Your tough questions addressed
A monthly column offering insights, compassion, some useful tools for self-empowerment—and a bit of humor.
My dating life is a disaster! I haven’t been in a relationship in over 5 years. I've tried several of the online dating sites and every experience has been a nightmare. So I wonder... Have I lost that lovin’ feeling? Have I been alone too long? Why am I attracting the wrong men? Am I presenting myself incorrectly? Which then asks an even bigger question - am I afraid to present who I am? To ask for what I want and what I need? Do I worry what they will think of me if I ask for too much? Do I still keep myself in the pleaser roll and then get angry because that’s the kind of man I am attracting?
How do I get rid of the old tapes running in my head?
—An 8 Track
Dear 8 Track,
It seems to us that you have the answers already, so we’ve taken the liberty of turning some of your questions into statements. Here’s what it looks like:
I’m attracting the wrong men. I’m afraid to present who I am. I’m afraid to ask for what I want and what I need. I worry what they will think of me if I ask for too much. I keep myself in the pleaser role and then get angry because that’s the kind of man I (inevitably) attract.
I want to get rid of the old tapes running in my head.
We invite you to read these statements out loud, preferably while looking in the mirror. Awkward. We know.
Good. Well done. Now, we challenge you to turn these into affirmations, as in: I attract the right men, I am confident presenting who I am (or the real me), and I am confident to ask for what I want and what I need, and so on. (Now get back in that bathroom and say these out loud! Scream if you have to. Say it like you really mean it. Make this a daily practice. In fact, keep saying it until you believe it).
Congratulations. You have just put out to the universe your wish for yourself. (Actually, you put it out there when you sent in your question, but now the energy has shifted).
No one ever said it was easy to meet someone, let only the right someone. You have to get really clear about what you want, and why. Shift your attitude and energy. Tell your friends your intentions and ask to be set up. Change your online dating profile to reflect the real you (maybe even get a friend to write it for you!). Think about other ways of meeting people: take a class, attend a concert or an open mic alone, find activities that excite you—we’ll leave the rest up to you (wink, wink). Get out there, be unabashedly you, and have fun! ◊
We love all the extra time we have because we procrastinate, but in reality, we’re wasting an enormous amount of time THINKING about all the things we need to do. How does one stop procrastinating when it feels so damn good? (On the surface at least).
—Time-sucker in Tribeca
We all do it. Heck, we've been putting off responding to your question for a week now! (Yuk yuk!) But seriously, How good does it really feel?
How often have you put something off that when you finally got around to doing it thought “I just wasted all this %#&*$#@ time and angst when it wasn’t such a big deal!”
The next time you're tempted to climb onto the couch with that pint of Haagen Dazs, remember how good it felt when you buckled down and accomplished the thing you’d been putting off and weigh that feeling against the angst.
The bigger question is: What are you putting off and why?
Very often postponement is rooted in something deeper, some fear we are not ready to face. Take some time with these questions. Be bold, listen to the voices in your head and what they're hinting at.
On the practical side: Get down and dirty with your To-Do list. Decide what is a priority and what can be put off or eliminated altogether. Be ruthless. Prioritize your priorities. Pull out your calendar and schedule your To-Dos. If it’s scheduled, it’s real. Commit to at least 20 minutes on each of these tasks and see where that takes you. And in the oh-so profound words of NIKE, Just do it! You’ll be glad you did. ◊
Comparison is the thief of joy: How do you NOT COMPARE yourself to all the other people that seem to be leading exciting lives, are wealthy, have numerous homes and great asses?
—Joyless in Jersey City
We believe the operative word here is seem. Now more than ever, people have the ability—and need, it would seem—to show off their exciting, glamorous lives. Honestly, if your life was all that, would you really bother to take pictures and post them to social media? Maybe not.
Try limiting your social media exposure. We recently complimented a friend we follow on Instagram about the quality and amount of his work. He smiled and said “Social Media is a Mirage.” Avoid getting wrapped up in the black hole of I want what they have. We never really know another's true story. Focus on your own and make it the best it can be.
Start a gratitude journal. Begin the day by listing three things you’re grateful for—maybe your morning latte, an air-conditioned subway car, or that text from a good friend. Your focus will shift to one of abundance from one of lacking.
The truth is, there will always be those who have more (bigger, better, sexier) than us and those who have less. Focus on what you have control over – if there is something you want, work your ass off (ha, ha). If you have no control over the outcome, make peace with it, and acknowledge the abundance in your life.
We leave you with this: The grass is always greener where you water it! ◊
IN A TIZZY? CONFUSED, HURT OR FEELING BLOCKED?
Send your questions to us at email@example.com.
You'll be glad you did :-)