Posted by: silverliningsblog | March 1, 2020

Getting the love you deserve

With spring in the air, many singles come out of hibernation and turn their attention back to finding love. They have renewed hope that this year, they’ll find the love they deserve…

The dream

And what do most singles say they want?

  • Someone to go on adventures and road trips with…to go hiking and travelling and experience life with.
  • Someone to come home to at the end of the day and fall into their embrace.
  • Someone to share meals and great conversation with, and simply talk about their day.
  • Someone to wake up snuggled next to on a lazy Sunday morning.
  • Someone to get them their morning coffee.
  • Someone who treats them with respect and shows them they care.
  • Someone to share the responsibilities of life with.
  • Someone who supports them in challenging times, and who makes them laugh even when they don’t want to.

The reality

Everyone deserves great love. But not everyone finds it.

What many people find when they go out dating is disappointment. They find people who:

  • haven’t grown up and still don’t know how to make a meal or do laundry
  • just want a hook-up, instead of a long-lasting relationship
  • are good at taking, but not so good at giving
  • are good at talking, but not so good at listening (or taking action)
  • are jealous and controlling, instead of trusting and loving
  • are emotional adolescents, who aren’t capable of having a healthy, happy adult relationship

And inevitably, many people get frustrated with these results, and come to the conclusion that either:

  • There are simply no good people out there who are single.
  • There’s something wrong with them that they’re not finding someone good.

Both of these conclusions are faulty…they are limiting beliefs that will keep you from finding the love you want.

So what is the truth?

How to get what you want

The truth is that we don’t attract what we want…we attract what we believe deep down inside that we can have.

So if your dating results have not gotten you what you want, it’s time to look inside to see what’s getting in your way.

  • If you have faulty beliefs about who you are and what you’re worth, you will not find the love you’re looking for.
  • If you have faulty beliefs about other people, and are afraid to trust that there are kind, loving, generous partners out there who would be a good match for you, then you will also not find the love you’re looking for.

Not because you don’t deserve it. Not because it’s not possible. But because you don’t really, truly believe in your heart that it’s possible for YOU.

Taking action to find a great partner when you don’t believe you can have one is a recipe for disaster. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and down-right exhausting.

Thankfully there is an easier way.

And the easier way is to do the inner work to get your beliefs in alignment with what you want to have before you go out looking for it. It’s to make sure you’re feeling good about yourself and your life before trying to add someone to it.

It might sound like that will take longer (which is why most people skip that part and jump right into the dating world), but it’s really the shortcut to getting the love you deserve with far less effort and much greater success.

If you know you struggle to believe in yourself, or you have trust issues, or you’ve lost faith that you can find a great partner, it’s important to change your beliefs before venturing out dating. Otherwise, you will attract someone who simply proves you right.

And is that what you really want? Somehow, I don’t think so.

So spend some time looking within to find and change your beliefs before dating, and you’ll find the process much more enjoyable…and also find your loving partner much sooner.

Resources

If you could use some help with getting the love you deserve, there are two virtual events coming up that may be of interest to you (both are free):

Share your thoughts

Do you believe you can find the love you deserve?

What do you think is getting in your way?

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. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | January 30, 2020

Looking for love in all the right places

I’ve spent a lot of my life “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces…

–Johnny Lee

As a young girl, I didn’t feel understood, loved or even liked by my family of origin. There wasn’t a lot of affirmation and support going on…instead, there was a lot of harsh judgments and criticism. As a result, I didn’t have a good sense of my strengths, and didn’t feel particularly lovable.

So like many women, I bought into the promise of the Cinderella story, and thought I just needed to find a man to love me…and then I would feel loved.

And I did find a wonderful man when I was just shy of 20…and he did make me feel loved. Until just after our engagement, he suddenly fell ill with cancer and quickly passed away. The source of my love was gone, and suddenly I felt unlovable again.

So I searched for a new source. Someone else who would make me feel deserving of love and attention. I’d find one, and that would work for a while, until the relationship ended, and then I was back to square one. And on and on it went…

Somewhere along the way, a friend of mine asked me, “Do you love yourself?” And I remember getting choked up, knowing the real answer was “No.” I didn’t really love who I was…I was looking for love outside of me, instead of inside of me.

Why we yearn for love

It’s normal to want love and affection…human beings are wired for connection, so it’s a core part of our make-up to want to be surrounded by loving people.

But when we yearn for love, it’s usually because we did not have our need for love, affection and affirmation consistently met as children. Maybe one parent died or left. Maybe our parents got divorced. Maybe our parents were physically there, but were alcoholics, abusive or neglectful.

Whatever the reason, when our emotional needs are not met in childhood, it creates a strong desire in our psyche to receive the love we deserve. And so we spend the rest of our life chasing after and clinging to anyone who shows us even an inkling of love and affection. Even if they are less than what we really want, we settle, thinking that some love is better than no love.

But is it really?

By the time we reach mid-life, most of us have discovered that having an unhealthy or toxic relationship is not better than being alone. And yet we fear being alone, so we cling to what we know, even if it’s not good for us. Better the devil you know, as they say…

So how do we break free from this vicious cycle?

Where love comes from

When we look at love as something to get from others, we miss the very important truth that all emotion – love or otherwise – comes from within us. Sure, someone can be the object of our attention (and therefore, we think they are “making us” feel loved), but our thinking about that person and the emotions we are feeling come from within.

So does it take another person to feel the emotion of love? The answer is no.

No one can make you feel anything, including loved. And therefore no one can take love away from you. Only your own thinking about a person or situation can do that.

Try this experiment…close your eyes and think of someone you feel pure, healthy love for. Can you feel the emotion in your body? Where do you feel it…in your chest area? What about if you think about something you love about your life, or about yourself…can you feel the emotion of love?

When you open your eyes, you’ll see there is no one here…it’s just you. So where did that feeling come from? Did someone give it to you? No, you created it yourself…you generated it with your own thoughts! And if you did it once, you can do it again, and again and again.

This is a powerful realization…because when you become a creator of love, instead of a consumer of love, you become the source of love…a source that is reliable and never-ending. A source that can’t be taken from you…even if someone dies or leaves.

Loving others

So is it wrong to want someone to love? Of course not. But what we’ve been calling “love” isn’t healthy love. It’s a clingy, addictive kind of love that comes from a place of lack…of fearing there isn’t enough to go around.

Real love is an over-flowing feeling of having more than enough to share. It’s a giving energy (not a taking energy) that comes from a place of abundance…a place of knowing there is more where that came from!

You see, we’ve been getting this love thing wrong for millennia. We have believed that we need to find someone to love us in order to feel loved…and that simply is not true. What we need to do is learn how to create love within ourselves, and give it to ourselves first, then share it with others.

Trying to find someone to love you in order to feel loved is coming from a place of lack. Finding love within you and then sharing with another comes from a place of abundance.

But how do you do this if your needs weren’t met in childhood, and you don’t feel lovable?

Loving yourself

The answer is to learn how to love yourself first.

I used to hate this answer…what on earth does it mean to “love yourself” anyway?

In its simplest form, loving yourself means re-parenting yourself…giving to yourself the things you wished your parents did. It means treating the little girl inside you with the same care and compassion you would offer your own child (or a niece/nephew/student in your care).

It means listening to your own body, and respecting your own limits. Giving yourself the nourishment and rest you need. Affirming for yourself what is good about you. Encouraging yourself to take risks and try new things. Offering yourself care and compassion when you’re struggling. In essence, it means being your own best friend.

It may sound corny to “love yourself,” but this really is the path to personal freedom, and to success in relationships. It puts you in a place where you can really love someone else, without requiring them to make you happy (because you already know how to do this for yourself).

Loving yourself is the best gift you can give to yourself, your kids, your friends, your partner…because when you truly love, accept and nurture yourself, love and joy will naturally flow out of you, and everyone around you will benefit from your positive energy.

More on this topic…

If you’d like to learn more about how to love yourself, I invite you to attend my FREE online masterclass on February 12, called Fall Madly in Love with You.

And if you’re feeling lonely and want to connect with other single women, you can join my free Empowered Single Women Facebook group, where we share ideas on how to love life as a single person and attract real love.

**************

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. Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | December 31, 2019

Your 2020 vision

The beginning of a new year is a time of rebirth, when we get to decide what we want to let go of, and what new things we want to create. It’s a time of renewed hope and faith, the opportunity to leave past mistakes and challenges behind, and begin again.

2020 is a very exciting year, because it’s not only the start of a new year, but of a new decade. This gives us the perfect opportunity to take stock of what’s happened in the past 10 years, and what we want to have happen in the next 10.

So let’s harness some of that “fresh new start” energy as we head into 2020, and create a vision for the life we want to live!

Taking stock

Sometimes we’re so intent on getting somewhere that we miss the journey along the way. So let’s take stock of our journey over the past decade.

Think back to where you were at the beginning of 2010, and ask yourself these questions:

  • What major life events happened in the past decade?
  • What happened in your career, at home, in your relationships?
  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • How have you grown?
  • What did you accomplish that you’re proud of?
  • What new people entered your life?
  • How has your life changed since 2010?

Now think about where you are now:

  • What are you not happy about?
  • What are you grateful for?

Creating your 2020 vision

Getting what you want in life doesn’t just happen by accident. It requires creating a conscious intention for what you want, aligning your energy and belief systems with that new possibility, and then taking steps to create it.

As we begin a new year and a new decade, think about what you’d like to have happen. What you identified in the last section that you’re not happy about is what you want to change. What you identified you are happy about is what you want to keep/continue.

Knowing this, write about:

  • What you want to have happen in 2020.
  • Where you’d like to be in your life by 2030.

It helps to simply write freehand at first, and not worry about organizing your thoughts. Just write down anything that comes to mind, that makes you feel joyful, excited, at peace. Include words that describe what you want, and how good it will feel when you get it. Or if you’re a visual person, clip photos out of magazines or online that represent what you most want.

Once you’ve done this, you can organize your goals into 1-year, 5-year and 10-year goals. (See GREAT goals for more help with the goal-setting process.)

The key to accomplishing big goals is to break your goals down into bite-sized, manageable (and measurable) steps. Then take action daily to move towards them, one step at a time.

Enjoy the journey

As you move towards the horizon of your 2020 vision, it’s important to focus on the progress you’re making, not on how far you have to go.

If you focus on the distance between where you are and where you want to be, you’ll psych yourself out and give up before you start. If instead, you write down and celebrate each small step you take and every milestone you reach, and write about it in a daily gratitude journal, your momentum and excitement will build, and it will be easier to see how you’re moving towards what you want.

Too often, we’re in such a rush to get somewhere that we don’t look around and enjoy the scenery as we go. 10 years ago, as I moved into my new home, my kids were 2 and 4. It felt overwhelming to be a single parent of two littles. Now they are 12 and 14…I blinked and they were grown! I feel like I missed enjoying some of that period, so now I’m relishing every moment I have with them before they’re gone. By this time in 2030, they’ll be finished university and likely living on their own, possibly with families of their own.

So as you move towards your goals, be sure to enjoy the ride…because you can experience joy and accomplishment long before you actually reach your destination. Watch a child in the lead-up to Christmas, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. That’s the energy you want to be in as you work towards your vision…an energy of eagerness, excitement, anticipation.

And don’t get too attached to exactly when the things you want show up. There’s nothing worse than being in a car with a child who keeps saying “Are we there yet? It’s taking too long!” It totally takes the joy out of a road trip. (And out of dating, for those of us who are single!)

Keep moving towards your goals and they will manifest, when they’re meant to. It may be next year, or the year after. As long as you remain in the energy of anticipation of your goal’s arrival (“I can’t wait until it gets here!”), you’ll not only feel joyful when it finally manifests, but you’ll have fun along the way too.

Resources

Share your thoughts

What are your goals for the next year / next decade?

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. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | December 23, 2019

When Christmas isn’t what you thought it would be…

According to Hallmark movies and ads on TV, Christmas is supposed to be a time of festive merriment, of gifts wrapped in pretty paper, and of celebrating with loved ones.

But what if that’s not how Christmas is turning out for you this year?

I know I’ve had a number of Christmases in the past few decades that haven’t exactly been idyllic… where if I’m telling the truth I was sad, lonely and disappointed. There was the Christmas when my husband Blair was dying, and then my first Christmas without him. Then there was the one after my ex-husband and I split up. And the one after my mom died. And the many in between where I was alone with my kids, without a partner to share the joys and responsibilities of Christmas with.

If this is a good Christmas for you this year, wonderful! Celebrate and enjoy and soak up the love and laughter. Life is precious and we never know how long we get to enjoy our loved ones for.

But if it’s not, don’t feel ashamed to admit it. Don’t feel you have to pretend to be happy when you’re not. It’s ok to allow yourself to feel your real feelings…in fact, that is the best way to heal and get to a place where you’re starting to feel a bit better (not by shaming yourself for not feeling otherwise).

Christmas can be really hard when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one…whether through death, divorce or break-up, or because your loved ones are far away and you can’t be with them. It can be hard when your life doesn’t look the way you thought it would…like when your family is broken in two and you only get your kids for part of the holidays. Or when your health is poor and you’re struggling just to get out of bed.

It can be hard to go through the motions and business of preparing for a holiday that part of you just doesn’t feel like celebrating this year. And it’s ok to feel the way you feel. It’s normal. You’re human. Life doesn’t always play out like a Hollywood movie. And grief and disappointment are tough emotions to handle (and ones we don’t often want to admit or talk about).

So cut yourself some slack if this Christmas isn’t all candy canes and ribbons for you.

Feeling the feels

The path out of pain begins with admitting the truth to yourself, and letting yourself simply sit with your feelings. It can be really helpful to journal about how you feel, or talk to a supportive friend (one who will validate you and not try to talk you out of your feelings).

For me this year, Christmas isn’t exactly what I hoped it would be. I thought I would have a partner to share Christmas with, but things didn’t work out with my dating efforts this year. I thought my father and my brother and his family were going to come join me for Christmas, but they aren’t able to make it. So once again this year, it’s just me and my kids. And while I am very grateful I get to have my kids for a good chunk of the holidays, it’s not the same as the big, boisterous family gatherings I was used to growing up, that I find I still long for.

I’ve also been struggling with an injured knee, chronic pain in my shoulder, and an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion due to the busy pace of my life. So instead of telling myself I “should” be feeling more joyful, I’m allowing myself to admit I feel tired and a bit blue heading into the holidays, and that that’s ok. I’m just fine the way I am.

And so are you.

When you’re wanting to feel better

Once you’ve allowed yourself to process and feel your emotions, you may feel a bit of relief (because you’re no longer resisting how you feel). You may want to continue just feeling what you’re feeling, or you may want to start feeling better.

Having gone through quite a few holidays at this point that weren’t what I wanted them to be, I’ve come up with a simple process for feeling better. That process is:

  1. Feel your real feelings
  2. Decide what you’d like to feel instead
  3. Think of ways you can create the feeling you want to have

We’ve already talked about step one. Step two is simply asking yourself how you’d prefer to feel…for me this year, it’s rested, relaxed, connected and joyful.

Then step three is brainstorming ways you can create that feeling…not by changing what has already happened (i.e. you can’t bring someone back who is gone), but by doing what you can in your current reality to make things as good as they can be.

For example, I’ve been very wiped lately with the demands of my business and life, so I’m taking several days off work where I’ll be offline and just resting and enjoying my kids. I’ve even booked two full days off just for me, where I’ll be in my PJs resting, relaxing, and reading the books I rarely have a chance to read.

And on the days I have my kids, we talked about what we most wanted to do for fun this year, and so we’re going to go downhill skiing, skate the woodland Lac des Loups trail in Quebec, watch the new Jumanji movie, and play board games while eating appetizers on Christmas Eve.

I’ll also reach out to some friends so I feel more connected…I’ve already thrown a Christmas party for friends, and I’ll be attending a potluck PJ party with some lovely ladies, having a friend over for Christmas dinner, and catching up with other friends either in person or on the phone. And my kids and I will make our usual donations to share what we have with others less fortunate than we are.

So while it won’t be the Christmas I originally imagined for this year, it will still be a good one none-the-less. And not because I shamed myself into feeling differently, but because I gave myself permission to admit how I really felt and then took action to make the best of the situation I’m in.

I really thought I’d be celebrating with my partner and extended family this year. And so I still feel a bit sad about that. But it’s also occurred to me that having my kids to myself this year is a blessing, as there may only be a few more years before they have partners and jobs and are off to university. So some quality time just focused on them (which will also be more quiet and give me more time to recharge my batteries) may actually be what I needed all along.

If you are struggling this year, know that you’re not alone. It’s ok to admit you feel sad and lonely and frustrated. It’s ok if you just want to hang out by yourself and not celebrate Christmas. And it’s ok to reach out for help and support and company if you want it.

Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect or Hallmark-worthy to be good. Just ask yourself what you truly want it to be, and do your best with what you have to create something you’d enjoy.

I’m sending lots of love your way, and wishing that peace and joy find you this holiday season.

Resources

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 (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | September 30, 2019

Letting go of what doesn’t serve you…

Autumn is a natural time of letting go and moving on. As the trees release their grip on the multi-coloured leaves that fall softly to the ground, it’s a good opportunity for us to let go of things whose time have passed.

The nature of life is change…nothing stays the same for long. This is true of seasons, relationships, careers, homes, fashion…even our physical bodies. If we embrace the cycles of life…the natural ebb and flow, it becomes easier to adapt and use these cycles to our advantage.

Letting go of the unwanted

This fall, choose to let go of anything in your life that no longer serves or fits you, so you will feel lighter heading into winter. Some categories to consider include:

  • Clothes, toys and household goods – This is a great time to purge your closets of unwanted/unneeded items and give them to others who could use them.

  • Negative thoughts/emotions – Fall is a naturally introspective time, and a period of grieving what is gone. Write down any uncomfortable or “negative” emotions like sadness, frustration and anger in a journal, and allow yourself to purge unwanted feelings so they don’t stay stuck inside your body. You may want to burn or shred these pages afterwards to energetically release what is bothering you.

  • Bad habits – This is also a good time to consider whether there are some habits you need to let go of that are stealing your time, energy and health. (For example, smoking, over-eating, watching too much TV, being on the phone/Internet too much, not exercising, not getting enough sleep.) Focus on establishing a new, healthier habit by the new year!

  • Reminders of past lovers – If you’ve been through a break-up or two, this is a great time to burn old love letters and get rid of reminders of your ex (jewellery, clothing, gifts, etc.).

  • People – Yes, sometimes even people need to go. Fall is a great time to think about who is in your life and whether they are adding value and energy, or draining you. If a relationship can’t be mended, consider putting some distance between you and the person, or ending the relationship altogether. 

This kind of pre-winter purging prevents you from carrying such a heavy load into the darker winter months. It also gives you room to breathe and clears space for new ideas, people, and goals to enter.

Harvesting what is wanted

Fall is also a time of harvesting the fruits of your labour and giving thanks for summer’s bounty. It’s a natural time to consider all the wonderful things that have come to pass so far this year, and feel grateful for the joy that the things, activities and people in your life have brought to you.

I highly recommend writing daily in a gratitude journal to reflect on the many blessings you have, so that as you let go of what you don’t want, you turn your focus to keeping and expanding on what you do.

Wishing you a warm and cozy fall, and a very happy Thanksgiving!

xo Karen

Resources

See also:

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 (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | August 30, 2019

Is it love or infatuation?

Note: If you prefer to watch rather than read, check out the live video I did on this topic: https://vimeo.com/356927859 

I’ve received a few questions from coaching clients 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 have twice had crushes on guys who didn’t return my feelings. It seemed like they were perfect for me…and yet they couldn’t be if they weren’t choosing me, because the perfect partner would WANT to be with me! I felt that I loved them, but my love wasn’t returned.

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).

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 the two male friends of mine who I knew for years and cared for deeply, who both chose someone else…loving them meant wanting them to be happy, and trusting I would find the person who looked at me the way I looked at them.

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 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. waiting by your phone)
  • Creating “emergencies” to seek out their attention
  • Trying to get between them and a partner
  • Ignoring other important relationships
  • Not meeting your own needs / needing someone else to be happy

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 (ideally for at least a month or two).
  • 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.

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 fulfills you, not just excites you.

Want to know more?

If you need help learning how to slow things down and create a truly healthy relationship, check out my new free training: Loving without losing: How to attract the love of your life without losing yourself again

Are you feeling lonely, and wanting to connect with other single women? Join our Empowered Single Women Facebook group, where we share ideas on how to love life as a single person and also attract love!

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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 (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | May 31, 2019

How to know if they’re a keeper

I’m often asked by the women I coach how they can know sooner if the guy they’re seeing is “one of the good ones” or not.

And the truth is, it takes time.

Certainly, it’s important to listen to your intuition early on – to notice how you feel around the person, not ignore any red flags, and trust what your body is telling you.

But if you’ve chosen wrong before, you may doubt your ability to choose right this time. You may want a guarantee before you invest too much time and effort. And I understand, I’ve felt this way too. It would be so much easier if our dates were labeled “worth the effort” and “don’t bother.”

What I’ve found is that if you take it slow in the beginning―get to know the person gradually and don’t commit too soon―you will figure it out. The biggest mistake I see most women making is rushing in, having sex too soon, giving their heart away and committing to someone they barely know, and then wondering why it didin’t work out.

It didn’t work out because you didn’t really know who you were committing to. You handcuffed yourself to a stranger.

It takes time to get to know someone, to see them in different circumstances so that you can objectively tell if their values, priorities, lifestyle and character work for you. This can’t be done in one month, even if you spend every day together (which I’d suggest you shouldn’t, as you are then neglecting other relationships and priorities in your life).

So don’t rush in. Give it time. Go slow. And watch how the person acts in different situations.

The proof of who a person is lies in their actions, not in their words. Or as I posted recently in my Empowered Single Women Facebook group, “Believe what he does” (reposted below).

Believe what he does

A man will show you who he is, over time.

He may say he’s evolved, or “not like the others.” He may tell you he loves you. He may say he’s trustworthy. But the words he says prove very little.

What matters are his actions. What he actually does. How he behaves. How he treats you. How he treats others.

Observe whether he lives up to his commitments. Whether he is responsible for his life. Whether he gets things done.

Notice how he treats women, staff, people in the service industry, children, animals, the environment.

How does he talk about his ex, his mother, other women in his life? How does he talk to you and about you? Is he kind with his words?

Is he consistent in his communication with you? Does he keep his promises (with you, and with others)? Does he act with complete integrity and honesty?

Is he generous with his time, money, praise, energy? Is he thoughtful with you and with others?

A man will show you who he really is. You just have to give it time and observe.

If you want to avoid making “mistakes,” don’t give your heart (or body) away until you’ve given yourself enough time to see how a man behaves. His actions are the true indicator of whether he’s “evolved” or not.

Words are cheap. Actions are gold. Choose a man who is worth the effort.

(Note: These statements apply to women’s behaviour too.)

Look at past behaviour/relationships

“The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour,” as Doctor Phil says.

So if you want to know whether you’ve got a quality guy, notice when he’s talking about his ex or family or other relationships what he says. Does he speak respectfully about others, even those with whom he’s had a conflict? Does he seem self-aware enough to know what he’s done wrong in his relationships, and not just blame everything on other people?

How does he speak to and about other people? How does he treat the ones he loves?

These things will tell you a ton about who a man really is.

In the first few months of dating, you should be carefully observing, not committing. Have fun, get to know the person, but don’t give your heart and body away until you know the person you’re seeing is worth such an investment.

Share your thoughts!

What signs of a keeper do you look for when dating?

Resources for further learning

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Karen Strang Allen is an empowerment coach for single women and mother of two. 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 and create a life they love so they attract (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and dating workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | April 29, 2019

Loving without losing yourself

Have you ever gone through a break-up or divorce and felt completely crushed, devastated, shattered?

It feels like your whole world has been turned upside down. Like nothing will ever be the same again. Like there’s nothing stable to lean on. Like you don’t even know who you are any more.

Break-ups are no fun, that’s for sure. And losing someone you love (or once loved) and shared a life with is a big change…it changes where you live, how much money you have to spend, who you have to rely on, who you spend time with.

So it’s normal to feel uncertain and confused about which way is forward when a relationship ends.

How, then, can we open our hearts to love again, without fearing the same kind of emotional devastation if the relationship doesn’t end up lasting a lifetime?

Over-investing in romantic love

In my line of work, I see so many truly amazing women crushed by relationships that end. (And I have felt that way myself…like after my husband died when I was only 22.) Of course, grief and fear are to be expected in the wake of so much change. But does complete devastation have to be?

Much of the reason why many women completely fall apart after a relationship ends is because they’ve over-invested in that relationship. In other words, they’ve placed all their “eggs” (energy, attention, time) in one basket, and not placed enough in other equally important baskets.

After all, there are many sources of love – kids, friends, family, community, self. Romantic love is just one form. But in North American culture especially, we tend to focus almost exclusively on the idea of finding “one person” to love and live our lives with.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want a romantic partner. I want one too. I’m just suggesting that perhaps we’re focusing so much on that one source of love that we’re neglecting other, equally important sources.

I don’t know how many times I see women ditch their girlfriends the second they begin a new relationship. (I admit I’ve done this myself.) Imagine how those friends feel…the message we are giving them is that they’re only important until someone better comes along.

I also see countless women ditching their own goals, dreams and passions the second a man comes along. Suddenly, they’re no longer interested in doing things that used to bring them joy. Everything becomes about doing things as a couple, and about what he wants to do. No wonder women have the sense of losing themselves – they literally are!

Of course there needs to be some give and take in a relationship, and to compromise occasionally. But if you are sacrificing your goals, dreams and identity in order to be with someone, I’d suggest that’s too high a price to pay.

After all, in the end, the only person we can be sure will be with us until death is ourself. So we’d better make sure that all-important relationship is solid!

From dependence to interdependence

In our parents’ and grand-parents’ generations, relationships weren’t really about happiness…they were about survival. A man needed a woman to create a happy home and look after the children. A woman needed a man to provide for and protect her and the kids. Each had a role to play, and each was dependent on the other.

The problem with this model is that if you base your happiness on another person, when they inevitably change or do something you don’t like, you suddenly become unhappy (and there is little you can do about your unhappiness without trying to control the other person). Since happiness is sourced externally, it is outside of your control.

Today, a lot has changed. Most women are perfectly capable of providing for themselves. And most men know how to care for children and run a household. No longer are we dependent on each other for survival. We have moved into a state of independence.

Independence is a definite step forward, but it has also resulted in a lot of failed relationships, and in a skittishness around commitment. We have a lot of people wanting a romantic relationship, but fearful that having one means giving up freedom and independence.

Thankfully, there is a third level that I believe as a society we are moving towards.

Stephen Covey talks about three stages of maturity in relationships:

  1. Dependence – Each person is dependent on the other for happiness and survival (you meet my needs, or else I’ll blame you for my unhappiness). This is the level of the child.

  2. Independence – Each person is dependent on themselves for happiness / survival (I can do it myself / I am responsible and self-reliant). It is a stage of self-sufficiency, but also sometimes leads to loneliness. This is the level of the teenager.

  3. Interdependence – Each person makes themselves happy, but also chooses to come together to create something greater than what’s possible alone (we can cooperate, combine our talents and resources). This is the level of the mature adult.

It’s this desire for interdependence that has us wanting to continue to couple, despite having experienced and witnessed the challenges of being in the dependent and independent phases.

A new paradigm for relationships

What if we can create a new paradigm for our relationships? One that is based on interdependence? One where male and female energy is balanced within each person and between both people?

For this to happen, we first have to move from dependence to independence…from requiring the other to make us happy, to knowing how to do that for ourselves. This involves creating a stable base within our own lives and within ourselves, so that we can truly say we love who we are and we love the life we are living (independent of a romantic partner).

Then, we need to learn how to be in relationship with others without extracting energy from them or losing our own. To do this, we need to become adept at sourcing our energy from source energy (meditating, praying, journaling, communing with nature), and at coming into energetic alignment on own own. In other words, we need to be able to consciously change our emotional state and “make ourselves happy” without needing someone else to do that for us. We must take complete responsibility for our actions, thoughts, and reactions, and do the inner work required to be mature adults in our relationships with others.

In this new paradigm of relationship, each person has enough freedom to continue to be who they really are…to pursue their goals, dreams and passions. Gone is the need to contort oneself to please the other. And gone is the need to “make our partner happy,” because they already know how to do that for themselves. Instead, there is a coming together of two people whose cups are already overflowing with joy, creating a “happiness soup.”

Of course, challenges will arise in any relationship. Relationships are the perfect mirror to show us what still needs healing within ourselves. But in an evolved, interdependent relationship between two conscious people, those conflicts will be resolvable. Both individuals will know how to calm their emotional reactions, and come together to brainstorm a solution that is truly win-win.

Creating a stable base

If you want to create a truly interdependent relationship and love someone without losing yourself, it really begins with you. You must first transition (if you haven’t already) from stage 1 to 2…from blaming the other for your unhappiness to taking complete responsibility for how you feel and creating a life that you truly enjoy, one that’s based on your passions and values and desires.

With this stable base, you will be able to enter into a relationship with someone and maintain your center and independence, even when there are challenges.

The key to being in successful relationships with others (all others, not just romantic partners) is to know what you want and be confident in who you are so that you don’t collapse your identity and merge with the other. When you are centered in yourself, you can freely share who you are with others and co-create a new entity (the relationship) without losing your own individuality. It’s like building something using independent Lego pieces, instead of welding something together that can no longer be separated.

The world is changing, and relationships are evolving quickly. Interdependence will eventually become the new paradigm…and I believe our world will be a better place because of it. But it starts with leaving behind our overly dependent ways, and becoming truly responsible for our own life and happiness.

Wishing you lots of love, joy and harmony in all your relationships!

Share your thoughts!

Which stage of relationship have you experienced?

Resources for further learning

Karen Strang Allen is an empowerment coach for single women and mother of two. 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 and create a life they love so they attract (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and dating workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | April 13, 2019

When you wish upon a star…finding the love you long for

There’s a big difference between longing for something, and setting a conscious intention to have it.

Let me explain…

Many of the women I work with have been hurt. Badly. Hurt by people they thought would love them. Betrayed, abused, and rejected by the ones they entrusted their heart and soul to.

And now they are afraid of the same thing happening again.

So they stop trying. Stop hoping. Stop dreaming.

They tell themselves it’s better to accept their fate than to feel the pain of wanting more, and never having it.

This truly breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to see someone giving up on what they really want, because they no longer believe it’s possible.

Don’t get me wrong…I completely support a woman’s empowered choice to be happy on her own. In fact, I encourage my clients and friends to spend time being single…to learn how to stand on their own two feet, and create a life they love, and learn how to make themselves happy. For it’s from this place of empowerment that happy, healthy, conscious relationships are created.

And some people are truly happier on their own. But many people…if they are admitting what their heart is calling them towards…really want a loving, committed relationship.

The challenge is, when you really really want something, but you think it’s out of your reach, it feels painful. And no one likes pain. So we tell ourselves we didn’t really want it anyway.

But denying our true desires is not the path to enlightenment, or true happiness.

Because when we see that cute old couple holding hands on the park bench…or when we attend our uncle and aunt’s 50th wedding anniversary…or when we watch a new couple exchange wedding vows, we feel a pang of envy in our hearts. And that’s telling us that we want something more.

Sure, one way to deal with the gap between what you want and where you currently are is to tell yourself you don’t want anything. There is some wisdom in enjoying the present moment just as it is, regardless of our current circumstances.

AND there is truth in the fact that human beings are wired for progress…to want more. And we’re wired for connection…to want love.

Now romantic love is certainly not the only form of connection…but it’s a form that many people want. And if you are one of the ones secretly wanting it, but pretending you don’t, you’re doing yourself a disservice. And you’re doing the person eagerly looking for someone like you a disservice.

If what you really, truly want is a committed relationship, the answer is not to say (as so many of the women I work with do), “I’m not really looking, but if it happens, it happens.”

I hate to be frank here, but that energy is not the energy that will draw your ideal partner to you. Prince Charming is not going to suddenly ride up to your doorstep while you’re hiding away watching Netflix in your PJs. You have to decide you want it. And open the door to the possibility.

An awesome client of mine reminded me today of the song “When you wish upon a star,” and I looked up the lyrics. Generally, I prefer to encourage people to set an intention for what they want, not to “wish” for it (wishing usually implies passivity).

But the song actually does get it right when it says “If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” If you want something, and your heart is in it (i.e. you believe you can have it), then anything really is possible.

If, on the other hand, you long for something but don’t believe it’s possible, it can’t come your way. Not because you’re not good enough or don’t deserve it. But because you’re blocking it energetically (longing is a focus on the lack of something, not the presence of it).

So if what you really want is love, how do you attract that?

By changing your belief that it’s possible. And trusting that you can have it. And knowing that your past experience doesn’t need to repeat itself, once you’ve moved beyond it. And choosing to believe there are good people out there.

So if what you really want is to find love, stop pretending you don’t just to make yourself feel better. Embrace your desire. Open to the possibility.

And if you need a little help doing this, then I invite you to join me for the Soulmate Attraction Summit, a special live transformational event on May 4-5 that will help you believe in love again.

www.soulmateattractionsummit.com

This is truly a life-changing event, the only one of its kind in Canada (and the only time I’ll be holding it this year). You are being offered a tremendous opportunity to change your “fate” and fulfill your dream of finding love…please don’t miss your chance.

Take a step towards what you want…and watch the magic happen.

You deserve love. And you can have what you want. I hope you will join me so I can show you how.

❤ Karen 

P.S. Use the special discount code SASFRIENDS for $100 off the current (already low) ticket price…but only until Friday, April 19. (And only until we run out of seats…we are almost 70% sold out already.)

Posted by: silverliningsblog | March 2, 2019

How to improve your dating experience

What’s the difference between loving to do something, and hating it?

It’s usually a question of focus.

Sure, there are some activities we’re more naturally drawn to than others. Some suit our personalities, interests, and preferences better.

But when it comes to things we kinda sorta hafta do, loving or hating it boils down to how you’re looking at it.

Let’s take housework as an example. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who LOVES housework. But I do know people who resist it like the plague (you know, the ones who can lose their children in their mountains of unwashed laundry, and the ones who have killer dustbunnies you’re genuinely afraid of).

And I know people (myself included) who don’t mind it so much.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m no Molly Maid, and I also sometimes let my housework pile up. I’d far rather be outside with my kids enjoying nature, or out having fun with my friends. And I’ve hired a cleaner to do housework for me before (delegating things you don’t want to do can be a healthy strategy).

But when there’s something I need to do (like my housecleaning today), I’ve discovered there are ways to actually enjoy tasks that aren’t my favourite.

Like putting on my favourite yoga clothes and treating it as a workout, seeing how fast I can get it done. And involving my kids, to split up the work and do it as a team. And cranking up the tunes so we can be silly and dance in between. And rewarding ourselves by going to a movie when it’s done.

I think all of us enjoy the result of having a clean house. But none of us love to do it. Unfortunately, when we resist the process, we turn it into something that’s intolerable, that we avoid doing. When we can find a way to turn it into a game or make it more enjoyable, it doesn’t feel like such a chore.

What we focus on expands

Another common example of this principle is dating. Again, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who LOVES dating. But there are people who manage to enjoy it, and people who absolutely dread it.

What’s the difference? Is it that some people are more extroverted than others? Perhaps. But the real difference is where we place our focus.

If we choose to focus on the negative…the weirdos online, the dick pics, the catfishers, the jerks only looking for sex, the awkward conversations, the sweaty palms, the dates that don’t work out…then we’re automatically going to feel bad. Why? Because those things are not what we want. And when we focus on what we don’t want, we feel bad. We also attract more of that to us (since what we focus on expands).

So stop doing that! 🙂 And stop complaining to your girlfriends about it (laughing and making light of it is perfectly ok, however).

If instead, we choose to focus on the positive…the interesting people we meet, the humour in awkwardness and first date jitters, the fascinating conversations about new ideas, the new restaurants and activities we get to try, the vision of the kind of relationship we want, the excitement of possibly meeting our soulmate…then we’ll start feeling much better and more upbeat. I mean, doesn’t this paragraph just FEEL better than the negative one?

And because we’re focusing on what we want, we’ll feel more upbeat and hopeful, and we’ll draw more good people and experiences to us.

Shift your focus, shift your results

If dating is something you dread (like most people), it’s important to find a different perspective, a different focus…a way to come into energetic alignment with the process of dating BEFORE going out there.

If you go out there feeling negatively, you’ll attract negative people and experiences.

If you shift how you’re feeling first (which starts by shifting what you’re focusing on), you’ll start attracting a different calibre of date and enjoy the process more.

So if you’re feeling a little nervous about dating because it’s new, or frustrated with it because you haven’t been having good results, you’re in good company. Don’t beat yourself up about it. But do  change your focus and your feelings before heading back out there so you get better results.

If you’d like to learn more about how to do this and practice the principles I’m talking about here, I invite you to join me for my free Feel GREAT when you date! 5-day Challenge.

Wishing you lots of luck and positive experiences in life and love!

Share your thoughts!

What frustrates you about dating? What makes it easier for you?

Resources for further learning

If you need help with dating this year, I invite you to virtually attend my free online masterclass, Dating Demystified!

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Karen Strang Allen is an empowerment coach for single women
and mother of two. 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 and create a life they love so they attract their dream partner. Check out Karen’s free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.

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