Personal Growth

Finding Self-Love is Like Walking a Labyrinth

Labyrinth with shelter in the center

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”-Bernice Johnson Reagon

When I began to realize many people in committed relationships find it challenging to be honest and authentic with their partners, I began to question my clients to understand what was happening.  I discovered that vulnerability and transparency, two crucial components of finding self-love and true intimacy, were the biggest challenges.

People disclosed that they feared being ridiculed or rejected if they were seen by the ones they loved.  What came from that finding was my first book, The Honey Jar: Tips and Tools For Couples, which includes my formula for finding self-love.

Before we can experience a true and loving relationship, we must accept ourselves just the way we are, and self-acceptance/self-love is a challenge in and of itself – it’s like walking a labyrinth.

The Formula to Finding Self-Love

Courage + Faith + Trust + Honesty = Self Love

Courage to Face Your Fears

Self-love requires courage. It takes courage to be yourself, allowing your mate to see you. That can’t really happen if you’re not authentic.  When you’re afraid that your partner may not feel the same way about you, once they learn your other facets, then consider yourself lucky. That person isn’t your “Person.”

Faith in a Higher Power

Did you know that every time you conspire negative feelings about yourselves or your capabilities, you deny there’s an Infinite Intelligence, (God, Source, The Universe) that created us, and breathes us each day?  Although you can’t see it, it’s here and it has your back, and that is what we have faith in.  Our higher power.  The quote below is from The Honey Jar, stated by one of my former students.

“Faith can hold us together and tear us apart.  The day I found faith within myself was the day I gave up.  I gave up trying to be someone I wasn’t, trying so hard to please others, and more over, I gave up on the belief that something was wrong with me.”

Trust in Yourself

Once you have faith, there’s trust.  Trust and faith go hand in hand, as they are twin components operating on different planes.  Trust is on a human, horizontal level of emotions, and feelings.  It works in this dimension, we trust in people or things.  We trust in our faith as we navigate the world on our journey.  You’ve got to trust that you’re good enough.

Being Honest with Yourself

Honesty in all relationships is the foundation of any relationship, especially the one you have with yourself.  Until you can lay all your cards on the table, and look yourself in the eye when it’s just you and You, there’s work that must be done.

“Self -love requires you to be honest about your current choices and thought patterns and undertake new practices that reflect self-worth.” -Caroline Kirk

Courage to face your fears, faith in a higher power, trust in yourself, and the ability to be honest with yourself is the formula that will take you to the center of the labyrinth, where you’ll begin to find self-love.

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What Is True Intimacy and How Do We Experience It?

A couple lovingly holding each other which leads to true intimacy.

The meaning of true intimacy isn’t sex and bodies rubbing. That comes after honest sharing. True intimacy is eye to eye -soul to soul; feeling, seeing and knowing each other on the deepest level.

Often-times, people begin relationships backwards – sex first, then intimacy. Getting to know the person first usually results in more exploration and the desire to commit. The media sometimes gives only the romantic version of relationships; emphasizing the physical aspects of what it means to be close to someone. Couples that know how to explore other boundaries of satisfaction may have a better chance of staying together.

Research done by Dr. Anik Debrot and Dr. Amy Mulse, emphasizes the importance of emotional connections experienced with both partners. “Affection and the quality of the connection with a partner are a crucial part of the positive effects of sex in romantic relationships.”

After conducting four different studies on comparing the positive and negative effects of affection, each experiment had the same results. Partners reported high levels of relationship satisfaction when they expressed their intimacy for each other-using random acts of love (cooking for each other, surprise dates, or even cleaning up the house). When there was a lack of intimacy, it caused relationship distress (most common reasons couples seek therapy). How do you regain intimacy in your relationship?

Steps to Experiencing True Intimacy:

  1. Talk openly and start slow
  2. Keep it interesting
  3. Ask for what you need

Talking Openly

Communication is a key piece of healthy relationships. Healthy couples build a structure of language to help each other on a daily basis. Example: It’s vital to communicate about maintaining the house, or who’s responsible for dinner on Monday nights. Set time aside to discuss feelings and emotions that are important to you. This will help you remain connected to your partner and grow together, over time.

Keeping It Interesting

To keep things interesting-satisfy number two, of the Six Human Needs – Uncertainty. Create some variety and excitement in your relationship. I always suggest you step out of your comfort zone and attempt new things. That may include going to the theater, taking an extended day trip, or packing a romantic picnic.

Ask For What You Need

Your partner can’t read your mind (even though we wish they could). It’s your job to communicate how you feel emotionally and what you need from your partner at any given time. If you need help, it’s your responsibility to ask for it. This is a part of both talking openly and being comfortable with communicating with your partner and keeping things interesting.

If you find that asking is causing problems for you and your partner, don’t give up. This could just be due to the way you are communicating it to your partner. Remember that everyone has a different type of personality and likes to communicate in certain ways. It may take some work but by trying different ways of saying the same thing you will eventually figure out what works for you.

More Tips to Experience True Intimacy:

  • Bide your time and practice discipline.
  • Wait for sex if you’re just starting a relationship
  • Get to know your potential mate before you take the next step.

It may sound old fashioned, but it still hurts when someone feels misused. No one wins.

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Are You Considering Living Together?

Couple sitting in front of boxes after deciding that living together was right for them

I know –She’s just what you’ve always dreamed of. He’s your soul-mate, and the two of you are meant to be together. Living together seems like the next practical step, right?

Before you consider moving in with your partner, first ask yourself why you want to live together.

Passion and insecurity are sometimes the reason why couples move in too quickly. Research shows that over the last 50 years, cohabiting without being married has grown over 900%. There are more couples that are “testing the waters” before plunging into a lifetime of marriage.

Then there are the couples who are split because one of the units wants to live together, and the other is okay with the way things are.

Research done by Kuperberg shows that those who are committed to cohabitation, or marriage between the ages of 18 and 19 have a 60% rate of divorce, and 40% between the ages 21 and 22. The rate drops down to 30% when couples are over the age of 23.

Con’s of Living Together

  1. Broken engagements
  2. Increased pressure to marry
  3. Premature familiarity

Since the 1970’s, there have been various studies providing evidence that living together (premarital relations and living status) can undercut a couple’s future happiness. The average couple who lives together before they are married have a 33% higher divorce rate than couples who wait to say their vows.

Pro’s of Living Together

  1. Companionship
  2. Financial stability
  3. No pressure for more

Living together can offer many comforts, such as companionship, financial stability, and the ease of mind of not being pressured into something; but the problem-as research suggests- is that young people jump into marriage without consideration and realization of what it consists of.

Marriage consists of time, devotion, patience, passion, and most importantly a foundation of friendship. Marriages, like any relationship have their ups and downs. When a couple experiences strife, and rough patches in their relationship, they need to know how to rely on their love and friendship, as they are more than just lovers.

More Tips on Living Together:

  • Think your decision all the way through
  • Weigh the pros and cons of cohabitation
  • Be honest with yourself about your reasons for wanting to live together
  • Make sure you’re certain.
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Random Acts of Love- Not Forgetting About The Little Things

Relationships are a delicate balance of time, trust, and dedication to one another; but sometimes the little things that matter are forgotten. We get so busy with our lives – careers, school, children – that our feelings of love take a backseat.

What happened to the attention to the details? To keep a relationship strong, we must remember to:

  1. Laugh together
  2. Appreciate our partner
  3. Give each other compliments
  4.  Spend quality time together

Laughing Together

Although it’s important to focus on how much time and effort we put into talking, sharing, and building relationships with others, it can seem impossible to always show them how much we care. People often overlook behaviors that keep the relationships flourishing. Things like slipping a cute note into your lover’s pocket, bringing flowers home, preparing your partner’s favorite meal, or wearing an outfit you know they enjoy seeing you in. These “actions” can go unnoticed, but they are the intricate parts that help to build the fortress.

A study conducted by Laura Kurtz, from the university of North Carolina, found that, “couples who laugh more together tend to have higher-quality relationships.” She found that women laugh more than males and men’s laughs are more contagious: When men laugh, they are 1.73 times more likely to make their partner laugh.” Laughter is a supportive activity that brings couples closer together.


As time passes, couples start to lose the spark. The secret to a long, fulfilling relationship is to continue to actively appreciate your partner. To build a sturdy relationship, start by cherishing the small moments (making dinner, saying thank you, or being supportive through difficult times).


Complementing each other creates a healthy atmosphere within the home. Unfortunately, as couples become disconnected the complements disappear. To keep the passion going in your relationship, remember a small compliment can go a long way; make your partner feel beautiful, handsome, sexy, and wanted.

For a Free Discovery Session with Dr. Wielenga click the link below

The Coaching Kiva






Dr. Lateefah Wielenga


Your Bridge to a Life of Satisfaction and Fulfillment,



Phone:(562) 895-0516


Article by Paul Newcombe









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Happiness-who is responsible?

Happiness starts by taking personal responsibility. Unless you’re one that’s usually joyful, there are things you can do to have that euphoric feeling. Happiness is the attitude we take when approaching life and unforeseen environmental factors. Although good cheer may be something many seek, we can decide to experience it in much of what’s around us. If you’re having difficulties being happy, here are a four (4) steps to get you on your way.


Start your day by claiming it – how do you want to experience it? (Dr. W.)

Look for the goodness that surrounds you. (Dr. W.)

Think positive thoughts

Surrender all your fears (by realizing you create them. Dr. W.)

Each day we awaken, we have the power to decide how we’ll react and interpret events. Our mind is a powerful tool that we can use to create serenity and peace, happiness and joy. We can also use it to visualize our dreams and capabilities. Having confidence in your abilities can bring you happiness.

If you begin thinking negative thoughts, ask yourself how the negative situation can become a positive one. It’s your responsibility to think the thoughts that bring you good feelings. To start your journey to happiness, remember that it takes practice. The ability to control your emotional responses, requires tranquility, peace and an active imagination. What do you really want in your life to look and feel like? If you currently experience emotional dilemmas while facing minor events, try following the four steps above. If that doesn’t help, perhaps it’s time to speak to a professional.

Here at The Coaching Kiva, Dr. Lateefah Wielenga can teach you how to maintain emotional positivity to face the bigger events in life. “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present.” (Jim John)(Call a Professional today)

For a Free Discovery Session with Dr. Wielenga click the link below

The Coaching Kiva






Dr. Lateefah Wielenga

Your Bridge to a Life of Satisfaction and Fulfillment,


Phone:(562) 895-0516

Article by Paul Newcombe (Dr. Wielenga contributed)

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You are all you’ve got!

This week, the coaching Kiva is going to talk about the importance of staying true to yourself. There is one commonality that we all share; we start the journey alone, hence ending the journey alone. Our bodies are a vessel, the hands our instruments, and our heart is the gateway to eternity.

Unfortunately, losing yourself is one of the easiest things to do. Life’s path can seem narrow, be difficult, and overwhelming. Losing our insight of who we are is a dangerous thing. It’s in the low points in our lives that we truly discover who we are; but remember, you are all you’ve got! It’s very crucial to analyze yourself, and the 0direction you are heading – often. Are you currently struggling with a personal demon? Follow the 4 steps below.


1)Think about the type of person you want to be.

2)Don’t pay attention to others’ negative opinions of you.

3)Surround yourself with good, and successful people.

4)Love yourself.

Who are you?

Our ability to make personal choices can be very complex, because the appropriate path isn’t always clear. Our choices define who we are as a person, and what we value. The quickest way to get back on track is to evaluate your decisions within the past 6 months, and see if your values and choices match up to your goals.


In argument, self-confidence is the most important characteristic. As a shark can smell blood, people can sense the dubious indecision of the meek. Confidence enables us to conquer and evolve within our journey.


Healthy Affiliations

Have you ever heard the phrase-you are who you hang out with? The individuals we surround ourselves with can either make us or break us.

Love yourself

How can you expect others to love and value you if you don’t love yourself? Love yourself and embrace who you are. When you love and appreciate you, everything else will fall in place. You are all you’ve got! Remember?

(Talk to a professional today.)

For a Free Discovery Session with Dr. Wielenga click the link below

The Coaching Kiva


Dr. Lateefah Wielenga

Your Bridge to a Life of Satisfaction and Fulfillment,


Phone:(562) 895-0516

Article by Paul Newcombe

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The Ease and Flow of Life

Life as we know it, is an unknown, mysterious force that breathes a fruitful yield and bittersweet dissolution. No matter what obstruent obstacle, life’s delicate heart beat will continue its rhythm to create the ease and flow of life.

In our existence, we are but humble students; a commonality in awaiting our destination-in the end.

Do you ever worry about where your life is heading? Do you stress what’s next? The viability of a person, is the ability to grow, and learn from the energy around us.A mortal lives not through that breath that flows in and that flows out. The source of his life is another and this causes the breath to flow.” (Paracelsus)


Life’s silent whisper gives us the ability to live under her ever-changing environment. The beauty of life is its uncertainty; the unknown of what will come next. She guarantees us a life full of adventure and life lessons to create character. Though you might get knocked down a couple times, you are a sturdy tree with a purpose and destination. Instead of concentrating on the when and how, concentrate on the now.


One of life’s greatest lessons is the knowledge of how to get back up and push on. Though she is beautiful, life can also be like a swift wind; if you don’t hold on, you’ll be blown away. “It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” (Roy T. Bennett)


All around us is energy. Every living organism produces energy called ATP. When you breathe air, and move, you create energy (friction). Every action has a reaction; this also applies to how we live our lives. There actually is a thing called, “negative energy”. Dr. Masaru Emoto’s plant experiment proves this.

Each Plant was given identical water and sunlight. One plant was told positive things every day, and the other harsh negative words. Within 2 weeks of the experiment, the positive plant was growing tall and green. The other plant(negative), stayed thin and had a brownish tint to the leaves. This experiment has been duplicated many times with the same results. What does this show us? Thoughts, words, sounds, colors, all of these things are a unique form of energy, vibration, and frequency. (Dr. Masaru) 


Life is precious and delicate. The viability of life’s energy is our ability to grow and learn in a complex universe. If we would only remember to trust that which breathes us – perhaps we could relinquish our resistance, and relax into the natural ease and flow…

If you’re experiencing any emotional challenges, call a professional.

For a Free Discovery Session with Dr. Wielenga click the link below

The Coaching Kiva     





Dr. Lateefah Wielenga

Your Bridge to a Life of Satisfaction and Fulfillment, 


Phone:(562) 895-0516

Article by Paul Newcombe

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The Effects of Loving Yourself

Self-confidence, self-worth, beauty, and happiness gravitate inside-out from our souls. A flower is not beautiful because it’s flawless; it’s perfection comes from the days of growth and development. To create the perfect flower entails pruning and giving it nourishment. A person’s physiological and spiritual self is a lot like flowers; requiring much finesse and care. Can the forest of birds be heard if there’s no one listening? Can a hurting heart open up to another?

We are in a world where people have been taught to put others first, but one must love his neighbor as he/she loves himself. This is a simple way of saying, before one can help another, they must help themselves.

Put Your Needs First

To be able to have loving relationships with others, you must first have a loving relationship with yourself. When you don’t love yourself, you are dismissing the importance of your own needs. Self-love begins with identifying your needs first, and making them a priority in your life. Doing what you feel is right for you, and not succumbing to the expectations of others or society. When you begin to put yourself first, self-confidence will follow, which leads to self-love.


Loving yourself pushes you to take care of your needs. By learning to give to yourself what you deserve, you start to develop into the person you want to be. You can celebrate the beauty and freedom of being true to yourself, gaining a familiar sense of who you are. This feeling of self- worth gives off an in toxifying aroma that will attract others who share this gift.

You Can See

The effects of loving yourself will allow you to identify what’s healthy and what’s not healthy for you. You’ll gain the clarity you need to understand who you are. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ( Thich Nhat Hanh)

Be proud of who you are and don’t let other’s animosity and prejudices cloud your self-perception. Never underestimate yourself. Without self-confidence, there is no self-worth; without self-worth, you won’t feel the beauty life is offering.


Would you answer these questions?

Are you loving yourself?

Do you put yourself first?

Do you believe you matter?

(If you’re experiencing these problems, call a professional.)

For a Free Discovery Session with Dr. Wielenga click the link below
The Coaching Kiva
Dr. Lateefah Wielenga
Your Bridge to a Life of Satisfaction and Fulfillment,
Phone:(562) 895-0516
Article by Paul Newcombe
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Help! Knowing When to Ask For It

Last week the Coaching Kiva covered how to approach the issue of feeling stuck; this week
we are going to further expand on the idea of when you feel, “all is lost.” Whether the crisis
involves finances, relationship, or work -when is it okay to ask for help? The answer varies by individual, but the best practice
to pursue is to ask for assistance when you don’thave the tools, or the resources you need to solve the problem.
This means that you believe you have exhausted every knowing alternative. When asking for help, always have a positive attitude. Thomas Jefferson once said, “nothing can stop the man, with the right mental attitude; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”When asking for help be humble, open, and follow through. The example given below apply to relationships as well.
Asking for help can be a humbling experience. When asking, you need to set all pride aside and push past the fear of being a burden. Ask for assistance from those who are established and driven. There is nothing worse than a blind man leading the blind.
Open and Receiving
When you are asking for someone’s help, never criticize or attack someone’s bid of assistance, and expect it not to be easy. For example, Tom has hit a rough patch with his finances and he is unable to pay the rent. Tom has two options; try to borrow more money, becoming deeper in debt, or to ask friends or family for help. Tom’s father suggests that Tom goes back to school to get a degree. In turn, he will cover the rent until he completes his degree. Tom rejects his dad’s offer because he thinks he is too old and school is a waste of time.
Tom’s pride and animosity has not only denigrated the offer from his father, but the possibility of future help. No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude (Alfred Whitehead).
Follow Through
No one wants to help someone that makes empty promises and commitments. When accepting help from others, do not expect it to be easy (ex. Tom going back to school). Do not be the start-or-stop guy/girl that never finishes what he or she started. In your personal life or in your relationship, remember to acknowledge that you need help, put your pride aside, and stay in gratitude. You’ll be amazed at the results!
(If you’re experiencing relationship problems, call a professional.)
For a Free Discovery Session with Dr. Wielenga click the link below
The Coaching Kiva
Dr. Lateefah Wielenga
Your Bridge to a Life of Satisfaction and Fulfillment,
Phone:(562) 895-0516
Article by Paul Newcombe
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Sex, Love, & Food: The inticacies of what’s delicious.









Colette walked into Tin Roof restaurant in Manhattan Beach. She liked the ambiance and the energy of the people.

“This place feels good to me” she said to her best friends Lauren and Pamela.

“I’m glad we made this decision.”

As they walked into the restaurant there was a bar to the left, many people were seated there for the wine tasting event. Tables had been rearranged to accommodate the customers. The restaurant has an outdoor patio area at the entrance and an outdoor seating area on the south side next to The Vintage Wine Shoppe, almost connected to it.  When looking at Tin Roof, one can see its Spanish style with its red-tiled roof and bougainvillea. When Colette surveyed the room, she saw a lot of good looking guys. Bruno Mars’ Nothin’ On You was playing; the lyrics made her feel special. She gently moved her body to the rhythm of the music, noticing the smell of garlic and various spices that filled the room with comfort. The murmuring of the guests helped Colette feel all too pleased that she’d decided to attend this wine tasting. She released a happy sigh, looked at her girlfriends, and smiled.

When they ordered their wine flights, Colette glanced over the shoulder of their server and saw a really handsome gentleman. There was just something about him. It wasn’t his height or his physique that impressed her. It was something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.  What was it? she found herself asking. Colette directed her attention to her girlfriends,

“When you get a chance – and don’t be obvious – look at the tall guy standing at the fourth table. He’s wearing a white-silk shirt, tan colored slacks and brown Armani loafers. Is there something about him or is it just me?”

Pamela casually glanced at the guy approvingly.

“He is nice,” she said.

“But so are many of the guys in here. Look at him.”   Pamela said as she pointed out another nice-looking guy with sexy, piercing eyes.

“I agree, coming here tonight was a great idea,” Lauren said.

“Leave it to me to get us out of our social rut. But I’ve got to say a second time that that guy is so …”  Colette said, and her voice trailed off.

She couldn’t articulate her feelings about the guy across the room.  His skin was smooth with a golden glow. He had a cleft chin and his brown eyes twinkled when he laughed. His body was strong. It was easy to tell just by the way his loose-fitting clothes draped over his sinewy body.

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