Financial Responsibility in Your Life and Marriage

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of taking 100%
responsibility for our own lives and the results we create.

It got me reflecting on what ‘taking complete responsibility’ actually means. And what it looks like. Also some of the ways we resist doing this, and even sabotage our own efforts to do so.

For example, we may not achieve our financial potential in our careers because we are plagued by insecurity and self-doubt and don’t believe our knowledge and skills are worth more. Women are particularly guilty of this.

Or when going back into the workplace after a period of being home with our kids, we may take a job below our capabilities because we don’t have the confidence to put ourselves forward for the role we really want.

The Blame Game

Instead of acknowledging these unhelpful behaviours, it is often easier for us
to blame our lack of responsibility on somebody else, such as our husbands.
I’ve certainly been guilty of this.

Passing the buck is so much easier than taking a really honest look at
ourselves and doing the work of overcoming our self-doubt and the
obstacles in our way.

And of course our ‘reasons’ for passing the blame feel so compelling! It really is his fault!

Here’s what’s struck me this week:

When we don’t take full responsibility for every aspect of our lives – our physical health, our emotional health, our financial health, our careers, etc., 

We do ourselves a great disservice.

In absolving ourselves of our responsibilities, we give ourselves the message that we are not up to the job. We believe we are incapable of taking care of our own needs.

And when we believe that lie, we are more likely to delegate the job of taking care of us to our husbands.
And then blame him when he too falls short!

That is a recipe for powerlessness and frustration, amongst other unhelpful feelings.

It is also the very opposite of self-love, self-care and self-belief.

I want to focus on financial responsibility, because I know that the fear of surviving financially is what prevents so many women from leaving unhappy marriages.

The question I’d like to ask you today is:

How much responsibility are you currently taking for your financial circumstances?

I’m not talking necessarily about being completely financially independent in your marriage. Maybe you have a long-standing agreement with your husband that he is the main or sole breadwinner.

What I am talking about is having cultivated the inner knowing, trust and confidence that you are fully capable of taking care of yourself financially, should you choose to. And having some evidence to back that up – or at least, be taking steps to build that evidence.

Cultivating that inner knowing will look different for each of us.

Here are some examples of steps we can take to build it:

  • Having a thorough understanding of your joint financial circumstances in your marriage – incomings, outgoings, assets, expenses, debts, etc.
  • Knowing how much your monthly expenses are including mortgage and bills, when they are due, the amounts and who they are payable to
  • Knowing the account details, logins and passwords for all of your financial affairs
  • Becoming informed about your legal and financial position in the event of divorce
  • Continually developing your professional skills so that more job opportunities are available to you
  • Negotiating a salary increase with your boss
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone and charging what you are worth
  • Starting your own business
  • Doing an inventory of your marketable skills and/or retraining to become more attractive in the job market

What would be possible for you if you had complete belief in your ability to take care of yourself financially?

And how would that feel?

I know how tempting it is, to keep your head in the sand and pretend your financial destiny is out of your control.

But at what cost to you – emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially?

The hard truth is this:

No-one can change your life, or your financial circumstances, except YOU.

I’m not saying it will happen overnight.

You may have to take a hundred, or even a thousand, tiny steps to get there.

And some of those steps will undoubtedly call upon you to build your courage muscle.

But you only ever have to take one small step at a time.

Here’s what else I know:

You can do it.

You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for (note to self!)

So here is the challenge I’d like to leave you with this week:

Action: What is one small step you can take in the next week towards taking financial responsibility for yourself?

Are you willing to take that step? Why or why not?

For me personally, it means moving forward with an exciting new coaching programme I’ve been wanting to offer for ages – procrastination be gone! I’ll be ready to tell you about it very soon!

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Uncertainty – The Fuel for an Amazing Life?

“Uncertainty is the fuel for an amazing life.”Uncertainty

I read that quote a few days ago.

At a time when I was feeling pretty uncertain about quite a few things – ha!

One thing is certain.

We will all face, and continue to face, the discomfort of uncertainty at various points throughout our lives.

We can count on it.

And yet.

We resist it.

We avoid it.

We don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable. Our brains don’t like it. Our bodies don’t like feeling it.

Reaching a crossroads in our lives when we feel we have a major decision to make can trigger huge uncertainty.

A decision such as trying to decide whether to stay in our marriage or leave.

And of course uncertainty about a possible unknown future triggers all of our worst fears.

We dislike uncertainty so much that it can drive a sense of urgency to make a decision, just so we can make the discomfort we are feeling go away.

But making a reactive, knee-jerk decision can become a regretted decision.

And avoiding discomfort is not the basis on which to decide the future of your marriage, or to make any decision.

On the other hand, some of us will go to extreme lengths to avoid feeling uncertainty in the first place.

We stay stuck in marriages that we know in our hearts we are never going to be happy in.

Because even though it’s making us miserable, and negatively impacting our emotional health, it is familiar.

There is certainty. We know how to ‘do’ this marriage – even though it feels terrible.

It’s within our comfort zone.

Welcoming Uncertainty

What if, instead, we could welcome uncertainty? What if we didn’t resist it and avoid it?

What if we expected it as a normal part of life and of our personal growth?

What if we welcomed it?

The only certainties in life are those things that are already known. How boring would it be if we only ever dealt with what we know – we would never learn anything new or experience anything exciting!

What if we understood that uncertainty is just a feeling, a vibration in our bodies, created as a result of the thoughts we have been thinking? And no feeling or emotion can hurt us if we are willing to feel it!

What if the only thing standing in the way of us getting what we want is our willingness to sit with uncertainty?

What if getting comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty is the first step to getting the clarity we seek about what we truly want, and how to get it?

What if uncertainty is a good thing?

The truth is, there is no growth without uncertainty. There is no stretching or developing or learning without the risk of what is not yet known.

The Fuel for an Amazing Life?

If you truly believed the quote at the top of this post, how might that alter your view on the role uncertainty plays in your life?

How would you approach a current challenge you are facing, whether marriage-related or something else, differently?

I’ll tell you a secret – sometimes I write these articles as a reminder to myself, as well as for my readers! As I said, I’ve been feeling my fair share of uncertainty lately. And I’m experimenting with seeing it as a positive  thing. I’m viewing uncertainty as a signal to keep moving forward towards what I want, rather than allowing it to derail me into fear-based thinking. And that feels so much better already!

I’d love to know how this approach could benefit you.. Give it a try, then send me an email and let me know!

Want Support Navigating Your Uncertainty?

Are you trying to decide whether to stay in your marriage or leave and feeling the grip of uncertainty? If so, enter your details below for immediate access to my free Mini Guide: Stay Married or Leave? A 5 Step Guide Before You Decide.

In the Guide I explain that ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ is the WRONG question to ask yourself. I’ll tell you what to ask instead and the five steps you must complete to gain the clarity you desire about the future of your life and marriage.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Participate in Your Own Rescue

I heard the above expression in a business-related
podcast* recently.Participate

And it really struck a chord with me.

What does ‘participating in your own rescue’ actually mean?

We’ve all heard the expression: ‘Nobody is coming to save you. You have to save yourself.’

I completely agree.

If there’s something in our lives we’re not happy with, we are the only ones with the power to change it.

We can’t wait around for a knight in shining armour to come and rescue us on his white horse. (Bummer, I know!)

Intellectually, we understand this.

What We Do Instead

And yet..

How often do we passively sit back and do nothing? How often do we wait?

How often do we wait for something, or someone, ‘out there’ to change, before we act?

We wait for our husbands to come round to our way of thinking.

We wait for them to change their behaviour so that we can be happy.

We wait, and secretly hope, they will give us a good reason to leave them, so that we don’t have to take responsibility for making that life-altering decision.

How often do we wait instead of telling ourselves the truth about what we really want?

How often do we do the complete opposite of actively participating in our own rescue?

Guilty as Charged

I am guilty of this.

I certainly participated in my own rescue when I left my marriage eight years ago.

And yet, more often than I care to admit, I still find myself passively waiting. I wait for something to change before I take consistent action on my goals.

I wait until I feel more ready, more confident, more inspired. Less afraid.

I wait for the right thought/belief that will propel me into the actions I already know I need to take.

Of course I realise I’m bullshitting myself. I know that my actions, and inactions, are driven by my thoughts and feelings – always. And I know my thoughts are completely within my control to change – or disbelieve – any time I choose.

The thing that stops us?

That old, familiar friend, FEAR.

We may not even recognise it. Fear wears so many disguises. It may be dressed up as perfectly valid reasons, justifications, procrastination, somebody else’s behaviour, lack of knowledge or education, external circumstances beyond our control, etc., etc.

But it usually boils down to fear.

How often do we allow fear to paralyse us and keep us stuck in the same shit situation that is making us miserable? Sometimes for years and years.

Making a change is scary. I really do get it.

Who is Your Hero?

In the podcast I referenced above, the host asks his guest: ‘Who is your Hero?’
The guest replies:

“Me, in 10 years time. My Hero is the person I want to be 10 years from now.”

I like this idea very much.

Can you imagine an older, wiser, less afraid, version of you? One who has achieved the very thing you want to achieve?

Can you imagine being your own Heroine – and how amazing that would feel?

Your Future Self.

What would she tell you if you could speak to her right now?

The good news is, you can. You can access your Future Self’s wisdom today.

She already lives inside of you. And she has the answers.

She knows exactly what you need to do to participate in your own rescue.

Here is the kind of wisdom your Future Self imparts when you take the time to connect with her:

1. Tell Yourself the Truth: Ask yourself what you really want and why. Why is making this change so important to you? How does this change align with your Values? For example, maybe you really value freedom, or honesty, or creativity, or connection, or making a difference. And making this change would give you the ability to truly live that value. Maybe making the change would mean being in integrity with yourself and living true to the person you want to be.

2. Identify What You Are Afraid of: Write down a list of your fears and work through them. Complete this exercise to help you identify your fears and begin moving past them.

3. Have Compassion for Yourself and Your Fear: Speak to the part of you that is afraid in the way you would speak to a child or someone you really love and care about. Be kind, compassionate, encouraging, loving, nurturing, supportive.

4. Take Action – Be Willing to Move Out of Your Comfort ZoneTo get a different result, we have to take different actions. Understand that acting in a new way will likely feel uncomfortable, unfamiliar, scary. Understand that your mind will do its best work to persuade you to stop. Accept that you will make mistakes and fall down. Take action anyway. You only ever have to take one baby step at a time.

5. Get Support: You don’t have to do this alone. Find somebody you trust who believes in you. Somebody who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth when you’re playing small and bullshitting yourself. Somebody who will remind you of your Why when fear gets a grip. Somebody who will remind you how strong and capable and amazing you are, especially when you forget.

6. Trust Yourself: You have everything within you to successfully achieve the changes you desire. Know that you are already worthy. You have nothing to prove. You are not the limiting thoughts and beliefs you hold about yourself. You are capable of so much more than you know.

You can tune in to the wisdom of your Future Self  any time you wish. She loves you unconditionally. She believes in you 100%. Talk to her.

This is How We Do It

So, back to the original question. How DO we participate in our own rescue?

To participate means to be involved. To take part. It is not passive. It is active.

It boils down to this: We have to ACT differently.

We cannot think our way to change. We cannot wait for something outside of us to be the catalyst. We have to take responsibility for creating the change we want in our lives.

And we have to take action.

We have to act in spite of our fears, our self-doubt, our limiting thoughts and beliefs.

To get a different result, we have to do something differently.

My question to you is: How will you begin participating in your own rescue today?

What is the change you have been waiting to make?

What is one action, one small step, you will commit to taking today?

I’d love to know – please tell me in the comments!

*Here is the link to the podcast that inspired this article!


Want Support Participating in Your Own Rescue?

Are you trying to decide whether to stay in your marriage or leave? If so, enter your details below for immediate access to my free Mini Guide: Stay Married or Leave? A 5 Step Guide Before You Decide.

In the Guide I explain that ‘Should I Stay or Go?’ is the WRONG question to ask yourself. I’ll tell you what to ask instead and the five steps you must complete to gain the clarity you desire on the future of your life and marriage.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Fear is the Reason we need Courage (+5 Steps to Build it)

Did you know fear is the reason we need courage?COURAGE

Courage doesn’t exist without fear.

Courage is the character trait we must develop in order to overcome fear.

The only way we can build courage is by exposing ourselves to fear.

We can’t passively build it while sitting on the sofa watching TV.

Not Building Courage is Not an Option

If we don’t take the first steps to build courage, we won’t ever be able to overcome the fear that is a natural part of being human.

We must utilise courage to overcome our fear and increase our capability. Growing our capability is what creates and increases our confidence.

The more capable we feel, the more confidence we build.

Fear is a natural part of the deal of evolving and growing as a human being.

Courage is what allows us to move through that fear.

Fear of the Unknown

We experience fear when we’re faced with the unknown.

And growing into more will always be unknown.

We can’t evolve into the next version of who we’re capable of becoming if it’s already known. It doesn’t work that way.

Whenever we feel fear, our brains will tell us we’re going to die! Our brain’s job is to keep us safe – and alive! And in our minds, certainty (the known) equals safety. So anytime we are faced with the unknown, the old grey matter will scream Stop!

Fear is the No.1 reason that keeps my clients stuck, often paralysed, in their lives and marriages, and unable to move forward.

It’s also the biggest reason that prevents them from telling themselves the truth about what they really want.

They are terrified of leaving the safety of their comfort zones. Even when remaining there is making them thoroughly miserable.

Today there are very few real threats to our physical safety. We are no longer at risk of being chased and eaten by a sabre-toothed tiger!

And most of what we fear will never actually happen.

The Root of Our Fear

What we are really afraid of is our feelings – the emotional pain we imagine we will feel. We believe we will feel that way forever and never escape it.

And so our fear of emotional pain keeps us paralysed. For weeks. Months. Years. Or a lifetime.

We fill our minds with fear-fuelled thoughts about worst-case scenarios.

We ‘awfulise’ about an unknown future.

And we vastly under-estimate our ability to move beyond our fear and overcome adversity.

We are far more resilient and resourceful than we give ourselves credit for. Very often, we don’t realise our own strength and capability until it is tested.

Moving Towards or Away

There are two ways of being in the world:

  • We can choose to move away from our fear. We can react to fear and use it as the reason (excuse) to stay stuck
  • We can choose to move towards our fear. We can move through it  by using courage to build resilience, overcome adversity and create confidence

So, how do we move through fear and build our courage muscle? Here are five steps to get you started:

1. Decide to Move Towards Your Fear by Using Courage

It starts with the decision to be willing to move towards your fear, in spite of wanting to run in the opposite direction!

  • Make the commitment to yourself that you will not allow fear to be in the driving seat of your life
  • In deciding, acknowledge that your feels very real – and scary!
  • Have compassion for yourself for being willing to take action in spite of your fear
  • Trust that you have everything you need within you to face and overcome your fear
  • Congratulate yourself – You have taken the first step to building your courage

Note: If you’re not yet ready to move towards your fear, have even more compassion for yourself. It’s okay.

2. Get Clear on Your Fear

Most of our fears are simply disjointed and often irrational thoughts swirling around in our minds. It’s time to get them out of your head and on to paper!

  • Take a sheet of paper and make a list. Write down every single thing that scares you about your situation. Do a complete brain-dump. Include everything, even the things that seem ridiculous. Spend five minutes writing and don’t stop until you run out of fears
  • When you have completed your list, read through your fears
  • As you read, allow yourself to feel your fear and really tune into it. Allow your fear to be present in your body and notice where you feel it and what sensations you are experiencing
  • As you feel your fear, be aware that what you are feeling is simply a vibration in your body, happening in response to the thoughts you are thinking
  • When you are ready, read through your list again and notice that what you have is a list of thoughts, not facts (though some of your thoughts may have a factual element to them)
  • Understand it is your thoughts creating your fear, not your situation. (This is very good news because you have control over your thoughts!)

3. Categorise Your Fears

  • Review your list again and divide it into two sub-lists. Firstly, highlight the fears that are completely without factual basis. For example: ‘If we get divorced, I’ll end up penniless and homeless, living on the street!’ These types of thoughts are created by your inner Fear-Mongerer; it’s your brain ‘awfulising’ about the worse case imaginable. These thoughts have no basis in fact, they are simply your mind’s way of desperately trying to keep you safe by maintaining the status quo
  • Choose to let go of these unfounded fear thoughts that are outside of your control. They are neither true nor helpful
  • Next, make a second list of the thoughts that have some truth or validity to them. For example: ‘I don’t know how I would pay the mortgage and bills by myself if we separate.’ 
  • For each item on this list, identify an action you can take to mitigate the fear. For example, for the above fear you might write: ‘I can create a spreadsheet of all my income and outgoings to calculate my monthly expenses.’ Assign a date to complete each action.

4. Take Action

  • Begin taking the actions identified on your second list. You will immediately feel more in control of your situation and this will lessen your fear
  • As you complete each action, identify the next one, and then the next, and keep going until you have completely overturned your fears

5. Remember to be Kind to You

Facing and moving through your fears is not for the faint of heart. Be kind and compassionate with yourself as you do this work – and acknowledge yourself for having the courage to do so.

It’s a process so don’t expect to go through it perfectly the first time. When your fear gets a grip on you once again and you find yourself back in that stuck place, have compassion for yourself.

Allow yourself to feel afraid. Know that it’s what makes you human.

Trust that you have the inner resources and resilience to face whatever comes your way.

And when you are ready, begin again.

You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.

And there is so much more available for you on the other side of fear.

Want Support to Build Your Courage Muscle?

If you’d like to explore where fear is keeping you stuck in your life and marriage and how you can move beyond it, get in touch to request your confidential 30 minute complimentary Mini Clarity Session.

I’ll help you get clarity on your situation and we’ll explore if working with me is the right solution to help you move forward in your life and marriage in 2017.

To request your session, email me at Julie@JulieMarah.com and we’ll get your session scheduled and confirmed.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Giving Up on Your Marriage vs Letting Go

The topic of how to know when you’ve tried hard enough
to make your marriage work,Giving Up vs Letting Go2 and when it’s okay to stop trying, is a regular theme in my work with clients.

What I know for sure is that no responsible person ever contemplates divorce lightly.

From my own personal experience, and the experiences of the many women, and some men, I’ve coached, the decision to divorce is never taken easily.

Soul Searching

There is always a whole lot of soul-searching, self-reflection and consideration of the consequences that goes alongside.

And when there are children and their happiness and wellbeing to consider, the sense of responsibility felt is immense.

My clients ask themselves these kinds of heartfelt questions:

  • How do I know when I’ve done enough?
  • How do I know I’ve really tried everything I can?
  • What if I’m ready to call it a day, but later regret my decision?
  • What if “I” am the problem and just need to work on myself some more?
  • It’s too much responsibility to bear – maybe I should just put up and shut up?

And while self-reflection and self-responsibility are absolutely essential here, these questions are most often fuelled by a bucket load of fear.

Fear of making the ‘wrong’ decision. Fear of being judged. Fear of an unknown future. And on it goes.

‘Giving Up’ vs ‘Letting Go’ – The Difference

So how do you know when ‘enough is enough?’

How do you know you are not ‘giving up’ too soon?

There are no quick and easy answers here, and I won’t pretend there are. It’s an area I often spend several sessions working through with my clients.

But what I can tell you is that ‘giving up’ feels very different to ‘letting go.’

I found this quote recently and it sums up the difference perfectly:

Giving up means selling yourself short

It means allowing fear and struggle to limit your opportunities and keep you stuck

Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you

Giving up reduces your life

Letting go expands it

Giving up is imprisoning

Letting go is liberation

Giving up is self-defeat

Letting go is self-care

— Danielle Koepke

Fear and Judgement

So very often, women are deeply afraid to let go of a relationship that is no longer serving them. That is understandable. Contemplating an unknown future and all of the financial and emotional turmoil that goes alongside can be terrifying.

So, instead they judge themselves for what they view as ‘giving up’ on the marriage too soon.

And they torment themselves with guilt and feel they are ‘bad’ for even contemplating the notion. They heap another layer of guilt-fuelled thoughts on top of their already conflicted minds.

They tell themselves things like:

These thoughts feel very real. And they are honourable.

But if you dig just a little bit deeper, what lies beneath is another big, fat layer of FEAR.

And so, the guilt-fuelled thoughts provide the perfect ‘justification’ to step away from the fear and stay stuck in an unhappy marriage.

When we go within and really connect with our hearts, I believe we instinctively know whether ending our marriage would feel like ‘giving up’ or ‘letting go.’

And sometimes we are not ready to ‘hear’ what our hearts have to say. It’s too terrifying to contemplate. And that’s okay.

But then we tie ourselves in knots and tell ourselves we’re stuck or it’s too difficult or that we must stay and keep working at it.

We refuse to ‘give up’ on the marriage; instead we give up on ourselves.

We don’t believe we deserve something better. The price tag and the fear feels too enormous.

The first and most important step is telling ourselves the truth about what we truly want. That takes enormous courage.

Then, and only then, can we choose what to do with that information.

And decide how to move forward.

Want Some Clarity About Your Marriage?

If the above article resonates and you’re ready to get to the truth of what you really want in your life and marriage, get in touch to request a complimentary Mini Clarity Session.

As well as providing your first step to clarity, we’ll explore if working with me might be the right solution to help you move forward in your life and marriage in 2017.

It’s the first small step in getting unstuck and moving forward (you only ever have to take one small step at a time.)

Ready?

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

What’s Your Favourite Flavour of Sh*t Sandwich?!

Strange question? You may be wondering:

‘What’s this woman on about..?
My favourite flavour of shit sandwich –
what kind of question is THAT?!’

ShitSandwichAnyone?

I have to confess that, while I absolutely love it, the question didn’t originate from me.

It’s from a great article that poses a number of unusual questions to help you find your life purpose (link below – well worth a read.)

I’ve reflected on this question a lot lately, and the truth behind it. And I’ve realised it’s completely relevant to us all, not just to those struggling to find their purpose.

The reality is, we are all going to be served our own personal ‘shit sandwiches’ during the course of our lives – multiple times.

By this, I mean our own unique blend of challenges, problems, obstacles,
difficult people, shit situations, etc.

To quote the author:

“Everything sucks, some of the time.”

He goes on to say:

“Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes:

What struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.”

A Personal Story

As I shared in my last Newsletter to my subscribers: Being More Real in 2017,** I’ve had my fair share of shit, or  ‘shite’ as I like to call it, to deal with in the last year (and beyond.)

My life did not suddenly become all rainbows and butterflies when I made the decision to leave my marriage seven years ago. Some of the challenges and obstacles I’ve faced, and continue to face, are huge.

And there are no easy answers to resolving them. They are an ongoing source of concern and worry for me.

Hence, I am now dealing with a completely different set of problems to the problems I faced in my marriage.

 So, you could say, I swapped one flavour of shit sandwich for another.

And yet. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Perhaps my kids would have been less negatively affected if I had stayed married to their father and done a stellar job of hiding my discontent and unhappiness. Perhaps not.

But it was not a price I was willing to pay.

My life today is infinitely better than it was when I was married.

The No.1 reason is because I am now living true to myself.

I am being who I am in my life. I am no longer pretending to be happy in a marriage I was not and could not be happy in.

In making that hugely difficult decision, I gave myself, and the world, the message that I and my happiness mattered.

I took responsibility for creating a life I could be happy in.

Even though I had no clue what that life looked like. Even though I was completely terrified about the future and how I would survive financially and emotionally. I just knew I could no longer tolerate the status quo.

I had to trust my inner wisdom. The small voice that told me I would find my way and that it would all work out. I’m so glad I did.

My life now is most definitely my favourite flavour of shit sandwich.

My question to you today is: What is yours?

If you’d like to explore your personal answer to the above question, see below.

Important Note: Please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way suggesting you would be happier if you left your marriage. I can’t possibly know that.

My decision was completely personal to me and one I did not make lightly and without a lot of ‘self’ work and reflection.

It is entirely possible you may be able to transform your life and relationship from within your marriage. It is possible you may be able to live true to yourself in your current relationship.

Many of my clients have achieved this.

 And I wholeheartedly recommend that you make every effort to explore this option before making any decision to leave.

I help my clients achieve this clarity through my Empowered Choices, Empowered Woman Programme.

Link to Article

Here is the link to the full article titled that inspired this post:
7 Strange Questions to Help You Find Your Life Purpose. www.markmanson.net/life-purpose

What Sh*t Sandwich Do You Want to Choose?

Would you like a complimentary Mini Clarity Session with me to help you get clear on how to move forward in your life and marriage in 2017, and to explore if working with me might be the right solution for you?

If so, get in touch and we’ll get your session scheduled.

 There is no obligation to continue after the session – it’s simply a first step in helping you to make a decision on how to move forward.

**And if you’d like to receive content that I only share with my Newsletter Subscribers, enter your details below. You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Did your Valentine play by the ‘Rule Book?’

Did you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!The Rule Book

How was it for you?

Are you feeling the lurrrrve?

Did your Valentine shower you with hearts and flowers and words of undying love on the most romantic day of the year?

Or was it all a bit of a ‘Larry Let Down’?

February 14th is one of those days when our “Rule Book” comes into its own.

And heaven help ‘him indoors’ if he doesn’t follow The Rules.

Today of all days!

The ‘Rule Book’

So what exactly is a ‘Rule Book?’

A ‘Rule Book’ is the unwritten list of rules you’ve created in your mind about how your husband ‘should’ behave so that you can feel happy.

So, this Valentine’s Day, your Rule Book may have read something like this:

  • My husband should send me flowers without being prompted
  • He should send me a Valentine’s card with a heartfelt love message
  • He should book my favourite restaurant and take me out for dinner
  • He should tell me he loves me
  • He should whisk me away for a surprise romantic break to Paris

When he plays by the Rules – great.

You get to be happy.

But what happens when he doesn’t?

What do you make that mean about him and about your relationship?

Maybe you make it mean:

  • He doesn’t love me enough
  • He doesn’t respect me
  • He doesn’t care
  • He’s selfish
  • He’s ungrateful
  • He doesn’t value me or our marriage

But does it really mean those things?

Or is it possible your husband simply has different values and beliefs to you? Is it possible his behaviour is NOT a reflection of how he truly feels about you?

And if he does follow the ‘Rules’ what is motivating him?

Is it because he genuinely wants to? Or because he knows what’s expected of him and he’s all for a quiet life!? If so, is that still proof of his love?

And do you really want him to do something he does’t want to do? Does that feel authentic?

The Alternative

It seems to me our ‘Rule Books’ very often provide a surefire way of setting ourselves up for disappointment. So, what’s the alternative, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of our marriage?

How can we set ourselves up to feel good regardless of whether Cupid’s arrow strikes?

Trying answering and acting on the following questions instead:

(1) What do you want?

Exactly what is it you want from your husband? Pinpoint it. How do you want to feel, what is the emotion?

Do you want to feel loved, appreciated, cherished, respected, cared for?

Whatever emotion you’ve identified, why do you want it? What will that mean if you receive it from your husband?

(2) What are you not giving to yourself?

When we don’t love ourselves enough we look to other people to do it for us. We want them to fill the void.

Until we love ourselves fully we will always look to other people to make us feel good about ourselves. To provide proof that we are lovable. When they don’t love us in the way we want them to, we use that as evidence against ourselves, and our husbands.

(3) How can you be your own Valentine – every day?

If you truly loved yourself in the way you want to be loved, how would you treat yourself? Whatever desired feelings you identified above, what can you do for yourself today to make you feel that way?

Can you imagine feeling the way you want to feel now, without your husband doing a single thing differently?

How do you feel about cherishing yourself? About treating yourself the way you would treat somebody you deeply love? What comes up for you as you think of doing this?

Do you need to give yourself permission? Does it feel selfish? What other beliefs are coming up that you might need to have a look at? Are those beliefs serving you?

What would you need to believe about yourself in order to love YOU in the way you want your husband to love you?

Today, decide to be the (self) lover you seek!

And you never know.

When you no longer ‘need’ your husband to show his love for you in a particular way, he may just surprise you.

And if he does.

It will be a bonus.

Not a necessity.

Want to Understand How Your ‘Rule Book’ is Negatively Impacting Your Marriage?

The ‘Rule Book’ is just one of the concepts I teach my clients in-depth in my Empowered Choices, Empowered Woman Programme.

The Valentine’s Day scenario above is a small example of how the expectations we have of our husbands can negatively impact our relationships – and our own happiness.

Of course it’s normal and entirely acceptable to have expectations of our husbands. The problems occur when he doesn’t meet our expectations and we attribute negative meaning to that.. And then we feel bad about it and towards him. And that creates a negative spiral of disconnection.

Book a Mini Clarity Session

Request a complimentary Mini Clarity Session today if you’d like to explore if working with me might be the right solution to help you move forward in your life and marriage in 2017?

It’s completely confidential and there’s no obligation to continue after the session – it’s simply a first step in helping you to make a decision on how to move forward from here.

And if you have a question I can answer for you, simply email me at Julie@JulieMarah.com. You can ask me anything.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

Are You the Kind of Romantic Partner You Seek?

Be the love you seekWhat are the qualities and attributes you seek in your romantic partner, aka your husband?

How do you wish he would ‘be’ with you in order for you to feel cherished and loved and deeply fulfilled in your relationship?

In an ideal world, what does your ‘laundry list’ of requirements for that perfect partner look like?

The List

Each of us will have our own unique list. And I’m guessing yours may contain some or all of the following characteristics:

Kind; loving; thoughtful; caring; fun; sensitive; honest; reliable; wicked sense of humour; family man; intelligent; in good shape; attractive; well groomed; driven; focused; self-aware; spiritual; sexy; confident; comfortable in own skin; zest for life; curious; strong work ethic; grounded; playful; passionate; successful; sociable; compassionate; emotionally mature; shows vulnerability; healthy self-esteem.

Take a few moments right now to write your own list.

I’ll wait. 🙂

Now, read through your list and answer these questions:

Are YOU embodying all of those traits that you value most in a partner?

Are YOU bringing all of those qualities to your relationship right now?

Are You ‘being’ the kind of romantic partner you desire most?

Would you want YOU?

If not, where are the gaps?

What are you expecting from your partner that you’re not giving to yourself first, and not bringing to the relationship?

Here’s What I Know

It all starts with loving ourselves.

When we don’t love ourselves enough, we seek it from other people.

We seek continuous reassurance that we are lovable and worthy.

But it will never be enough.

Because we can only love others, and have them love us back, to the extent that we love ourselves.

It can’t be any other way.

Taking Risks

When you love yourself enough, you can take risks in your relationship.

You can risk being vulnerable.

You can risk being rejected.

You can risk making a fool of yourself.

You can risk having your heart broken.

You can risk being the kind of romantic partner you most desire.

You can risk giving the kind of love you most want to receive, with no guarantees.

You can risk the possibility of creating the kind of love you dream of in your marriage.

You can risk it because you’re already receiving it. From yourself.

Do you love yourself enough to risk it?

 

Ready to Risk Loving Yourself First?

If you’ve identified a gap between the kind of partner you dream of and the kind of partner you’re currently being in your marriage, get in touch and request a free, confidential, 30 minute Mini Clarity Session.

Will you risk it?

 

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

How to Survive Christmas with your Sanity Intact! – Part 5

With 2016 now behind us and the ‘Happy New Year’
champagne corks well and truly popped, 2017this is the final post in this blog series.

It might more accurately be titled:

“How to not just survive, but THRIVE, in 2017 – while keeping your sanity intact!”

But in the interests of consistency – here it is – Part 5!

Are you Ready to not just Survive, but Thrive, in your life in 2017?

What do you want to create for yourself this year?

Before setting any goals for the New Year it’s essential, in my view, to take time to reflect on and achieve a feeling of completion for the year that has passed.

So here are seven steps to help you do just that, and to get you thinking about what you most want to create in 2017:

(1) Make a list of all your achievements from the last year

Really take your time with this. Sit with your diary and go through it month by month to prompt your memory. Include everything you can think of, even the smallest of wins.

When you have completed it, spend time reading through your list and fully appreciating all that you achieved and how far you have come. Whenever I do this exercise for myself I am always pleasantly surprised and amazed when I read what’s on my list and how much I have moved forward!

This is an important exercise. One of the reasons people give up on their goals is because they don’t give themselves credit for how far they have come. They look only at how far they still have to go!

(2) Review your 2016 goals

Review the goals you set for 2016 or, if you didn’t set any, take the major areas of your life (relationship, career, finances, health, etc.) and ask yourself the following four questions for each goal/life area:

  • What went well last year?
  • What didn‘t go well?
  • What is your biggest learning from this?
  • What do you want to change this year?

If you could summarise 2016 in three words what would those words be?

Mine are Love, Connection, Adventure.

(3) Set your Life Goals

Think about everything you want to create in your life – your Life Goals. What kind of relationships do you want – with your husband, your children, your friends, with yourself? What do you want in terms of your health, your money, your career, your home, etc.?

For example, a Life Goal for your relationship with your kids might read something like this:

Life Goal: Cultivate a meaningful relationship with my kids by being a positive role model and staying connected to them. How? By consciously walking my talk, admitting when I get it wrong and spending 1:1 time with each of them weekly.

Ensure you cover each significant area of your life to get a balanced set of Life Goals.

(4) Create your 2017 goals

Read through your 2016 goals if you have them and look at what you have written under: “What do you want to change this year?” Next read through your Life Goals. From these two lists create your goals for 2017.

Make the goals measurable and specific and decide when you are going to achieve each one.

It’s okay to say: Create more emotional connection with my husband. But be specific in How you are going to achieve this.
For example: By having a date night twice a month and taking time every day to ask about his day and really listening to the response.

(5) What changes do YOU need to make?

Reflect on and decide what needs to change within you in order to achieve your goals. For example:

  • What outdated (and false) thoughts and beliefs do you need to let go of?
  • What do you fear most about creating what you want (e.g. that it’s not possible for ‘someone like you?’) What support do you need to help overcome your fears and obstacles?
  • What negative behaviour patterns do you need to stop repeating (eg people pleasing, approval seeking, putting yourself last, etc.)
  • What boundaries do you need to put in place?
  • What do you need to say NO to in order to make space for your goals?
  • What do you need to believe about yourself and about life in order to achieve your goals and create the life you want?

(6) List the Top Three Feelings you want in 2017

What are the Top Three feelings you want to exerience this year – eg Freedom, Trust, Gratitude?

Look at your lists of goals. Is the pursuit of these goals going to lead to the feelings you most want? If the answer is No revise your list until you get to Yes!

Hint: The only reason we want to do anything or achieve any goal is because of the way we think it is going to make us feel when we achieve it.

(7) Pick a Theme word for 2017

Decide on one word that will be your theme for 2017 and be clear on why that word is important to you.

My word is Real.

Review your goals regularly to track progress and update them as necessary.

Your goals are just a starting point to get you into action and moving forward.

Taking action is what creates clarity. Once you are in action you will find yourself wanting to update or even change your goals as you progress. This is normal and to be expected.

As you review your goals ask yourself if they are in alignment with your theme word. If not, what changes do you need to make?

 

I hope you use the above process to help you figure out what you most want to create to make 2017 your best year yet!

Here’s to creating the year and the life you really, really want in 2017!

Note: This blog post is the last in a series of five on How to Survive Christmas with your Sanity Intact! If you missed the earlier ones, here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.

How to Survive Christmas with your Sanity Intact! – Part 4

Two Little Words

As we speed up in the race towards the Christmas finish line, today’s post is about two small, but extremely important, little words.

Never more important than right now – in the midst of Crazy Season!

Self. Care.

So, what exactly is self care? What do we mean by it?

It means looking after your physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs.

Self care means taking care of your ‘self’ and putting your own needs first.

But, isn’t that just selfish?

As women, aren’t we programmed to put everybody else’s needs first? Isn’t it our job as wives, mothers, daughters, friends, etc. to take care of everybody else before we even think about ourselves?

Why Putting Yourself Last is Selfish

Think of a spectrum where being totally selfish and self-absorbed sits at one end.

Complete martyrdom (putting everyone else’s needs first at great personal cost) sits at the other.

True self care sits in the centre of the spectrum.

Practicing self care means valuing yourself and what you bring to the table. It is a statement we make to ourselves and the world that says we matter. Our needs are important.

It is the way we expess love and kindness and compassion to ourselves.

When we understand and practice true self care, we are able to give to the people in our lives from a place of generosity. From a place of genuinely wanting to give. From a place of love. For ourselves and others.

When we practice poor self care we give from a place of resentment. We feel like everybody wants a piece of us. We give from an empty well.

We ignore our own needs and in doing so we unconsciously give other people permission to ignore them too.

Stressed out and burnt out

Our physical and emotional health suffers and we feel stressed out and burnt out. At that point we start tipping the scales towards martyrdom and ‘poor me’ victim thinking.

The result is that when we give our time and energy from this place we give out a lot of negativity. In addition to our depleted resources, our loved ones also get our resentment, our exhaustion, our anger and all the other crap emotions we happen to be carrying within us.

Not exactly the recipe for happy, successful relationships!

So, how can we make self care a practice and a priority and do it in a way that makes us feel good, not guilty?

Here are my five top tips:

(1) Truly understand the importance of Self Care

Re-read the introduction to this blog post! Really let it sink in until you get it. Putting yourself last serves no-one, least of all you. That’s the truth!

The best way to take care of the people you love and care about is to take care of yourself first. It’s win-win.

(2) Create your personal Self Care map

Take some time to consider what great self care looks like for you. Get crystal clear about what taking really good care of yourself means. What are your needs? Be specific. Then write it down.

(3) Learn to say NO more often!

See last week’s post, Part 3, for tips on how to say NO in a guilt-free way.

(4) Do a cost/benefit analysis

Ask yourself what it will cost you if you don’t adopt a healthy self care practice. What will the cost be to your physical and emotional health and to your relationships? Is it a price you are willing to pay?

What are some of the ways you and your loved ones will benefit and be positively impacted when you are taking great care of yourself?

(5) Make it a habit

Incorporate self care into your daily life. Make it part of your routine.

At first it may feel like an effort, something else you need to remember to do. But if you are consistent you will soon create healthy new habits. You won’t need to think about it, except when you notice how good it makes you feel.

The aim is to make your self care practice as much of a habit as brushing your teeth.

Bonus Tip (6) – Be kind to yourself

Practice self compassion.

Don’t beat yourself up.

When you find your thoughts speaking in the scathing, harsh voice of your inner critic because you ‘failed’ at something or weren’t ‘good enough.’ Pause. Think about what you would say to somebody you truly love and cherish in that situation. Say that to yourself.

 

So, what will your personalised self care map look like? What new healthy habits will you create to make 2016 your best year yet?  I’d love to know in the comments below!

In the meantime, Merry Christmas!

And here’s to having the Christmas you really, really want!

Note: This blog post is one in a series of five about how to Survive Christmas with your Sanity Intact! If you missed the earlier ones, here are the links to Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Check back next week for the final post in the series, Part 5.

Enjoyed this article?

Sign up for more inspiration – it’s free! You’ll also receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.