20 Difficult Truths About Love + Relationships from a Life Coach

The vagaries of love and despair keep our lives in high drama, don’t they? If we could just figure out how to crack the code on healthy, peaceful coupling, we’d have it made. Many times, my clients come to me in the midst of a tangled, painful relationship gone septic, or they are in heartbreak hell and trying to conduct a postmortem on the relationship.
20 difficult truths about love and relationships

 

I have a naturally optimistic view of love, relationships, and the abundant opportunities that are available for all of us to find a wonderful partner. However, there are roadblocks and misguided perspectives that come up frequently with my clients when we sit down to figure out what went wrong. This is a straight-talkin’ cheat sheet of love and relationship truths that I hope will give you clarity, support, and resonance.

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1.

Some people put up with a lot of BS in relationships and think they are proving their love and loyalty. But really, they are putting up with BS because they are addicted to the other person, afraid to be alone, or addicted to how they feel as the Savior, “good one,” or hero/heroine. The shit-taker goes through high-highs, low-lows, confusion, starvation, self-loathing, vindication, relief, depression, and victory. If this is you, I have a message: love doesn’t feel like this.

 

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2.

He is smart, has a decent job, has a wonderful family (that loves you), and would make a great dad some day. But he is often emotionally remote, depressed, and can’t see how awesome he is.

She is sweet, sexy, understands your need to zone out on the weekends, and makes your life fun. But she quizzes you about other women, talks constantly about the past “cheaters” in her life, and would rather complain about her lack of confidence than do something about it.

Lack of self-worth from either partner will screw up your relationship, even if there is a lot of potential.

 

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3.

Love and partnership comes in many forms. You can make a great life with someone who is not your soul mate.

 

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4.

The French say that in every relationship there is the “Kisser” and the “Kissed.” That means in every relationship there is a “Nurture” person and a “Freedom” person. These roles can switch, depending on the dynamics of your partnership (in one relationship you might be the Nurture person, in another, the Freedom person). Surrendering to your partner’s needs will give you more of what you want in a healthy relationship. Communicate about this thoroughly.

A very important new book on bonding styles: Attached, by Levine and Heller. I’m recommending it to all my clients.

 

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5.

The breakup sucks for your ex too, but for different reasons.

You guys shared everything together and he’s got to be hurting as bad as you, right? This will be the first harsh reality check: Something that is happening to both of you won’t be something you can bond on.

 

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6.

The next bus leaves in 5 minutes. Translation: If you’ve given it a fair shot and your partner is not the right fit for you or doesn’t treat you well, move the hell on. There is an abundance of love, opportunity, and partnership possibilities in this Universe ready and waiting for you.

Replace your scarcity mindset with an abundance mindset and stop imprisoning yourself in a perpetually mismatched (or abusive, or luke-warm, or dysfunctional) relationship. Let go of the banana, Magilla.

 

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7.

Loving someone, but not being IN LOVE with them, is a real thing. You have to decide if you can deal with that.

 

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love doesn't feel like this

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8.

You can love someone even if you don’t love yourself. It will be difficult, and it will make for a problematic and arduous relationship, but the statement: ‘You can’t love someone until you love yourself’ is a lie. Work on building love, trust, and respect for yourself…and know this is a process for both you and your partner.

 

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9.

‘No one can make you happy except yourself’ is another lie. OF COURSE people can make you happy. They can make you immensely fulfilled, profoundly directed, ignited, and inspired – sometimes more than you could for yourself. Why are we afraid to admit that? The self-sufficiency pendulum needs to swing back into balance here. I don’t suggest being vampirically co-dependent on others for your sense of personal happiness and security – but hell yes – other people can make you happy…deeply and deliriously so. LET THEM.

 

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10.

You can have more than one soul mate in your lifetime.

 

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11.

I have coached people through infidelity, sex addiction, money problems, possessiveness, jealousy, anger issues, lack of sex drive, and sucky communication skills. These issues were sucking the life out of the relationship, but were not the deal breakers. Most things can be worked through.

The #1 relationship killer is the offending partner’s refusal to get help. Refusal looks like: stalling, making excuses, admitting/crying/doing nothing (see #14), and blaming you.

 

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12.

The highest level of attraction will occur when you meet someone who closely matches the composite sketch of your primary caretakers (mom and dad). This visceral attraction filter lies in your subconscious. Consciously we want to be happy, subconsciously we want to be healed. It’s called imago matching and accounts for most ‘soul mate’ relationships. Imago matches can be deeply healing, or, if you don’t know you’re in an imago match – devastatingly painful (think Romeo and Juliet).

 

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13.

Stop bad mouthing your ex to others. Every time you create him/her with your language, you are creating an aberration of them in the room. They get invited back into your life the very same way they were invited in when you were creating them with love and excitement….you are conjuring energetically. Love and hate are two sides of the SAME coin. (Hint: Your goal is neutrality.) – Elizabeth Gilbert gives some fine advice here.

 

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14.

Don’t be placated by a partner who is a good admitter/apologizer. No one gets a parade for admitting their shit and saying sorry. Credit is given to partners who take action and change their behavior.

 

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15.

Sometimes the only purpose of a marriage is to bring some amazing, sweet kids into this world. If you and your ex can compose co-parenting vows to replace your marriage vows, you can create “one family living in two homes” – which is what my ex and I did. Our kids are happy, well-adjusted and secure, 9 years post-divorce.

 

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16.

Do not attempt to marry someone while you are still in love with another.

 

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17.

Gramma said, “Spend 4 seasons with someone before you claim to know them, and certainly save marriage talk until after a year.” Yeah, I’ve broken this rule before. Sorry gramma….(you were right!)

 

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18.

Understanding masculine/feminine energy (and the role you want to embody) is essential to having a successful, connected, and sexually dynamic relationship. This book by David Deida and this book by Dr. Pat Allen are excellent resources to start with.

 

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19.

A period of time spent alone will be the best gift you can give to yourself. If you resist medicating yourself with alco-, worko-, or Bravo Channel-holism, you will learn to trust yourself deeper, hear the voice of your inner guide clearer, and in the absence of another person telling you how beautiful/smart/clever you are, will learn to generate this for yourself. Your future self and your future healthy relationship will thank you.

 

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20.

Let go when you’re hurting too much. Give up when love isn’t enough. Move on when your gut tells you to. Remember that you have been given this one gorgeous, sparkling, comet-of-a-life and you are free and entitled to choose how to spend it. Don’t wait around for a permission slip, better timing, or a better financial situation… Go for it now.

 

 

Gradatim ferociter, Brave Soul (step-by-step, courageously),

signature

 

 

Side note…

A few years ago, my best friend and I broke up with our boyfriends during the same week and we were completely devastated. We cried together, took turns bringing chicken soup to each other’s apartments, and made sure the other one was brushing teeth on a regular basis. After about a month of this we were still not feeling better or getting out much and we decided that had to change. We were in New York City after all, and being on a diet of Ben & Jerry’s and cheap martinis was ruining any judgement we had left. John and I created the Thursday Night Supper Club and we would each invite 2 people to dinner at the Standard Hotel and the 6 of us would drink some drinks, eat some food, laugh some laughs, and slowly….we started to feel human again.

Thank God we had each other. What I realized was, yes, time heals all wounds, but having those few good people who are going to lift you up, call out your best self, and nurture you into a new season of life are everything.

I’m starting a BRAND NEW dinner club in New York City in the fall of 2016 called The St.Claire Supper Club. This will be a year-long mentorship opportunity for 7 people who are pursuing their A-game in life and want to belong to a small band of friends who are doing the same.

If this appeals to you and you live in New York City (or are close enough to get to dinner every other Thursday), get on the private correspondence list. I will be sending out details soon!

 

St.Claire Supper CLub

CLICK TO GET ON THE PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE LIST

 

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TWEET IT OUT!

[bctt tweet=”Let go when you’re hurting too much. Give up when love isn’t enough. Move on when your gut tells you to. “]

[bctt tweet=”Don’t be placated by a partner who is a good admitter/apologizer. “]

[bctt tweet=”The #1 relationship killer is the offending partner’s refusal to get help. Refusal looks like: stalling, making excuses, admitting/crying/doing nothing, and blaming you. “]

[bctt tweet=”The breakup sucks for your ex too, but for different reasons.”]

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Are you into stuff like this? I write about modern spirituality, love, communication, generosity, and how to run a sustainable small business (while keeping your sanity). Put yourself on the list and you’ll never miss and article or a workshop. xo

 

hello we've moved!


Stephanie St.Claire

 

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    Comments

  • Christine


    Hi there, One relationship coach to another, I LOVED the Post “20 difficult truths about love and relationships”. I was looking to share something on facebook today and this was full of perfect quips! Looking forward to reading more! Wish I was closer to NYC I would love to be in your super club!

    • Steph


      Thank you Christine! I’m glad you liked the post :) Please come visit on the new site stephaniestclaire.com .. that’s where I’m hanging out these days :)

  • Veronica


    I’m not sure about this relationship I’m in. He has been divorced since December, was married for 22 years, and only lives with one of his two sons, a 19 year old with low grade asperger’s. My beau also suffers from PTSD and has cancer. His work schedule is worse than mine. After telling me he was in love with me over a month into the relationship, his communication with me started to thin. Now, in his defense, he was pulled all over the place with work, etc., but I feel he should have communicated with me more. For my own personal peace, I told him that he needed to take a break and take care of his things. I’ve given him his space. We’ve communicated sparingly only through email.

    This has been going on for two months. After not hearing from him in two weeks, I wrote him to check on him. I asked him if he was sick or if he wasn’t interested in doing this anymore. He said that, after he moves into his new place, he wants to try and see me. He also said that me missed me, loved me, and thinks about me every day.

    I’ve done a HUGE overhaul on my life in the past year. I finished my BS degree, took a less paying job to finish school, entered grad school, entered therapy to deal with my childhood sexual trauma, and started to learn to like myself. Recently, I’ve started a relationship with God because I really want to strengthen my faith. So, my life is good for the most part. This man is a want in my life and not a need like my ex husband was.

    I’m not sure what to do. I love this man and I want to take care of him, etc. When I ask him, and I have plenty of times, if he wants out he won’t end it. I don’t know if we’re together for a reason. My therapist told me to let this play out so I can challenge my control issues. So, I’ve been really patient with everything. After reading this article, I’m skittish about the investment. Any advice?

  • clarissa


    I really like your advice. I only been in a relationship for 8 months but I love the guy I am with but I think we need relationship coach. Do you think it’s to soon?

    • Steph


      No, I don’t think it’s too soon. :)

  • Jacqueline


    This is amazing…. I cried (a little emotionally raw right now).

  • Kim


    What a beautiful and honest article. You have acquired a new fan.

  • Katrina


    It was great reading this. I went through a painful divorce and after many post-divorce horrible dating experiences, I finally sat down one day and realized that I had learned so much from all of that crap! It gave me the courage to walk away from a very toxic relationship with someone I loved and still love deeply. I was feeling very down tonight, and reading this article put a lot of things in perspective for me, and helped me to confirm to myself that I had made the right decision. I went to a lot of counseling over the years, and one thing I learned is that practice makes perfect. Practicing the great advice and using the tools I’ve been given are the best things in helping me to making it through love’s bumpy road. Reading this was kind of a kick in the pants to continue to practice. Thank you!

    Kat

  • Taylor


    I really appreciated this article, especially the things touching on soulmates. I’ve said for years my soulmate is my best friend of 13 years who happens to be a gay man. People don’t get the concept and think soulmates are a significant other romantically (leading many people to imply or question me being in love with my friend). It’s never had anything to do with that. We’re the people we look to when we’re unsure, scared, hurt, or just need a good laugh. We’ve seen each other in the worst situations without judgement. That’s what it’s about. Someone that gets you. I found a quote that summed it up perfectly months ago.

    “It amazes me that people think their soul mate is going to show up in their life at this predestined time and be this flawless person. A true soul mate is a mirror of yourself, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. Sure, they have a common upbringing, similar interests but they have the one thing you don’t have which is the introspection to help you become great. What use is a soul mate if they can’t help free you from yourself so you can live your life mission?”

  • Alberto


    Thank you so much for this helping tips!
    I hope you don’t mid I make a video with this advices in spanish for my youtube channel, I think it can help a lot of people who doesn’t speak English and of course I’m gonna credit you for making such a wonderful post ^^ feel free to contact me for anything!
    xoxo

  • Lisa


    This post couldn’t have been sent to me at a better time, I have spent 2 years in a ‘non-relationship’ waiting for things to get better and this (despite all my friends telling me similar) has really hit home.
    Thank you.
    PS no’s 1 & 2 sum me up completely – any tips on how to stop this would be massively appreciated :)x

  • kelly


    Thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

  • Juanyette Jones


    This was absolutely fantastic. Best thing I’ve read all year (all 6 day…)! :)

  • Noah F.


    I loved this article; the realities of the relationship dynamic are fairly easy and understandable; however, time and time again I see that people who know they are doing the worst thing for them decide to hit the gas the try to outrun the inevitable. It took me a long time to pull into the gas station and ask the attendant for directions.

    End Game actualization almost always seems to run contrary to what I feel we all likely inherently know deep down; yet somehow we let conceit or his silly cousin Conceit make us believe that this time, things will be different, I can do all the wrong things and happiness will ensue; the break up will go away; bunnies will emerge; and that no doubt Mr. Norman Rockwell himself will be showing up to paint later.

    I have spent the last 5-years finding out I am one person; not 1/2 of the pair; not the husband; not the boyfriend; I am just me and none of the former made me a good or happy person. I have been for the most good and mostly happy finding me – I am a lot more talented then I gave myself credit for and I am defined by me; not us.

    Your posts are incredible; keep it up!! ~Noah

    Thank you for breaking it down in simple, if not downright blunt, terms. I hate seeing good things happen to bad people (and vice versa) – it is the simple concepts that make the transition easiest; I just wish people would stop trying to outsmart human nature.

  • Jennifer


    Great, insightful article….

  • jessica


    Fantastic! I am happy to know there are so many more self aware always striving to be better human beings out there. Thank you for writing and sharing your insights!

  • Theresa


    Wow, this was amazing. Thank you.

  • Stacey


    I found a link to this article on FB… I so needed this today! It gave me hope!
    I have been perusing your website.. Amazing! Thank you for your insights. You have inspired me.

    Stacey

  • danie


    this article was food for my soul I felt great during and after reading it definitely a higher vibration of awareness which what is needed in this world.

  • Tina


    This is probably one of the truest articles I have read about Love and relationships. If only more people could get it, then there would be more happy people in the world.

  • Nandi La Sophia


    Hi there!
    Great advice here, a few of these gems really stood out to me, so thank you very much! Another stood out to me and some clarity would be helpful if you’re able to provide it. Since i am a member of the LGBT family, I find it sometimes challenging to take love/sex advice from heterosexuals. Though relationships are relationships and poor models for communication and conflict resolution are universally bad, some things that we in the sexual minority communities face are much more complicated- especially when it comes to gender roles, whether expressed or percieved.
    For example, in number #18, when you state that each partner understanding their gender role will create a successful, connected and dynamic relationship, i find that confusing and heteronormative. i am not one to have any bias towards heterosexuals in the least, yet i find it confusing when a person such as yourself is giving this wonderful and useful advice that is very well-rounded, but seemingly exclusive to heterosexuals, even though this is not blatant or probably even intended.
    though i understand that the gender lines may also be blurred in heterosexual relationships based on stereotypical and polarizing notions of man/woman, this is not always true in our lives. Sometimes we, out of neccesity, need to create roles beyond gender. I have a feeling that this advice was meant to be universal, yet I also gather that maybe #18 may have been largely skipped over, misunderstood contextually or even put in as an afterthought, as it is the only part of this that confused me and didn’t seem to be about love at all, but about some notion of propriety.
    i wish you and your practice all the best. Thanks again for the great advice,
    Nandi La Sophia

  • melissa


    THANK YOU SOO TRUE!

  • Flerida


    This hit ‘home’ in so many ways!!

  • Re-learning!


    I officially love Bliss Bombed! Wish I came across this one year ago. Would have saved myself from a lot of embarrassment and grief and a seriously lowered self-esteem.

  • Kelly


    I stumbled across one of your posts “11 things I wish i’d known….” online today, maybe on medium — and the timing couldn’t be more perfect as I’ve recently decided to start my life with a new game plan and business. Gosh I read all of these things on your site and feel like 1/2 the time I am hearing myself & the other 1/2 hearing a best friend! LOVE the site, and am subscribing and will be a regular reader! Thank you for the laughs, and motivation you’e already given! Can’t wait to see what else I stumble upon while on here in my “free time”
    -Cheers! from Wisconsin…

    • Gabriel Shaze ™


      How nice…..I came from the same post on Medium which I found from the blog of a new startup in Lagos which was featured on TechCabal.com

      Ahhh….the internet is an amazing place

  • Frank Daley


    Hello, Stephanie, I like you! And so I’m going to subscribe, but you are off base with no 8 and 9!
    No 8. you can love someone even if you don’t love yourself. It will be difficult, and it will make for a problematic and arduous relationship, but the statement: ‘You can’t love someone until you love yourself’ is a lie. – No it is not a lie, it is true, but there are gradations and you indicated that in your statement. This is a long conversation but you really can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself. You can’t give away what you don’t have.I agree there is hope but the hope is that you start loving yourself as you see the value in others.I have the same response to No 9. Another long conversation!(for another time, perhaps) but fundamentally, Elizabeth is right on this one.)

  • James Kemp


    I started reading posts on Medium just yesterday, and I have since come across three of your posts, “Yes/No, Ladies and Gents”, and “20 things”. I just wanted to contact you and say that you are a very inspiring woman, and you are most certainly doing the Lords work in your writings. I have been interested in personal growth for a long time, however being a Rational, it has been simply for the joys of receiving knowledge and not so much in the pursuit of a sage attitude. Please continue to write and inspire.

    • Steph


      Thank you so much James! I appreciate your kind words. Very best to you! x

  • Elizabeth


    This is a great list, but I profoundly disagree with #9. Other people can (and in a relationship should, every day) give you things to be happy about. But you have to bring the happy. I think you’re reaching for that with “LET THEM” but you’re grasping the wrong end of the stick. Taking responsibility for our own emotions, recognizing when we’re unhappy with a relationship and when we’re simply unhappy is our own work.

    • Steph


      Elizabeth – I think we see things pretty similarly. I’m just disagreeing with the notion that other people can’t make you happy. That’s a crazy statement to me. Every conscious human being has to take responsibility for their own happiness, contentment, self-love, growth, and ability to contribute. I think that goes without say. #9 does not state that if you are unhappy, make it other’s responsibility to make you happy. Just simply, don’t buy into the pop-psych pseudo-spirituality that no one can make you happy but yourself.

  • CarlosFromPhilly


    Any chance you can define soulmate? It’s really tough to discuss that concept properly when no one ever really explains it other than making it sound either like destiny manifested mumbo jumbo (ie “literally made for each other”) or like a weird obsessive fantasy from people who have never actually seen a healthy relationship.
    It sounds like the context above doesn’t fit either of these descriptions, but without a definition i can’t help but think it is one..?

    • Frank Daley


      Carlos from Philly, you are right. The reason no one has given you a good definition of soul mate is because it is a wrong-headed idea used mostly by people who no idea of love, or who are selling a product based on that silly idea or who have managed to have a wonderful relationship with a person and they CALL it a soul mate relationship. (OK, fine.)

      First, few people know anything about the “soul” including theologians and philosophers. If anything, you could have many “soul mates” on many subjects but A soul mate–made in heaven for you alone–not really. What about people who find love in a second marriage,or fifth relationship? Kinda shoots the whole idea down, doesn’t it? You COULD say, “No no, I was wrong the first five times but now I really have found my soul mate!”
      Is everyone getting it wrong–50% divorce rates? Relationship breakups like crazy?

      No, more like people are looking for the wrong things in a relationship and have romantic ideas about what makes a good one. It’s a bogus romantic idea that gets people ‘way off track in seeking a healthy, real, loving relationship.
      It’s a case of arrested development.

  • Angela


    Stephanie, you are so amazing. When I am feeling regretful or down, you say something that washes over my sadness like a healing balm. This was perfect. So often I think that, but really…this was. May God bless you as you speak truth to those who are trying to get it together.

    • Steph


      Angela, Thank you so much! Many blessings to you and yours on your journey! xo

  • Beth


    This is still one of my favorite blog posts of yours, although it is hard to narrow down a favorite with you. ;-)

    • Steph


      Beth – thank you so much!! xo

  • Terra


    Another great one, Stephanie :)

    • Steph


      Thank you Terra! :)

  • Asiah


    Hi Steph, loved reading this…. I just wished that you were in Australia – so that I could really – physically take part in your work shops. You really inspire me with your words …

    Much love and happiness to you,

    Asiah

    • Steph


      Asiah, thank you for the kind wishes. I have great news for you! Most of my workshops are virtual events, so you can be right there in Australia and take my classes and workshops. Many of them are instantly downloadable and come with a private coaching session. I work via skype, so we can connect anytime. Here is a link to check them out: Coaching and Workshops

      Love and rockets,
      Steph

  • Michelle


    As a Yoga Therapist / Psychotherapist and Vibrant Medicine Coach, I am so often impressed by your words and how you put them together…. I love sharing your insights with my clients… a fresh perspective and fresh wording is sometimes all that is needed! Thanks for the awesome work you do and the VIBRANT life you lead.

    With Waves of Warmth,
    Michelle

    • Steph


      Michelle! Thank you so much! xo

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