Tag Archives: life lessons

Showing up and being seen

9 Dec

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.51.40 PMI have been fascinated by the work of author and researcher Brene Brown. I discovered her on Oprah’s Life Class and have been intrigued every since. I recently bought her book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” The timing seemed impeccable because I’ve been struggling with perfectionism, shame, and vulnerability for a long time and I’m ready to move past them.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been in a healthy, loving relationship with a great guy for a little over a year now. Given my past, vulnerability has been tough to overcome. Vulnerability, as Brown defines it, means to “show up and be seen. To ask for what you need.” Wow, if this wasn’t an a-ha moment. And with my boyfriend’s help, I’ve been able to see that I struggle with this even outside of romantic relationships.

Many people grew up to believe that to be vulnerable meant to be weak. I wasn’t raised this way but I have discovered that as a child I determined on my own that being totally open and emotionally naked could lead to disaster. As a defense mechanism, I have built up walls and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much this was hindering my life.

Brown doesn’t believe that we should be vulnerable with everyone. Not everyone has earned the right to “hear our story.” But everyone, in our most primitive state, craves for love and belonging. And without vulnerability, we’ll never quite experience the love we seek.

So how did I move past my fear of vulnerability? It’s something a fight with everyday but each day gets better. I keep telling myself that the only way to have a true, authentic relationship is to show up with my whole-hearted, imperfect self. I’m beginning to have more of the hard conversations and talk about how I really feel. And trust me, these new changes have not always been met with love and support. Some people resist. But I’m learning that it’s ok. It just lets me know that you’re not the person that’ll hear my story again. I move on.

What does your “brand” say about you to men?

6 May

So I recently came across a vlog by Dr. Alduan Tartt that really resonated with me. In his video “Relationship Advice for the Total Package Woman” (which I happen to be, lol), his third tip is “Know Your Brand.” I work in advertising so I immediately had an a-ha moment.

Sometimes when I present at workshops or advise clients, I get asked what “branding” really means. The first thing I say is that branding is more than just a logo! It’s what a company stands for, their image, their look and feel. Have you ever caught the middle or the tail end of a TV or radio commercial and subconsciously knew who the advertiser was? Or,  have you every picked up a catalog or sales paper without its cover and still knew who was selling what? That’s the result of branding.

So how, you may ask, does this relate to me, dating and relationships? Well, each of us has a “brand.” We have an image that we portray to the world, which is a reflection about how we really feel about ourselves internally. Our outward appearance and our actions say to someone, “I’m a high-quality product” or “I’m made of the cheap stuff.”  This image will attract a certain person or a certain customer, if you will.

In the video Dr. Tartt gives an example of BMW. He says the BMW brand is targeted to a certain type of audience or target market and they portray class, money, and the elite.  These two questions come to mind:

1) What does our personal brand say about us? We can’t expect to have a low self esteem and attract a successful, confident man. That man will want to align himself with a brand that reflects who he is. In turn, if we genuinely know our worth, we will attract those that have something wonderful to offer us in return.

2) What kind of customers are we attracting? If our branding is off, we are going to get the wrong clientele. For instance, if we say to men (whether verbally or non verbally) that we have little to offer, than we will attract and accept “less than” men.

Often companies re-brand or reposition themselves. Look at J.C. Penny, for example. (Ok, maybe not a good example, lol.) And we can, too! Let’s take an inventory of what we’re selling and how we are selling it to the world. I know I have. In just a short period of time, I’ve noticed that with a change in my attitude about myself and a change in my outward appearance, more men have approached me recently. Have all of them been on my level…no. But a few are who I would consider as dating material. Once I’ve met these guys, it’s up to me to remember what I stand for and to decide whether or not I want to co-brand with them.

You can thank me later for the marketing lesson! 😉 Please view Dr. Tartt’s video for more insight:

Release and wait

8 Mar

Someone sent this to me over the weekend. It couldn’t have been more timely. You see, I have a BAD habit of doing the things that she speaks of: trying to establish a healthy relationship with someone who is clearly not right for me instead of waiting patiently for what God has for me. Yep, I do it and have done it often. But a recent experience with someone I’ve dated on- and off-again for 9 years has led me to say “ENOUGH!”

I think it’s hard for us to walk away from relationships or friendships even though we know they are detrimental because it makes us feel like failures. We feel like we aren’t good enough or competent. Sometimes we just have to throw our hands up and say “There’s nothing more I can do to make this work. It’s time to give up.” Man, that’s a hard thing to say, especially if you still love someone. But love shouldn’t hurt.

I can’t blame everyone else for my failed relationships. I am owning up to the ways in which I’ve sabotaged my own life. I haven’t made the best choices when it comes to relationships. It’s a hard thing to admit.

Iyanla Vanzant says this in her book Acts of Faith:

You can do the same old things in just so many ways until you lose track of what you are doing. How many ways can you cry? How many ways can you hurt? How many ways can you convince yourself that you can make this work? When a relationship is over, you must learn to let go.

It’s time I let go….

Three Books Every Single Gal Should Read

8 Mar

I used to be a self-help junkie. I’m not so much anymore. But there are a few books that I continually go back to when I need relationship advice. In fact, some of these books I’ve lost and purchased again because they were so valuable to me. I’ve read some of them 2 and 3 times.


He’s Just Not that Into You:The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys
by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

My take: You’ve seen the movie. But have you read the book? It really opened my eyes. Although a guy might say one thing, it doesn’t always mean that he’s sincere about it. If a guy truly wants you, he’ll make the effort to show you. You don’t have to convince him you’re the best thing since sliced bread. If he interested, he’ll call. And that’s it. Period.

Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly:
It’s a classic single-woman scenario: you really like this guy, but he’s giving mixed messages. You make excuses, decide he’s confused, afraid of commitment. Behrendt, a former executive story editor for Sex and the City—and a formerly single (now happily married) guy who knows all the excuses—provides a simple answer: he’s just not that into you. Stop kidding yourself, let go and look for someone else who will be. After all, as Behrendt sensibly puts it, “if a (sane) guy really likes you, there ain’t nothing that’s going to get in his way.” If you’re not convinced yet, by all means read this smart, funny and surprisingly upbeat little book, full of q’s and a’s covering every excuse woman has ever made to avoid admitting to herself that a man just wasn’t that smitten with her.

Quotable: Assume you are the rule, not the exception.

Why Men Love Bitches
by Sherry Argov

My take: My aunt kept telling me about this book and I was put off by the title like so many other women probably are. The last thing I want to do is come off like a bitch. When she saw that I wasn’t making a bee line to the bookstore for it and I was still having man problems, she sent it to me in the mail. Boy, was I grateful. I think this book should be taught in school to every teenage girl! Once you get past the title and read its’ contents, you’ll soon discover that this book is really about self respect and establishing boundaries. While I don’t agree with everything the author suggests, I think the principles outlined in the book are great.

Editorial Review from Publishers Weekly:
Contending that some women are “too nice,” comedian and radio show host Sherry Argov has written Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman’s Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship. “I’m not recommending that a woman have an abrasive disposition,” Argov writes, “The woman I’m describing is kind yet strong. She doesn’t give up her life, and she won’t chase a man.” Her sassy book is filled with scenarios and advice aimed at making women subtly stronger and self-empowered. Argov’s principles, which range from the farfetched to the downright absurd, include “If you give him a feeling of power, he’ll want to protect you and he’ll want to give you the world” and “A little distance combined with the appearance of self-control makes him nervous that he may be losing you.” The book, which has already been featured on The View and The O’Reilly Factor, should make waves with its controversial view of relationships.

Quotable: It is the attitude about yourself that a man will adopt.

Boundaries in Dating: Making Dating Work
by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

My take: This book was recommended to me by a minister. So, of course, it hinges on Christian principles and that’s part of the reason I like it. The book takes a look at how relationships should be approached as someone who is trying to please God, a position that’s not often taken in the mainstream. I’ve read this book several times. As a matter of fact, I lost the book and went out and bought a new copy. Like Why Men Love Bitches, the book talks about maintaining proper boundaries with your date or potential life-long partner. This is something I struggle with so it’s been very helpful. The book covers everything from honesty and the “blame game” to establishing and maintaining what you will and won’t accept in a relationship.

Review from an amazon.com customer: “Boundaries in dating is about becoming a truthful, caring, responsible, and free person who also encourages growth in those she is in contact with,” the authors write. “Your dating life should be a powerful change agent for you.” Countering the common assumption that dating is limited to “finding the right one,” Cloud and Townsend take the spiritual approach that dating and relating is just as much about “learning about your own issues, how they affect others, and what to do about them.” That dating should bring us closer to God seems to be the authors’ ultimate goal in writing this book.

Quotable: God uses relationships to heal us and to change us. Although we are not suggesting that dating be the primary place that someone seeks healing (this is a horrible idea), it is a place where good things happen in people’s souls. People benefit from good relationships.

What are some books that you’ve found very helpful? Please comment and share.

I need a new pair of shoes

21 Aug

Hey world! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’ve had lots of things on my mind lately and I thought I’d share one of them. Once again, I want to pull a quote from Iyanla Vanzant’s Acts of Faith:

When we convince ourselves that we can’t find the right mate, we try to make the one we have into the one we want….When we are not honest with ourselves about who are mate really is, we end up disillusioned and disappointed. It is not their fault, it is our own. We must be clear about what we want from a relationship whether it is social, business or intimate. Then we must make a decision to wait for exactly what we want. If who we have is not who we want, say so! It is not our job to change the other person. If we buys a pair of shoes and they do not fit, should we wear them and suffer or take them back to the store?

Ladies, do we ever say, “well if he just did this, we’d be ok” or “maybe if I can convince him to be like this, things would be better”? Where do we get the idea that we can change someone? We have a lot of talents but we don’t have super powers! I’m learning that if someone or something doesn’t mesh with your values or ideals, then it’s ok to acknowledge that and move on.

It’s time we wait for what God has planned for us rather than trying to take a unhealthy situation and turn it into what we think is best for us. In our “meantime” we should develop our interests and our spirituality and just be.

Now on to just being….

My story

5 Jun

Ok. So I use wordpress a lot for work-related stuff. I figure it’s time to start for myself. There’s a lot I want to say but don’t necessarily want people to know it’s coming from me. Here’s my first blog thought:

Life is hard with hard lessons. Sometimes God has to just get your attention. You can’t move to the left, you can’t move to the right. You end up flat on your back. He tried to get through to me but I was too busy trying to fix it myself, too busy trying to be my own boss. Well, I get the point now. I trust you, Lord, and most of all I’ve now learned that I need to trust myself and my instincts.

Intuition is a powerful thing. Have you ever looked back on a situation and said, “I knew everything to begin with?” You didn’t have any evidence, no facts, just this overwhelming “something” you get when you’re gut kicks in. I’m no longer going to ignore that something.

Nite