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. 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 six years ago and my father to cancer two weeks ago. 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 completely 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.

Death and loss are a part of life. Sometimes an expected part; sometimes very unexpected (and unfair). But 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 extreme 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) and lots of rest. 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. Breathe into your feelings. When an emotion like sadness or anger comes up, just sit down, put your hand on your heart, name the feeling, notice where it is in your body, and breathe. Don’t overanalyze what you’re feeling with your head; simply notice what you are feeling in your body. Emotions will pass through us (often in as little as 15 minutes) if we let them. The reason we get stuck in grief is we resist our feelings or try to avoid / repress them. Depression is unresolved grief…I learned that the hard way. 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 coach, therapist or supportive friend / family member to help you process your emotions. If you can’t function at all or are are feeling suicidal, contact your local distress line or 911.
  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.

I also invite you to attend these upcoming free and low-cost workshops of mine if they speak to you (note: these are more focused on healing after a break-up or divorce):

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.

Posted by: silverliningsblog | May 5, 2021

Embracing solitude

I have had a love-hate relationship with solitude for most of my life.

When I was a child, we lived in (very) rural New Brunswick, down a long laneway in a small red bungalow surrounded by maple and birch trees. I loved the privacy of where we lived, the freedom to run around in the wind catching leaves with no one watching, the ability to sing in the blueberry patch with no one listening.

I also, at times, felt excruciatingly lonely. I wrote a song about loneliness when I was only 9, feeling like an outcast with family members, living too far away from friends to easily access them. My stuffed animals kept me company, but even they weren’t enough at times to compensate for feeling so alone.

Since my youth, I’ve been alone more than I anticipated. I was widowed at 22 and then moved to Ottawa, where I knew only a few people, so spent most of those first years on my own. I eventually remarried, but we divorced when I was 35, and so I’ve lived alone for most of the past decade, with my kids for company half of the time (and now a small Morkie named Bailey).

Suffice it to say, life didn’t quite go as planned and I’ve experienced more solitude than I had imagined.

But here’s the thing…it also wasn’t all bad. There have been some tremendous gifts in spending so much time alone, and I’ve learned (for the most part) to embrace solitude.

Are there aspects I still don’t like? Sure, especially during a pandemic! Being single during lock-down sometimes feels very isolating. I miss hugs and interaction with friends, snuggles and long, deep conversations with a partner, and fun public gatherings.

But mostly, being alone has been positive, even transformative for me.

The benefits of being alone

Here are some of the many benefits I’ve experienced from spending time alone that you may want to consider if you find yourself in similar circumstances:

1. Hearing yourself ― When we’re with others a lot, we sometimes don’t notice now noisy it gets. We can barely hear our own thoughts anymore, much less differentiate our own judgment from societal pressures to conform. When you get away from the chatter and ceaseless opinions, you can really tune into your own thoughts – what do you really think and believe? And how do you feel? Can you allow yourself the space to experience your own emotions and body’s signals without judging them? Can you be compassionate towards yourself when you’re hurting or lonely or afraid? Can you respond kindly to your emotions, and give yourself the comfort and nurturing you need?

2. Re-discovering yourself ― Solitude gives you the ability to deeply connect with yourself, and rediscover what you enjoy and what matters to you. When you’re alone, you don’t need validation from others…the only person who needs to approve of your decisions is you. So, you can use this quiet time to explore who you really are and what you really want for yourself. You can embrace your creativity, try new things, and take on a DIY project. What seems fun to you? What makes you feel joyful and alive?

3. Re-prioritizing your life ― Slowing down the pace of life creates space to breathe and consider whether things are the way you want them to be or not. If not, you can re-prioritize, and determine what needs to change. Who would you like to reconnect with? What new goal do you want to achieve, or skill do you want to learn? Is there a habit that isn’t serving you that needs to be changed? It’s like hitting the reset button, allowing you to start over with a clean slate, creating the life you want from scratch.

4. Re-connecting with source ― Solitude gives us a tremendous gift….the opportunity to explore and embrace quiet and stillness. To realize that underneath the business of life is a peaceful, serene space where you can simply be. One of the main reasons we resist being alone is we see it as a “nothing” place, and yet it’s in this void that we can reconnect with our true divine essence, our higher spirit. By connecting with source energy regularly, we begin to experience a state of flow and transcendence that is hard to experience surrounded by people and noise and constant doingness. It gives us a chance to truly rest and recharge, instead of draining our energy with constant movement.

5. Appreciating the little things ― One of the true gifts of this pandemic is that we are starting to notice and appreciate things on a whole new level. Like the beauty and magic in trees blossoming and flowers blooming and birds returning to sing their lovely tunes in spring. Like the joy in human connection. Like the comfort of a dog’s affection. Like the sheer ecstasy of live music or travelling to explore new places. These are things we often took for granted before, but spending some quiet time alone changes our level of gratitude for life’s pleasures and anticipation of them returning.

Making the most of your time alone

Here’s the thing about solitude…it doesn’t last forever. This too shall pass. There will come a time again when you’re surrounded by people (and perhaps even feeling suffocated by it).

So for now, try reframing your time alone. Instead of seeing it as “lonely” time, think of it as “me time” or “reflection” time or “recharging” time. When we change the way we look at (and talk about) solitude, our experience of it begins to shift.

Sure, you may still have moments of feeling lonely, that is a normal part of the human experience. But loneliness doesn’t have to be your permanent state of being. And it would be a shame to wish away alone time that can actually be very healing and transformative.

Look at solitude as an opportunity for deeper self-awareness, greater connection to source, and increased self-love and self-care, and you’ll no longer resist this period of being alone…you’ll being to embrace it.

Share your ideas

What positives have you experienced from being alone? 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 | April 1, 2021

Why is dating so hard?!

You put your profile up, excited at the possibility of meeting someone wonderful. Soon after, you get a nice message from a cute guy who seems genuine. You chat back and forth, and you start feeling eager to meet him. You suggest meeting up, and then…radio silence.

What happened?! Where did he go? Did you say something wrong?

He could have been a catfisher. He may have social anxiety or commitment issues. You may have said something he didn’t like. Or he may not be that into you…the truth is, you will likely never know what happened.

There’s no doubt about it, dating in the digital world is challenging. It’s like driving on a giant freeway with no rules and everyone going in different directions!

Like many women, when my ex & I first split I dreaded dating, especially online dating. And the more I resisted it, the worse things felt…I felt rejected if someone ghosted me or didn’t choose me. I attracted mama’s boys, emotionally damaged men, and even a narcissist.

And the more failed relationships I had, the worse I felt about myself (and about men). Was there something wrong with me? Were there no good men out there? Was I destined to be alone forever?

Eventually I realized…hey, wait a second, I can blame the guys, but the common denominator here is me! But I know I’m a good person, so it’s not that there’s something wrong with me; it must be that I’m doing something wrong (and sure enough, I was)!

That realization led me to use my journalism training to research dating and relationships for almost a decade, then apply what I learned and fix the underlying reasons why I attracted (and chose) wounded men. Now, I attract a much higher calibre of men, and I don’t settle for less than what I want and deserve. And I no longer get discouraged by the low-calibre ones…I simply say no and move on.

I’ve learned to feel great as a single woman, and even to enjoy the process of dating! Which is why I decided to become a love and empowerment coach for single women, and help other women learn to be happy on their own and enjoy dating too.

What goes wrong when dating

So let’s begin with the main question: Why is dating so hard?

Through my research, I’ve discovered there are five main reasons: 

1. Dating for the wrong reasons – Many people date in order to avoid feelings of sadness and loneliness. But sad and lonely people attract sad and lonely people. Your pain will attract their pain. So to attract someone better, you must do the work to heal and unpack your emotional baggage first. The right reason to date is because you’re feeling great about your life and want to share your happiness with someone (you’re not looking for someone to make you happy).

2. Looking for validation and acceptance – Many people are also looking for validation from their dates/partners…to be chosen so that they feel good about themselves. But you’ll always attract a reflection of what you feel inside. So if you don’t feel confident in yourself, you’ll attract someone who makes you feel less confident. Or you’ll feel overly “rejected” when someone doesn’t choose you. Or you’ll choose too quickly, just because someone is flattering you. To be successful in love, you must first know and love who you are. Feeling good about yourself is the best antidote to perceived rejection and allows you to be more patient and choose better.

3. Not knowing what you actually want – Many people use the trial and error method of dating, and actually have no clue what they really want. Or they have a very vague ideal. But here’s the thing: you can’t get what you want if you don’t even know what that is! And trial and error is a painful way of doing relationships, because you have to keep going through break-ups, over and over again. Just like you shouldn’t get to the drive-through window without knowing what you’re ordering, you shouldn’t sign up for online dating without knowing what you want either.

4. Having limiting beliefs – You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you believe. So even if you figure out what you want, if you believe that online dating sucks, there’s no good men out there, men only want young women, men are all out-of-shape, there’s no one where you live…then that is what will happen in your reality. You will prove yourself right. We will never act contrary to our beliefs. So what you’re seeing and experiencing in your “reality” is simply a mirror of your present beliefs. Don’t like your results? Change your beliefs!

5. Focusing on the wrong thing – What you focus on, expands. So if you keep focusing on the jerks, liars, cheaters, players…that’s what you’ll continue to attract and see! Not because there aren’t good people out there. But because that is what you told your brain to focus on. So stop focusing on what you don’t want, and learn how to control your point of focus.

“Reality” is subjective

Many single women I talk to try to convince me that online dating really does suck and there are no good ones left, because that has been their experience…their “reality.”

And granted, it’s true that it’s their experience of reality (subjective reality), but it’s not an objective reality that is true for all people. Many women enjoy dating, and many of my clients have found love while online dating ― we are not all having the same experience!

Think of it this way…when it’s 14⁰ Celsius in the fall after a long hot summer, it feels cold. But when it’s 14⁰ Celsius after a long cold winter, it feels warm! Saying it is cold or warm is not objective truth or reality ― it is subjective experience (and what someone who lives down South finds “cold” will be different than someone who lives up North does).

Your experiences are simply a reflection of your past beliefs, emotions and behaviours…which is what generates your results.

How do I know this? Because I coach single women who come to me with a pattern of attracting the wrong partners…and when they do the inner work to shift this, they start attracting a better quality of partner.

It isn’t magic…it’s frequency and focus. When we complain about what we don’t like (e.g. online dating and players), we reinforce it and attract more of it. It’s like tuning into the country music station where everyone has lost their dog, truck and wife, when what you want to hear is peaceful, spa-like music. Your dial is tuned to the wrong station!

So, when you’re struggling in love, it makes no sense to keep dating. As Einstein famously said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He also said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

In other words, you won’t see the good guys when you keep complaining about your current “reality” and your vision is clouded by your struggle, pain and fear. Continuing to date when you are feeling this way will not result in a different experience, so it’s wasted time and effort.

How can I change my dating experience?

Contrary to popular belief, there are just as many good single men out there as women. And there is an easier way to find them. Dating doesn’t have to be as hard as people make it out to be.

Long story short, if you’re finding it hard, you’re doing it wrong! And if you want different results, change your approach!

So please, for goodness sake, stop dating if it’s not working for you! Recalibrate, change your beliefs and date from a place of happiness and confidence instead of trying to fill a void in your life.

If you don’t acknowledge your responsibility in who you’re attracting, who you’re choosing, and why you keep staying too long in unhealthy relationships, you are giving your power away to others and you cannot fix the problem.

Your point of power is not in complaining about or trying to change men. It’s in changing yourself…your beliefs, emotions, attitude, behaviours and focus.

Where can I get help?

If you want to know how to change your dating experience, I invite you to a FREE online event on April 6 called Finding Love in these Crazy Times. During this 90-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 know if they’re into you
  • The easier way to find your soulmate

Learn more and register here.

There is also a 1-day virtual workshop on Saturday, May 1 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

This event is low-cost, and all proceeds go to Women’s Shelters Canada. Learn more and register here.

Share your ideas

Have you had a positive dating experience? 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 | February 26, 2021

When love isn’t healthy

At first, everything seemed wonderful.

They had a lot in common and talked for hours about anything and everything. She found it refreshing how open he was about himself, which encouraged her to share her hopes and dreams eagerly. He showered her with attention, affection and gifts, and went out of his way to do kind things for her. It was more love than she’d ever received in her entire life, and it felt so good.

It felt so good, in fact, that she was willing to overlook things that didn’t feel right to her. Like the way he played head games with his ex. Or how he hid certain aspects of his past. Or how fast he was moving, even though she had said she wanted to go slow.

She thought she was in love…and he even told her he loved her, within a month or so of them meeting. He said he was sure she “was the one.” All this attention he was giving her was good…right?!

Then something changed. He started demanding more and more of her time and attention, becoming jealous of time spent with others. He started picking fights and criticizing her, making her wonder what she was doing wrong. One day he’d be warm and loving; the next day he’d be angry and cold. She felt like she was constantly walking on eggshells, not wanting to set him off again.

But still she stayed, wanting to hold onto the dream of how good it felt in the beginning, hoping her love would change him.

Is it love…or an addiction?

We are all wired for love. We want to feel cared for and connected to other human beings. And in our culture, we especially want to feel loved by a romantic partner…that one person we know will always be there for us, no matter what.

But if we try to use romantic love as a replacement for loving ourselves, as a way to avoid low self-esteem and uncomfortable emotions (like loneliness, sadness and anxiety), we inevitably get ourselves into trouble.

What many people call love is not really love…it’s actually an addiction. When you need another to feel happy, to feel loved, to feel validated and appreciated, you are more likely to choose someone who needs you to survive as well…and this is not love, it’s co-dependency.

Addictive love follows a pattern that looks like this:

  • You choose based on “chemistry” and jump in quickly.
  • You have sex early on, and feel “connected.”
  • There are early promises of love and commitment.
  • Yet you don’t really know each other.
  • You start seeing things that concern you, but you choose to overlook them.
  • You focus on the fantasy of what you want, not the reality of what you have.
  • You self-sacrifice, giving up things that are important to you for the other.
  • Things get bad, yet you stay.
  • You feel like you love this person too much to let go.
  • You try to get them to change, to be what you want them to be.
  • Even once the relationship ends, you find yourself obsessing about them.
  • You feel like your world has fallen apart and don’t know how to be on your own.

This is not healthy love. You feel unable to go on without them because you have revolved your life around them…instead of revolving it around you. Without your center, you feel lost.

Let me be clear: the level of distress you feel is NOT proof of how much you love them. It’s proof of how much of yourself you gave away.

Is it love…or abuse?

Let’s take this one step further. Not only can “love” be unhealthy and addictive; it can also be downright abusive.

I think it’s fairly clear what physical and sexual abuse looks like, so I won’t elaborate on that here. If someone is hitting you, threatening you, or forcing you to do things with your body that you don’t want to, it’s abuse. Get out while you still can.

The type of abuse I want to focus on here is emotional abuse…because it can be really subtle and tricky to spot, especially at first. And emotional abusers are usually careful to hide their unhealthy behaviours in the beginning…until you’re already committed and “all in.”

Emotional abuse happens when another person uses words to try to manipulate, hurt and control you. These people are often highly intelligent and very good at getting inside your head and heart…and then they use your vulnerabilities, needs and desires against you.

Common tactics emotional abusers use include:

  • They go very fast in the beginning, making early promises of love and commitment.
  • They “love bomb” you, showering you with attention, making you feel loved and cared for.
  • They give a lot in the beginning, causing you to open up and give back.
  • They act like a martyr, causing you to feel guilty they have “done so much for you.”
  • Then they start criticizing your looks, your career, your personality, your intelligence.
  • And they start withholding love, affection, attention (or give it inconsistently).
  • They ignore your boundaries…physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
  • They use guilt trips, silent treatments, threats and ultimatums to get what they want from you.
  • They start fights over small issues, and viciously attack you for minor transgressions.
  • They twist the facts, making you feel like you can’t trust your own judgment.
  • They outright lie, saying they didn’t do or say something they did (or saying you did).
  • They use their intellect against you (making a case to prove you’re wrong).
  • They use your fears, insecurities, feelings and vulnerabilities against you.
  • If you call out their behaviour, they never take accountability.
  • Instead, they call you too sensitive, emotional, crazy or insecure.
  • They gaslight you, and make you feel like any problem they’ve caused is actually your fault.
  • They project their issues onto you, accusing you of doing what they are actually doing.
  • They triangulate and use your own friends and family members against you.
  • These tactics cause you to feel insecure and focus more on their needs (less on yours).
  • They cause you to explode in frustration and anger, which they say is proof you’re the problem.
  • They cause you to doubt your own sanity and goodness (you think it’s all your fault).
  • Over time, you try so hard to be what they want you to be that you don’t even know who you are or what YOU want anymore.
  • Everything revolves around them. Which is exactly how they want it.

This is the classic trajectory of emotional abuse. And it won’t get better; it will only get worse. No one deserves to be treated this way. Find support and leave as soon as you can.

If you fear you’re in danger or don’t know where to turn, here is where you can get professional help:

What healthy love looks like

Real love takes time to build…think slow-burning fire, not brush fire. It takes time to get to know someone, to see all aspects of who they really are, to know if they are a good match for your values, personality and lifestyle.

Healthy love:

  • Feels safe and comfortable.
  • Allows each person to maintain a separate identity, and separate friends.
  • Grows over time, as you get to know someone (both qualities and faults).
  • Acknowledges each person’s unique needs and desires.
  • Supports each person’s growth and wellbeing.
  • Is patient and understanding.
  • Is compassionate of each other’s flaws and wounds.
  • Is kind, even in conflict situations.
  • Seeks first to understand.
  • Looks for win-win solutions.
  • Is loyal and trustworthy.
  • Gets stronger with time as trust builds.

Everyone wants “love at first sight,” but that is rarely a sign of a healthy relationship. Instead, look for “love that stands the test of time.”

How to avoid unhealthy love

The number one way to avoid unhealthy love is to slow down and get to know someone gradually. You don’t really know someone until you’ve seen them under stress, how they resolve conflicts, and how they treat you (and others). And that can take many months (even years) to see!

Other important strategies include:

  • Heal your past so you stop repeating it.
  • Learn how to process and regulate your emotions.
  • Rebuild your identity and learn to love yourself.
  • Improve your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Learn how to meet your own needs for validation and affirmation.
  • Learn how to feel happy on your own.
  • Learn how to set healthy boundaries, be assertive, and use your voice.
  • Learn how to make better choices in love.
  • Take your time dating. Slow down! Don’t rush into sex or commitment.
  • When they show you who they really are, believe them. Don’t wish they were different.
  • Don’t choose based on “potential.” Choose based on how they are showing up now.
  • Trust your instincts. Your body is a tuning fork…if something feels wrong, it is.
  • If a relationship becomes unhealthy, get professional support and/or leave.

Most of all, remember…your heart and body are precious cargo, so treat them that way! Just like you’d screen a potential caregiver for a child, make sure the person you give yourself to has shown themselves to be loving, kind and trustworthy.

For more on finding healthy love, check out my 45-minute webinar called: Loving without Losing.

Share your ideas

Does this resonate with you? 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 | January 29, 2021

Do we have to love ourselves to love and be loved?

It’s become a common saying in the personal development industry that it’s important to “love yourself.”

But lately I’ve noticed a backlash against the self-love movement, by people who say it’s unfair to imply that because a person struggles with self-esteem or confidence issues, they can’t be loved (or truly love another).

And I would agree…but mostly because I think the intention and purpose behind the self-love movement is being misunderstood.

Why self-love matters

Self-love isn’t about becoming so uber confident and sure of ourselves that we have no scars, no self-doubt, no insecurities. Show me a person who can say that and you’ve likely either found someone who is a) lying to hide their insecurities or b) overly arrogant / a narcissist.

To err is human. To doubt is human. To fear is human. To feel pain and be wounded by someone else’s words or actions is human. To take all this away would be to make us into unfeeling robots…and strip us of the beauty of two hearts openly sharing vulnerabilities and healing them together.

Self-love isn’t about perfection…reaching some unachievable place where all our healing and growth is “done.” Instead, it’s about learning to fundamentally like, love and respect ourselves, and treat ourselves with the same love and respect we want from others.

For people who had reasonably normal childhoods, this usually comes naturally. Because they received positive mirroring from their parents in childhood, they have a solid sense of self, love who they are, have healthy boundaries, and treat themselves with respect and kindness.

But for people who grew up with abuse, neglect, or trauma, the mirroring process either did not happen or was inaccurate/incomplete. Because of negative, damaging things said to them repeatedly―or a complete lack of positivity―the child did not grow up with a positive self-image, and so struggles as an adult to feel good about themselves. This typically leads to critical self-talk, self-neglect, low standards and poor boundaries. It also leads to unhealthy choices and chronic over-giving / self-sacrificing in relationships.

So the reason why self-love matters isn’t because you’re unlovable due to a crappy childhood that you didn’t ask for. And it’s not because you’re incapable of experiencing love.

It’s because without self-love you will continue to have poor boundaries and lack assertiveness in your relationships. You will continue to attract people who treat you with the same lack of respect and kindness you show yourself (like attracts like). If you feel “not good enough,” you will continue to feel drawn to people who prove you right and push away those who would have proved you wrong.

We don’t get what we want in life…we get what we believe. If you believe there’s something wrong with you, you will keep attracting people who tell or show you there’s something wrong with you, until you buckle down and do the work to heal the wound and shift the belief.

When we have unhealed wounds, our pain attracts their pain. And two wounded people who have done no healing work rarely (if ever) create a truly healthy relationship. Yes, there will be an aspect of our healing that can only happen in a relationship. But if we go into our relationships with an open, gaping wound, we are more likely to choose someone who re-wounds us, than someone who helps us heal.

What self-love means

As a love and empowerment coach for single women, I stand behind the principle that to achieve healthy relationships, we need to spend time and energy learning how to heal our hearts, process and regulate our emotions, re-build our identity, validate and affirm ourselves, set healthy boundaries, stand in our power, and make better choices.

This is what self-love is really about. It’s about treating ourselves with the same care and concern as we usually easily show our kids, friends, partners. It involves learning how to re-parent ourselves and give ourselves what we need to feel happy and healthy.

When two lonely, wounded people come together to form a relationship, that’s generally a recipe for disaster. When two happy, healthy people come together (even if they still have scars), the ingredients are there for a successful relationship.

How to love yourself

If this resonates with you and you’d like to learn more about how to love yourself, I invite you to attend my free online masterclass on February 8 at 8 pm ET: Fall Madly in Love with You!

During this live online masterclass, you will:

  • Discover why we look for love in all the wrong places
  • Understand why loving yourself matters
  • Erase old wounds
  • Learn how to truly love and support yourself
  • Enjoy Valentine’s Day even if you’re single

Learn more and register here…there is no cost, and you can attend from the comfort of your own home!

Share your ideas

What have you learned on your self-love journey? 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.

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