Finding Love After Loss

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: Be S.M.A.R.T. in Your Approach

ACT S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. is another acronym to remind you about how to have a successful dating experience.

S=SPECIFIC
Remember the title to my newest book, In Order To Be Terrific, You Need To Be Specific! Define your goals, make a plan and then put your plan into action. 

M=MAYBE
Don't be so quick to write off dates after one encounter. As long as it isn't a definite NO, if you can't say YES, at least say MAYBE. Due to nervousness, shyness, or simply being inept at the dating process, a person may not be able to show you who he/she really is. Time is everyone's friend and all truths can come to light. Moreover, remember these are mostly strangers you are meeting (if dating via Internet). It is sometimes difficult to gauge someone's sense of humor, etc. from one meeting.

A=ATTAINABLE
There's someone for everyone, but you must be realistic when writing your "wish list." If you a 60-year old man who is not in the best of shape, you may be narrowing your chances of success if you only want to date 23-year old beach bunnies. Without overly restricting yourself, draw the picture of your "dream mate" with attainable attributes.

R=RELEVANT
When preparing for a date, read the latest books, magazines, newspaper, etc. so you will have plenty of fodder for chit-chat.

T=TIMELY
Be prompt when meeting your date. Return e-mails or phone calls in a timely manner. This is a show of respect and common courtesy. Be the person you want to meet!

Just five SMART tips to keep in mind!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are You Surviving or Thriving?


Loss comes in all shapes and sizes from minor disappointments to devastation. Although it is easy to recognize a major loss, minor events can build up over time, too, without proper acknowledgement and the necessary mourning. This can lead to disillusionment or create a never-ending downward spiral. Thus, loss of EVERY kind must be mourned in a healthy way in order to move forward in one's life. 

At the inception of grief, there is simply a scrambling to survive the difficult days ahead. As more grief work is completed, one looks to THRIVE in his/her life rather than merely SURVIVE by going through the motions without the emotions. 

What is required to learn how to thrive?  
Well, the first thing you need to do is make a conscious decision that you want to move forward in your life and discover a renewed outlook. You also have to realize and accept that this is very hard work!

Grief is a journey of introspection which allows you to discover the depths of your soul and the "stuff" of which you are made. When you emerge from this dark place and are able to let the light into your life again, you will no longer take anything for granted. In this way, the journey of grief can be very empowering and enlightening.

While mourning, the bereaved tend to retreat inward. Perhaps afraid of more loss, they might erect a protective barrier around their heart and other areas of their life. For some, this barrier could come in the form of weight gain. For others, weight gain could result from using food for comfort. Whichever the case, when they are ready to re-enter the world, a lack of confidence in their appearance can be problematic.

As a Grief and Relationship Coach, one of the issues on which I work with clients is how they feel about themselves -- both on the inside and the outside. What I have discovered is that if one feels good about his/her outside, this often boosts confidence and helps one to feel good on the inside too. In truth, you really can't separate this mind/body wellness connection for how you feel physically has an impact upon how you feel mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

We each have our own threshold with what we can cope at one time, for example it may be especially difficult to concentrate when one is in physical pain or it may be difficult to feel confident when not satisfied with one's physical appearance. Moreover, it's not all about looks either! Medical research indicates that extra weight leads to lethargy (physical and mental) as well as much more dangerous complications such as high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, to name a few.

In my coaching practice, I help clients to make the mind/body wellness connection in order to realize their goals. With the appropriate tools at hand that allow me to assist a client in honing his/her perspective, I have searched long and hard for a product that can help with building confidence about one's physical being. Just recently, I was introduced to some terrific products and have been testing them on myself for the last month to make sure their claims were valid. Not only were they valid, but the results I've experienced are fantastic!

This has led me to incorporate a new venture into my coaching practice, and I hope you will take a look and "like" my new Facebook fan page. On this page, I will also be offering tips and thoughts about confidence and the mind/body wellness connection.

If you will indulge me for a moment, here's a little bit about the products I will be representing. The company is appropriately named "It Works!" because the products really do work!! Although there is an extensive product line, I am concentrating on the body and facial wraps and two of their creams (Defining Gel and Stretch Mark & Anti-Aging Cream [good for brown spots  and scars]), for those are the ones I have tried and can recommend in good faith.
If you go to my Facebook site or my "It Works!" website, you can find out more information. I'd appreciate it if you could like my new Facebook page as it is lonely with no fans! After becoming a fan, please request your free e-book, Are You Surviving or Thriving?
 
The premier product of "It Works!" is the "Ultimate Body Applicator." It is a wrap that you can apply to the body part of your choice. These wraps are NOT for water loss, so the weight/inches do not come back with your first sip of water. They actually take inches off by completing a gentle detox. Through a proprietary formula, these wraps (or applicators) eliminate toxins through the excretory system. The results are progressive as the wraps continue to work for 72 hours after their removal. They also tighten, tone and firm the skin. 

This is not a product you need to use forever. You use it until you reach your desired results and then can do maintenance once a month or as needed. I must admit though, I''m a little bit "addicted" to my favorite product, the Defining Gel, also referred to as "a wrap in a bottle." By using it 2 times/day, you can extend the time between wrap applications and save time and money. I've been applying it to my face, neck, abdomen and thighs. I've seen the most results around my abdomen area. In one month's time, I've lost over 3 inches and 4.5 pounds, and I'm not even dieting! It's not a face lift, but my face and neck are also tightening up. I have a small presentation with before and after pictures that I can e-mail you. Reach me at ellengerst@gmail.com.

I am so in love with these products that as a Special Bonus I am offering free copies of Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story and If You Want To Be Terrific, You Need To Be Specific! to anyone who orders product from my site. You just need to send me an e-mail at ellengerst@gmail.com letting me know you made a purchase and I'll send you the books.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: "To Be" vs "To Do" Energy

In his unique way of looking at the world, George Carlin once said, "I am is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that I do is the longest sentence?"

As we all know, it is much easier to talk about what you know you need to do in order to move forward in your life than to actually do it. It is good to utilize your "to be" energy while planning your agenda on how to move toward your goals; however, you must step into your "to do" energy to make things happen.

"To Be" energy is feminine in nature while "To Do" energy is regarded as masculine. In truth, both men and women possess both of these energies and they are called upon as necessary. For example, if you are a single woman who lost a partner, chances are you have utilized a lot of masculine energy to make hard decisions and complete chores that you had not attempted before your loss. The same goes for the single man who is without a partner. If he has children, through his nurturing, he is providing both the feminine and masculine energy to them.

Another example is that a woman might appreciate a man who shows a softer side. A man might appreciate a woman who shows a stronger, independent side. This is simply each person exhibiting different energies in different situations.

Part of our karma, or job in this lifetime, is to find the place where these two energies are in balance, both in our relationship with self and our relationships with others. Striving for balance, while recognizing the duality of our natures, is what allows for soul growth. And it is soul growth that allows us to move closer towards enlightenment and to understand whether we are reacting or responding to the circumstances in front of us. (Excerpt from The Other Side of The Vail: Spiritual Guidance for Everyday Living)

In our relationships with others, we must always remember that balance doesn't necessarily mean 50/50. It is a rare occasion when everything is equal between partners. It is striving for that perfect balance -- the wavering back and forth -- that creates the fabric of our lives. Additionally, we must let down societal conventions that tell the man to be strong and that the woman is to be taken care of. 

In the modern world, partners must take care of each other. More importantly, each partner must LET the other take care of him or her without feeling weak or powerless. This is what constitutes equality in a relationship -- being able to give AND to receive so that each of the partners may play the appropriate role for individual circumstances.
 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Celebration of His Words of Wisdom

In essence, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s legacy is one of love. Appropriately, I find many of his statements applicable to our topic of love and relationships. Of course, love applied to any situation make it more delicious!

Here are a few of my favorite M.L.K. statements and how they apply to the topic at hand. 

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
Every relationship is a leap of faith. You need to let down your guard; let another person into your heart and reveal your hopes, dreams, and fears. And that just plain scary! However, when you have enough faith in your partner to risk your heart, the rewards are immeasurable. Remember, without great risk, there is no chance for great reward. 

"We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear."
After any sort of loss you tend to retreat inward. Self-protective barriers are erected to shield yourself from more loss and subsequent heartache. Even though you are fearful, you still need to eventually step back into the world. Each baby step you take is building those "dikes of courage" and this will allow you to stave off the onslaught of fear. Perhaps, think of each foray into the dating world as a building block of your "dike of courage."

"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."
Even if you have been hurt by love before, do not run away from the possibility of new love. Bitterness, anger and negative attachments to a past partner keep you stuck in a place you probably rather not be. Conquer bitterness with forgiveness, gratitude and love.

"There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."
Only the ones whom we love the most possess the power to hurt us. Sometimes friends are treated more nicely than our loved ones. You might rethink your actions and treat your loved ones as the best friends that they are.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
It is your right to be disappointed by your inability to find a worthy partner. However, don't allow this to color your outlook. Hope springs eternal, and you never know what life has waiting for you around the corner. Although, it IS up to you to venture around the next corner!

"We must use our time creatively."
Don't waste a moment of your life simply waiting for someone to enter it or even think he/she will be able to fix it. You must create a fulfilling life on your own. Make it so welcoming that others will clamor to join it!

"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."
Part of a relationship is helping your partner strive to be everything he or she can be. As each of you reach higher levels, so the other follows suit. With loving support, each of you can constantly transform into an ever increasing best version of yourself.

Thank you to Martin Luther King, Jr. for his words of wisdom that ring true not only in the civil rights movement but in all areas of life.



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: Reaching Outside Your Comfort Zone

Comfort can be an enemy of success in every endeavor, including relationship building. We all get comfortable with our habits and thoughts -- even if they are not healthy ones. We know just what to expect and how we are going to feel. Despite not liking the result of an unhealthy decision, we strangely find comfort when our expectations are fulfilled. This leads to further complacency, laziness and procrastination about changing our ways.

Wishing and hoping your life were different simply buries you deeper into your current circumstance. As discussed in the last post, to move forward you must first make a conscious decision to do so. However, even deciding is not enough. You must also expend the requisite effort needed to move you from your complacency and comfort zone.

Anger can also immobilize you so that you feel unable to make good decisions. If you are angry at the place in which you find yourself, use that anger to fuel your efforts. There's nothing like the attitude of "I'm going to show him/her!" to light a fire under you!

Fear is another deterrent to success. Keep in mind that in this like-attracts-like world, the circumstances you fear the most are the ones that you will foster in your life. One way to overcome fear is to do something you are afraid to do. If you are not scared, then the idea of courage is superfluous. As Mark Twain stated, "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear -- not absence of fear."

Once you start on your path with a goal firmly in mind, it is possible that you may encounter seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In order to not become discouraged at this vantage point, there are two new habits you need to acquire: (1) don't be afraid to fail and (2) if you encounter failure, don't be afraid to start over. Mary Anne Radmacher said, "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow."

So, how can you relate these concepts to finding love after loss?

If you haven't dated in quite a while, entering the dating scene is probably not going to be a situation that provides you with much comfort! To find success, and possibly a new love connection, it is imperative to have an attitude adjustment and adhere to the following three guidelines.

1. DECIDE that you want to look for new love.

2. Expend the EFFORT to move towards this goal, which means taking advantage of every opportunity to connect with others that is presented to you.

3. Step into a circumstance around which you harbor some FEAR, such as Internet dating. If you let the positive effects of fear take hold, your experience can be exhilarating -- just like a roller coaster ride! This energy will allow you to radiate excitement and interest. These two attributes are contagious, and you will have better luck in attracting (and keeping) prospective partners. 

Lastly, pay attention to the wise words of Brian Tracy, "Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new."



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: Severing Positive and Negative Attachments

A reader recently posed the question, "How do you let go of a 30 year relationship? It's not easy and where do you start?"

No matter how a long term relationship ended -- be it by divorce or by death -- you have an attachment to it. In the case of the former, it might be a negative attachment. In the case of the latter, it is probably a positive attachment.

In both instances, in order to move forward, it will be necessary to sever your attachment.  This may seem harsh, especially if you loved your late spouse. However, taking this step is not the same as negating the relationship or "letting it go." In regard to widowhood, what you want to do is relocate the place your former relationship lives. It is no longer "front and center" but tucked away in a safe place in your heart. This is a place you can fondly visit, for example, when a memory comes up that reminds you of your late spouse. When you are able to think "relocation" instead of "letting go", guilt about moving forward in your life can be alleviated.

In the case of divorce, negative attachment can color your every thought and action going forward. It may stop you from trusting another partner and his/her actions; it can freeze your heart; it can make you bitter and angry. By accepting the fact that both you and your partner have human frailties that caused each of you to make mistakes, you can move closer towards forgiveness and even empathy for your former spouse. Think of forgiveness as a pair of scissors which you can use to cut the attachment.

In both scenarios, as you shed your attachment, you will notice a lighter feeling. Instead of expending energy on keeping these attachments intact, you can focus your attention on the concrete steps you can take to enhance your current life. This does require, however, a conscious decision to establish a new, healthy and happy life. It is, after all, your decision whether you want to remain mired in sadness, regret and negativity or to look for the joy in life and live in gratitude about what you do have rather than bemoan what you have lost -- be it a partner or perhaps years spend in unhappiness.

Now, don't get me wrong -- it is a lot easier to say all these things than to do them. It also requires time spent in introspective thought where you mourn your partner and the life you once knew AND then figure out the "new you" and what this "you" wants out of life.

In the next posting, I'll discuss how getting out of your comfort zone can help to move you forward.