Do you ever get frustrated because you can’t seem to DO the things you want to accomplish? I am right there with you!
Gretchen Rubin might call you an obliger, a personality who puts your own expectations last on your to-do list. Your personal goals or resolutions never come to fruition because you don’t stick to your plan. Then you get frustrated or discouraged and give up. But inevitably your drive to always be improving and striving leads you to restart those goals or new ones. And the cycle continues.
This has been the story of my life, and I just recently realized WHY. Another coach showed me how the root of this problem is that I don’t trust myself. I blame or deflect all results to something outside of me. I’m always looking for answers outside of myself. I don’t trust myself to make real decisions or know the answers… because if I fail, well then it would be my fault and THAT would feel like shame.
I’m constantly using willpower to accomplish what does get done. These tasks are usually fueled by a sense of obligation, not love or joy.
All of this because I can’t trust myself, because (let’s face it) I don’t much LIKE myself. I’m always trying to prove my worth by PERFORMING, but I can’t fully perform because I don’t trust myself to do what’s “right.” I’m on a mission to heal my trust with myself. I want to invite you to join me on this mission if any of this resonates with you.
What if— all this time— you have always been totally, completely enough… and there is nothing to prove? What if everything you do could be FROM love instead of FOR love? Imagine how much you would accomplish when there is no self-loathing. What would you spend your time on instead? We would be able to do our true work in the world instead of always overcoming ourselves!
I had a little disagreement with my husband last weekend over division of responsibility of household chores. The age-old “I want you to WANT to do the dishes.” 🙄🤮 But as I dug deep to figure out WHY I wanted to feel appreciated in this particular way, I journaled, “It says ‘I know you.’” And “It would mean I am noticeable, special, unique…” I think this is something every human wants to know: that they are loved and treasured.
Fast forward to yesterday when I attended a bible study class my stake hosts. It’s one of those classes that I’m always grateful I attend after the fact, but try to talk myself out of going beforehand. But every time I attend, I feel the Spirit telling me this is how God is speaking to me and I need to be there.
Part of the discussion centered on Christ’s intercessory prayer and how he wants us to have eternal life “that they might know thee, the only true God…” (John 17:3). And the teacher had us read this quote by Bruce R McConkie: “It is one thing to know about God and another to know him….[W]e know [him] when we enjoy and experience the same things [he does]. To know God is to think what he thinks, to feel what he feels, to have the power he possesses, to comprehend the truths he understands, and to do what he does. Those who know God become like him, and have his kind of life, which is eternal life.”
And then the💡 went off for me: I am asking my husband and my kids to know me the way God wants us to know him…. but I don’t always do that. I don’t always even know myself! How can I expect them to do it? I am walking around this world with a very self-centered point of view, yet I am asking the people I love most to NOT do that very thing.
Needless to say, I was humbled. The Spirit again reminded me why I should be in that class every week: Heavenly Father knows EXACTLY what I need and meets me there in that class. And isn’t that the ironic thing? I don’t even need my family to know me intimately because Christ does. He already experienced every pain and frustration I feel. How do I know? There have been too many “coincidences” to be anything else.
About 15.5 years ago, I was walking the halls at church with
my little baby- she was getting fussy or maybe she was walking and couldn’t sit
still. We went into the hall and somebody had prepared a bulletin board on the
topic of Write Your Personal History. As I read that board, I felt a spiritual
impression that I needed to write my history. But I was young (24 years old
with my first little baby) and just figuring life out; I didn’t really know how
to write my story or tell my story! Over the next 15 years I would go on to
start and abandon many blogs trying to tell my story. But I think in hindsight,
the problem was I didn’t know who I was talking to. So I would start writing
and then I would get overwhelmed: how do I do it? Do I do it chronologically or
by theme? SO I never really did it and I’ve been trying to ignore this
prompting for almost 16 years now!
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I heard an
interview on one of my favorite podcasts talking about storytelling. It piqued
my interest; I thought it was an interesting topic. Matthew Dicks, the author of
the book Storyworthy was being interviewed, and he mentioned how he teaches
storytelling workshops and he has to continuously tell women (specifically women)
that their stories are worth telling. After that podcast finished, I was on a
walk and I felt these words enter my mind: “I’ve given you time to tell your
story.” I felt a little chastised by God that he has asked me several time over
the past decade and a half to tell my story. But I think I was getting tripped
up thinking he was telling me to write
my story. So in the last couple of weeks I have had almost daily spiritual impressions
that I need to tell my story. It’s not that I even have one story to tell. I know my life story is interesting—it’s almost movie
worthy. But I am just a normal person. I don’t know who wants to hear my story,
or who is out there for me to touch, but right now I am working on blind faith
and I am going to move forward with telling my story.
I wanted to just give you the birds eye view. I don’t know
who you are, but I feel like I can’t start without the 30,000 foot view. SO
today I am just going to give you the nuts and bolts of my history, who I am,
where I came from, and a few really important events in my life. As I go
forward I don’t know what this is going to look like: a youtube channel, a podcast,
a blog or what, but I will tell more stories and go more in depth.
I am going to start with 0-18 years old in which I was born
in a suburb of San Diego. My mom was a teenager: she was 17 and one month. My
dad was 20 and they weren’t married. But they made it work. When I was 6, immediately
after I finished kindergarten, we moved to Washington State because my dad had
lost his job (future story) and his parents had moved to eastern Washington and
were building a house and retiring. I grew up in this tiny little town in the Okanogan
valley. (I’m not going to get more specific that for privacy reasons for other
family members.) Basically, my childhood was pretty tough. Most people would
agree that it was a tough upbringing. My parents did drugs, they were
alcoholics, there was physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Money was always
tight. My mom was a SAHM until I was in 8th grade-ish. There’re some
primitive living situations- no running water or electricity for a several
years. But overall, I always knew my
parents loved me. I really enjoyed growing up in a small town. It felt safe to
me. And I really loved my grandparents who lived there. I got to spend a lot of
time with them. I graduated as the valedictorian of my graduating class- ’98.
And I went off to college at the University of Washington.
The second chapter of my life was from the time I was 18
until about 23 where I went to college. I was engaged to my high school
sweetheart and broke it off with him because I met my now-husband my freshman
year of college. I was inactive from the church I grew up in (the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) from about 14.5 until 20 years old. During
these college years I decided to go back to church and my live-in boyfriend at
the time came with me, investigated, and he’s now a convert to the church. Also
during this time was one of the biggest turning points of my life: my mother
passed away after a car accident. But I went on to graduate from college and start
The third chapter starts when I am pregnant and we’ve just
moved to the Bay Area. My husband started working and I am plunged into
motherhood, which was not an easy transition for me. I always wanted to be a
mom, but surprisingly it wasn’t easy. We had babies, we bought a condo (a story
about trusting the lord). But during this time, I was really lost in who I was
and what my purpose was. I was not being the kind of wife and mom I wanted to
be. I have three children, 2 girls and a boy. My oldest is almost 16 years old
right now, my 2nd is almost 13 and my son turned 11 a few months
ago. When my oldest daughter started 2nd grade I began homeschooling
her and I homeschooled her and my other kids for 5 years until the time we
moved to Germany.
The fourth chapter starts with Germany. My husband and I love travel; it’s a really big value of ours. We always dreamed of living abroad. We never really thought it would come true, but we had this rare opportunity so we had to take it. We ended up living in Germany for 1 year. We lived 30-45 minutes away from where my husband’s grandmother grew up, so that was close to our heart (she raised my husband). And we lived in a town called Bremen. Our last name, Bremer, means from Bremen. I have tons of stories about living in Germany and how that really stretched me and was a turning point in my life to where I am now. I was in Germany when I found life coaching through the podcasts of the amazing Jody Moore and her mentor Brooke Castillo who runs the Life Coach School. Right after we moved home from abroad, I signed up to go to life coach training and now I am a life coach and I’m building my business and it’s the hardest most wonderful things I have done besides raising children. I’m learning how to lean into my negative emotions, how to juggle lots of different moving pieces with still being a mom and my husband works full time and running a household and friends and church callings and all the things.
That pretty much brings us to today. We’ve been home from Germany
for 2 years. I have changed so much in the last 2.5 years since finding life
coaching. I literally went from being a shy, anxious scared person over pretty
much everything: from cleaning my house to driving cars to talking to people.
To now I truly honestly feel so confident and I know who I am and I am so much
more sure of myself. Not to say I don’t have tons of work left to do, but I am a
totally different person. I don’t know why I am supposed to tell my story, but
I know that I am supposed to. I know that a higher power wants me to, which I
can only assume means that someone out there will be changed or inspired or
taught by some of the things I’ve gone through in my life.
I will be talking a lot about the lessons I’ve learned and
the themes I’ve seen in my life. As I put together a really quick outline for
this today I realized there were some themes I could already see:
Trust the Lord- you’ll be hearing more about my
faith and spiritual experiences and the miracles I’ve seen in my life.
If you feel it, chances are others are feeling
it too. So many people I’ve talked to feel like they are alone in feeling
broken. I want to assure you that pretty much everyone feels that way. I’ve
clung to the idea that I’m not alone even if I don’t know who else is feeling the
same way, but odds are if I feel this way someone else does too.
Many of my transformation moments have come when
someone else tells me what they’ve seen in me and it resonates. I have several
stories about this.
Work hard. You grow through your trials, through
the hard, tough stuff. It requires you to work hard on an emotional level.
Thank you for reading along. Feel free to share this or any
future stories with anyone you feel could use it. Follow me on social media or
subscribe to my youtube channel. If you feel like I have some wisdom to impart or
questions to ask me, feel free to reach out: @denitabremercoaching on IG and
FB, or email me at email@example.com
I told you the nuts and bolts of my life story here. But that isn’t the entire story, and moreover, it’s hardly relevant to this work I am embarking upon.
My life has been filled with fear, and the way I have dealt with that historically is to try to control everything possible.
As a child, teenager and young adult, when home life felt out of control, at least I could succeed at school.
When I became a mom and decided to be the full-time at home parent and household manager, motherhood felt hard so I made sure everything was always on schedule and the house was clean.
Even sending my oldest to school felt like giving too much control away, so I brought her home and we homeschooled. Now I was in control of educating my kids and seeing them progress and learn in the many subjects helped me feel good about myself.
Do you see a theme?
I have always given my power away to outside sources in an attempt to feel good about myself: good grades, a clean house, my children’s education.
When we went from homeschooling to living in Germany for a year where homeschooling was illegal, I had to really face myself. I no longer had my kids to prop my self-esteem up.
It really made me think about my life and my purpose.
“This is what it’s going to be like in 10 short years! The past 10 years have gone by so quickly; it’s going to happen sooner than I am ready!”
So who am I? What do I want to do with my life?
I felt alone and lost.
So in my podcast app I searched “Mormon podcasts,” and “mental health podcasts” and many other variations of those words. And I stumbled upon Jody Moore.
I learned that whether or not my kids did their chores had nothing to do with me. I learned what true self-esteem was. I learned that I could actually choose how I wanted to feel at all times. I learned I didn’t need to control everything, because I could feel good no matter what, through much practice and self-awareness.
And I decided what my purpose was. Through self-exploration, reflection, prayer and spiritual confirmation, I learned of myself that I wanted to help others gain their confidence too.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
I was already on this journey of self-discovery because for the previous two years I had been listening to the Sexy Marriage Radio podcast and had been slowly creating confidence for myself in the bedroom, one of the areas I didn’t feel like I had much control.
Fast-forward to attending the Life Coach School and needing to choose a niche. I knew I wanted to do something in the realm of relationships. So I chose the area where I felt like it all started for me: my sexuality.
Here’s the thing, though. Difficulty in your sex life is just one leaf on a tree. It could be parenting. Or money. Or any number of human problems. They are all attached to the branches, the trunk, and lead to the root of the tree. The root is how our brain operates. How you do one thing is how you do everything.
Sex is just the leaf I am choosing to focus on. Ultimately, I help wives gain confidence in all areas of their lives.
We could all use that.
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I have not eaten chocolate of any kind since December 31st, 2018.
That’s 95 days including today.
For a 2019 stretch-goal, I decided to go chocolate-free for the entire year.
This is kinda a big deal.
Americans are addicted to sugar. I am addicted to sugar, and especially chocolate.
I’ve gone without chocolate once in the past for up to 4 months to cure some newborn baby tummy issues when I was nursing, but it has been infinitely easier this time. Other than that one time, I rarely have gone without chocolate for more than a day or two.
So what is different this time?
This time I used the power of identity.
I just told myself “I am not a chocolate eater in 2019.”
And voila! Very few cravings, and it has been- dare I say it– EASY.
James Clear talks about this in his new book Atomic Habits:
“Behavior that is incongruent with the self will not last. You may want more money, but if your identity is someone who consumes rather than creates, then you’ll continue to be pulled toward spending rather than earning. You may want better health, but if you continue to prioritize comfort over accomplishment, you’ll be drawn to relaxing rather than training. It’s hard to change your habits if you never change the underlying beliefs that led to your past behavior. You have a new goal and a new plan, but you haven’t changed who you are.” (pg 32)
At the time I made the goal, I had an inkling about the power of identity shifts, but I had never put it into action in my own life.
And I have been thoroughly surprised by how quick and deep this shift has been.
I don’t think it is quick and easy every time for every person, but it is worth a try if you have been struggling with a habit for a while.
Last Sunday, we arrived at church early so I could make some copies. Turns out the copy machine wasn’t functioning properly, so I made my way to the chapel 10 minutes before the meeting was to start. My kids were arguing about who was going to sit where in the pew. My girls were being very mean to each other despite my pleading with them to be kind, so I grabbed my stuff and left.
As I was walking down the hall, I felt immensely sad. I was sad that my 15 and 12 year old girls can’t be nice to each other at church. I didn’t know where to go so I went out to sit in my car. I felt myself at the brink of tears, but I didn’t want to cry and walk back into church with red, puffy eyes. #resistingemotion
As I was sitting there in the car, I was searching my brain for why I was feeling so sad. My kids are mean. They’re old enough to behave better. I must be a terrible mother. It’s just sad. That’s where my brain was going. But WHY? Why did I feel like it was so sad? Eventually I arrived at the thought This is not how I wanted them to turn out.
And then I remembered something I had heard recently that has stuck with me: Don’t be attached to the outcome. And I am so attached to the outcome with my kids and it is causing me suffering. When I find evidence that the “outcome” might not be the way I had envisioned, I am sad, disappointed, and sometimes angry. And they haven’t even arrived out their outcome yet!
What if they are just on their own journeys and arguing and being mean at church is just part of their learning experience? What if them being mean to each other has nothing to do with me or my ability in motherhood? What if this is totally normal behavior and my brain is thinking that it is unreasonable?
I think the reason we should not be attached to the outcome, whether it is in parenting or business or anything else, is because we don’t have 100% control over the outcome. We only have control over the effort we put forth toward the outcome. In the case of relationships, another person’s agency is at play, so we may have very little control over the outcome. When we are unattached to the outcome, our only job is to decide how we want to show up. What kind of person do we want to be, regardless of the outcome?
I did return to the chapel, just in time to sing There Is Sunshine in My Soul. There was not sunshine in my soul, but I knew it wasn’t because of my kids or their behavior, but because of my thoughts and my subconscious attachment to how they would turn out.
In what way are you attached to an outcome in your life that is causing you suffering? I would love to hear about it in the comments!