Posts Tagged ‘resentments’

5 Ways to Kick Start Your Life After a Breakup

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007
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Dear Jane,
I just broke up with my long-time boyfriend and can’t seem to find any energy for life. How long will it take before I can look forward to enjoying life again?

No matter what the reason for a breakup—the relationship was stale; you outgrew it; it was abusive in some way; you were left—you have to grieve fully, pick up the pieces, discover who you are NOW without that other person, and learn how to look forward to life again. So here are 5 keys to kick start your life and begin to thrive.

1. Have a pity party.

When you lose a relationship, you have a right to grieve. Unpopular as grieving is, it is necessary to experience. The more you beat yourself up about grieving, the slower the healing process. Practice compassion for yourself. You have lost something. You may feel like there’s a gigantic hole where your heart used to be. These feelings are hard enough without shaming yourself for them. So have a party—a pity party. Invite your closest, most trusted friends.
Give them these ground rules:

a. They are to allow you one hour to whine, cry, complain, berate your ex, make fun of him, call him names, talk about why it would never have worked anyway, why it was the best/most perfect relationship you’ll ever have. Your friends are there to support you getting it all off your chest.

b. They listen only; they do not participate in the berating, namecalling, etc. Why? Because you may end up feeling embarrassed or angry with them for having never said the truth to you before. And what happens if you get back with the guy? You’ll have to exclude your closest friends, knowing what they really think.

c. After the hour is up, your friends tell you one by one all the great things about you that they love, admire, and even envy. One person acts as scribe, writing it all down for you. Keep this list close by!

d. After you have been replenished with reminders that who you are has nothing to do with who you just broke up with, you ceremoniously burn a picture (or all pictures if you’re ready) of your ex while all your friends watch.

e. As the photo’s edges singe and it curls up into eventual nothingness, say the affirmation, “I release that relationship for my own good. Someone better awaits me when I’m ready.” Your friends say “Amen,” or “Right on,” or “So be it,” depending on your style.

2.Recognize that rejection is a myth.

Most of us have experienced feeling rejected. If we haven’t, we’ve been way too protective of our hearts. But really, can anyone reject you without your permission? Think about this: If you believe you’re smart and someone calls you “stupid,” what happens to you? Not much, right? You probably wonder what’s wrong with that person and might even assume that it’s their own self-judgment misplaced onto you. If you’re not judging yourself, someone else’s judgment won’t stick to you.

So if you feel rejected, you must be rejecting yourself in some way. If a guy breaks up with you, then maybe you weren’t right for each other. But if you pile on self-criticism such as telling yourself you’re ugly, unlovable, too fat, not smart enough, or too old, you are not only inflicting cruelty on yourself, you are lying to yourself about why the relationship ended. Relationships don’t end over any of our self-judgments in particular. They may end because we are self-judgmental, making it hard for someone to love us when we aren’t loving ourselves.

Whether you’re in a relationship or single, stop rejecting yourself, stop coming up with reasons why someone shouldn’t love you. It’s a waste of time and saps the love out of relationships with even the most potential.

3.Give yourself the love you want to get.

Once you stop rejecting yourself with self-judgments, start loving yourself actively. Do more of what you enjoy. Challenge yourself intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Take risks that will build your self-esteem. Notice whom you admire and realize that “if you spot it, you got it.” You couldn’t see this in someone else if it weren’t already within you. Nurture that part of yourself. Become your most extraordinary self and it is guaranteed that others will want to bask in your radiant glow.

4.Release your Resentments

Underlying every resentment you hold towards an ex is a regret you are holding against yourself. The wife who resented her husband for buying a new car without asking her was actually regretful that she didn’t have enough self-worth to let him know that she deserved to be a part of such decisions. The woman who resented her ex for cheating on her really regretted not confronting him sooner when her intuition told her something was amiss.

So uncover your regret because you can do something about it: You can give yourself compassion for having been too afraid to stand up for yourself. Then make a commitment to being more authentic and more courageous now and in the next relationship. The icing on this cake is that, by being more authentic yourself, you will invite more authentic people into your life.

5. (Re)Inspire Yourself

A lot of us wait for “that special someone” to make us happy. When we’re fortunate enough to meet someone who opens our heart, we may inadvertently give our power away by confusing the feeling of happiness with the object of our happiness. The longer we’re in a partnership, the more we may rely on our partner for our happiness and wind up losing our skills at creating our own joy.

Forgetting how to make ourselves happy not only will dull even a once-vibrant relationship; it also makes a breakup harder because we mistakenly believe that our source of happiness is gone. It’s not! Inspiration cannot be bestowed upon us by others, not even by Mr. Right, which means that no one can take away our inspiration either. Ultimately, it is our responsibility (responsibility = ability to respond) to listen to our spirit, the source of our inspiration and happiness.

Even if you aren’t happy about a breakup, you can re-inspire yourself. What did you like doing before you met your last partner? What interests did you develop during the relationship? What environments—physical, intellectual, emotional—buoy your spirits generally? If you like island breezes, then maybe it’s time to plan that trip to the Bahamas. If you like the challenge of climbing snow-covered peaks, find ecstasy in riding your bike through tulip fields, or feel most alive strapping on a snowboard, don’t deprive yourself. If sharing your time or resources as a volunteer does your heart a world of good, don’t just do it; do it now!

Remember that every day, single or partnered, grieving or celebrating, alone or not, we have the right to choose an extraordinary life for ourselves. All that is required is our willingness.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.

She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation,, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes. Contact Jane at

Being Blamed for a Divorce

Monday, October 22nd, 2007
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Dear Jane,
My ex-husband and I divorced after sixteen years of marriage. It wasn’t an awful marriage but I never really loved him. He knew this although we never really talked about it. When he started to drink a few years after our daughter was born, I really felt even more distant from him. We divorced six years ago without much discussion, like distant strangers.
Now I’ve met a wonderful man whom I love deeply. It seems that my ex suddenly can’t stand that I’m happy. (He heard about it from our daughter; I wouldn’t have rubbed his nose in it.) He started calling me telling me every few days, haranguing me that it’s my fault that he drank, that I ruined his self-esteem, and that he wasted the best years of his life on me. I want to know what I should feel guilty about. What should I apologize for?

While we bring all our hopes and dreams into marriage, we also bring all our limiting beliefs, self-judgments, and fears, most of which surface only after the routine of daily life sets in. When your ex-husband agreed to marry you knowing you didn’t really love him, he unconsciously used you to reinforce a prior belief that he wasn’t lovable. (Perhaps you had the same unconscious limiting belief or why would you have chosen him?) This baggage of feeling unworthy of love is what drove him to drink, not you. All you provided was a mirror of a belief he already held. That’s what people do: they mirror back what we already believe about ourselves.
Now, once again, he’s using your current happiness to mirror his belief that he’s unworthy. It’s not your intention to hurt him. He’s hurting himself and he’s the only one who can stop hurting himself by healing his thoughts about his worthiness instead of wasting any more time resenting you. The most harmful thing you could do is to reinforce his unworthiness belief by taking on inappropriate guilt. If you say, “You’re right to resent me. It’s all my fault that you’re miserable and alcoholic,” you are encouraging him to stay blind to what your relationship mirrored within him. If you don’t want to reinforce the belief that he is a “broken cookie” who is unlovable and unworthy, don’t apologize for his unconscious beliefs. Clearly, that won’t help him.
As I write about in Enough Is Enough!, underneath every resentment we hold is an underlying personal regret. Deep down, doesn’t your ex probably really regret not loving himself enough to have created a loving relationship with a partner or even with himself?
So what can you do? Tell him that you hope that he heals the thought that he’s unworthy so that he can have the love he deserves. Tell him that you hope he gets underneath his resentment to his real regret: that he let himself waste time feeling unloved and drowning his feelings in alcohol. Tell him that you are willing to forgive yourself for wasting time similarly.
What you can apologize for is participating in reinforcing his limiting beliefs in any way that you did while you were married. If you were unloving in word or deed, if you ignored him, if you were less than compassionate, apologize for all of that now. Forgive yourself for what your part was given whatever baggage you brought to the relationship. Then encourage him to forgive himself. After that, see him as a whole, deserving, empowered, and healed being. This is the most loving and compassionate thing you can do for both of you.


Recovery from the Inside Out

Jane has been invited to New Orleans to give a workshop on November 18, 2007 for folks whose lives have been forever changed by Katrina. During my stay, I will keep a video diary, which I will upload to my Web site, If you live in New Orleans, you are invited to attend this free workshop. My gratitude to my dear friend, Patte McDowell, for donating her air miles.
Also, I will be donating 120 copies of my book, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Eighth Edition, to New Orleans schools. If you know of a school needing these invaluable books, contact me at

Jane on TV January 10, 2008
Jane will be interviewed on NBC 11’s The Bay Area Today on January 10. She will be talking about New Year’s resolutions. Expect a fresh take on the subject. More details to follow.

NEW! Dear Jane Podcasts
Listen to and download Dear Jane Podcasts. Also available for free downloading from iTunes.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation,, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at

To Stay or To Go

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007
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Dear Jane,
I can’t stand the relationship I’ve been in anymore. My partner and I have been together for 12 years. I always thought we would make it. We have so much in common and we’ve been supportive of each other. But I realize that I’ve been unhappy, without admitting it to myself, for quite a while. I feel drained by how much he needs me and demands of me. Lately, I can’t stand the thought of him even touching me. I fantasize him dying or him saying he wants to end the relationship. I know this is because I don’t want to be the one to make the decision. What should I do? I feel like I’m dying inside.

What I hear coming through loudly and clearly is your built-up resentment. Resentment kills: It kills relationships and it kills our own spirit.

There must be reasons you were not aware of your resentment until you couldn’t ignore it anymore. Usually, this is a symptom of co-dependence, meaning that you have an unconscious strategy of abandoning yourself to please/keep others until you’re so hurt from feeling wronged or fed up that you suddenly “blow.”

If you simply leave the relationship, which is very tempting at this point, I’m sure, you will find yourself repeating this pattern of self-abandonment – hurt – resentment – desire to leave. Even if you stay single for a while, you may create this pattern within friendships. So although I can’t tell you whether to stay or to go, I can support you in letting go of the illusion that leaving is the entire solution. Use what is in your life right now to heal your issue.

So what is the issue? Generally, we are co-dependent when we believe we will be abandoned or unloved if we ask for what we want or need. What messages did you get as a child about being lovable? How much security did you have? How has this impacted your current relationship? What have you been holding back? How have you sacrificed yourself in the relationship? Once you realize that the fear of abandonment and the sacrificing of your own needs is how your current difficulty arose, you can begin experiencing healing.

It takes practice to perceive yourself as worthy of love regardless of whether someone else can or is willing to provide it. Often, we have to address childhood traumas and beliefs to heal this dependency on others for our self-worth. The first step is trusting that you deserve to heal any mistaken beliefs that you are anything less than worthy of respect, compassion, and love. Once you question your painful, limiting beliefs and your old authorities and begin to affirm your own worthiness, you will notice three amazing results: 1. You will stop abandoning yourself. 2. You will no longer feel so threatened by others abandoning you. 3. Others will begin to mirror back to you your worthiness. All of these results will help heal your resentment.

In Enough Is Enough!, I write about how resentment is disguised regret. The resentment you feel towards your partner is really a regret that you haven’t treated yourself with the respect, compassion, and love that you wish he would provide.

So whether you stay in this relationship or leave, acknowledge that you have been a co-conspirator in the setup that has caused you to end up so resentful. Let yourself drop down into the underlying regret. Once you can take 100% responsibility for your part (responsibility = ability to respond) and take 100% responsibility for affirming your self-worth, the dynamics of your relationship will shift. As you love yourself, you will find both peace and clarity.

Jane’s Coaching and Training

Jane Straus is the author of the popular self-help book, Enough Is Enough! See her TV interviews, read her articles, and order the book by visiting

For over 20 years, Jane Straus has coached individuals and groups, facilitated organizational retreats, conducted training programs, and presented keynotes for corporations and nonprofits nationwide.

To get exceptional results from coaching and training, you need someone who knows how to assess blind spots as well as enhance strengths. Jane’s coaching helps individuals and groups maximize their potential. Jane works to ensure that each client receives the wisdom, skills, and support he/she needs to succeed and thrive.

Contact Jane directly at to discuss your coaching or training needs or visit for more information and testimonials.

Healing the Twin Tortures of Jealousy and Resentment

Friday, July 6th, 2007
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How can I let go of resentment towards my mother for being thin and lose weight myself?

I wanted to answer this question because, even if weight is not everyone’s issue, resentment and jealousy torture most of us at one time or another.

Jealousy is an indicator that we believe someone else has something that we cannot attain. We may experience jealousy about someone’s looks, their financial status, their popularity/success, or their personal life. But it all comes down to the belief that we can’t have what they have.

Why would we believe this unless we didn’t think we were equally deserving? So jealousy helps us recognize that we are feeling unworthy in some way.

The question changes from, “How do I get what so-and-so has?” to “How do I get that I am worthy?” What I talk about in my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, is that we won’t necessarily wake up one morning with a belief in our own worthiness. Like any other belief, it takes repetition and practice to “get it.”

So how do you let go of resentment towards your mother for being thin and lose weight yourself? How do you get that you are worthy of having the body you desire?
Before eating or before opportunities to exercise, you ask what I believe is the most healing question you can pose:

“If I knew my worthiness in this moment, what would I do?”

Whether we want to lose weight or experience more love, success, or happiness, I recommend asking yourself this question at least ten times a day every day. You will find that as your sense of self-worth grows, you will suffer less from jealousy and resentment.

Visit for more on how to live an extraordinary life, view Jane Straus’s TV interviews, preview a seminar, order Enough Is Enough!, have her speak at your next event, or contact her about personal coaching. You may also order Enough Is Enough! at

10 Keys to an Extraordinary Life

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

When I am asked to summarize the essence of my book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life, I offer these ten keys. I hope they serve, on a daily basis, to help you create the extraordinary life you deserve.


1. Recognize that you are enduring.
Do you feel that you never have time to stop? Do you distract yourself with eating, working, volunteering, cleaning, etc.? Do you resent that you never have time to do the things your spirit longs for? Do you feel resigned rather than inspired? If you wake up most mornings feeling anxious, bored, or numb, looking forward to some imagined future time when you will feel happier – “when my children finally start school,” “when my bills are paid off,” “when I retire”-then you are enduring.

2. Release your self-judgments.
Your negative beliefs about yourself that are holding you back-you’re untalented, too fat, not smart enough, etc.- are probably rooted in your childhood. Why would you let your “inner seven-year-old” run your life? These judgments are real but they are only as true as you have believed them to be. Give yourself compassion for having carried the burden of your self-judgments. Replace them with affirmations and find new evidence to support your willingness to believe in them. Affirmations are as true as you allow them to be.

3. Question your limiting beliefs.
When you tenaciously hold on to the belief that the world works in one particular way (against you), or that there is only one right way to do something (and you are doing it wrong), or that your actions will inevitably result in a specific and predictable outcome (bad), you are strapping on blinders. Make a commitment to take off those blinders. It will take practice and patience to stay out of “limiting belief territory,” but eventually it will become second nature. You’ll quickly start to see that life no longer feels boring and predictable.

4. Drop your acts.
When you put on the armor of an act, you sacrifice your authenticity for protection. For instance, you think no one can hurt you if you’re tough enough…or that everyone will love you if you’re nice enough…or that everyone will respect you if you never admit to being wrong. Your acts will become your prison. Instead, give yourself joyful permission to become more of who you really are. You will feel free and you will find that who you are is much more interesting than any character you could possibly play.

5. Face down your fears.
What fear is keeping you from living your extraordinary life? Whatever it is—quitting your unfulfilling job, leaving an abusive marriage, telling the truth about your past—you must face it head on. Recognize that F.E.A.R. means “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Think of the worst-case scenario and see yourself living through it with dignity. Get support from others. Create an affirmation, such as, “I am now courageous.” Then, just do it. Remember that no matter what the momentary outcome of facing down your fear brings, your worth as a person is constant and never in question.

6. Free your feelings.
If you feel bored, you are probably ignoring or avoiding something. Make an effort to connect with your feelings. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Check in with your body. Do you feel any tightness or pain? Give that pain or tightness a name, such as fear, hurt, anger, resentment, sadness. If your body feels light and open, give that an emotional name such as joy, love, happiness. Whatever emotions you feel and name, just allow them to be. If they change, let that be. Let yourself be. Learn to honor your emotions. Give them an opportunity to inspire you.

7. Heal your anger and resentment.
When you can acknowledge that your resentments are fueled by your personal regrets, you free yourself to step out of the victim role. It is not that you are letting others off the hook for unkind or unfair behaviors; they are still responsible for their intentions and actions. But the moment you uncover your regrets, you are empowered to let go of resentment.

8. Forgive yourself.
Make a list of the wrongs you have done to others and to yourself. See them as results of survival strategies. Acknowledge the consequences of these strategies to yourself and others. Grieve for your losses and your mistakes. Make amends with yourself and others. Create an affirmation to replace the self-judgments that drove you to using your survival strategies. And remember to treat yourself the way you would want others to treat you.

9. Know, speak, and live your deepest truths.
Commit to being truthful in all you say and do. Realize that being truthful is not synonymous with being honest. Truth is a complex blend of honesty mixed with compassion and vulnerability. When you are “brutally honest,” you are expressing your judgment but not expressing your truth. Your spirit knows the difference between truth and honesty. When you express your highest thoughts and intentions, you are able to live a true life, not just an honest one.

10. Create your extraordinary life every day.
To live in your truth is to allow your spirit’s energy into every cell of your being and into every thought and action. Here’s what this means in everyday terms: When you tell the clerk at the grocery store checkout counter that she has given you too much change, you make truth and spirit matter more than money. When you hear gossip and don’t pass it along, you make truth and spirit matter more than your momentary desire to feel important. When you tell someone you love him or her, unsure of whether he or she will say it in return, you make truth and spirit matter more than your fear of rejection. Make these decisions every day. It takes courage and commitment to be your extraordinary self. You will be amply rewarded with a rich and fulfilling life.

Read excerpts from Jane’s popular book, Enough Is Enough!, watch and listen to her TV and radio interviews on various topics, and sign up for her free newsletter, order her book, or have Jane as your personal life coach by clicking on

Ten Ways to Enjoy Your Holiday Season More

Monday, November 20th, 2006
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The holidays can be a mix of renewing connections and being reminded of old wounds. If you are approaching the season with both excitement and dread, keep these pointers in mind. They will help ensure that you leave family gatherings with the kind of memories you want to recall.

*Talk to yourself before a family gathering

Remind yourself that you are inherently worthy of respect and kindness and that you don’t need to prove yourself at this time of year. Promise yourself that if you slip into defending yourself, your mate, your children, your job, or your appearance with those you have a history of trying to prove yourself to, you will stop as soon as you notice you are being goaded. You can even say out loud, “I don’t want to spend my time or energy defending myself or others. Let’s find a way to talk more productively (or kindly).”

*Keep reminders close at hand of how you are valued
During the other 50 weeks a year, you are often appreciated by those in your daily life. If you are celebrating away from home, bring emails, notes, or letters that contain compliments or loving sentiments, pictures of those who are your support system, and a book that lifts you spiritually and helps you stay above the fray.

*Write a new affirmation every day and repeat it constantly
An affirmation is a positive thought you choose to immerse into your consciousness for a desired result. An example might be, “I appreciate and acknowledge my own strengths.” Or a good one might be, “I now give to myself what I think I need from others.” This could include understanding, compassion, respect, or joy.

*Don’t talk behind others’ backs
Gossip feeds upon itself. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t participate in it. This commitment will help you feel self-respect when you look in the mirror.

*Don’t use the holidays as a time to try to heal past hurts

Being around family can trigger old wounds. But too many people, too little time, too much alcohol, and too much pressure are ingredients for disaster, not mending relationships. If you are harboring resentments, talk about them ahead of time or after the holidays are over. Don’t get caught up in the moment and let loose. It will just make next year’s holiday time that much harder.

*Use win/win communications
You don’t have to stoop to anyone else’s level. If someone in your family behaves badly, try not to name call but promise yourself you will stand up for yourself and tell them how you feel about their behavior.

*Set limits about what’s acceptable for yourself in advance
What are some likely uncomfortable or painful scenarios you will be facing? You don’t have to cross your fingers that nothing will happen, especially if fighting or belittling has been one of your family’s holiday traditions. Decide in advance how you will handle these situations and at what point you will respond rather than ignore, take a break rather than endure, or even walk away.

*Take some time for yourself
We all need to regroup and get centered again. Most of us aren’t accustomed to being surrounded by company 24/7 and our spirits need a break. Go for a walk or drive, read a book, take a nap, or do an errand BY YOURSELF. Take in your surroundings in more detail. While you are alone, don’t rehash past conversations. Do an affirmation instead.

*Shop from your heart
Let go of trying to “balance the books,” figuring out what to get others according to criteria such as what they got you last year or how much they spent. Let your heart find the perfect gift that reflects their specialness without putting you into the endurance of deepening debt.

*Be generous with what matters
Offering compliments, listening well, giving of your time, helping with chores—all of your efforts will make you not only a welcome member of your group but will help you to keep your heart open.

No one can guarantee that this holiday will be the best one ever. But you can decide to stop enduring and make this season your lead-in to a new, extraordinary year.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation,, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at