How to Transform Disappointment into Feeling Loved

In my last video post I talked about how we can feel more loved.  It’s SO important, because if we don’t take the time to really articulate what makes us feel loved, then the outcome is DISAPPOINTMENT.  🙁

In this 4-minute video I talk about how we can transform our disappointment, and unmet needs, into clarity and fulfillment by sharing a ritual that I do on my birthday every year (and when I facilitate my annual New Years retreat) to help identify how I most want to feel.

When we articulate what feeling “loved” or “successful” means to us–because it actually feels different on each of us and can change at different times of our lives–then we can better collaborate with shaping our lives to result in the feelings we most want.

In my relationships, I assume that my friends and family DO love me… if I’m not feeling loved, then what do I need that is different from what I am receiving?

I want, more than anything, for you to KNOW what makes you feel loved and to focus your life saying yes to the things that will bring you closer to the love we all want.

xoxo

If you know what feeling leads you to feel loved, how can you see that helping prevent disappointment for you? What can you do to help facilitate that feeling?


 

 

Posted in Happiness, How To?, Love Languages & Types, Personal Growth/Spirituality, Strengths | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Do YOU Feel Loved?

Do you know what it feels like to feel loved?

Most of us are familiar with the 5 Love Languages–acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, gift giving, and quality time– as different methods of communicating love with others; but another one of my favorite ways for identifying what I need from others in order to feel loved is asking myself what I most need to feel in order to feel loved.

In this 3 1/2 minute video I share why it’s absolutely necessary to identify what we each most want to feel in our relationships.  Every January on the New Years retreat that I facilitate, I guide the participants through a process to hear their intuition peak to them about what they most want to feel in the upcoming year.  It’s so powerful, life-illuminating, and hopeful  to those who come, and while all our words are so different based on our current life experiences, without fail, the desire to feel “loved” is one of the most expressed feeling words.

We all want to feel loved, right?

But what does that really mean? To one of us it might mean feeling heard while to another we need to feel actually feel more expressed?  Or are we really saying we want to feel supported? Or believed in? Or encouraged? Or uplifted? Or trusted? Or trusting? Or resonant? Or valuable?

You can hopefully feel the difference in some of those words? The nuance matters.  How I go about increasing the chances of me feeling heard will look different, and invite something different out of me, than if I want to feel expressed.

When we know what feeling words lead us to feeling loved– we then will be more available, aware, and ready to lean toward the people and conversations that will increase our likelihood of feeling what we most want to feel.

What feeling would lead you to feeling loved? Are you willing to share with us? (Note: we’re not listing what behaviors others could do for us, but rather, what feeling helps you feel loved?)

Posted in Love Languages & Types, Vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Introverts & Extroverts Vs. Shy & Non-Shy

What if you’re a non-shy introvert or a shy extrovert?

That might sound crazy to some of you, if you confuse extroverts with people-skills or introverts with not liking people, as stereotypes are hard to break.  But for me, the first time I heard this it made complete sense as it finally explained why my husband talks to strangers more than I do, even though he’d choose a quiet night of the couch over going out with friends.

I’m a Shy Extrovert

No one is surprised to find out I’m an extrovert, but most people seem dubious to hear me

Fortunately, while we might lean slightly in opposite directions on the extrovert/introvert and shy/nonshy scales-- we both like being with each other! :)

Fortunately, while we might lean slightly in opposite directions on the extrovert/introvert and shy/non-shy scales– we both like being with each other! 🙂

describe myself as shy. They seem surprised to find out that I don’t talk to the people sitting beside me on the plane and I hate making small talk with sales people (“just leave me alone and I’ll let you know if I need help!”).  I cringe going to conferences where I don’t know anyone and I can easily attend the same exercise class as you for over a year and not say more than hi. I can do those things and even doing them quite well… but I don’t enjoy them. I actually feel insecure and shy.

My Husband is a Non-Shy Introvert

And while no one who knows my husband is surprised he’s non-shy, they never seem to believe him when he identifies as an introvert.  They see him talk to everyone, quick to start conversations and slow to say good-bye, and are in awe of how engaged he is with those lucky enough to connect with him.  His people skills are in the top 1% and he genuinely loves people.  But then he has to go home and recover.  He’s worn out.  He has to pace his week to make sure there isn’t too much interaction.

I interviewed Sophia Dembling a few years ago about her book The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World for a friendship course I was teaching and when she talked about the difference between being shy and being an introvert– it made so much sense.

Defining the Terms: Extrovert, Introvert, Shy, Non-Shy

Put simply, an extrovert is someone who is energized by being around people; whereas an introvert can feel drained before or after interacting and need to pull away from people in order to get re-energized. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum– referred to often as ambiverts, meaning that while we might lean one way a bit, we can certainly resonate with aspects of the other.  This classification tends to speak to what energizes and drains us.

But the above has nothing to do with our people skills or anxiety levels when connecting and that’s where the non-shy/shy spectrum comes in.  Someone who is non-shy would tend to feel confident in talking with people, unworried about their ability to keep a conversation going, interested in getting to know people around them, and if not eager to meet stranger, at least not overly nervous about it.  On the other extreme, someone who identifies as shy would typically experience anxiety, nervousness, and uncertainty in meeting and connecting with others. Again, like a bell curve, most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes.

What This Says About Our Friendships

I find this all so fascinating.  Certainly someone who is a shy introvert might have one of the biggest challenges in feeling motivated to connect with others for they feel anxious and they aren’t all that energized by it (although that’s not to say they don’t need deep human connection or that it won’t improve their health and happiness to get it!).  Or how important it might be to a non-shy introvert to give themselves permission to withdraw even though they’re so interested in people.

There is much still being studied in these fields and much we still don’t know, but from what I’ve read so far it appears that while we don’t have much control over whether we’re extrovert or introvert, we do seem to have the ability to become less shy.  Neuroscience is showing us that our brains can learn how to experience more calmness in our connections, to feel more accepted, and to feel more resonance with others. In some cases it’s that we can learn new skills and practice new behaviors that create stronger brain pathways, or in some cases it’s finding healing from traumatic relationships or experiences that still trigger our insecurities or fears.

Maybe you’ve often thought “I’m just not that good at relationships” or “I’m not sure I know how to be a friend.” Or maybe you can even feel your frustration at everyone for not being the “right” thing to you, or the shame you feel toward yourself for seemingly not knowing how to engage.  I really want to encourage you to not give up.

The good news is that we can create new trails/bridges in our brains and stop walking the same tired ones that lead us to anxiousness, irritability, fear, or the temptation to take everything personally.

Apparently, we can ALL learn new ways of connecting.  It’s called neuroplasticity– the ability of our brain to rewire itself, which is what many of us need to do in order to create the healthier relationships we need in our lives!

Have you become less shy? What worked? Have you changed a thought pattern or habit when it comes to how you relate to others? How’d you do it? Have you ever intentionally tried to create a new neuro pathway or stopped treading on one that was no longer serving you? What advice do you have for us?


Two Ideas for Growing Your Brain for Healthier & Easier Connections:

  1. Some of you might want to sign-up for the 13-class virtual course that includes the interview with Sophia Dembling: “The Friendships You’ve Always Wanted: Learning a Better Way to Meet-Up, Build-Up, and Break-Up with Your Friends”.
  2. But my favorite option is an invitation to join GirlFriendCircles.com where every single month our members receive a monthly skill or challenge to practice, a class taught by a leading expert, a worksheet for personal application, and a vibrant community for advice, encouragement, and support!  Talk about rewiring our brains for healthy connection over the long-run! It’s purposely not too much that it feels overwhelming, but is enough to keep bringing your focus back to relational growth.

Our brain development is like exercise– the more we do it and the longer we do it for– the stronger we get.  We can’t just try something once and expect a new habit to be formed. But we can see growth and change over time!  xoxo

 

 

 

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Posted in Fears, Love Languages & Types, Personal Growth/Spirituality, Research, Strengths | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sickness & Surgery: 10 Best Ideas & Gifts for Recovering Friends

My last blog post didn’t go over all that well with you–my beautiful community of amazing women–and you were quick to let me know I had it wrong.  🙂

In hindsight, I probably chose the wrong illustration (a woman recovering from surgery) to make my point: loving acts are loving acts from our friends even if they don’t initially read our minds to proactively give to us what we most need at any given time.  I think we too often take personally someone’s inability to automatically know what we need. But even my husband who lives with me and knows me deeply can’t always guess what I need at different times.  It’s ultimately my responsibility to reflect on what I need, communicate that, and trust that his love is no less sincere as he responds to what I requested.

But to make penance for any implication that someone who’s sick or in pain is at fault (she’s not!) if her friends are disappointing her– let’s make a list of fun ideas and gifts to give to our friends who are in physical recovery mode.  🙂

5 Easy and Affordable Gifts Post Surgery/Health Crisis

Easy because much as I admire those of you who can creatively put together something all thematic and homemade, I’m way more likely to send a gift if all I have to do it order it! Just only click and these gifts will be on their way!

Affordable because while we might want to pull off paying for house cleaning, massages, or meal deliveries for one of our closest friends– most of us are on a budget and will have to suffice with cheaper expressions of care. These are all between $15-35!

  • An infused water bottle “Drink! Drink! Drink!” is what we have to do to recover, but water gets boring after a while! For $14 send her a fun new way to get her fluids down!  And for another $8 you can add a recipe book filled with 80 water & fruit recipes for health!

 

 

  • Coloring Book and Pencils!  Prismacolors are by far my favorite colored pencils (and this 24 pack is only $12!)– they are the smoothest and the best! Pick out a fun coloring book to go with it and now they have something fun and creative to do while they heal.  (This one is my personal favorite for only $9 but there are soooo many to choose from!)

 

  • Tangible Inspiration: This bracelet may not be the most practical of gifts, but I am someone who loves to wear something that reminds me I am loved and that inspires me as I keep on the journey.  This $34 bracelet says “she believed she could, so she did” but there are lots of other styles and quotes to choose from.

 

  • Gift certificate to Audible.comWhen she just wants to close her eyes but is audibletired of sleeping… an audio book may be the perfect distraction!

 

 

  • Dry Shampoo and Other Beauty Care: A can of dry shampoo ($8 for 1 so maybe order 2!) may not heal her faster but it certainly may help her feel more whole! My hair gets so greasy that I’d need a can by my bed!  Here’s my favorite brand. Maybe add a package of bathing wipes to it, some amazing hand lotion, or some tinted lip balm from Burt’s Bee’s so she can feel and look better than she feels!

Are you on Pinterest? I’ve started a board with all these ideas and lots of others if you want to follow along!

5 Thoughtful Ideas of Time and Love

Most of us would probably concur that any gift or expression of love means so much to the recipient, but if you want to go the extra mile and gift your time then these ideas are as beautiful as they come!

  1. Commit to regular check-ins! Reminding our friends that they aren’t forgotten and sending them encouragement is so crucial! Ideas include:  mailing a card every week for the long haul, setting a reminder to text her every Wednesday, or making an extra effort to call her and check in more often (even if it just means leaving loving voice mails!)  @ClinkandChat tweeted me this idea: “text a daily joke or meme for laughs!”
  2. Ask the honest questions and give time for deep conversations.  When we’re present during someone’s pain, commit to being someone who asks the real questions that give them permission to share what’s going on inside of them.  Everyone else is asking about their physical health… be willing to process how that is affecting them:  How has this experience most affected you? What has been the most discouraging aspect of this? What has most surprised you in this experience? How would you describe how you’ve changed from this experience?
  3. Keep giving permission for them to be just as they are. Lots of women said what they most appreciated were the friends who kept normalizing the process and were comfortable with not needing the other to feel cheered or “better.” @GenerousAlix tweeted “Don’t rush the process!”  And one friend said to me “The person I was most excited to have come visit me was the one who texted and said ‘I’m coming over un-showered and I’ll be so disappointed if you dare get out of bed or even brush your hair before I come.’ as it made me let go of any need to prepare for her arrival.
  4. Offer your time in direct service.  In an ideal world, if a friend asked how they could help, we’d name a few things, but most of us don’t want to be inconvenient or assuming.  So if a friend said to me “Here are some options of things I can do… you either pick one or I’ll pick for you, but I am going to do something and I’d rather it be helpful to you… so if you want to vote, please speak up!” then I’d feel that much better picking one!  Two awesome ideas come from a couple members from our women’s friendship community, GirlfriendCircles.com: Kim Montenyohl suggested walking your friends dog which I think is awesome! And Julia Krout talked about how lonely she felt when she was physically limited after a surgery so the friends who would call and say “I want to bring you dinner and eat with you!” meant so much!  Other ideas could be: offering to do some online research for her (follow-up care, treatment reviews, best physical therapists in her area) if there’s anything she’s needing to eventually decide, offering to make her kids lunches if they go to school with your kids, call to ask her what you can pick up for her while you’re out running errands one afternoon, offer to attend an important appointment with her or to drive her home, or insist on doing her laundry no matter how much she objects.  🙂
  5. Organize food drop-off and donations!  Set up a free account on mailtrain.com and within 5 minutes you can start inviting all her friends to sign up to cook a meal, have food delivered, or make donations to help cover medical expenses! It’s easy to coordinate and you can help all her friends get involved so she feels loved and cared for in her recovery!

Please add your ideas in the comments and let’s crowd source an amazing list that we can all use as an inspirational resource!

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Posted in Gifts for Friends, Health, Loss & Grief, Practical Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

When Our Friends Disappoint Us: What We Can Do

I listened to a client tell me a story last week about how hurt and disappointed she felt when her friends didn’t rally around her after a recent surgery. I empathized with her, expressed regret with her that they didn’t wow her and love her in a meaningful way, and then asked, “Do you think they knew that you needed anything from them?”

“But it was a surgery!” she said, as though that answered my question.

“Yes it was,” I concurred.  “But tell me how you talked about the surgery with them before and after the event…. Did you ask for help? Did you express your fears? Did you tell them what you thought you might need?”

When Our Friends Aren’t “There” For Us

I continued, “In other words, if I called your friends now and asked them what they thought you might be needing or wanting, would they be able to tell me?”

After a few more minutes of conversation, her narrative–that many of us can probably identify with in one form or another–emerged:

  1. We want our friends to automatically know our need. She held a belief that if they were really her friends, or even just good people, then they should know what she might need without her needing to tell them.
  2. Even if we haven’t yet articulated our needs. Yet, when I asked her what help she needed, she didn’t have a ready answer and acknowledged that if she couldn’t even articulate it to herself, that it might be asking a bit much to have others guess it.
  3. Even when we know deep inside that they aren’t unwilling to help. She acknowledged that chances were high that most of them assumed she didn’t help because her husband was taking time off, her adult daughter was home, and she had lots of friends. And admitted that while it hadn’t been meaningful to her, a few had said to her, “Let me know if you need anything.”
  4. Because we give to them, this is the least they could do…. But she couldn’t shake the feeling of betrayal by her friends since she felt like she was always giving to them and this was “the one time I needed them.”

Unmet expectations in our friendships lead to massive disappointment, hurt feelings, grudges, and worst of all– the feeling of not being supported. And if we can’t count on our friends, then we feel very alone and vulnerable. We feel betrayed because we thought we had friends and now wonder if it was all a mirage or a waste of time. We feel used… thinking about what a good friend we’ve been, and wondering what the point of it is if we can’t count on the in return.

We Must Learn To Express Our Needs

There are a thousand conversations we can have on this subject (and my book Frientimacy actually has several chapters in it that teach these concepts!)– including,

  • being in touch with our feelings to know what we actually need (my client didn’t actually need help as much as she needed to feel thought of and loved),
  • being willing to let our friends see us with needs and feelings, especially if the pattern of our friendship has mostly been with us looking like Super Woman (possibly calling up a friend and when she asks how you’re doing, be willing to be seen: “Well, I wouldn’t recommend a regime of being un-showered for 4 days, laying in bed in pain, and watching soap’s as a recipe for feeling hopeful. ha!  I’m actually pretty lonely and the days are feeling so long it leaves me wondering if I’ll ever recover!”
  • and learning to ask for what we want and need.  Which could look like either telling friends ahead of time “I’m worried that I’m going to go crazy or feel so alone that first week after my surgery.  Any chance you’d be willing to come over for a bit–better yet if you come un-showered–and hang out so I have something to look forward to?” Or even after the fact, “I’m going crazy and miss you.  I wish I could offer to come see you, but since I’m still not leaving the house much– any chance I could entice you to come over here and hang out, if I were to order a pizza for us?”

Help My Friends Love Me Well

But what I really want to address is our fear that if we have to ask for something that it then defeats the purpose.

My client said as much, “But if I have to ask for it then they’ll feel pressure or just do it from obligation or guilt.”

Speaking Our Needs Doesn’t Make Their Help Less Sincere

And to that I say:

“Actually, in my opinion, the friends who are willing to hear what we need and try to do it, if they can, are the best friends in the world. It’s the most sincere expression of love to hear a need and attempt to respond to it.  And the most effective and strategic use of their energy and time, that has the highest chances of feeling fulfilling and meaningful to me, means that we both are as clear as possible what would be helpful. True friends don’t read minds– heck, we don’t even read our own minds half the time!– but rather they say “Yes!” when we reach out.”

The goal is to feel loved.  And we can help our friends do that for us if we are willing to help tell them what that looks like. That they then step up is the highest proof that we are supported. It’s our job to be in touch with what we need and communicate that to those in our lives who want to love us well.

Pssst: my next post gives meaningful ideas for how we can ideally show up for our friends without them having to ask us!  🙂


 

p.s.  Want to learn more about preventing unmet expectations and practice speaking your needs?

We have a brand new virtual class titled “Preventing Expectation Hangovers in our Friendships” that features Christine Hassler, author of Expectation Hangovers, who teaches us how to communicate our needs to our friends to prevent disappointment and unmet expectations. Included with the 1-hr audio class is a worksheet, a monthly challenge to practice, and inspirational mantras!

August_2016_Bundle_GraphicOthers who took the class already said things like, “This class was illuminating. I learned so much!” and “This changed the way I view my friendships in life-changing ways. I can’t even begin to describe how helpful this material was to me.” and “I listened to this class three times this month just because there was so much I needed to keep hearing.”

Buy this Friendship University class here and listen at your convenience!

Note: If you were an active member of GirlFriendCircles.com in August 2016 then you automatically received this class as part of your membership!

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Posted in Conflicts with Friends, Difficulty & Challenges, Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments