Posted by: silverliningsblog | September 23, 2022

3 reasons why you failed in love before

Most of the women I work with are successful in many areas of life – like career, parenting, friendships – but have repeatedly failed in love.

And I get it if you don’t like the word “failure” – I don’t either – but the truth is, that’s how it feels.

It feels like we should have succeeded in love by now. It feels like we know what to do…but in the moment of truth, we can’t seem to make it work.

And after repeated attempts that don’t work out…we feel like we must be doing something wrong. Or worse, there must be something wrong with us.

What I’d like to share with you today after a decade of research into what makes relationships work and over eight years coaching single women, there isn’t something wrong with you. (Phew!)

But…

You likely are doing some things wrong. (Doh!)

And…

It’s really not your fault. (Phew again!)

There are 3 main reasons why you’ve failed in love before:

1. Your childhood conditioning has led you to make poor choices.

If any of the following were true for you as a child, it is quite likely that you have unmet needs and behaviours that are negatively impacting your adult relationships:

  • Your parents fought a lot and/or divorced.
  • A parent or sibling became ill or died.
  • One (or both) parents worked a lot and/or were away from home a lot.
  • One (or both) parents had mental health or addiction issues.
  • One (or both) parents were abusive and/or neglectful.
  • You had too much responsibility (for doing chores, caring for siblings, working).
  • You moved a lot as a child and/or changed schools frequently.
  • You were bullied at home or in school.
  • You didn’t fit in with your peers…you struggled with shyness, self-esteem, body image issues, cultural differences, or a physical/mental/learning disability.

This isn’t about blaming our parents/caregivers. But the reality is, if you didn’t get your needs for love, affection, attention, affirmation, quality time, safety and security met as a child, it will cause you to show up in your adult relationships like a needy child, desperate to get those needs met.

Your inner child will make impulsive choices that don’t serve you, and will act out in conflict situations. Long story short, the child in you is driving the bus of your relationships, not the adult.

2. You lack the knowledge and skill to create and maintain a healthy, happy relationship.

Let’s be honest here and acknowledge that most people do not know how to create and maintain a healthy, happy relationship.

Why? Because many of us didn’t have great examples at home, and this generally wasn’t taught as a subject in school (certainly not in our generation).

So how do we expect to know how to be successful in love if no one has taught us how?

3. Your beliefs about love are getting in the way of what you want.

Lastly, between childhood conditioning and failed relationships, you likely have subconscious beliefs that are keeping you from getting what you want.

Do you find yourself thinking any of the following?

  • Relationships are hard.
  • Love never lasts.
  • I can’t trust people to not hurt me.
  • I’m not good enough / loveable.
  • I am broken / damaged goods.
  • Things never work out for me.
  • I can’t find / have what I want.
  • Guys are jerks / never commit.
  • I’m better off alone.

If so, you have limiting beliefs blocking you.

So what now?

Once you know why your relationships keep failing, you can begin the work to change things.

What happened in the past may not have been your fault, but your healing is your responsibility
because no one can do that for you.

Thankfully, you don’t have to figure this out alone.

If you’d like to know more about how I help my clients heal their past, shift their beliefs and succeed in their relationships, I invite you to apply for my upcoming free private training on September 27, Heartbreak to Soulmate: How to thrive as a confident single woman and attract a great partner.

This is an exclusive LIVE training only for approved applicants. I will be unveiling the 4-part framework that I’ve used to help many women succeed in life and love. Learn more and apply here.

To your success,
xo Karen

Resources

For more on this topic, see:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

Share your ideas

Why have you struggled in love? Please share…

About the author

Karen Strang Allen


Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | August 26, 2022

Is it love or infatuation?

I’ve received a few questions from women lately that make me realize that people are confusing infatuation with love, so I’d like to clarify the difference.

First, let me ask if this has ever happened to you…

You meet someone (in real life or online or even on TV), and see some characteristics you’ve been looking for, and fall “head over heels,” becoming obsessed with what they’re doing, who they’re with, and whether they’re choosing you. And everything else in your life suddenly becomes less important.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

The feelings are so intense, it seems like it must be love. But is it?

Love vs. infatuation

First, let’s look at the differences between love and infatuation…

Infatuation: 

  1. A feeling of passionate desire and euphoria that quickly consumes you 
  2. Characterized by urgency, sexual desire, idealizing, and obsessive thoughts
  3. Defined by a desire to constantly be together and possess the other
  4. Often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, jealousy, paranoia
  5. They are like a drug to you…you can’t focus on anything else or sleep
  6. You start to feel like you’re merging with the other person and can’t live without them
  7. You may make high-risk choices and abandon other relationships
  8. Long-term effect: Quick start/finish (brush fire), feeling empty and alone, obsessing about what was lost, craving a replacement, missing out on present life/relationships
  9. You lose your identity and feel like a shell of who you once were

Love: 

  1. A feeling of deep affection and respect that builds over time
  2. Characterized by patience, knowledge of and desire for the entire person
  3. Defined by a desire to help the other be their best self and be happy
  4. Accompanied by feelings of fondness, affection, respect, generosity
  5. They are like a best friend to you…you want what’s best for them
  6. You each maintain your own identities, interests and relationships
  7. You work together to settle differences and find win-win solutions
  8. Long-term effect: Security, peace, stability, trust, partnership…a stable environment for stepping out into the world, knowing someone has your back
  9. You grow and become a better version of yourself

How to know if it’s love

So when you first meet someone and you feel excited, how can you tell if it’s real love or not? The truth is, you can only REALLY know this over time.

People will say later on it was “love at first sight,” but really, that’s only because their love lasted…so now with hindsight they can say they “always knew.” But in the beginning, you can’t really know for sure.

In the early stages of dating, the chemistry/spark/excitement you feel is infatuation. 

It’s too early to say you truly love someone as you don’t really KNOW them deeply. And it’s too early for them to know they really love YOU.

Have you ever had someone come on too fast? 

I know I have. One guy told me he loved me within a matter of weeks, and I felt uncomfortable because I knew he didn’t really know me and was in love with his idealized image of me. It didn’t take me long to fall off that pedestal!

And on the flip-side of this, I once had a crush on a guy who didn’t return my feelings. It seemed like he was perfect for me…and yet he couldn’t have been if he wasn’t choosing me, because the perfect partner would WANT to be with me!

The trouble we get ourselves in is insisting that love can come in only one form…the current object of our affection. The truth is, love can come in many forms, shapes and sizes.

Here’s the thing…if you can’t stop thinking about someone and can’t let them go, that’s not love (even if it feels intense). Or at least, it’s not healthy love.

Love is based on wanting the other to be happy…and so if their choice is to be with someone else, then really loving them means letting them go so they can have what they want.

I had to do this with my friend who chose someone else…loving him meant wanting him to be happy, and trusting I would find the person who looked at me the way I looked at him.

What is not love

Too many people use “love” as an excuse to justify all kinds of unhealthy behaviours:

  • Stalking someone online (e.g. tracking someone on GPS)
  • Stalking someone in real life (e.g. driving by their house to see who’s car is in the driveway)
  • Obsessing over someone’s every move (e.g. watching every post on Facebook)
  • Creating “emergencies” to seek out their attention
  • Trying to get between them and their partner
  • Ignoring other important relationships
  • Not meeting your own needs / knowing how to be happy on your own

These behaviours are not signs of love…they are signs of addiction/infatuation.

Take it slow

Real love takes time to build, like a good fire.

Love requires getting to really know someone deeply, and deciding if you can live with their flaws and idiosyncrasies.

It’s ok to be excited to meet someone you think could be “it.” But don’t let your hormones and excitement cloud your judgment.

In other words, SLOW IT DOWN at the beginning.

Get to know them to see if they fit with what you really want. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for yet another short-term relationship that burns out quickly…and yet another break-up.

What do I mean by slow it down? I mean:

  • Pace yourself…go on a date or two a week (instead of spending every day together).
  • Don’t spend every minute of the day texting / watching your phone.
  • Hold off on sex (until you know them better).
  • Hold off on being exclusive and committing your heart to someone you barely know.
  • Get to know the person gradually (instead of investing all your time/energy in them).
  • Keep investing in other areas/relationships in your life (don’t ditch your friends).

Taking it slow is the best way to know if you’ve found the right person for you, and to create a healthy, happy, stable relationship that lasts.

Remember…the initial excitement you feel only tells you this person MIGHT be what you’re looking for. Real love requires really getting to know someone, and that takes TIME.

So be patient, and look for the one who is good for you, not just excites you.

xo Karen

Resources

For more on this topic, see:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

Share your ideas

How do you know when it’s really love? How long do you think that takes? Please share…

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | June 27, 2022

Summer fun as a single!

Summer is a natural time to get out in the world and have fun…so what do you do if you happen to be single?

No need to worry…there are tons of things you can do on your own or with others to make the most of these warm and sunny summer months. If you shift your perspective on being single from “loneliness” to “freedom,” you may be surprised just how much fun you can have!

Fun with friends & family

While part of the joy of being single comes from learning to love your own company, it can still be fun to have companionship for your adventures.

Here are some activities that can be fun to do with family or friends:

  • Host a backyard BBQ or social.
  • Go hiking or biking on a new trail.
  • Rent a canoe or kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
  • Organize a picnic in a park or a beach day.
  • Go on a weekend road trip.
  • Book a cottage and invite friends.
  • Try out a new restaurant.
  • Go to a comedy club or concert.
  • Go shopping (for clothes, antiques, home décor, etc.).
  • Try an adventure sport (like ziplining, white water rafting, caving, rock climbing, bungee jumping, parasailing, scuba diving, sailing).
  • Go dancing or sing karaoke.

Mingling with other singles

It can also be fun to attend social events in your local area where you’re likely to meet other singles. Some places to look for fun events include:

  • Meetup.com
  • Facebook events
  • Eventbrite
  • An Internet search on “events in [your area]”
  • Community boards in stores
  • Community newspapers
  • Asking friends / other singles for ideas!

As a Meetup organizer, one thing I’d mention is don’t be afraid of being the “new person.” There are always new people at these events, and most organizers are good at welcoming new people and helping them to feel comfortable. You’ll quickly get over any nerves you feel and soon be making new friends!

Chilling on your own

One of the true gifts of becoming single is having time to yourself…and the ability to decide to do what you want, when you want.

Here are some fun ways of enjoying your solo time:

  • Book a spa day (or have an at-home spa day).
  • Go for a walk or bike ride by the water and really savour the peace and quiet.
  • Explore a new town or village.
  • Set a goal to photograph as many lighthouses or covered bridges as you can.
  • Have a PJ day where you read a new book or watch movies all day.
  • Make yourself a gourmet meal (complete with candles and music).
  • Take yourself on a date – go to your fav restaurant and book an activity you’ll love.

I hope you have a terrific summer, and that you embrace this time of being single and the freedom it brings!

xo Karen

Resources

For more on this topic, see:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

Share your ideas

What do you most enjoy doing in the summer? Please share…

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | April 4, 2022

The difference between chasing and initiating

Here is a common dating scenario…you go on a date with someone you really like and have a great time. You’re excited to see them again, and eagerly wait for them to message you after the date…only hours go by, even days, and…radio silence. What should you do?!

As a coach who works with single women, I often see women go into “hot pursuit” mode at this point, which tends to scare men away.

This doesn’t mean a woman can’t initiate contact…it simply means she shouldn’t be chasing him like a wild animal after prey lol.

In my early dating years, I made this mistake too. I would get so excited about someone I had just met that I’d communicate a little too often and too eagerly, and then “poof,” the guy was gone.

There is a good reason this is happening…and it’s not because all men are commitment-phobes.

So, let me illustrate the difference between chasing and initiating, so that you have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Chasing: Being overly invested too soon

Chasing (especially in the early stages of dating) is a symptom of being overly invested in someone too soon, before you really know much about them. It has an energy of anxiety and communicates insecurity to the person you’re pursuing.

Signs you are chasing:

  • You are texting/messaging more than he is.
  • You are calling or asking for dates more often than he is.
  • You are not giving him enough time and space to show interest.
  • You are over-sharing about deeply personal things in the first few dates.
  • You are pushing to move things forward when he’s showing he’s not ready.
  • You feel anxious that you’re not hearing back from him.
  • You are cancelling / not making plans with others while you wait on him.
  • You can’t seem to focus on anything or anyone else.

Why this is bad:

  • You are rushing the process of getting to know someone.
  • You are choosing prematurely someone you know little about.
  • You are not being patient and letting yourself enjoy the process.
  • You are investing more time and energy than you’re getting back.
  • You’ll eventually feel resentful and communicate frustration to him.
  • He’ll feel pressure to decide “you’re the one” when he doesn’t know yet.
  • He’ll likely feel you’re too “needy” and pull back and/or ghost you.
  • You are not standing in your value…you should thoroughly vet someone before giving your heart and body to them.

The result of chasing? You will think he’s a jerk when he ditches you…when really, he could feel your anxiety and it wasn’t appealing to him.

The truth is, chasing comes from place of insecurity―of fearing that you’ll be abandoned/rejected―not from a place of faith and confidence in your worth.

This fear and insecurity come from wounding from your childhood and past relationships that you have yet to fully heal. It causes you to show up in your romantic relationships like a little girl, not like a strong, empowered adult woman…which feels unappealing to conscious men who are standing in their power.

(This is equally true when men do this to women…they come across as little boys, not adult men.)

Initiating: Giving them space to move closer

Can a woman initiate contact with a man, and even ask him out?

Sure! But after she’s done that, she needs to lean back and give him the space to move towards her…before reaching out again!

Think of it like a tennis match…once you’ve hit the ball and it goes over the net…the ball is in their court! It’s their turn to make a move. Think of how strange it would be if you kept hitting more balls over the net without waiting for the other to return your serve. They would undoubtedly get overwhelmed, and it doesn’t make for a very fun game for you.

So if you want to send a text or suggest a date or pick up the phone, then do. Once. But then the ball is in his court, and you need to let him make the next move.

What it looks and feels like to initiate (without chasing):

  • You are calm and relaxed.
  • You feel confident in your worth.
  • You are playful and upbeat with your exchanges.
  • You positively and patiently look forward to his response.
  • In the meantime, you focus on other things.
  • You keep your options open and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  • You understand that a romantic partner is a piece of the pie, not the whole pie.
  • You have lots of ways to occupy your time and don’t sit passively waiting.

Why this works better:

  • The guy sees you as a confident woman capable of initiating.
  • But he also has time to make up his mind and space to move towards you.
  • Because you have other things to do, he sees you have a well-balanced life.
  • He doesn’t feel pressured by you and feels free to do as he pleases.
  • He’s more likely to be intrigued and want to reach out.
  • This creates a more even exchange of energy.
  • Communication feels easy, with no pressure to make early decisions.
  • Dating is more relaxed and fun.

And so what happens if he doesn’t return your serve (i.e. reach back out)? Then he’s likely not that interested in you, is seeing other people, or is not ready, and you’re best moving on! Don’t waste your time on someone who is low effort, inconsistent or a poor communicator.

Empowered dating

The way you come across in the early stages of dating has a lot to do with your energy…are you coming from a place of confidence and faith, or insecurity and fear?

If this is something you struggle with and you want to know how to change your dating experience (or how to even get started), I invite you to a FREE online event on April 19, 2022 called Finding Love in these Crazy Times.

During this 60-minute masterclass, you will learn:

  • How finding love has changed in modern times (and since COVID)
  • The 10 biggest mistakes people make when looking for love
  • How to be safe when meeting strangers
  • How to find your soulmate
  • How to enjoy the process of finding your person!

Learn more and register here.

There is also a 1-day virtual workshop on Saturday, May 14 called the Soulmate Attraction Summit.

At this powerful event, you will discover:

  • The real reasons why you’re still single
  • How to avoid the wrong people
  • Why “rejection” is a good thing (and how to get past it)
  • How to consciously attract an evolved partner
  • How to know if they’re a keeper

Tickets include all handouts and recordings, as well as a complimentary Love Breakthrough session, and are available at half price until April 19 at midnight ET! All proceeds go to Women’s Shelters Canada. Learn more and register here.

Best of luck in your dating adventures, and hope to see you soon!

❤ Karen

Resources

For more on this topic, see:

Join our global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other:

Share your ideas

Do you like to initiate when dating? What works for you? Please share…

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | December 28, 2021

Out with the old, in with the new

I love the energy of a new year, as it’s a fresh opportunity to hit the restart button and get things moving in the direction we want.

It also allows us to take stock of how our life is going, get rid of things that are unwanted, and bring in the things we desire.

Releasing what we don’t want

If we never release the things we don’t want, we accumulate too much unwanted energy, which makes it impossible for new and better things to find their way to us.

Imagine continually adding new clothes to your closet, without ever getting rid of the socks that don’t match, the underwear with holes, and the clothes that no longer fit. Your space would get so full you wouldn’t be able to find anything, let alone hang up your new clothes!

So the first step in creating the life you want is to release what you don’t want.

To do this, ask yourself these questions:

  • What did I not like about the past year?
  • What emotions do I want to release?
  • What relationships no longer serve me?
  • What objects do I have too much of that I can give to others?
  • What is taking up too much physical, emotional or energetic space?

Once you’ve identified what you don’t need or want, set aside some time to begin purging and make room for what you do want.

Enjoying the space in between

Often, the second we clear space in our lives, we look to refill it. Before doing this, give yourself permission to simply hang out in the stillness and calm and quiet created by having more space.

Breathe deeply, meditate, and notice what comes up for you. It may be inspiration for something new you want, or it may be a realization that you need less than you thought you did to be happy. Sometimes, when we sit in the space we used to call “emptiness,” we discover a “oneness” and peace we’ve never experienced before.

Calling in what we do want

Once you’re clear on what you no longer need and want and have taken some time to enjoy the space in between, it’s time to get clear on what you want instead.

To help you identify what you want to bring into your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do I want to become this year?
  • What new activities do I want to do?
  • What new things do I want to have?
  • What would make my life better, in each of these areas:
    • Health & wellbeing
    • Spirituality & personal development
    • Home & family life
    • Friends & leisure time
    • Romantic relationships
    • Career & contribution
    • Finances

Once you’ve identified what you most want for yourself in the coming year, spend some time consciously calling it in by writing about it, creating a vision board, or visualizing it happening. The more time you spend doing this, the faster it will manifest.

Then sit back, relax, and trust it will come to you when it’s meant to, acting on any inspiration you feel in the meantime.

Good luck! Wishing you all the joy, love and laughter you can attract this year.

❤ Karen

Resources

Other articles you may enjoy about starting a new year:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

Share your ideas

How do you like to prepare for a new year? Please share

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | November 28, 2021

Celebrating the holidays as a single person

Many single people dread the holidays and want it to be over as quickly as possible.

I mean, who wants to sit next to an empty tree, make a turkey dinner for themselves, or listen to their relatives ask for the umpteenth time, “Why are you still single?”

But when we look at the holidays this way, we end up wishing away a period of time that can actually be really enjoyable…if we learn how.

Acknowledging how we feel

Let me begin by acknowledging that it’s normal to struggle if you’re alone for the holidays, especially if you recently lost someone you love to death, divorce or a break-up. So if you’re struggling with your feelings, I invite you to read When Christmas isn’t what you thought it would be and validate your very real emotions.

I didn’t always love being single at Christmas either. I resisted it and pushed against it like most single people do. I wanted my person to celebrate with…an adult to talk to, snuggle with, and share the Santa Claus duties with. (And someone to climb the ladder to put up those damn Christmas lights!)

But that’s not what life had in store for me, and so I was determined to not waste precious time hating an entire month of the year. Instead, I found ways to make the holidays special, both for me and my kids. I adapted old traditions and created new ones. And in the end, I ended up liking Christmas more than I did before. Because I made it mine.

Focusing on what we want

How we feel about anything in life is largely determined by how we’re looking at it…by the thoughts we’re thinking and the questions we’re asking. For example, if we think of what’s missing at Christmas (the guy, the family members, the gifts), we feel bad. But if we think of the many blessings we already have (and what we can create), we start to feel better.

So to help you shift your thoughts to creating what you want this holiday season (instead of avoiding what you dread), ask yourself these 5 questions:

How do you want to feel?

  • e.g. warm, cozy, relaxed, loved, spoiled, magical

How can you create that feeling this year?

  • Light candles or a fire
  • Wrap up in a warm blanket
  • Make hot chocolate or apple cider
  • Buy some new decorations
  • Put up sparkling lights everywhere
  • Play holiday music
  • Call or video chat with friends and family

Who can you celebrate with this year?

  • e.g. kids, extended family, friends, Meetup groups

What activities have you traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, and how can you adapt them to your current situation?

  • Make Christmas cookies with kids or friends
  • Have people over for dinner
  • Go to someone else’s house for dinner
  • Order in a pre-made holiday dinner from a restaurant
  • Buy yourself gifts and put them under the tree
  • Exchange gifts with friends or family members

What new traditions can you create that would be fun?

  • Go to an outdoor Christmas market
  • Skate or ski or snowshoe or go sledding
  • Have a holiday movie marathon
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Give gifts to families who can’t afford them
  • Go on a walk or drive to see Christmas lights
  • Book a spa day
  • Plan a solo trip

The upside of being single this holiday season

We often focus on the downside of being single, but what about the upside?

There are many advantages to being single during the holidays! Here are 10:

  1. You call the shots on what you do, when. Eat, drink and be merry on your terms!
  2. You can be completely yourself, with no need to impress your partner’s family.
  3. You can stay in your PJs and watch chick flicks for days if you want to!
  4. Or you can buy a new dress and party with other singles!
  5. You don’t have to divvy up your time between two families.
  6. You can focus more time on your friends and family.
  7. December is a great month to meet other singles, who are looking for connection too (e.g. through Meetup and dating apps).
  8. Holiday parties are a good place to meet potential dates.
  9. You don’t have to buy as many gifts…so you can buy some for yourself (and get gifts you want!)
  10. You’ll have more time to just relax and look after your body, mind and spirit.

Christmas might be different this year, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Focus on injecting some fun, relaxation, and merriment into the holidays, and you may just find you enjoy this time of year even more as a single person than when you were “attached” and had so many obligations to attend to.

This is your life, make it what you want it to be!

Happy holidays.

❤ Karen

Resources

Other articles I’ve written about the holidays you may enjoy:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

Share your ideas

What special ways are you celebrating the holidays this year? Please share…

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Have you ever watched a deer trapped in an enclosure? It runs frantically around, jumping at different ends of the fence, injuring itself in the process, desperate to escape. Eventually, after a long time, the deer runs out of energy and lies down exhausted, accepting that it is trapped.

When I watch women dating, I often see a similar scene playing out.

They put up an online profile. They message and flirt with a few guys. They go on a few dates. Then they get discouraged by inappropriate messages and failed attempts at love. So they complain to their girlfriends, reinforcing their limiting beliefs that there are “no good ones out there.” And then they start the process all over again. And again. And again.

Until eventually, they give up, deciding that they are “unlucky in love” and that their fate is to be single for the rest of their life.

The wrong way to date

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common scenario in the dating world because most people go about dating the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.

Most people date because they feel lonely (or are afraid of being alone). Or because they feel sad and unhappy. In either case, they think finding someone will make them feel better. Only this is putting the cart before the horse. Lonely, unhappy people find lonely, unhappy people. This is not the basis for a healthy, happy relationship!

And most people date with a lack of clarity and skill (and many limiting beliefs in their way). They aren’t clear on what they want. They are lacking in self-esteem and a true sense of their own value. They hope to find someone good, while secretly doubting they will. They rush the dating process because they hate it, and hop into bed too soon, and settle for someone who seems “nice enough.”

When the relationship doesn’t work out, they blame the other person. Then they go out looking for someone better, only to repeat the heartache again and again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. It’s time to stop the madness!

A better way to find love

As a love coach for single women, it may seem counter-intuitive that I often tell my clients to stop dating for a while…to go on a dating diet.

Why? Because most people need time to heal, recalibrate and realign their energy so they get better results.

Healing involves spending some time processing and releasing the negative emotions that come with a failed relationship and break-up. Stuffing these down or avoiding them simply does not work. It only causes your emotional baggage to get heavier and heavier from one relationship to the next, making it harder and harder to have a healthy relationship. If you don’t resolve your pain and anger, all you will do is attract someone with a similar level of wounding.

Recalibrating means re-centering your life around you, not another person. This includes figuring out who you are (what you love about yourself and what your true value is) and rediscovering what activities you love and enjoy. Then you need to create a life that revolves around what makes YOU happy, so that when you go back out dating, you’re already happy, and simply looking for another happy person (not someone to extract happiness from).

Realigning means getting clear about what you want in a partner and relationship, shifting your beliefs so that you know without a doubt that you deserve that and can find it, and focusing only on what you want (not on what you don’t want).

We don’t get what we want in life, we get what we believe. If you don’t shift your beliefs, your results will be a self-fulfilling prophecy…not because that’s all that’s out there, but because it’s what you’re currently energetically aligned with. The more you continue dating the wrong people and complaining about that to your friends, the more you keep yourself stuck replaying the same reality over and over again, like in Groundhog Day.

So, I highly recommend that if you’ve been struggling in love and attracting the wrong types of people, that you stop dating for a while, heal your past love wounds, recalibrate and realign your energy before heading out there again.

Believe me, it will be much easier and faster in the long run.

To your success!

Karen

Share your ideas

What helped you heal after your break-up? Please share…

Resources

If you want to better understand what’s been going wrong in your love life and begin turning things around, I invite you to attend my upcoming transformational workshop:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

About the author


Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | October 1, 2021

When you lose someone you love

When I became a widow at 22, I didn’t know how to grieve.

I didn’t know what to do with the feelings of sadness, or the shock and disbelief that the man I loved and had just married only 6 weeks earlier was now gone. I knew when we got married that he was dying, but I naively thought that somehow, he’d beat cancer and our love story wouldn’t have a tragic ending.

I didn’t know how to cope with feeling overwhelmed at all the funeral arrangements and estate matters that needed to be dealt with. I didn’t know how to handle his angry ex or his grieving daughter. I didn’t know how to respond to people who told me I was young and would remarry. And I didn’t know where to find a sense of purpose after dropping out of university to care for him.

So I did what people told me to do. I took off my ring and emptied the closets (too soon). I took the depression medication I was prescribed because the medical professionals I talked to didn’t seem to know that you can’t just medicate your way out of sadness (medication may, at times, be needed, but in my case it was prescribed way too soon). I kept myself busy so I wouldn’t feel the pain. I listened to people’s advice to “move on” and “let it go” and “suck it up.” I believed the adage that “time heals all wounds.”

What I didn’t know then was that much of the advice you’re given after you lose someone you love is misguided (even if it’s well-intentioned). That it’s more about their discomfort with seeing you in pain, and them wanting you to feel better (so they can feel better). That in North American culture, people are generally uncomfortable talking about death and divorce and grief, and so we’re encouraged to ignore our feelings, to push them aside and pretend everything is ok…even when it’s not.

Since my husband’s death 24 years ago, I’ve learned a lot about loss and grief. I’ve gone through a divorce and multiple break-ups. I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s, my father to cancer and my brother to cancer. I’ve sat with friends and clients who have lost partners, pets, friends, siblings, parents and children. And I grieve collectively with those who mourn the loss of innocent children to residential schools, gang violence and police brutality.

The two years of depression I experienced after my husband died were preventable. I didn’t need drugs to numb my pain…I needed someone to talk to. I think it’s important that, as a society, we become more comfortable having conversations about death and loss and learn to hold space for people experiencing grief and sadness. (Note: There is no shame in taking medication if it’s needed…but I think it’s often overprescribed because our culture would rather suppress than talk about emotions.)

Death and loss are a part of life. Sometimes an expected part; sometimes very unexpected (and unfair). No matter how it happens, it happens to us all. So why are we so bloody uncomfortable talking about it?

5 things that help when grieving

Everyone’s experience of grief is different. There are stages we all eventually go through, but those stages don’t always happen consecutively or in the same timeframe.

Grief is not a straight line. It comes in waves…just when you think you’ve moved through your sadness, you reach an anniversary/holiday, hear a song or see your loved one’s handwriting and another wave crashes over you.

So I want to acknowledge that everyone’s way of processing will look different. And I also want to share some of the things that helped me to process my feelings of sadness and grief (and sometimes anger) after losing people I loved…things I wish I had known when I was 22.

1. Take the time you need to grieve and heal. Don’t try to push through your feelings and keep up with everyday life. Don’t try to pretend everything is ok/normal. Take time off and create space for yourself to grieve, feel your feelings and move through them. You’ve lost someone special to you! Allow yourself to acknowledge and validate how you’re feeling – and don’t let anyone push you into “getting back to normal” faster than you’re ready for.

2. Practice extra self-care. Your body and spirit need extra care when you are grieving. Be sure to nourish your body with healthy food (like pre-made salads and soups if you don’t have the energy to cook). Get lots of rest (you may need to sleep longer and/or take naps). Go for long, restorative walks in nature. Drink warm drinks, wrap yourself in fuzzy clothes and blankets. Listen to comforting music. Sit in the sun. Snuggle a child or pet. Hug a friend. Allow yourself to do anything that soothes your soul and brings you comfort.

3. Validate and process your feelings. When an emotion like sadness or anger comes up, don’t judge it or push it away. Instead, sit down, put your hand on your heart, name the feeling, and notice where it is in your body. Allow it to be there, and breathe through it. It also helps to write about how you’re feeling…getting those thoughts and feelings out of your body and onto paper can help you to release them. Emotions will pass through us if we stop judging or avoiding them. The reason we get stuck in grief is we resist our feelings or try to suppress them (by avoiding, distracting, numbing). So let yourself feel your emotions without shaming yourself for having them or telling yourself you should feel differently.

4. Get help if you’re overwhelmed. If you find you can’t cope with your feelings, find a compassionate witness like a grief coach, therapist or supportive friend / family member to help you process your emotions. If you can’t function or are are feeling suicidal, contact your doctor, local distress line or 911. It’s ok if you need extra help to get through this period.

5. Re-focus on what is good in your life. As you process your grief, it’s important to also take breaks. Grief can feel overwhelming and exhausting…you can’t process emotions 24/7. To help you shift back into a better feeling place, focus on simple pleasures and what is still good in your life. Writing in a journal about who and what you’re grateful for can help you emerge from the dark cloud over you and remind you that elsewhere in your life, the sun is still shining. Gratitude journaling was the #1 thing that helped me to move through depression after my husband died.

Honouring your loved one’s memory

Something that really helped me after my Mom died was finding a way to commemorate her. Mom was an avid flower gardener, and I wanted a visual way to celebrate her life and memory. So the kids and I planted a lilac bush in our front yard (one of her favourite plants and mine). Now every spring when the lilacs bloom, I look at the beautiful purple colour, smell their lovely fragrance, and remember my mother (she died in March and her birthday is in June, so the timing of the blooms is perfect).

You can also journal, post on social media, light a candle, hold a memorial, or do any of these 100+ great ideas for celebrating a loved one’s memory.

More help if you need it

In my personal and professional experience, it isn’t true that time heals all wounds. Yes, we do need time in order to heal, but when we don’t know how to process our emotions, our wounds can fester and never properly heal. I know many people who, decades later, still haven’t healed from loss.

If you are struggling to move through sadness and grief after a death or break-up, I encourage you to reach out for professional help.

Sending you love, light and healing energy.

xo Karen

Share your ideas

What has helped you during times of loss? Please share…

Resources

For more on this topic, see:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | August 31, 2021

What to do when a guy ghosts you

So you’re dating this guy, and things are really going well. You start to get your hopes up that maybe this could be “the one.”

Then bam ― he suddenly stops messaging you (or messages far less). What went wrong?!

You start to panic, thinking… “I really like this guy! I don’t want it to be over! Did I say something wrong?”

So you text him…no answer. You text him again. Still no answer.

Then you get angry…what an insensitive jerk! That asshole ghosted you! You deserve better! So you lash out with an angry text.

Then one of two things happen:

  1. He doesn’t answer you, and you think “Screw him ― It’s his loss, right?!”
  2. He eventually responds back with an explanation. But now you’re not sure whether to believe him or not. It’s just a BS excuse, right?

What really happened?

Let’s hit pause here and break down what happened at your end:

  • You were surprised and confused by the change in communication.
  • Your default story (from past relationships / your childhood) is to assume it’s your fault.
  • You texted out of fear of losing him…not from a calm, emotionally together place.
  • When you didn’t hear back, you got angry because it triggered memories of other men letting you down. You went to your default story of “men are jerks.”
  • Instead of calming yourself (or finding out the full story), you lashed out in anger.

Now let’s look at the impact of your reaction on him:

  • If he had a valid reason, you’ll never know now…you’ve likely scared him off.
  • If he’s not ready because he’s afraid, you’ve made him more afraid of women than before.
  • If he was interested, but not as far along as you, he’ll likely pull back now for sure.
  • Even if he is an ass, you’ve just reinforced your own trust issues by assuming the victim position instead of finding your power in this situation.

Now let’s look at what may have been happening at his end. There are several possible scenarios:

  1. He’s a chicken-shit with poor communication skills who has ghosted you because he doesn’t know how to be honest and/or he’s afraid of your reaction.
  2. He has another chick on the side who he’s decided he likes better.
  3. He’s not ready…his heart was recently broken so he’s afraid of getting hurt.
  4. He’s had a medical, family or workplace emergency and went into overwhelm.
  5. He lost or broke or dropped his phone in water. (True story – it just happened to me!)
  6. He’s feeling uncertain about a future with you so is pulling back (but doesn’t know how to tell you that without hurting you).
  7. There was a misunderstanding between you (you triggered each other).
  8. You did something that spooked him (e.g. went too fast / was too reactive).

Here’s the truth: You can’t know which of these scenarios it is without talking to him!! Imagining what happened is simply storytelling, and a waste of time.

What not to do

What you should stop doing when a guy stops (or slows down) communicating: 

  • Stop jumping to conclusions!
  • Stop making up stories you don’t know are true!
  • Stop assuming you’re at fault.
  • Stop assuming he’s at fault.
  • Stop letting your past experiences and pain colour your assumptions about men.
  • Stop acting out of a place of fear and anger.
  • Stop texting when you’re upset!!

What to do instead

Here is a better way to respond (and not react):

  • Take some deep breaths. Go for a walk.
  • Notice what is triggering you. Journal or talk it out with someone who has a level head.
  • Get to a place of calm before deciding to do anything or communicate further.
  • Give the other person the benefit of the doubt (just as you would want).
  • Get curious and ask questions! Don’t assume you know the answer before asking!
  • If you’re newly dating, you may want to message something like this: “Hey there, I haven’t heard from you lately. Is everything ok?” (Be curious. Assume nothing.)
  • If you’re in a committed relationship, you may want to take it a step further: “Is something wrong babe? Can we talk about it tonight?” 
  • Then lean back and give them space to figure out how they feel and how to respond.

It’s important here to acknowledge that men and women communicate in different ways. Women tend to want to talk things out to figure out their problems. Men tend to prefer to go away to think about it on their own before they’re ready to talk (they want to figure out a solution first, whereas women talk with others to find the solution). Please respect a man’s need for space, and give him the room he needs, trusting he’ll get back to you…because a mature, conscious man will. Assume he is that unless he proves otherwise.

If he does get back to you and explains what happened in a satisfactory way, is apologetic, and shows that he cares about your feelings, those are all good signs. You should probably give him another chance.

If you’ve done what I suggested above in a non-confrontational way and he doesn’t respond or acknowledge your feelings, he is ghosting you, so stop communicating with him. Don’t invest more time and energy in a relationship than the other party does. Have enough self-respect not to chase…you deserve someone who is straight-forward with you and communicates openly (even if it’s to say he’s no longer interested). This guy is not the only fish in the sea!

Deeper issues

First, I want to say I can relate to this scenario as I’ve been in it myself a few times…and made several of the mistakes I noted above. As I work through my own issues, I get better and better at responding and not reacting in these situations.

So now let’s talk about what those deeper issues are. Even if the guy is a jerk, don’t just blame him and pretend you have no growing to do! There’s an opportunity here to look at your own triggers and figure out what’s going wrong in the way you communicate.

  • Going too fast – If you get attached too quickly to someone you barely know, that isn’t love…it comes from a fear of loss and abandonment, and from not valuing yourself highly enough to ensure you’re choosing the right person before giving yourself away.
  • Assuming it’s your fault – If you usually assume you’re at fault in conflict situations, that probably comes from childhood wounding (e.g. abuse, bullying), which caused a deep insecurity in you.
  • Assuming it’s his fault – This usually happens when you’ve been let down by several important men in your life, so you assume they all will be the same. You must work to resolve these trust issues, so that you stop choosing men who prove you right.
  • Lashing out – If you tend to communicate from a reactive place, that indicates that you don’t know how to regulate your emotions and calm your nervous system, a vital skill to learn if you want your relationships to improve.
  • Obsessing about his response – If you can’t focus on anything else while you’re waiting for him to respond, you are placing too much emphasis on your partner. You need to spend time creating a full life that makes you happy and learn to meet some of your own needs so that your love relationship isn’t the only part that brings you joy.

Regardless of whether this guy turns out to be a keeper or a throw-back, these are your areas of growth…things you need to work on, or you’ll keep attracting situations that trigger these insecurities within you.

What you don’t heal will keep happening!

If you’re interested in learning more about these issues and your patterns so you can end the cycle of unhealthy relationships and find real love, I invite you to check out my free online workshops on my website at www.karenstrangallen.com.

You do deserve real love! But you must release your insecurities, pain, anger and frustration with men in order to find it. I’m here to support you if you’d like my help in doing that. 

Share your ideas

Have you had an experience with ghosting? Can you see yourself using any of these ideas going forward?

Resources

For more on the topic of communication in relationships, see:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | July 6, 2021

The art of letting go…

Saying goodbye is never easy…whether the reason is a break-up, a divorce, a move, a job loss, or the end of someone’s life.

I have said goodbye to numerous people I love at this point in my life: I lost my first husband to cancer and my mom to Alzheimer’s; my second marriage ended in divorce and I’ve lost several friendships and boyfriends along the way. Each ending has been difficult in different ways, and overall I’ve discovered that like many people, I’m not so good at goodbyes.

That said, I have discovered that there is an art to letting go…to grieving and healing in a healthy way that acknowledges the importance of each person in our lives, but also allows us to move on and continue living.

I’m currently facing the loss of my father…he has terminal bone marrow cancer and has only weeks to live. So I am preparing myself for what I know is to come, hoping that by applying what I have learned through personal and professional experience that it will make the process of letting go easier this time. (Easier, not easy.)

The 3 stages of letting go

I have discovered that there are 3 stages to letting go of people we love:

1. Resistance/denial ― It is natural when we discover someone we love is leaving to resist this change…to beg, plead, fight and otherwise deny reality. To get angry and feel frustrated. Most people go through a period of wanting to pretend what’s happening isn’t happening. But a big part of why losing people is so painful is that many of us stay stuck in phase 1 for too long. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice.” What he means by that is, we will all face loss at some point in our lives. It’s our resistance to this loss that causes us long-term pain (suffering). The sooner we can move to stage 2, the sooner our suffering will ease and healing begins.

2. Acceptance/grieving ― Eventually, we come to accept our new reality – we surrender to what is (even if we don’t like it). We realize that the nature of life is change, and that relationships come and go. In this stage, it is very important to acknowledge and validate our emotions – not to suppress, run from or deny them (or worse, shame ourselves for having them). Processing our feelings – feeling, validating and then releasing them – is what allows us to begin moving on. As we grieve the loss of this important person in our lives, it’s so very important to be compassionate with our inner child who is hurting, and to practice lots of self-care and nurturing.

3. Healing/growth ― Once we have processed and released our emotions, we can begin to heal. In my experience as a coach helping single women heal after break-ups and divorce, healing cannot occur if we are denying reality, clinging to the past, or refusing to feel our emotions. It is not true that time heals all wounds. Processing how we feel with a compassionate witness and finding a higher perspective is what allows us to heal. So in this stage, it is important to reach out to supportive people for help. It’s also important to give ourselves time and space to process and integrate change (not to expect ourselves to just keep up with daily life at the same pace). And it’s important to look for the lessons, blessings and gifts that this experience has brought to our lives. Every change, even difficult ones, brings positive things once we look for them.

Moving on

Once these 3 stages are complete, we can begin to move on and adapt to our “new normal”…to decide who we want to be going forward, and what’s next for us.

It’s important not to skip a stage…many people try to skip stage 2 or 3, and then they never really heal. How do we know healing has occurred? When we can talk about the person we lost neutrally with kindness and compassion, without pain or anger. If there is significant pain or anger, there is more healing to be done and it’s likely that we’ve rushed through (or skipped) stages 2 and/or 3.

If you have lost someone recently, my heart goes out to you. I send you love and compassion, and a wish that you give yourself grace and compassion through your healing journey. You will heal, and you will feel happy again…reach out for help if you need support during this process.

Love and blessings to you.

Share your ideas

What has helped you during times of loss? Please share…

Resources

For more on this topic, see:

If you’d like to join a global community of single women who want to heal, feel empowered and support each other, I invite you to join my free Facebook group:

Empowered Single Women – loving life and attracting love!

About the author

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Widowed at 22 and separated at 35, Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free inspirational resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: