Tag Archive: coaching



I’m starting a new series for the next couple of months on relationships and marriage. Over the next several weeks, I will discuss such concerns as how to effective deal with confrontation, forgiveness, receiving love, some marriage basic ‘need to know’ tools, differences in gender needs and love languages, etc. Today I want to start the series off right by addressing some essential characteristics of healthy relationships. I will address more of the same in subsequent blogs.

Relationships can be difficult even for the best of relationships, and even though those relationships you look to as examples of how to get it right, that seem so streamlined and perfect while you watch them in admiration from a distance – those couples know a very important secret: Healthy relationships take work! While there are many contributing factors to making a relationship great, I am going to touch on some key elements to getting you started on making your relationships great!!

First of all there is commitment. It must be paramount in your relationship with your spouse or potential future life partner (for those of you not married yet).

What is commitment and how sincere is your commitment to each other? We live in an age where commitment is a word not really understood. With high divorce rates looming, we seem to as a generation lack a clear understanding of what commitment means. The marriage vows we read on our wedding day, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, give way to the wedding plans and the excitement of the day itself. And many traditional wedding vows are no longer being used.

Just what are we committing to? And when you’ve been down the road of marriage for many years, just how fresh in your mind do those early vows remain? There are reasons why the book of proverbs tells us so clearly to guard our hearts and even our eyes, to keep us from the temptation of greener pastures elsewhere when you are doing the real hard work of marriage -being truly know and loved for your flaws and all. Commitment certainly is something we need to newly re-evaluate and determine once again: till death do us part.

Honesty is integral. If you cannot be honest with the person you are spending the rest of your life with, you will have major problems down the road. Your secrets will not stay hidden, even if you have been successful for years. All that is hidden comes to the light. Once it is exposed, often the damage is so severe that many relationships fall apart. Without honesty, you cannot have a real relationship. You cannot be fully known. If you are not really known, you cannot truly experience intimacy. To be known requires openness. if you cannot be open, you are putting on a show. This is called ‘performance’, or even people pleasing. Eventually, resentment will settle in your heart because you are not being up front. What is not expressed is your responsibility. You are responsible to own your own needs, your own flaws, failures and weaknesses. It is ok to have weaknesses. It is important that they be brought into the light of relationship so that grace can cover over your failures and weaknesses, and that the other person can offer their strength, support or skill to help you become better in some of your weaker areas. This is how it is meant to be. Two imperfect people in a partnership, helping each other along to become all that God meant for them to become.

Connectedness is also necessary. If you do not have common ground, common interests, or understand how each other needs to bond and connect, one or both of you will experience great lack. It is important however, for me to uncover a great misconception here: your partner is not meant to meet ALL your needs. There are varying relationships in your life, as it was meant to be, for you to find fulfillment and be well balanced in your life. Women need women friends. Men just don’t understand the finer details that another woman ‘gets’ quite naturally. The same is true for men. Guys bond in ways in which women cannot understand, or compete with. But at the same time, there must be a connection in your primary relationship with each other. It is a good idea to sit down and determine how you need to bond and attach, figure out what ways make you feel the most loved or respected. How do you feel heard and understood? What do you need? Figure out what these things are and sit down and communicate to each other so that you can both work diligently at preferring each other in order to connect and attach in ways the other person will feel most loved and connected with you.

Effective communication. This is a very critical element required to sustain a healthy bond with your partner. This is also where most relationships break down. Effective communication involves active listening, affirmation of what the other is saying, and though this might sound silly, sometimes even simply acknowledging the other person’s point of view before jumping in with your own can de-escalate an evolving crisis! Make sure you clarify what you have heard the other person say, and ensure you understand his or her viewpoint before running on your own assumptions of the other person’s motives. Remember, we don’t EVER know another person’s motives unless we ask questions to clarify. Try and avoid ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ statements, blaming, and only seeing from an all or nothing perspective fixating your attention on every flaw in the other person. Try and remember to be merciful and gracious towards each other, believe the best of each other and have basic goodwill towards each other. There are many more tips I can offer on this most difficult part of relationship, but these are some great tips to get you started!

Separateness & respect are not often addressed when looking at relationship tools, but are definitely not to be dismissed. Oftentimes, initially in the early stages of a relationship, both people feel like they are ‘the same’ as each other, that you both like the same things, hold the same moral or tradition or religious beliefs, but can be sadly mistaken down the road to realize ‘I am not the same as my spouse’. I hold different ideas on how to raise a family, or how many kids you want, or different vacation preferences. These things can extend into very deep areas as well. You may hold different theological perspectives on life, or even just enjoy differing leisure activities. The more we can learn to both respect and appreciate the differences in each other, the closer we come to a place of the desired intimacy you both want. No one wants to be controlled. No one wants to feel manipulated into doing something you are opposed to. We need to respect each other’s individuality, encourage it, come along and support each other in the areas of difference. In this way, we are respecting each other and loving the ‘whole’ person rather than accepting only what adheres to our own perspective, sending a message of rejection to the other person that who they truly are is not good enough.

Dealing with conflict well. Here is where your effective communication skills need to be used meticulously! Do not get sloppy in this area! Remember in your anger that you love the other person enough to treat them respectfully and with dignity and grace. I will address this subject in further detail in a subsequent blog as I believe it deserves fuller attention than the scope of today’s overview.

And above all, love. Speaking of which, the most important element in healthy relationships is love. Sadly, love is a word thrown around so easily, and taken away so quickly when the going gets tough. We misunderstand love immensely in this culture where we love everything from our favorite television program to our Gucci handbag, to our favorite car or pair of shoes. We love our iPhones, our favorite dessert, to most any kind of food really. We use the word so carelessly that it has lost its meaning. And love in these terms has a limit. We take it back when we don’t mean it anymore, when we no longer ‘feel’ loving towards someone. This kind of love is not real love at all. Real love never fails. It never gives up, it never quits, it never stops hoping or believing for good to come about. Real love is unconditional. It does not seek its own agenda first, but prefers others above oneself. It never gives up. This is the kind of love we need to learn to emulate.

Stay tuned for next Friday as I unpack healthy confrontation tips further!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Advertisements

You’ve seen the quote ”dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never Imagebeen hurt’… But have you spent much time thinking about it?

 I have it engraved on stone hanging on my wall and I noticed it yesterday… Especially the last line.

 Love like you’ve never been hurt.

 How is this done? For those of us who are the walking wounded, who have been hurt one too mImageany times to count, feeling like reaching out one more time simply might be the death of you -risking again… For what? Perhaps we need a little help to get there.

 Loving, risking, losing. Start over.

Loving, risking, losing… Again and again, stung by betrayal, abandonment, loss. Rejection.

 As the ice melts from my frozen heart, and spring has come to fill my soul afresh, I feel my wounds heal.I have been taught humility by my circumstance.Image

 The world does not revolve around me. I saw a friend, deeply wounded, and saw how she held onto love despite the pain she faced. I looked within myself and saw my inadequacy. I saw that I grappled with mercy and grace and judgments towards those who’ve offended me. How hard it was to let it go and set them free & embrace humility. My pride and resentment kept me trapped in a prison of my own making. Bitterness. I had been trying to forgive – wrestling with it, trying to let go of the pain, but the pain had become my only friend, and my protector. The ice around my heart began to form to protect my heart from further injury. I became numb. And broken. What used to function normally- the ability to love, felt frozen behind a wall of insecurity, fear of being hurt again, fear of loss and pain became my comfort. But in the hardening of my heart what came next was isolation.

 Man was not meant to be alone.

 I’d forgotten how to love at all.

Yet alone to love like I’ve never been hurt.

The secret is forgiveness. Not for them but me. Unforgiveness is like a poison you drink yourself.

 ‘Forgiveness is nothing more and nothing less than an act of self healing – an act of self-empowerment – no longer a prisoner to my tragic past, that I was finally free’.

 The above quote was taken from Eva Kor, a survivor of the Holocaust and the experiments of Joseph Mengele at Auschwitz 50 years ago, who was able to forgive her oppressors in the very place they took away her freedom, her innocence and her family.

 Forgiveness is a process as it takes time to heal, for sure.

But humility and recognizing our own weaknesses and sins can help us give grace to those who have injured us. Grace is a lesson I am learning. I have never been very proficient at it. Without being aware, I have battled with my own sense of self-righteousness and would cling to my right for justice, all the while knowing that mercy triumphs over justice. But still I held on to the ‘why me’, ‘it’s not fair’, victim mentality. It wasn’t my fault. So why did this happen to me?

 Now I see the error of my ways, my own pride and am humbled by my own vanity.

 How do you love like you’ve never been hurt? Without walls of fear or anger or pain or pride to protect you? I knew it in my head, but it needed to penetrate to my heart… Let go of the need to be in control. Let go of the pain and trust God with your heart’s protection.

Let go of fear and give it to God to hold onto. Perfect love drives out fear.

I saw myself in the garden of Eden, along with Adam and Eve, hiding themselves from God.

 ‘where are you?’ He called out to them?

 ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’ Adam replied.

 So true. Our vulnerabilities make us feel naked. Our awareness of our sinful nature cause us to feel humiliated so that we hide. We feel alone. We believe we must defend ourselves and hide. Hide from more hurt. Hide from awareness of our own flaws. Hide from the effects of other’s sin against us.

 God was reaching out to them, but they couldn’t see that because of their own shame and independence from him. Unable to turn to the only one who could help them, they locked themselves in their independence and separateness from him, left to their own devices to protect themselves from harm, little knowing that their own efforts were causing them to open themselves to vulnerability in harmful ways. But deceived, they believed they were protecting their vulnerability instead.

 By holding onto control, we leave ourselves more exposed to harm and falsely believe our walls of independence -the belief that we can handle it on our own – will protect us from further vulnerability and further harm. But it is only an illusion.

 The only way to love like you’ve never been hurt, is to let go of our attempts to control the  outcome of events. Control is an illusion. I can’t control what others do or don’t do, I can only take responsibility for my own actions.

 Fear is not my friend. It is not a good protector. It blocks us from the ability to love.

 To love like I’ve never been hurt requires me to trust God with my pain, my fear, my inadequate ability to effectively protect myself, and believe that even when I don’t understand, that he will somehow work all things together for the ultimate good, if I choose to embrace the lesson to be learned from my experiences. 

 Instead of hiding in the garden afraid, respond to God’s question ‘where are you?’ with a new answer.

 I’m hurt Lord. I want to protect myself from further pain. I know that is independence from you & I choose to open up to you, to not hide, but rather run to you and let you embrace me, and bandage my wounds, and make me whole again. I choose to trust you with my heart. I choose to take down my walls. I choose to love and I choose grace and I choose forgiveness and I choose to acknowledge I am fallible too. I hurt people too. We are all on equal footing. I choose to repent of my own arrogance and self righteousness. And self pity. I choose to embrace love.  I choose to learn and offer grace. I choose humility.

 My friend and I are on a journey together. We are letting life teach us it’s lessons to learn. We are letting God teach us how to love like we’ve never been hurt. How to let down our habits and trained defenses and walls, and learn the healthy boundaries of taking responsibility for the only thing we Imagecan. Our own actions, our own behavior and responses and attitudes.

 To all of those who have hurt me in some way great or small, to all those i have hurt as well. Not only do I forgive those who have hurt me, But I repent as well. For the lack of grace, lack of integrity, lack of love, the walls, the judgments, the arrogance, my fear. I am fallible too. I know that now.

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Trauma Recovery Program which will help you move forward from betrayal, hurt, or loss!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


Good afternoon bloggers! I’m late getting to my blog today, as I have been prepping for my interview with Khama Anku of Spiritual Physique, getting ready for the No Limits Tele-summit she is hosting next week live, that I have been asked to teach a tele-class on the subject of healthy boundary development & the 4 stages of boundary development.

This is such an exciting opportunity for me in my coaching career! So today, I simply want to promote the event as a way of sharing who I am and what I’m about with you, while encouraging you to check out my tele class airing live next week at: www.NoLimitsTeleSummit.com  !!!

As I was discussing the event today with Khama, we talked a little about my passion for coaching which I will share with you now.

I personally believe this is what I was made for! I have been coaching naturally my whole life! I have a passionate zeal to see others become who they were meant to be, to overcome the obstacles in their way and to reach their goals and dreams!

I want to see people develop and obtain their purpose in life and find their sense of destiny! I want to help people get past what holds them back from living life fully alive! My calling comes right out of Isaiah 61, to bind up the wounds of the broken, to set the captives free, and release from prison those who are captive – in the sense of being held back by things in their life hindering them from living life free and whole. I am meant to comfort the broken, and those who grieve, and provide beauty instead of ashes, gladness instead of sorrow, healing for wounds that have crippled…

I want to see people live life in freedom, life and love!

 This is why I love coaching, because I am able to offer resources to people and walk with them through their journey to becoming whole!

So today, I want to invite you to check out my YouTube channel for my video announcing the upcoming Telesummit and what I will be discussing @ www.YouTube.com/user/ktmeilleur
I also encourage you to check out the site where the Telesummit will be featured at www.NoLimitsTelesummit.com  to sign up today for the event and check out my tele class next week!

You can also find the video on my website and if you want to check out who Khama Anku is and what she’s about, check out her website at www.spiritualphysique.com  for more info.

If after listening to my tele-class, you are interested in some coaching on the subject you can also visit my website and click the contact us button on the screen to connect with me there!

I am soooo excited about this event! It is such a great opportunity for me, and just had to share that with you today, just a little about one of my passions in life!

Can’t wait to connect with some of you after the Telesummit!

Katie Meilleur Live at the No Limits TeleSummit!

Hope you have a great day and wishing you a happy Easter Weekend!

God bless!


Image

My husband and I have always kind of prided ourselves in the fact that we believed we communicated rather effectively with each other. We would and still often spend hours and hours just ‘talking’ about anything and everything, but usually heart to heart, deep and meaningful conversations.

But every so often you hit a bump in the road where the art of effective conversation breaks down. Recently, in one of our conversations, my husband communicated some of the people pleasing issues he has always wrestled with, and with his permission, I share this story that we have been working together on some boundary devlopment areas in his life. If you have been reading my series on fridays about boundaries, you know that boundaries involve building a sense of self. Understanding things like “what do you care about? What do you believe? What do you hate? What do you love? Who are you? What is attractive to you? What repels you? What do you value? What do you think about? What are you really like? These kinds of questions help us develop a sense of who we are apart from others, helping us develop our own sense of identity, rather than trying to judge and determine what kind of camelion we need to be in order to please our current audience. So Jason (my hubby) and I have been talking about these things and helping him to become aware of his own identity and me trying to be supportive of him becoming ‘who he really is’ instead of trying to live to please me, which isn’t what I ever wanted. I’ve always wanted to know who he really is, and personally wrestled many times, being fully aware of his struggle, “what am I doing wrong in the art of communicating?” and “When will he figure out I’m not perfect either and resentment comes in for all my mistakes?” It’s tough to see all of our own blindspots. I consider myself to be a very self-aware person, taking inventory frequently on my behavior, but I am an imperfect person too, bound to miss things. In ‘real’ relationships where real intimacy can flourish, and by that I mean “knowing each other’s thought processes, an awareness of differences and similarities in preference, opinion, attitude, ideals, values, goals, beliefs, etc”, you are no longer alone. You have a mirror in which to reflect back to you your own short comings. When one or both people are enmeshed with each other, this mirroring cannot happen. We were all created to know in part and see in part, not always able to see the whole picture. Relationships where real intimacy exists are designed to aid in helping each other grow and flourish by helping point out the blindspots. Some things are so ingrained in our being, habits, and learned behavior that we do not see it on our own and need help to see and discover. In trusting relationships, this can take place when we gently share with each other and are open to receiving from each other, someone to point out our flaws.

So, as we have both been growing on this new journey of discovery of who he is apart from his people pleasing, he has begun to mirror some of my own learned behavior and bad habits in communication. So once, where conversation seemed to flow so seemlessly, now we are discovering some of the habits of not so effective communication that neither of us saw before. For which I am truly grateful for now, to have the accountability for my actions, rather than the fear of trying so see my own blindspots and knowing I must be missing stuff. We both are committed to having an amazing marriage and are always working towards bettering ourselves and each other. We really are a good team, and each other’s biggest supporters… dare I even say each other’s biggest fans?

So here are some tips we have been practicing to better our ‘art of communication’, that I would like to pass on to you as well, as they are truly beneficial.

Starting with a “when you…” statement, such as “when you interrupt me” as an example, the next step is to add an “I feel…” statement, such as “I feel like you are not listening to me, which makes me feel unimportant and hurt” or whatever the feeling is.

Next step: Mirror back -reflect the person’s message, how you intertreted and what you received. eg. “let me see if I’ve got that” and “is there more?” Continue this part and clarify until you both feel comfortable that the other person is receiving the correct message.

Validate: 1.See how what your partner is saying makes sense 2.Seeing your partner’s point of view through his/her eyes 3. Stand in the other’s shoes so to speak, to see how his/her world makes sense to him/her 4. Not necessarily agreeing 5. Take ownership for what you can, ie: “this makes sense because, I did that to, or I am like that sometimes”

Empathy: 1. Mirror your partner’s feeling eg. “you feel…” 2.Imagine what your partner might be feeling underneath what is said 3. Attempt to experience/feel the feelings eg. “If I were you I would feel…” and if you did that to me I would feel…too”

Then partner #1 Continues (The first person to bring up the issue being addressed) “Could you….” “So that…”

Partner #2 mirrors again.

Now Partner #2 gets to say what they feel or how they see this from their perspective. Then switch. It is now partner 1’s turn to understand and repeat the above process.

This sounds like the perfect model for a conversation. Sadly, doesn’t happen that way most of the time. Some of the areas we personally struggle with, is when I bring up a subject that I need to address, sometimes I feel like I am not getting the validation I need, or that he will jump in with his own issue and dismiss mine without completing the process, or get defensive and start telling me everything he is doing that is right. I also feel like he is not always clearly receiving the message I am sending, and filtering it into a different message than I intended to communicate. On his end, he often feels that I am making assumptions, or jumping to conclusions, feels like I always need to be right or “win”, that if he doesn’t give in to my point of view or perspective I am not happy with the outcome. He also feels threatened if I raise my voice, and is hurt when I get overwhelmed and frustrated and lose my calm and allow the conversation to degrade from being constructive. These are the things we are currently working on to ensure we are taking ownership for our own assumptions, not asking the other person to take ownership of something that is not theirs to own, ie. expecting someone to be a mind reader, as an example, etc. all while trying to learn to communicate effectively to bring healing and growth opportunities in our lives as individuals as well as within our marriage.

I hope some of these tools help you as well if you are wrestling with communication in any relationship. Ask your partner if he/she is willing to work through the above process to develop more effective communication patterns. The art of communication is an on-going process that takes more than a little time to work on, until the pattern becomes habit. Even when equipped with extensive knowledge on how to communicate, communication breakdowns can still occur, as in our story from above. It is often extremely beneficial to seek an outside perspective from a counselor or coach to help remove the roadblocks preventing you from having effective communiction in your relationships, especially if you find that even after trying the above exercises, it is not working effectively and one or both of you are unable to find where the breakdown is occuring and identifying the blindspots to communication. Sometimes the outside perspective adds the clarity you lack in the moment! Good luck with learning the ins and outs of effective communication!

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Relationship Coaching Program which will equip your relationship with the tools it needs to grow!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

Our Need For Adulthood


You might think, at first glance, “what a strange title” to this blog, since we all become adults eventually, and function in an adult world. We might even scoff, brushing it off as insignificant. But have you thought of what it is exactly that adulthood involves? Are you aware that it is actually a difficult process to come from a position of a one down relationship with our parental authority over us as we are growing up, and trying to learn how to mature into adulthoood, emerging successfully with the ability to have peer to peer relationships and feel fully sustained? Do you know what makes an adult an adult? Do you know what symptoms exist if your maturing process was incomplete when you first entered the adult world?

This is the fourth segment in my series on boundary development, that I blog about on Friday’s.
Over the last few weeks, we have looked at four major components to growth and development that we all require to grow up into healthy and whole, functioning adults with the proper sense of authority that comes with the position of being an adult. To quickly recap, in case this is the first blog of mine that you are reading, three weeks ago, I wrote about the first essential ingredient in boundary development: the need to attach, connect and bond with others. Week 2 was about the need to separate and individuate and begin the boundary development process, involving discovering what we are each responsible for and what we are not. A critical stage in development, no doubt, that unless we truly feel bonded, we cannot successfully develop a real sense of self. The third stage of growth was our need to know that we are loved completely, including our perceived ‘good’ parts and ‘bad parts’. To know that you are loved unconditionally. Reaching our climax in today’s blog, we find that we need to properly maneuver into adulthood, gradually taking on more and more responsibility, influence, power, authority and the like. To quote author Dr. Henry Cloud, from his book “Changes that heal” which has been my influence for this series, he suggests that:

“Authority has a number of different facets: power, expertise, office, influence and submission. Adults have the power or right to give commands, enforce obedience, take action, or make final decisions.”

The problem is that a lot of us are not ready for adulthood by the time we get there, which is why we see people abusing power in abusive relationships, because they have not yet resolved the issue of one up one down relationships, and are defensively taking on a persona of being one up from everyone else, while inside, and well hidden, even from themselves, they still battle feeling like they are incomplete inside. This of course is only one example out of so many.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the symptoms of an inability to properly move into that position and authority of the adult life:

If you relate to any of the following, you may still need to do some inner work and learn more about boundary development in order to successfully take your proper place in the world as an adult. Here they are:

-Inordinate needs for approval from others
-Fear of disapproval
-Guilt
-sexual struggles
-fear of failure
-need for permission
-feelings of inferiority
-feelings of superiority
-competitiveness
-loss of power
-judgmentalism
-looking at the world in black and white terms
-anxiety
-hate towards or issues with authority figures
-parenting others
-impulsiveness
-dependency
-depression

If you find you relate to any of the above, you may need to develop a few skills to exert your God-given authority you were meant to function in as He intended.

Here are a couple of skills needed to complete the maturing process and enter into adulthood, as a whole and complete person:

-Reevaluate your beliefs. As children, you were taught what to believe about a variety of issues, everything to do with family values, to religious opinions, to cultural convictions, and traditions. As an adult, you have the ability to decide what family beliefs and values you choose to hold onto, and what to let go of. To decide for yourself what you believe. This is a very difficult task in itself as it is often met with resistance from family members if we deviate from the expected family beliefs and traditions. But experimentation is a necessary part of determining for yourself who you will become and what you will believe. It is a difficult process for parent and maturing child.

-This is a toughy… The ability to disagree with authority figures. A lot of times, whether in the family unit, or at work, or in religious settings, this is met with extreme resistance. Believe it or not, but a lot of people in authority positions feel threatened when they are questioned by someone who is an adult in their ownership of themselves. Likely because they hold a position of authority but have not yet themselves graduated into adulthood themselves. As a properly functioning adult, being questioned or challenged on your opinion is most welcomed, as this person knows who they are, what they are responsible for and what they are not responsible for, and openly welcomes criticism as an opportunity for growth. How many people do you know who actually function in this ‘unthreatened’ way of true adulthood?

-See Parents and Authority figures realistically. Stop putting them on a pedestal or thinking and believing they will not fail you or are ‘super human’ in some way. Eventually, you will become disappointed and disillusioned when you realize they are not perfect either.

-Learn how to make your own decisions. Start taking initiative for your own behavior, choices, responsibility and the consequences that result from your choices and decisions.

-Practice Disagreeing when you disagree with someone else’s opinion on a subject.

-Give yourself permission to be equal with your parents.

-Recognize and pursue your talents and abilities.

-Learn to discipline yourself.

-Submit to others out of your sense of freedom, and out of a position of love.

-Deal with your sexuality. A lot of sexual issues in adulthood have a lot to do with how your parental system viewed sexuality. For instance from a religious background, one may feel shy and even like sex is a bad thing, causing you to shrink back from your sexuality in adulthood. Or coming from a sexually permissive background, you may lack a sense of commitment sexually in a marriage relationship, or struggle with body image or have come from some abusive situations because someone in your past has violated you while you were expressing your sexual freedom, leaving you more vulnerable and less sexual in your adulthood. There are so many different possible scenarios that may affect your sense of ownership in this area of adulthood. Are you able to clearly communicate to your partner what it is that you like or dislike sexually? These are other indications that you may need to finish maturing if you are unable to clearly articulate your sexual needs.

There are other tips as well, but I will leave you with this last one:

-The ability to love and appreciate people who are different from you.
This is probably the biggest indicator that you are well on your way to maturing into a healthy adulthood. This suggests that you have learned from the previous three stages of growth and development and are able to love people truly, flaws and all, without expecting them to be perfect and ideal people. It also indicates that you have been properly nurtured yourself, and have learned to develop boundaries and a sense of self to know who you are and who you are not, in order to be “ok” with others who are different from you, and to still love and appreciate them.

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will provide you with many of the tools you need to help identify and move past the barriers that have been holding you back in life!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

Learning to Attach and Bond


By the time a child is 3 years old they have taken in astronomical amounts of information -we are created with so many genetic possibilities. So much of which depends on what we recieve from our parenting, the quality of relationship, to see which elements get developed, and which remain underdeveloped. The reality is that that none of us walk away from being parented completely unscathed! No one is perfect, and our parents are not fully responsible for what we missed out on in our childhood. This is due in part to the law of responsibility. We are responsible to finish growing in whatever areas we missed out on the first time around which is great news to parents who often beat themselves up over areas where they recognize that they were imperfect in their parenting.
But what is this astronomical amount of information that a child must take in and receive and begin to appropriate in life?
Children are always learning, and observing, and mirroring what information they see and take in. Kids need to attach and to bond, to learn to separate from mommy and determine who he/she is apart from mom. In the first year of life, they need to learn basic trust, developing a self soothing ability to have a relationship with his/her caretaker in their absence and develop emotional object constancy. Early on in child development, infants do not have enough love or structure within themselves, and require a great deal of nurture. Kids also need to learn to know what their desires are and their limits and to know that these will be respected. They are to learn how to own and take responsibiltiy for their own behavior, feelings, attitudes and abilities. They need to know they are loved no matter what. They need to eventually grow up and leave and become mature adults. But before they finish growing up and developing, they also need to process the imperfect parenting they receive. They may need to learn how to respond to physical or emotional neglect, abuse, deprivation, role reversals, physical abandonment, boundary violations, sexual violations, etc, etc.
That is an incredible amount of information for someone so young to have to learn all at once, which is why we often come away from our childhood feeling like there were pieces missing, unprepared for adulthood or recognizing that perhaps we are incomplete in our development.
My intention is to unpack this a little bit and help fill in the gaps a bit.

Today we will touch on the need to attach and bond. Before we can even begin to understand and appropriate healthy boundaries in our life, we must first be able to bond and attach and connect to someone who is safe and loving and can fill that lack of love that we first come into the world with. Before you can separate and become a complete person, you first need to be a part of something before you can individuate.

Many people struggle with the ability to receive love, due in large part to a lack of attachment or bondedness. Or, you learn enmeshment rather than intimacy, therefore lacking a clear knowledge of what the difference is. Enmeshment happens when your ability to separate and individuate is disrespected. I will touch on that more next week. I am merely trying to show that there are injuries that develop in us that we carry into adulthood as a result of a lack of bondedness, or unhealthy ways in which we bonded, such as sexual abuse as another example.

So what is bondedness? Simply, the ability to emotionally attach to another person on a deep level. The ability to share your deepest thoughts, ideas, dreams, fears, etc with another person and know you are loved and to feel safe. Emotional object constancy is developed over time as you continue to take in enough love, to know that even when the person giving love is not in the same room as you, you are still loved. Now, you may think this is silly that this emotional object constancy can still affect us years later if not enough love was taken in during our formative years, but it is true. Years later, if that part of development is incomplete, a person may feel a deep sense of isolation and aloneness and be unable to cope with such feelings, and needs to find varying ways to cope with a deep sense of emptiness and aloneness that does not go away. This learning to bond idea is really a BIG deal. It is the first step of growth and development, and the most important.

Some symptoms of a failure to bond include: depression, feelings of badness, guilt, sadness, panic, feelings of meaninglessness, emptiness, feelings of unreality, fantasy, addiction, rage, panic, distorted thinking, fear of intimacy, excessive caretaking, etc.

Unfortunately in one blog I don’t have time to get into more detail about how all these things work, but I can say that if you identify with any of this at all, I can leave you with a few simple tools about how to begin the process of bonding. Perhaps at a later time, I will come back to this subject more in depth and give more helpful tools for growth.

But for now I will leave you with this:

Here are a few tools to help you on your way to develp the skills to bond and complete the mothering process in healthy relationships in your current life:

Step 1. Realize the need for it. Often people live without even having an awareness that they need to connect on a deep level because they have lived so long without it that they have developed skills to adapt to the emptiness. Some people don’t even ‘feel’ the emptiness, because it is buried so deeply inside.

Step 2. Make steps to reach out to others. If you see someone who seems like a caring, nurturing individual, make an attempt to develop a friendship with that person to allow yourself the opportunity to learn to receive warmth, empathy and love.

Step 3. Be Vulnerable. This is big. This is hard…. and often feels extremely threatening when you are very disconnected. The fear of a loss of love is so great it prevents you from reaching out and allowing someone “in” to the deeper parts of yourself. Try not to let this fear rule. It will cripple your ability to attach and bond.

Step 4. Challenge your distorted thinking patterns…. such as the fear I just mentioned, or making assumptions about what other people are thinking, and how confident you are that they WILL reject you if you let them in. These distorted thinking patterns could also be about yourself, and how you have erected a wall of protection by saying hateful things about yourself so often until you believe them, and believe that everyone else thinks the same thing about you. Try not to interpret what you think others are thinking of you. When in doubt, ask, instead of assuming.

Step 5. Take risks.

Step 6. Allow yourself to experience dependent feelings.

Step 7. Recognize your defenses.

Step 8. Say yes to allowing yourself to receive love. Allow yourself to be compassionate to yourself instead of critical and give yourself permission to receive.

It may feel right now, like that is too much of a risk for some of you. I tell you from experience, it is not always smooth sailing, and you may get burned here and there, but when you do finally experience what it is like to really receive love, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

My challenge to you today is this: Love, like you’ve never been hurt. Keep reading, because I will blog in a few weeks on how to identify the safe people to be able to attempt this growth challenge with. Stay tuned!!

If you would like more information on Boundaries, check out the Boundary Development Program available on my website.  Hope to see you there!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website www.freedomlifelove.com and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.   

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

%d bloggers like this: