The One On: Do You Ever Feel Like You Don’t “Belong” at Church?

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13 year old Me.
I learned from David Ostler that there are three main reasons why people leave the Church:

1- Mistrust about the Church and its Leaders.

2- Feeling that one doesn’t belong in their Ward or at Church.

3- Feeling that the Church doesn’t address the issues that are most important to them.

I can relate to the second one.  I work with the youth right now and I always tell them about when I was their age.  I had giant, frizzy hair.  I was very dark from being in the sun so much with my father’s Italian skin tone.  And it was only me and my Mom who went to Church on Sundays.  I never felt like I fit the mold or that I really “belonged” at Church.

I remember living in Utah for a semester of College and had those exact same feelings re-surfaced.  I didn’t look like everyone else and never felt like I belonged.  I can’t pinpoint any specific examples of why I felt that way, but I just did.  I always had a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father and that is what kept me going to Church.

Maybe there are times when you don’t feel like you “belong” at Church.  No matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite live up to all the expectations of others.  Maybe you have tried to put yourself out there and have only felt judged and unaccepted.  Maybe since your spouse has stopped coming, church doesn’t feel the same or people have treated you differently.  David Ostler helps us understand why this happens:

Wards are full of people just like us, imperfect and with different backgrounds and experiences.  It’s hard for some ward members to understand our differences and they may have limited experiences and understanding of difficult issues.  Some may try to say the right thing, but just don’t know how.  They may judge and make hurtful comments.  Some are so certain in Church beliefs, they can’t understand how one could not believe.  They may even look for the secret sin which explains away our differences.  In these kinds of settings, it’s difficult for us to express our true feelings because they don’t seem welcome.  We learn that when we express what we really believe, we can be met with judgement and rejection. 

Even though this is happening to wards all over the world, if you were to strip everything away and get to the foundation of this Gospel, it is only about our Savior Jesus Christ.  That’s it.  And you belong to Him.

Many of you have strong testimonies of your Savior and of the Gospel, so don’t let the culture chase you from where you belong.  I had a sign made for all my Young Women that said: You Belong Here, Welcome Home.  I hung it up to remind them that no matter their background or what they believed in this moment, they belonged here at Church.  I want to offer those same words to you and some others I tell my girls to help them take ownership of feeling like they belong:

Stay true to you.

Stay true to Him.

Be what you wish others would be.

Always remember that you are not alone.  Many feel the way you do.

You matter.

Your voice matters at Church, even if Heavenly Father is the only one who hears you.

Be Brave.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God; it never was between you and them anyway.  -Mother Teresa.

Always remember… You Belong Here, Welcome Home.

 

Need help working through this?  You are not alone.  Click Here to chat with me, I can help.

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The One On: How Labor Pains Have Helped Me In My Relationships.

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Baby Me.

I remember sitting nervously in my first birthing class.  The instructor repeatedly said to breathe through contractions.  She firmly said not to get tense and try to fight against them, it will only make them worse.

I was amazed at how true this was when I got ready to deliver my first baby.  The more I just allowed the contractions and breathed through them, the less painful they were.  As soon as I tensed up and tried to fight against them, they became more intense.

This same concept is also true when it comes to our feelings.  The more we just allow them initially, the less pain we will feel.  But if we try to resist them, they will become more intense.

We have thoughts in our mind about things happening in our life, which then sends a feeling down into our heart.  Good feelings like: love, acceptance, charity, kindness etc- feel really good inside of us.  Some of us even experience a warmth in our hearts and chest.  However, bad feelings like: anxiety, stress, depression, anger etc- feel terrible.  They are extremely uncomfortable and our natural reaction is to try to resist them.

When we just allow whatever we are feeling at first, then we can handle our situation better.  Allowing is defined as: give necessary time or opportunity for.

Are you giving the necessary time and opportunity for your feelings?  Or are you burying them deep inside you and fighting against how you really feel?  That is resistance.

Resistance is defined as: the refusal to accept or comply with something.

Allowing yourself and telling yourself the truth about how you really feel- is like breathing through the contractions.  There is some pain and discomfort, but you will be able to handle it.  However long it needs to take.

Resisting the feeling and telling yourself not to feel that way or try to ignore it- is like tensing up to the contractions and making your feelings more intense.  This is especially true for anxiety.  It only gets fueled by resisting it- instead of allowing it and working through it.

I had a client who found out that her husband had been lying to her for years about pornography and other habits.  You can imagine the feelings that flooded her heart when she found out the truth.  Some of those feelings were betrayal, anger, hurt, and many more.  Her body didn’t want to feel these things.  It wanted these painful feelings to just go away.  So she tried burying them and fought hard against really feeling them.  All this did was increase her anxiety.  She became more and more anxious and began worrying about everything.

When we started working together, it was time to let some of these feelings out.  I taught her how to allow them so that we could look at them, and eventually change them when she was ready.  It was uncomfortable and hard for her to finally feel them, but then they stopped having so much power over her.  She was able to finally get a grip on her anxiety and get to a more peaceful place in her relationship.

We are meant to feel all kinds of feelings while here on Earth.  There will always be opposition in all things, so we aren’t supposed to feel good all the time.  Therefore, we don’t need to resist any of our feelings.  If we learn to allow them, then we can understand them and change them when we are ready.

Name your feelings out loud to yourself on what you are feeling in your heart.  Be honest with yourself.  Then, let the Lord help you deal with these feelings so that your hearts remain soft and open.  If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.  1 Nephi 15:11

If you need help with handling your feelings, especially anxiety, let’s get on a call together and talk about it.  I can help you.  Click Here to schedule your free call with me.

 

The One On: Are You Feeling Lonely In Your Marriage?

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Do you ever feel exhausted in your marriage?  The thought of trying to change things sounds tiring and overwhelming?

It could be that you are feeling lonely.

Loneliness is a lethargic feeling.  It makes us feel tired and exhausted.  When felt for a long period of time, it can feel isolating and like there is no hope.

The opposite of loneliness is connection and inclusion.  When we are feeling connected to someone else, it brings us energy.  It doesn’t have to be a group of people, just feeling seen and heard by another person you trust can bring large amounts of energy and peace.

Many people are feeling lonely in their marriage, but especially those who have different beliefs in the home.  Both partners are feeling very lonely, but for different reasons.

The spouse who has stayed in the Church can feel lonely about:

-Not being on the same page anymore.
-Torn between how to raise the kids when it use to feel like everyone was moving in the same direction.
-Not being able to share spiritual experiences or thoughts anymore, which feels like a big part of who they are.
-Going to church alone or with just the kids, and it not feeling the same anymore.
-Afraid of others judging them or treating them differently at church.
-The Gospel feeling like a “hot” topic at home and contentious, instead of something that builds connection and peace.

The spouse who has left the Church also feels very lonely about:

-Not being allowed to really share how they feel.
-Worried about being rejected by parents or friends.
-Sad for the pain they have caused their spouse.
-Misses the friendships and relationships they had with other members.
-Feels betrayed and hurt by the Church.

There are many more ways that could be added to these lists, but the point is that both people in the marriage could be feeling lonely- and loneliness can make you feel like: What’s the point?

Here is my point:

You don’t have to have the same beliefs to feel connected and happy with your spouse, you just need to feel like you can confide and trust the other person.

Trust takes time to rebuild again, but it is possible.  Trust to start sharing your real feelings and allowing your spouse to share their real feelings.  Trust that everything will be okay even when it looks different that you want it too or imagined.  Trust that your love for each other will help heal and mend things that feel broken in this moment.

Begin to confide and trust in each other again.  This will bring peace and energy to keep moving forward together.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t feel sad at times that things are different, that’s okay, but you don’t need to feel so alone in your marriage.

We all feel lonely at times, but there is always hope.

If you need help starting to trust again in your relationship, I can help.  Click Here to get on a free call to learn more.

The One On: Feeling Judged By Others For Your Spouse Leaving The Church?

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Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

“Often incorrect judgments are made because of limited information or because we do not see beyond that which is immediately in front of us.”  -Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer

Everyday we are making judgments.  It is a part of our agency, meant to help us return to our Heavenly Father.

However, most of us are judging others that isn’t used in a way that serves us.

And we have all felt judged and misunderstood by another person.  It feels terrible.

Hiding becomes our answer to avoid judgement.

*We hide our true feelings or thoughts from others because we are afraid of how they will respond, especially if it is with anger.

*We hide our struggles and questions we have about our faith because we are afraid our spouse might leave us.

*We hide who we really are at church because we don’t want to feel judged or talked about by other members.

Anytime we hide our true selves, it is because we are afraid of being judged.

The problem with hiding, is that we slowly lose ourselves and aren’t really living our best lives.  We aren’t experiencing our fullest potential in life and in our relationships.  We are missing out on real connection, from hiding behind someone we aren’t.

The most beautiful and whole relationship, is one where each person is free to be themselves and know they are still loved.

Many of you who have a spouse that has left the Church, worry about the judgments of your family and friends.  You feel anxious about your spouse really sharing their new beliefs with them and everyone judging you and him for it.  None of us like to feel judged, it seems easier to hide.

Although it seems easier, it always comes with a price.  We start to resent others where we can’t really be ourselves.  Or we continue to hide more and more of ourselves and end up distancing from the relationship or environment.  It feels easier in the moment, but really it puts you in a constant state of worry.

For me, it is like when I use to play hide and go seek growing up.  The little bit of fear I felt waiting to be found, not knowing when they would find me… it didn’t make me feel safe, it only made me worried.  There was some relief when I was finally found.  There is relief that can come when you are finally found out and think- This is Me.  This is Us.  This is Him.

There is this peaceful place where you start to realize that your opinion is the only one that truly matters.  You choose your spouse feeling like himself over the judgments of others.  It can feel very uncomfortable in the moment, but on the other side is peace from not hiding anymore.

How do you learn to not worry as much about the opinions of your family and friends judging your spouse for leaving?

It begins first with you giving space to your husband to be himself.  So he doesn’t have to hide what he really believes and is feeling.  This takes time, love, a lot of patience, and even some outside help.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything, but you are trying to understand and allow him to come into the light to be seen.

Once you and your husband work through the many issues that come when there are two different beliefs in the home, then you can start working on the people outside of your relationship.  Most people are judging others by only what can be seen on the outside.  They may or may not understand your marriage or spouse, and that is okay.

I give you permission to never have to explain yourself to anyone.  Those who truly want to understand, will take the time to.  Otherwise there will always be judgment, but my hope is that you will be brave enough to stop hiding from it and stand in who you really are.

Need help with hearing your husband’s new beliefs and perspectives now that he has left?  Let me help you feel less worried about everything and begin to feel some peace in your situation.  Click Here to set up a free call to learn more.

The One On: Are You Playing It “Safe” In Your Marriage?

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When my kids think of fears, they think of spiders, dark rooms, and Slappy from Goosebumps.  But as humans, some of our deepest fears are really the fear of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable.

We don’t always know we are consciously afraid of these things, therefore most of us are playing it “safe” in our marriages.

I call it Safe-Love.

Safe-Love is when you don’t allow yourself to be completely open (vulnerable) with your spouse because you don’t want to feel as hurt if they were ever to abandon you, not love you anymore, or see you as unworthy.

It feels safe and protective to not take things too deep and to just deal with the typical things that couples argue about.  But really it just puts a wedge in your marriage and you end up complaining and sabotaging your relationship about surface level problems.

Here is an example.

I had a good friend whose Father cheated on her Mom as a child.  He eventually left the family to be with the other woman.  My friend started to believe that men cheat on women.  She would see all the evidence that kept proving that true to her: she saw it in movies, with other friends, and in books she read.  In College, her boyfriend ended up cheating on her.  This really solidified her belief.  It didn’t matter how many men she personally knew that didn’t cheat, she could only see the ones who did.

My friend got married to a wonderful man.  He never gave her a reason for her to worry.  However, she still carried this very deep fear of being abandoned.  She began to play it “safe” in her marriage.  She never really opened her whole self up to her husband in case he ever cheated on her.  My friend didn’t worry everyday if he was cheating on her, but she had thoughts that if she was the perfect wife and was agreeable, he would never cheat on her.  This fear drove so many of her behaviors that weren’t even really her.  She would begin to find little things that bothered her about her husband and would complain to friends or her Mom.  It felt “safe” to find things wrong, in case he ever did leave her.

It wasn’t until my friend was able to discover this very deep fear (through coaching), that she was able to let go of it.  She could see over the years of her marriage how it had caused a disconnection with her husband because she never really allowed herself to trust him.  She had to keep herself “safe”.

Safe-Love keeps us from really being ourselves and sharing how we really feel with our spouse.  But it takes this kind of vulnerability to build a real connection in your marriage.  You are all in.  You face every issue, big or small, as they come and learn to love yourself and your spouse deeply.

Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement.  Trust isn’t a grand gesture- it’s putting in one marble at at time and growing a marble collection.  -Brene Brown

It is a huge risk to love another human being.  None of us are perfect, we all have fears, and we will hurt others.  Until we become aware of the fears that are blocking us in our lives, then we will be afraid to truly connect with another human being.

I use to wonder if it was worth it to face these fears?  Could I handle the pain if my relationship didn’t work out?  I realized for myself and told my friend, that we will never regret going all in on ourselves and in our relationships.

To love is to risk it all, but it is worth it.  Whether you end up together or not, you will have stayed in integrity with yourself and truly loved another person.

Love feels the best.  We are the closest to being like our Savior when we are feeling love.  He risked it all for us.  He is all in with us… because of love.

Are you all in?

No more Safe-Love.  Let me help you with the walls that feel protective, but have kept others out.  Click Here to get your free call to learn more.

The One On: How To Build Trust In A Mixed-Faith Marriage.

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I want you to imagine two buckets.  One says: Capable, and the other says: Not Capable.  Each day we are filling up these buckets.  When we fill up our “Capable” Bucket, then self-confidence and self-trust overflows inside of us.  When we fill up our “Not Capable” Bucket, then self-doubt and insecurities take over.

How do we know which bucket we are filling up more?

You will know by how much you trust yourself.

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone (you) or something.

Here are some questions to assess your level of self-trust that I created, some are from my BFF Brene Brown:

*Do I respect my own boundaries?  Am I clear about what is okay and what is not okay?

*Am I reliable?  Do I do what I say I am going to do?  Even if it is just to myself.

*Do I hold myself accountable?  Do I take responsibility for my life?

*Do I respect the privacy of others?  Can they trust me?

*Do I act from my integrity? (Choosing to practice my values rather than simply professing them).

*Do I ask for what I need?  Do I judge myself about needing help?

*Am I kind and generous towards myself?

*Do I have my own back?  Can I trust that I will support myself through every failure?

Self-trust is vital in relationships.  If you don’t trust yourself, then you will find it hard to trust others and you will live in a constant state of disappointment.  Here is how it works:

When we don’t trust ourselves and keep filling up the “Not Capable” Bucket, then we rely on others to help us get what we need.  So we set up expectations that very few people can ever meet because it is what we need, not them.  When our expectations aren’t met, then we blame the other person, become resentful, and live in disappointment.  This fills up our bucket with lies saying that we can’t do it on our own, we aren’t capable, and then we become even more needy of others… and the cycle continues.

When I started my business, all the technology overwhelmed me.  I kept asking my husband to just do it for me.  He is way better on computers and could figure it out in half the time I could.  But my husband is busy with his own work and I didn’t like having to wait.  I just expected him to drop everything and help me!  But, because he didn’t, I had to learn all the technology myself.  I figured out my own programs and systems.  I had to ask for help from Google and through the help options with the different programs I was using.  In the end, I felt so empowered and confident figuring it all out myself.  It sent huge deposits into my “Capable” bucket.  I would of never known I was capable if I wasn’t willing to just try and figure it out myself.  I still asked for help, but it was me taking the initiative.  I had to remind myself that this was my business and I shouldn’t be putting this on someone else because of my own fears, then blaming them when they say no.

The more trust you have in yourself, the better partner you become in a relationship.  You learn to take care of your own needs and learn to rely on yourself to make it happen.  You set the other person free from your constant disappointment.  When you trust yourself and learn to do hard things, then you earn your self-confidence.  You are the only person who can fill your own bucket.

A mixed-faith marriage opens the door for many opportunities to see what you really are capable of on your own.  You will have to figure many things out and stand alone in some of your beliefs.  There are many times when we just want someone else to do things for us or be something else for us, but that only adds to our “Not Capable” bucket.  However, I know you are a capable of so much and can set your marriage free from so much disappointment and resentment.

You’ve got this, Who better than you?

If you need help getting started with learning to really trust yourself to build your self-confidence, then sign-up here for your free consultation call.  Let’s chat and see where you want to go in your life and in your marriage.  (I only have a few spots left open)

 

 

 

The One On: Do You Feel Like Giving Up On Your Marriage?

affection board broken broken hearted
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Do you ever feel like giving up on your marriage?

It’s just too hard.

It feels like two different people trying to force something to work.

So many compromises.  You give in to something to make peace, but end up building up a wall of resentment.

You may be asking yourself: How did I end up here?

This isn’t what I chose.  Why do people have to change so much?  How much do I have to change to make this work?

You start to lose faith in the relationship.

You might be scared and worried and want to just run away from it all.  However, the kids are keeping you together.  What is best for them?

To all of you who feel hopeless in this moment, who wonder if your marriage is even worth it…

The answer is yes.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  1 Corinthians 13:7

There is hope.

Things may not look like you thought, but love can still be found everywhere.  It’s because God is in every detail of your life, and He is Love.

A Love Mindset can heal anything.  When love is the driving force for all your decisions and reactions, then you can endure anything.

Sign-up Here to get help with your mindset.  Learn to make decisions from a place of love.

(I don’t ever condone or excuse any kind of abuse, if you are in a situation where you are being physically or emotionally abused, then follow the promptings you receive and don’t talk yourself out of them)