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.

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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6 Ways Couples Can Help Their Single Friends

Sometimes it is hard for everyone to remember that there is more to life than being happily coupled up. When you’re single you want what you can’t have- that happy settled relationship. When you’re happily partnered off, it’s hard to remember how much fun you used to have when you were single.

Some of the best moments of being single are when you’re not looking for the next great guy. There is more for coupled friends to offer than your  friend’s brother’s next door neighbor that happens to be single.

Let’s bridge the gap, let’s stop seeing “single”as a problem that needs to be solved. Instead let’s learn how we can all get along and have a lot of fun together.

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I know it’s hard when you are trying to support a friend that is going through something that you can’t relate to. The biggest problem is that you start wondering how you can help, or what is the right thing to say.

Let me help, here is how coupled friends can help single friends.

  1. Keep inviting us to hang out.
    The problem of wondering what to say goes both ways. We singles often don’t want to interrupt your evenings of wedded bliss and tons of married sex (because you still do that, right?). And if you have children, we assume that you’re ready to move on with your life and leave us in the dust. So help us bridge the gap, and invite us over once in a while. It doesn’t have to be the wild late nights like we used to do together when we were all single. We like your company, just as you are.

    Every once in a while, we may leave early from a party you throw with your couple friends or we may turn down your invitation if there is something else going on. This is going to be rare, but it might happen.

  2. Stop setting us up on blind dates without asking us first.
    There is nothing more uncomfortable than the accidental set up- when you invite me and some guy that you think is just perfect and oh! we just happen to all be at the same place at the same time! There is nothing accidental about that, and it’s just awkward.

    If you want to set us up on a date let us know in advance. Let us decide whether or not we’re ok with being set up. We’ve had plenty of set ups, and sometimes we’d rather have the opportunity to say no thanks. Or, you can invite us to a big party and if we happen to meet and mingle then that’s swell. But there is also an entire party full of people that we can talk to in case it doesn’t work out.

  3. Warn us if we will be the only single person at a dinner or a party. But don’t let that stop you from inviting us.

    We won’t say no just because we’re the only single person at the party. But we would like to know ahead oftime. We can wrap our brain around that, pysch ourself up, and know that we won’t have to put effort into looking extra cute in case someone is flirt-worthy. We would just like some warning, that’s all.

  4. Let us help you try new things.
    One of the best things about being single is that you have to have a life. One of the best things about being coupled up is that you can stay in and do nothing and still have a great night. But a little too much staying in gets to be boring.

    That’s where we come in! Singles to the rescue! When we invite you out to check out a funky art opening, a new band, a great party, a new bar say yes once in a while. You can still try new things outside of your coupled life and we’ll love having the new experiences with you.

    And if we don’t invite you, ask if you can come along. The next time we share a story about the last great thing we did, tell us you’d like to join the next time and we’ll invite you. It may not have occurred to a single person that a coupled person would want to join us for a wild night out.

  5. Stop the cliches, please.
    “You’ll find him when you’re not looking.” “He’s out there!” “You deserve better!” We’ve heard it a million times, and it’s nothing we aren’t telling ourselves in moments of weakness alone in the shower.

    We turn to you for support because you are a friend. We don’t need you to fill space with meaningless cliches, unless you’re making fun of how ridiculous they sound. It’s enough for you to be with us, and if you don’t know what to say it’s ok to admit that. Say something witty or insightful if it comes to mind, otherwise let’s just be goofy and watch silly YouTube videos.

  6. Be our wingman/woman.
    It is really cool to have someone that is already coupled off that is willing to help us pick up men. It saves the trouble of worrying if you’re going to snag the guy we’re really into. Some of my married friends make the most effective wingwomen because they have fun flirting on my behalf and they see their friend (me) get hooked up! Win-win for everyone!

Hopefully these ideas help break some of the tension between marrieds and singles. It doesn’t have to be a war between the two, we just need to be open with each other about what makes us uncomfortable and what kind of support we need.

What are your tricks for dealing with married or single friends?

 

 

Am I Sticking to Friendships Because it’s Safe?

Here is my question for you that I am dealing with right now: As a straight woman, should I complete the healing process by jumping back into dating or should I stay in the warm cocoon of female friendships a bit longer?

Everyone says that when you are going through a breakup you should spend lots of time with your friends- surround yourself with people that love and support you, Ok, good advice. Will do.

But what do you do when that feels more like a really cute shoe that is perfect for the outfit but doesn’t quite fit right? Maybe I should share my experience this weekend to put this into perspective.

I haven’t been ready to start dating again. I tried, but I had no interest in making any effort for dating. It’s not that I kept thinking about the ex, it’s just a total and complete lack of interest. So I haven’t tried to meet any new guys. Until Saturday, when I volunteered at the Maryland Brewers Harvest festival. It was testosterone central. Half the men were married or with their wives, but the others were there with their buddies. Had I known I wouldn’t have worn just my glasses and a T-shirt. I didn’t actively flirt with many of them, just one or two (I couldn’t help it myself).

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This all felt good. This was such a nice boost. I actually stayed well past the end of my shift because I was having such a great time. Then I went off to spend the weekend with my sorority sisters to celebrate our chapter’s 75th anniversary. I thought this would be perfect- lots of girl time! Yay! Right?

Until I found myself surrounded by girls 6+ years younger than I was, with none of the girls that I knew in sight. I was so uncomfortable. I felt old and tired and like i had done too much day drinking to actually have fun at a college bar.

Sorority sisters from classes in the 50s all the way to current students. Sisters for life, right?

Sorority sisters from classes in the 50s all the way to current students. Sisters for life, right?

Our morning brunch felt much better. I was surrounded by the girls that I thought were so cool and silly, the ones that I liked so much that I decided that being their sister would be such fun. And then I realized that I never made much effort to be their friends because I was so busy with the theater and I thought that they already had a group of close friends. But now, now we’re adults and we can hang out. Many of us said we should get together and talk more often. So why not?

It was a strange weekend. What I thought would make me happy didn’t really, and what I thought would be just to help out a cause was more uplifting than I thought. I want to build some stronger friendships with some of these girls, but do I want this because it’s safe? Is it because I am too afraid to put myself out there with a guy and risk getting hurt again?

Have you ever felt this way?