Monday, December 8, 2008
About the latest, not so greatest chapter, in the ever-evolving drama of my search for love.
In fact, I sought out people who enjoyed all that complaining, who also thought it was great fun.
And indeed- there was some fun to it- but after many years, I finally realized that all that negativity, pessimism, and complaining didn’t really make me feel better, at least not for more than the time we talked.
Now, new research supports this view.
At msnbc.com, they discussed a study showing that all that complaining, especially about relationship woes, can actually make you feel worse.
It can amplify the badness, confirm your worst fears, and at the very least- keeps you stuck in all that yuck!
Heck- that’s what I thought friends were for!
But not any more.
Now I know that a real friend isn’t one who lets you wallow in all of that nonsense.
A true friend will help you shift from feeling bad, to feeling better- because nothing is more important than feeling good.
So, here’s what I suggest the next time you want to have a bitch fest with your pal.
4 Steps to Turning a Bitch-Fest into a Shift-fest
1. Tell your friend that you have a problem and that you want to vent. BUT ask them to stop you at 10 minutes past the pity party.
2. Then go ahead and complain, bitch, moan. Cry if you need to. Be angry if you want. Whine even. Whine a lot. That was my personal favorite- or so I am told. But you only get 10 minutes so be sure to get it all out.
3. Then together with your friend’s help, discover some answers to this question:
“What would help me feel better right now?
Feeling better may include things you can do around the ugly situation: shifting your perspective, or taking some helpful action.
And it may include things outside of the actual situation- things that help move you away from the yuck.
For instance you may feel like committing to your friend that you will indeed do something that will result in feeling better, like:
- Go to yoga: good for releasing sadness
- Take a kickboxing class: great for getting out anger
- Read a self-help book: good for empowering yourself
- Get manicures together: a little pampering may be in order
- Go dancing with your friends Friday night: good for plain old distraction
4. Whatever you do, make a pact with your good buddy, that you won’t end the discussion until you’ve been able to shift, even just a tiny bit, into a better place.
That’s a true friendship: one in which you each help the other step into your Better Self, your Higher self, who holds all the wisdom you need to get through any situation.
Isn’t that a much better use of friendship than multiplying and spreading the yuck?
Readers: How has a friend helped you shift into a better place? Please share!
Want to read the original msnbc article on the study?
Here it is: Quit Complaining, It May Make You Feel Worse
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I am encouraging you to approach your holiday shopping with the mindset of transforming interesting strangers into new friends for the following reasons:
1. Shared experience: You and that amazing brunette have been standing in the same check-out line for 20 minutes, listening to a baby scream three aisles over. This might be oversimplification, but they call it a check-out line because you check things out in it. You’ve been checking her out, now make a comment about your shared experience of the screaming. She’ll acknowledge you and probably give you a sympathetic smile or roll her eyes at the situation. This is your chance to move the conversation ahead.
2. Tangible Hints: That gorgeous blond standing in front of you in line with 17 identical stuffed animals in her arms? When she keeps dropping them, offer to hold a couple and use the opportunity to find out why she’s clearing the store of Ronnie Crocodile toys.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
In fact, previous research has shown that the heady romance of new love tends to last only a little over a year.
Pretty depressing, right!?
But no longer, new research has shown that for a few special couples, it's totally possible to maintain that "falling in love" feeling, even after decades of marriage.
And there is hard evidence- MRI brain scans. I mean, if a brain scan says it's so, then I believe it.
And these scans showed that couples who say that they are still intensely in love after an average of 28 years of marriage, had very similar brain scans as newly in love couples.
Wow- the romance doesn't have to fade.
I don't know about you- but that gives new hope, plus a little incentive to be one of those special couples.
Of course, now what I'd really like to know is: How did these couples do it? What's the secret to decades long passion?
If you've got an idea, please share!
Read the original article in USA Today: Romance Doesn't Have to Fade
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In case Larina's name is new to you, she is a psychologist and coach and has written many popular books in the past few years. I'm excited about Larina's fabulous new book: The Confident Leader.
I'd like to know how singles can more confidently pursue love- since fear keeps many of us from reaching our full potential in love.
Hey, we all need a little more confidence, wouldn't you say!?
Here's what Larina had to say.
Jenn: Why is it necessary to move outside of your comfort zone for greater relationship success?
Larina: In order to get and stay in a relationship that you value, you will likely need to move beyond your comfort zone in one or more areas. For example, in the relationship initiation phase you may need to approach discomfort to:
· Go up to someone and introduce yourself
· Go on a first date (even though you’re unsure about how you look, what you’ll say, if you’ll like them, and so on)
· Pick up the phone to call someone (when you’d much prefer if they’d make the first move, but waiting will get you no where)
Then, of course, as you get into the relationship, new areas of discomfort will arise that you’ll need to approach rather than avoid, things like:
· Your fears of change (moving in together, etc.)
· Your fear of commitment or intimacy
· Your worries about what if he or she ends the relationship
And we always get to choose: face the fear and do it anyway, or back away and end up wondering, "What could have been?!"
Larina: Yes, and your discomfort level can be a helpful thermometer for whether you’re in a healthy relationship that you value.
- If you never have any discomfort, you may be avoiding facing important issues or perhaps you don’t care about the relationship.
Jenn: That is such an excellent point! We all want to avoid discomfort, so we often forget that it can hold valuable clues for us to follow.
Jenn: I think that's right on. If you are going to date, you have to be willing to wade into the pool of discomfort, since there are so many unknown factors. And as you face your fears and bravely move forward- you are rewarded with clarity and a growing sense of confidence.
Larina: Also be wary of being too comfortable and take that as a cue to take on a challenge (set up a romantic date, surprise your partner with his or her favorite gift or meal, etc.)
Jenn: Good point! It's easy to take things for granted and coast along smoothly. Let that be a sign to shake things up a bit and take a risk for deepening the relationship!
Larina: This book is really more about leading yourself than leading others.
It’s about challenging yourself, pushing your boundaries, staying motivated, and standing out.
There’s a detailed description (and some great bonuses) here:
You can learn more about Larina at her website: http://www.pascoaching.com/
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Their really is a a simple secret weapon to attraction.
If you want to wow him on your first date- you should wear red!
New studies found that when a woman wears red, men find her more sexy and more attractive.
Well, you definitely want that, don't you?!!
Plus, he's willing to spend more on your dinner date! Who knew!!
But beware, they may also be more interested in having sex- so be ready to end the nite with a polite kiss on the cheek.
So go round up some favorite sweetly sexy tops in red and be prepared to dazzle him come date night!
Read more on the study at CNN: Wearing Red May Boost Your Sex Appeal
Readers: What color makes you feel most confident and sexy??
Monday, October 27, 2008
And, can you ever get away with breaking up via email?
Before you pick up the phone, write your next text message, or send another email, check out Kelli Lawless' "Using Technology" discussion on her blog: Dating and Mating in Amercia.
Seriously, it's the most comprehensive discussion of the topic I've ever seen!
Go there now: Here
And for the record: NO- you can't ever, ever break up via email or text. It requires a phone call or better yet, a face to face.
If we want to live in a civil world, we've got to offer each other at least that much respect and kindness.
Don't you think???
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
“That horse looks like a Warrior Goddess,” said one of my recent participants at an equine-assisted singles workshop.
She’s tall, gorgeous, and reeks of charm, indeed, her name is Charm.
She’s playful and a bit mischievous.
She's confident and comfortable in her body. She runs for the pure joy of it.
But she’s obviously strong, independent, and no one is going to mess with her.
You have to earn her respect before she’ll do anything for you.
But once you’ve shown you are worthy, she’s open, receptive, heck even downright affectionate.
She knows how to stand in her power, yet be gentle and give and receive love.
She doesn't question her own worth. She just knows she's worthy.
Wow- if that’s what it means to be a Warrior Goddess, sign me up!
Doesn’t that describe a wonderful way to inhabit our femininity in the world?
To stand in your power, to assert your needs, to set healthy boundaries, yet at the same time remain open to connection, be able to offer and receive gentle love. And be playful, yet strong.
Who wouldn’t be attracted to that kind of woman???
Ok, wussy men wouldn’t. But any man worthy of YOU, would be.
So today, in honor of all of the women workshop participants who learned
To embody their power,
To own their worthiness,
To feel the exhilaration of being fully alive and insisting on being treated well,
I offer up, for your consideration, the ancient archetype of the Warrior Goddess.
Would you like to be a Warrior Goddess?
What would that mean in your life?
What behaviors and beliefs would you need to let go of because they no longer serve you?
What gifts and abilities would you have to reclaim?
Are you up for the challenge???
Because in this world, you either stand up and be the leader of your own life, or you’ll be led by someone or something else.
When you choose, the warrior goddess will be there.
Take her into your heart and let her fiery, yet sweet energy revitalize and inspire you so that you can create the love you’ve only dreamed of.
Reclaim your power.
It’s the only path to true love.
And if you need some help, my dear friends, the horse herd here at the Happily Ever After Healing Horse Ranch, are more than willing to show you how!
Want to see more love lessons from the horse herd? Follow along with the participants as they discover the Wisdom of the Body through the Way of the Horse. Access the Picture show here.
Readers: What aspect of the Warrior Goddess do you most need to incorporate into your life right now?
And if you are a guy. does the Warrior Goddess excite you or intimidate you? Why?
Friday, October 17, 2008
So, I'm curious, guys and girls, when do YOU think it's the perfect time for the first kiss??? And how do you judge??
Personally, I'm a total first kiss phobic. I put it off as long as possible, until like Jane says, then it's just plain awkward because you've made too big a deal about it.
My poor husband...how long did he wait? 4, 5 dates...I can't remember. Hmmm...I told him my discomfort with first kisses so he patiently waited for me to make the first move.
He knew it was time when we were on his couch and I bent over to take off my glasses- no point in letting those get in the way if you've waited that long!!
My friend and dating expert colleague, Mary Jo Fay, met a guy who had a perfect solution to this problem.
His idea was to end the first date by asking: Would you like a handshake, a hug, or a kiss?
This totally avoids the whole awkward end of first date thing AND it lets everyone proceed at their own pace without having to guess and make it all weird and uncomfortable.
Plus, then it gives the guy a real big hint about whether this girl may be interested in going out on another date. So he can ask with more confidence.
Brilliant! I wish every guy knew this!
So, when's the perfect time for that first kiss? And how do you know?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
You should hold out hope that maybe he'll come around and then fall madly in love with you and you'll live happily ever after, right?
Jeff Mac, on his blog, Manslations, just uttered something truly brilliant, so I share it here:
"They leave because they want to leave more than they want to stay."
Never a truer statement uttered. Truly.
At this point- many of us are prone to go round and round in our heads, making our stomachs churn even more anxiously:
"What if I had done...'"
"What if I do..."
"Maybe I should wait a little while longer"
"Maybe I can convince him..."
But let me tell you, all of this is vain- just more wasted time, effort, and emotion.
And clearly, you've already wasted enough of those on the wrong person.
You deserve someone who is unequivocally saying, "Bring it on, cause I choose YOU."
After all, that's the ONLY thing that matters.
Missing that is a deal breaker.
The relationship could have EVERYTHING else right, but if you are missing this one thing, you've got nothing.
It's like siting down in your brand new, perfect-for-you car with all your favorite gadgets, when you realize it has no gas. Without this one last thing, you ain't going nowhere.
Not one tiny mile. Doesn't matter that you only need to go 5 miles. You aren't moving an inch.
Anything less than a 100% "I choose you" and you end up the loser.
Time to cut it loose and go find someone who wins you.
How often do you put up with being picked with less than 100% enthusiasm? How often do you keep someone else around even though you can't give them 100%? Why?
I’ll be honest. I once dated a guy who said to me, “I don’t think you are in love with me, but in love with some image of me that isn’t even reality!”
I thought he was whack.
At the time.
Now I can acknowledge that he was so right.
I wasn’t “in love” with him. How the heck could I have been!?
I was miserable with him. He didn’t come close to meeting my needs (nor me his, to be fair). We were a horrible match.
So, how on earth did I come to think I was in love with him???
The answer: Compartmentalization.
That’s a fancy psychological term, but it’s meaning is simple.
Let’s say you have a big box.
Inside this box is a whole bunch of stuff:
white stuff (the good stuff) and
black stuff (the bad stuff).
This big box is like you and me and any person you date. We’ve all got good and not so good qualities and behaviors.
To fall in love in a healthy way, we acknowledge all of the good and the bad and appreciate the whole person, because in the end, the good outweighs the bad and we feel good around our partner.
But some people have a habit of falling in love in an unhealthy way.
And yes, I used to be one them.
These people use Mental Gymnastics to hide the bad stuff and only focus on the good stuff. They pretend that the bad stuff doesn’t even exist.
It’s like you had that big box of white and black. And you got two smaller boxes.
You put all the white in one box. You put all the black in another box.
Then you tied the black box up with a pretty bow, and hid it way up in the back of your closet and never looked at it again. Bad- all gone.
Then, you kept that white box right in front of you and you gazed lovingly at it every day, admiring it’s beauty and falling ever more deeply in love.
The problem with this?
You are allowing strong feelings of love or attachment to form based on only part of a person. And completely ignoring the parts that don’t fit what you want to believe.
But man, it’s a lot of work, because every time some black pops up, you have to do more mental gymnastics to put it out of your view, into the hidden black box- so your white box stays pristine.
So, your love isn’t really love, it’s a fantasy game- that always has a bad ending- because no one is playing in the real world.
Do you get what I am saying yet? If not, here is one more way to picture it.
What Color Is Your Crystal Ball?
In reality, it’s half white and half black.
I ask you, what color is the ball?
You answer: “It’s white!”
Ummm, no it’s not.
And falling in love this way will bite back every time.
Because sooner or later, your mental gymnastics will fail you.
And you’ll land flat on your back. Let’s hope you don’t break your neck in the process.
I almost did.
That’s Screwed Up!
Well yeah, but if this sounds familiar to you, I want you to know that compartmentalization is actually a coping tool you learned as a child.
As a child, you need to see your parents as good- otherwise the world is too scary.
So you learned to put the bad away and pretend it was all good. You needed to do this to survive. So, at the time, it was a helpful thing.
It’s just not so helpful anymore!
The Solution: Facing Reality
The solution here is actually simple.
You’ve heard me say it before. Just pay attention to your feelings.
Keep checking in with your gut. Start a journal and make notes after every date.
Pay attention to the good and bad feelings and write them down- so you have them in black and white- then you can’t pretend it’s just white going on!
You can’t be so desperate to find The One, that you’ll make anyone into The One.
You have to wait, pass on the wrong ones, and be available when the right one, the one whose box is mostly white anyway comes along!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Having kicked the habit of bad love when I met my husband, I was shocked at how deeply this song still resonated with me!
Basically, it’s a classic song about falling for the emotionally unavailable man. Something I know a thing or two about.
The refrain highlights the hard truth that the idealized, rosy-colored memories left over from these relationships are usually better than the reality of actually being with him.
And the acknowledgment that falling for such a guy always has an ugly ending.
Kudos to the songwriter. At least the guy in the song knows himself well enough that he’s warning the poor woman!
Don’t you wish more people would come with a warning tag: Danger, falling in love with me could be hazardous for your health!
Maybe emblazoned on a bright red Lance Armstrong-like plastic bracelet?
Or at the very least, why can’t they just come out and say it: Look let’s just have fun for awhile because I’m just not good at anything more.
Actually a guy once did say that to me. What did I do? Blithely ignored the warning, then became shocked when, after a few romps in the hay, he was ready to move on. So silly, me.
But how many times have YOU fallen for that guy or girl?
Only realizing later how that quaint distance, that mysterious air, that strong streak of independence really meant you’d be banging your head up against a brick wall trying to get your needs met…
You saw the warning signs, (or maybe you didn’t!) but you went ahead and fell in love anyway. Reality be damned!
Believe me, you don’t want to play that fool again. Once is already way more than enough.
So how to avoid having another relationship with the next Memory Man/Woman?
DateSmart Tip: It’s simple.
Keep only one question in mind while dating: How do I feel around this person?
Your answer to this question is like a compass directing you to the future of the relationship.
As soon as negative emotions arise- consider them gigantic red flags. Stop. Pay Attention. Do not ignore. Do not rationalize and make excuses. And if the bad feelings continue, then it’s time to walk away.
Why does everyone want to make dating so complicated?!
When it all really boils down to one easy thing: Do I feel good around this person?!
Ok, time to fess up. How many of YOUR ex’s are “Better as a Memory?”
I’ll admit it. For me, it’s at least half. Is that so bad??
Share your number or percentage.
BTW, stay tuned. Next post we’ll talk about how you could have ever fallen in love with that brick wall to begin with. So you won’t make that mistake again!
Haven’t heard the song yet? Check it out with lyrics on YouTube.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Well, men don't run around with a giant C (for Cheater) on their foreheads. Don't you wish they did!?
But scientists in Sweden have discovered the next best thing: A monogamy gene.
Men with certain variations of this gene have a harder time bonding with their women, leaving them likely to stray or create chaos at home.
A genetic test isn't available quite yet.
But if it were:
Would you want your man to take the test?
If you are a man, would you want to take the test to find out if you have the errant gene?
What difference would it make if you did know?
If you've got a bad gene, is that a good excuse???? "But Honey, my genes made me do it!"
BTW- Paul Newman probably had the good version of the gene (see previous post)! Shaquille O’Neal, not so much.
DateSmart Tip: Until we do have a genetic test, remember that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.
To check your dating partner's cheating quotient be sure to ask three questions, early on in the getting-to-know-you stage:
1. Have you ever cheated in a relationship? How many times?
A serial cheater is highly likely to cheat again. Don't make the mistake of thinking, "I can change them. They'll be faithful to me!"
2. When do you think cheating is acceptable in a relationship?
In my dissertation research, I found that lenient attitudes toward infidelity predicted who would cheat in a dating relationship. Bottom Line: If you think it's excusable, you are more likely to do it.
3. Did either of your parents ever cheat?
We learn how to love at home. If you saw this going on with your parents, you're either apt to NEVER cheat, or think you can get away with it.
Want to read the full article about the Monogamy Gene from NewScientist.com: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14641-monogamy-gene-found-in-people.html
Share your thoughts.
It was Paul Newman, who, sadly, died over the weekend.
While many may argue that he should be honored for his many memorable film credits, I posit that his crowning achievement is remaining happily married for over 50 years, in Hollywood no less!
Certainly, it would have been easy for this handsome and popular actor to cheat on his wife, Joanne Woodward, over the years.
But he didn't! (At least, he denies it.)
My guess? He picked the right woman to begin with!
A woman whom he still saw as heads and shoulders above the rest, a lifetime later.
Now, that's the kind of love we all deserve!
How can you tell whether the person you are dating is a Grade A, juicy, Filet Mignon and not just some 70% fat, grocery-store hamburger?
Please share your thoughts now!