Vivacious Living


Don’t Forget Your Girlfriends & Other Acts of Loving Self-Care | | By

Why girlfriends are important
I was recently reminded of the importance of having girlfriends and making time to spend with them. Whether you are just going through a divorce, at the start of a whirlwind romance, have been married for years, or you are a stay at home mom with small children or whether you are starting a new ...READ MORE▼

I was recently reminded of the importance of having girlfriends and making time to spend with them. Whether you are just going through a divorce, at the start of a whirlwind romance, have been married for years, or you are a stay at home mom with small children or whether you are starting a new business and working three part-time jobs, we all need girlfriends. Girlfriends fulfill an important need for women. There is some suggestion that women (or people in their feminine) speak 10 - 20,000 words per day while men (or those in their masculine) speak only 5,000. Imagine, your partner comes home from work, after talking to colleagues all day and being in meetings, he is talked out! But women, especially those who have been home all day with toddlers that don't talk, have a full 10-20,000 words left! Do you see a potential problem here? Another reason girlfriends are important is that women are different than men. Surprise, Surprise! Right? We not only talk more, but we think and communicate differently. We talk just to vent, to let out stress, to figure out exactly what it is we are thinking. Men, on the other hand, tend to share only when they want input into their problems. As a result, when we share all our disappointments, frustrations, hopes and dreams, many men will see these as requests for him to do something about it. If they cannot provide what they perceive us asking for right away,  they may feel emasculated. This is exacerbated by the fact that as women, we have hormones that fluctuate not only throughout the weeks of the month but hourly during the day, while a man's tend to stay constant from puberty to their late 40s, early 50s. Only women can understand the emotional ups and downs that other women experience. At most, we can hope that the men in our lives appreciate our passion, our integrity and honesty, and our zest for life. Women can give us feedback, can create a village so that our partners aren't expected to be our girlfriend as well as our provider, protector, lover and soulmate. This can be a great source of relief for the men in our lives. It also allows us to get clear about what our needs are, what we can provide for ourselves and what we want to request of the men in our lives. Unfortunately, as women, we have a built-in tendency to put the needs of others ahead of our own. It's our instinct to want to please and be attractive to the opposite gender. If you think back to the days of hunters and gatherers, which wasn't that long ago evolution-wise, it makes sense. As women, generally physically smaller and less strong than men, our safety and actual lives depended on our ability to attract a man and have him protect and provide for us, especially in the early years of raising families. Evolution made this possible by wiring us in many ways to want to please, to want to nurture, to put others before ourselves. There is some research out there that further suggests that the hormone estrogen has a lot to do with this wiring for nurturing others and putting our needs last and that as it declines and we enter menopause, this tendency lessens. While there is research that explains our tendency to put our needs in the category of "that would be nice" as opposed to "urgent and critical", the fact remains that we are better people, better partners, better lovers, better mothers, better sisters, better workers when we do take care of ourselves and don't rely wholly on others meeting our needs. If we are recently separated and divorced, we now no longer have a partner that is willing to meet our needs (and quite honestly, this has probably been going on for some time now). What are the things that you can do to make yourself a better partner, a better lover, a better mother, a better employee, a better businesswoman, a better YOU? If doing these things allow you to create better, more intimate relationships, generate greater revenue in your business or job, and make you a better person overall, isn't it time to look at these needs as important? It is time to stop putting the perceived needs of your children, your spouse, your job or business ahead of yours. Your happiness, your relationship, your children, AND your business depend upon you putting your needs first. Be loving to yourself. Take ten minutes right now and brainstorm about what would allow you to show up as the best you? What things would you do? Go for a massage? Take regular walks on the beach? Go for a run? Take a bubble bath? Go to lunch with a girlfriend? Catch up with an old friend? What things would you need to stop doing? Then, pick up the phone and schedule time with a girlfriend. It's an important part of self-care!  Interested in learning more about the interplay of masculine and feminine energies and how to use this knowledge to create your ultimate relationship? Whether that means taking your marriage to the next level, turning your long-term committed relationship around, or dating with confidence, contact me at jacqueline@jeclarkcoaching.com for information about my upcoming Queen's Code book club. READ LESS▲


Dating After Divorce | | By

Don't be Afraid to Love
Whether you chose to get divorced or your now ex-spouse made the choice for you. You are now here. Single, after having been married for years. What comes next? Many launch right into the dating world, wanting to find a new partner. Others take time to find themselves again and regain their mental and physical ...READ MORE▼
Whether you chose to get divorced or your now ex-spouse made the choice for you. You are now here. Single, after having been married for years. What comes next? Many launch right into the dating world, wanting to find a new partner. Others take time to find themselves again and regain their mental and physical and emotional health. Others may want to date, but are mystified by the plethora of online dating sites and apps and overwhelmed by the thought of creating an online profile. What ever happened to meeting people in real life? It's a whole new world. So many questions. So much to deal with. And, as always, there is no one answer that works for everyone. Should you begin to date right away? Should you wait? How do you meet new people? That all depends on you. For some people, it behooves them to be in a new relationship, whether or not that is the relationship they will ultimately end up in, they get support and love from someone as they recover. Others will choose to be alone, to heal, to work on themselves. Either way, the choice is personal. What is your choice? Once you choose to move forward, to create an amazing partnership that will last, what can you do? The first step is to be really clear about what you DO want. Note that I did not say you need to be clear about what you don't want. The Universe works in interesting ways. When you are busy thinking about what you don't want, the universe is busy ignoring the "nots" and sending those people your way. You must become clear and focused about what you do want in your life. (Believe me, I learned this the hard way...). So get clear. What do you want your next relationship to look like? What do you do on  daily basis? How do you interact? Dream big here. And then and only then are you able to even start to determine what qualities you want to look for in a potential mate. If you are interested in participating in a relationship vision workshop where you get REALLY clear what you want in your next relationship, and who it is you are looking for, email me: jacqueline@jeclarkcoaching.com. I am planning a Sunday in March or April so let me know what day works best for you. READ LESS▲

Is Your Internal Self-Talk Lowering Your Self-Esteem? | | By

The word should. We tend to use it in our every day language. It seems innocuous, innocent, and  trivial to worry about the use of it. However, as neurolinguistic practitioners have known for a long time, and science is now starting to prove true, the language that we use has the ability to bolster us ...READ MORE▼
tlak-to-yourself-like-you-would-someone-you-love The word should. We tend to use it in our every day language. It seems innocuous, innocent, and  trivial to worry about the use of it. However, as neurolinguistic practitioners have known for a long time, and science is now starting to prove true, the language that we use has the ability to bolster us or deflate us. Using the word "should" has the connotation of something that you are not doing even though you know better. I "should" go to the gym. I "should" eat healthy foods. I "should" stop drinking or smoking. There is an inherent but at the end of each sentence. Do you hear it? I "should" go to the gym but I'm too lazy, too tired, too busy at work. And because of this, how does using the word make us feel? Because the use of the word "should" argues with the reality of what is actually happening, it makes the object of the "should" feel like they can never measure up, never win, never make you happy. It happens within the context of relationships. "If you love me, you should do this." And it happens with ourselves as well. We are not measuring up to our own standards of how we think we should be behaving. Just as using the word should with our partners erodes the relationship and the happiness within it, using the word should to describe our own standards has the effect of diminishing our own self-esteem. I "should" go to the gym but I didn't. While the intent is to motivate ourselves (and perhaps our friends and family), the effect is to de-motivate and put down. Moreover, it leaves room for our inner rebel to come out of the closet and rebel against that "rule". It's all well and good to say don't use the word "should", but when we focus on NOT doing something, we unfortunately tend to do more of it as our brains don't really hear the "not". So, what can we say to ourselves and others instead of using the word should? Alternatives include using the words "would" and "could". So instead of saying, "I should be studying", you can say "I could be studying right now" or "I would like to be studying right now". Do you hear the difference? Feel the difference in the energy from simply shifting a word or two? Our use of the word "should" is closely tied to our perfectionist, unrealistic Perfect Person standards that we have adopted over the course of time. Some of our shoulds come from things we were told by well-meaning parents and grandparents; some came from teachers, also well-meaning. Still other shoulds came from movies or self-help books, or something a friend said or did. Some might have come from long over intimate relationships. Getting rid of our use of the word "should" is one step to being more loving to ourselves, more loving to those around us, and creating a more loving community, country and world. READ LESS▲

Moving Forward Confidently: How to Create Confidence and Certainty when You’re in a Slump | | By

IMG_0597
Today is my daughter’s high school graduation. Class of 2016. Seems surreal that she is already graduating. It seems like just yesterday that she was born and I was struck with the randomness of naming this newborn baby any old name, wondering who this person was that I was given the amazing and somewhat scary ...READ MORE▼
Today is my daughter’s high school graduation. Class of 2016. Seems surreal that she is already graduating. It seems like just yesterday that she was born and I was struck with the randomness of naming this newborn baby any old name, wondering who this person was that I was given the amazing and somewhat scary responsibility of raising. It’s been an amazing journey thus far, walking the path with her, learning from her, watching her blossom and grow into this independent, resilient, responsible, kind, generous, determined young lady who is now ready to set out on her own and continue more independently to discover and walk her unique path. I still remember my high school graduation just like it was yesterday. It was 1987. I was the high school valedictorian. I was surrounded by friends and family. I had decided to go to McGill University in Montreal, partly because I fell in love with Montreal, and partly because they offered the highest scholarship and had the lowest tuition fees which allowed me to put myself through school by working at the mine during the summers. I had, with all the audacity of youth, decided to become a lawyer so that I could help people who weren’t able to go to law school navigate the legal system. Our graduating class of something like 20 kids had decided on a theme song for our graduation: Nothing Can Stand in Our Way. And that summed up how I felt: I felt I was on top of the world. Nothing was going to stop me. I was certain that I would find a way to make it work. I would do whatever it took to realize my dreams. There was not a doubt in my mind. Seven years later, with a Bachelor of Commerce under my belt also, I graduated from McGill with an LL.B, a law degree. I had accomplished the first part of my goal. The next step was to excel at practicing law (something law school actually doesn’t teach). And so, I put my head down and started honing the skills I needed. And then I started adding to my dream. I got married, I had 3 wonderful children, I supported my husband who was unhappy in his job by moving, twice, once to the west coast of Canada and then the second time to the United States. I had always been confident that I could rely on myself, that no matter where we went, I would be able to take care of myself and practice law. However, life humbled me. When we moved to the States, I found I couldn’t take the bar exam as I had not graduated from an American law school. And I realize now, in retrospect that I had inadvertently wrapped up my identity and my value with having a law degree and being a professional woman that could help others. Not valuing myself was also a huge factor in the breakdown of my marriage, but that is for another post. I love honoring the cycle of life because it DOES, with good regularity, remind us of who we have been, of emotional states that we have experienced, of the successes we’ve have, the hardships we’ve endured. Watching my daughter graduate, make decisions about what to do next year, study and work hard to attain the grades she wants to get, it reminds me of this state of certainty that I had, that I WOULD attain any goal I set for myself. Because the mind works in wonderful ways and cannot differentiate between past and present, remembering that state of certainty puts me immediately back into that state of certainty. I can choose to bathe myself in the memory and anchor that into my body so that I feel that state more and more often in my life. I share this because when we go through trying times whether that is divorce, hard times within a relationship, moving to a new country, changing careers, we often feel lost, alone, empty, and extremely uncertain about what the future is going to hold for us. I want you to know that one way to gain more certainty, is to think back to a time when you had just successfully finished something. Take at least 5 minutes and really feel how you felt when you accomplished this goal. Feel what you were feeling. Remember what you were saying to yourself, how you walked, how you talked. Really feel it. Journal about it. Do you have a picture to commemorate that event? Perhaps you can take it out and look at it. Whenever you feel unsure, reach for this memory. The state of certainty, of being on top of the world, being UNSTOPPABLE, is worth taking 5-10 minutes every day to anchor into your body. You’ve got this!     READ LESS▲