Pushing Love Away

Over the past several years I’ve dated a few really good guys that (at the time) I thought weren’t quite right for me. In hindsight, I realize that they probably weren’t so bad and perhaps I didn’t give them a fair chance. I picked apart every aspect that didn’t fit my endless list of criteria and if one little thing reminded me of my ex…I ran for the hills. Perhaps I was just afraid. Perhaps I was pushing love away because I was scared. Scared of being vulnerable. Scared of being hurt. Scared of love.

Imagine that—being scared of the one thing in life that makes life worth living. Looking back now, I’ve re-evaluated those relationships (short-lived as they may be) and see that I didn’t even give them a try. There are one or two (possibly three) that I now regret cutting short and wish I could have a second chance. Granted the outcome might be the same, but at least I would know that it wasn’t just me resisting love and not wanting to lose my freedom…I would be able to look at the relationship more objectively and not let fear and doubt get in the way.

Some days, I could kick myself because I see these men in a different light and having experienced quite a few dirt bags through dating online–they’re starting to look more and more like prince charming. I sit here wondering how different my life would have been if I had just given them a chance.  I romanticize what could have been and long for the opportunity to have another go at it–like one of those sappy stories of unrequited love you see in the movies. Then, the voice of reason (or perhaps my voice of cynicism) returns and reminds me of all the things I didn’t like about them. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle. On one end, I realize that I may have been quick to give up because I was afraid of opening up my heart and being hurt, but on the other end, I believe that your person will come to you when the time is right and nothing will get in the way.

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One thing I know for sure is that the wall I’ve built around me has slowly come down and I am much more willing to see past the superficial things that prevented me from finding someone before. Yes, I still want them to be tall dark and handsome with a good job, but I’m willing to look past all of those things if they are good to me and I feel a soul connection with them. I mean…let’s face it I’m not as young as I used to be and my options are limited. Lol!

My advice to all those lonely hearts out there who are desperately looking for love; don’t be so quick to judge a person at face value. Don’t chase after people that you’re physically attracted to knowing they’re not good for you and don’t let the “nice guy” get away because he may not be your type. Look past the outer shell and see who they are on the inside and more importantly how they will treat you. Don’t set yourself up for another heartbreak and feeling rejected by focusing on looks and looks alone. Yes, you have to be attracted to them, but one thing I’ve learned is that you have to look beyond the physicality of a person. There are guys I didn’t find very attractive before, that I find extremely attractive now because of the fact that they are good men who would probably treat me like a queen.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to see that at the time, but I’m not going to let that happen again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dated all types of guys…short, fat, broke, tall, slim and well off…I haven’t been completely superficial, but I have pushed them all away–finding any excuse to hide away from love. Now that the wall is down and I’m working on picking up the pieces and building a new life, I’m looking for someone to be my partner. Not my savior. Not my knight in shining armor. My partner in life that will love me where I am right now at this very moment. Just as I am.

Know that you are good enough just as you are. You don’t need to change to earn someone’s love and attention. The right person will love you just as you are because you love yourself just as you are. Stop doubting your worth and chasing someone or something that is unobtainable or toxic. You stay there because you think it’s safe. You have no expectation for them to love you therefore, they can’t hurt you when they constantly reject you. This is the lie you tell yourself. I know, I’ve been there. More times than I care to admit. Keeping someone at arm’s length just to have someone’s attention may fill a need temporarily, but in the long run you’ll see that it was a waste of time and a way to protect yourself from being hurt again. Real love and being loved is worth the risk. You just have to be willing to try.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Finding a New Perspective in the New Year

If you’re like me you’re probably glad the holidays are coming to an end and you survived another year of accepting your redefined life after divorce. You’re also hopeful for what the new year can bring, but you are SO sick of the cliché saying “New Year New You” clogging up your social media and the harsh reality that another year went by, but not much has changed. This year I vowed to stop making empty new year’s resolutions and make a conscious effort to make real changes in my life and not rely on wishful thinking.  Sure, it starts with wishful thinking and a positive attitude, but you have to take steps to move forward. When a family dissolves, we spend years holding on so tightly to the past that we forget that we have the ability to move forward and start a new chapter in our lives.

We wallow in self-pity, we lament about the family we once were and we stay stuck in the pain of our broken hearts. We forget to live. We forget that this happened, so that we could move on to what comes next and what is meant for us. I promised myself as hard as it is to let go of the resentment I feel at times; I’m going to create the life that I know I am meant to live. It can only happen when you decide to truly move forward and stop blaming your past for your unhappiness. Everyone is in different stages in their grief and I understand that more than anyone, but if I could help in any way to help you accelerate the painful process then that is what this is all about.

I started this blog almost two years ago as a way for me to process my feelings and help others move through their own journey. The journey is never simple and the process in never linear. There are detours and pitfalls along the way that set us back, but we learn from each experience how to grow deeper in our healing and how to let go of the past. You can’t move forward if all you’re doing is looking behind you. You have to make the choice to look towards the future with a new perspective and not allow the pain to define you.

Quite honestly, I’m sick of feeling stuck. I’m sick of resenting my ex for everything that is going right in his life and everything that’s going wrong in mine. He doesn’t hold that power…I do. Only I can dig deep and climb through the dirt and mud to get myself out of this hole I’ve been in and I’m ready to lift myself out of the misery and find true happiness again. Things will shift for me this year, because I’m going to make it happen. I can’t depend on anyone but me. That is the harsh reality for most single parents doing it on their own and my situation was no exception. No one is going to swoop in and rescue you and fill your life with butterflies and rainbows. Another person isn’t going to make you happy again. Only YOU can do that. You have to find the happiness within, so that another person can share it with you. Do you honestly think you’ll find someone to make you happy if your miserable? Sorry honey, it doesn’t work that way.

For years I was perfectly happy being single and loved my independence–until the floor collapsed from under me. I realize now that all of this had to happen to help me realize that closing myself off from love and relationships wasn’t the answer. That was my defense mechanism. It kept me safe from being hurt again. What I realized when I’m alone on New Year’s Eve (for yet another year) is that to feel truly happy, I need to rebuild a life that makes me happy in order to attract the love and trust I’ve always desired. No one deserves to be miserable. No one deserves to be lied to and mistreated, but how many people stay in toxic relationships or careers believing there’s nothing better out there for them? I was so foolishly loyal that I would have stuck through anything even if it was damaging my soul. That was true of my marriage and my career. These turn of events had to happen so that I could find my voice and demand better for my life. And for that I am truly grateful.

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I’m finding it in my heart to accept and forgive and be grateful for everything that’s happened in my life because every trial, every bump and every disappointment is bringing me more clarity and closer to a life of true happiness. Embrace those tough lessons because you will look back someday and see them for the gifts they really are. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and take action to make changes that will move you forward instead of grasping on to the past that causes you nothing but pain. It takes courage and dedication but the rewards will be worth all the struggle. That isn’t wishful thinking…that’s how the universe answers your prayers.

With Faith Hope and Love,

~Teresa

My Christmas Wish

I made a vow to myself that 2018 will be the year of positive change. Out with the old negative thoughts and beliefs and in with a renewed view of life. With every new year I have said this and waited for the change that never came. The truth is, I took a passive approach sitting in the passenger’s seat waiting for the universe to magically give me the life think I deserve. It’s time I sit in the driver’s seat and instead of waiting for positive change to happen– I’m going to make that positive change happen.

Since my divorce I’ve been through a complete transformation. I found the different parts of me that were hiding behind the title of mother and wife. I was lost. I was the shell of an image that I thought everyone wanted me to be. I began to find myself as I explored my new found freedom living for the weekends with friends reliving my 20’s that I never had. I thought at the time that life was good and I was happy being single and free to make my own choices. I thought I was finding out who I was. I was wrong. In early 2015 a bomb was dropped in the middle of my fun filled life when I lost my job. Suddenly, I was forced to wake up and re-evaluate my life. There I was a single mom with no one to lean on and no one in my life that could help me pick up the pieces to rebuild my shattered sense of self. I was still lost.

Once thought of as a success in my work and a strong mother– was now a harsh realization that I had failed once again. The pain and despair I felt was paralyzing and fear filled every fiber of my being. I knew I had to be strong for my children, but inside I was falling apart. I was putting on a fake smile and trying desperately to rebuild my life, but the hits just kept coming as I struggled to make ends meet. I had to surrender my control and realized that the universe has a different plan for me. I don’t know what that plan is, but I have to trust that the outcome will be greater than my imagination can devise.

My fear has kept me small and alone. I realize now that I am bigger than what I am today and I need to step out of my comfort zone and live the life I am supposed to be living. Not the shell of a woman not fully imagined.  I can’t wait for destiny to make that happen; I have to make it happen. Me…and only me.

Which brings me to my Christmas wish…

My only wish is that God gives me the strength and clarity to move beyond my fears and unveil the life that I have been scared to live. Let the new year bring me renewed hope in what my future holds and manifest the love and success that I know I can have. Shine the light on the path that brings me closer to the life that I desire and the hunger to persevere through my journey. That is my wish…

The difference between this year and the years past is that I am going to move beyond hoping and make these things happen. I’m not going to sit back and wish for it…I’m going to make real changes in order to ensure they happen. If you sit back and wallow in self-pity holding on to the past, you will miss out on what the future has in store for you. The saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” are words to live by. You have to make changes in order to get the desired outcome. Stop fooling yourself and living in the past. What better time to make that change?

I’ve written a list of things I’m going to change in order to get closer to the outcome I want.  You can do the same. The first step is to be clear about what want and what steps you’re going to take to make them happen.  Don’t share them with anyone. Sometimes you can set yourself up for failure if you announce them to people in your life who often don’t want you to grown and change. The world is full of people who judge you, so try not to judge your own progress. If you slip and fall…that’s okay. Accept the misstep and get a deeper understanding of why you stumbled instead of beating yourself up for it. Get back up and try again. The second step is something I’ve already eluded to…re-evaluate the people in your life that may be holding you back from achieving your goals. You may not need to cut them out completely, but you may need to create some distance in order for you to stay focused on your goals. If you find people are toxic and keep you stuck in negative patterns, then it’s time to let them go. The third step is very important and will keep you on the right track—you have to celebrate the little successes and realize that real change takes time and hard work. Perseverance is the key and you can’t give up just because you’re not seeing the results right away. If you stay focused they will come. This is my wish for you.

It’s time for change and the time is now. No matter what it is that you’re struggling with, you’re in control of your destiny. Bad things happen to all of us but they don’t have to cripple you.

 Life is a test of our strength and the determination we possess to overcome those challenges…now show ‘em what you got!

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Moving On

The holidays can be a difficult time after a divorce. The hardest part is letting go of family traditions and trying your best to create new ones. It can be a vulnerable time and emotions can surface that you thought you were over. We start to feel like we’ll never get over this and wish things could go back to the way they were (even if things weren’t so great when we were with them). Often we know that the relationship has ended long before we’re willing to admit it and we hold on by a thread hoping things will turn around. In most cases there is one person in the relationship that is unhappy and they start to slowly drift away. The other person tries to hold on tighter to that last thread that ties them together hoping they can salvage what is left.

Ultimately, the relationship is past the point of no return once a person decides their done. Then you are just left with the shattered dreams and life time of broken happy ever after’s.

We find ourselves years later– finding it impossible to fully let go, wondering how long it will take to stop feeling the loss. Tired of crying over someone who doesn’t belong to us anymore.

Those you lose remain a part of you. It’s hard to get to the place where a memory brings a smile to your face before a tear to your eye.”  ~ Joe Biden

Divorce is much like mourning a death. The loss isn’t permanent, but the constant reminder that someone you once loved has moved on can be just as painful. At first it’s like losing a part of you that you can still feel, like a phantom limb that has been cut from your body. Over time the sadness fades, but it never goes away completely.

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Even when you’ve moved on with someone new the feeling of loss is still there in the memories of a life you once shared as a family. It takes time, but things will get better. You have to be willing to let go and stop looking in the rear view mirror; shift your focus and begin to look forward to the journey in front of you. It’s like self-inflicting torture to keep looking back and it’s preventing you from finding happiness. As hard as it may seem, it is in your power to change your perspective and stop lamenting over the past. Let go of the belief that that person was the love of your life, because if they were you would still be with them.

We tend to romanticize the way things were when we’re missing someone. We forget all the troubled times and the fact that they made you feel unloved. Love isn’t something you have to chase. Love is being accepted for exactly who you are and that person shows you every day that you are the most important person in their life. Anything less is a cruel liar trying to feed their insatiable appetite for admirers. You’re worth more than that. You deserve genuine love and commitment. The hard truth is that person was never really capable of love because they are broken and you’re the victim of their brokenness.

Let them go. Free yourself from the shackles they put you in when they left you. They don’t deserve your tears. They never really deserved you at all. Don’t give them the satisfaction of having a hold on you while you wallow in self-doubt. Know that this was a lesson they taught you and the lesson was to never make that mistake ever again.  You went through this for the simple purpose of knowing your worthy of better. Believing that the future holds something better for you will help you to move forward. All it takes is a change in your belief.

Ask yourself what would you rather…to sit in your pain holding on to the past or to move closer to real happiness? The choice is yours and only you hold the power.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

 

All The Single Ladies

I often wonder what differentiates the people who find love soon after a divorce and those of us that find ourselves rolling our eyes every time we hear that stupid song, “All the Single Ladies” at a party when everyone turns to us expecting our hands to go up like it’s our f**king national anthem. Don’t get me wrong I love me some Beyoncé, but I hate that damn song. Let’s face it…no one likes being single all the time. Even the self-proclaimed bachelor gets lonely on a Friday night or wants to cuddle on a Sunday morning. They’re just too selfish to want to put in the work to keep anyone around permanently. (Too selfish or too scared). One thing I’ve learned is that men spook easily when it comes to real commitment. They tend to want to keep their options open just in case there’s something prettier around the corner. Women on the other hand can be stage 4 clingers and want to attach themselves to anyone that shows them attention. Of course these are complete stereotypes about men and women but they are false beliefs that we carry with us and the reasons why we are still single.

How many times have you heard that “all the good ones are taken”? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that…I’d be rich. I’ve said it myself a dozen times, but I always check myself and realize that I’m perpetuating that belief. The truth is there is someone for everyone. The only thing stopping you from finding love is the road blocks that you’ve created for yourself. Those road blocks may be false beliefs that you carry about men or negative beliefs that you believe about yourself. Either way, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to finding love.

The only thing that prevents someone from finding love is the fear of being vulnerable again and the lack of faith that you will be loved.

Fear of getting your heart broken and the belief that somehow you can’t survive another disappointment prevents the possibility of love finding its way in. Fear that you’re not good enough or the lie that you believe that no one could love you because of the few extra pounds you’ve gained watching depressing love stories while you’re eating your feelings. The reason your single is because you’ve created this protective armor around yourself with a full platoon of reasons why you can’t find a decent man (or woman). Those people that are able to move on quickly are the ones that chose to remain open or they’re just so desperate to find someone new that they settle for the next person that comes along. Either way, they are open and the fact of the matter is that you are not.

I enjoyed being single for quite a few years after my divorce. I was having fun reliving the youth I had lost when I got married at the age of twenty. My armor was on then too but for different reasons. I wanted to be free and find out who I was without the title of wife. Now that I’ve had my fun, I’ve realized that I was attracting the wrong kind of men because of the invisible shield I was carrying that had the letters “F OFF” etched into it…I was hiding behind my pain and fear. I was the reason for attracting those men because a ‘good’ man wasn’t going to come near me knowing there was no way of penetrating my well-armed defense. Does this sound at all familiar? Come on ladies…put your hands up!

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It’s time to put the armor down and surrender to love again. You have to get rid of the false beliefs that you have about men and about yourself. You are good enough and you are meant to be loved. Stop hiding behind the fear and be open to the possibility–that’s when you’ll find it. Yes, I have to practice what I preach and I’m slowly getting there, but identifying it is the first step. Even in healthy relationships we sometimes hide behind our armor because we’re afraid of being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is the only way love can get in, so put down your guard and accept that love is worth it. We all have the scars to prove it.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

 

Dating Depression

If you ask any single person (young or old) how they feel about dating, you’re most likely going to get an immediate eye roll and a response saying something to the effect of “dating sucks”. I remember just before my marriage was ending, I would hear friends talk about how awful the dating world is and I would think to myself…how bad can it be? I used to think it would be so exciting to meet new people and feel those butterflies again–until I had to actually experience it for myself.

The truth of the matter is, that if you’re in a miserable marriage then anything is better than being with someone that doesn’t make you happy, but the grass is not always greener. I’ve been on the dating scene for about five years and it’s been an ‘interesting’ experience to say the least. When I first starting dating it felt so foreign. Granted I had been married for twenty years and had very little experience with dating before then, so when I found myself out at a movie or dinner with another man, I felt like I was cheating. I know…crazy, right? I had this strange feeling that I was doing something wrong because I had been attached to one person for my entire adult life. It was uncomfortable at first and my insecurities about how to act or how I looked bubbled to the surface as if I was an awkward teenager again.

After the initial extraneous feelings, I started to enjoy dating. I thought all the people that hating dating and all the sad songs written about loneliness were all lies because those people perceived being single as something negative out of fear of being alone. I embraced being single and absolutely loved having my freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted. I vowed to enjoy every minute of it and swore I’d never be one of ‘those people’. Now that I’ve been single for a while, I have to eat my words.

You see, when you first get divorced, it is exciting. Somehow you have men coming out of the woodwork showing you all kinds of attention and it feels good at the time. Then, you realize that all those men coming out of the woodwork are actually cockroaches that can somehow sniff out the desperation of a newly divorced woman. I swear it must be the pheromones you give off because men can smell it a mile away. It’s like you’re the new pretty freshmen girl in high school and all the seniors can smell fresh meat. Somehow you’re attracting all the douche bags that see you as an easy target. Sure, at first it’s fun and you’re loving all the attention but then you realize that you’re tired of being with douche bags and you want something more serious.

This is when dating gets a little depressing (especially when your over 40) because you realize that there are very few “good” men that are available. Sorry fellas, but it’s true and if you’re honest with yourself about your gender and how some (not all) men behave, you too would have to admit that good men represent 2% of the single population (and that’s being generous). If you want to believe that you are a part of that 2%…then go right ahead! Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t think all men are assholes and I believe with all of my heart that my “person” is out there. I just realized about two years into dating and over a year of celibacy waiting for the right guy, that he’s much harder to find than I thought and that dating is absolutely exhausting!

You see, dating is like a never ending interview process. You ask all the right questions and think that this person is completely the right fit for the position, only to find out that he sucks. Then you have to fire the guy and go through another endless series of similar interviews. The questions are always the same;

“What do you like to do in your spare time?”

“What do you do for a living?”

“Have you been married and do you have kids?”

“What kind of music do you like?”

“Do you abuse drugs?”

“Do you cheat?”

“Do you beat on women?”

“Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment…do you admire Bill Cosby, Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein?”

You know…you cover all the bases before you agree to meet the guy for drinks and then when he pulls up in a creepy van with no windows, you realize he may not have answered truthfully.

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If you’ve read my blog, then you know I gave dating a go and went out with lots of guys over the years and tried to keep an open mind. I had some good experiences and some not so good (mostly not so good). I’m not saying I’m completely jaded, but I will admit that I did lose hope there for a while. At this point, I have decided to take a step back and not focus on dating at all. I’ve realized that I’m not attracting the kind of guy I really want to be with because I have some work to do on myself. Writing helps me put things into perspective and seeking personal growth will bring me closer to finding the person I am meant to be with.

If I rushed into a relationship right after my divorce just to avoid being alone, I surely would have ended up with the same man in a different body. If I wait too long, I’ll get very comfortable with being by myself and push every possibility away to avoid being hurt. There’s that sweet spot just in the middle where you’ve done a lot of work and you’re on the cusp of turning a corner and that’s exactly where I am now. I’m almost there, but not quite. I know what I need to do and I know I have to allow the universe to unfold and reveal to me why I had to go through all this shit. It’s so close I can almost taste it. All I have to do is be patient and believe that it will all happen when it’s supposed to and not a moment before. Dating is the dress rehearsal and you have to be willing to work and grow before you step out on that stage, otherwise the show will be a complete flop.

You have to believe that the best is yet to come and know your own worth before anyone else can see it too. People know when you’re just faking it and you won’t be able to attract anything positive in life if you hold on to the false beliefs that dating sucks and all men are assholes and all women are crazy bitches. Sure, they are out there and I’ve dated most of them, but I never gave up hope that the one for me is out there waiting for me to fully open my heart. Even if it takes another five years, I will never give up hope because I’m okay with waiting and I can enjoy being single until he shows up.

I was watching one of Oprah’s interviews with the author of “The Power of Now” and “The New Earth”. These books changed my perception years ago and I was reminded again of how we can change the perception of our circumstances by simply making a choice to do so. He said;

“What happens to you in life is ultimately not as important as how you respond to what happens. You can choose how you perceive difficult times and be conscious of how those thoughts will determine the rest of your life” ~Eckhart Tolle

This is an important step in this journey through life and even through tough times you have to choose to see the gifts those experiences have given you–otherwise you will wallow in self-pity and never find the true meaning of it all.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa

Relationship Goals

When you’re single you tend to fantasize about your ideal relationship. You look back at your past relationship and remember how it fell short. You think about all the times they didn’t meet your expectations and just how incompatible you really were. You may have found yourself pretending to like things they liked just to please them. You realize that you may have been bored or felt completely disconnected from the person you slept next to every night.

Fast forward years after your relationship ended and you vow to never feel that you are alone in your relationship ever again. This time around you want to find “the one”. The one that feels like a best friend you could talk to for hours…the one that fits like the missing piece of the puzzle. I believe that we each have a person; call it a soulmate or the love of your life, but I like to think of it as “my person”. He’s out there waiting until I’m truly ready to embrace a healthy relationship. My person will enter my life when I’m free from the house that holds my memories…good and bad. Somehow this house we once called a home is now the remnants of the past that is holding me back from the future. I’m looking forward to rebuilding a new life with my person. All the dates I’ve been on or men that I’ve met are bringing me clarity. Some are here to show me a reflection of myself, some are here to show me not to fall for the same type of man that I had in my past and some are just here to be lovers or friends.  I knew that none of those men were my person. Somehow they fell short or didn’t feel like the right fit.

Those of you that have fallen in love, knew when you found the ‘one’. It’s something so simple and so right. It was a feeling that felt undeniable because it’s not your checklist of physical attributes that you visualized in your mind or the fact that you have everything in common, it’s something much deeper than that…something you feel in your soul. A knowing. When you meet your person, there are no games being played because you are both in a good place and ready to open your hearts.

Conversely, I have seen relationships that may start off a little rocky but develop into something strong because deep down you know they are the one for you. You know because you can’t imagine your life without them in it. After you’ve been heartbroken you tend to doubt your choices or you may think your judgement is somehow damaged.

Unfortunately, there are people that don’t learn their lesson and end up in the same toxic relationships their entire lives. Somehow, they don’t believe they deserve anything more. They don’t know their worth and they sacrifice true happiness by mistaking shallow attention for love. Getting a second chance to find love is a gift. Be thankful for your second chance and don’t take it for granted. Sometimes we don’t get it right the first time, but why not use this time as a chance to get it right the second time. Be clear about what you need from your next relationship and walk away from anyone that doesn’t meet those needs. Define your relationship goals. Look for aspects in others relationships that you admire and use that as your guide.

Recently I went to an outdoor concert with my girls and behind us is an older couple that we struck up conversation with. They opened the back of their car and pulled out a bottle of wine, some cheese and crackers as they talked and laughed. It was clear that they genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. They had raised their children together and were very proud of the rewards of seeing them become successful adults and now they were reconnecting as a couple. It was a beautiful thing to see.  As we left to enter the concert I turned to my girls and said, “that is what I want…those are my relationship goals” This time around I see myself with someone that I can share a beautiful summer night with engaging conversation a nice glass of wine and good music. Someone to laugh with and have meaningful conversation with instead of someone that talks at me and thinks they know more than me. Someone that respects my opinion and isn’t trying to compete with me to be right or highlight my flaws. I want someone that compliments me and shares my beliefs instead of feeling like we’re on opposite sides of the debate team. I honestly can’t wait to find love again, but I’m willing to be patient because this time around it’s going to be right. Yes, relationships are hard work but they shouldn’t cause you pain or make you doubt your value.

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A healthy relationship requires three key things; Honesty, Commitment and Compassion. Without honesty, the foundation of your relationship will crumble. If you are trying to be someone you’re not in order to please the other person and you lie to cover the truth about who you really are– your relationship is based on lies.

Without commitment and the willingness to work hard on your relationship even when things get tough is a true sign of how successful your relationship will be. If you’re constantly threatening to leave the relationship when you get angry or frustrated, then you break the bond of trust needed to make it for the long haul.

Compassion may be the most important one because that is your willingness to put aside your own selfishness in order to give the person you love what they need to feel connected to you. If you’re only thinking of yourself and in your own little world, your relationship will fracture and you’ll lose sight of what the other person needs from you in order to feel loved.

When I define my relationship goals, I visualize connectedness, laughter and truly enjoying each other’s company doing the things we both enjoy. I picture a person with a kind heart that doesn’t feel the need to hurt me because they’ve been hurt. I picture a person that has my back no matter what and someone I can trust with my heart.

If you’re feeling lonely and want that special someone to come into your life, be sure to be clear about what that relationship will look like. Not the superficial bullshit like looks or their bank account, but the way you want them to make you feel. Close your eyes and picture your life two years from now…what do you see? Visualize in your mind’s eye what it looks like and how it feels in that moment. I see myself in a beautiful new home standing in the kitchen talking and laughing with my new love as we share dinner listening to each other’s stories over a glass of wine. I see my best friend and my lover. The one I’ve waited so patiently for….my person. Those are my relationship goals and I won’t settle for anything less. No, things won’t always be picture perfect and relationships take work and understanding, but I believe with all my heart that I will find happiness again and this time it will be with the person that was designed just for me flaws and all.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Finding Gratitude

We all go through tough times. Some more challenging than others, but none the less life always comes with a dose of reality that shows us that things are never going to be easy. Just when I find myself wallowing in self-pity or feeling like the world is somehow working against me, I hear a story that shows me that I need to shut the hell up and be grateful for what I have. A story of a mother losing her child to suicide, a story of a young man becoming a paraplegic from a car accident, a story of a family losing everything they own in the floods in Houston or a close friend losing a loved one. That is when I put it all into perspective. Seriously, the challenges I’m faced with are nothing compared to tragedies others are facing and I need to be grateful that my struggles are minuet in comparison. My children are healthy and safe, I have a loving family that supports me and amazing friends who make me laugh…what do I have to be upset about? Yes, I have financial stress that makes me feel hopeless at times, but in the grand scheme of things…I don’t have it so bad.

When times get tough we need take a step back and take a long look at ourselves. Do I really have anything to cry about because I can’t find a decent man? Is the world going to end because I’m losing a house that I can’t wait to get rid of? Girl please!  Get a grip.  You sound like a real asshole when you’re boo hooing over something so trivial. Something that I can fix. Something that isn’t affecting the ones I love. Yes, your heart was broken and your family was torn apart, but they will mend. You can heal from divorce and the scars will fade, but death and tragedy leave lifelong wounds that never fully close.

Put everything in perspective and find gratitude for all your blessings. Get off that pity pot and get to work on loving your life and enjoying all the joy that it brings. Self-pity isn’t a good look and you’ll never attract positive things in your life if you’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself and holding on to the past. I’m not saying that divorce isn’t a difficult; it’s taken me years to process the pain and disappointment, but what I’ve learn from all of this is that you have to feel those feelings and then let them go. Holding on to the pain will only keep you tied to the past and like a rope tied to your ankle…you can only move forward as far as the rope will let you. Reach down and untether the rope once and for all. Move forward with your life and look at the past with gratitude. Be thankful for the lessons the past has taught you. Those lessons will bring you closer to what you truly deserve.

On those days when you’re feeling down, take a second look at your life and list all the things you’re grateful for. Wake up each morning with the intention to rebuild your life and become a better person. This is your opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes; never to repeat the same ones again. Ask yourself what you love about yourself and what are some things you could do to be better.  Give back to others in need instead of living in the pit of victimization. You will grow…you will love again. Be patient instead of desperate. Know that life only brings you difficult circumstances to help you grow stronger and more resilient. Not to break you and make you weak. I am stronger and I am truly grateful for my strength and resilience. I’m grateful to have an opportunity to find my true self and not the one I molded myself into to please everyone else. Find that for yourself and dare to be who you are meant to become.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Breaking the Chains that Bind You

As I sit here feeling alone and longing for my next chapter to begin, I wonder how I break those chains that bind me to my past. Those chains that keep me fastened to the pain that I thought I had overcome. The pain of heartbreak and disappointment. The pain of wondering if my future holds the love that I’ve always longed for…or is this is it for me? Will I find the love that I’ve always deserved or is the past going to haunt me forever? Will the past be the one thing that keeps me from my future? As I look at the house that we built together that’s crumbling down before me, I wonder if I will ever escape these damn chains. I sit outside our backyard looking at the corrosion that grows between the bricks that we built together. The moss and weeds have taken over covering the memories of our dreams. The once clear blue water of the pool our children played in is now a swamp of grey water. The pictures of the past with smiles and hopes of the future tainted by the reality of our present. We are not a family…we are worlds apart. I grow resentful at the thought of him moving on with the life that we dreamed of living together, turning his back on what he left behind. Yet, I know that although the pictures of his new life appear happy, they are tainted too. We once had those happy smiles and the bond of the family that we built, but now we are strangers.

I’ve been avoiding the topic of what divorce does to our children. As I unpack the pictures that I stashed away in the drawer, I look at the faces of my children as they’ve grown and see the innocence that they once had was stolen away. They will never be the same. My daughter who is struggling to find love in this world of deception and lies. My sons who fail to see that by protecting their heart, prevents them from experiencing love. The pain that I have expressed the many nights they’ve heard me cry has tainted the innocence of their first love. They lost the innocence of what love can bring. Divorce changed them and there is nothing I can do to change that. I grew up in a household of two parents that stood by each other and they will never know that kind of trust. They will forever feel the loss of stability and commitment. Not to say, they are void of finding true love, but they will always hold a guarded view of what love can truly be. That is why I stayed as long as I did. I stayed in a broken marriage to try to save them, but I didn’t save them at all. They are a product of lost dreams and broken trust. The children of divorce survive, but they carry the burden of our mistakes. I can never give that back to them and shield their innocence.

The pictures are painful reminders of dreams shattered instead of happy memories. This is the only chain that binds me to my past. I don’t wish for that relationship to be restored. I only wish it didn’t hurt my children. The only bitterness I hold seeing him move on with his new life is that I’m left picking up the pieces of the shattered glass and crumbling walls. I am carrying the burden of the past he left behind long ago.

Once I am free of these crumbling walls and the bricks that I carry on my back, I can be free of this invisible prison. Until then, I am the one that has to piece them together and mend the broken hearts of my children. If you think that moving on and leaving a marriage that is salvageable is the answer to your problems, think about the effect it will have on the ones you love the most. Your children. They are the collateral damage in your mistakes. They are the ones that will be tainted by your selfish decisions to go outside your marriage to fill a needless desire. You’re not just hurting your spouse…you’re changing the trajectory of the lives of your entire family. And for what? Is it ever worth that?  The answer is always “no”. Love is worth fighting for and family is worth dying for. If you break the bond that holds your family together then you surely will be in chains the rest of your life. You’ll see the pain you caused every time you look into your child’s eyes.

Once trust is broken, it will never be the same. I wish everyone understood that before they made that selfish decision to go outside their marriage. I wish the look of pain in the faces of your family flashed before you before you decided to crawl in bed with someone else. Surely, you wouldn’t do it if you saw the disappointment and pain you would cause them.

Don’t let your family drift apart…it’s so lonely on the other side. Fight to stay connected. Do everything in your power to remember what it was that made you fall in love in the first place. Don’t focus on what they don’t do and push them farther away. Hold them close and tell them what you need to feel loved because once you drift too far away, the tide will become too strong to fight your way back to each other. Pretty soon you will be traveling in two different directions and you won’t be able to find your way back. You’ll seek attention from someone else and your bond will be gone forever. There really is no way of getting back what you once had after you’ve been betrayed. Some pretend for the sake of the kids, but without trust you have nothing. You live in fear and suspicion which makes it impossible to love again.  The resentment never fades. I know… I tried for three long years and I knew I could never see past the lies and deceit that broke our bond. I couldn’t love him because love is about trust and giving yourself fully to that person. I would never be able to trust my heart to him again and that’s when I knew it was over. Perhaps I never trusted him and held him at arms length….never fully giving him the kind of love I’m capable of giving.

This time will be different. The person I love this time will get all of me. I will never be with another man I can’t fully trust because I’ve learned that love doesn’t exist without it. It is the foundation of all relationships and you must trust that person with your entire heart in order to truly experience love. If you don’t trust the person you’re with enough to tell them what you need in order to feel safe and loved, then the relationship will start to crumble.

If this resonates with you in your current relationship then do all that you can to fight for your family. If you’re like me and your trying to heal the wounds from the chains of your past, then fight for yourself and never give up on love. You deserve all the beauty it will bring.

With Faith, Hope and Love

~Teresa

Learning to Love Again

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting people that share their joy, their pain and their insight with me. I’m not big on superficial, empty conversation…I like to get to the core of a person and see them for who they really are and I want them to see me. Through all these conversations, I’ve learned that as humans we share one very important connection. Love and pain. One person’s pain may be greater than another, but never the less pain always exists. The truth of the matter is we would never experience pain if we didn’t experience love first. The pain comes from the loss of love whether it’s heartbreak, death or abandonment. Sometimes it’s all three.

I recently met a woman that opened her soul to me and showed me her pain. Some people are uncomfortable with others sharing those deep feelings, but I find it to be a gift. It’s a gift to me because it allows me to have a deeper understanding for that person and gives me insight into the pain that shaped them into the person they are today. It allows me to see that my pain is insignificant to those who have lived through much worse and the strength of their survival.

Surviving love and loss is a universal law. In fact, loss allows us to love even more deeply than we have before. Loss can also keep us from ever loving again. I’m realizing more and more how guarded I am with my heart. My pride and unwillingness to ever be vulnerable prevents me from putting my heart on the line. I’m easily triggered if I get even an inkling that a person is not trustworthy. Instead of sharing my feelings and helping them understand why I have those triggers, I’m quick to walk away and close my heart. It’s safer there. I see women and men do this all the time. We avoid relationships that make us feel vulnerable. We’d rather be alone or be with losers that we know are emotionally unavailable because we know what we’re getting ourselves into. We know that these people don’t have the capacity to truly love us, so we pretend that using them for attention is enough. Well, it’s not enough is it?  We deserve to be loved and to share the love we have to give. Sex is empty without it. Life is empty without it.

Learning to love again has been the hardest lesson to learn. I’ve spent the past few years pretending to be healed when in actuality, I’ve been building the fucking Great Wall of China with every person I’ve met. The more I like someone…the more vulnerable I feel…another layer of bricks go up. I’ve come to realize that I have to stop the pretense of being ready to love again and actually be willing to risk it. That’s even hard for me to say never mind doing it. The truth is, I’m truly ready to love again, but I have to find someone that’s deserving of that love. Someone I can trust with my heart. Those people are hard to find because at my age, everyone has experienced some level of pain that prevents them from fully opening their heart and showing their true selves.

After heartbreak, loss or abandonment we enter relationships doing a little dance and playing games that test the other person’s level of commitment. We doubt that this person is truly genuine and look for flaws or any red flags to give us reasons to turn away. I’m guilty of this time and time again. The problem is that I can’t determine whether this is my bruised ego keeping me protected from being with the wrong  person again or is it my impenetrable wall of cynicism.  Either way, the wall is there and it’s shutting out any possibility of love.

What I’ve realized in my journey to learning to love again, is that I’m willing to try. I’m willing to be vulnerable. I’m willing to put my heart out there and I’m willing to be hurt. This is the only way I can ever experience love again. The two go hand and hand. Love and pain. Don’t let fear get in the way of experiencing the joy of being in love and the intoxication of passion. Don’t hide behind your wall of pride or the facade of dating people you know are emotionally vacant and only want you for sex. Those people won’t love you—they will only use you and throw you away like a piece of trash or recycle you when they get a little lonely. You should want and expect more for yourself.  Find self-love and respect yourself.  Realize you deserve so much more than what you have allowed in your past. Be willing to open your heart. You will survive just as you have in the past. Use your pain as a guide to avoid the pitfalls you’ve fallen into along your way. Let them see you instead of hiding behind your pain. This is what life is all about so start living and start loving.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

~Teresa