Love Should Not Hurt

Truth Byte #23

You have entangled love with pain.

It happened a long time ago, and maybe so early in your life that you don’t remember it.

Maybe you were patting your baby brother on the head and he whacked you in the face.

Maybe you were cuddling your cat and she clawed you.

Maybe you offered something to a playground buddy and were rejected.

Maybe you were generous with your good ideas and everybody laughed at you.

Maybe you watched your parents, who were supposed to love each other, bicker and argue and belittle each other without respite.

Whatever it was, it’s got a hold of you, and is impacted your capacity to give and receive love.

Many of us have mixed up pain and love. 

I remember the most adored I felt as a child was when I broke my ankle in first grade.  My parents catered to my every whim, actually allowing me to read in public so I could do something I considered fun while the other kids spent the summer splashing around in someone’s backyard pool.  Friends and strangers wrote “get fixed soon” messages on my plaster cast, and drew hearts in all shapes and sizes that I would study while I sat alone on the sidelines while everyone else played without me.  For a short couple months there, I felt so loved.

And yet physically, I was in so much pain.

I consciously relived that confusion when I delivered my first baby.  Love and pain blended together into sweet agony as they cut me open to give him life.  Every time I picked him up, my body would scream in anguish, and yet my heart bubbled over with adoration.  Breastfeeding was a nightmare for those first few months, and yet I pushed through the blisters and bleeding as my motherly instincts dictated my actions so I could nourish and protect my baby.

 Pain and love, linked inextricably together.

I have seen this crossing of neural wires in my clients.  Each one of them has a story of when they confused the two, expecting love to be painful.  Our cultural stories and mythologies echo this theme.

And yet true love, from Source, never brings pain.

True love doesn’t leave anyone out.

My teacher Chuck Spezzano wrote a book called “If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love”.  I give this book as homework to my clients who are healing recent and ancient heartbreaks, and those who have entangled love with pain.  The first step is to realize what Love actually is, and let go of all the pain we have associated with it.

Here’s how to know if you have got your love and pain wires got crossed:

  1. You are looking for a passionate, fiery relationship, similar to you have had before. You spent a lot of time either crying or pining after the other person.  You felt so alive and you want that again.
  2. Your partner seems boring these days and you have been kinda thinking about having an affair. Or you have already had an affair while one of you was in a committed relationship with someone else.
  1. You seem to always have a juicy drama story to tell.
  1. You justify things by saying, “That’s just how men/women are” when someone hurts you in an intimate relationship.
  1. You grew up watching your parents fight, either overtly or passive-aggressively.
  1. You find yourself pushing away people who claim to care about you, including friends and business colleagues.
  1. When things get “too good”, you start feeling anxious, like it’s all going to come crashing down.
  1. You hit your kids.
  1. You were hit as a kid.
  1. You can’t access your emotions and/or you think people who are emotional are weak.
  1. You are in an abusive relationship (including physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, financial, any kind of abuse.) Or you don’t think your relationship is abusive but your friends tell you it is.
  1. You gossip about people that you say are your friends.

If you could relate to one or more of the statements above, chances are high that you got your wires crossed, and pain and love are inter-woven for you.

So what?

Many of us have this dilemma, and until those wires get uncrossed, little life events can morph into crisis without us understanding how or why.  Life feels like a rollercoaster, and it feels like the next drama is just lurking around the corner.  When someone beautiful happens to you, you have this sick feeling because you know it’s just a matter of time until something goes wrong.  And so you are careful to not get too excited about anything.

I would call that living at half mast.

And that means it is going to take you forever to get where you want to go.

So how do we fix it?

Three simple steps:

  1. Own it.
    • Understand that you have a mixed-up way of seeing love, and see if you can figure out where it started. You may have a clear memory, like I did, or you may be able to get there through something a bit more hands-on like working with a counsellor or attending a workshop. (Some good ones on this topic coming up in the Fall!)
  1. Share it.
    • When you do this work alone, it is easy to fall in to old habits and no one would ever know. When you include someone else, you know have a cheerleader in your corner.  It could start with a simple conversation like “I have realized I mix up love and pain.  Could you point out to me when I am doing that over the next two weeks?”
  1. Track it.
    • Start today with a log book of the thoughts you have that demonstrate the mix-up. (For example: “I found out my friend’s husband cheated on her.  I knew their relationship was too good to be true.”  This thought shows you that you expect that love will always come with pain.)  Also track thoughts that demonstrate your corrected thinking: (“I know that love will find a way.  Either they will become stronger through this or they will part ways and they will each find their true match.”)  Follow your thoughts for a week or two and see if you are able to track more of the corrected thinking.  The more you practice, the better you will get, and tracking let’s you see the progress.

Once you see that love is just love, you will also start to notice that pain comes from attachments and expectations.

When you truly step into love, you will become irresistible. 

We are all looking forward to meeting the new, renovated, love-filled you!

For more on how to have the life and the love you want, join me for a workshop or book me to talk at your next event!  Sign-up for the newsletter to get practical guidance on how to life the life you were meant to be living, or watch the weekly talk-show on my YouTube channel to be inspired!

 

 

My Secret to Having It All: Revealed!

Truth Byte #22

You really can have it all. 

 

Yesterday, I had a moment.  It was one of those moments I always imagined my “lucky-bitch-self” to be having.

 

I had the usual part-time working mom morning with lunches to pack and beds to make and assisting with tooth-brushing and picking out clothes for my seven-year old boy while negotiating outfits with my three-year old girl and serving a nutritious breakfast and making sure their backpacks had all their treasures contained safely inside in the “right” pockets and signing the field trip note and throwing $5 in a Ziploc bag with the note and then into the garage to put on shoes and coats and grab umbrellas and rainboots "just-in-case and I think I squeezed a shower in there somewhere too.

 

Just as we were leaving for school and preschool/daycare, my house-cleaner arrived and started her work.

 

Whew!

 

After dropping off the various children to the various locations, I went to the gym.  Best Zumba class ever, and one of my friends even showed up! Then off to grab a few essentials from the drug store and finally home to a sparkling house.  The cleaner left, and then it was just me, in my gym clothes, after an incredible workout, a leisurely window shopping outing, and with no papers to write or meals to make or laundry to do or presentations to prepare or website to work on or clients to respond to.

 

I had nothing to do but sit on my favourite chair and look around at my clean house.

 

Nothing to do.

 

At all.

 

And this was my moment.

 

This was the moment I always imagined I would have as rich woman, or as Denise Duffield- Thomas calls it, a lucky bitch.

 

And it happened.

 

I had nothing to do, and nowhere to be.  I had no interest in eating or watching television or posting on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter or going for a walk or journalling or scrapbooking or busying up myself in any way.

 

I just sat there.

 

And relished in having it all.

 

My husband often warns me about saying that out loud.  “You have to have humility,” he says.  And I agree.

 

I know there are millions of people out there who don’t have what I do.  I used to be one of those people.  And so it’s not from a place of I-am-better-than-you.  It’s simply from a place of if-I-can-do-it-so-can-you.

 

Because I was a damn slow learner.  If I could get this, anyone can.

 

So today, I want to let you in on my recipe for having it all.  It’s just seven transformational ingredients.  Follow these an add your own personal spice, and you will have it all too.

 

  1. Know what it is that you want.
    • Not what other people have or what you think you should want, but what YOU really want. Is it peace of mind? Is it joy? Is it a clean house? Is it a fitter body? Is it free time to do nothing? Write down everything you really want and then keep revisiting that list.  Your mind will start finding ways and attracting opportunities to make it happen.

 

  1. Block and delete haters.
    • Haters love to hate. They see you shining, and they will rush right in to tell you it’s not going to last.  Or they ask you how you can be so content while atrocities are happening in your own extended family or in your neighbourhood or some other random place on the planet.  I usually put on my extremely expensive invisible noise-cancelling headphones when they start talking.  Just let them fade out of your life, because otherwise you are wasting precious manifesting energy in countering their arguments in your own head.

 

  1. Feel it now.
    • Instead of waiting for the outcomes to bring you happiness, commit to happiness now. I had to embrace happiness when I was 80 lbs. over-weight and with a freshly shaven head (shaven with a Bic razor, I mean, that hair was gonzo!) and only then was I able to start transforming my body and mind to let that fat (and all the emotions it carried) melt away. So be happy now, and more good things will show up for you.

 

  1. Refuse to make excuses.
    • If you are not doing something you want to be doing, please don’t blame it on time or money or other people. You aren’t doing it because you haven’t prioritized it.    I know smokers who constantly complain about being broke, but can always find $10 (plus tax!) for a pack of smokes.  If you want something, you will find a way to get it.  If you are late for something or you let someone down, just say sorry.  No excuses.  Excuses suck.

 

  1. Build your tribe.
    • The people who knew you and loved you ten years ago were the right people for you then. If they have not grown or changed or expanded since then, chances are they will be an energy-suck.  Lovingly, and graciously let them go, and stop chasing them.  You will always have those sweet memories, but you don’t need to continue to be a sounding board for their drama.  Your tribe will be people who get you today and who have a shared vision for big things in the future.  They will support you even on your crabby days and will hold you accountable.  Don’t worry about recruiting them.  When you are ready, they will start showing up.  Acknowledge them when they get here, and celebrate how far you have come through noticing who you spend the most time with.

 

  1. Remind yourself why you came here.
    • Each one of us incarnated onto this Earth with a very specific purpose. For some, it was to spread joy.  For others, it was to bring beauty or music or art.  Some of us came to be incredible parents or siblings who would make other people’s lives richer.  Whatever you came to do, do it.  If you don’t know, think about what you use to love to do when you were six years old.  Was it riding your bike with the neighbourhood kids or playing with your dog or doing cartwheels or doing arts and crafts? Start doing those things again and you are on the path to understanding your real mission here on the planet.

 

  1. Say thank you often and mean it.
    • There is so much you already have to be grateful for. I know that can seem like a stretch sometimes, but chances are if you are reading this on an electronic device, you are already richer than the majority of the people on the planet.  Say thank you to your parents for the big and small ways they made you into the person you are. Say thank you to your kids and/or partner and friends for putting up with your temporary insanity moments.  Say thank you to yourself that you made it this far and you are determined to have the life you always wanted.  Say thank you to the powers-that-be for all the hidden ways you are loved and protected everyday.

 

So that’s it, my secret recipe to having it all.  Try it out, and make it your own.  You really can have the life you have been dreaming about.  You just need to move on now from the dreaming phase into calling it in.

 

For more practical ideas on how to have the life you deserve, visit www.talktosaira.com and tune in to my weekly talk-show Today is Your Day.  For a deep dive into the life you have been waiting for, join us for a transformational seminar, or book me to educate and inspire your team at your next event!

 

 

Fix You, Not Them

Truth Byte #21

Stop complaining and take action.

I spend my work day listening to people complain.  They actually pay me to sit there and listen to them complain.  For a while.  Then I speak.  And when I speak, I lovingly but firmly let them know that I get their story, but it’s time for a change.  That’s when the true work of therapy begins.

In a few short weeks or months, at our graduation session, my clients will look back on their initial complaint.  What they usually find is that the thing that they were complaining hasn’t really changed, but they have.

And that makes all the difference.

Not so true in the rest of my life.  In my regular life, people also love to complain.  They get riled up talking about how that person let them down or how gas prices have gone up or about how it’s too hot, too cold, too muggy, to whatever.  They complain about how their bosses don’t value them or how everyone else seems to have happiness, or about how the gun laws in some other country need to be changed.  They complain about their parents or their children or their spouse of that rude server at that fancy restaurant.  When they have nothing to complain about, they complain about other people’s problems.

As a social scientist, I tend to observe these complaint-a-thons.  Last weekend, I even participated in one.

What an experience.

I had invited some amazing minds over to my home for a hang-out, with no pressure to do or be anything special.  The conversation started out mildly, building momentum we were jumping from one topic to another, pointing out social inequities, injustice, and flaws in our way of being as a culture.  Voices got louder and louder as we collectively agreed that our world sucks.

It was kind of fun in the moment, as it brought back to me those university days where we would sit in our dorms till the sun rose, just hashing out these issues.  The difference from then to now is that when I was younger, my friends and I would actually be trying to craft solutions.  We had these big ambitions about how we would turn into the leaders who would actually make an impact and change the world.

But this conversation was just pure complaining. 

No one was offering solutions.  No one had any ideas on how to fix it.  All we could do it analyze the wound and then say “oh well, that looks like it hurts but you will just have to deal with it.” And just before it was over, I was feeling deflated and saddened that these eight brilliant minds just spent three hours dismantling a system with nothing left to build in it’s place.

Until one man spoke up.  He said the only solution he could see is to start becoming aware of his own biases and his own flaws.  He said if he could change, he could pass on a different way of thinking to his children.  Then at least his little family could be that tiny group that was actually doing something differently than “the system” allowed.  He said if we were not aware of our own shortcomings, and if we did not work on changing ourselves, nothing would change.

I breathed a sigh of relief, and hope came flooding back into my body.  Because in informal social gatherings like that, I don’t want to be the teacher.  And here I was, watching the lessons I teach my clients materializing in front of me through this other person.

Once he said those words, the tone in the room changed.  It was no longer about “those people out there” that needed to change, it was about each of us in my living room, and how we could be better, how we could bring more understanding, how we could teach our own families about the values that would make our culture more peaceful.

We went from complaining to taking action.  And that made all the difference.

The ego has tricked you into believing that complaining gets you something, whether it’s attention or sympathy or friendship.  Complaining is when you just focus on the problem, with no thought to solution-focused action.  And of course, there are moments when even the best of us needs to “just vent”, but having a sounding board and dumping on someone are subtly yet powerfully different.

My challenge to you today is to release your complaints to Heaven, and look instead for solutions.  One secret you have to know: the solution is probably not linear.

For example, you may be single and looking for love, and you feel like the solution to your problem is clearly “I need a partner.”  Until that partner finds you, can you take other actions, such as appreciating the people in your life you are already loving you behind the scenes, or spending time nurturing yourself (truly, not just in a “Oprah-said-so” way) or identifying and removing the obstacles to love that you may not be conscious of?  And most importantly, can you turn the envy you have for happy couples into blessings?

We can only attract what we celebrate.

All the “miracle stories” of true love start with “I wasn’t even looking for someone,”.   Could you stop looking so hard and just become the most incredible partner that anyone could ever want – vibrant, happy, connected, relaxed, and loving?  Because until you live that way, he/she won’t find you.

And if they do find you, they won’t want you.

Because instead of seeing the glorious master-manifestor that you are, they will just see a clingy, needy, lonely person that is going to suck them dry.

And who would want to be with someone who has nothing to give but suspicion that you will leave them and a barrage of requests of how they need to be taken care of?  Not me.

So for today, whatever your complaint is, see if you can find the action that is linked to it.  If you want things to turn out a particular way, it’s not about “waiting on the world to change”, rather you must “be the change you wish to see in the world”.

For more ideas on how to change from the inside, join us for a transformational workshop!  Tune in to our weekly talk-show, Today is Your Day, for inspiration and tips on how to have the life you truly deserve.

The Past is Holding You Prisoner

Truth Byte #20: “It’s time to let it go.”

You have been holding on to something.  Something that still brings you pain or sadness after all these years.  And I am not talking about the ultimate loss of someone you loved dying, because really, there is not much you can do about that, and we know that even time won’t fully repair that fracture.  What I am talking about is your grudges and heartbreaks from the past.

I am surrounded by really loving, caring, nurturing people who are still holding grudges and nursing heartbreaks.  And that holding on for way too long is literally destroying them from the inside out.  Their bodies are bent and twisted and just don’t seem to want to heal.  It’s like the poison from their pasts demonstrates it’s potency every single day through their physical pain.

Many of these loved ones of mine are older, around retirement age.  So they have a lifetime of things to be mad about.  In a way, I can see where they are coming from.  It’s justified.  Some pretty shitty things actually did happen.  The irony is that many of the people who did those shitty things have been buried decades ago.  Yet these men and women still tell the old stories as crystal clearly as if they happened last week.

This week, I reach out to my elders.  I am tired of seeing you twisted in physical and emotional and spiritual knots over things that happened decades ago.

It’s time to let it go.

I also reach out to my peers in parenting.  I see how you raise your children with stories of your own childhood.  You might not notice, but your lives are peppered with passive-aggressive rage about how you don’t feel like you actually chose this particular hamster wheel, and you aren’t sure how to get off.

And you don’t even know you are doing it.

But your kids know. 

They know when you snap for no reason after a long gruelling day at work.  They know when you would rather look at a screen then answer their questions.  They know when you brush them off and brush them aside and don’t make space for their delight in your pessimism.  And soon, they too, will switch off and plug in to numbness, and start gathering stories of their own.

Take heed, parents, because it’s never too late to give your kids attention and care.  It’s never too late to let go and get back to what really matters.  Today could be the day.

And all my single ladies, I will end with you.  Whether you are single and loving it or single and hating it, please commit to not getting stuck in the heartbreaks.  Because that just makes you really hard to love.  When you get so independent that you can’t receive love or help, you get caught in that vicious circle of loneliness.  I know because I have been there.  No one thinks you are lonely so no one reaches out.  Or people are so drained by your complaining that they avoid you.  If you can commit to being in the moment and giving love and friendship a real chance, no matter how many screw ups you have had in the past, you might be ready for the miracle of long lasting (romantic?) companionship, if indeed, that’s what you want.

Or you could keep being mad and hurt.  The choice is yours.  Do you want to break free from the prison of heartbreak and love your life?  I know you do.  You just have to let go of your grudges.

Don’t you think it’s time?

If you want to learn how to give up your grudges and heartbreaks once and for all, pencil in our upcoming one-day experiential workshop on Guilt and Regret in Calgary, Alberta.

Letting Go of My Drama-Addiction

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Truth Byte #19: You don’t need drama to have a full life.

 

I used to thrive on drama.  I would live for it and even hunt it out.  If a friend or family member would be going through a rough patch, I would be the first one there, front and centre, to listen and support and get in there with my tools to fix it.  I loved each and every juicy detail about what went wrong and what went wrong next, and how nothing they tried had fixed the problem. It worked to fuel my life and purpose for a long time.

Until the point that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started getting exhausted.

When the drama started burning me out, I had to look at my entire relationship to drama.  If someone had called me out (a few brave ones did try), I would have vehemently denied my addiction to drama (probably in a very dramatic way).  I would quickly point out how I wasn’t the one with the problems, I was the one SOLVING problems!  And my profession as a psychotherapist made it even easier for me to hide my drama-addiction behind the guise of helping others.

Boy, was I deluding myself.

It all became crystal clear to me a few years ago.  It was a random Sunday where there was nothing to do and no where to be.  My kids were content, hubby was happy, and the sun was shining.  Everyone was hanging out in the living room talking and playing and laughing, and there wasn’t even any housework to complete. There was no emergency and no on-going issue to think about.  And I found myself, for the first time in years, extremely uncomfortable.

This was weird.

I had no problems, and that was my problem.

I quickly called up my sister to ask her opinion on what I should do now that I had nothing to worry about.  And she laughed in my face.  She said “You are so accustomed to drama that you don’t know how to live like a normal person anymore.  Welcome to life the way the rest of us live it.”  I was stunned. (I was also a bit annoyed because I think I was secretly hoping she would have a problem to tell me about and then I could get into fix-it mode again!)

That was my wake-up call.

For years, I had been running around from one crisis to another, if not my own, then someone else’s.  And here was my baby sister telling me that there was a completely different way to engage in the world as an adult.  I felt cheated, stupid, but mostly, sheepish.

Oops!

Drama didn’t have to define my life!  Things could be steady and stable and generally fine, and that would be okay!  I could even let myself get a little bored.  (By the way, I have a cousin who is a classical Indian dancer, and she has taught me that in some types of performance, audience boredom comes right before a breakthrough.  For those who have been through watching four hours of a classical dance or music performance, you know what I am talking about).

And now, I have a fine-tuned radar for drama-creation.

Often, we don’t consciously choose what happens to us.  However, how we explain what happens to us is completely our choice.  Did you have a low day, or was it “the shittiest day ever”?  Did your friend forget to call you back or is she “so damn selfish and thoughtless”? Did you miss the turn or are you “the stupidest driver on the planet”?  How you speak, whether out loud or in your head, will tell you something about how deeply you are addicted to drama.  If you can start making light of things more, and start telling yourself (as they say in a course I teach by the Canadian Mental Health Association): 8 or 9 is just fine, you take the pressure off, and start realizing that a lot of your personal drama is actually self-induced.

When you can stop worrying about what people will say and who is watching you, you all of a sudden get to enjoy your life and the things that make it uniquely yours.  When you stop comparing yourself to the people around you, you create a new measuring stick for personal contentment.  And then you can actually be peaceful even when there is drama threatening to pull you in all around.

So, like we used to say to my mom when we were teenagers, “Don’t have a cow, man.”  Just chillax, and slowly, the drama will starts fading away* for good.

*If you let it!