Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Story About Love



This is an exciting post to write...as it was so unexpected...

Like completely unexpected.

As I look back on my path... I can't help but think the entire universe conspired to help me meet him. 


Isn't it funny how a broken path can lead us exactly where we're supposed to be?

On paper, he's everything I imagined my ideal partner would be.. He doesn't know this (unless he reads this haha) but sometimes I look at him and wonder if I wished him into existence ... Impossible since he is older than me lol ... but still ....I like to imagine we were crafted to fit.

While I've never wanted a man to "complete me"... I have always wanted a true partner. (Random side note: Shel Silverstein's book, "The Missing Piece" perfectly illustrates this. It's my favoriteeee!)

A relationship where....
...we help one another

...inspire one another to be our best
...we respect one another
...encourage one another
...have each other's best interests at heart
...and we're best friends.

Someone who has my back and does what they say they will do... someone who I can count on. 


Now before I get wayyyy to ahead of myself... our relationship is just about rounding the 4 month mark. A mere speck on the relationship longevity meter...but I just can't help myself as I have never felt this way before. Cue the fireworks, butterflies and stars in my eyes.

While I don't want to put any pressure on this new relationship, you guys know that I always do my very best to listen to my gut. My instincts & my intuition tell me to stay the course =)

I, without a doubt, have learned more about myself in the last 6 months...than I have in the last 30 years of my life. As I look back on previous relationships, I can so clearly see the lessons, the reasons they could never work out, and ultimately I am grateful for them because they led me to this point.

This is hard to articulate... but I've realized something a bit astonishing. Something I think I always knew (deep down) but was afraid to admit... so let me see if this makes any sense...
In the past, I was hurt very deeply in a relationship where I felt like I gave my whole heart. When it dissolved, I couldn't imagine that I would ever recover or love that way again.  Along came my next relationship...someone who was totally different... kind and patient.... BUT wasn't a perfect fit for me. It was an okay fit. It felt like a "safe choice" where I could avoid getting hurt...because I  could 
never love him deeply, passionately and truly. 

However, we all know how that story ends (see my previous blog posts lol). It was unfair to both of us...and I wish I could have spared us both the pain.

But as hard as it was... it makes me appreciate how I feel now about 100 million times more. (And hopefully he feels the same way)

"God blessed the broken road that led my straight to you."
Ok so I know many of you have been wondering how this all happened...


Well......

At the end of my last relationship, I started seeing the Christian Counselor my best friend recommended. As we were working through things like forgiveness, my patterns, behaviors, and beliefs... I became slightly obsessed with just becoming BETTER. Everything from my health...my spirituality...current relationships (family, friends etc) ... to future romantic relationships...

I started reading a book that inspired me to take action. Now I feel like I should say... my counselor was against this lol  She felt like I needed to take a year to myself, to process everything and focus on me. While I think that is solid advice, I just didn't feel it was right for me.

As I mentioned above... I was basically trying to make the wrong relationship work... Fitting a square peg into a round hole... we just weren't right. In that sense, I felt like I had already spent a couple of years "sitting on my hands."

I wondered if I would ever meet someone that I was truly head over heals crazy about.

My friends know... when I get an idea in my head... I like to ACT on it. IMMEDIATELY.  It's how I've ended up painting my entire house in the middle of the night because I got the inspiration to change the walls at 8pm. Or how all of my furniture ends up completely moved around in a single afternoon.

Anywho, this book talks about a concept called "Duty dating." Basically, you go on some dates with guys you might not necessarily have chemistry with to practice... By practice I mean... work on your conversation skills & practice being a lady.  During this process, you might end up going on a date with someone you DO have chemistry with.
(Disclaimer: This does NOT mean to go on a bunch of dates and act scandalous.) Does that make sense?


Ok so I know the concept sounds a bit... odd?...but it got me thinking...

With my current situation, the ONLY way I was going to meet a nice guy was...

  • At Target
  • At the grocery store
  • At the dog park
  • ....maybe Home Goods? 
I'm still fairly new to Florida (aka still clueless about what to do/where to go)...and I am not going to be heading to the bar anytime, ever.
Let's be honest... What are the chances of me bumping into a single, handsome, put-together guy...who I have chemistry with...   It wasn't looking good.

One of my very dear friends moved to a new town after graduating. Between work and all of her responsibilities she didn't have time or the desire to go out... making it nearly impossible to meet someone. Now, she's happily engaged to a great guy she met on Match.

That got me thinking...

I do everything else online...why not give it a whirl? I thought surely it would take 6 months...maybe a year before I met someone I really clicked with...

Made a profile...which I nearly nearly deleted the next day. I have no reference point for how many messages people typically receive... but it was a bit overwhelming... and... let's just say I got some reallllyyy interesting proposals haha

(An awkward side story: My last relationship was over for months & months before I was ready to make it "Facebook Official." In the meantime, I had just created my Match profile. A girl here in Tampa, who was also on Match, sent me a very kind message warning me that someone created a fake profile with my pics on Match. I was SO caught off guard that I fibbed about it! OH MY!  I definitely owe her an apology! Since I was just testing the waters, I didn't expect anyone I knew to see me! haha WHOOPS! ) 

I ended up going on two very boring coffee dates. One decent but VERY platonic coffee date... but they were a nice distraction and a nice way to ease myself back into the single world.

I decided my main focus was going to be on living my life to the fullest...love or no love...

Then...

I saw a very handsome guy pop up. I was intrigued... but didn't want to make the first move.

Thankfully...he saw me and messaged me.

I had a lot going on that week...and wasn't in a huge hurry to waste an evening LOL 
 

In hindsight, I'm glad I was so "whatever" about us meeting up because it just made our first date that much more memorable.
I thought it might be fun to share some of our first texts =)   Basically... Saturday... Feb 13th... he had dinner reservations... which I declined. I was volunteering at the animal shelter until 9pm... at which point I would be a sweaty mess (not the best scenario for a first impression)... but hey, how 'bout tomorrow?  ....
...then I got home and finally realized "tomorrow" was VALENTINE'S DAY. Uhhhh I basically just asked a guy to take me to dinner on quite possibly THE most awkward and weird day for a FIRST date... 
....He was sweet enough to find out whether or not we could get a reservation...  but leave it to me to forget to respond with whether or not I wanted to go.... 

...and then get lost on my way there. Park WAY too far away ...and I had to call him for directions even after he sent me the name of the restaurant, directions to get there and instructions on where to park! LOL I don't drive well under pressure haha

I didn't know what to expect...and while I threw on a dress and some heels... I spent too much time at the dog park to bother fixing my hair or put a lot of effort into my makeup. 


BUT... it was worth all of the hassle... because as soon as I walked up... sparks... weak in the knees...took my breath away. I instantly regretted not doing my hair LOL

We had such a nice dinner... during which he said I barely looked at him. We laugh about that now, but o.m.g I was so nervous. I can't even remember what I babbled about.. What I DO remember though... 

A nice dinner. Great company. And never wanting the night to end. 

He took me for a nice (but windy) walk through the park after dinner... was so polite, kind, well mannered (my weakness)! 


Since our first date, I haven't been able to get him out of my mind. He has awakened parts of me that I didn't know existed... That might sound a bit sexual? But to clarify.... I mean... he lets me be feminine.  With him around, I feel safe. I can put my guard down - I don't have to worry or be a stress ball.

One of the challenges with being a girlboss is feeling like you have to be in charge of EVERYTHING. While I LOVE being a BOSS and running my own business, in my "personal life" ...it's such a relief to trust someone enough to call the shots. 

I feel a little crazy saying this...I realize it's SO soon... but because of him...I have this desire to start a family.  
 I've always wanted kids in a very abstract "one day" in a galaxy far, far away kind of way...  But now, I've literally almost blurted out..."I want to have your baby" hahah (dear Lord, help me if he reads this LOL)  

What I adore about him... He's brilliant. I love his brain and that he is constantly teaching me new things. He's RELIABLE, sincere, open and truthful. 

I love that he is so thoughtful and affectionate. He will randomly bring me flowers...or do little things like pack my favorite drink for a trip to the beach.

I asked him to grab me strawberries at the store. Normally, I will spend about 5 secs looking at the packages before picking one... but he was considerate enough to look through all of the strawberries and pick the very best one for me (PS they were to die for!)

When he kisses me, it feels electric. I still get butterflies and little hearts in my eyes when I see him. 

It's not just about passion. It's about the quality time spent together...holding hands, sitting together, enjoying one another company. It's about all of the meaningful and meaningless conversations. We can laugh about everything and nothing. Serious or silly... I love it all. 

When all you have to do is look at one another and you both feel warm and cozy inside.

I love that he's willing to try new things with me (like painting portraits of the dogs) or going on both grand and mini adventures alike.

I love that he's a realist...always prepared for what may be around the corner.

I love that we can work as a team...something as simple as doing the dishes together. I feel like we have each other's back.
It's about being happy to be together....even when you wake up and your hair is explosively messy...you look at one another (with bags under your eyes haha) and smile.

 I wanted to share something my counselor gave me that was super helpful. I didn't want to jump into a relationship that might not be right for me...so she gave me a list. It's 4 pages long...

You can see it here: Ingredients for a Successful Relationship

Group 1: Deal Breakers & Red Flags
Group 2: Characteristics for Compatibility
(Example: In the past, I overlooked a lack of ambition in my partner (even though that was very important to me... but over time that became a HUGE issue).
Group 3: Things you will have to continually work on in any relationship.

As we started dating, I went through this list and even talked to Rich about some of these things to make sure we were on the same page. Honestly it's a great list of topics to think about and would have saved me a lot of heartache if I had it years ago haha

Our story is so DIFFERENT from what I expected...something I never could have predicted. It just goes to show that God always knows what he's doing - even when we feel lost or clueless. We may not always understand his plan, but over time it becomes joyfully clear. 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.















Monday, June 6, 2016

Restoration Hardware Hack - DIY Vintage Book Decor




Time for another Restoration Hardware Hack! This time it's all about DIY Vintage style books for decor!

You guys know I LOVEEE DIY! Annddd I LOVE Restoration Hardware. 

While I think they have amazing furniture that will last a lifetime...their accessories can be a bit INSANE. 

If you have ever shopped at Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn, they load HEAPS of books on shelves, endtables and anywhere else they can cram them in LOL
While I think they overdo it... I'll admit I love the look.

If you want a small bundle of books filled with blank pages, it can set you about $125. Uhhhh NO...Just No.

LUCKILY.....there are a few VERY inexpensive options.

OPTION #1 Head to Goodwill and ransack their book section. For about $1 a pop, you can snag some awesome, aged paperback books. Rip off the covers and you're good to go! (I have these on shelves all over the house).
You can also UPCYCLE some (not-so) old novels into "antique" book bundles by soaking them in tea and letting them dry and bundle with twine! 










OPTION #2 If you need BIGGER books, you can check Home Goods or TJ Maxx for inexpensive FAKE books. (You know...the ones that are boxes for your treasures hehe)
Get crafty and you can TRANSFORM them into some magazine worthy accessories.

I started with these super busy, dark fake books.

You have a few options for covering them... 
  • PAINT  I would recommend a white matte paint like chalkboard paint 
  • FABRIC  You can Mod Podge some muslin fabric on those babies!
  • OR....I wanted a very CLEAN but vintage look (if that makes any sense) ...so I opted for a thicker sketch paper in ivory. 



I had 5 books total to cover and basically experimented with different methods...from measuring and using ONE solid piece...to measuring three separate pieces (Front, back and spine)

Because they are supposed to have a vintage look to them...you really can't mess them up.

As a kid, my mom was always a huge fan of Mod Podge (...or Modge Podge as we all call it :P ) I never appreciated her obsession until I started doing little projects. That stuff is AMAZING.

Finished Product: 



Thoughts...YAY or NAY?


If you love Hacks & knock offs, check out my Pottery Barn Style vase for only $8!
Pottery Barn Knock Off

Another FAVORITE project...how to turn a shower curtain into a HUGE piece of wall art 
My FAVORITE project EVER- Shower Curtain Wall Art

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bouncing Back (Better than Ever) after a Betrayal: PART 2


In case you missed PART I, you can read about my story here
This is such an important (and emotional) topic that I wanted to continue the conversation and share more about how I was able to heal and move on from a betrayal.

Every situation and relationship is different. In some cases, a couple will decide to work things out and become stronger and more bonded than before. I cannot speak on how to mend or repair a relationship...

In my situation, the relationship ended and I found that it was more helpful to create a clean break.

Did you know...

Women release a hormone Oxytocin (The Love/Cuddle Hormone) which triggers a bonding feeling...that verges on physical addiction Lol  After being intimate... the sound of his voice, the look on his face, his touch, the smell of his cologne... all become intensely associated with the pleasure Oxytocin brings. It keeps you bonded to him, even if (rationally) you think you aren't compatible or a great fit.

Soooo if you are splitting, be mindful of this. Protect yourself (if you can) from the touch, sight, sound and smell of your ex. Do this for your physical, mental emotional well-being lol! And over time that bonding will melt.

To do that effectively...you have to set boundaries and clearly communicate them. Otherwise, you will find yourself in situations that stall your healing.

Setting boundaries 

  • With HimThis was very interesting. Initially we had some "housekeeping" issues to wrap up (and he needed to finish packing/moving his stuff)
    That was fine and to be expected...however my ex basically wanted to be "remain friends"

    While that might be dandy for him, all it was doing for me was keeping me in a constant state of anger. As I mentioned in Post 1, I would swing wildly between feeling sad, okay and extremely angry.

    His strategy to remain friendly did not help my healing...In fact, when he called her right in front of me (to complain about me)...I nearly lost my mind and threw a fork & a can of cooking spray across the room. Okay I'm not proud of that, but I did realize that for ME to heal...I needed to be vocal and firm about boundaries.

    At first, that meant MINIMAL communication. Which progressed to no communication.

    The sound of silence...how sweet it is! 
  • With family, friends and well-meaning people 

    People in your life want to love on you, support you, and tell you how awful your ex was (We never liked him anyway! etc...)
    Okay, at first this is super fun. You just want to rehash the details of how he did you wrong, hear the gasps and marvel that your ex could be such a jack@$$.
    I think there is a healthy level of venting, but after a certain amount of time passes...and you are trying to move on (remember...you don't want to get stuck in one of the stages of grief)..it's time to put a halt to the smack talk.

    If you read POST 1 (sorry to keep referencing it lol) I talked about the importance of self care: 
    "Go do things you enjoy! Spoil yourself! My friends encouraged me to get out of the house, try new things, WORKOUT, get a pedi, take a class, go somewhere NEW! It helped me focus on LIVING & put my attention on making new, positive memories"

    You can't focus on NEW things...if you are stuck gabbing about the same injustices!

    If friends/family want to keep talking about it, there is a polite but firm way to move on. You just need to let them know.
    "I really appreciate you having my back! Right now it's important for me to focus on the future - It's more helpful to me if we talk about that. Thanks for helping me keep my attention on the good stuff to come! "

    Other situations might arise where you run into a friend or neighbor who just found out... or who you haven't seen since the breakup....

    Instead of going down the rabbit hole with them and indulging the conversation, I would say "It's true that our relationship is no longer...but I'm focusing my attention on the future. No sense in rehashing all of the hurtful details."

    People responded very graciously and respecting my boundaries.
Continuing the healing... 

My ongoing therapy with my Christian counselor helped more and more as the weeks went by... 

And while I was VERY nervous to search for bible verse for this next assignment, it's something I continue to revisit anytime an old belief pops into my head. So I urge you to at least give it a look!
 



Healing Homework: Assignment #2 Changing your Beliefs about Yourself & Others

"Belief" is defined as acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
But what if what you believe is based on lies or false perceptions?

Our beliefs are developed by layers of experiences over years of time...things we've seen modeled, things that have happened to us or those around us... and our brain works to assign meaning to these events.

Those deep down thoughts we form about ourselves and others are called "Core Beliefs"  Those suckers can keep you stuck in a cycle or holding pattern, preventing you from living your fullest life.

Consider this:
Hurtful experiences = Beliefs = Expectations = Behavior 


A hurtful experience happens...we assign meaning to that experience. That becomes our belief. Our beliefs lead to our expectations about how life and relationships work. That expectations will affect our behavior...which effects how people behave towards us. 



We end up acting in a way that aligns with our belief system. Those behaviors set us up to REPEAT the experience...which FURTHER reinforces the belief.

Example: If you have been rejected in the past, you might develop the expectation of rejection. Every time we think someone is rejecting us...it deepens that belief and it becomes what we continually expect.  If you expect to get rejected...you go into your relationship bracing yourself for the pending hurt/rejection. So we act or behave in a way that pushes people away.

It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Eeekkkk! Right?!

Identifying your Beliefs

Ok, can't believe I'm sharing my ACTUAL homework sheet haha So you guys can see what sneaky beliefs have plagued me... But basically... Look through the list and check off or note any of the statements that come into your thought process when you are going through a difficult time.
I also wrote mine own belief in on a blank space.



If you can't see it very well or want to print it out, I've uploaded this entire assignment here :What Do I believe? Homework

It's interesting when you started to dissect where these beliefs stemmed from. Sometimes it's not an overly traumatic event...it's simply how you interpreted an event.

As an example: One of my false beliefs was "Everything in my life is temporary."
Growing up, we moved around quite a bit so I never had those lifelong childhood friends or "THE room I grew up in."  I actually somewhat enjoyed moving and meeting new people, but it set a belief in me that everything is temporary. Why bother getting to know the neighbors? Why bother getting involved in the community?
That was definitely a lie and a false belief I wanted to change immediately.

Yours might be totally different than mine because they are all based on our personal experiences and how we assigned meaning to those events. The goal here is to become aware of them so you can create a NEW belief system.

Changing those FALSE Beliefs into a NEW Belief Based on Truth

Make a chart with three columns and list all of your old beliefs (The Lies we tell ourselves), make a column for your NEW beliefs, and a column for Scriptures that back up that belief.

From there, you will write your New Belief in the middle and look for scripture to back you up.

I realize this might be confusing for some (especially if you are like me and aren't very familiar with looking up scriptures), but I promise that it's incredibly healing and helpful. If I was looking for a scripture about needing to be in control, I simply googled "What does the Bible say about...control"

Or I would google "Bible verses about trust"

My counselor was amazing in guiding me but I can at least share my homework and provide you with some EXAMPLES.

Once you find a Bible verse that speaks to you...put in on your spreadsheet!


Next, you will say this prayer over each belief.


This is something that is EASY to just do...and then totally forget about. But if you are serious about building a new belief...it's just like forming a new habit...you need to reinforce it everyday until it becomes second nature.

To make it into a habit, put your new beliefs on notecards. Write the scripture on the back and read these before you start your day.

Because you have acknowledged those old beliefs (the lies), you will start to notice when they come up.

Just as an example, in my new relationship...I started to feel these weird untrusting feelings ... that had NOTHING to do with my boyfriend... and EVERYTHING to do with my past experiences.

I whipped out my notecards...

My Lie: Men Can't be Trusted
The TRUTH: God will Guide me (and will illuminate any untrustworthy people)
The Scripture: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


I read that everyday because I do NOT want my past to determine my future. The last thing I want is to push good people away and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. 


Scaled Down Version of Homework
If looking up scriptures makes you uncomfortable or you want to keep things simple, take out a sheet of paper and fold it in half. One one side, write your ole beliefs...on the other side...write a positive message at affirms the opposite.

Example:
Old Belief: "I deserve to be unhappy"
New Belief: "My thoughts are filled with positivity, my life is plentiful and I deserve happiness, joy and love"


Whether or not this homework speaks to you, I think one of the critical components to healing and bouncing back better than ever...is simply acknowledging what hasn't been working in your life.

When I took the time to think about my belief that "I have to be in control or everything falls apart"...I realized that belief could have a negative impact on my business (not just my personal relationships). It gave me the confidence to loosen the reigns, to delegate some things out and let people SOAR.

My hope is that by sharing, you are able to look at some areas of your life that aren't working for you...and remove that invisible emergency brake that is holding you back from (healing, success, happiness, etc....)

PART III is all about finding love again! Can't wait to fill you guys in on our little story! God works in mysterious ways! hehe


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bouncing Back (Better than Ever) after a Betrayal: PART 1

How I Bounced Back after a pretty big betrayal... and landed on my feet...(only to be swept off of them. Look for PART II hehe)

Infidelity, dishonesty and betrayal all pack a heartbreaking punch. I wondered...how can I ever heal? And how can I prevent this unfaithfulness from ruining my future happiness? 


Before I begin, I just want to remind everyone that I am NOT a certified, licensed, expert in anyway... I am simply a girl working to life her best life (out loud) and sharing lessons as I go.

I ALSO realize that there are THREE sides to every story. 

  1. Their Side
  2. My Side
  3. The truth 
I do not intend for this to be a witch hunt, to air a bunch of dirty laundry or disparage anyone. 
However...before I begin...I feel that it's important you at least have some context. I'm not sure what type of betrayal you may be healing from, but my hope is that no matter what...you can pull from helpful lessons from my story.

Ok so here's the situation.... I was in a serious, committed, long term relationship. I intended to spend my life with that person.
I found out that person was seeking attention from several other women and ultimately moved to another state to start a life with one of these women.

While no relationship is perfect and there were many areas where I could improve, I was just as blindsided and shocked as everyone else when the truth came out.
There is no good way to hear bad news, but I am at least grateful I heard it from my best friend...who was straightforward, gracious and compassionate.

Suddenly your world turns upside down...

Whhhattt? How? When? Why? WHHYYYYY?

My head felt like it was swimming & swirling - completely overwhelmed with thoughts, fears, HURT, ANGER. I had a million emotions, images, thoughts and questions racing through my mind all at once.

You had a life planned with someone...and suddenly the rug is pulled out from under you...bruising and banging up your heart...it dissolves your trust and you question everything.
How could he do this to me? How could he do this to the DOGS - This might sound crazy, but I was more upset that he betrayed our "family unit" aka the dogs.

Then my rational brain kicked in and started thinking about everything from...who is going to take out the garbage? Or pick up dog poop?

I started ping ponging around the 5 Stages of grief

  1. Denial 
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining 
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance 
I would swing wildly between anger, sadness and not caring. This is NOT where I wanted to be...I wanted to be able to close the door on this chapter (in a healthy way) and move on.I had several unhealthy and very UNHELPFUL emotions surrounding this...I would wake up in the morning and realize this was NOT a bad dream..it was actually happening...

-- I rehashed the details over and over
-- Wanted to emotionally hurt him or punish him
-- I lost all love, respect and compassion for him
-- I felt resistant to even dealing with it
-- Denial - Is this really happening?
-- I wanted to know about her-- I had negative emotions about her (Never communicated with her but let him know I thought she was ugly, manly, gross, a B-word, a terrible mother, and a slew of other words I can't repeat LOL)
-- Outrage to find out he did this to his last girlfriend as well...and will do it again. But now 2 children are involved.

-- Reopened old wounds and ways he's hurt him
-- Became completely disgusted and repulsed by him
-- Became resentful & angry at how unfair it was (I took on the bulk of the bills/expenses...and do all of the "heavy lifting" around here...He never paid for much. So it was extra hurtful to feel like I'm carrying this person and they betrayed me).
-- I was angry that he wanted to lean on me to make him "feel like a man" (I kept thinking...my gosh! I'm only human! I can't be everything to someone).
-- I was angry that we were supposed to be a team, a partnership but instead I felt abandoned (...and then betrayed). 

I hate even typing them & it makes me feel very vulnerable to share all of the yucky stuff... but I think it's important you guys know my state of mind. I've learned that for me, HURT quickly translates to ANGER.My gut reaction is to go into protection mode and seal myself off from potential harm...but doing so would also block my from anything amazing happening down the road. 

So how do you even proceed? Process, heal, move on?

My story of healing: 

Thankfully I am surrounded by GOOD women. In the past, I've hard a really challenging time connecting with my faith (that's a post for another day). But my friends have rock solid beliefs and have the most beautiful ways of expressing their faith.

Several months before the betrayal, my friend Lindsay started seeing a local Christian counselor and kept encouraging me to reach out to her. Of course I kept putting it off... but when it was evident that something wasn't right in my relationship...I finally made an appointment.

My experience with therapy/counseling was years & years ago... My younger sister was having a hard time so she started going. They pulled the whole fam into a tiny room for some family counseling. All I remember...lots and lots of tears but nothing felt resolved.

I was so anxious to walk back into the lion's den.  The fear of the unknown twisted my tummy in knots. I didn't know what she would be like...if she would try to hit me over the head with the Bible... or tell me I'm a bad person lol

But I was very pleasantly surprised. "K" is a very gentle soul- she has a soft voice and really intently listens when you talk. She also promised to ease me into the "God stuff"hehe

After the first session, I learned a few things...

1) He had a lot of resentment towards me
2) His infidelity had more to do with him than me
3) He was villainizing me- making me into a monster to himself & our friends
4) I have A LOT I need to work on
5) I have A LOT to learn

"K" my amazing counselor was very literally a Godsend. She helped me process everything and really gave me the TOOLS to overcome such a big hurt.

We met weekly for a couple of months...and went from focusing on this hurt...to then being able to heal from other painful events in my past.

The eternal student in me loves ...LOVES... homework. Learning in the moment is great...but homework allows you to take the time to really STUDY the material and absorb it. It is no longer a passing moment, but instead the lesson is solidified in your mind (at least it is for me lol).

Each week, she gave me an assignment. It gave me something positive to focus on AND when those yucky feelings started to surface again...I was able to whip out my homework and center myself.

I wanted to share some of the assignments that had the BIGGEST impact on me and my healing.

So let's get to it!


  • Healing Homework: Assignment #1 Forgiveness & Release

    Forgiveness: At first, that word punched me in the stomach. So many (angry) emotions came to the surface. Forgiving felt like it was saying everything was all good (no harm done! Now let's be friends and you can ride off into the sunset!)  Umm, H.E.L.L. no haha
    I was still in the stage of wanting him to pay for his crimes...but my counselor helped me realize that forgiveness is NOT: forgetting, downplaying the pain, letting it happen over and over, reconciling and it's NOT about the other person.

    Instead, forgiveness is a choice that allows us to walk in freedom. It means you will no longer allow another person's actions to hurt and control you. When we are able to forgive and release someone, it gives us freedom from their toxic behavior.  It releases us from feelings of resentment whether or not that person deserves your forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is also a process, not a one time event. It's a choice that takes effort over time.

    Forgiveness is peace of mind. It empowers us to recognize the pain we've suffered through...without letting the pain define us. Which is critical if you want to move on and life a happy, healthy life.

    Homework:

    Think about the people in your life (past & present) who have caused you pain that is still affecting you today.

    Then write a letter to those who you feel you need to release painful emotions toward. Pour our your heart and share anything that comes to mind...expressing your anger, hurt, etc... (Do NOT send this letter to them!)

    Don't hold anything back- put it all in. Basically, do a SOUL dump! You want to spill everything out of you and into the letter (empty your soul from all of that garbage). Write until you feel like you are done.

    I had some LONG letters...and some short...But it felt good to get it off my chest.

    I wrote out my letters...and took them into my next session with K. She had me read them (ALOUD! omg! lol). And then we prayed over them.

    "Lord, on (insert date you wrote the letter), I choose to forgive and release (insert name of person) for (state the specific things you need to release) and these things made me feel (state the feelings their behavior caused).

    I ask you Lord to help me let go all the resentment, anger, unforgiveness and bitterness toward (_____). Lord Please heal me from pain, hurt and the damaged emotions that (_____'s) behavior or words caused me I ask you to help me walk in a place of freedom and forgiveness, no longer allowing the events of the past to affect my present or future"

    If you are interested in doing the whole exercise, I scanned in my homework and you can view it here.

    Afterwords, I took the letters home and burned them. Watching the smoke carry away all of those nasty feelings.

    The hurt and anger would still bubble up...and I would repeat the prayer over and over until the feelings went away....
  • "Lord, on (insert date you wrote the letter), I chose to forgive and release (insert name of person).
 Every time those feelings come up, remind yourself that you choose to forgive them and you will not pick up that offense again. Over time, those feelings become less and less until one day...they are gone.
As I mentioned before, I've never been really involved in my faith or church...but it was incredibly comforting to feel like I could turn to God and lean on his strength. The prayer softened my heart and made me feel like God has my back.  

This is simply one of the exercises that help remind me of the big picture. Being able to forgive was so much healthier than me dwelling, gossiping and re-living the hurt on repeat.
I will be sharing homework assignment #2 (my favorite) in my next post!

But for now, I wanted to leave you with some steps that helped me. I'll keep it short because this post keep growing! haha

  • Step Back to Gain Perspective. In the long run, you can use this experience to grow. At the time, it SUCKS and hurts and is so awful. But once I pushed that aside...I realize that in the big picture...I could use this experience to create a better tomorrow.
  • Make a Healing Plan - Seriously! Don't just sit at home and dwell. Ask friends and family for referrals and go talk to someone. Without a doubt, talking to my counselor was the BEST thing I did.
  • Allow yourself to Grieve - Accept your emotions. There is no shame in grieving the loss of a relationship...give yourself grace to go through the steps.
  • Don't wallow in the Grief-  While it's healthy to grieve, you don't want to get STUCK in one of the steps. This is why it's helpful to...
  • Seek Guidance - Talk to friends and family you trust. It's always helpful to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience...but I would caution you not to talk to tear the other person down *(I mean...get that out of your system! lol) But the course of your conversations should be leading towards healing.
  • Self Care! The last thing you want to do is stay at home in your sweats. Do things you enjoy. My friends encouraged me to get out of the house, try new things, WORKOUT, get a pedi, take a class, go somewhere NEW! It helped me focus on LIVING & put my attention on making new, positive memories.


    ((Starting to realize this is such an important topic because so many people experience this on some level... Be on the lookout for Part II and III)