Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself

I had an Arbonne business for a few years in my twenties. It was natural skin care and other health products and went into people’s homes and did skincare parties.

I learned a lot from that business. I learned a lot of skincare tips, which are fantastic. But more that anything else, I learned a lot about running a business and the importance of positive self talk.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but I have really active self-talk chatter. It is almost a constant in my brain. I have been consistently meditating for about three months now and the more I observe, the more I am in tune with the actual messages that I am saying to myself. And I need an overhaul of what I am constantly saying to myself.

I made a promise to myself if I catch myself saying “should” that whatever follows is just an obligation and I need to slow down and look at the situation. Ask myself what is compelling me to feel like I should be doing a certain thing. If I should be doing it, that means I’m not actually doing it, so why not? Why am I resisting? Why do I feel obligated?

Should is usually a spotlight on exactly what I should not be doing. Should is a silly word and usually brings guilt alongside it.

So when I was getting ready for bed last night after a date with Unexpected Date guy, I found myself will all kinds of self chatter.

“I should back off. I shouldn’t like him as much as I do.”

And immediately sirens went off. What was that all about?

And, dear reader, since I consider us to be fairly close now that you’ve seen my booty and read some of my innermost thoughts, I hope you are ok with me working through my thoughts.

Unexpected Date guy and I had just discussed that we are both ok with taking it slow, with hanging out and making out. And that’s it. He was up front about what was going on his life that made him feel like he wasn’t completely himself and he doesn’t have anything to give in a relationship. I told him where I was, and why I feel like I can’t completely bring myself to the table either.

We both felt relieved to be on the same page and to be open and honest with each other. He said he was worried about rushing into anything because he had done that before and would hate for me to “catch the Feels.” (ugh, I will be unpacking THAT phrase some other day, I really hate it)

But when I started “shoulding” at home, I realized how much I actually like this guy. Which was the opposite of “not catching the Feels.” (shudder… I need to stop writing that phrase, it really bugs me!)

Which leaves me where exactly?

One option I have would be to completely leave. To say “I like you a lot, I see where this is going. And neither of us can go down that road right now. So I’m hitting the breaks hard.”

The other option I have is to continue as we have been. I can say “I really like you. And I am willing to ride it out and be patient. Let’s be friends right now.”

But if I take a step back, that doesn’t feel true. Even just writing that I am willing to wait it out and be friends, I have a reaction in my body that tells me that I am forcing something. My body stiffens a little bit like it is bracing for an impact.

That’s not a good sign. I shouldn’t be making choices that my body is interpreting as an impact.

I suppose that leaves me with letting this fish go and throwing the bait back in the water for someone else. Which is a disappointment, yes. But I can’t blame the guy for wanting to straighten out his life. It is a bit complicated and messy and, in the end, I don’t really want to be a part of messy. So I appreciate that he is saving me from that.

And there will be someone else that is less messy and a better fit for me. I truly believe that.

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Time To Overhaul My Life

I could use a change just to shake things up. I am tired of playing the same games when it comes to dating. I am tired of men not valuing me. I’m tired of them not telling me that they value me.

I sporadically dated a guy over the winter that randomly texted me the other day. This isn’t unusual for me. And it’s not that I particularly cared that he contacted me, I didn’t care on way or another. I just chatted with him like I would with any friend that resurfaced. But then out of no where he started to go on about how amazing I am.

Well, this is different I thought. And it’s really nice to hear.

So I thanked him and left it at that.

But why is that so rare? Why is that so unusual for a guy to tell me how special I am, how fantastic I was when we dated. How I should never for a moment forget how unique and wonderful I am. (it didn’t feel this heavy-handed when we were texting but relaying it back it certainly does feel heavy handed)

I’ve been giving this whole topic a lot of thought lately anyway. I’ve taken a look at the men I date and I am disappointed in them and also in myself. I settle for a lot less than I deserve.

It’s time to overhaul my life and get rid of the things that don’t see my value.

I have read this advice for a long time and I don’t think it ever clicked until recently. Partially because I just started to realize that other people really do see my worth. Maybe I always thought that people would love me over time. They had to get to know me first and love and respect comes up over time.

I started a new job three months ago and I love it. I love how good I am at this job, it’s like it was made for me. I love where I am working. I love all the people I work with. I am working around some people that are at the top of their field and I get to learn from them. Plus I am around some sweet, hard working people that I can relate to because we are all trying to accomplish the same thing.

But you know what is even better? I am surrounded by a bunch of people that I immediately click with. Those people instantly “get me.” You know that feeling like when someone understands you without much effort on anyone’s part. That kind of ease I thought was so rare. But maybe it’s not.

Being around a bunch of people that support me and have my back no matter what has shown me what it really means to be loved. There are no questions asked. No explanation needed. they just know that I am awesome.

These people needed so little from me to justify why I am a great person. Maybe this sounds weird, but I am being absolutely honest. I thought I always had to prove myself to people.

So being around these people that automatically accepted and saw that I was a great person from the word “go” has shown me that there are still people in my life that don’t feel that way. They raised the bar. If I have to justify myself and explain myself then they will never get it.

It’s like telling a joke to people and you have to explain the punchline. They either get it or they don’t.

And I don’t need to hang on to the people that don’t.

I’m already dreading how painful it will be to let go of some people. Do I tell them that it’s over? Do I just stop hanging out with them? Do I have to explain that we just have to work too hard to be friends and we deserve to be friends with people that make it easy?

Whatever the answer to those questions may be, it feels like the right next step.

The other part that feels uncomfortable is knowing that if I ask these people to leave my life I am worried that there will be a hole. I’m worried that if I set the bar higher in my life for people that should love me for who I am (not just half love me) that nothing will fill up the space they have left.

Apparently it is a common thing to believe that a small amount of love is better than no love. But it is nearly impossible for them to describe what full love feels like. So if you are like me, you don’t even know that you are settling for just a little bit of love. People can describe what love feels like but it all seems like just words. Like mush that people just say.

But what I have come to learn is that we can’t grant the same access to our hearts to everyone. We must set levels and boundaries. If you imagine the way water ripples out when you drop a pebble. The smallest circle is closest to the center and the ripples get large and farther out after that. People that have proven to me that they can handle me deserve to be in the levels that are closer. There are very few of these people.

I think I am too liberal with who I allow this close. I allowed people into that inner circle that couldn’t handle me, they didn’t stick around when things were tough and they disappeared when I needed them. Or, even worse, they give the exact wrong support. There is nothing that makes me feel worse than someone that I turn to for support and think they’re being helpful by putting someone else down.

So I am getting stricter with my boundaries, stricter with who I let in to the inner circle. And I am ushering a few people into that really wide circle. They are an acquaintance that I will be familiar with but they don’t get the details of my life.

It’s hard because there are some people that I care about, but they just haven’t proven that they are worthy of my inner circle.

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Before You Call Your Ex, Read This

I am writing this post from a place of tough love and because I have been there.

When you are single, you get to make all kinds of choices. And you get to do it all on your own. Sometimes that’s the absolute best. I get stoked when I don’t have to check in with a boyfriend about where I’m going to go or what I’m going to do. If I wanted to move out of state, I don’t have a boyfriend to worry about. It’s a lot of freedom and I love it.

But there are times that I wish I had that person that understands me completely so they can help me through the decision making process. I miss that person that is on my side and rooting for me no matter what. And sometimes what I want to do is reach out to one of my exes, get them to root for me again because I know they would.

So now I’m stuck with another decision. Do I call him? There aren’t feelings there anymore, but I know he would support me if I needed it.

Sometimes I get that gut feeling like I should reach out to an ex. When that happens and I ignore it, somehow the universe puts him in my path anyway. And when we talk, we realize we both nearly called the other person for something important. Those are times when we are are in touch with our intuition and we know very clearly what to do. It’s like a beacon of light. And it feels right.

And then there are times when it is not clear. When nothing is feeling right or absolutely wrong.

Those are the times when we want to use logic and our brains to think through. And I am here to tell you, whatever you do right now do not use logic. It’s better to not do anything at all.

When you don’t know what to do, do nothing.

I promise a moment of clarity will come.

When you try to use reason and logic to get through something, you will often be led astray. Logic will tell you what makes sense. It’s great if you need a pro/con list if you’re making a decision about work or finances. Logic works there. Where logic will never work is in matters of the heart.

Logic usually tells me to never call my ex. Never, ever. But I have these moments of intuition when it says that I should. On a few occasions I follow that impulse, and it turns out for the best. When I was dumped horribly, I called an ex from college. We went out for dinner and pie, and I laughed harder than I had in a month. It was perfect medicine. I knew that someone cared about me, even if it felt like my heart was broken.

Sometimes it’s ok to call an ex. Most of the time we want to call that person because we want them back. We’re reaching for someone that doesn’t really want to be there. Sometimes it’s because we’re hurting and we think having them back will make us hurt less. We call because we miss him, we’re lonely, we’re feeling powerless. Those are all reasons to not call. Don’t call because logically it seems right.

You can call because you gut says you have to, your intuition says it’s the right thing to do right now. But unless you get that distinctive gut feeling, don’t do anything. Hang tight.

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“Friends, Lovers, Or Nothing”

I don’t know how people are able to be friends with an ex after they break up. I asked the question a while ago, and I decided that I’m just not ready for that, or maybe I’m just not capable of with a guy that I deeply cared about.

I have a great friend that blurs those lines all the time. Friends than lovers than back of fiends, sometimes friends with benefits sometimes just friends. She seems happy so more power to her!

I could never understand how she could do it, and keep sane all the while.

After endless nights of picking her brain over glasses of wine, I decided to chalk it up to being two extremely different people. She is excellent at compartmentalizing, and I am not (although I can fake it for a while and I can be pretty convincing).

I realize I am All or Nothing in pretty much every part of my life. I am all in or I make it pretty clear that I’m not interested.

I make quick decisions about work, people, relationships, books, wine…you name it. I continually work on developing my intuition (not that I am always wise enough to listen to it…) so that I can learn to trust my gut and go with it.

Even beyond that, when I am dating a guy I know pretty quickly what category I plan to put him in. Is there a short shelf life on this guy? Am I just going to date him as long as it’s fun? Is he worth sleeping with? Is there long term potential here?

For better or worse, I make these decisions pretty fast. Maybe I move good guys into the expiration file too fast, but if I’m not interested why fake it for a while? Life is too short to be around with people that may or may not blossom over time.

If I have put the guy in that long term potential category I am all in, fully invested, I want to make this work and give it it’s best shot. And if it doesnt work, my heart is broken for a while, but there is no crossing over into the friend zone.

I have been able to do this once, with my college sweetheart. But he left the country for a few years and we didn’t speak for probably five years, so there was plenty of time for it to transition.

But to do that transition in just a few months? Or weeks or days, like my friendship? No way, not happening.

I had this realization about myself a few days ago, and it put things into perspective. I have always wondered why I want to rush the initial dating stages with guys I really like. I just want to get to the good part, where you’re settled and in love and happy with each other. (Yes, I know, it’s all the good part with the right guy, but in the moment I sometimes just want to fast forward to the part where we know each other inside and out)

I often look at my flaws and try to find how I can improve myself. But I don’t necessarily see this as a flaw. I see it as an opportunity to be aware of myself so that I can be better person in relationships. An opportunity to be completely honest and open. I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be just who I am and it’s not going to change.

Whenever I discover something like this about myself, I get excited. I think that the more I know myself, the better I can be when I show up for the people in my life. I can be honest about my expectations of myself and others. And it helps me sort through the guys even better, because I know if I am not accepted for who I am (all of me, even the flawed parts) then I can wish the guy well as he exits from my life.

It’s why I don’t feel bad for calling a guy I’ve been dating and suggesting a date, even though I know they should always do the chasing in the beginning. I tell people how I feel, I express my opinions, and I show my vulnerabilities. If they don’t like that about me, then they are probably not someone that would fit well in my life.

Here is the video of the John Mayer song that inspired this post. It has inspired an idea for a playlist that I am currently working on, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

How To Survive Running Into An Ex At A Party

It was bound to happen. You go to a fabulous party, and there he is- your ex. You panic and lose your breath for a second.

He’s across the room, and you make eye contact. You smile politely and he smiles back. You have enough time before he gets to you across the room to entertain a fantasy of running out the front door, of smacking him upside the head with the ladle for the egg nog, and to grab the cute guy by the bar and smacking a big kiss on his lips.

Sadly, you snap back into reality in just enough time to get your senses before he greets you with a big hello and the obligatory hug. You know the kind, it’s awkward because it’s not a full on embrace. It’s the kind where you both stick your butts out and you slap each other on the back.

So how do you survive this encounter while keeping your grace and sanity? Here are a few tips that I would recommend.

  • If there is any chance that you might run into him at a party, do not over-imbibe. Ever. Drinking makes you too confident- you think bad ideas are great ones. You lose your good sense. You may say or do things you regret.
  • Keep it brief, if you do decide to talk to him. It’s probably better to bite the bullet and have the conversation to acknowledge that you saw each other. Then get on with your night and enjoy the fabulous company of the people you are with.
  • Have an exit strategy. Ask a friend for help, you could even create a code word that would let them know you need help. My friends are all lovely enough to let me blame them if I need an excuse to leave. Sometimes you just need a way out, and a partner in crime to help you with that.
  • Don’t overthink it. Any of it. Don’t overthink your perfect outfit or how you look. It doesn’t matter, you look fabulous because it’s a holiday party and you’re having fun. Don’t stress over what you should say or what you did say. Or what you wish you would have said. There is probably no perfect conversation to have here, so it’s better to just move on and leave it in the past.
  • Have fun. Not in that way that you are trying to make him jealous. But genuinely have fun. Try to forget that he’s there and enjoy yourself. Eat delicious food, laugh with your friends and enjoy the season.

Try to not let the fear of running into an ex dictate how you celebrate during your holiday season. go to the parties that you want to go to, and don’t let him get in the way of that. It’s your life, you can’t go around avoiding situations that may put the two of you together for the rest of your life.

Just like most difficult situations, it is best to confront it head on and then move on. You’ll have more fun that way, and that is what it is all about!

I Need Your Opinion!

Dear Blog Readers,

I need your help and your opinion. What are your thoughts about being friends after a breakup?

I think it is important to hear different opinions and stories about people that have tried to make this work. Has it worked? Did it turn into backsliding? Is it awkward?

Yes, I’m thinking about being friends with my recent ex.

I’ve made it work in the past for some. Actually, I am really only friends with one of my exes. And it was my college sweetheart and he left the country for a while, we’ve both dated other people, there has been a lot of water under the bridge.

I have one ex that we just sleep together when we see each other, and that’s just part of the relationship now. It’s a mutual established respect that we have for each other that allows this to continue in a way that keeps us both ok in the arrangement.

Oh, I consider the sailor a friend. But we only briefly dated and he lives in California so it’s ok.

So my most recent ex and I had the most civil, mature, and caring breakup that I have ever had. We talked and listened to each other. We allowed each other to ask questions. He asked me what I needed, and I asked him in return. He asked to be my friend, when I was ready.

The ball is in my court. I have the power to decide.

I miss his friendship. We were great for each other. I felt creatively inspired because of him, he is what really lit my passion for writing into a roaring fire. He got me in a way that few people did. I understood his passion, his jokes, the dark parts of who he is.

Sure the sex was great, the romantic aspects of the relationship were stellar. But I don’t want a relationship right now.

I am so happy being single right now. I realize my posts may not always seem that way, but I hope you understand that writing is where I vent emotions. It’s only a slice of the whole pie.

I realize a big part of this is keeping my ego in check. That voice inside me that wants to try to control the situation. That is trying to manipulate it and say “look at how great he is, be his friend so that maybe he will date you again in the future!”

I’ve done enough reading to know that voice isn’t truth. It’s just my manipulative ego trying to control what happens. I know I can’t control it. I know that something better is coming along. I don’t know what, but in the meantime, I remind myself to let it go and I listen to one of my favorite Tristan Prettyman songs again:

 

So all this to ask you- what are your thoughts on friendship after dating? Is it possible, or does it just not work?

Is When Harry Met Sally right?

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