The Lost and Found Box: A Provocative Exploration about Rediscovering Happiness and the Real You!

The Lost and Found Box: A Provocative Exploration about Rediscovering Happiness and the Real You!

by James Wadley


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The Lost and Found Box: A Provocative Exploration about Rediscovering Happiness and the Real You! by James Wadley

The Lost and Found Box: A Provocative Exploration about Rediscovering Happiness and the REAL You!
Whether you lost a portion of yourself in a romantic relationship or forgot what really makes you happy, The Lost and Found Box is a tool to explore who you used to be, who you are, and who you could be. This book will help you identify those "treasures" in your box to empower you to give yourself the best of you!

"This book reminds us of how easy it is to get lost in our relationships and careers. However, after reminding us, Wadley offers analysis that is sure to assist the reader in finding and reclaiming that which was lost or given away."
F. Carl Walton, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Development Lincoln University

"If you are willing to admit that you lost a part of yourself along the way in life and are ready to get back what you lost, this is the book for you."

George James, LMFT Therapist, Speaker, Professor & Consultant / Twitter: @GeorgeTalksLLC

"The Lost and Found Box is a great relationship compass to stay or get back on the right track to a healthy relationship. Dr. Wadley has written a book that should be required reading for all couples."
Walker Tisdale III Founder/Publisher

"Clever approach with helping people empower themselves first, then their relationship. Great advice for anyone seeking to be happy and loved."
Reggie Ware CEO of

"In one very engaging and thought provoking read, Dr. Wadley has managed to accomplish what no Road Atlas, Thompson's Guide or even the most technologically advanced GPS system on the market can do, and that is truly locate and identify who and where we are in a relationship."

Michael A. Courts Social Media Expert

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781468543544
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 01/26/2012
Pages: 180
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.41(d)

Read an Excerpt


A Provocative Exploration About Rediscovering Happiness And The Real You!


Copyright © 2012 Dr. James Wadley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4685-4354-4

Chapter One

Where Did I Go and What Happened To Me?

We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.

François Duc de La Rochefoucauld (French Author)

Will I ever have a chance to meet the person you become when I'm not around?


People spend inordinate amounts of time, money, and emotion trying to figure out how to be true to themselves. They buy books, attend costly self-help workshops, and confide in experts as they try to find out who they really are. Many people assume that being true and honest with themselves will allow them to be happy in their intimate relationships. They assume that the process of exploring themselves will bring forth a higher level of satisfaction. Moreover, it is assumed that not having a sound understanding of oneself may increase the likelihood of being dissatisfied and possibly emotionally stagnant in relationships. If your partner would be okay with you presenting your authentic self, would you REALLY be comfortable with sharing who you really are?

Many people have difficulty being honest with their partner, family, co-workers, or peers. Specifically, they have a hard time talking about what they like/dislike, expressing their recreational or leisure interests, or even sharing their personal pursuits. Because of this struggle, they find it difficult to be themselves because they may have spent months or years minimizing who they really are. Your desire to overcompensate for your misgivings comes from feelings of fear, anger, resentment, and anxiety. Your self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect become compromised in an effort to forge or maintain a relationship that is built upon the "ideal" you rather than the "real" you. In some relationships, you may find it easier to tell your partner "I'm interested ..." or "I like what you cooked ..." or even "I really enjoyed that television show ..." than it is to say "I'm not interested ..." or "The meal didn't taste that good ..." or "I fell asleep during the movie ..." because of your insecurities or fear of failure.

Over time, you may find it difficult to figure out what makes you happy or you may not have any idea what you really want out of life. You may not know what kind of characteristics your ideal partner should have or if your partner is the right person for you. You may find yourself pondering how/when your partner can provide for your needs/wants that you have not been able to identify for yourself. It seems hasty to expect your loved one to provide for your needs when you haven't done so for yourself. When you don't know what you want, your partner has to try to "figure it out" or "read between the lines" of the relationship to meet your wants or needs. Expectations go unfulfilled and aren't congruent with your real desires. There may be a compulsion to shift, control, or force circumstances to get what you think they want, which makes it nearly impossible to have a fulfilling relationship. If too much guesswork is needed between you and your partner, there may be a communication challenge to be addressed and improved. Encourage your partner to be honest and be supportive of him/her to share and listen. Very few relationships thrive when one or both persons are untrue to themselves. Finally, it is not enough for you to be true to yourself. Be honest and encourage honesty because it will take two healthy and whole individuals to create lasting intimacy.

A healthy relationship should provide you with the support and freedom to be who you are and engage in activities that allow you to be happy. Accepting that you should be honest about yourself and that you deserve others to be honest with you creates relational opportunities that allow the best of you to be shown.

We all know somebody who admits they gave up an important part of themselves when they entered into a meaningful relationship. Perhaps you have done it yourself. What did you choose to give up to "fit" into the relationship? Do you miss that part of yourself?

Sometimes, we imagine that our partner expects us to change. At other times, we decide our partner needs to change. In either, is the person doing the changing happy about changing or does he or she feel pressured to change? Is the change in alignment with who you really are? If not, you will start losing yourself.

We see the cycle unfold time and time again: one person meets someone he/she is interested in, pursues a romantic relationship, gets into a committed relationship, and then tries to change his/her partner.

Your partner was drawn to the "you" that you were when you met. The chemistry you exuded was like a scent that drew your partner to you. It was a blend of all that you were. Your lifestyle, your habits, and your personality created a unique signature essence that drew your partner to you. The true you is what they wanted. Unfortunately, it is common for a partner to expect the person they fell in love with to make so many changes that in the end they both fall out of love. When you become someone you aren't to please someone who loved you the way you were, you have lost invaluable fragments of yourself and compromised your personal integrity. You probably did it for what you thought were the right reasons— you willingly changed to please your partner. But once you transformed, you lost that sparkle that drew them to you in the first place. Are they happier with you now that you have changed? Chances are they are not.

Or, perhaps they are happy with the change you made, and now they have another change in mind for you ... and another. One morning you wake up and look at the stranger staring back at you in the bathroom mirror and ask, "Who are you?" because you no longer recognize yourself. These examples are not as rare as you may think. Humans have a tendency to take what they love and remake it. That tendency is at the heart of the phrase "I love you, but ..." These questions beg answering: are you so faulty that you need a constant remake? Is your partner out of control when it comes to issues of mutual respect in order to act out their unrealistic expectations?

How often have you heard someone say, "I married her because I loved her, but she had some bad habits/likes/dislikes. As soon as we got married, I started helping her change, but she hasn't been cooperative. She's acting resentful, and now we fight all the time."

There is a dual dynamic at work here. Let's say Partner A is the magnetic one with charisma. Partner B was dazzled by her, but now that he "has" her, wants to tone her down. This is very likely caused by Partner B's insecurity or fear he won't be able to keep her if she remains a magnetic beacon. Not only is Partner A trying to change or resisting change as requested by Partner B, but Partner B is now exhibiting an entirely different personality than he did when they were dating. During the dating process, Partner B was enamored with Partner A. Once the relationship was settled, Partner B became controlling, critical, and manipulative. You now have two people who are no longer the same people they were at the beginning of the relationship. You can easily conclude that this relationship needs help if it is going to survive.

Many people find themselves at this crossroads—change to please your partner or be true to yourself. Not everybody can or is willing to be stuffed into a box—basically be downsized—to please another. In a perfect world, a partnership flourishes when both partners can just be who they are. When each of us can be the person our partner fell in love with, there is no need to change to try to please anyone.

The ancient Nordic people believed that a healthy bond could only exist when each partner was a whole person in their own right and a breeze could blow between the two. They entered into a union not because either one of them needed the other, but because they wanted to share their lives and themselves.

This above all: to thine own self be true.

Shakespeare (English Poet and Playwright)

* * *

There is another version of this concept to consider. It isn't always the partner who demands that you change. Many times a person fears they cannot be loved as they are and starts changing themselves in ways they think will make them more attractive to the person they desire. The other person is unaware that their new romantic interest is rewriting themselves as the relationship develops, adapting their likes and dislikes, hobbies and habits to what they think will be more likely to help them keep this new person in their life.

Imagine a relationship where each person is honest from the start and one's truth is honored without being challenged. Imagine a relationship where both partners feel comfortable enough to say or do anything they want and it is respected. Imagine a relationship where you can be you without apology.

When did you allow yourself to become invisible? When did it become okay for you to shelve your wants and desires? Being dishonest about who you are and what you want can discredit you and chip away at what makes you essentially you.

Even if you willingly became invisible, are you a happy person today? It may feel as if your life is missing something. No matter how fortunate you feel about your life in general, something just isn't right. What's missing may be a key part of who you are. It's like looking at a jigsaw puzzle where several pieces are gone. Or even worse, pieces that don't belong there—from a different puzzle—have been stuck into the empty spaces. You see the potential and the beauty of the puzzle pattern, but without all its pieces it cannot be the masterpiece it was meant to be. Every time you look at it you are disturbed by the missing pieces.

It's time that you find yourself again. Let your voice be heard. Where else would you search but in the Lost and Found Box? That's where you are likely to find those aspects of yourself that you lost, gave away, hid, or ignored. It is in your box that you may find the voice you stopped using and the dreams you allowed to fade away. It's time for you to ignite passion and intimacy—with yourself!

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7 (Biblical Author—New International Version of the Bible)

* * *

Melinda was young and passionate about changing the world. She attended ceramic and dance classes and tried to live life to the fullest. She was not career driven, as she had several other activities she was passionate about. Melinda found herself changing jobs regularly and always appeared to be unsettled.

Melinda's friend Thomas was down to earth, focused on business and getting ahead in the world. He lived a very structured, linear lifestyle.

Though the two were different, Thomas liked Linda just the way she was, although he didn't always understand her. He never asked her to change because he fell in love with her unique perspective on reality.

Melinda wanted to make a life with Thomas and worried that he would leave her for someone more like himself, so she unconsciously started changing. They married, and five years later, she was just a shadow of her former self, helping run their business and taking care of their three rambunctious little girls who kept her busy all the time. She had lost touch with all her ceramic and dance class friends and was reaching a crisis level within herself. She didn't know where the real Melinda had gone. The "old" Melinda had faded away, and she hadn't noticed how much she had become like Thomas. When Melinda told Thomas that she was unhappy, he couldn't understand why. He disapproved of her desire to start attending ceramic and dance classes because she needed to stay at home with the children when he was at work.

Melinda knew if she didn't do something to reclaim herself and be true to her own inner pattern, she would become hopelessly lost. She was scared. She attended therapy and eventually talked Thomas into going to a session with her.

He was shocked to learn she had consciously given herself up because she feared losing him. He was even more disturbed that he had been so distracted and engrossed in business he hadn't noticed how she had changed and the toll it had taken on her. She had faded away before his eyes, and he never knew it.

For Melinda, the realization she had been living life from a fear-based reality shocked her because it was so foreign to everything she used to stand for. First was the fear of not being able to keep Thomas in her life and then the fear of losing herself forever. She knew she must find a way to reclaim herself and be happy again.

Together, they decided that Melinda had to find "Melinda" again or their marriage wouldn't survive, and Thomas supported her all the way.

How Do You Find Yourself? Make a Plan

Before you set out on this journey, take a moment to answer some questions that will help you define what you are searching for.

1. What are your goals? Identify your short-term and long-term goals. If your plan is to become the author of a worldwide best-selling mystery novel, this is obviously not going to happen overnight. While you work hard at achieving this long-term goal, provide yourself with smaller undertakings along the way so that you can achieve success and remain encouraged and excited about your ultimate goal. Small accomplishments are vital to maintaining determination. Humans need to see progress and know things are moving in the right direction. Find ways to feel good about your successes and enjoy being proud of yourself. Decide on a reward that is meaningful to you, and indulge yourself guilt free when you attain your goal.

2. Are you willing to ask for help? Successful people rarely make it to the top without assistance from someone along the way. Everyone needs help at times, so don't be afraid to speak up and ask for it. This is not a sign of weakness. It tells those close to you that you trust them enough to let them help you achieve your goals. Enlist family and friends to provide support. Ask for help from experts and those who are involved in whatever you are striving to accomplish.

3. Can you be realistic instead of idealistic? Perhaps you have always wanted to be an artist, but you have trouble drawing a stick figure. Acknowledge that you might need some training or go in a slightly different direction. You may sign up for some classes in drawing or watercolor painting. After some real training, you can determine if you have enough talent to sell your art at local craft shows. Or perhaps you decide to study an art form that can be learned, something like Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. If you're passionate about art, but just not very talented, consider working in an art gallery or teaching art history. The point here is to know your strengths so that you can capitalize on them and realize there are always options. Don't set goals you know are unattainable. This will only set you up for failure, and seeds of self-doubt and inadequacy will be planted in your mind. Seek out something you can enjoy and pursue it!

4. Are you ready to make behavioral changes? What behaviors are you exhibiting that are not working or need to be changed? Do you need to quit smoking? Quit gossiping? Stop eating fast food? Initiating these changes may not be easy, so this should be a specific, uncomplicated list. What do you need to stop doing, and what do you need to start doing? Try to find a new positive to replace each negative you release. For example, if you stop eating junk food, start eating more greens or get yourself a massage or spa treatment, like a facial once a month. Always replace a "loss" with a "gain" because this is the language that humans respond to, and it puts a positive spin on our efforts. We love to feel rewarded, and what better way is there to recognize our accomplishments?


Excerpted from THE LOST AND FOUND BOX by JAMES WADLEY Copyright © 2012 by Dr. James Wadley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. 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


How Do You Find Yourself? Make a Plan....................8
Start Small....................13
What Keeps You From Being Passionate About Yourself?....................15
Your Career Path....................17
If You Can't Find the Answer....................19
Don't Hang On To What Is Not Working....................21
What Does This Have To Do With Your Relationships?....................25
Self-Sabotage and Escape....................25
Avoidance Behaviors....................30
Developing Resentment....................34
Anxiety and Depression....................36
Loss of Self-Worth, Self-Esteem, Self-Respect....................37
Letting Yourself Go....................38
What Are The Benefits of Finding Myself?....................39
What Is Keeping You From Your Happiness?....................47
So What Is Keeping You from Your Happiness?....................51
Your Bad Attitude....................52
Your Appearance....................53
Your Baggage....................54
The Benefits of Being Happy....................57
How Do I Make Myself Happy?....................58
On the Outside....................60
On the Inside....................61
Do What Makes You Feel Good....................61
Surround Yourself with Happiness....................62
Happiness and needs....................62
Why It's Important to Take Control of Your Happiness....................69
Communication Safety....................74
People Pleasers....................112
People Who Believe Their Truth Is Universal....................115
What If You Don't Have ALL the Answers....................118
Finding Other "Stuff" in the Lost and Found Box....................121
and Working on the Negative....................124
Why Failing Is Important to Success....................133
Being Proud of Me....................139

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