Grief, the Holidays And Beyond

 Trust That Grief Is Part of Healing

dptTime doesn’t heal the pain associated with a loss; it’s what you do with that time that matters. Grief is the process by which you heal. Experiencing the pain rather than constantly trying to escape it, can actually help you feel better in the long-term.

So while it may be tempting to pretend the holidays don’t exist—or to numb the pain with alcohol—temporarily avoiding the pain only prolongs the anguish. Eventually, the holidays and all the first, second, third and so on of the events, will get easier, but only if you allow yourself to experience the grief of going through them without your loved one.

I experience this wave of grief in my own life.  Going into the holidays since my mom has passed away, Thanksgiving has never been the same.  I have found myself wishing she was here, feeling sad over memories, yet I also find myself cherishing the memories that I hold dear to my heart.  Christmas music, holiday parties, and festive decorations that were meant to bring joy have served as painful reminders of my loss. As it is for most people experiencing loss, the holiday season seems to be the most painful time of all.

I have found that I have been blessed in so many ways since my moms passing.  I have had “Friendsgivings”, I have cooked, and I had a Thanksgiving with the my boys and I.  This year I get to have my frist Thanksgiving with a very dear friend and my podcast partner.  These new memories are ones I wouldn’t have any other way.  I am so blessed and thankful.

But after the holidays are over, the pain and grief are still real and still need to be dealt with and healed.

HOW DO YOU HEAL FROM GRIEF?

There is no right answer to how one heals.  A break up not wanted, a divorce not expected, death, death of a parent, sickness of a dear friend, all add up and take over our life for as long as we allow it. Grief doesn’t fit in a box, either.  Some forms of grief take years to work through, other types take a few solid months, some take a single moment of deep acknowledgement.  Depending on the grief will depend on the steps you take to get over it. The clock starts when you begin to recognize your grief.  In other words, when you genuinely begin to address what happened (or perhaps what never happened).

Outside your bubble, the world continues without you, while everything inside feels deadened, empty, even hopeless. You feel isolated and alone. You may feel directionless, as if you can’t see your way through this darkness to any possibilities beyond this bubble that now separates you from the world.

Working through the reality of this loss means entering into the deeply uncomfortable experience of withdrawal. Mourning the loss of this entity that you helped to create is also the beginning of letting go, not because you want to, but because you have to. It will start to feel lighter, less scary, and the withdrawal ultimately subsides.  I remember the first time I couldn’t talk to my mom, I couldn’t go see her, hold her hand and tell her what was going on in my life.  My mom was my person of reason.  She helped me see things in ways I couldn’t.  She helped me get through some heartache in my own life and now that person is no longer here to help me get through this pain.

E19DBFE7-C50F-4C7C-B5DC-FAE1D70D4A61Today, as I am living through my third holiday season with out what was my “normal”,  I find myself dealing with grief in a way I didn’t think I would.  I find myself more emotional, yet more understanding and caring towards others who are grieving.  I feel a lot of my mom inside of me, but I miss the hell out of her.  I understand that the loss of my mom is no different then the grief of someone hurting over a break-up, or any other grief they may face today.  I realize that grief for all of us comes in all shapes and sizes.

Eventually, by allowing yourself to be in this difficult process rather than postpone it, you will begin to see the difference between a breakup and a death. Death is final. After a breakup, if you can stumble through withdrawal with one foot in front of the other, understanding that you are still in the world, and allowing yourself to mourn through the loss, you can eventually return to yourself —maybe even a wiser, deeper, stronger and more resilient version of yourself. If you choose, this process will allow you to make room to co-create a fulfilling, reciprocal relationship in the future, even if you can’t believe that just yet. And most importantly, by allowing yourself to truly mourn the end of a relationship, you can move forward into what could be much less encumbered by what has been.

Build your support team and keep them close by.  Accept that they want to help you and may understand your pain.  Even if they don’t understand, don’t push them away. We begin to see grief as our great teacher that reminds us to ask, “Why do I grieve? What do I believe I have lost? Why was it important to me? How do I reconnect with its essence?”  The death of a loved one, save the memories, allow yourself to enjoy all the years that you had. In a break up, ask yourself what you actually lost?  Understand you are worth it and that was not the right person.  This takes some digging and soul searching.

Like everything else, all suffering will go, until one day it comes again. But next time you can be stronger and wiser.

The greatest thing about whatever caused this grief, is that it helps us grow up. It matures us. It brings wisdom. It strengthens our bones. It teaches us to let go.  For some, letting go is not natural.  But sadly, part of the process.

We learn we can go through hard times, and with little effort the sun shines again. We can take off our shoes and touch our toes to sand and run on the beach, knowing that we made it through. Our happiness never really went away—it still exists inside of us—yet, we are remembering it anew. Fresh, transformed, aliveness engages us again.  You can live in the now again, let new people into your life and also hold dear to the memories once made.  Life is about experiences, yet too short to allow the painful ones to stop us from living new ones ahead.

I have no answers on this process, everyone will walk their path at their pace, but I can help you along this journey and help you see that the light is shining bright at the end of this dark tunnel. Don’t be afraid to reach out and seek some help.  I love you my friend and I to understand this darkness that can over take you, as I have been there.

Becky Shaffer—-Life Coach—-Author—-Educator   *liveinconfidence@gmail.

Check out RAW: Real Adult Wisdom (Podcast)

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/raw/id1633088203

Rising Above

When I think back to the shit storm of a childhood I lived, the one word that I have always chanted to myself is “Rising Above”, as this is what kept my focus moving forward. I have always looked at life as way bigger than myself and or my abuse.

Recently, I started a podcast called “RAW”, Real Adult Wisdom. As a certified life coach, after years of studying, working with clients, and surviving my own abuse, I recently started a series on Trauma. I feel compelled to get my story out to help others.

I am a survivor, which at one point in my life, I absolutely despised those four words.

The journey to healing from my emotional, physical, and sexual abuse required me to revolutionize my thinking about relationships, self-love, self-respect, and self-compassion. I put in a lot of work, and a lot of therapy and I truly had to learn to forgive and love myself.

Abusive relationships often serve as the catalyst for incredible change and have the potential to motivate us towards empowerment and strength, should we take advantage of our new agency. One could choose to live in victim mode, one could choose to carry their trauma response behavior into adulthood, or one could choose to heal, realize there is this entire life ahead of you and become the person you are met to be. I chose the latter.

Sadly, in my life, I have dated those who have not done the work, and who have carried their past trauma into our relationship. And those that self-sabotage because they are too afraid to be vulenrable in case it fails. The way we survivors reacted as a child to protect ourselves is not how we can react as an adult. It takes time to learn your worth and vaule as a person and sometimes it is hard when those you date take advantage of who you are as a person. This goes for any walk in life. Work, friends, family all in which I have been blessed in those areas to always have the most positive support.

I spent my 20’s trying to figure out who I was, where I fit into this life, trying to feel good when I looked into the mirror, fighting against my sexuality, and yet trying to live this great life acting as if I lived in no pain when all I did was live in pain daily.

I truly started my healing journey in my mid-30s, although I am never perfect, I am well aware of when I need to put my work in. It took me years to like myself, my body, to realize someone could actually love me for all of me, however, I have not found that one person yet, I know she is out there and one day I will have this because I have worked hard to not only love someone with all of have (besides my kids) but for someone to love all of me for all of who I am.

I, like many, have lived a life of trial and error. I embraced therapy, I embraced reading and journaling, and I embraced a journey to heal and to always make sure I live the best life I can. I love my life coaching business because I have been able to help countless clients because of my past and I have lived it and survived it. I AM A SURVIVOR!

Here are 10 life-changing truths abuse survivors should embrace in their journey to healing, though it may appear challenging to do so.

1. It was not your fault. Abuse survivors are used to being blamed for not being good enough and the mistreatment they’ve suffered convinces them they are not enough. The truth is, the abuser is the person who is not enough. Only a dysfunctional person would deliberately harm another. You, on the other hand, are enough. 

2. Your love cannot inspire the abuser to change. There was nothing you could have done differently to change the abuser. Repeat this to yourself. Nothing. 

3. Healthy relationships are your birthright and you can achieve them. It is your right to have a healthy, safe, and respectful relationship. It is your right to be free from bodily harm and psychological abuse. It is your right to be able to express your emotions without ridicule, stonewalling or the threat of violence. It is your right not to walk on eggshells. It is your right to pursue people who are worthy of your time and energy. Never settle for less than someone who respects you and is considerate towards you.

4. There is still hope for a better life. Healing and recovery is a challenging process, but it is not an impossible one. The effects of trauma can be life-changing and undeniable, but a life after abuse is still possible. You may suffer for a long time from intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and other symptoms as a result of the abuse. You may even enter other unhealthy relationships or reenter the same one; this is not uncommon, as a large part of our behavior is driven by our subconscious and such behavior is often part of the trauma repetition cycle. Still, you are not “damaged goods.” You are not forever scarred, although there are scars that may still remain. You are a victim of abuse – you are also a healer, a warrior, a survivor.  Read that last sentence again!

5. You don’t have to justify to anyone the reasons you didn’t leave right away. The fear, isolation and manipulation that the abuser imposed upon us is legitimate and valid. Studies have proven that trauma can produce changes in the brain. If we experienced or witnessed abuse or bullying in our childhood, we can be subconsciously programmed to reenact our early childhood wounding.

6. Forgiveness of the abuser is a personal choice, not a necessity. Some may tell you that you have to forgive the abuser to move on. Truly, that is a personal choice and not a necessity. You might feel forgiveness of the abuser is necessary in order to move forward, but that does not mean you have to. 

7. Forgiveness towards yourself is necessary to move forward. Self-forgiveness is a different matter. Many survivors struggle with self-blame after the ending of an abusive relationship. As a child, you look back and wonder what you could do differently, but as a child, you should have been taken care of, not abused. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!

8. You are not the crazy one. During the abusive relationship, you were gaslighted into thinking that your perception of reality was false and told that you were the pathological one, that your version of events was untrue, that your feelings were invalid, that you were too sensitive when you reacted to his or her mistreatment of you. 

9. You do deserve better. No matter what the abuser told you about yourself, there are people out there in healthy relationships. These people are cherished, respected and appreciated on a consistent basis. 

10. It may have seemed this relationship was like a “waste of time” but in changing your perspective, it can also be an incredible learning experience. You now have the agency to create stronger boundaries and learn more about your values as a result of this experience. As a survivor, you’ve seen the dark side of humanity and what people are capable of. You’ve recognized the value of using your time wisely after you’ve exhausted it with someone unworthy.

As many of us continue our journey daily, know you are loved, you are admired and I am here for anyone still needing help with walking this healing journey. Being RAW has been hard for me, yet I feel a pull not as a life coach, but as a human to share my story. I want to empower survivors and I want you all to know there is this amazing, great life ahead. I am living it today and it is amazing, full of love, friends, and family who love unconditionally. I promise you the abuser is not living a full life.

I am here to help you with your journey. You can email me privately at liveinconfidence@gmail.com and we can get started on your healing journey.

Becky Shaffer/ Author/ Educator/ Life Coach/ Fitness Coach/ Adolescent life Coach

Living Your Best Life

My heart is filled with gratitude! I am blessed with two amazing boys who have made my life all but boring. I had a Mom and Step-Dad that taught me unconditional love and family values. I had an amazing brother whose heart was so loving and giving. I have a beautiful family spread out wide and far, some blood and many not, but they took our family in. We have all walked many storms together and together we always enjoy the beautiful rainbow after all has settled. I have the most amazing friends who have stepped in as family and in times of heartbreak, death, and life events, I am never on my own. For this, I am so thankful! YES, I not only live my best life, but I have been blessed with amazing souls.

My life was not always like this. I had to fight hard, work hard, and truly do the work to get to where I am at today. I still have my days, as we all do. I have had to re-connect with life several times. In my early 20’s I didn’t know the phrase “living my best life”, as I was in survival mode. I had just survived an awful childhood from an abusive father. I somehow managed to make it through college and start a great career, and then I was living in what I ONLY knew, which was survival mode while finding myself in an abusive relationship and another and another. I was self-limiting myself because I was living a familiar life and I only knew “survival-oriented emotions. By dating bad, and having drama friends, I was in my element. This is where I find many of my clients stuck today. Many do not know how to get out of this quicksand that they continue to sink over and over feeling stuck. We were not born with a life manual, we learn as we go. I get it. I was standing in that quicksand during most of my 20s and my 30s. With my experience and training, I am here to help you crawl out of that quicksand and start living YOUR best life.

“Happiness is the highest level of Success”

Until I finally woke up and realized this is the ONE life we get, no matter what we have faced, no matter what we have experienced, this is OUR life and it is up to US in how we move forward from any past shit.

We have all been in a part of our life where we question ourselves. What do I want? How do I want to live this life? How do I get out of this relationship? How do I feel happy again? How do I heal from past trauma? How do I face life after a loved one’s death? This is what I call creating a new life. This doesn’t mean you throw all the past away, it means you take it with you, you turn it into lessons, into your power, and walk forward knowing you will overcome obstacles, you will climb that mountain, you will learn to fly and you will learn to be free of all the bullshit you have been handed and or allowed in your life. You will take the death of loved ones and hold dear to the memories and build something positive of their memory. I have had to recently learn to live without my parents. This has been hard as hell, however, I can smile and cherish all the love and memories I forever hold deep inside. This doesn’t mean I don’t have hard days, but it means I have had to recreate live without them.

Sadly, many build walls and many live in the fear of things being repeated. If you live in fear and do not allow yourself to let go, to heal and to NOT bring your past into new relationships, new friendships, a new job, you will never truly be able to see all that is in front of you. Fear stops the building, fear stops the healing and fear stops that “what could be.” I am not saying that some fear is not healthy, but if you allow it to stop your growth, then you have work to do.

I have personally decided to live my best life. To live to the fullest. To love to the fullest, and to only give to those that appreciate it, want it, and show me this in return. If an opportunity is in front of me, I am going to take it, ONLY if it adds meaning to my life and continues to make me the best version of me. I will be spontaneous, take trips, and see what the world offers. I may never get this time again, so I will take it as life offers it. I never want to live in the “what if”, or the “I should have done that”, I want to live in the, “well, I tried it, I did it” and the lessons will happen or the most amazing experiences will come from this. “LIVING MY BEST LIFE.”

What are you doing to live your best life? This one and only life?

When I sit and look back at my childhood, I realize it has developed me to a degree, but it was such a small part of my life. I have all this life to live, way more than what my childhood was and I think about the lessons from this. Some were not kind, some were heartbreaking, some were not fair to me, and some should have never happened, but it happened. I can’t change any of that, but I can change my outcome, just as you can change yours.

I had to dig deep and ask myself: What kind of person do I want to be? I sure the hell will never be like my biological father, so I do know what I will not be and that was a turning point for me. When we all dig deep, beyond the abusive assholes, beyond those that broke our hearts, beyond those that lied, cheated, or treated us badly, there are some pretty good people around us. Once we clean our lenses and truly look, we all have someone in our life that makes that difference. That one person that believes in you, that will cheer you on in your journey. I have had that with many people in my life. But, I had to truly dig deep, to realize what true unconditional love was.

It took years to feel good about myself, it took years to not feel all the emotions I had from my past. It took a lot of healing, a lot of work, a lot of writing, but most of all it took a lot of ME. I had to find my sense of purpose, comfort, security, inspiration, love, compassion, acceptance, freedom, and many many more positive emotions! YOU CAN TOO!

But what on Earth is meant by “living your best life?”, how do we achieve it?, and why does it feel like so many people other than ourselves have the formula locked down?

Take chances, take risks, try to appreciate the things you do have, and surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you. Sometimes our happiest moments are among the most mundane made special by those they’re shared with. Don’t hinge your happiness on things you think will impress others — that’s not living your best life, that’s only living someone else’s idea of it.

You are a unique individual, so living your best life is exclusive to you. Your best life will reflect your true values. It will be made up of what makes you happy and will be colored by what making a difference means to you. Living your best life is being the best version of YOU!

A few things I live by:

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Never become too busy or too preoccupied to celebrate everything you have done, all that you have and all that you are! Never become too busy for those in your life!

“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” There is nothing more influential than your thoughts.

“Turn your wounds and pain into wisdom.” Turn your mess into a message. Don’t let your pain be in vain. Do something positive with it!

Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” Stress comes from thinking that things should have been different. But they have worked out this way for a reason. ALL you can do is keep moving forward. Use that past as your positive, as your growth.

 “Go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.” Everything that we go through gives us new perspective, information and insight. Embrace all of it.

Let’s Talk!

Take the next step If you’d like to explore whether or not there’s a fit for you and me to work together. Send an email to liveinconfidence@gmail.com and leave your name, and a short message of what you are looking for to improve your life, and I will set up a free 30-minute consultation.

I don’t have a “magic wand” that will bring you instant answers without having to do any work. I’ve been there, I have done the work.

I can’t promise you that your journey won’t be uncomfortable, and possibly frightening at times as putting in the work is hard stuff. But what I can promise you is that I will support you in finding YOUR answer. I’m a coach, not a therapist…and it’s my job to help you get UNSTUCK.

Becky Shaffer /Life Coach/ Fitness Coach/ Educator/

STOP Comparing Yourself

As a woman, society has set me up to think my body should be a certain size and shape. Overall I have been blessed with loving fitness, therefore for most of my life, I have been able to stay in shape because I love eating healthy and working out.

This past year I can’t say it has been easy. I had Covid and I am what you call a long hauler. My system shut down and I put on 25 pounds. After months of blood work and my doctor not giving up on me, I learned that my body went into adrenal gland fatigue and my body stopped producing testosterone. Needless to say, this has really hit my self-esteem and body image of myself. Not to mention the up and down emotions that my body is naturally going through. I was pretty depressed at first, but today I am trying to look at my body and feel thankful that I can still workout, that I am doing the best that I can do and all I can truly do is move forward, work hard, eat right and keep pushing forward.

I myself have to learn that body image and self-esteem start in the mind, not in the mirror, and by far not the scale. Put the scale aside. They can change the way you understand your value and worth. Healthy body image and self-esteem are a big part of well-being.

If you don’t like your body (or a part of your body), it’s hard to feel good about your whole self. The reverse is also true: if you don’t value yourself, it’s hard to notice the good things and give your body the respect it deserves. I have ridden the roller coaster ride of these emotions these past few months.

The more we look at perfect images of others and then look to find those same idealized characteristics in ourselves and don’t find them, the worse we feel about ourselves.

It’s a cycle that breeds discontent. The greater our discontent with how we measure up when compared to the societal or media-supported norms, the more negative our body image, and the greater the risk for extreme weight or body control behaviors occur. We’re talking…

  • Extreme dieting
  • Extreme exercise compulsion
  • Eating disorders
  • Fad Diets
  • Over-the-Counter Diet Pills
  • Extreme or unnecessary plastic surgery
  • Using steroids for muscle building

As a fitness coach, I see plenty of before and after pictures of those who did this diet or that workout and how amazing this diet or workout program has transformed someone. I have seen my clients work hard and make amazing strides, and I see those that make amazing strides that still are not happy with their bodies no matter the progress they have made.

Positive body image involves understanding that healthy attractive bodies come in many shapes and sizes, and that physical appearance says very little about our character or value as a person.

  • Realize that we cannot change our body type: thin, large, short or tall, we need to appreciate the uniqueness of what we have – and work with it 
  • Stop comparing ourselves to others. We are unique and we can’t get a sense of our own body’s needs and abilities by comparing it to someone else 
  • We need to move and enjoy our bodies not because we have to, but because it makes us feel good. Walking, swimming, biking, dancing – there is something for everyone 
  • Spend time with people who have a healthy relationship with food, activity, and their bodies 
  • Commit to a fitness program that you enjoy

I began to take time to look at my reflection in the mirror, not to focus on my appearance or

to imagine how I looked to others, but to simply acknowledge myself and get in touch with how I felt. In doing this over time, I found a way to look past the imperfections in my appearance and see deeper into my own eyes with compassion.  It became a meditation. A way to simply be present with no goal other than to be there with me. I have had to especially work on this these past few months.

Love yourself, and know that each day you get up, that day is yours to own. If you are working out, keep up the hard work, and keep up the goals. If you are ready to start a workout program and learn a new habit of eating, reach out to me, I will help you and I will guide you. This journey is YOURS. OWN IT!

As I continue my own personal journey, I dig deep each day to learn more, and better myself so I can continue to educate myself to help you.

Let’s Talk!

Take the next step If you’d like to explore whether or not there’s a fit for you and me to work together. Send an email to liveinconfidence@gmail.com and leave your name, and a short message of what you are looking for to improve your life, and I will set up a free 30-minute consultation.

I don’t have a “magic wand” that will bring you instant answers without having to do any work. I’ve been there, I have done the work.

I can’t promise you that your journey won’t be uncomfortable, and possibly frightening at times as putting in the work is hard stuff. But what I can promise you is that I will support you in finding YOUR answer. I’m a coach, not a therapist…and it’s my job to help you get UNSTUCK.

Becky Shaffer /Life Coach/ Fitness Coach/ Educator/

What Is The Purpose Of A Relationship?

Not an earth-shattering answer, but the point of a relationship is to grow. A relationship can make life more exciting for one. We consider to think of a relationship as something we do, the mindset of settling down. But are you really settling down?

Of course, we all want to meet our person, most of us want to settle down and build that magical life of bliss. However, I see settling down differently than many. My views come from having relationships and the feeling of “having” to settle down because that is what people do. I want more!

I feel the purpose of a relationship is more than settling down. It is more trial and error, more learning, more adventures, more excitement, more late-night talks on the phone until you fall asleep (ahhhh, my favorite) more good mornings, more coffee talks, more spontaneous travel, and finding that person that wants more out of life with you. A relationship offers “moreness”. Do more, see more, do more of life together. Spend time together. With the right person you have this added, fantastic thing in your life. With the right person, it adds adventure, motivation, a person to pick you up when you fall, a person to understand communication, conflict, agree to disagree, compromise and more than anything unconditional love. Your live or die. Your, “I can’t wait to see you person.”

Everyone wants to have a fulfilling, meaningful, purposeful relationship filled with values, trust and communication. The “more” can’t be filled without these.

Settling down for many is where life becomes a halt. One should never settle down, but grow as a couple, as individuals and experience this amazing thing we call life.

I have settled too long in a couple relationships. There was no “moreness”, there were no adventures, communication, and little memories, and the best of me was not there. That is not the purpose of a relationship. I always want to be my best self as you should always want to be the best YOU.

I tried really hard to settle in every relationship without really thinking about what it all means to me and my life. When my unfulfilled wish of settling in a relationship only left me bitter and a couple heart breaks over a break-up after another break-up, I started to wonder what the purpose of having a relationship is. Is it just to get married and settled with somebody before I become too old? If a relationship doesn’t turn into a marriage, is it a failure? NO!

I could not be who I am today nor could I be aware of what I am writing in my blog now without the experiences and lessons I learned from my past relationships. How about a sense of loss, which I believe is at the core of all the sufferings and pains caused by a break-up? Am I really losing something? Yes, the imaginary expectations I have about a future together. But it is not something which actually existed or happened yet, so it doesn’t make sense to lose something which doesn’t even exist other than in my mind. In reality, I’ve actually gained something every time. More lessons. More of what I don’t want, more of what I do want and more than anything, growth. This growth has allowed me to know what I truly want in my life, it has allowed me to live for the experience, to live for the “more” and enjoy every minute of it. I am thankful for this.

The purpose of a relationship is to continue to find the best you, the best in your partner and your partner finding the best in themselves. If you or your partner can’t find the best within yourselves, you will never find the best in your partner.

I love being in a relationship and I want to find my Ride or Die, a partner that has your back no matter what and picks you up when you fall. It adds this powerful safety net to your life. The purpose of a relationship is much more than settling.

When you have someone that will stay up late and talk to you, someone that will do a last minute trip with you, someone that will do more, feel more and live more life, you are living for the more, the moment, the memories. Looking at a partner in the lens of “more” allows you to know if you have a partner that will grow with you, will spend time with you and willing to be vulnerable. With the right perspective going into a relationship and knowing you found your potential person, you will feel “more life”.

The point of life is to experence things, see more and do more, the point of a relationship is to continue to experence life. Feeling the wholeness is a more, it isn’t settling down. Have I said this enough yet?

Indeed, life itself is a journey to explore. As we continue to grow and change as a person and have different experiences throughout the journey of our lives, the world to explore is endless. Hell, I bought a camper to go explore. I will explore solo, or I will explore with friends and or my person. Just get out there and explore!

It would be more than great if I could do it with somebody for a lifetime. I don’t want to have a relationship to “settle”, but only to explore the journey of life with love, joy and growth with my person and to this person, I am their person. AND to this person, they want to explore with me. I am excited for this part of my life. I want to feel like my person’s “more” as well. We all do.

The point of a relationship is to give you “MORE” in life. Go live and add “moreness” to your life.

Let’s Talk!

Take the next step If you’d like to explore whether or not there’s a fit for you and I to work together. Send an email to liveinconfidence@gmail.com and leave your name, a short message of what you are looking for to improve your life, and I will set up a free 30-minute consultation.

I don’t have a “magic wand” that will bring you instant answers without having to do any work. I’ve been there, I have done the work.

I can’t promise you that your journey won’t be uncomfortable, and possibly frightening at times as putting in the work is hard stuff. But what I can promise you is that I will support you in finding YOUR answer. I’m a coach, not a therapist…and it’s my job to help you get UNSTUCK.

Becky Shaffer / Life Coach / Author / Educator

liveinconfidence@gmail.com

Founder of Moving in Confidence

© Copyright 2022 Becky Shaffer. All rights reserved

Stonewalling

A lot of Silence. And more silence. Followed by more silence, possibly days of silence. Ok, you understand it is the “silent treatment.” The feeling of loneliness, disengagement, and hurt alternate with anger and resignation. You are not happy, you want to reconnect, to restore the good dynamics in your relationship but it feels as if you are banging your head against the brick wall. Communication at its worst!

Stonewalling is oftentimes a tactic learned during childhood. It may have been a behavior their parents used to “keep the peace” or to gain dominance in the family.

Even if the stonewalling appears intentional and aggressive, remember that it’s often used by people who feel powerless or have low self-worth.  It may also be a defensive mechanism used to compensate for these feelings.  In my research, I have also learned that this could also result from how one was communicated with as a child.

Being on the receiving end of silent treatment after getting into an argument with your partner, only to have them completely shut down for days or weeks, stinks. All you want to do is fix things immediately when you’re dealing with conflict and unhappy feelings in a relationship only to find out again that your partner is not receptive to dealing with their feelings. Your feelings are dismissed and your perspective is never heard.

We all know that any conflict is best resolved with healthy communication.  However, we may be in a partnership where the other will not talk.  It is way too tempting to resort to similar behavior yourself but one needs to resist the temptation because you know that someone has to keep the communication lines open, or you will both sink deeper into the conflict. I have been there and experienced this and it hurts like hell.

Conflicts are a normal occurrence in any relationship. What makes them different is the nature of the conflicts and how quickly they are resolved. Any conflict can be worked through with healthy communication. Stonewalling or the silent treatment destroys relationships. It can make one partner feel abandoned and rejected. It can even cause you to question your own self-worth.

The domino effect of the silent treatment is significant. It damages the relationship for both partners, diminishes feelings of intimacy, and increases the risk of suffering from anxiety, and depression.  It reduces the capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful. Both sides should be heard and some sort of “agree to disagree” and or understanding of both sides should lead to a resolution and or compromise.

I have worked with many clients on communication, yet I fell into the “lack of communication” in my last relationship. I am human, and I learned a lot, but it has hurt like hell. I always pride myself on being able to communicate but found myself getting defensive and feeling completely criticized over everything in my life. Things were not talked about, but yet a view or opinion was shared and my feelings were dismissed. I could not explain myself or my feelings without being told I was challenging my partner which in turn caused her to shut down, me to feel dismissed and two people left with hurt feelings. Needless to say this relationship failed. It failed because WE didn’t learn to communicate together. It is sad how many end or lose a great thing because communication is work and it is something that you have to “unlearn” and “relearn” with respect to how your partner communicates. We can question, “Do those that stonewall, truly realize they do this”?, is it too late if this is all they have known their entire life? I think communication therapy could be one of the most powerful and amazing tools in a relationship.

For the partner who adopts silent treatment, it is often a way to avoid dealing with the problem, to control the situation and exercise power, to punish another person, or it is used as a way to express anger. Sometimes those that Stonewall do not realize their behavior because sadly this is how they were treated as children. This ends up being a poor choice in their communication thinking that they are just avoiding a confrontation when in reality they’ve gone about it the wrong way causing a deep confrontation. Whatever motives are behind it, giving your partner silent treatment only makes things worse – it is one of the quickest ways to end your relationship.

The person receiving the silent treatment grows more frustrated and it hurts to have that lack of response, which will lead to even more demands that in turn frustrates their partner who withdraws even further. There is no win/win in communication when both can not talk through things. The issue at hand never gets resolved, there is never a resolution and it causes the relationship to fail.

In a partnership where one partner often resorts to stonewalling tactics, both partners may benefit from a revision of communication tactics learned in couples therapy or a life coach like myself. It is important for both partners to understand why the stonewalling takes place, and a couples therapist and or life coach can help find the root cause. In a relationship where communication and cooperation are lacking it is unlikely to be successful in the long term. Both partners have to be open in improving their communication instead of being stubborn and only seeing one side. A relationship is work, and when you bring in two people, two backgrounds, two worlds along with two lives of experiences communication is key. No one said it was easy, but if the stonewaller is not willing to work on it, the other partner will feel mentally drained, hurt, and resentment will follow. Do not allow yourself to fall into this rut. Everyone deserves to be heard and problems are meant to be solved with compromise and or just a simple agree to disagree.

Becky Shaffer-Life/Fitness Coach/Author

Living In Confidence/Moving in Confidence

https://www.facebook.com/BeckyShafferConfidence

Liveinconfidence@gmail.com

I Am Not A Project

I am not a project comes from some of my own frustrations in the dating world. Being a 49 year old single lesbian Mom has not always been easy. There is a lot of unhealthy out there and the lack of communication and commitment has more than surprised me. My experiences allow me to write and help others. My mistakes have also been a huge impact in my learning.

Hi, I am Becky, a Life and Fitness coach. I am also an educator and find working with my clients comes natural. I coach from experience, but I also have put in the research and study/certification to build my business. I love people and if I can help you just by this article then I reached my goal. I help my clients get healthy physically and mentally. If I can help you beyond this article, please reach out and we will set up a free session to see if we fit together @ liveinconfidence@gmail.com

Checkout my facebook pages :

https://www.facebook.com/groups/movinginconfidence (Fitness Page)

https://www.facebook.com/BeckyShafferConfidence (Coaching Page)

We can all relate to our experiences in relationships. Relationships are HARD! Relationships also are not a project, they are partnerships that make two people feel safe, seen and supported in becoming more of who you are. Read that AGAIN, ” BECOMING MORE OF WHO YOU ARE! Relationships build each other up and support you for being who you are.

Mistakes I have learned and see especially at my age, is when people date for potential. They set themselves up with expectations before they have even built the foundation to reach any type of normal expectations. Of course expectations are human nature in a relationship, but these need to be communicated.

Changing the person you are dating into someone else is not a connection, it’s a control. Being with someone that constantly is trying to change how you do life, how you parent, how you coparent, and traditions you have built for years is not loving someone, that’s rejecting who they are. It is ok to share your opinion and your views in a positive way, but understand your partners views on things and truly listen and communicate why things are so important to each other. Don’t throw a view or opinion out there because of your past and then Stonewall the relationship. When one doesn’t change the other builds resentment because you are not falling into this box of expectations that they have built for this relationship.

Over time both in the relationship will build resentment, as one had expectations and the other feels they can not be their authentic self.

Relationships are a two way street. If one partner continuously withdraws from the relationshp, it will not survive. The partner that refuses to communicate is often drawing the situation out and preventing the other partner from seeking out other options, not understanding the conflict and is left wonderfing what they did. COMMUNICATION IS KEY! This is a sign of dysfuntional behavior. There is also most likely past trauma if stonewalling is occuring and this most likely happened in childhood. By doing this you leave your partner feeling dismissed and like their feelings in the situation do not matter. Trust me, this is a shitty feeling!

Relationships are hard, but should they truly be that hard? Of course when we meet someone we see some potential or we wouldn’t date, but don’t date for potential, date to actually connect, get to know each other and build a foundation.

Bottom line, you are responsible for yourself and you are responsible to be clear about your needs, desired and fears. Knowing and sharing what you want/need regarding intimacy, time alone, support, independence, friend time and most importantly communication to agree or disagree for understanding is part of building a relationship that is grounded in authenticity. Love and support your person and leave your baggage out. Burn that shit before you bring it into a relationship where the other person doesn’t deserve that. Own your shit and do your work.

Relationships are powerful and should bring so much joy to your life. BUT most importantly, do not allow- your vaulues and beliefs along with your passions to get side tracked.

Becky Shaffer-Life/Fitness Coach

Living in Confidence/Moving in Confidence

Goals v’s Resolutions

this year I will word under torn black sugar paper“My goal for 2022 is to accomplish the goals of 2021 which I should have done in 2020 because I made a promise to myself in 2019 and planned in 2018”, Sound familiar?

You create a goal. 

You create a plan to achieve the goal. 

Something outside your plan gets in your way. 

And now you’re stuck.

If you don’t take time to reflect on the habits and actions that led to yet another unfulfilled goal, you will keep coming up short.

Wanting to change yourself and better yourself is a beautiful and inspiring thing.  And it turns out that’s also how most other people think: 50% of all Americans for example set themselves a New Year’s resolution.  Less than 25% actually stick to it.  Depends on the research, but some say as little as 8% stick to their resolutions.  That is astonishing to me.  I feel a resolution should be a reachable “goal” and that is where many make the mistake.  Too big, Too soon, HUGE expectations, but the mind and heart are in the right thought.

Gyms are packed in early January.  All the new running shoes, running outfits and eager people fill the cardio room.  My goal is to fill my virtual gym with those that want to get in shape, which is great if one sticks with it.

Many have little insight on how to properly exercise, but their resolution is to lose weight and get into shape.  This often fails because after a couple weeks one sees no results.  It is great to set this goal, but remember, you can’t outwork food.  There is an entire system to losing weight and hitting the cardio room in new shoes with no other new habits usually won’t work.  Many do not take the time to learn to meal prep, portion control or how to use the apps at their finger tips to help you find success.

When your holiday decorations are packed up and stored away, the frustration of an unused gym membership or other reminders of failed resolutions can make the later winter months feel hopeless.  Not to mention if you are in a state that has true winter, some of these resolutions are even more challenging.  Now we add a pandemic on top of it, where some may not have an option of a gym.  I put a gym in my basement, this is the best investment in my home I have ever done.  Truly, you just need a smart TV and my on demand workouts and you are able to workout.  With me you will have an amazing support system.

However, it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.  Use the baggage as a learning curve.  Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for. By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the year.

Having a buddy or a support system will help you achieve your goal.  I recently started a program that has changed my life.    Without my tribe, I wouldn’t make it, but because of this tribe, I have made it over a week and I have released 10 pounds so far.  Something I have never thought I would do after my battle of long-haul Covic.  This year, I am adding trail running to my list.  I am so excited about this, but realistically, I know I need a support system, therefore I have joined a trail running group.

I am also eating healthier and cleaning up my diet.  I started “Moving in Confidence” a fitness coaching group where we all hold each other accountable.  If there are questions ask, if you had a great workout, share it.  If you have ideas, or find something interesting, it is shared.  When you workout, show your acountability.  This is HUGE when we have those days of struggle.  Whatever your “goal”,  resolution is, it is important to have that support system.  Keep a journal as well.  Writing things down seems to stick with the reality of you not achieving or achieving what you set out to do.

Start small and every 30 days revisit your goal.  You may have to adjust your goal.  As you take steps, reward yourself and make sure you recognize that each step is a success.  I am here to help you visit your goal and I can help you readjust.

The beginning of the year is such a hopeful time.  Within a few weeks when the motivation wears off, the challenge is to stay on course.  The only way to have a different outcome is to figure out what didn’t work in the past.  Don’t repeat it.  It takes time to learn new things, so it is important to give yourself that time.  Allow yourself to have days of frustrations and days of setbacks, after all, we are only human.

Use your journal as a tracking system.  Write what didn’t work that day and on the day’s things do work, write the successes down.  Too many people see failures as a stop sign.  Failures are a learning opportunity and if you can see it as that you will not fall into the stats of not filling your resolution.

My personal goal this year is to be in the Now.  I don’t want to go back to my past, but I want to be present and enjoy what I have in front of me moving forward.  It is easy to look at failures, my mistakes, people who have done me wrong, the wrong and pain I have caused people, the loved ones I have lost from death, which in turn puts me in a mindset of feeling worthless and in turn, I won’t reach a goal that day.  If I can stay present in the now and see where I am at, where I am going, then my mind is in the space it needs to be in.

Know Your WHY!

Many of us make goals more important than sharing love with those around us, do both, live by our values, and appreciate what is around you.   I’ve come to learn that goals are only worth having if they can enrich our lives right now. Because of how we consistently experience the present will always determine the beauty of what we reap.images-15

Becky Shaffer–Life Coach–Fitness Coach–Educator–Author

liveincofidence@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/groups/movinginconfidence

My One Word

Life's Journey: Choose the right path by Carolyn Divora, Paperback | Barnes  & Noble®

I started 2020 with the motto #myjourney. I needed a healing journey for my heart after experiencing my moms death and letting myself slide backwards with my fitness and my mindset and frankly some unhealthy behaviors.

This year has taught me to move forward with wisdom, not regret. The question is “What Kind Of Person Do You Want To Become?” When considering changes in this journey, we tend to think in terms of specific behaviors, typically, we give too much voice to our negative behaviors. Or we react in a way that is uncharacteristic and our integrity is questioned.

I decided to move forward with vision not regret. When I don’t see a vision I become unfocused and undisciplined. Sure, I have regret in how I have behaved in certain situations, or allowing someone in my life that wasn’t healthy for me, but instead of living in that, I have to refocus on my vision of who I am as a person. I have to focus on the positive people that are in my life and all the outside positives I have that surround me. #myjourney

Spend time reflecting on who you wish to become or the changes you want to make. We tend to define who we are by what we do. I am a teacher. I am a mom. I am dentist. I am a nurse. We tend to define who we want to be be the same way. I want to be the area’s top realtor. I want to be married. I want to be a marathoner.

We tend to give surface answers instead of digging deeper. Consider the condition of your heart, your character, your soul. This requires diving in deep and a fierce commitment to being gut-honest with yourself. When we truly dig deep and look beneath our behavior we discover what’s driving it–the beliefs and motives that make up our character. Our character and moral qualities are distinctive to who we are.

#myjourney

As you slowly gain a vision of the kind of person you want to become, grow into, improve to be, you will add words to what your motto is. Having acknowledged where you’ve messed up or fallen short puts you in the best possible position to move forward. You may have struggled to change many times and resolved that you will always be the way you are. “It’s just the way I am,” but that is not entirely true. Own your past, own your hurt, own your mistakes, own the things that made others question your integrity and character and decide, who do you want to be?

#myjourney

I do not put #myjourney on my workout posts or my writings only as my motto. I put it on because this has been a journey, and my journey is to own my shit, improve daily to heal, and always become a better version of me. This has been a process in which I have reconnected with friends, made new friends, joined a fitness family and with the help of all those around me, I have set goals in which I am not alone. Remind yourself that it is okay to not be perfect and be grateful for each step forward that you take. Allow those that want to be a part of your journey and support you in to help as you are helping them as well.

If you are ready, come up with YOUR motto and release the past and move forward to a new and better beginning RIGHT NOW.

Today, I am training for my first ever 25K trail run. Like this shit is real. I am actually signed up to run under the name “ultra” which is crazy. I just bought a Peloton bike and I am now part of the most amazing fitness support family. In the process, I have made a core group of friends and each day we check on each other, meet for virtual workouts and hold each other accountable. BUT we are there for our falls and help each other stand back up as well. I have fallen many, many times, but life is a journey and we brush ourselves off and we continue forward. What will your one word be? Love to all my friends!

#myjourney

Becky Shaffer—Author—Life Coach—Educator

The Unexpected Expectations of Life

Sometimes life can slap the shit out of you. I hate to admit it but this has seemed to be the theme of 2020 for many, but how do you take this and turn it into lessons and a positive?

Sometimes rejection and loss feel like a slap in the face. Like a punch in the stomach. And that can be a hard, hard punch. Especially when you’ve worked your *ss off trying to achieve a certain goal, that next step, that job, that house, that connection, that relationship, expectations for your kids…. Or maybe when you are happy, floating on, all zen-like, and suddenly BAM, life pricks your dream balloon and you land face down on the concrete of reality. GET UP! BRUSH YOURSELF OFF!

I had a moment like this recently. And it sucked. Really, really sucked. And you know what I did? I felt sorry for myself. Immediately, my negative chatter did not disappoint me. Self pity, jealousy, anger, all hit me at once. Awesome way to feel on a Monday afternoon, don’t you think? I was all bitter and zombie-like, desperately trying to find a way to stop the feeling of hurt. Desperately trying to find the why, how and the what the hell? It hurt!

So, what can you do when you are faced with rejection, a loss, a heartbreak, shattered dream or just life hitting you in the face?

1. Feel the feelings

Let the feeling be there. What is it? Disappointment? Fear? Resentment? Sadness? Whatever it is, allow it to come in, to be there. Fighting it will only make it stronger. Feelings can be hard to get used to, but are there to teach us something. Name it. Put it on paper. Don’t fear it. What is it here to tell you?

Just a little warning – you will want to skip this step. I know, believe me. Who wants to feel the feeling, right? It sucks enough as it is, why would you need to spend time feeling it?! Well, trust me, you have a whole lot to learn from this process. And to learn, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Not everyone feels the same way about rejection – so explore YOUR reaction. Also own and understand when you are not proud of your reaction.

And another little warning – you will want to judge yourself. A LOT. This might all seem a little bit weird. Sure, I get it. But maybe you can allow yourself to dial down the cynicism for a moment and see what would happen if you followed these steps. How would you feel? What would you learn? Have a go. Go on.

2. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”

What do you really, really need? Pause, listen, reflect. What do you need to do to support yourself right now? To support you in regaining your confidence, your will power, your sense of balance. We get stuck in these unhelpful patterns and we act based on how we feel. We act on autopilot. But when we feel crap, we will no doubt make crap decisions. We form habits that are temporary fixes, but find that instead of helping us get over what is going on, they take us deeper and deeper into that hole.

Really spend time on this one. Divide your needs into categories to address YOU as a whole. Maybe you need to have a delicious, nutritious meal, go for a walk, have a bath, write in your journal, listen to your favorite song and sing off key. Maybe you need to cry, jump, run, dance, see your friends. Meditate. Do yoga. Smile. Whatever it is, identify it and go DO IT. I just took off and went to the beach for a week. I needed to walk, reset, think and truly connect with myself and frankly my hurt. My hurt wasn’t just from rejection, but from a moms heart watching a son battle something no mother wants her son to battle….

3. Resist impulsive decisions

Often, when we get disappointed, especially when there is a bump on the road to something we’ve been working hard towards, we have a jerk reaction of giving up. Of changing direction. And we can come up with various, very good reasons, why our original plan was actually flawed. And sometimes we might be right. We desperately start looking for THE alternative that will change our lives (and will make the rejection disappear). More often than not however, all we do is exhaust ourselves in the process, create further confusion and return to feeling sorry for ourselves.

Take a break. Give yourself time away from your goal. You can return to it soon enough. Go back to step 2 – give yourself what you need.

4. Take responsibility

This is a big one for me right now. Responsibility for myself and my life. When disappointment hits, we often place external blame, we compare ourselves to others. We move the focus outside of ourselves, when we should really be looking internally. It may seem irrational, but it is easier to keep complaining about our circumstances (money, time, opportunities, etc) and use those as reasons why we can’t reach our goals, than to change them.

Change will only happen once you realise who is responsible for creating that change. And it is not your partner, your parents, your boss, your best friend or your enemy. Nope. It is YOU and only you who can change your situation. Sure, others can help or get in the way. So can life. But once you recognize that you are the only one who can shift things, your life starts to reflect that. Things start to flow. Opportunities appear, because you make choices that reflect that responsibility. Your confidence increases because you act in way to support yourself. You are the student and the teacher. Each mistake teaches us something new.

5. Let go

I’m a big believer in manifestation. I believe that our intentions affect where our energy goes and we attract the energies that we project. Which is why, in my recent experience of rejection, I was shocked to my core. But how can it be? I manifested, hard, over and over again! I fought negative energy. I used my mantras. I directed my energy to constructive outlets. Every time doubt knocked, I greeted it with a smiling picture of my crystal clear intention. I saw myself succeeding, happy. I felt the success. Did I not do it right? Oh, how much it sucked being rejected…

The thing is, life is life (resist the song reference here). It has its own way of flowing and no matter how much we fight, how positive we are, how determined and persistent we become, sometimes things will simply not work the way we want them to. Maybe that is for the best. Maybe it is to direct us towards something better. Maybe it is simply to teach us to deal with rejection. Or to help us develop further awareness of ourselves.

Either way, allow a little space for flexibility. Work hard, have a vision, but don’t get attached to the end result. You gain so much more from the journey and the work you do to get there, that sometimes the end result is actually not the end at all. And that is so beautiful, so exciting. Let go of the expectation of what it will look like. Scary, but so worth it.

Becky Shaffer—-Adolescent/Adult Life Coach—-Author—-Educator

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