I will not be a victim of anybody or anything

I love this statement and although many of us think like this, when something happens to us it is the first place we go: why is this happening to me? what did I do to deserve this? Victim mentality is so common that it sneaks upon on you without even noticing it. The key is to snap out of it by realizing you can do something about it. The ‘how do I change this’ mentality is a great antidote to the helplessness of victimhood.

When my ex husband told me he wanted to separate, my whole world fell apart. For two main reasons. One, because I had not seen it coming at all, and second because it became obvious that while I was building a home for us, he was thinking of a different life that didn’t include me or any of the plans we had made as a couple. How did that happen to ME? What did I do to deserve this? But after some months of starting a new routine with the kids and looking to move to my own place, I realized that I had the chance to start anew. Whatever wasn’t working before, was being left behind and even we had the opportunity to now be parents of the same kids without having to make it work as a couple. And the more I was planning the rest of my life, the more I could see the possibilities and feel excited again about my life.

In the exact moment when I was being the victim of someone that was leaving me and had betrayed me, I realized I could choose to see it all as a new beginning. This made me curious to know how is it that some people can actually shift from being a victim to being someone in a new path that can choose to change the life they’re in.

I found out that there is a very interesting relationship triangle defined by Stephen B. Karpman as the drama triangle. It can be applied to many power relationships and it’s really hard to break to free the victim. The triangle is formed by the victim, the abuser and the rescuer. So when the abuser X does something wrong to the victim W, then X feels bad and comes to rescue the victim W, transforming into the rescuer and the victim feels like she caused the situation so W feels bad for the abuser X making X the victim, and the triangle goes on and on forever. But, not forever. The trick to get out of the drama triangle is to enter the empowerment triangle. It starts by realizing that you can interpret the world and what happens to you in many creative ways.

One way to reinterpret the drama triangle is how David Emerald proposes to break the drama triangle by using the ’empowerment dynamic’. In his new configuration, the abuser is now the challenger, the victim is now the creator and the rescuer is the coach, asking questions to help the creator. So it would go something like this. The challenger forces the creator to confront a difficult event, the coach comes to the creator and asks ‘how can you do something to get out of this situation?’, and the creator realizes that she can rise to the challenge and find a way out in a creative way. I love this new perspective of the triangle and how by changing our interpretation of the world we can better ourselves and find creative solutions, thus giving us back our agency and autonomy of thought and feeling.

Another way of breaking out of victimhood is to find the purpose in your life. What gives meaning to your existence? When you’re able to see the big picture and how you play an important role in the world, you realize that nobody can make you feel less. Asking yourself these big questions is not for everybody, but you can start small. Think about your day before starting it and ask yourself what is you purpose for today, and little by little you can tie things together and find a bigger purpose.

Right after my divorce, my goal was to help my kids suffer as little as possible and to start our new life with stability and love. One day at a time is the best we can do it, any of us can do it. But like I said before, as soon as we go down the victim mentality it becomes harder to see how we can change things around. Be aware of your mindset when a problem comes up or your ex tries to make you feel powerless. You are not powerless, you can choose how you react and act in your life.

Self-confidence and divorce

After divorce it’s hard to feel like yourself again. Your self-confidence took a big hit and you shouldn’t minimize it. Mostly, you feel tired and the failure of your marriage weighs on your mind -of course, it wasn’t a failure, but it feels that way sometimes. If you have kids, you probably are also stressed about being able to be a good parent now that they’re in shared custody, or you have most of the custody.

For me, it hit me after some months of living in my new home and once I started the routine of the shared custody. I thought everything was great, I was happy with moving on finally from the messy separation and the constant back and forth to making decisions for every little detail with the kids, school, new routine for the weekends, etc. But in reality, I was doing a lot and not thinking about myself at all.

I was keeping busy trying to compensate in every little thing , aka my self-confidence was super low, because I felt I wasn’t enough. Of course, I couldn’t keep it up for long and one night I collapsed. Little by little a started re-building my confidence by paying attention to my new self and how she wanted to do things now that life had been reset with new rules and responsibilities. Here are 5 steps I took to rebuild my self-confidence and my clients love:

  • Realize how far you’ve come: your kids are starting to feel normal in their new routines, you have a new home, the relationship with the other parent is finally clear and you’re starting to rebuild as the parents of your kids
  • Put yourself in the list of priorities: don’t forget that you have to take care of yourself as much as your kids, your job, and others. This will help you start reconnecting to the person you’re becoming and leave behind who you were. Be gentle and patient with yourself.
  • Pick up a hobby or new activity: this will bring joy in your life outside of the family life. You are a woman that is now single and needs to enjoy life as much as you can. You will meet new people and feel free from all the responsibilities that now lie on yourself as a single parent, even if it is twice a week.
  • Tell others that you’re divorced: people will listen and know that you might need help from time to time. Don’t hesitate to ask, you’ll be surprised how much people will understand that you are adjusting to a new life and want to help you.
  • Find time to set up a routine to work on your mindset: it could be journaling, affirmations, listening to inspiring podcasts, anything that makes you feel good and inspired and will give you that extra energy to learn new things and feel confident in yourself again.

Believe me, things don’t change overnight, and you have what it takes to be your self-confident best. Self-love and self-compassion go a long way. If you don’t know how to do it, talk to your good friends and listen to how they treat you, then do the same when you’re alone. After all, you are the badass mom that got divorced and is building a new and better life for your family. Celebrate this every time! I believe in you and every woman that fights to be her best self. Love and hugs!

Exciting News! Coaching Program: Self-Care Goddess

In this program I show you how to make time for yourself to feel better and have more energy to tackle your busy schedule. Do you feel you run from one task to the next and you don’t have time to even think? You know what you’re missing: time to recharge.

Believe me, I was there: doing it all after my divorce, thinking I could do everything and keep things going as if nothing had happened. But one night, as I was preparing dinner, I felt so overwhelmed and tired. The kids were fighting again and I just couldn’t take it anymore, I collapsed to the floor and started sobbing quietly. What was happening? Why was I so overwhelmed?

The answer was right in front of me: I was not taking care of myself. The days I had the kids with me I was running after them and when they would go to the father’s house I would do everything I didn’t do while they were with me. So the more it went, the worse I got: I was more and more tired and overwhelmed. As moms and professionals we find it very easy to get busy with everything that needs to be done, find solutions to all problems, and then some. But we struggle with taking a pause, checking in and taking care of ourselves.

This program is designed exactly to help you put yourself high on the list of priorities. The one person that can make the most difference in you life is… you guessed it! YOU! So you need to take care of yourself as well as, and even better, than you take care of your kids and your job. In this program, I’ll help you find exactly what you desire, because most of the time we have no idea what it is and we just keep running around helping everybody else. You’ll learn how to make time to take care of yourself and create habits that will sustain your lifestyle and your own care. Finally, by putting yourself first you’ll get in touch with your worth and your whole life will improve.

The program is 4 weeks and you get a video a week to work at your own pace, and we have 2 calls, one at the beginning to get to know each other and one at the end to assess your progress and clarify any questions.

Take action today! Click the link below and register to receive all the details. You deserve this! Don’t wait any longer to realize you are worth it and taking care of yourself will impact your whole family. Let’s work together!

Coming out of divorce feeling lost

Yes, you are divorced now. After going through the intensity of resolving your separation and starting the shared custody of kids you should feel great, right? Instead, you feel lost and are still in pain? Do you feel like a failure because your marriage ended? It’s normal. Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to feel this way. You’ve been in a marriage for years and after divorcing you’re single again but everything is different. You have kids now, and an ex-husband and you just moved into your new house maybe and it’s all on you. It can feel overwhelming.

But let me tell you something, you are on top of the list of priorities, after your kids, nobody else. And there’s tons of accomplishments to build up your new self-confidence and self-esteem:

  1. Reconnect with yourself, as a woman, as a girlfriend, as a person: take this part as an adventure, find old picture of your younger self and connect with your energy and your capacity for dreaming big. You’re still the same girl, just more experienced. Which means you’ll make better decisions in the future.
  2. Friends and family are your support group, talk to them: this one can feel obvious but sometimes we forget that telling our story to someone that loves us is liberating and makes it easier to move on. Beware of the people in your life that won’t be ready to help you yet. Sometimes, people have weird reactions to a divorce, they feel it’s about them or that they can judge you. Stay away from them, at least for now.
  3. Take time to think, feel, enjoy, cry: a big part of being able to move on is to mourn the end of your marriage. It was a project you had in common with your ex and it didn’t work out. Feel sad about it, it’s ok. You can revisit why it didn’t work, how you felt when things were going down. But all in all, make it about scanning it to learn from it. We can choose to feel like a victim and be helpless or feel like we did our best and even if it didn’t work, it was worth it
  4. Find out what you love, wish, dream of, miss, will fight for: soon you’ll be ready to take on new challenges, have fun thinking about what excited you before getting married, what were your craziest dreams, what did you look forward during your marriage that didn’t work because of him. Again, take the time to think, really think about your likes, your wishes and have fun imagining the wildest possibilities.

What’s important at this point is for you to be patient with yourself and start finding the fun of reconnecting with yourself and discovering what will be your next steps. Eventually, you’ll start feeling amazing and even want to date again. But don’t rush into anything, taking the time to reconnect and feel good again will pay off big time!

Divorcing with kids: they come first

I know how hard it is to separate. Your whole world crumbles down and you’re left standing, bleeding over the ruins. Wow! That’s how bad I felt when I realized my marriage was over. You’re heartbroken, sad and lost, but you’re still a parent and, let me tell you, it’s even harder for your kids. They don’t understand how their parents don’t love each other anymore. And on top of that, they probably feel guilty and think the parents will stop loving them also. On top of this, they can’t really put in words what’s happening to them, so basically they need you both a lot. I’m not saying don’t take care of yourself, that’s coming next week btw, I’m saying pay attention to your kids and remember that they’re in pain also.

I have always been an advocate for many different types of families. There’s the family we’re born into, the family we choose with our friends, the family we marry into, or enter when we have very close friends, etc. There’s families with one parent, with two moms, two dads, and so on. The perfect family of four, is just a fiction. I know this to be true now. The problem is that the alternative families do not enjoy of the same status and privilege in our society. All this to say that you are now a new family of two parents living separate and providing for their kids that will probably live in two different houses every other week. Also, if you haven’t separated yet, be aware that there are many ways of doing this: maybe you keep one house and the parent come and go instead of the kids, or you and your ex decide to stay in the same house, with different rooms and have your romantic relationships outside. There’s not one solution, there are as many solutions as you can think of and if it works for your family, go right ahead. Don’t be afraid of what others might say or think.

I know there’s nothing simple about divorce but here are some tips to help you figure out your next steps with your kids:

  1. Keep it simple, and explain to them what happens, don’t hide it from them. It depends how old your kids are, but I still recommend that you explain to them what’s happening. Of course, do it at at their level: be age appropriate with your explanation.
  2. Extremely important: tell them it’s not them, it’s you and your spouse that have decide the marriage is over and you will have two houses, or whatever arrangement you’ll have from now on. One thing parents are good at saying but not doing is tell them it’s ok to be sad and then be sad with them. You’re all in pain and avoiding showing it is not going to make it go away. If anything, they’ll be wondering why you’re not sad.
  3. Pain is unavoidable, manage it by listening to them and being there for them. But also remember you can still have fun with them. I know this, because my kids were young and after explaining to them what was happening, they said can we go play now? And it was ok. And even when I was very sad and emotional, I would take some time to play and have fun with them because it wasn’t the end of the world, it was the end of our marriage and the beginning of a new family. So allow yourself to laugh also, even if inside you’re still sad.
  4. Your kids are not weapons, don’t use them against each other. Sadly, this one is very hard for some parents. They find that using the kids to hurt the other parent is acceptable and very often do it without realizing how bad it is. Even if I understand that the competition between parents is tough and we all fall into it sometimes, we have to keep reminding ourselves that they didn’t ask for this, they are along for the ride but are not responsible for what’s happening. As you start your new life and shared custody, avoid sending messages to the other parent through them or don’t grill them with questions about the other house just to know what is he’s doing or if he’s met someone new. They’re dealing with their own problems and challenges.
  5. Spend some time as a family at least for an afternoon from time to time, they need to know that you are parents together and you’re still a family, just different. I know this one can be very challenging and avoid it if you will end up fighting with the other parent in front of the kids. But eventually, when things get better and you’re in better terms it’s amazing to be able to still spend some time as the new family you are.

If you can follow these tips, trust me, you’ll be making big steps towards a new normal and getting out of the pain. It’s impossible to know how long it’ll take, but I can assure you it’ll be faster this way. Also, remember that a family is not a static entity that never changes. Even if you had stayed married, things would have changed at some point: it’s not the same to be parents of babies, than it is to have teenagers. So, don’t be hard on yourself and keep moving forward, the end of the tunnel is in front of you not behind. Keep doing your best all the time, and when you know better, do better.

Divorcing with kids: becoming separate parents

Divorcing is not easy and it’s painful. When you have kids you’ll always be in contact with the other parent, at least if you have shared custody of the kids, of any sort. It’s not easy to move from being a couple to being parents of the same kids. But there are ways to make through the end of the couple and becoming a team of parents. Think it his way: you both love your kids, you both decided to have and take care of them, you both want to be a part of their lives going forward. What better than to finish your couple issues once and for all and start getting ready to parent your kids. Here are some tips that you can use to transition from your couple to being parents after your divorce:

Step one: take care of unfinished issues by having the conversations about the issues that were the hardest. You’re already out of the marriage, and even if the other person won’t change the way you want them to, you’ll still have to be in contact to discuss many things regarding your kids. Clear the air as much as possible of old recriminations based on a life that is now over and move on. This is not easy, and you might need help from a therapist to go through it. Believe this is one of the best gift you can give to your family. Having a friendly relationship between parents will make the pain easier to carry, for everybody.

Step two: Find common ground for the future of your kids. You’ve been parenting together for so long, come up with the things you share regarding the kids: start small, you love them, education is important, and so on. As you start living separated, you’ll start seeing some things under a different light. Make sure you keep your conversations about the kids, just between the two of you. Don’t include the kids in the discussions, unless they’re older (like 18, I mean). Keep the adult matters between you two. Making the kids participate will get them confused and you might undermine the parental authority of the other parent. At the beginning, also, you might fight some and you don’t want your kids to suffer more.

Step three: Make sure you understand that having two houses, the kids will have different house rules, talk to the kids together and tell them what to expect. For me it was realizing I didn’t care much about rules regarding the house as my ex did, so in our new house, I was a lot more relaxed about it. The kids had to learn that we had different rules in different houses. Explain it to them: just tell them, this will not change, but these things might, and it’s all right. They’re smarter than you think and they’ll try to take advantage of the differences. Being a team with your ex will makes dealing with these situations a lot easier. Communication between the parents is so important.

Step four: Do you best all the time, do not compare to one another, you’re different people that can’t be married, it doesn’t mean you can’t still work in the same team as parents. Something really funny happens after a divorce, and it’s that each parent wants to be the chosen one. I was there, and fought it consciously to avoid more pain for my family. You should do the same. There is no winning game to be played. This is your new life and your kids need both parents to grow and thrive. Keep it simple tell them you love as often as you can and never talk badly of the other parent in front of them. Remember they love you both!

Step five: Have some family days when you all get together, even if it’s a lunch or a walk in the park. The younger your kids, the better if you can spend an afternoon playing board games together and still have fun. I can’t stress enough that because you got divorced you didn’t stop being a family. It’s just a different type of family, not better, not worse. The more you tell yourself this, the more you’ll understand that the best you can do is keep a good relationship with your ex in everything related to your kids. Believe it pays off greatly.

Do not get stuck in the drama. It gets better with time. Divorce is painful for everybody, the sooner you get on with a new routine and new standards, the sooner everyone will come out of the pain. Time is a healer, but we need to do our best all the time. If you need extra support, you can contact me, or another counsellor, talk to friends, go to a support group for divorced parents. Do not isolate yourself thinking you’re the only one going through his painful time, reach out always.

What does success look like to you?

I was listening to an interview with two amazing women, Dr. Zelana and Lisa Bilyeu -if you don’t know them, check them out on IG- and they were talking about one of my passions: how do you make change happen and then last. You know when there’s something bothering you, either in a relationship, or in your job, and you feel paralyzed. You want to break free and make changes, but you can’t. There’s a pull towards keep doing the same things, even if you’re in pain. I find that many times, we stay there until the pain is to hard to stand or when we get a wake up call by getting sick or in an accident.

But in the interview, I love that Bilyeu mentioned two of the things I firmly believe are key to make changes in our lives and have them last. One, is your mindset. And the other is to be aware. Both depend on you being very purposeful when you do things. If you don’t want to change and you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone, that’s amazing, stay there and enjoy the life you’ve chosen. But there will not be another life, you can’t start with regrets or blaming the world for not letting you be more or better. It’s your choice, you accept it and life that life. When you want to grow, though, and change and keep getting better and challenge yourself to grow, then get out of your comfort zone and be all in. That’s when you have to work on your mindset and be aware of what you want and things will happen.

In the end, it comes to how you want to live your life. Like I was saying in the training to be aware of what triggers the anxious thoughts, the same goes with fear or stress. When you feel you are losing control and your stress or anxiety take over, you ask yourself: why am I feeling this way? what is causing me to feel this way? As you get clarity on the things that make you feel like that, you can control them. You can always decide how your are going to react to things that show up for you. Feelings are not different, you feel them, acknowledge them and do something to be aware of what causes them. Then you move on. You are in control of your reaction and you can take action to be better at it. If it doesn’t work at first, you keep trying and you’ll get better.

Later, in the interview they talked about what would you say to your younger self? And Bilyeu said that she wouldn’t tell her that things would be fine, because she felt she needed to go through the tough times to be who she is today. I sort of agree with this, the hard times really shape who we become, but I also disagree. Because we will always find a hard time at some point when we keep moving on and trying new things, things that scare us, meet new people that can open doors or throw us back to old patterns, so that’s not the most important thing to avoid or to know from the beginning. What I would totally tell my younger self is to trust my gut, to believe in myself like nobody else believes. I would tell myself to keep writing and keep nourishing my soul and spirituality. And to keep being brave and not settle for a life that was never what I was dreaming of, but what others were expecting of me. Others that were completely irrelevant and didn’t love me. That’s what I would tell myself if I could go back. And you know what, it’s exactly what I tell myself now. Because younger or older, the only moment we own is NOW. Our dreams of the future help us motivate us to move forward, our past taught us lessons, but the only time we can actually DO and BE is NOW.

So to answer the question of the title, success looks like anything you want. For me it’s become the author I dreamt of when I was younger and connecting to others and helping as many people as I can everyday. What does success look like to you?

Webinar: Master your anxious thoughts

I’m so happy to announce that today, December 19, at 2 pm ET, I’m going live in Instagram with a repeat of my webinar to help you master your anxious thoughts. I’ll also talk a little on how to apply the same techniques with your kids. I will announce after the webinar the launch of my mini-course to train yourself to use tools to master your anxious mind. As we master our mind we gain control over emotions like fear and anxiety.

I’m very excited about this because it’s part of my main theme to set up healthy habits to have a more balanced and happy life. All parents can benefit from tools that will help them identify the moment the anxious thoughts arise, but also set in place coping strategies that will be ready to use in any of these moments.

The mini-course will be affordable to all because I want to help as many families as possible, especially in times like these when we are all feeling uncertain and fearful. And the reason why I’ll charge for the mini-course is because I want people to commit to the tools and get all the benefits by working towards having healthy habits.

Challenge yourself to grow

Last week was a first for me in my business and it got me thinking how we can grow by challenging ourselves. As I often say, we are comfort creatures. We easily fall into routines that maintain us in a high level of comfort.

As we grow up, we like routines because they’re predictable. And there’s nothing wrong with this. We need predictable to feel safe, to create a sense of belonging, a sense of control over our lives. The problem is when we get so comfortable that we can’t see a way forward. Or when we see a way to grow and get to better standards, but we are too lazy to actually do what it takes. So, for me doing a whole week of lives is out there, out of my comfort zone. I decided it was time to do it because I enjoy so much talking and connecting with others. I know it’s not the same as being in front of a room full of people, but it’s pretty close.

By the end of the week, I was so happy that I had done it! I enjoyed so much having the experience of showing up every day of the week and delivering a presentation to help people struggling with anxious thoughts. Seeing how well it went, my goal now is to create an ebook that people can download and keep practicing the tools to train their anxious mind to become calm and focused when they want. Also, I’ll include the videos of the lives as a mini course for everybody that couldn’t be there last week and would love to try some of the tools I talked about in the training. This week of being vulnerable and pushing myself to do something uncomfortable has taught me that I can do anything I dream of. And this feeling is amazing because it’s proof that I’m progressing in my business and as a person, and progress equal happiness!

How do you challenge yourself? How do you get out of your comfort zone and go forward with your dreams? Remember, being comfortable is great and serves a need for certainty and belonging, but we also need a level of uncertainty and adventure in our lives. Stay strong and dream big!

Webinar Master your anxious thoughts – Video Replay

The webinar replay is ready!

In this webinar I will give you tools for mastering the anxious thoughts. Why the thoughts? Well, the truth is that our anxiety can be created by external and internal factors. The external one are easy to identify: anything that might put us in danger in our future or makes us feel uncertain about our safety in the future. An example would be, if you’re in the woods and you hear a noise behind you you’ll be anxious because it could be a bear. So this is an external cause of anxiety, and we can identify it easily and as soon as we see there’s no bear, the anxiety goes away. We deal with it externally. The internal causes are mainly our thoughts when they focus on something in the future without real facts to support it. This type of anxiety causing thoughts are the ones we want to keep on check and master to minimize the triggering without a real cause. Because these thoughts are not based on facts that we can check, it’s harder to calm down the anxiety cause by them, since we’re left to our own imagination.

Just a quick list of the emotions that can arise under stress: anxiety, panic, terror, fear, confusion, irritation, anger. These are some of the emotions that cause the fight or flight reaction in our body. Just to give you a quick definition of what an emotion is, I took this one from the book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski: Involuntary neurological (it involves the whole nervous system) response that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. They have a cycle that takes place in your body. So the emotion that we can be rationalized, is not just in our head, it’s also affecting and involving our whole body. Some body reactions are crying, shivering, feeling a hot wave in your gut, etc. But the key idea in this definition is the idea of the cycle. The Nagoski sisters say that once the cycle starts, you need to let it complete the cycle till the end. They describe emotions as going through a tunnel, you need to go through the emotion to come out of it. And in my course I will include some of the ways to complete the cycle for some emotions.

Like I mentioned above it’s harder to deal with the stressors created by our own thoughts. And that’s why I want to give you today some tools to calm down those stressors that are ‘created’ by your thoughts and are internal and not external. The anxious thoughts that I’ll be talking about in this webinar are:

  • Obsessive thinking: how is it possible? I always do the same!
  • Catastrophizing: we think the worst right away, if she didn’t call me back it’s because she died!
  • Shaming: blaming who you are instead not blaming something you did
  • Self-criticism: attacking yourself and your choices harshly, you’re the worst friend ever!

You can watch the video below and start using the tools right away.

I hope this helps you control the anxious thoughts and keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming Live course with more tips to master your anxious mind. Registration will begin on Monday, November 9.

Have a great day!