle ahead and this means engaging professionals to help you. Nutritional needs, a personal trainer, attending the gym regularly, yoga classes, long walks along the beach or wherever you feel most at one with the nature, a divorce coach who is more than a counsellor, someone who will provide you with the tools to ensure that you can control your emotional state at will so that you can engage in those difficult conversations without reacting to comments designed to get a highly charged emotional response from you
  5. When it comes to false allegations the stakes are very high and you will need a lawyer who is experienced in this area
  6. The Divorced Women’s Club a private/secure online support group for women and access to these women, many who have been in a similar situation, will ensure that you don’t feel isolated and alone

If you find yourself in this situation or feeling uncomfortable about some things that are being said or done then it’s time to pick up the phone and speak to someone who is experienced in this area to express your fears and concerns and start making details notes in your diary today.

To share your thoughts or your story please email me: jenny@divorcedwomensclub.com.au

With love and gratitude

Jenny xx

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