Written by: Jacqueline Stahl
Side orders just for your enjoyment...
Stories of the Unfaithful...
For two years I led a woman's group focused on love stories, fulfilled and unrequited. The women shared the pain of their affairs, their lover's affairs and the prospect of ending what they thought was the real thing.
The boldest woman in the group was an actress in her early 30's, newly engaged to a shy and talented artist. Her daily schedule was earmarked for workouts, acting classes, therapy, and writing poetry. The group was formed shortly after her mother died of stage four lung cancer. Each week she arrived late, her face powdered with grief and her mouth firing nonstop about the unfairness of life. The other women didn't wilt under her feisty commentary about the "ugly bitches" she met at auditions and the vast amount of alcohol she put away on every shift.
They let her rip until she cried. After one of these emotional breakthroughs, she shared a story of a man that came into a hotel restaurant where she waited tables. He was from Florence, worked for a clothing retail company and traveled to New York every month for one week. Her description of him wasn't flattering, but his shortage of hair and his below average command of English didn't discourage her from venturing into danger.
Over the next few weeks, the women in the group leaned in as she read his emails and texts.
Everyone, including myself was captivated by this foreign Man.
He promised her, "I will wait for you till my last breath." He wrote that he fell in love with her laugh and beautiful eyes. "Do you accept my true sweet words?" He swore, "If I do not honor this divine and powerful force I may as well die. Ciao Bella un bacio!"
One of the women who had recently moved in with her girlfriend laughed out loud: "You have to sleep with him, you don't want his divine death on your conscience."
With every opinion and reflection shared, no one said "end" the relationship. Instead, they encouraged it. Everyone in the group remarked on how much happier she seemed and how radiant she looked.
The little Italian man continued to court her and plan cultural excursions on his days off. They went to the Met, the MOMA and drank champagne at the Peninsula. He planned to take her sailing in Croatia and Italia. Yet, they still had not consummated the relationship.
The fair skinned and provocative Violinist in the group told everyone that this little man was "poetically inserting himself into her life so he has something to look forward to. She's a safe bet, she's engaged, and looking for a distraction from her unsuccessful existence." Then she mumbled, "he probably has a really small..."
The lunging happened first and then a real fist and face slapping fight broke out in my 300 square foot office. Screaming, hair pulling and the C word vibrating off the walls.
"That is enough!" I shouted louder than I ever have in my life. "Sit down and don't say a word until I am finished. This group was not created so we can sit here week after week formulating judgments about one another. We are here to actively listen and genuinely share our lives with each other. We don't always agree with each other, because our personal experiences inform the way we analyze and perceive each moment. Feeling compelled to blatantly hurt or undermine someone is not only unproductive, it is cruel. We are also here so we can safely make mistakes and then apologize and move forward. Let's begin again."
The violinist stood up and walked over to the chair where the actress was sitting and reached out her hand. "I behaved like a little $h!t and I'm sorry. I think I'm jealous of you. You are engaged to a nice guy and you have this International unrequited love affair going on. I have such a boring life and I'm angry at myself...not you. I didn't mean what I said."
The actress nodded her head and said, "He does have a really small..."
The group roared and we were out of time.
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Are you feeling uplifted lately or are you down in the dumps? Who do you turn to when you’re feeling kind of blue? Who gives you that support and lifts you up? We all need support and it’s really important to find people we trust and that we can turn to when we feel sad and blue. So whom are you reaching out to? Who is your support system?
I find that when I’m feeling kind of blue and sad, I can call my best friend and say, “Hey, can I bitch for a second?” And then I’m begging her to make me laugh, because there’s nothing better in the world than laughing. It breaks you out of depression and makes you happier. It works every time. You instantly feel better.
Writing down my feelings and emotions helps to get them out as well. It feels like a therapy session and it's a lot cheaper. Possibly try doing that and see how you feel. Don’t suppress the feelings. Get them out in some way, whether you walk, exercise or laugh with a friend. Once you air it, somehow you feel lighter.
Then there is a wonderful universal law to try. Once you’ve gotten yourself uplifted to a more positive place, share your positivity with someone who is down in the dumps. Reach out and give that person a helping hand or a phone call…just show that you care. One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is reaching out and saying: “I care.” You’ll lift them up as well as yourself.
Take one day at a time. Try as much as you can to be in the moment. Try not to fast forward to next week’s business conference. It is amazing how just by focusing on the moment, everything will take care of itself. Music is magic, turn it on. It shifts your vibration and energy helping you to be more in the now. We need to crawl before we walk and walk before we run, so don’t be in a rush. Take it as it comes, but keep on uplifting your energy and moving yourself in a forward direction.
Just like Gandhi says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” It all starts with you. Take that first positive step. Then give back and get involved in helping others and your community. Whether you are a woman or a man, help extend the chain that links all of us together to heal. This is what community means: to share, support, help and give back! You will feel so good to get involved. Just look at how many lives you will help! Now that is what you call being UPLIFTED!!!
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Founder of i adore me
Everybody thinks fear is a bad thing, but actually it’s one of the best things that can happen to you if you use it to your advantage. Fear moves us forward, it helps us to grow, it pushes us out of our comfort zone and let’s us create new opportunities for ourselves. If we didn’t have fear we wouldn’t grow. And what would be the whole point of life anyway?
Everybody gets fear. Even Tony Robbins says he still gets it. But when fear does come up, ask yourself what you’re afraid of. What are those emotions and feelings? Let them come up inside of you…don’t push them down.
When you start to embrace and feel the feelings of fear, they will begin to dissolve. That’s what’s called pushing through the fear. This is something you really need support with, so look to a coach, a therapist, some of the i adore me programs and let fear be your friend instead of your enemy.
Just yesterday I had my sixth speech at Toast Masters. The topic was “Love or Fear. Which One?” I delivered a message through explaining how when we use fear to our advantage, it really does start to empower us, holding the love as its friend. Just let the darkness of the fear go. Even though it was my sixth speech and I am getting better at all of this, the butterflies and all the fears still came up for me that night and in the morning before the speech. But after I delivered the speech and people thanked me for a new, clever and creative way to explain the difference between love and fear, it brought about a resolution inside of me: I stepped out of my comfort zone, revealing things that I’ve been through that I had been fearful of, to try and help others.
Fear is a really big subject and emotion, but when we use it to our advantage and step out of our comfort zone and speak up and speak out, it starts changing how we feel. Where are you right now in your life? Are you in a fear-based place or a love based place? Maybe you need to let fear push you so you can grow. Use fear to bring about change in you and see how great you will feel after you do it. You really will feel like you’ve accomplished something. Start looking at fear in a whole new light, embrace it with some love, then let it go. *Please comment below and share with your friends.*
Founder of i adore me