Joyce Meyer’s Confidence Boosters

God, spirituality, Christianity, Joyce Meyer, Church, relationship, JesusAs I’ve grown and learned to set boundaries, my confidence has improved and I can say that I love and care for myself and know my needs are just as important as anyone else’s. I have learned to stand up for myself in a way that is peaceful and kind rather than angry and hurtful. I go out of my way not to hurt anybody even the least little bit. Yesterday, for instance, I was feeling incredibly irritable and I said a little prayer asking God to please not let my bad mood cause pain to anyone else. I accepted my feelings but I didn’t want them to hurt anyone. I continued on with my day feeling quite irritable and testy but I realized when I went to sleep that my prayer had been answered! In spite of my ornery mood, I had not taken it out on anyone else, not even in the smallest way.

I know it was God and not me because I was not trying  to be good. I was quite surprised at the end of the night to realize I had not inflicted my bad mood on anyone even though I had accepted rather than denied my feelings (or perhaps for that very reason.) Knowing your prayers will be answered is a profound confidence booster. Here are 9 more tips for building self-confidence from Joyce Meyer via The Choice-Driven Life:

1. Never think or speak negatively about yourself.

2. Meditate on and speak positive things about yourself.

3. Never compare yourself with anyone else.

4. Focus on your potential not your limitations.

5. Find something you like to do and that you do well – then do it over and over.

6. Have the courage to be different. Be a God-pleaser, not a man-pleaser.

7. Learn to cope with criticism.

8. Determine your own worth – don’t let other people do it for you.

9. Keep your flaws in perspective.

The wisdom of waiting for marriage

By the title of this blog it’s obvious I started it to document my journey of sexual abstinence. At the time I was sure I would white knuckle it through the twelve months and jump into bed with the first available guy as soon as the year was up. Of course during the year I spent a lot of time on my own which gave me the chance to raise my level of self-awareness and without the distraction of a dramatic relationship, I could begin to see my patterns and what drove me to do the things I did, especially self-sabotage.

I used to look for a partner to fill the hole inside me, to “fix me” so to speak and now that I’m emotionally healthier I see that is a recipe for disaster. That’s why I’ve been working on myself incessantly and understanding God has not sent me the right person yet because I’m not ready for him. Now that I understand the Law of Attraction (that like attracts like), I’m committed to developing my character until I am at a place where I would want to attract someone like me. If I went with what I would attract now, I would outgrow him in short order and I’m looking for a long-term marriage bound relationship.

The greatest gift I have earned over this year of celibacy (almost fifteen months now) is the wisdom of saving oneself for marriage and the truth that men and women are not equal but different. I realize now I don’t want a man to go toe-to-toe with but one who will take care of me and my feelings and to whom I can look up and respect. The world we live in doesn’t support that point of view, but I only need one man who understands this, not the world.

Men and women: too different to be equal

relationship, marriage, husband, wife, single woman

A friend of mine was telling me about a woman at work who was bragging about trimming hedges over the weekend. “Was your husband out of town?” my friend asked innocently. The woman got very defensive and said “I can do it!” My friend replied (not out loud, of course) that she wouldn’t be surprised if that husband dreamed of having a woman who would let him be the man and trim the hedges himself. I can’t help but agree. What is this preoccupation, this insistence that so many women have on Equality?

As my friend reasons, as long as men can’t give birth, there’s no such thing as equality of the sexes. All so-called equality means (this is me now) is more WORK for women. That is ALL it means. Equality does not serve women, it serves men. They get to do less work because women are so insistent that they can do everything men can do. Which is about as true as saying men can give birth.

I’m not only talking about physical tasks but also things like decision-making. I often become befuddled when faced with a decision and when it comes to my children I give ultimate decision-making power to their father even though we’re not married any longer. He’s just better at it. He’s more logical, rational, and has superior reasoning abilities. When I told my daughter that was the reason I let her dad make the decisions, she said sagely: “Men and women both weigh all the options when making decisions. The difference is that women will second-guess themselves, but when men make a decision there’s no turning back.” She’s eleven and she understands this implicitly. She hasn’t been brainwashed by society to be outraged at the idea that men and women can be good at different things or approach them in different ways.

The Pat Allen approach to relationships

relationship, man, woman, dating, marriage, marianne williamson

You may have read here about my favourite relationship advice expert, Dr. Pat Allen. I was lucky enough to meet her this weekend by attending a retreat she hosted where she gave us her take on finding and keeping the ideal relationship. That’s her first tip: you don’t commit to the man, you commit to the relationship. Her next piece of advice is that you withhold intercourse until you have an engagement ring on your finger. No blow jobs, either. She says it’s ok to “sleep together” and pet and touch and so on, but no penetration of any kind until you get the marriage commitment.

I was so happy to have Pat personally validate my own aversion to a man asking me to decide where we go on a date. I told her I find it highly distressing if a man picks me up for a date and says “Where do you want to go?” I get flustered and feel terrible when that happens. Dr. Allen said I had a good reason to feel that way and the reason is that I’m a woman! Men are supposed to make the decisions, pay for the dates, do the asking, approaching, calling and initiating. Hallelujah!

Dr. Allen also validated my feeling that men are to be the first to approach and speak to a woman with whom they’re interested. She said my job is to learn how to signal to them that it’s ok to approach. Because, she says, a gentleman will not approach a woman unless he is absolutely sure she wants him to. She said you do it with your eyes: you have to look him in the eyes for 5 full seconds so he knows you want him. Sounds easy but it’s horrifying to me! I said but what if you’re shy? And she said you do it anyway. She said to practice with men you’re not attracted to so it’s easier. So that’s what I did in the airport waiting for my flight home from the retreat. I practiced looking people in the eyes, both men and women. I held their gaze for 5 seconds and 90 percent of the time they looked away first. The other ten per cent of people looked a little confused. Thank goodness none of the men approached me because I wouldn’t have known what to do.

I’m relieved to know there is a relationship expert out there who shares my values and I can feel supported in my desire to attract a strong man who will take charge and lead! She also said a woman should never speak first when approached unless she wants to be the man in the relationship. I love that. So, now I have to practise making eye contact with people so I can use it on the the next desirable man I see.

She also said to never take a man’s phone number (yay!). If he gives you his card, accept it, turn it over and write your own number on the back and give it back to him. If you don’t like him, of course, just keep the card and forget about it. It’s not game playing because this all feels very natural to me. Asking men out and making the first move and deciding where to go on a date: that feels unnatural. I’m thrilled to have my feelings about men and dating validated in this way and I’m pleased I no longer have to feel like I’m from another planet because I don’t want to be equal with men.

Why Choice does not equal freedom

choices, God, relationship, sex, abstinence, celibacy, marriage, single woman

So often we’re told that our choices define our character and having choices is the hallmark of freedom. But what about when we have a plethora of choices? Research has proven that more choices do not equate with enhanced freedom but instead bring on a type of paralysis in which no choice is made at all. Have you ever heard someone complain about being “stuck”? Could be a result of too many choices.

I came across an interesting article on the idea that an abundance of choices causes harm rather than good and thought I’d share it with you. My favourite speaker is the final one, Sheena Iyengar, who wrote The Art of Choosing. Click the link below to enjoy!

The Psychology of Choice: 5 Perspectives

Published in: on October 10, 2011 at 11:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Setting Boundaries with Borderline Personality

mental illness, mother, parent, relationship, boundaries

A big reason I’ve had such a bad time in my past relationships is that I’ve been unable or unwilling to set boundaries. Inability or unwillingness to set boundaries is often the residue of trauma or childhood abuse and can lead to more abuse. If you feel you don’t have the right to say ‘no’ you can imagine how that would lead to sexual abuse, for instance. Until this year I truly didn’t know what boundaries were or why they were necessary. I thought everybody hated themselves when they had to say no.  I thought it was normal to put others’ needs in place your own. (Not before, in place of.)

I already wrote about this incredible book I’m reading called Boundaries and I’ve had the opportunity to set some with a person who has caused me lifelong anxiety and who’s also largely responsible for my lack of boundaries in the first place: my mother. Although she has not been diagnosed, a few people I know with psychology expertise have estimated that my mother may have what’s called “borderline personality disorder“. I feel she may also be alcoholic but she’s not admitting to anything.

Anytime I have attempted to say no to my mother or even express an opinion or taste different from hers she has retaliated in very cruel ways. These include ceasing communication (and then starting again without explanation or acknowledgement); sabotaging me at work, including leaving cruel comments on my blog and calling my boss; and assassinating my character to other family members.

If you’re a girl, there’s no more influential person than your mother so to endure lifelong emotional abuse without understanding that your abuser is mentally ill is devastating. As a result of my mother’s abuse, I always felt I was wrong, that I had no right to my feelings or desires, had no idea what I wanted or needed (much less that I had the right to ask for anything), thought I deserved to be taken advantage of, that other people’s needs and wants were more important than mine, and of course that I should sacrifice so other people can be happy. Basically, I hated myself.

Now, that I understand I have been dealing with a mentally ill person I can begin to heal and stop taking the attacks personally. I can slowly learn to set boundaries and understand that she WILL retaliate. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to protect myself. Before, I knew if I stood up to her that she would react in anger so I would avoid the issue, apologize for things that weren’t my fault and feel guilty for being a “bad daughter”.

I set my first boundary with my mother a couple of days ago and she retaliated immediately in a cruel and public way. Of course, I began to second guess myself and feel guilty but then I remembered what the book said: BOUNDARIES CARRY CONSEQUENCES. If it were easy, you would have done it a long time ago! So I accepted the consequence and carried on. Then I set another boundary and suffered another attack. Again, my confidence took a huge shot and I went into quite a funk over the morning. Then I remembered again what the book said and my mood began to change from one of victim to empowered.

I’m proud of myself for setting boundaries with my mother. I have a right to protect myself. My needs are just as important as anybody else’s. I am worthy of good treatment from others. I am willing to establish boundaries that will teach people how to treat me. I am worth fighting for. I am going to keep setting boundaries and dealing with the retaliation. What’s the worst that can happen? She’ll disown me? Well, at least I’ll own myself.