§ We came to this world to LIVE OUT LOUD!

A Humbling Realization

May 26, 2020

I think of myself as a fairly conscious person. Yet, I am humbled lately as I see all the ways in which I still need to  grow.

If there’s one thing the past couple months of semi-quarantine and social distancing have given me, it’s a lot of time in close quarters with my loved ones.
As we look out at the tropical foliage around us in sunny Florida (not our home), it often feels like the five of us are marooned on an island together.
There have been many beautiful moments:

Cooking healthy food together and enjoying nightly dinners.


Going for walks and having heartfelt conversations.


Playing games and watching movies, cuddled up together on the big couch.


Recently, we have even been able to go watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

There have also been some very difficult moments – worry, anxiety and stress – which often translates into short tempers. Especially with two teenage girls under one roof.

The majority of us are extroverted, happiest-when-we-are-out-in-the-world people so we have had to get creative and rely on our deepest inner resources to thrive in relative captivity.

Over the past couple of weeks, I realized that it’s so easy to fall into the trap of looking at my partner or loved ones and seeing THEIR flaws and short comings. THEY are impatient. THEY are stubborn. THEY are unreasonable. THEY are quick to anger.

When in reality, I AM all the things that I see in others. Other people are basically just a mirror to the less than polished parts of myself.

We are human. We all have shortcomings. And there’s no better time than confinement with other humans to look at and have compassion for our own shortcomings.

For instance, the other day, I got on Facebook and saw that a friend had posted this image of green flags in relationships – the things you want from both partners in order for a relationship to thrive:




Communicates openly


Supports your personal growth








Honors Boundaries


Heathy hobbies


Practices self-care


Long-standing friendships





You wanna know the first thing that I did with this list?

I started thinking about how my husband measures up in each category!!!

I caught myself and felt pretty embarrassed by my unevolved humanness at that moment.

I know better.

I have been doing personal growth work for nearly 30 years.

Yet, I still fell in the trap.

It’s so much easier to look at him than to look at myself.

So I asked myself, how do I show up in each category? And how can I do better?

I was intrigued… and somewhat nervous.

But I reminded myself that every moment of every day can be a spiritual practice, if I’m open to it.

I was in my outdoor office (backyard) while he was in his indoor office (dining room table) so I sent him the image with a text:
“I was just looking at this and wondering how much I show up as this kind of partner to you in each category? And what do you need more of?”
It was a practice in humility.
That evening, we went to watch the sunset, just the two of us, and had a conversation about what I’m contributing to our relationship working well and what can use some improvement.
I asked and listened and made mental notes of how I can grow.
I have a tendency to withdraw and isolate when I’m hurt, scared or don’t feel emotionally safe. The current times have given me plenty of opportunity to feel these things. And thus, I sometimes don’t allow myself to get vulnerable or communicate as openly as I could.
As my husband was answering my questions, I found myself getting defensive. I wanted to rebut some things that he was saying. I took a deep breath instead.
I resisted the very strong temptation to point out how he can improve too.

It wasn’t easy but I was proud of myself. I felt strong and powerful as I acknowledged my shortcomings.

The trust between us grew even more.
It felt really good to be so intimate with another human being.
In the days since that conversation, I have made it a point to get vulnerable and communicate more openly.
I’m doing it for my own growth while knowing that my marriage and, by extension, our whole family will benefit.
Some moments are easier than others. I often feel the pangs of my human shortcomings.
But I stop myself. Take a deep breath. Send myself compassionate energy and feel love towards my beautiful, imperfect self.
I notice how much easier it is to accept the flawed humanity of others when I accept my own.

Can you relate? What are you learning about yourself during these past couple of months?

You know I love hearing from you so feel free to leave a comment below or email me at natalie@nataliematushenko.com


Happy Tuesday!




P.S. My Wisdom Wednesday series is up and running and women are loving it!

These are FREE 5 – 10 minute short, actionable videos recorded with me FOR YOU by world-renowned experts to help you thrive in these challenging times.

Last week, I featured the great Laura Davis – author of seven bestselling non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, I Thought We’d Never Speak Again, and a forthcoming memoir, Wholehearted – she shared with us how to thrive in challenging times. This one was a true gem. If you don’t catch this, make sure you do.

This week, I interviewed the wise Arielle Ford – love and relationship expert, leading personality in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement, and author of 11 books including the international bestseller, THE SOULMATE SECRET: Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction and Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate – who will share with you how to thrive in confinement with those you love.

You can watch these short, actionable videos for FREE on my Extraordinary Life After 40 private Facebook group page or you can sign up here to watch it on my website.

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