It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Self Love is NOT a Pre-Requisite to Soulmate Love

Self-love seems to be the hot topic in the personal growth movement these days and when it comes to finding soulmate love, there are a lot of myths that until you fully love yourself first, you won’t be able to get anyone else to love you. Is this really true?

My experience has been that most women (at least in the Northern hemisphere) live with a negative, critical voice in their heads that is often filled with ugly, shaming thoughts, self- doubt, and brings with it feelings of never being “good enough.”

And, I began to wonder, do you really have to eliminate that persistent voice in order to find true love?

Do we really need to be 100% in love with ourselves to experience Big Love?

No.

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Remember Your Self Worth

As an adult, it’s easy to slip into a few bad habits – especially as we get older. Routinely eliminating “me” time is one of them, as is not making regular trips to the dentist or putting your health on the back-burner. But there’s one thing that we all do that puts quite a strain on our lives: compare ourselves to others.

You’ve been there. Your friend’s husband gets a big promotion, and their entire life is “upgraded” as a result. Maybe your sister moves into a bigger home in a nicer neighborhood. Or your neighbor joins a gym and loses 20 pounds. All of these are great things for the people in your life. So why do you feel so…discouraged? That one’s easy.

When you compare yourself to others, you are creating an environment rife for resentment and sadness. You are no longer grateful for what’s happening in your life and can only focus on where you are lacking. Eventually, those feelings graduate from the material shortcomings you start out with; eventually, you start to belittle who you are as a person.

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Practice Love Amnesty (How and Why)

I believe we are all perfectly imperfect beings doing the best we can, most of the time.

And yet, we are now living in an era where cancel culture has become de rigueur, second chances are few and far between, and the art of forgiveness appears to have vanished.

We all have said and done stupid, regrettable things and I believe that if we own what we’ve done, and give a proper apology, and make amends, shouldn’t we be forgiven?

I see this as an issue in our personal relationships as well as in our culture.

Your significant other may be the greatest person on the planet but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to make you crazy from time to time.

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Setting The Trap: Dating Strategies Used By Narcissists

There are many myths and misunderstandings around being in relationships with narcissists. One of the most common myths is that somehow people should be able to recognize a narcissist by simply checking off a few boxes on a handy dating checklist.

In reality, the behavior of a narcissist during the initial stages of a dating relationship is a carefully crafted façade. He or she does not use abusive language or ghost you on the first, second, or even the twentieth date. They do not try to manipulate in overt ways, but they do use subtle and often seemingly innocent behaviors to test the waters to determine the flexibility or the presence of boundaries.

Unfortunately, potential dating partners who have a history of emotional or physical abuse, abandonment, or dysfunctional families often lack boundaries. They fall into the trap of allowing the narcissist to begin to get his way, even over small things, which eventually lead to highly toxic behaviors that will become more significant as the relationship unfolds.

To help understand the trap the narcissist sets during the initial dating phase, let’s take a closer look at the strategies the narcissist employs. Based on your response, you may see more than one strategy in play, or the strategies may change over time.

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Don't Be Your Partner's Therapist!

One of the important things I learned in my own marriage and in my work with clients is that a committed relationship is NOT supposed to be a therapeutic relationship. We can help each other to learn, grow and heal, but this is very different than a therapeutic relationship. In a marriage, or close committed relationship or friendship, we can help each other, but in a therapeutic relationship, one person is helping the other. This doesn't work well in a partnership.

Caretakers often enter relationships to 'fix' their partner.

Caretakers often see themselves as healthier or more evolved than their partner, and they go about trying to change their partner – 'for their own good.' This puts the caretaker in a one-up position, which may make the other person feel one-down. I often hear from a client whose partner is trying to fix them, or who sees themselves as the ‘healthy one’, "My partner is much healthier and more evolved than I am."

Since we come together at our common level of health or woundedness, I know that this statement isn't true - that it's indicative of an imbalance in the relationship and is what is causing some of the problems.

Sometimes one person expects the other person to listen the way a therapist would. A client in this position asked me,

"What should I do when he vents on me and expects me to listen to him like a therapist might listen to a client?"

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Are You a Liar?

Are you a liar?

I believe most of us are. (Hey, we are all human, no judgement here.)

And the biggest lies we tell are to ourselves.

We lie to ourselves in small ways and big.

For instance, perhaps you do some or all of these:

You want to be healthy and yet you consistently blow off exercising and eat things you know are not good for you.

You want to nourish your mind with loving thoughts and yet you make up stories about how you are not good enough, loveable enough, or whatever and you let those stories keep you stuck.

You are in a relationship with a narcissist or someone who clearly exhibits bad behavior and you stick around hoping they will change. (They won’t)

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Is Your Heart Closed off to Love?

Do you or someone you know have trouble giving or receiving love, trusting others, or forming deep and satisfying relationships? These are signs of a widely prevalent but little understood condition known as a Heart-Wall®.

When you experience a traumatic childhood, a bad breakup, a divorce, the death of a partner, abuse, severe injury, or any dreadful event, the emotional pain of the experience can cause you to feel defensive and to wall off your heart. A Heart-Wall may prevent you from giving and receiving love, block you from trusting others and forming new relationships, and leave you feeling perpetually lonely and isolated.

Heart-Walls are made up of the energy of Trapped Emotions from difficult experiences. Most people have multiple unresolved and unprocessed emotions that lay trapped one over another, all covering their heart creating a Heart-Wall. Trapped Emotions such as these are commonly referred to as emotional baggage.

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The Law Of Attraction And Relationship Issues

Being addicted to love is not the same as being a sex addict, a drug addict or an alcoholic. Love addicts are drawn to people that initially cause them to feel part of a whole rather than as an isolated individual.

For a love addict being single and alone is a crisis. These are people that rely on others for their sense of identity, where the relationship becomes the focus of their lives. Needless to say, love addicts smother the partner, which only causes the partner to pull away while the love addict clings on and compounds the problem.

The other type of partner that is drawn to a love addict is a person who is completely self-centered. They may have narcissistic tendencies or have another type of personality disorder. These are often the “bad boys” of the world, seeming to do nothing but take in a relationship. Finding a partner that wants nothing to do but to give creates the perfect destructive relationship for both.

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Speaking Your Truth Without Blame or Judgment

How often have you become irritated or angry, or given yourself up, or started to argue or debate, teach or explain, or withdrew when someone was treating you badly - ordering you around, judging you, blaming you, or dumping their complaints or negativity on you? How often have you behaved in any of these protective, controlling ways when someone is unknowingly interrupting you when you are trying to focus on something or get something done? How do you end up feeling when you behave in any of these ways?

The chances are you end up feeling angry, hurt, anxious, depressed, or numbed out. It is easy to believe that these feelings are coming from the other person's behavior toward you, but this is not the case. Your unhappy feelings are coming from not taking loving care of yourself.


For example...

Madison consulted with me because she was feeling depressed. She and Andrew had been married for 12 years. She loved Andrew and felt that they had a deep soul connection. Yet she was often unhappy around him.

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How To Stop Being An Over-Giver

We’ve been taught in our culture that to give is better than to receive.

This can lead to being an over-giver. When you’re an over-giver and don’t allow yourself to receive, you also rob others of the gift of giving to you.

Giving and receiving are actually two sides of the same coin. So how do you stop being an over-giver if you are one? I share some thoughts in my new video.

Is This the Right Person for Me?

"How will I know when I meet the right person?"

I often hear this question in my counseling practice.

The answer is fairly complex. There are two different reasons that people have for wanting to get married:

• To get love, validation, security and safety

• To share love and to grow emotionally and spiritually.

If you feel insecure and alone, you are likely to look for someone who will fill the inner emptiness and give you the love you are seeking.You may want to find someone who will complete you and make you feel adequate and worthy.
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Is Your Early Trauma Picking Your Partners?

Most people have had at least one bad relationship in their life. For most individuals, this bad relationship was a blip on the radar, with the experience chalked up to a lesson learned.

However, there are also people who find themselves in the same toxic relationship over and over again. The partner may look different on the surface. Still, his behaviors, abusive ways, or emotional unavailability are exactly the same as the partners before.
Why do some people bounce back after a toxic relationship and move on to a healthy relationship while others are destined to repeat the same negative relationship cycle? The surprising answer is that this behavior may be directly related to early trauma in your childhood years.

The Legacy of Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is more common than most people assume. For example, in a 2017 study by Grant Sara and Julia Lappin published in The Lancet Public Health Journal, one in four adults reported they were physically abused as kids, and one in eight reported sexual abuse.  As stated in my book, Love Smacked: How to Stop the Cycle of Relationship Addiction and Codependency to Find Everlasting Love . “When we hold on to unresolved pain from childhood, especially trauma and abandonment, these wounds reemerge in adult relationships as toxic shame.”
Other types of childhood trauma can include:

•  Loss of a parent – the death of a close family member or a significant person in a child’s life can create trauma if the child is not allowed to grieve or does not receive the care and attention required to work through the grief.

• Multiple homes – children that are moved from home to home either within a family or through the foster care system are often traumatized as they have no place of comfort or belonging.

• Bullying and fear – this can be bullying from siblings, parents, or even within a community. This can be a single significant event or chronic types of fearful situations without the parental support and care needed for the child.

• Abandonment – children that are abandoned with friends, relatives, strangers, or even the other parent can be traumatized very early in life.
   
• Addicted parents – children that live in homes where they must take care of siblings and even their parents are often traumatized as they feel overwhelmed and helpless.

Attachment Styles and Choosing Partners 

Children that experience trauma early in life develop an anxious attachment style, which is sometimes called an anxious-preoccupied attachment style. These people are extremely fearful of being on their own as they obtain their validation and reason in life from being with someone else. Although they believe they need their partner for their identity, they often feel the partner does not care enough.

Signs of an anxious or anxious preoccupied attachment style include:
   
•  Extreme desire to please – these individuals will do anything to win the approval of their emotionally distant partners. This may include staying in physical abuse and toxic relationships.
      
• Clingy – the need to be physically close to the partner. This can initially seem attractive to some partners, but it quickly becomes overwhelming and smothering.
     
• Constant communication – in today’s always plugged-in world, this can include constant calling, texting, posting on social media, and even electronically tracking their partner.
       
• Constant reassurances – there is a constant need for reassurance the relationship is fine. This can become a constant in the relationship.

• Jumping into relationships – anxious attachment styles have short dating periods and then immediately into a serious and significant relationship.

These types of individuals attract people who need attention. The narcissist is the prime example of an individual who seeks out a person with an anxious attachment style as they crave the need for attention.

Tips Identifying Toxic Relationships 

It can be difficult to identify the signs of a toxic relationship if your childhood trauma has made it difficult to see the red flags in the relationship. Here are some tips you can use to determine if you are in a relationship with a toxic partner:

• Constant arguments – despite all you do to try to please the other person, it is never enough. You are always blamed for any difficulties or negativity.
   
• Jealousy – despite ignoring you or being emotionally distant, your partner may be very jealous of your relationships with others.
   
• Emotionally exhausted – taking responsibility for the happiness of another person while ignoring your own wellbeing is emotionally draining.

• Inability to end the relationship – if you believe you have to be in the relationship for your own happiness, despite being unhappy, and cannot break off the relationship, you may be in a toxic situation.

Working with a therapist or counselor with experience in healing from childhood trauma is perhaps the best way to identify the problem and begin the healing process.  You can also consider joining my online group coaching program Wake Up Recovery where you will receive support from me, as well as those like minded souls who have been where you have been.

Stop Waiting For Love, Discover How to Make It Happen

Yesterday was our 23rd wedding anniversary. As I thought about the wonder of it all, I asked my beloved soulmate, Brian, what his thoughts are on how we have created 23 years of togetherness and what he thought our “secret of success” is.

Here is what he said:

“Our sacred union was ignited in an instant when I literally found myself immersed in a grand conspiracy of love with the Woman/Goddess of my dreams 23 years ago.

The day we met the magic began and the Universe/God supported our journey of love on every level. It was a ginormous love explosion where both our tides of love rose together into one ocean of love and where love began to dance with itself!

We celebrate our miracle of love every day as we live grounded in Higher Love with the necessary ingredients of respect, honor, joy, unlimited fun, attentiveness, acceptance, admiration and care of the other’s well-being.”

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True Love

The word love sometimes loses its impact from overuse. We apply it to so many situations and recipients: people, food, places, experiences, clothing, cars, etc. In most of these senses, it signifies a strong preference or attachment of some kind. It doesn’t usually mean letting go or allowing, which is the greater sense of love. From a spiritual perspective, complete immersion in love is the highest attainment of a seeker on the path to self-knowledge and God realization. Within that experience, “attainment” and the path itself disappear in profound “loving awareness” (as Ram Dass called it). A deep light of unconditional love shines on everything and everyone, without expectation or judgment of any kind.

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The Potential Problem In Choosing Partners – 7 Signs you are living in a relationship fantasy

As a general rule, when we meet someone new that we find attractive, we tend to see their best possible traits first. These are often the traits we find comfortable and familiar, and that allows us to associate the individual with other positive people in our lives.

However, there are also times when we meet someone that has some of the traits we find appealing, but also some traits that may not be all that positive. In some cases, we may meet someone that is a complete opposite of our past positive relationships. However, we see a glimpse of what we think may be possible for that individual.

In all of these situations, to a greater or lesser extent, we are looking beyond what we are actually seeing to looking at the potential for the person. We dismiss the “bad boy” exterior and rationalize that some tender loving care and empathy is all that is needed to turn that person into the perfect partner. We are willing to look past the reality to the potential, with the associated thought that we are the missing link in bringing that full potential to light.

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5 Mistakes Women Make in Love (and what to do about them)

When I met my soulmate Brian, I was smart enough to use everything I knew about the Law of Attraction to manifest an amazing soulmate.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any real experience or partnership skills to assure our marriage would be a dream come true.

I made tons of mistakes, mostly because I didn’t understand that not only are men’s brains different from ours, you also need to know how to talk to them in a way that makes them JUMP at the chance to keep us happy.

For instance, one of my biggest mistakes (and one I still deal with from time to time) is that I am not a great listener. I tend to drift. And I am also very opinionated and often want to tell Brian what to do and how to do it.

I’ve since learned (the hard way) that unless a man ASKS for your opinion, feedback or coaching, it’s often best to resist the urge to play “Big Momma” and fix his problems.

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The Relationship Between Early Trauma And Love Addiction

Love addiction is not a psychological diagnosis, but that does not mean people cannot become addicted to being in a relationship. Most people know at least one person that is constantly getting into the same bad relationships with the same abusive, narcissistic, or otherwise emotionally unavailable type of partner.

Why some people develop love addiction can be tied to their early relationships in life. This includes their relationship with their primary caregivers in early childhood. For most children, this is a mother or father, but it can be any member of the family or any caregiver that assumes the role of the caregiver for the child.

Signs of Love Addiction 

There are some patterns that are more likely to be present in adults with love addiction. These include:

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The Vast Difference Between Aloneness and Loneliness

Often, when I ask my clients what they feel, it’s obvious to me that they are confused between loneliness and aloneness.
 

Aloneness

Aloneness is an inner feeling of being all alone in the universe, and feeling empty inside. Aloneness indicates that there is a lack of love inside. But, contrary to what most people assume, it’s not another’s love that’s missing – it’s your love that’s missing.

The feelings of aloneness and emptiness are the result of emotional self-abandonment – of ignoring your feelings, judging yourself, using addictions to numb your feelings, and of making others responsible for you feeling loved, safe, and worthy. When you emotionally reject and abandon yourself, your feeling self – your inner child – feels alone and empty inside. When you emotionally abandon yourself, your heart closes and you can’t feel the love and comfort of your higher guidance, which leads to feeling alone in the universe. This is a very sad way to live, yet this is how many people live. 

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4 Mindfulness Tips for a Healthy Marriage

When we get married (or enter a committed romantic partnership), we hope for peace and love to rule the day, day after day and year after year. Because life presents difficulties, our peace can be shattered and our love may be in danger of dissolving. Just as mindfulness helps us to sit with the challenges of daily life and appreciate what is present, it can help us to appreciate our partners and sit with the hard moments that inevitably arise. Though we can’t avoid the problems, when we practice mindfulness in our relationship, we can handle difficult moments with compassion and love, rather than resentment and anger.


At first, practicing mindfulness in a marriage may feel uncomfortable or unnatural. Eventually, as you plug your practice into your daily routine, it may feel easy and wonderful! Just remember, there is nothing wrong with you if you have challenges in your relationship. When two people come together, there will always be places and moments in which they seem to clash. The objective is not to avoid problems altogether, but to create a practice that allows you to sit with these hard times and manage the difficulties together in compassionate connection, so that you can repair the rupture and move forward together with kindness and love.

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Love Never Dies (A True Story)

More than thirty years ago I had the extraordinary good fortune to meet Herb Tanzer and Elizabeth Goodman.

I was attending the Landmark Forum and Herb was our awesome, amazing and brilliant leader.

Throughout the weekend workshop he often gushed about how much he loved his beautiful wife, Elizabeth.

Herb & Elizabeth were really my first introduction into what a true soulmate relationship looks like.

Together they were adoring, devoted, playful, funny and clearly meant to be together.

After 38 years of loving each other, Herb passed a year ago from cancer.

Of course, Elizabeth was devastated to lose her best friend, life partner and soulmate.

Toward the end of his life, they had several deep conversations in which Herb shared with Elizabeth that she needed to “pay attention.” He wanted her to be open to finding someone to take care of her after he was gone.

Elizabeth always insisted she could take care of herself. Herb repeatedly told her to “pay attention.”

One of Herb’s closest friends was another Forum leader named Garry.

He was a recent widower. His wife of 55 years, Donna, had passed less than a year before Herb. The four of them had been friends for 35 years and had vacationed together.

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Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM. 

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