How to stop comparing yourself with other women and coming up short

Welcome to a series of world-class master coach videos I’m sharing on topics that are key to emotional healing after divorce. Byron Kathleen Mitchell, better known as Byron Katie is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as "The Work of Byron Katie" or simply as "The Work."

Part of emotional healing from divorce often has to do with the self-torture of comparing yourself with your ex’s new woman, with other women as you begin to explore online dating sites, with other women as perceiving competition in the workplace . . . it can seem endless.

While this video isn’t specifically related to divorce, I believe it’s valuable to watch in order to reconsider the concept of comparison and competition.

If your husband ended up choosing someone else and running off with her, does that mean she is "better" than you? It may feel that way, but a different choice does not equal a better choice, only a different one. And it may say more about your husband than it does about you.

Scroll down past the video for top divorcée takeaways on comparison and competition, in case you'd like an idea of what's covered before watching.

Divorcée takeaways on competition and self-judgment:

  • Even though we may know how destructive it is to compare ourselves with others, it can seem almost impossible to stop.

  • We’re comparing images in our heads of ourselves and others, but are those images the reality?

  • All of this is going on in our imaginations -- it’s completely subjective, and not objective truth.

  • If you feel you’re losing in comparison with another person simply on the basis of your own assessment of her versus you, what is the proof that the other person is superior? There is no proof. It’s all taking place in your mind.

  • As long as you continue to identify with the comparison (that someone else is winning and you are losing, or that someone else is objectively better than you are simply because of a few qualities she has that are different from yours), you remain in pain.

  • The solution (or healing moment) is not to stop the thoughts, but to notice that they are there without giving them power or attaching judgment or meaning to them..

  • Just notice how you’re feeling when you identify yourself as being less than someone else, and notice that it’s only your subjective opinion (coming from a place of self-judgment).

  • Notice, rather than trying to compete, or trying to fix yourself so that you can win. Any thought that makes you feel bad or less than is not a thought that supports your self-love.

  • If you’re curious about the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet that Katie mentions, take a look here

Would you like more help around competition, jealousy, and self-judgment (and how these persistent thoughts make you feel?

If you feel you’re sinking or stuck in dealing with your emotions (as you navigate separation and divorce, or as you try to heal emotionally after divorce) why not schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me? You'll get immediate help and techniques to feel better from the moment you get on the call. (And if, after our call, you don't feel our time together was helpful, your $35 payment will be auto-refunded. There is nothing to lose, and you will feel better fast.)

Click this link to learn more

6 Favorite Things: My Divorce-Healing Toolkit Updated

Ink and watercolor:  Arna Baartz

Ink and watercolor:  Arna Baartz

It's been 2 1/2 years since the last time I did a favorite things blog post.  So, I felt it was time for some new ones. 

My original favorites post from 2014 covered all five senses, but this time, I'm focusing on the visual sense only:  visual art, oracle cards, books, and an app.

(Curious about my August 2014 favorites?  Here they are!)

Below you'll find a selection of things that make me (and my coaching clients) feel happy and loved.

Try them out, and please let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Goddess Guidance Cards by Doreen Virtue.  My favorite single-card oracle ever.   You receive 44 beautifully designed, gold-edged oracle cards, each one featuring a different goddess (from among the world's traditions) along with a brief message.  The accompanying booklet provides a more detailed message and additional guidance for each card.

Less than $11 on Amazon and so beautiful.  Makes you feel so loved -- as if you're being protected by all the powerful women throughout history.  (And, you are, if you ask.)

 

 

 

My Shining Year Workbooks -- whimsical, magical, and make dreaming, setting goals, and planning fun and inspiring.

There are two workbooks (one for life and one for business). **By the way, I've updated the links for 2018, just in case you're interested in checking them out for this year.**

One workbook is for your personal life and goals (which helps you get to all the juicy stuff that keeps getting pushed aside from year to year). There's also a hippie-dippy (but very practical) workbook for those who run a business. 

If you want to smile and feel loved every time you open up your planner, click the links in red above to find out more.

 

Succulent Wild Woman by SARK.  A classic from 1997.  The positive, loving aura this book exudes -- just holding it your hands -- is incredible.  One of the original wildly colored, giving-you-permission-to-be-you guidebooks.  It still inspires me, as when I recently wrote a blog post about what succulent plants can teach us.  (Bonus video of SARK in that blog post, too!)

Does this look a little too woo-woo for you?  At less than $12 on Amazon, give it a try.  At the very least, you'll smile.  Imagine, women were giving themselves permission to be wild and free way back in the last millennium.  Yes, you do have the right to be YOU!

 

I Need Your Love --  Is That True? by Byron Katie.  If you're not familiar with the work of Byron Katie, here is a concise and powerful introduction.  

The book focuses on four simple questions to use when something is upsetting you.  These are questions that help to stop your mind and emotions from reeling out of control -- because we do often have more control than we think we do when it comes to handling challenging situations in life.

The four questions (which I use frequently in working with coaching clients) are:

  • Is what I’m thinking true?
  • Can I absolutely know it’s true?
  • How do I react or feel when I believe that upsetting thought?
  • Who would I be without the thought?  (Since I can’t know for certain that a troubling thought is absolutely true, what relief would I experience if I can allow myself to let go of it?)

I find that all of the best techniques for emotional healing are simple ones.  Try this.  Less than $12 on Amazon.

 

Focus Wheel app.  This is a very simple app that gives you a pinwheel where you start by typing into the center an affirmation or a quality you’d like to nurture within yourself.  

Then, around this central focus, you type 12 statements that support the way you’d like to feel or the changes you’d like to bring about in your life.  

This is a great focal point to refer to when you wake up in the morning and throughout your day, so that you keep your thoughts on what you do want and what your dreams and goals ARE, rather than on the things you don’t want.

For example, in the center you could say, “Things are always working out for me,” and then, surrounding this central image, you could write supporting statements such as, “I always have what I need,” “My next step is clear when I look within” . . . .

Focus WHeel Filled In:  Center Says what you want to experience, and the 12 outer segments hold your supporting statements (the ideas that help you to believe in what you want).

Focus WHeel Filled In:  Center Says what you want to experience, and the 12 outer segments hold your supporting statements (the ideas that help you to believe in what you want).

Here's a pretty good explanation of the Focus Wheel Process -- but stick with just 12 statements on your wheel.  The more complex template this writer offers is confusing and makes things more difficult.  I also disagree with her opinion that this is an instant solution.  

Yes, you will feel better immediately, but you'll want to keep the wheels you've created so that next time the same negative thoughts arise, you've got your Focus Wheel handy.  That's the beauty of the whole thing!

Get the app free at the iTunes Store or on Google Play.

 

Ink and Watercolor:  Arna Baartz

Ink and Watercolor:  Arna Baartz

And now to close with my very favorite favorite:

The art of Arna Baartz inspires me and heals me in a way that only it can do.

I first became aware of Arna's work through The Girl God facebook page, and I drench myself in her beautiful, vibrant works just about every day.  I also love her oracle deck, The Art of Kundalini, which will be available again later this year.  But, she currently has a completely new 40-card oracle deck available, Birds are Angels, and you can see the images here.

In addition to her art prints, card decks, and wearable art, Arna offers creative courses online.  There's a lot to explore, if her work speaks to you.

Here's a little glimpse of the artist:

 

 

 

Post-Divorce Self-Help Books, and . . . Books for the Bar

Author Dawn Powell, 1914
I'm a great lover of cocktail culture, but it just doesn't feel right to hit my favorite craft cocktail bars alone on the weekends.

However . . . opening time, at around 5:30pm on a Saturday can be great.  No one's there, no one is coveting your seat at the bar, and it's a great time to crack open a book and enjoy a creative libation.

But there is a quandary here:  I want to recommend two of the books that helped me most in getting through my divorce and post-divorce trauma with one mini-tragedy after another, but do you really want to take a self-help book into a bar?

I self-helped myself like crazy, reading literally dozens of pop-psych books on depression, anxiety, stress, divorce, co-dependency, positive thinking, midlife dating, and more.  But I don't want you to have to read through all of those thousands of pages.

In particular, the midlife dating guides were worst.  The conventional wisdom:  Get cracking, sister.  You'll have to claw like a tiger and be ready to serve your man like never before just to get a sub-par guy to pay attention to you.  Because, sorry, at midlife, available single women are the cream of the crop, while their single male counterparts are the maladjusted, misanthropic leftovers.  And, we have to fight over them . . . or spend the rest of our lives alone.  Don't read these books, ladies!

Here are my top two woo-woo must-reads:

Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks
I Need Your Love:  Is that True? by Byron Katie

Both of these books will put your mind in a better place, without dozens of complex steps or mind-bending concepts to internalize.  Both are straight-forward, clear, and you'll have your aha moment inside of an hour.

But . . . do you want to be seen reading the aforementioned woo-woo in public?  Hmmm, probably not.

So, let me recommend the following tales of women who made their own choices in life, and wouldn't be afraid to have a cocktail on their own:
The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
The Women by T.C. Boyle
Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travellers by Jane Robinson

In the spirit of the cocktail's heyday, I also recommend any novel by Dawn Powell,but especially my favorite, Angels on Toast.  Here's a wonderful salon.com encomium about Powell, "How Dawn Powell can save your life," from 1999.  And, find her Wikipedia bio here.  If you're fascinated by Manhattan from the 1930s through 1950s (as I am), you'll want to know about this neglected author.

Try it:  If your friends are all occupied, and you're just dying to get out of the house on a less-than-beautiful Saturday or Sunday afternoon, hit one of your town's upscale cocktail bars, and kick back with a book and a little borrowed panache.  Pretty soon, the charm and charisma will be all yours.

Let me know how it goes and what you decided to read : ) .