78 Life Lessons on my 40th Birthday

I was shooting for 40 life lessons on my 40th birthday, but I kept going and ended up with 78. Which of these do you like the best? Are there any you disagree with?

  1. Be kind to everyone no matter what. (Thanks Mom!)
  2. Don’t borrow money. And if you have to borrow money, pay it back ASAP. (Thanks Dad!)
  3. People will judge you wrongly. Keep being you anyway. 
  4. People are highly imperfect. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. 
  5. Whatever happened with your parents when you were a kid wasn’t your fault. 
  6. Money, or lack of it, can cause a lot of heartache if you let it. 
  7. Be honest. It’s always the best way. 
  8. Sometimes your mistakes can save you. 
  9. People you love can and will hurt you. You don’t have to add to the pain by refusing to forgive them. 
  10. Good people do bad things. Everyone is human. 
  11. The hard things in life make us who we are. 
  12. You can do hard things. 
  13. God is listening. And it’s more evident when you watch for Him in your life. 
  14. If you follow your feelings you can’t go wrong. 
  15. Nature is a gift. Use it wisely. 
  16. You never forget the most pivotal moments in your life. 
  17. There is a strong connection between our bodies and our minds. Don’t ignore the cues. 
  18. People can love you when they don’t even really know you. 
  19. You know so very little. Accepting that fact will serve you. 
  20. There is always something to do. Don’t let it be a reason to not rest or enjoy yourself. 
  21. You literally can’t make everyone happy. Stop trying. Focus on making yourself happy. I.e. you can be the juiciest peach in the orchard, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. 
  22. The little moments are the big moments. Try not to miss them. 
  23. When you trust yourself, there isn’t anything you can’t figure out.
  24. Your net worth has nothing to do with your self worth. Unless you let it. 
  25. Never be afraid to be yourself. This whole life is meant to help you figure out who you are. 
  26. Guilt and shame are only useful if they lead you to change. If they are making you stuck, let them go. 
  27. Children are our best teachers. 
  28. Love is always the answer. In every situation. 
  29. You don’t get married to complete yourself. You get married so you always have someone to love. 
  30. You can just decide to be happy. 
  31. You can’t make anyone else feel something. And they can’t make you feel anything. 
  32. Sometimes you have to go down the wrong path first to know what the right path is. 
  33. Friends can be the family you never knew you needed. 
  34. Stay calm when you are swimming. Panic will increase the odds of drowning. 
  35. Travel seems glamorous. What’s really glamorous is the destination. 
  36. Every problem is a belief problem. 
  37. You rarely get what you want unless you ask for it. 
  38. If there is a rule, there’s probably a reason for it. But also, sometimes rules need to be broken. That’s the exception to the rule though. 
  39. Distraction is the adversary’s most effective tool. 
  40. Always ask how spicy the sauce is. 
  41. Everyone is boring, until you get to know them. 
  42. People are more the same than they are different.
  43. For many people, outer order contributes to inner calm. 
  44. If you don’t know what to do, start with the dishes or laundry.
  45. There is always a choice. Always.
  46. Mastering your urges is the way to the life you want. 
  47. Always bring your wallet.
  48. When you are upset and don’t know why, try 1. Drinking water, 2. Eating 3. Moving your body and 4. Sleep.
  49. When working with electrical, always turn the breaker off.
  50. Doing It Yourself is worth it in most cases. Except HVAC and drywall. Hire those out. 
  51. Wear your retainer. Even if it bugs you. 
  52. Always wear your seatbelt. 
  53. Water is the best beverage. 
  54. Find a meditation practice that works for you and practice it regularly. 
  55. Always give the compliment when you think it. 
  56. Feelings matter. More than you think. 
  57. Sugar has the same effect as cocaine to your brain. Consume it carefully.
  58. Observe a sabbath for both your physical and mental well-being. Especially take a sabbath from things that you find yourself addicted to. 
  59. If you are thinking it or struggling with it, so are lots of other people. 
  60. Every human has the same value. Nobody is more or less than anybody else. Knowing this brings true confidence.
  61. Getting started is often the hardest part. 
  62. How you start your day makes a big difference. 
  63. Let the music move you. 
  64. Someday you’ll understand why you need this moment. 
  65. Instead of asking “Why me?” ask “Why not me?”
  66. It is a rare situation that has a right and wrong way. Just do what feels right to you.
  67. Time is on your side, not against you.
  68. You are 100% worthy and valuable just the way you are.
  69. “Beautiful” is an opinion.
  70. Your thoughts are your most powerful asset. 
  71. It is easier to keep a clean room than to let it go and clean it later. The same is true for your brain. 
  72. If you can’t enjoy the current moment, you’ll never enjoy a future moment.
  73. What you think other people think of you, is really what you think of you. 
  74. You can’t change something if you are judging it. That includes yourself. 
  75. What you really want is always a feeling. 
  76. Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone. 
  77. The prize is worth the price.
  78. No matter what it is, you are worth it!

Shame is my default

One of my earliest memories, if not THE earliest, is of my Dad carrying my mom to the shower and throwing her in.

Looking back at it now, I think he was probably trying to sober her up.

But at the time, it just scared me. I loved my mom so much. I was thoroughly devoted to her. In my 2-3 year old mind, I didn’t understand why my Dad was trying to hurt her.

Being already pre-disposed to shyness and fear, I learned to be afraid of my Dad. He was big and mean and loud.

Don’t get me wrong—I know he loved me. We had lots of great times together. But his relationship with my mom was confusing to young child me. They were supposed to love each other! Why were they always hurting each other?

But I digress.

Today when I am afraid, I know that is my default thinking. From such a young age, I was afraid of everything. I couldn’t even trust my own parents who were supposed to give me an atmosphere of love and safety. The whole world was scary.

Our brains want an explanation for everything. It wants to place blame so that it can then solve the problem. For many people, they so desperately don’t want to be the one to blame that they blame everyone around them.

But for me, blaming others doesn’t seem to come as naturally and I wondered why. My default was blaming myself.

I think this is why:

I can control myself. I can change myself.

Everyone outside of me was unpredictable bordering on volatile.

So it makes sense to me that even as a young child my brain found refuge in blaming me. It felt more safe. If I could just stay quiet and unnoticeable, they everything would be ok.

But that no longer serves me. In order to serve the people around me I have to be willing to be seen and heard. I can’t blend in.

The interesting thing is that there really is nobody to blame. My brain is to blame. And not even really to blame. My brain is responsible. Responsible for keeping me safe as a child and now for keeping me small.

In order to overcome it, I have to be willing to feel the discomfort of feeling vulnerable so that I can do my work in the world.

To Know Him

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.

Your Highest Contribution

“Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.”

Greg McKeown, Essentialism

Do you find yourself busy but unproductive? Stretched too thin? Overworked and underutilized? 🙋🏼‍♀️ I’m re-reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The “way of the essentialist” is to learn to tell the difference between the trivial and the truly vital things. It’s not about getting MORE done but getting the right things done.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to put that into practice! I suppose my whole life I’ve been thinking that I am prioritizing the vital few, but really I’ve just been going through the motions because I never really had a NEED to be more productive in less time. But now that I have both a family and a business I love, I want to be more effective with my time. I want to love every minute of my life. I want to feel like I am using up this one precious life in service to others and toward growing myself.

I think this will even make me a better wife, mom, coach, sister, and disciple of Christ. Here’s to an essential 2020.

One of the biggest decisions of my life

Do you remember what your New Year’s resolution was back in 2000? I do. I remember exactly what it was because it ended up affecting one of the biggest turning points of my life.

In late 1999 I was a 20 year old sophomore in college, attending the University of Washington in Seattle. I was living in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with my boyfriend and another couple. I’ve always been one to set resolutions, but this wasn’t just any year. It was a new year, a new decade, and new century and a new MILLENIUM! I need a goal that was BIG.

So I decided my resolution would be to go back to Church. You see, about 5 years earlier I had stopped attending church because I started dating a boy. And dating a boy at the age of 14 was against the standards of my church. And my grandparents (who I attended church with) made it very clear they did not approve. Instead of talking to them or facing my guilt, I just quit church. But every week I knew I should be there, and really- I wanted to be there. I just couldn’t get myself to face the judgement from my grandparents.

In the fall of 2000, as I was re-strengthening my faith, I had a conversation with my mom. Although she didn’t marry my dad, they were going through what would have been a divorce. She was worried and stressed about the custody situation and desperately wanted to do the right thing, but my dad was vindictive and mean, making is a tough situation. I remember being on that call with her and not knowing what I should say. So I told her, “Mom, I’m sorry you are going through this. I don’t know what to say other than Heavenly Father will make sure that whatever needs to happen will happen.” I said goodbye to her.

As those words fell out of my mouth, even I was surprised because I never talked to my mom about my faith or my experiences at church. She wasn’t a member of the Church, though she had always been supportive in me attending with my grandparents. It was awkward, but I didn’t think too much about it.

Until….

A week later, my boyfriend and I were on a road trip to visit his family in the Bay Area. We were staying with his aunt and uncle when I was woken in the middle of the night with a phone shoved into my face.

In my half-awake stupor I answered the phone:

“Is this Denita?”

“Yes.”

“This is the chaplain from Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. Your mother has been in an accident and she is in critical condition. I need you to get here as soon as possible.”

Never in my life had a lost anyone that I even KNEW much less someone so close to me until a month earlier when a high school friend had passed away. Now my mom was in the hospital in critical condition?

My boyfriend’s aunt and uncle were amazing. They booked us flights and drove the 2 hours to the San Francisco airport. I arrived at the hospital later that day, noticing a dark cloud over the city as I drove in from the airport. I felt like that dark cloud already.

Because my mom was never married, my 18 year old sister and I were her next of kin and therefore the medical decision makers. We asked a set of missionaries to come give her a blessing. In the blessing they blessed her that she would recover. But as the week went on, it became evident that she wouldn’t.

There was a moment, in those sterile halls of the hospital, that my sister came up to me and told me that she didn’t know if she could believe in the Gospel anymore. The blessing wasn’t true. She didn’t know what she believed. My sister, who had been so active and faithful as a teenager, was now doubting. And me, who had decided not to attend church as a teenager, met my sister on her path.

I imagined myself standing on the precipice of a tall mountain. I realized that I had a choice to make: I could turn to doubt, or I could move forward with faith.

I heard my own words to my mother only a week before: “Heavenly Father will make sure that whatever needs to happen will happen.”

That path up the mountain of doubt I had recently climbed to get to my faith was too long and treacherous to re-live now.

I chose faith.

And every moment of grief, every difficult thing I had to do in the following weeks and years were colored with that decision. When my uncle told me that he believed the car accident should be considered murder, when my mother’s jewelry was all stolen, when my father later went to prison and my little sister went into foster care… I chose faith.

My faith sustained me. It kept me putting one foot in front of the other when I just wanted to shut out the world and drown in my tears. I heard those words over and over again. Heavenly Father will make sure whatever needs to happen will happen.

A couple months later when the accident report was released, my faith was confirmed to me. It was dark, but the road was dry and the point of impact into the bank was only 25 miles an hour. I took that as a sign that it was just her time.

That one decision has shaped my life in ways that I am sure even I don’t understand. While I wouldn’t want to relive my mother’s death, I wouldn’t ever take back the experiences it has gifted me. I am the strong, faithful person I am today because of them.

A Spiritual Prompting: My Story, a Bird’s Eye View

{This is the edited version of my video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U536C4ShOKM}

I want to tell you a story.

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 working.

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:

  1. Trust the Lord- you’ll be hearing more about my faith and spiritual experiences and the miracles I’ve seen in my life.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 denita@denitabremer.com

A New Focus

Listen. I LOOOOOVE talking about sex.

But through a series of events, I decided to change my focus.

I decided to focus on my own story and how I have helped myself to feel happier, lighter and more fulfilled.

Sex is only one little part of that story.

As soon as I made this switch, I had a flood of ideas come to me about ways I can serve others who feel like I did a few years ago.

So if you know you have an amazing life, but you still feel miserable/unhappy/angry/unfulfilled, you’ll want to stick around.

I will still touch on sex and sexuality from time to time, but it won’t be the main focus. Although, I DO still think it’s the best way to connect with your body!

I felt doubt and fear, and then I journaled and coached myself. This is what it looks like.

Self-doubt and fear of failure are par for the course for any entrepreneur (or any person for that matter!), but these two emotions came up for me big-time today. I called my coach (JillFreestone.com) for an emergency session. She only had 20 minutes, but it was enough to get me some large realizations.

My biggest takeaway was that I have a hard time feeling vulnerable. Also, I am not really letting myself feel my feelings all the way.

Soooo… after I got off the call with her, I sat and just wrote and wrote. SIX pages. And I am not done.

In the interest of letting myself be vulnerable and feeling fear and doing it anyway, here is what I found. This is my stream of consciousness with notes in parentheses:

  • What am I feeling? (Keep in mind, this was after opening up to Jill and feeling lots of feelings.)
    • Inadequate– did I not even know what that felt like? Have I been avoiding this feeling?
    • Fear– something has gone wrong, to fail, to not make any money, to be a burden on my family and my husband
    • Angry– that I have to feel this way to move forward. this is hard.
    • Lonely– nobody cares about me, nobody understands me, nobody respects me, nobody loves me
    • Unloved– my family [of origin] rejects me, my family doesn’t care. I shouldn’t have been born. I should quit now. I was a mistake. I cause pain and suffering. I am a mistake. (Interesting I didn’t identify shame coming up, but maybe I just didn’t notice that in the moment.) (I also made a note here that I haven’t been reading my scriptures or saying my prayers since being on vacation and being out of routine.)
  • Vibrations I am feeling (I had so many feelings that I couldn’t identify just one, so I just listed all the vibrations.)
    • tears
    • tight throat
    • full chest, heart beating faster
    • want to close my eyes
    • runny nose
    • hot cheeks
    • tired back (from sitting 3 hours?)
    • pulling my lips down into a frown
    • emptiness in chest/stomach
  • None of my “success” has come from loving myself, feeling joy. It has all come from trying to prove something. Pushing myself. covering the fear/vulnerability.
  • The urgency has passed. Now I feel like a train wreck. Puffy eyes, red face,
  • I keep seeing that I can’t do anything because it costs money. Ultimately I don’t feel valuable. I am worthless. I should die… except that won’t solve it either. This is the job of the Atonement.
  • I really feel like eating something sweet now. (I haven’t been eating chocolate since Jan. 1, 2019 and no sweet treats since Sunday.) I want to get away from these feelings. Maybe I’m scared to feel? What if I kept feeling? I would be weak. People would have to make up for my slacking. I’m clearly not allowed to feel. How is all this true?
    • I AM INADEQUATE! I can’t get myself back to heaven.
    • I am weak. Only through the Savior am I ever strong.
    • I am unloved. By plenty of people. (Like millions of strangers.)
    • I should be afraid! Of what God thinks and his consequences.
    • I am totally and completely imperfect.
    • —> And all of this is how it’s supposed to be.
    • —> I only fail if I stop trying.
  • Truly what if I am not enough? Then I’ll be rejected. Then what? I’ll be alone and unloved. Then what? <Long pause for reflection.> I am not enough. Nobody is. Now what? I can do anything I want. What do I want? Follow and love Christ. Be his example. Love. Love Christ. Be enough for yourself. What does that look like?
    • Going slow
    • Keeping a clean house
    • Massages and alone time
    • Being affectionate
    • Bearing testimony
    • Listen to piano music
    • Spend money on myself
    • Eat well
    • Organize
    • READ
  • What do I need to believe about myself in order to love me?
    • I love myself
    • I’m ok the way I am
    • I belong to myself
    • I can love myself no matter what
    • Everybody is equal
    • I have nothing to prove
  • What else do I need to believe? (I was thinking about all the things I love and why.)
    • Life is beautiful.
    • Everything is perfect just the way it is.
    • God is stacking things in my favor.
    • God loves me.
    • I am so much.
    • I have so much.
    • Becoming whole is possible.
    • Heavenly Father has my back.
    • I am 100% valuable and worthy.
    • I like being around myself.
    • I accept myself 100%
    • I like me!
    • I feel safe.
    • I’m one of my favorite people.
    • I am beautiful.
    • I am my self. (i.e. “He is my son”)
    • This is how it was meant to be.
    • I’ve put so much work into myself.
    • I feel good.
    • I know myself.
    • I am doing my best.
    • I am a hard worker.
    • I am smart.
    • I am loyal.
    • I am my kind of person.

***

Ok, that’s where I ended my thought download/self-coaching. I want to keep going and ask myself “Who do I want to be?” That came up in my coaching with Jill. My knee-jerk reaction is “I don’t know.” So she challenged me to decide and try it out and then make adjustments.

I thought all sorts of things as I typed all this up. Things like, This is too vulnerable. People will think I am crazy. People will feel sorry for me. People will be concerned for me. People won’t like me. They will see how broken I am. This is unprofessional. My legs are bouncing like crazy, which is one thing that happens when I am really nervous.

And I just wanted to tell you that 3 things really made an impact after this exercise. 1. Recognizing I am not enough. I have been fighting this so hard for my whole life. Realizing that I don’t have to fight it and I can still live my life was powerful. I don’t have to prove my enoughness, because it’s false. I can just let it be and let the Atonement of Jesus Christ take over for me.
2. When I wrote down I belong to myself I think I actually heard my brain click. It was like I’ve been trying to belong to everybody else for so long, not realizing the only one I really need to belong to is me. I think I remember reading something from Brené Brown about Maya Angelou in this vein. I’ll have to go back and find it.
3. When I wrote down I am so much I was like, “Wow.” It’s true. Each of us is so complex. It felt good. As if I’ve been trying to prove “enough” but really I should have been looking for “so much.”

I think that’s it for now. I am suuuuuper tempted to not post this and to just keep it a draft, but I think it would defeat the purpose.

I am ready to feel all the emotions.

What’s the rush?

From a young age, I have always been in a hurry to get to the future:

I can’t wait to graduate high school and leave this town.

Then, I can’t wait until college.

Then, I can’t wait until I am married.

Then, I can’t wait until I have kids.

Then, I can’t wait until the diapering stage is all done.

Then, I can’t wait until they can make their own food.

Then, I can’t wait until the teen years are over!

And on and on.

Now that I have decided to start my own business, it’s all about when my business is fully off the ground and how much money I am making.

This comes from the belief that when you get “there,” life will be better.

But it’s not true.

Because when you get “there” you will still have your current brain.

Your brain will still see things the same way.

There will always be something else that comes up; a new problem to deal with.

This is really clear with money. No matter how much money one makes, their expenses seem to grow to fit the income.

So what if “here” is just as good as “there?”

Would there still be a rush?

I think this is why gratitude is so powerful. It helps us see that “here” is amazing.

The whole point is to have joy all along the way, right?

If we are in a rush to get to the next thing, are we really enjoying the now?

The results we get from an emotion of urgency won’t be nearly as good as results that come from fulfillment, joy or just plain ol’ desire.

Here’s an amazing quote to end on:

Sometimes anxiety sprouts not from how much we want, but how quickly we want it, how desperately we are trying to rush through the course of our lives. Who cares if you don’t achieve that big, huge thing this year? Would it be any less incredible next year? Or the one after that? What if, instead of pressuring yourself to achieve everything, right now, you committed instead to working toward your dreams every single day, a little at a time?

Brianna Wiest

My challenge to myself and to everyone else who can relate is to stop rushing.

Commit along with me to working toward your dreams every single day, a little at a time.

Go slow and steady.

Enjoy the moment.

XOXO,
Denita

God never said, “Thou shalt have sex with thy husband.”

When I was 5 years old, I walked to a convenience store with my parents. My nose was counter height and I remember standing there at the counter eyeing some little foil-wrapped chocolate footballs. They were probably five cents back in the mid-80’s. I picked one up to “look at it” and then dropped it into my pocket.

I totally stole a candy from a convenience store.

On the walk home, I felt so guilty about it that I threw the candy into some bushes.

I never told anyone about that for years, but it burned a hole into my memory.

Fast forward to today: The whole family was heading out to dinner, but my husband needed to leave directly from the restaurant to catch a flight, so he was driving separately. I pull out of the garage and out of habit, hit the button to close the garage door. Before I could reverse the garage door, my husband started backing out of the garage and the top of his car got scratched. It could have been much worse if the garage door had been damaged, but luckily it is fine.

I slide the window down and yell “Sorry! Habit!” and was on my way. My son said, “If I did that, Dad would be SOOOO mad.” I responded with, “Oh, Dad is really mad at me, but he can manage his own emotions.”

Over a 5 cent candy as a child I feel guilty for years. A possible hundreds of dollars worth of damage and no guilt today. Sure, I feel sorry, but guilty is not the descriptor I would use.

Even just two years ago, I probably would have cried over a mistake like this.

So why the change?

The answer is: I have learned how to manage my emotions and let others do the same.

(Let’s be realistic. Your average Joe does not manage their emotions. They react, resist or avoid their emotions. So when I say I let them manage their emotions, I mean I let them have their emotions and don’t feel responsible for them.)

I know that in most situations, guilt is not helpful.

Guilt is only useful in moral right and wrong. (So technically, my stealing at age 5 is an appropriate situation for guilt.)

Accidentally closing the garage door out of habit is not a moral wrong. I can try to make it right, and maybe I will get a paint kit for the scratches, but that’s about it. There’s no repenting needed. I apologized and that’s about all I can do. It was a simple mistake.

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

I say all this, because guilt is a hot topic with sex.

But whether or not you have sex, or how often, is also not a moral right or wrong.

God never said “Thou shalt have sex with thy husband three times a week.”

Guilt will not be useful, and may even be harmful.

Remember, guilt means “I have done something wrong.” Sometimes it leads to shame, which is “I am something wrong.”

Why do you feel guilty when you don’t have sex, or don’t want to have sex?

It comes from a thought. Probably something along the lines of “I should have sex.”

Then, how do you act when you feel guilty?

You probably do some form of hiding– don’t talk openly about it, fall asleep, withdraw into your mind, etc. (Guilt likes to hide.)

And then the impact of those actions is that your husband continues to want sex with you and you continue to find evidence that you should have sex. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that gets you nowhere.

Guilt is a negative emotion that our brains really want to avoid. So when you associate guilt with sex, your brain wants to avoid sex at all costs.

Here’s the other thing: your brain prefers the guilt to the resentment that comes when you do have sex, but you don’t want to. So recognize that guilt is the “better” option, but it is still optional.

When you gain confidence in yourself, a natural by-product will be less guilt. But you can choose to just not feel guilt now too.

What if it’s not true that you should have sex?

What if it’s ok if your husband is upset about it?

What if owning your emotional responsibility will eventually lead you to feeling closer to your husband? (With hotter sex?)

These are skills you can absolutely learn. And the great news is that they apply to every situation with any emotion, not just in the bedroom. Or in the garage as the case may be.

***

I have time this week for some consult calls if you are interested in learning more. Feel free to email me or hop on my calendar.