Happily ever after is what we are conditioned to believe we should strive for. If there was a book with the rules on dating, I am sure that I have broken every one. Our journey to discovering self-worth and self-love is paved with some heartache. The road has potholes that we fall into.
Have you ever felt alone when you were with another person? Have you ever had a heartache? Perhaps there have been instances where you did not feel quite good enough. Have you ever wondered why you feel this way and if there is anything you can actually do about it?
In Happily Ever Now, you will travel with Wendy on her journey from her first love to the present time. You will gain insight as to how an outgoing, athletic, scholastic young girl could have issues with confidence and self-esteem. Wendy will, from her own experiences, share with you some of the potholes you can hit or fall into. Wendy will also share how she climbed back out and some ways that we all would benefit from to help us avoid these potholes.
Throughout Happily Ever Now, Wendy will share some of her favorite quotes as well as some of her own poetry.
By sharing her experiences, Wendy hopes that you will find your road to self-love and self-worth, and be able to live Happily Ever Now.Happily ever after is what we are conditioned to believe we should strive for. If there was a book with the rules on dating, I am sure that I have broken every one. Our journey to discovering self-worth and self-love is paved with some heartache. The road has potholes that we fall into.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.46(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Happily Ever Now
Discover Your Self Worth
By Wendy D Bowen
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Wendy D Bowen
All rights reserved.
The Desire for Acceptance
Have you ever felt like you were alone when you were surrounded by a group of people? Have you ever felt like you were not good enough? Have you ever felt like you don't really fit in? Have you been waiting to meet the person of your dreams, the perfect partner who would make you feel like you were perfect, give you the perfect life, and make your life feel complete? Most people who know me would be totally shocked to discover that I have felt this way (and still do at times).
Growing up as a tomboy, I always felt a bit different. I was not a girly-girl as my niece once pointed out. My preference was to play football, hockey, and other sports with the boys rather than skipping and hopscotch with the girls. Dresses were absent from my wardrobe; they were replaced with pants, T-shirts, and runners. My hair was short and dark, as was my skin. Looking like a little boy worked to my advantage at times, like when my dad registered me for power skating (only for boys) when I was just six years old. He used my middle name, Dale. The story of me getting hit in the head with a baseball bat (I struck the boy out, and it upset him, I guess) is a telling one. I walked home with blood coming out of my head, and a neighborhood girl screamed, "There is a little Chinese boy bleeding to death." That story always gets a few laughs. My father was shocked to see his little white girl with blood gushing from her forehead. Yes, being a tomboy sometimes worked to my advantage.
Being a girl, at times, had its disadvantages. Having to do home economics (cooking and sewing) instead of shop class seemed unfair to me. There was also the time that I tried to go back into class after recess through the boy's entrance because I wanted to hang out with my friends longer (they were all boys).
I was told I could not. Yes, I know that I still need to forgive this teacher. It must have had a huge impact on me at the time, though, because I can still recall who the teacher was.
Looking like a little boy but being a girl also had its disadvantages in the area of self-esteem. Just like everyone else, though, I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to be accepted for who I was, even if I was not like everyone else.
Self-acceptance seems to be one of the greatest challenges that we all face. Do you feel accepted for who you really feel you are, or do you like me and so many others who wear masks when they go out to the ball? We want to belong, so we do what is needed to fit in. But what do we give up, and how do we betray ourselves when we try to fit in?
Discovery of the Ego
What is our ego? We are led to believe that the ego is not a good thing. But why would we all have one if it did not serve a purpose? This was a great debate that Brianne and I had. I kept wanting to find a purpose for my ego. I felt that it was my ego that motivated me to do the best that I could. It was my ego that wanted me to be the best physiotherapist in order to help people. It was the ego that dragged one of my clients out of bed each morning to get her ready for the day (despite the fact that she was depressed about a relationship). She did not want her ex to see her distraught. She wanted to look prettier than the other woman. Of course, it was my ego that was trying to convince me and everyone around me that it has a purpose. It wanted to survive. My ego did motivate me to strive to be the best, but out of wanting to be recognized as the best. As I had this aha moment, I thought That little bugger is sneaky and clever.
Many of the inspirational leaders suggest that we need to live ego-free. I was reading an article in a health magazine about ego versus self. It talked about the ego being our primary defense or self-protection mechanism. In a survival of the fittest kind of life, we do need our ego ready and available. This is the illusion of separation—right from a single cell (which has the primary goal of survival) up through the multi-cellular organisms (animals and humans). An animal's instinct is to survive. Single cells come together to form a community in order to increase their chance of survival. Human beings can also form communities in order to increase their chance of survival. As we come together—and in order to survive—we have to start doing things that consider the whole organism or community. We join with others to increase our chance of survival. The ego, however, would have us believe that we need to be separate in order to survive, not working as a community. Is marriage a way of forming that community? Does marriage end the separation?
"Whom God has joined as one, the ego cannot put asunder."
- A Course in Miracles
What happens when a single cell in the body starts to put itself first, ahead of the needs of the whole body? It is called cancer. The cells start to attack and kill the host, which it actually relies upon for its own survival.
What happens to us as humans when we let our ego demands get ahead of us and don't stop to consider how they affect the other person or the whole community? We get negative interactions. This is not to say that each individual cell or person should not be taking care of primary needs first. Just like when we are flying on an airplane and we are told to put on our own oxygen masks first, (before attending to the needs of others), we need to do this for our own physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual health as well. If you pass out from exhaustion, you can't do your part in supporting the community. We are interdependent, so we rely on one another.
What is in the one is in the whole; what affects one affects the whole. The ego represents the me, not the we.
In A Course in Miracles, there is information on different kinds of love. The ego love is inconsistent, and it is dependent upon what the other person is able to do or not do for us. The ego love would have the other person fill our voids. My own fears of being lonely or my need of outside confirmation of my self-worth or beauty were a couple of my own voids that I sought to have filled by the other significant person in my life.
This is not to say that I did not feel a deeper level of love for these people in my life. I have felt the soul level of love, which is more consistent. It is the love that is always there regardless of what the other person is doing for us. This is the love that, for me, stays—even when the relationship changes.
And then there is the God level of love. God loves everyone all the time. God only wants the best for us, but God allows us the freedom of choice. This level of love is without judgment. This level of love is totally accepting. This level of love is inclusive, not exclusive.
If you are feeling disappointment, bitterness, anger, or resentment when a relationship ends, a good question to ask is, on what level did I love this person? Ego-based love is conditional. Robert Holden said it best when he stated that we cannot get hurt in a relationship if we were not expecting something from the other person.
When I examine past relationships, I do see all levels of love. I said once that I have never fallen out of love. Falling in love with someone has always been a beautiful and magical experience for me. I do believe that all of my greatest and truest loves have been at the level of soul love. That is the love that has lingered. Was there ego love that entered the relationship? Without a doubt there was. Typically, this seemed to rear its head once there was a more physical intimacy that evolved.
A Course in Miracles says the following:
"The body is the ego's chosen weapon for seeking power through relationships."
All of a sudden, feelings of jealousy would emerge where there did not seem to be any before. Jealousy would arise if the other person was not spending enough time with me (ego's expectation and desire). The ego would tell me that I should be worried because, if they were not making the time for me, it might mean they did not love me as much anymore. My ego would feel threatened. Perhaps I was not good enough. It would have to compete for the other person's love, attention, and affection.
The only way that the ego was allowed to enter into what started as a loving relationship from the soul level was my own feelings of inadequacy; my own feelings of not being good enough or worthy of the other person's love; my own doubts and lack of self-love.
Once upon a time, there was no ego ...
What would life be like without the ego? If you really want to know, just watch a newborn baby or young child. They live in the now. They do not judge. They are filled with joy. Just listen to the child's laughter.
Most of us will not be able to remember the time before our ego started to develop because it was likely before the age of five. Wayne Dyer told a story about a young boy talking with his new baby brother and asking the new baby to remind him what it was like to be close to God because he thought he was starting to forget. It is true that we are most like God when we are younger.
Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight describes it as a state of bliss. The left hemisphere of her brain shut down after a stroke. The left brain is the analytical brain. It is the brain of the "world of the ten thousand things," as the Tao says. This description is so fitting because it often feels like I have ten thousand things to do every day and no time to do them all. It is our world of form—who we are in this world. This part of my brain tells me my name is Wendy, that I am female, that I work as a physiotherapist, that my parents' names are Harold and Janice Bowen, that I have an older sister and younger brother. This part of my brain tells me where I live. Without that part of her brain, Jill said she did not know all of those things. But what she was able to do was pick up on the energy. She was energy. She could sense if the energy from someone was positive or negative. When we move beyond the ego brain into our God brain, it is joyous and full of bliss.
Can we get back to this state of being while still living in this world of ten thousand things? Yes, we can. Can we have a love with another person that does not involve the ego? I believe we can, although this is something that I am still working on. I believe that anything is possible. Getting there does involve being awake and aware of what is driving our behaviours and our decisions.
The Princess at the Ball—the Need to Be Special
Oh the thought of puppy love. I can go right back to how it felt when I was kissed for the first time. Okay, so I don't really remember the feeling of being kissed, I just remember wanting to punch the guy for telling me I had a mustache. Talk about a blow to my ego and my self-esteem. It was grade five. That was when I first started to become interested in boys (besides playing with them on the football field). It was the time of passing notes back and forth in class asking, "Do you want to go out with me? Check yes or no."
I don't think I even knew what going out meant at the time. The only thing I knew was that it was nice to have someone interested in going out with you. It made me feel special. This was not the start of the ego needing external validation, but it was the first time I recall wanting that one special person to pay attention to just me. I guess that is what going out is all about. Prior to that time, I was just friends with everyone. I don't even recall feeling that I had a best friend prior to that time—it felt like everyone was the same.
This is the lesson from the Tao's twentieth verse: we are all one, originating from the same source. Somewhere along our path, however, we forget this and start to see differences in people. It is the true master who does not notice that he is different than others.
Our second chakra deals with one-to-one relationships with others (outside of our family). It deals with sexual energy, power, and money. The negative side to this chakra arises when we try to control others or allow ourselves to be controlled by others in our relationships. Allowing this to happen causes a loss of energy from this chakra.
It wasn't until about grade five or six that I started to have more special friendships with my female peers. Still, I don't recall ever having a best friend until I was in high school. There was a group of four females with whom I hung around in grades seven and eight, but we were never best friends with only one person. Prior to that time, most of my friends were boys.
I don't think I really had a boyfriend until grade seven. He was one year ahead of me. I know we dated for most of that year, and we broke it off when he was heading to another school (high school). I did not think it was fair to him to try to have a relationship with me when he was moving into the next part of his life. I can't believe I was mature enough to think that way back then. I knew it was the right choice when he met up with another girl and they became a hot item at the high school. It was still a bit of a blow that I was right, however.
John was the guy I was interested in dating when I was in grade eight. What it was about him, I can't recall, other than the fact that I thought he was cute. I was supposed to go to my graduation dance with him, and I was so excited. This was the reason why I was so devastated when I found out (not by him, through another friend) that John was no longer going to go to the dance. This was my first experience with rejection that caused me to cry. I was devastated. What was wrong with me that he did not want to take me? For the record, he did not take anyone else to the dance—he just did not want to go. But I took it personally.
Now it was between a couple of my other male friends—who was going to take me to the dance? Neither of them said they wanted to take me; instead, they said the other person could take me. That did not make me feel special. Again, I felt rejected because neither one said, "I really want to take you." This was "giving away my power," Brianne would tell me now. Giving away my power entailed letting someone else's actions (or lack of action) dictate how worthy I felt about myself. Watch out for this pothole. It is a big one. I ended up going with the guy I dated through my first few years of high school.
The Desire to Be Perfect
Today I read about
the perfectionist ...
whose greatest fear
For failure is weakness
and he would not like to look weak
in front of you.
Himself cannot achieve personal greatness
for he sets his goals low
and hides from opportunity.
He has no enemies
One mistake and he feels
There is no place for mistakes.
Today I read about
Memories of childhood and yesterday viewed.
I realize her words were true.
I wasn't reading a book;
I was looking in the mirror.
So many of us strive to be perfect. But why? For me it is a way of getting the love that I so desperately want. If I am perfect in the eyes of another person—especially the person I love dearly—that person will want to be with me. It is my ego that tells me that I need to be perfect in order to be worthy of another person's love. If I am not perfect, I experience guilt.
My mother recognized this quality of perfectionism in me at a very young age. I recall being a young teenager and having a conversation with her about my perfectionistic tendencies. I am not sure I fully believed her at the time. My perfectionism does serve a purpose: it helps me work towards certain goals in life and not give up. Also, it has assisted me in getting to the point in my life that I feel confident in my abilities as a physiotherapist. Plus, it motivates me to learn and grow.
What is the cost of striving to be perfect, though? The shadow side to my perfectionism is the lack of self-worth that manifests if I have not achieved something in my life (that perfect relationship, for example). Another negative aspect is the lack of self-acceptance that ensues. This is a huge cost. If we are not able to accept ourselves for who we are, we rely on others for acceptance and approval. If we don't get it from others—or if they take it away—it feels like a huge hole, an emptiness in the heart.
I was searching for that soul mate love we are told we all should have. I was seeking to live happily ever after with that soul mate because I believed I would not be good enough otherwise. My angel card stated: "You are a perfect child of God, and every part of you is wonderful ... You are much too hard on yourself ... Although you enjoy having high standards, it's important to view yourself through loving eyes ... See yourself through your angel's eyes and you will see someone who is a perfect and holy child of God."
Excerpted from Happily Ever Now by Wendy D Bowen. Copyright © 2013 by Wendy D Bowen. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Our Own Journey xxiii
'Part I: Awakening 1
Chapter 1: The Desire for Acceptance 3
Chapter 2: Discovery of the Ego 5
Chapter 3: The Princess at the Ball—the Need to Be Special 11
Chapter 4: The Desire to Be Perfect 15
Chapter 5: The Fear of Loss and Being Alone 19
Chapter 6: Know Thyself 23
Chapter 7: Giving Away Your Power 35
Chapter 8: Living without Regrets 39
Chapter 9: The End of the Fairy Tale 43
Chapter 10: The Princess Tries to Rescue Herself—Independence 47
Chapter 11: Prince Charming—Feeling Loved and Safe 49
Chapter 12: Surviving Turmoil and Change 55
Chapter 13: Love Validated—the Doghouse Theory 65
Chapter 14: Constant Transformation 67
Part II: Climbing out of the Potholes 71
Chapter 15: Forgiveness Is the Key 73
Chapter 16: Be Flexible 75
Chapter 17: Allowing 79
Chapter 18: The Universal Kick in the Butt—Accepting Change 83
Chapter 19: Your Inner Voice—Finding It and Listening to It 87
Chapter 20: Loving Beyond the Ego 91
Chapter 21: Outgrow Your Problems 97
Chapter 22: Escape from the Dungeon—Taking Responsibility for Your Life 101
Part III: Avoiding the Potholes 105
Chapter 23: Mirror, Mirror 107
Chapter 24: Humility 111
Chapter 25: Vulnerability 113
Chapter 26: Knowing What You Really Want 117
Chapter 27: The Princess at the Ball—Every Relationship Is Special 121
Chapter 28: Self-Love 125
Chapter 29: Spiritual Practice 131
Chapter 30: Be of Service 133
Chapter 31: Happily Ever Now—a Promise to Myself 137
Chapter 32: Loving with Awareness 141
Chapter 33: My Interior Castle 145
Part VI: Happily Ever Now 149
Chapter 34: Enjoy the Journey 151
Chapter 35: New Love 155
Appendix 1 157
Appendix 2: Getting out of the Potholes (Getting Unstuck) 159
Appendix 3: Filling the Potholes 161
Further Notes and References 163