Welcome to Awakening Dreams Season 2 by Relating Authentic World (RAW). In this new season, I chat with inspiring women about their self-discovery journey, especially in aspects of improving and deepening the relationships in their lives.
For our first guest in Season 2, we have Serene Lim, a Spiritual Love & Life Coach, who will be sharing her journey on why self-love is so important that allowed her to fully embrace who she is, especially in moving past her divorce and finding love again. Here are some of the key insights from our interview.
As a Spiritual Love & Life Coach, Serene coaches her clients through their life journeys with a primary focus on love and life coaching.
It’s common to feel very lonely in our relationships, but we don’t have to be alone through this. She holds space for her clients to feel their feelings in their relationships. She believes that it’s okay to be alone but we don’t have to be lonely.
It’s Okay To Hold Onto Your Emotions
Most of us are afraid to be lonely, so we tend to try to hold onto our failed relationships, because of the sheer amount of time and effort we have already invested in building those relationships.
Serene shared that because our memories and emotions are so interconnected and entwined deeply in us, it is challenging for us to forget how being in that special relationship made us feel. She reassures her clients that it’s okay to carry this precious memory and emotion through other parts of their lives. They can hold onto it for as long as they want, as long as they use this information to grow and learn from that experience.
Accepting and moving through these feelings usually helps us to feel better, and feeling better is always the first step to healing any situation.
Putting Yourself out There as an Introvert
Serene described herself as outspoken, versatile, vulnerable, strong-minded, and introverted.
It’s interesting that she sees herself as both introverted and outspoken at the same time, and shared that being an introvert does not mean that she doesn’t enjoy interacting with people. She yearns for deep connections and love too and believes that she can’t keep using her introverted self as an excuse to not reach out to others. Over the years, she has learned to put herself out there and be more outspoken to express what she wants.
I appreciate that Serene has consciously learned over the years to become more outspoken. This encourages me that it’s okay to be self-critical and keep on improving myself, as long as I’m not being hard on myself.
Know Your Boundaries and Notice Red Flags in Yourself
Based on how you have described yourself, who do you think shaped who you are today?
All of my past experiences, and my willingness to learn from my past, shaped who I am today. I have been through many relationships and I put in my best for every relationship.
It’s wonderful to have someone you can share everything with. Although I’ve been hurt before, I would never close myself off no matter what happens, because closing myself off would mean that I no longer love myself. I am divorced, so I’ve been through a lot of pain and still I choose to be open to love.
Can you describe your relationship with your ex-husband and how it might have changed your perception about relationships?
Sure. We were together for four years, including the courtship and marriage.
I learned that I had been compromising my own needs and wants in order to save this relationship. It has taught me how I can’t replace the other person’s effort by bending myself backward — both of us need to be willing to make this relationship work for us.
This relationship has taught me to be my natural self and not sacrifice my interests and passions. It was only after the marriage ended that I felt freer to move on and explore more about what I really want in life. I no longer pull myself back from doing the things I love.
It’s so crucial to take to open up and communicate honestly about what you don’t like about the other person. Sometimes, we can get so insecure about our relationships, that we dare not open up and communicate about the things that upset us, because we fear taking accountability for it and we might also fear that we don’t really understand each other in the first place.
For example, my ex-husband would simply keep quiet when I do something that upset him, and he would bottle everything up till he lashed out at me all of a sudden. He assumed that I knew what upset him and that I would eventually change my behavior. It became a vicious cycle where we kept upsetting each other.
I think we all need to know what we want from each other within a relationship. We need to ask ourselves —
What is acceptable to me? And what is totally unacceptable to me?
We need to know where our boundaries lie, so we know which red flags to look out for. Many people tend to avoid seeing red flags because they would rather compromise themselves than lose the relationship.
But if you can’t notice red flags in yourself, you can’t notice red flags in another person.
It’s so important to confide in your loved one as and when something bothers you, so you never have to reach that painful moment when you just burst out and lash out at him/her.
New Ways of Expressing Vulnerability
Men tend to be more physically aggressive and clumsier in expressing their emotions. I feel that this originates from how men and women are raised differently in society. Some women can struggle with expressing themselves clearly too. If you see your partner tend to bottle up his feelings, you can reach out and create a safe space to vent and share honestly. Teach him to vent his feelings in a healthier way, such as going to the gym together before you have a heart-to-heart talk with him.
Both parties need to meet each other halfway and learn to build each other up in the relationship. Find creative ways to achieve a win-win situation together. It is perfectly okay to open up and be vulnerable with each other, to remind yourselves that you chose each other, even during the crazy times in your relationship. Tell each other: “We are together in this. No matter how crazy life can be, you chose me and I chose you. Since we chose each other and still choose each other, why not choose a better way together.
You mentioned vulnerability quite a few times, and it’s your strength too. Can you share why it’s so important to you?
I enjoy expressing my feelings, especially feelings of appreciation, love, and gratitude. I can tell my friends over and over again about how much I love and appreciate them. I know that this can be overwhelming for some of them to hear, and I will try to tone it down sometimes, but I truly believe that sharing our love and appreciation for one another blesses the world and yourself.
If one person starts expressing showing love to another, and this continues to multiply from one to another, to tens, to hundreds, to thousands, to millions, we all start to uplift one another collectively.
I feel that being vulnerable in this way helps to center myself and motivates me to keep on striving in life. Life can be chaotic at times, so why not use your own spark of joy to uplift everyone else and your entire day too?
What is your dream relationship like?
The three aspects that I look out for in a dream relationship are:
- Understanding each other’s love language
When two persons understand each other’s love language, even if you don’t communicate, you know your loved one will be there for you. I love it when my loved ones understand why I do things in a certain way, without me needing to explain my actions.
It’s much more important to listen deeply to one another, trust and support one another than to express yourself. You might not fully understand why your loved one is doing things in a certain way, but you can still give your fullest support. Even if your loved one fails, it’s still alright.
I wish to have this dream relationship where we are happy supporting each other. As long as both parties are willing to take the time and effort to be in sync with each other, I definitely think that it’s possible to have such a dream relationship.
Never fear love, and never fear being vulnerable. Don’t ever let love crumble you, go within and love yourself instead. Love is powerful fuel for our lives.