To all my Canadian readers: Happy belated Canada day! Hope you all enjoyed a great long weekend, and to all my American readers, happy fourth of July! And to my mom, who shares the American holiday by having a birthday on the same day, happy birthday Mom!

The first week of July is usually pretty busy for my husband and I, what with all the celebration festivities going on around Canada day, my mom’s birthday on the fourth (today) and my mother-in-law’s birthday on the 6th! It is a week of celebrating special events!

I just wanted to share a little about our Canada day long weekend and how we celebrated the weekend!

I guess our festivities began a few days before on the 28th, when my hubby took me to Edward’s Garden’s in the north end of Toronto, for a picnic dinner in the park, where he read romantic poems to me for a special date night! It is really such a beautiful garden, I will post a pic so you get the idea!

On Friday, we had a fabulous beach day at Wasaga beach, approx. an hour and a half north of Toronto. Beautiful fresh water beach, shallow water for forever it seems, making the water especially warm, just the way I like it!! Lol! We had dinner on the patio of one of the restaurants on the strip, and simply enjoyed each other’s company, great food and warm weather! Fabulous day!

On Saturday, after a fantastic workout at the gym, we decided to go out for a nice Thai dinner! Thai food is my absolute favorite!

On Sunday, Canada Day, July 1st, a few close friends celebrated the afternoon with a pool party, and BBQ dinner, after having went out for lunch with friends as well, and converged with a larger group of friends Sunday evening in Mississauga, for a free concert with Carly Rae Jepsen, and Juno award winners, Dragonette before kicking off an awesome fireworks display to end the evening off right! I LOVE fireworks – but only if they are good! These definitely qualified!!

And Monday the second was still an official stat holiday, so after my hubby had a game of golf with his buddies, the two of us headed out to see ‘The amazing Spider man’ in theaters! Great movie! Amazing long weekend! This weekend promises to be more of the same summer fun as myself and a couple of girlfriends explore many of the waterfalls in Hamilton Ontario. We’ve hit two of them already, so I’ll post a couple of pics for you, so you can enjoy them too. The one we saw on our last hike, Tew’s falls, is 42 feet, just shy of the 50 feet Niagara Falls boasts to be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you all had a great Canada day weekend for those Canadians who celebrated it, and hope my American readers have a great holiday today! I would love to hear your stories of how you celebrated your country’s national holiday! Have a great week!

Stay tuned for my kick off blog on a relationship series starting this Friday! Catch ya later!

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At the end of the last chapter we find God, alone, on a mission to redeem mankind from the terrible isolation experienced by man at the loss of the most intimate of connections with their divine maker. Alone.

Separated by sin, or the loss of dependence upon God, through misfortune and the terrible lie that penetrated deep within their hearts “God is not good”, mankind assumes and becomes convinced in his mind that God has betrayed them. Not giving God the opportunity to respond, they make their assumptions, believe the lie, and turn away from the God who delivers.

Now, because God is zealous for his people, He already has a plan up his sleeve! But he must somehow prepare his people for his salvation plan!

And so enters the law. The law of God that is. According to the new testament, the purpose of creating the law established in the Old testament, was this:
“therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death though sin, and so death spread to all men, for all had sinned. For until the Law, sin was in the world, but sin was not imputed when there is no law.” Romans 5:12-13. According to the above scripture, the law was set in place by God to set the holy standard of how to live and treat each other, and was used as a tool to show mankind how far away he had slipped from the intimacy of relationship with God.

It was never meant or intended for us to fulfill and become perfect at all the laws and standards he
put in place. Without a moral compass, we don’t know the difference between what is good and what is not good. We simply do as we see fit. And such was the case. The ten commandments were a standard of how we are to take responsibility for ourselves, and how we relate to God and others.

Before God gave Moses the law on Mt. Sinai, we could not determine what was considered sin and what was not, so we needed the law to use as a guideline to living a moral life.
But what happened instead is that it triggered within us an urge to sin, to do what we were told we ought not to do. It also appealed to the other sinful side of nature, for those of us who did want to be in relationship with God, we taught ourselves to perform to the best of our abilities to fulfill God’s laws, and through our performance, we thought somehow, God will be pleased.

In Romans 3:10-18, we see that there is no one righteous, no one who understands, no one who seeks for God. in Romans 11:32 we find that all men are shut up in disobedience, that God might show mercy to us all. We see in Ecclesiastes 7:20, again, that there is no one righteous, who continually does good, and never sins.

and so it is that The Lord “looked and was displeased that there was no justice, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm achieved salvation for him” (Isaiah 59:15-16). God was on the move! He was devising his perfect salvation plan. God was using the law as part of his plan, but it was not the end result he had in mind. But without the law set in place, “I would not have known about coveting, if the law had not said, ‘do not covet’, but sin, taking the opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the law sin is dead. And I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died. And this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me, for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me. So then, the law is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good for me become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage of sin.” (Romans 7:7-14).

Being sold into bondage to sin was not a part of God’s plan, because it was for freedom he has come to set us free from slavery to anything. This is why God needed to bring a salvation plan to us by his own hand, for none of us were free.

“Just as through one man, (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…” So God would bring about salvation through one man as well.

The air is thick with anticipation awaiting the redemption plan to unfold. Until the right moment, we hang in the balance for the savior of mankind to be revealed…


Good morning bloggers! In Toronto today, it’s a bit of a rainy day out, and definitely not as hot as the past few days! But despite the weather, I am feeling great! Heading out in an hour headed to Ottawa, our nation’s capital, for an inner healing training seminar. I hope to bring back some useful tools to offer to my coaching clients out of this conference! Exciting stuff! All that to say, this might be a shorter post than usual for me if I run out of time before I need to leave!! LOL!

Moving right into todays’ subject on Enmeshment vs Intimacy. Most people don’t really know the difference, due in large part likely because enmeshment is not a word we frequently use to describe the nature of our relationships with one another. Intimacy, on the other hand, has often been confused with sex, or lust alone. Going along with the subject we’ve been discussing for the past several weeks, regarding boundaries, this is one of those subjects I promised to delve deeper into. Looking back at my blog about our need for attachment and bondedness, this particular blog should help solve a few dilemmas for you in your thinking about parenting. Were you taught intimacy or enmeshment from your parents? That’s right. Intimacy does not necessarily mean SEX! You can be intimate with your friends, your parents, your partner without sexual involvement being the primary definition of intimacy.

Let’s define intimacy and enmeshment before we go any further:

Intimacy Knowing each other very well, understanding the other’s thought processes, and an awareness of differences and similarities in perspective, opinion, attitute, preference, ideals, values, beliefs, and goals. This intimacy includes the freedom to disagree with someone, to want something different than the other, and to have different needs. It also refers to the closeness desired in a committed relationship including physical and emotional intimacy. If you are looking at this from the perspective of a romantic relationship, this will also include sexual closeness.

Enmeshment is attempting to feel and think as if you were the same person as another. Since quite a bit of uniqeness is missed this way, neither person can really be known – a very different experience from intimacy. Eg. “I gave them so much I didn’t even have a self. And when I finally started developing a “me”, they fought me. They didn’t want me to change. They wanted me to go on living just for them.”              An enmeshed person is not known.                                                                                                    A single word that describes enmeshment well could be, “to entangle”.

If by reading this, you identify just a little, I encourage you to refelct on the definitions of intimacy and enmeshment and try to write down who you are, vs the persons you are intimate/enmeshed with. What are the differences? Are you the same? If you find that you are feeling entagled, enmeshed, like you don’t have a clear sense of self, try the following: Determind the differences between you and the persons you feel enmeshed with. Look at things like your differing strengths and weaknesses, talents, abilities and values that you have and that the other person has. this may help you distinguish the differences between you and them, helping you to identify a clear sense of your ‘true self’.

What do you do with your differences of opinion or your anger? Are you safe enough to express it? Intimacy comes from being ‘known’, and being known requires knowing yourself, having a self to know, and having a sense of your individuality and differences from another, and your valures and thoughts and desires, so that you have something separate to bring to the relationship, Even if you DO have a firm sense of self, intimacy should take time to develop as trust is earned and deepened. We all need to learn whether we are feeling judged or accepted in the relationship, knowing whether it is safe to be open with the other person and be loved for who we are, distinct, and separate, bonding, fully loved. Arguments will happen, communication takes time to work well, mistakes will occur. Clarity of communication needs to be developed. (For further info on communication, see my blog from a couple weeks ago on communication). Are you able to forgive and accept and support the differences in another?

Here is a definition from the free book I’m giving away soon entitled “Boundaries – Where you End and I Begin”, by Anne Katherine on healthy boundaries, and essentially, at the same time, the definition of what it takes to engage in intimacy rather than enmeshment in your relationships:

“So what’s the goal of a person who wants to be healthy? To form boundaries that have some flexibility and some definite limits, boundaries that move appropriately in response to situations – out for strangers, in for intimates. Boundaries should be distinct enough to preserve our individuality, yet open enough to admit new ideas and perspectives. They should be firm enough to keep our values and priorities clear, open enough to communicate our priorities to the right people, yet closed enough to withstand assault from the thoughtlessness and the mean. Healthy boundaries protect without isolating, contain without imprisoning, and preserve identity while permitting external connections.”

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!  I have also created a Relationship Development Program which helps couples build towards a greater life together.

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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


As some of you know by reading previous blogs, I recently trained to become a certified relationship life coach, aligning my work with what my passion in life is. However, as life coaching is relatively a young profession, many people are still largely unaware of what life coaching IS exactly. What do I do? How do I coach people? And what is my specialty? What IS a life coach?
 
So the purpose of today’s blog is to give you a picture of what coaching looks like and what I specialize in.
 
If I were to define my mission statement, I would say that it is ‘to help people discover their life purpose and align their work with their true calling, in order to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life, overcoming the obstacles and setbacks keeping them back from reaching their goals and dreams.
 
I would say that my coaching specialty is that I work with people who have trouble establishing and developing firm boundaries due to boundary development injuries. I coach people to develop a clearer sense of self and overcome traumatic past injuries by developing healthy limits and self worth.
 
What types of things do I coach on? Relationships, taking initiative, healthy boundary development, overcoming depression and anxiety and addictions, trauma, abuse and other boundary related violations.
My biography of what my coaching looks like reads somthing like this:
 
Biography

Do you have a relationship in trouble? Do you feel like your life doesn’t make sense and can’t figure out why? Do you feel like there is something holding you back in your life but don’t know what it is? Do you have a passion in life that is not being fulfilled? A goal or a dream you have not yet reached?
Working with me, you will turn that passion you have into a vision, that goal or dream into actionable steps to help you achieve it!
I will help you see that you already have what it takes to achieve your vision!!
What I can provide is a promise that you will develop a clearer sense of yourself and develop the confidence to meet and overcome the obstacles preventing you from achieving your goals. I will offer relationship tools and skill building concepts to assist you on your way.
Coaching helps you break through your limiting beliefs and self doubt. It unlocks the potential you already have and creates a structure of support and accountability.
As your personal coach, I will be your sounding board, a non-judgmental, objective partner whose goal is to help you realize your dreams. I will bring constructive feedback, motivation and intuition, all focused on helping you to accomplish more with your life and relationships, and be the best you can be.

As your coach I will:
-Encourage you to set goals that you truly want
-Ask you to do more than you may have done on your own
-Help you focus better in order to produce results more quickly
-Provide you with accountability, along with the tools, support, and structure to accomplish more.

I have the ability to encourage, motivate and get excited for others reaching their dreams and personal potential. I am good at drawing out answers from people and to cause them to think in new and challenging ways, outside of the box, by asking questions. I am good at seeing what is beneath the surface, and able to see past the obstacles in people’s way, helping them reach for the stars! I believe I can help people who do not yet know what their purpose, goals or dreams are, and unlock and develop those areas, and help them discover who they were meant to be and what they were meant to pursue in liife.I am a caring person, loyal, committed and trustworthy, a good listener, and empathetic. I have excellent skills at understanding people, boundary issues, self-compassion, and mindfulness skills to offer as well as knowledge pertaining to such issues as abuse, codependency, understanding depression, addictions, and marriage/relationship building skills.
 
If you are still interested and are curious how I actually go about coaching my clients, below you will find my coaching methodology. That is to say, what you and I would actually accomplish together in our sessions if I were to coach you.
 
My Coaching Methodology
 
I use the successful conversion coaching process with my clients.
First, I help you identify your goals and dreams and what it might look like to live a balanced, healthy life, overcoming obstacles standing in your way to achieving the life you want to live. I offer powerful exercises that will help you gain clarity and a very specific picture of your ideal life. We accomplish this together by me helping you to unlock that picture as I help you become clear about what it is that you want.

Next, we identify three goals and action steps you can take right now to begin working towards your goals. Building on that, I help you create your ideal plan. The ideal plan includes specific discussion about the obstacles standing in your way. By evaluating and identifying your setbacks, we work together toward eliminating the things holding you back by looking at past and present contributing factors in your life that are causing fear, anxiety and other problematic symptoms in your life, while discussing and creating new habits, patterns and ways of being that will empower you to move forward.

Then I introduce key concepts, assessment tools, and exercises that will help progress you in a forward motion toward obtaining your goals of a healthier life, in ways of relating to others, and in your relationships, enabling you to move towards your life goals.

After that, we evaluate your sense of satisfaction with your progress and reassess your goals and action steps. I will offer accountability throughout our sessions together as you implement your goals and life plan.

Finally, through our work together, I will help you overcome challenges and setbacks as they arise, enabling you to move steadily forward towards a balanced and fulfilling life.

That about sums it up. This is who I am. This is who I have always been. I have always been passionate about seeing people become who they were meant to be, not restrained by the circumstances in life that have defined them, or the negative voices inside that they have chosen to believe, allowing themselves to live beneath their full potential. I have always wanted to unveil the secret reality… The cage you feel around you holding you back… it’s not really there. You were meant to be free.
 
My life calling is this:
 
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy
instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-4
 
To register now for your Complimentary Strategy Session, please visit my website.
 

Last week I started this two part series on God’s grief and love for us. This is the part two of last weeks’s blog. Another excerpt from the book I’m writing.

” ‘For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.” Romans 11:32

God intends to show us mercy. God has envisioned a plan for our redemption. But before we see this plan unfold, we must take a painful look at God’s side of the story. The anguish and grief, the sorrow and anger that burns within him at our wayward condition, and his desperation to renew a right standing between God and mankind once again.

Let’s take a look at a few more passages so that we have a fuller understanding of this love story unfolding, a love story with a wounded lover, who has lost his wife to her unfaithfulness towards him.

“I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, the love of your betrothals, your following after me in the wilderness, through a land not sown… what injustice did your fathers find in me, that they went far from me and walked after emptiness and became empty?…Has a nation changed gods when they were not gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, o heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water… you are a swift she-camel running here and there sniffing the wind in her craving – in her heat, who can restrain her? Should I not punish them for this? Should I not avenge myself?” Jeremiah 2:2,5,11-13, 23; 5:9

And again the Lord expresses his frustration:

“You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill, there you went to offer your sacrifices. Behind your doors and doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide and made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.” Isaiah 57:7-8

“This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me, declares the Lord, because you have forgotten me and trusted in falsehood. So I myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face, that your shame may be seen. As for your adulteries, and your lustful neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations…How long will you remain unclean?” Jer. 13:25-27

Perhaps the most passionate look at how God feels at our idolatry and turning away from him is found in Ezekiel 16:4-26:

“As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing, you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’… I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare. Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold you were at the time for love; so I spread my skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that became mine, declares the Lord God. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you, and anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth, and put sandals on your feet; and I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dres was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey, and oil, so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Then your fame went forth from among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of my splendor which I bestowed upon you, declares the lord. But you trusted in your beauty and you played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing. And you took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors, and played the harlot on them, which should never come about nor happen. You also took your beautiful jewels made of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that might play the harlot with them. Then you took your embroidered cloth and covered them, and offered my oil and my incense before them. Also, my bread which I gave for you, fine flour, oil and honey, with which I fed you and you would offer before them for a soothing aroma; so it happened, declares the lord. Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to me, and you sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? You slaughtered my children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire. And besides all of your abominations, and harlotries, you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood. Then it came about after all your wickedness, that you built yourself a shrine and made yourself a high place in every square. You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer by to multiply your harlotry… to make me angry.”

In his anger, he rose up a prophet to experience what He himself experienced concerning our waywardness. The prophet Hosea. The Lord instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute and bring her into his home. Hosea experienced this same rejection as his wife left him after bearing two sons for him, and returned to her harlotry. The Lord instructed Hosea to go after his wife, and bring her back to live with him again, as the Lord has done repeatedly for us, pursuing us each time we are wayward and run off to serve lesser gods, the idols in our lives that replace him in our hearts.

Let’s listen to a little of the imagery once again, of God’s anger and his plan and intention to woo his wayward bride back to himself:

“Contend with your mother, contend, For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. And let her put her harlotry away from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts, lest I strip her naked and expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, make her like desert land, and slay her with thirst. Also I will have no compassion on her children, because they are children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them acted shamefully. For she said, “I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; and she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now… therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her… and she will sing there as in the days of her youth…and it will come about in that day, declares the Lord, that she will call me Ishi (husband) and will no longer call me baali (master).”

Hosea 2:2-7, 14, 16

Despite all of this painful imagery of a lover who has lost his loved one to her adulterous behavior in walking away from a beautiful relationship with her beloved, we hear him saying things such as this:

“Return to me, and I will return to you. Yet you have said harsh things about me. You have said, ‘there’s no pay off in this relationship. It’s not worth loving God.”

We also hear him say, ‘return faithless sons, and I will heal your faithlessness.” Jer. 3:22

“for I the lord, do not change… return to me, and I will return to you.” Malachi 3:6,7

“For I will not contend forever, neither will I always be angry, for their spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of those whom I have made.” Isaiah 58:16

And again; “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

We see a God desperately in pursuit of redeeming a lost relationship, and willing to relent on his anger, seeking to find a way to close the ever widening gap between man and God. But do we see what is going on beneath the surface? Behind the scenes, there is a war going on. This same serpent, the devil, who we were introduced to in the preceding chapter, is on a mission… to woo our hearts away from the Living God. He is the one enticing us into our harlotries, by deceiving us and telling us that what he has to offer is better than what God would offer. We are still under his spell, the one that questions the goodness of the heart of God, which draws us away to lesser loves, and independence, and confidence in our own strengths and abilities. All the while, the real story happening here, is that this enemy is merely playing with us, like the pieces on a chessboard, discarding us when he no longer has need of us, all in the attempt to break the heart of God, because he lost the battle, because he could not overpower God. And we are blissfully unaware of this ongoing assault of the heart of God, nor are we aware of our part in breaking God’s heart. Until now.

At this point, in the divine timeline of a grand narrative underway, God is alone, on a mission to pursue a way to bring us back to his heart, to trust that his heart toward us is good, once again.

But there is hope coming:

“We hope for justice, but there is none, for salvation but it is far from us. For our transgressions have multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us. We know our iniquities, denying the Lord, and turning away from our God… Now the Lord saw and it was displeasing in his sight that there was no justice. And he saw that there was no man and astonished that there was no one to intercede…then his own arm brought salvation.” Isaiah 59:11-13,15,16

And there we have it, in the midst of a situation that looked hopeless, a people shut up in disobedience, unable to even turn to God on their own efforts, we hear the vague sound of a plan unfolding in the heavens… the sound of hope: ‘then his own arm brought salvation.’

As a result of this plan of salvation unfolding to restore mankind to right relationship with their god, we can foreshadow what this salvation would bring: the ability for God to say this to us and forever end the wrath of God toward his creation, because salvation would come in such an extraordinary way. When salvation would come, He would say to us once and for all:

“Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” Hebrews 10:17″


The performance trap gets us every time when we are so desperately looking to find acceptance, approval, to be noticed, and above all to be loved. No one wants to experience rejection, but what sucks many of us into the performance trap in the first place?

What was lacking, deficient, what need unmet, that somehow we believe that if we just do the right thing, say the right thing, look the right way, we will finally receive that love starved void, and feel happy, successful and complete?

The sheer amount of effort to be ‘on’ all the time, to be the witty performer, the over achiever at work, have the muscular physique, or the super model body just to hope for some sense of worth in what we do, how we perform… Is it really worth it? Do we actually achieve what it is we are really looking for? How many of you even know what’s beneath the surface? How many of you have not even been introduced to the ‘real you’ the one behind the mask?

Most people caught in the people pleasing, performance trap have lost themselves long ago, and merely play the role they think they need to play. But who are they playing for?

The sad reality is that the facade on the outside really robs people from knowing the real person beneath the mask. Worse than that, the performer is so used to putting on and taking off hats and playing different roles, living a compartmentalized life, that there is no room for them to even begin to build their own identity.

What’s worse, is that those who can see through the facade, feel at best, pity for the performer’s lack of ability to be a ‘real’ person. And in an age of hunger for authenticity, people pleasing is not so popular. Those who have been deceived by the external performance, feel robbed and cheated of a ‘real’ relationship with the person hiding behind the mask. They also feel like a fool for being deceived and lied to, and feel like they were treated unfairly by the people pleaser, as if they are not trustworthy enough to know the ‘real’ person behind the scenes. Bottom line is, everyone gets the rotten end of the stick in this game.

The people pleaser loses his or her sense of identity, misses out on knowing who they themselves really are, they don’t know what they like, what they value, what they believe, etc. It’s like that movie from ages ago, the runaway bride with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, He goes in as a reporter to investigate the woman who bails from marriage after marriage, and in typical romance fashion, falls for her himself. Only, he discovers through his reporting what other’s have missed, that she becomes exactly like the man she is with in each new relationship she is in. Not knowing her own identity, at one point in the movie Richard Gere challenges Julia Robert’s character and tells her she doesn’t even know what kind of eggs she likes. In a subsequent scene as the dawning of realization crosses her that she is a people pleaser, you see her with a counter full of different types of eggs and she individually tries them all to decide what she likes for herself.

Sad, but true for the people pleaser. Keep the peace at all costs, don’t rock the boat, try to make everyone else happy, hoping someone will finally make them happy. Trouble is, it doesn’t work. Those content living with a people pleaser will continue to take more and more, not offering in return the one thing the people pleaser hungers for most: love.

Where does this terrible root lie? Go back several blogs and you will read my article on the ideal vs the real. Once again, a developmental injury, rooted in being praised for performance, what one can do, rather than for who one IS. Or the reverse occurs, everything you do is never enough, and you work harder and harder to earn, finally the praise and approval for your efforts. If it never really comes, you carry these traits with you into adulthood in the attempt to finish the natural development process that was supposed to take place during the child rearing years. What happens is that our growth process gets stunted. And forever after, we look to complete that process in relationship after relationship doing the exact things we were taught and/or believed were necessary to ‘earn’ love and approval.

Tell me if you relate to any of these false beliefs:

  • I must meet certain expectations to feel good about myself
  • I must feel approved of or accepted by others to feel good about myself
  • I am a perfectionist -I feel afraid of failure
  • I become depressed or suffer low self esteem if I fail
  • I am extremely self critical
  • I am critical of others.

Does this math equation sound like you?

  • “Self worth = Performance + other people’s opinions?” -Taken from the book Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee

I am deeply moved and troubled for those who fall into this trap. It can be debilitating, and the things you do to try and make it better only amplify the void. Performance isn’t the answer. The truth is, there is someone out there who will love you just for you. In fact, they are likely to love you the more for it. It is impossible to develop a truly intimate relationship with another person if you cannot bring your whole self into relationship.

But first you need to find yourself, and stop trying to medicate the pain by the excess work you put into putting on the ‘ideal self’ show. You don’t need to be superman or super mom for that matter. Everyone has flaws. If you are not loved despite your flaws, then the relationship is not authentic. True intimacy cannot be fostered if this is the case. You will develop something called enmeshment instead. The merging of two individual identities into one. You will look like, be like, act like and accommodate the person you are merging with while developing a co-dependent/dependent relationship.

It’s time to find out who the real you is. If you struggle with performance and not really knowing your identity, your individuation and sense of separateness as a child was not likely modeled in the proper fashion. Good news is, there is hope. But the hope comes from being honest with yourself, and being honest with those you are closest to and trust the most. And write a list. Determine who you are, what do you like? What do you hate? What do you believe? What do you value? What are your favorite kind of eggs, if you don’t know! Get to know yourself. And stop believing the lies that you are not loveable, that who you are is not good enough, does not measure up, is not smart enough or good looking enough, or whatever the lie whispers in your ear. You are worth being loved. You are worth being valued. Not for what you do, but for who you are. You are loveable. I am empathetic and sorry for the years you have wasted trying to earn mom or dad’s approval and love and acceptance in every relationship you’ve been in. Stop trying to prove yourself worthy.

Tell yourself the truth. You are loveable. God loves you. He made you in his unique image and said that ‘it is good’. Begin to tell yourself new messages that you are loveable for who you are. It IS possible to retrain your habits. Habits are formed over time, as are the habits of people pleasing. Habits can be unlearned and relearned. It is a skill you can build.

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

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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


“A lot of what we do to not feel bad is likely to make us feel worse. It’s like that thought experiment: ‘try not to think about pink elephants – the kind that are very large and very pink!’. Once an idea is planted in our minds, it’s strengthened every time we try not to think about it.” -Christopher K. Germer, PhD

Were you picturing pink elephants there? I have to admit, I did… and I’m not especially gifted at visualization! One time in church, the pastor asked us to close our eyes and visualize something, and my husband, who KNOWS that I basically SUCK at visualization, laughed when I whispered in his ear, “I see black”. LOL But for those of you who ARE good at visualization, the above experiment about thinking about pink elephants might be quite easy, and difficult to NOT think about when someone mentions to not think about it.

Now you may ask, according to my title, what does all this have to do with mindfulness OR anxiety? Good question! I’m glad you asked! The above quote from the book “The mindful path to self compassion” by the above named author, goes on to say this: “Similarily, whatever we throw at our distress to make it go away- relaxation techniques, blocking our thoughts, positive affirmations- will ultimately disappoint, and we’ll have no choice to set off to find another option to feel better.”

Now before I go any further, since this particular blog is supposed to be about me, I need to mention that anxiety is something that seems to run in my family. I have had my bouts of anxiety over the years as well, everything from insomnia and allowing that to cause anxiety, from ordinary stressful life events to traumatic experiences, to allowing anxiety to hold me back from reaching my goals and dreams because the symptoms of anxiety can feel debilitating.

How have I learned to deal with anxiety? What tools have I come up with? What exercises have I tried? Everything from avoiding anything stressful that causes anxiety, to prescription medications to help deal with symptoms, to counseling, etc. And I have learned a lot from my research and have implemented a lot of great techniques since then. But first, let us take a look at what anxiety is, and some of it’s most common symptoms.

Are you constantly tense, worried or on edge? Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school or family responsibilities? Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake? Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way? Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety? Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks and heart-pounding panic? Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

The above are signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder. The most common symptoms of anxiety include emotional and physical symptoms which are easily identified:

Emotional symptoms of anxiety:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling tense and jumpy
  • Anticipating the worst
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Watching for signs of danger
  • Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

Physical/Physiological symptoms of anxiety:

  • Pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Stomach upset or dizziness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors and twitches
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Surge of overwhelming panic
  • Feeling of losing control or going crazy
  • Heart palpitations or chest pain
  • Feeling like you are going to pass out
  • Trouble breathing or choking sensation
  • Hyperventilation
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Nausea or stomach cramps
  • Feeling detached or unreal

Knowing is half the battle, which is why I am including the above symptoms, as some people don’t recognize anxiety for what it is, or are unaware of most of those symptoms being related to anxiety. For further reading on the subject, I suggest visiting the following website: http://helpguide.org

When I first began investigating tools to help manage anxiety, I came across a lot of great ideas:

  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Adopt healthy eating habits
  • Reduce alcohol and nicotine
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep

I also thought these things were great tools:

1. Create a “worry period”. Choose a set time and place for worrying. Set a start and end time for your worry period. During your worry period, you’re allowed to worry about whatever’s on your mind. The rest of the day, however, is a worry-free zone.

2. Postpone your worry. If an anxious thought or worry comes into your mind, make a brief note of it and and postpone it until your worry period. Remind yourself you will have time to worry about it later, so you can continue on with your day.

3. Go through your worry list during the worry period. Jot down your worries and anxious thoughts throughout the day, and now is the time you get to worry about them. If the worries don’t seem important anymore, cut your worry period short and enjoy the rest of your day.

They suggest that post-poning worry is effective because it breaks the habit of dwelling on worries in the present moment.

Another worry tip: Ask yourself if the problem is solvable. Is what you are worrying about real or imagined? a ‘what if’ type of worry. If the problem is an imaginary ‘what if’, ask yourself ‘how likely is it to happen? Is your concern realistic? Why? Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control?

If the worry is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of all possible solutions you can think of.

If the worry is unsolvable, remember that worrying helps you avoid unpleasant emotions.  Worrying keeps you in your head, thinking about how to solve problems rather than allowing yourself to feel the underlying emotions. But you can’t worry your emotions away.  While you are worrying, your feelings are temporarily suppressed, but as soon as you stop, the tension and anxiety bounces back.  The only way out of this cycle is to embrace your feelings.

One of the mindfulness techniques I learned was the practice of nonresistance.  Accept anxiety and that you feel anxious.  Be compassionate to your anxiety and embrace the fact that worry and anxious thoughts are normal.  The more you worry about it, the bigger it gets.  If you are able to practice compassion on yourself, the anxiety itself can diminish, merely by accepting the fact that you feel anxious. But just because you ‘feel’ anxious, doesn’t mean you need to let it control you or hold you back.  You can still accomplish your goals, finish your profects, deal with traumatic situations, by simply accepting the underlying emotions and continuing on anyway, despite the fact that you ‘feel’ anxious.  One suggestion I was given was to look at your feelings as if you were watching the clouds in the sky and watching them pass by.  I am still working on this process, as it is still difficult not to feed the anxious thought with lots of attention.  But I am recognizing that feelings pass.  And to embrace what I am feeling in that moment, no matter how painful, stressful or anxious it is.  Resisting it merely postpones the problem, and often intensifies it.  Not dealing with it and avoiding it, makes it bigger than it really is.  It also causes all sorts of health problems.  The best way to deal with anxiety, is to feel it.  And don’t let it stop you from moving forward anyway.  What’s wrong with doing something you feel anxious about, while feeling anxious? Just do it feeling anxious.  Lots of people do.  If every person who ever felt nervous before going onstage to perform gave way to their anxiety and refused to go onstage and perform, they would be holding back their talent and preventing the audience to hear/watch/observe their show.  They also woudln’t get paid or famous.  Imagine Lady Gaga not going onstage?  She would fade off the popularity charts pretty quickly.

There are many tools for anxiety, some work better than others, some work better for certain types of people.  If you see something here that works for you, feel free to try it!

I have two more tools that I have personally tried that I have found helpful for myself.

First, a cognitive approach, as I am wired to think that way myself:

The above mentioned website resource I sited suggests:

Stop Worry by questioning the worried thought:

  • What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
  • Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
  • What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
  • If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
  • Is the thought helpful?
  • How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
  • What would I say to a friend who had this worry?

Cognitive Distortions that add to Anxiety, Worry and Stress

  • All-or nothing thinking -looking at things in black and white categories, no middle ground
  • Overgeneralization- Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever
  • The mental filter- Focusing only on the negatives while filtering out positives. Dwelling on the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went well.
  • Diminishing the positive- Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count “I did well on the presentation, but it was just luck”
  • Jumping to conclusions- Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. Making assumptions
  • Catastrophizing- Expecting the worst-case secnario to happen
  • Emotional reasoning- Believing the way you feel reflects reality.
  • Shoulds and should-nots- Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do and beating yourself up if you break any of the rules
  • Labeling- Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (I’m a failure, an idiot, a loser)
  • Personalization- Assuming responsibility for things that are outside your control (It’s my fault my son got in a car accident. I should have warned him to drive carefully in the rain)

Mindfulness techniques to try:

  • Acknowledge and observe your anxious thoughts and feelings. Don’t try to ignore, fight, or control them, like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsider’s perspective.
  • Let your worries go. Notice that when you don’t try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. It’s only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.
  • Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If your find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.

One mindfulness exercise I try is to breathe deeply.  To allow myself to take 5-10 minutes out of my day to just bring all my focus on my breathing.  I count from 1-10 and then from 10-1 backwards.  All I am doing is paying attention to my breath and then gradually, I begin to pay attention to the sounds around me.  When a thought interrupts the process, I give it my attention for a few moments as it is likely trying to point out something I need to pay attention to.  But I gradually bring my focus back to my breath.  If I am interrupted by a random thought, I begin counting again from 1-10.  This helps me notice how frequently I am being distracted in the process.  And throughout the process, I practice self-compassion.  There is no way to do this exercise wrong.  Just have compassion towards the interruptions and keep breathing.

The purpose of the above exercise is that what is happening in our body as we become increasinly more and more anxious, we are triggering the sympathetic nervous system which generally is responsible for activating the fight or flight response in our body, allowing our reaction to perceived danger to intensify physiological symptoms preparing to deal with the situation (most of the symptoms listed at the beginning of this article). Whereas, the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for things like rest and digest. Deep breathing brings heightenedphysiological symptoms of anxiety, back to a state of rest, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, initiating a sense of calming the body down.

These are some of the things I have studied and applied to my own life when I combat anxiety. Remember, anxiety is normal. It is a part of life. Whenever we try to deny or fight a natural part of life, we upset the body’s normal way of healing itself. I hope some of these tools help you as they have helped me!

One closing scripture verse to leave you with: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” Matthew 6:33-34

And don’t forget, if you are relating to this, and feel like you need some additional help, Sign-Up Today for my monthly webinar on stress management!! If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

Cheers!

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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


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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!

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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


When I was growing up, I was oblivious to such terms as ‘boundaries‘ or ’emotional object constancy’ or ‘individuation’, but clearly, every one of us grows up with some kinds of boundaries in our lives. We may not be aware of it as children, and even into adulthood, we often go along oblivious to the full implications of just what exactly boundaries DO in our lives and how it is they work.

We are familiar with being disciplined as children for certain ‘unacceptable’ behavior, or the ‘unwritten rules’ we become accustomed to in our family of origin, such as ‘what happens in the home STAYS in the home’, or “don’t talk to your father when such and such happens” or being required to gang up against certain family members in something that therapists often refer to as triangulation. And the list goes on. We may even have the understanding as adults that boundaries have everything to do with one word, and that is “NO”. But most of us, even as adults remain oblivious to how some of what I have mentioned has anything to do with boundaries. Or we have a misunderstanding of how boundaries work, and use them incorrectly, infringing our “boundaries” upon others as we lack the fuller understanding of what they truly are, and how in fact they work effectively.

I intend to spend a few weeks discussing the subject of boundaries, because as I have come across quite frequently… few people really understand them. It will be much too difficult to discuss everything there is to know about boundaries in just this one blog.

Now, the reality remains that most of our parents (or in your own parenting) didn’t get this ‘quite right’ in how you use boundaries in a family setting. And that is ok. I am not here to criticize your parenting, or my own parents for that matter. But I do recall, in my early twenties, that I felt like something was ‘missing’ in me, like the basic ‘rules of life’. I didn’t get a memo that I was supposed to get in order to move into my adulthood feeling ‘prepared’. I thought, “well, maybe everyone feels this way”, but still the lingering feeling like certain building blocks were not properly in place. So I began digging. Did I miss out on something that I was supposed to learn in childhood and what was it? What was it that caused me to be drawn to certain types of people, why did I wrestle with feelings of rejection, or a lack of self-worth? On and on the questions go. You may have your own set of questions. Like for instance, “why do I feel I am only loved if I perform well enough?” perhaps even, “who am I performing for, and why?” Why do you feel like you need to hide your feelings, or the parts of yourself you perceive is bad? Where did all of this come from?

I don’t want to get way ahead of myself here. I need to keep this as more of an introduction to get us thinking about the subject. I was delighted when I first heard the term ‘boundaries’ about 10 years ago and immediately went to the self-help section of a local bookstore (this was before I discovered I could order online through amazon.ca!!) and purchased a book on the subject simply entitled “Boundaries”, by Dr.’s Henry Cloud and John Townsend. The further I searched on the subject, the more aware I became. You have no idea how many different books on the subject I now have! But it was not until I discovered another book by the same authors I just mentioned that I began to get the answers to what I felt was my biggest question: “Were there lessons I was supposed to learn as a child that I just did not tune into the memo about? Their insights were profoundly insightful.

They narrowed down what we are supposed to learn in our upbringing into four main categories of need:
1. The need to attach and to bond.
2. The need to separate and individuate.
3. The need to know that our perceived bad parts and good parts are loved.
4. The need for adulthood.

This simple information has proven extremely insightful for me, as I tend to need to see ‘the whole picture’ in order for me to make sense of it.
I will get into those four needs in the next few blogs, but today I will simply mention what the authors start out with when they discuss the subject of boundaries. Grace and Truth.

The authors specically refer to the danger of one without the other. As you can imagine if you only ever receive grace and there is no discipline, you do not learn where you begin and others end, in order to respect the boundaries of others or even your own. You learn a sense of entitlement and irresponsibility for your own actions. You forever find yourself in the position of looking to others to ‘bail you out’ and you never know why you keep getting into the same situations over and over. This is because of a lack of structure. A lack of truth. A lack of discipline. A lack of someone parenting you with the tools to become responsible for your own actions in your adult life. Keep in mind that what I am sharing is not direct quotes from the authors I have mentioned, as it is the end result of years of studying the subject from many varying sources. But I love how the authors of the book Changes that heal (same authors as above) break it down so simply.

In just the same way that ‘grace only’ teaches irresponsibility, ‘truth only’ can be harmful as well. If all you get is limits and judgments based on your family’s ethical code of behavior, and no grace is applied, you reap what is sown. Guilt, anxiety, anger, judgment, criticism and other painful emotions. We could get into a bigger subject here as to who is it that defines truth. For each family or religious background, the answer may be different. I define truth according to the bible, so I will have my own particular brand of understanding the concept of truth. But for now, we will simply look at truth as moral values that your family goes by, not to diminish my own faith, but to suggest that truth is a universal subject, and whether you are of a particular faith or not, in a basic sense, the concept still works. If all you receive is judgment and criticism, you will either have an extremely low sense of worth, or become a judgmental and critical person yourself.

What works the best, is if we combine truth (limits and consequences) and grace (compassion, freedom and unmerited favor) together for a healthy developed sense of self. If we are delivered a healthy set of limits on behavior that is not ok, mixed with compassion and love, a child can grow into a person who is consistent, responsible, compassionate, able to set healthy boundaries, limit evil actions of others, able to confront in love, and basically grow into a very grounded individual over time. And time is key. If Grace and Truth are administered consistently over time, these wonderful attributes result. If there is inconsistency in what we are taught, we develop an inconsistent sense of self.

Sounds great huh? In an ideal world, maybe. But we live in the real world. Real people, real scars, imperfect beings doing the best we can. No family will make it through this process without some at least minor ill-effects. But we are to work that out into our adult years, over time, to fill in the missing gaps in our formative training. No parent will ever get it perfect, so don’t beat yourself over the head. But I will teach how each of us can take responsibility over the coming weeks for the only thing we can really take responsibility for – ourselves.

So there you have it. As summarized as I can be, the building blocks to building healthy boundaries MUST be accompanied by grace and truth working together over time to heal, correct and instruct the boundary injuries we have all incurred through uninformed parenting at best, or dysfunctional parenting due to many numerous contributing factors, which I will likely discuss in some of my future blogs on the subject.

Good luck on your journey towards discovering what a full life looks like, enjoying freedom and responsibility together, and learning to love and receive love as you were created to enjoy it. 

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

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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


So this is it! I’ve finally entered the world of blogging! It’s long overdue, but here I am, brand new year, brand new journey. My intentions to blog are to blog about 3x a week, Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s. I hope to blog about writing on Monday’s, since I am venturing into the world of writing… yes, I am in the process of writing a book. On Monday’s I hope to share perhaps qoutes from my book as it is being written, sneak previews, my journey about writing, and writing tips I pick up along the way! I might also share some poetry I have written as well.

On Wednesday’s, I hope to share a little about myself, who I am, what I’m about, the things I’m interested in. Perhaps I’ll share articles about things I am passionate about, or just ‘a day in the life of me – Katie Meilleur.’ I may share poetry here as well if it helps me to describe part of my current journey in life.

On Friday’s, I intend to share life coaching tips, relational advice, counseling related material that I have found challenged or inspired me throughout the week. Feel free to respond to my posts at any time, and if you are seeking counsel or advice, I am a life coach, available to offer some free tips on my blog, and if you wish to pursue a life coaching session feel free to contact me at katie.meilleur@gmail.com for more information, or to set up an appointment! I can do phone sessions as well as in person, in the greater Toronto area.

For today’s blog, I will simply leave you with the synopsis of the book I am working on writing. Btw, I am looking into getting into some journalling, and would love it if I could find a newspaper or magazine that would be interested in doing a ‘Dear Abby’ kind of piece, where I could utilize my life coaching skills as well. Soooo…If anyone has any contact suggestions for me, please keep me posted! Thanks for reading my blog! Below you will find the synopsis for my book, Found Wanting. Hope you enjoy, and have a great day!

Katie Meilleur/Found Wanting Synopsis
Found Wanting
synopsis

“You have been weighed on the scales and have been found wanting.” Deficient. But it was not always this way. It was never meant to be so. The grand design had been perfect; crafted together by the master designer himself: God.
Before the foundation of time, there was a desire deep within the heart of the godhead, a design for the expansion of the perfect model of love and community expressed between the trinity to be shared with mankind created in God’s image. The desire was that they would know and experience and participate in this same love as the godhead shared, and to extend that beyond themselves and create a family, a community that knows God’s love and passes it on.
But… something went wrong. The sad reality is, in order for one to freely love, one must have the freedom to not love. One must have the freedom of choice. And long before creation began, our God had an enemy who sought to be god himself. Exalting himself above God, he began a war in heaven for the throne. He was defeated and fallen, his ego wounded, but he needed to find a way to get back at God. He knew he was not powerful enough to defeat Him, so his plan involved the next best thing: Attack the object of his affection. When he lost the war in heaven, he began a crafty plot to get back at God, by assaulting his heart, the very core of his being, the desire of his heart – mankind. Adam and Eve took the bait and found themselves in a state of deficiency… found wanting. The sin condition would forever pass on to their descendants, separated from God, and independent.
This separation was unacceptable to God, and he began a desperate pursuit to redeem mankind. God was on a mission to restore his original plan. Though his people were found wanting, or deficient, as a result of their independence, when his character and goodness were called into question, he began a pursuit to redeem mankind. His great unfailing love for us culminating in the most perfect plan of all: God would become a man, perfect and sinless, and prove his love for us by ransoming us from our fallen condition of sin by the message of the gospel; a message that when we fully uncover it’s meaning, it is ‘good news’ that leaves us ‘found wanting’, as in desiring after a relationship with a God who is love.

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