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September, 2011

The Five Clarifying Questions

Dating is challenging.  There’s no way around it.  If you really put yourself out there and go for it, the dating process is guaranteed to bring up all kinds of uncomfortable feelings.  If you don’t know how to navigate this rocky emotional terrain, there’s a good chance you might quit dating or even give up on your dream of finding love.  To have the love you desire, you will eventually have to face your fears and look at what’s blocking you from letting love in.iStock_000015808098XSmall

Robert Frost once wrote: “The best way out is always through.”    To this end, I created The Five Clarifying Questions.  When I was dating, these questions helped me “get through” my negative feelings by showing me where they were they were coming from.  In this way, I was able to stop reacting every time things didn’t go my way and stay out in the dating world long enough to find true love.  How cool is that?  Give it a try!  The next time you feel like you just can’t take it anymore and you want to take your online dating profile down forever, ask yourself these five little questions and see if you can get clear about what’s really going on so that you can stay in the dating game and realize your dream.  It worked for me!

Here’s how to do it:

First:  Define the issue that has upset you and, then, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What am I feeling?
  2. Why am I feeling this way?
  3. What’s real about what I’m feeling?
  4. What am I telling myself that is causing me to feel badly?
  5. What is the truth about each of these negative statements?

Example: I get lots of first dates but I can’t get to a second date.

1.  What am I feeling?

I feel stuck, frustrated, sad, angry, disappointed, and unappreciated

2. Why am I feeling this way? (Write down your thoughts and feelings about what happened.)

Because I really am trying.  I am putting myself out there, doing the best I can and it doesn’t feel fair.  Sometimes it feels like everyone is in a relationship but me.  I don’t understand why dating is so hard for me.  I fel like I might never find someone.  I don’t know what more I can do.  I feel like I am on a hamster wheel, going round and round and round but getting nowhere

3.  What is true about what I’m feeling?  (Some of what you are feeling is justified.  You want to separate what is genuinely true from all of your fear and negativity.)

  • I am trying.
  • I am doing the best I can.
  • Dating genuinely feels hard to me.

4.  What am I telling myself that is causing me to feel badly?

  • This isn’t fair.
  • Everyone is in a relationship but me
  • I will never find someone.
  • I don’t what more I can do.
  • I am getting nowhere.

5.  What is the truth about each of these negative statements?

  • My experience isn’t fair or unfair; it just is.
  • Everyone isn’t in a relationship.  There are lots of other single people.
  • If I keep opening my heart and getting emotionally naked, I can meet someone.
  • There are plenty of things I can do to improve my dating.  (Keep reading this blog, for one!)
  • I might not have met my soul mate but dating is helping me grow as a person.

In the end, Naked Dating® isn’t just about getting emotionally naked with someone you’re dating.  It starts with getting emotionally naked with yourself.  If you don’t stop to acknowledge and understand your feelings, they can start to overwhelm you and eventually cause you to give up on dating and on your dream of finding a partner.  This isn’t an easy process but it is worthwhile.  The rewards far exceed the difficulties you might experience along the way.  And the more you practice, the easier it gets!

Meet Cosmo and Milo

IMG_0221xMeet Cosmo (the big guy), and Milo (his side-kick).  Some people call them dogs, but those of us without human offspring, like me, refer to them as their furry, four-footed children.  You will be hearing a lot about them in my blog not only because they are my kids but also because they are masters at teaching how to live life with an open heart.

Today’s dating advice is brought to you courtesy of Milo.  He is the most tenacious dog I have ever seen.  When Milo gets an idea in that peanut-shaped head of his, there is no stopping him, especially when it comes to taking walks.  He has to have two everyday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, or he literally won’t leave me alone.  To get my attention, he has a developed a wide range of annoying but comical behaviors—scratching incessantly at my door, licking me all over, running in crazed circles around the house.  My favorite is when he stands in the doorway, his tail wagging furiously, and stares me down.  Without fail, he bends me to his will.

I admire Milo’s I-won’t-quit-until-I get-what-I-want approach.  If he were human and dating, he’d go far because he doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants, and he doesn’t take anythingDSCN8452 personally.  He doesn’t get his feelings hurt when I push him away or tell him to wait.  He just disappears for a short time and returns with even more determination.

Can you imagine what it would be like if you took that kind of approach to dating?  What if every time you went on a date and it didn’t work out, you just came back stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever to find a partner?  Could you imagine having that kind of commitment?  In today’s world, this is what it takes.

Here’s a challange:  Think of a recent time in your dating when you gave up easily.  Maybe you went on a bad date and said, “This is ridiculous.  I can’t do this anymore.”  Or, maybe you weren’t getting the kind of responses you wanted so you took down your online dating profile.  Or, maybe you told yourself you’re too old to have what you want.  Or, maybe someone stopped calling without explanation after a few dates.

DSCN8820xNow, ask yourself what you can do to turn it around.  Can you repost your profile and email 20 men or women?  Write a new profile?  Get better pictures?  If you’re older, you can throw a dinner party and have everyone invite a single friend of the opposite sex or join a dating group that is age appropriate.  Maybe your wardrobe or hairstyle needs to be updated or you need to lose 10 pounds.  With the one that disappeared, send an email and say, “I don’t know why you disappeared but I’m disappointed.  I would have appreciated a call.  I wish you well.”

My best dating advice: date like Milo.  If he were out there, he wouldn’t just stay the course.  I have no doubt that that he would end up with the hottest “bitch” in the hood.  He’d be the guy everyone would envy.  They’d say, “How did he get her?”  And I would say just one word: Tenacity!  Go date tenaciously.

Cross “Meet My Soul Mate” Off Your To-Do List

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When I met my future husband, a friend said, “Isn’t it great to cross ‘Meet My Soul Mate’ off your to-do list?”  I have to agree.   This past Saturday marked exactly nine years since I officially crossed “Meet My Soul Mate” off my list, and it was the best feeling ever.

It’s hard to believe that it was nine years ago, on September 10, 2002, that I sat in a trendy Thai Restaurant in Los Feliz, CA, completely unaware that the kindest man I have ever known was about to walk through the door and change my life forever.  I’d been on nearly 100 first dates in two years and spent countless hours crying myself to sleep, wondering if it would ever happen.  Now, everything I had done was about to pay-off.

A lot of what I read tries to put a pleasant spin on dating.  I think that dating is an invaluable opportunity to grow and learn, but nothing about it came easily to me.  For the longest time, sitting across DSC_0419from a man on a date was just another painful reminder of how my own father had rejected me.  I had even been married for five years, but I still felt awkward and uncomfortable around men.

The truth is that I didn’t really know what men wanted from me other than sex.  I’m not suggesting that’s all men want from women, I am saying that this was the only thing I knew they wanted.

I had a lot to learn about men, relationships, and myself if I was ever going to find my soul mate.  So, I stopped blaming other people or the powers that be for why I was alone, and started to look at myself.  I went out on dates and practiced being more emotionally naked and vulnerable. I stripped away my walls, quit assuming men automatically knew what I was thinking, and learned how to ask for what I wanted in a way that was inviting rather than demanding.  I challenged myself at every turn to open my heart and to become more accepting of others and myself.  This was the exact opposite of the cool, I-have-it-all-together-and-don’t-need-a-man façade my mother had taught me to wear.   Sorry mom but this doesn’t work.  If you want to attract a man, you have to make him feel wanted and needed.

And then I met Benjamin.  I never knew until much later that he went home that night and took down his Jdate profile.  He had found what he was looking for.  Totally unsuspecting, I went off to Vietnam on business for three weeks.  The day I returned, he emailed me to invite me out again, and my life was never the same.  Now, I wake up everyday feeling cherished and adored by the man I love.  There is no greater feeling.

DSC_0372We all have our own journey to find love.  I know that for a lucky few it happens by chance, but I wouldn’t bank on it.   If you want to find true love, my suggestion is to let me show you how to use my Naked Dating approach to come out from behind your walls and practice letting a man into your heart.  It took me 2 years and nearly 100 first dates to get there, but then my life changed in an instant.  I crossed “Meet My Soul Mate” off my to do list and so can you!  Check out my website and book a free sample coaching session today.  I will walk you through every step of the process and you will see how Naked Dating can change your life, forever.  It worked for me and for hundreds of my clients.  What are you waiting for?

How to Tame Your Imaginary Frenemy (IF)

Teenage boy and girl stick out tongues to each otherDo you really want to know what’s wrong with dating?  Imaginary Frenemies (IF).  Yes, that’s right.  Imaginary Frenemies.  They are the culprits.  These nasty little devils are sabotaging your dating and, frankly, they need to stop.  Everyone has an Imaginary Frenemy.  Your IF is the critical voice in your head that’s part friend, part enemy.  It pretends to be concerned about your well being but then says horrible things about nearly everyone you date.

Most likely, it feels like your IF is trying to protect you by keeping you from getting close to the wrong person.  What’s really happening is that it’s keeping you from getting close to the right person.  You see your Frenemy doesn’t discriminate.  It looks for the negative, and usually finds it.  It says things like, “OMG, he’s sooooo boring!  How can I make him stop talking?”  Or, “She’s so bossy, I don’t know how any man could stand her.”  It zeros in on what’s wrong with someone because, let’s face it, we all have more important things to do than waste time getting to know people who clearly have nothing to offer us.  Or do they?  As long as we keep listening to our IF, we might never know.  We’ll keep walking away from one date after another never knowing or even caring to know the person sitting across from us.  Don’t worry.  You’re not evil.  There’s a very good chance the person sitting across from you is doing the same thing.

The other day, my client, Ali, told me a story about her IF that left me feeling sad.    Ali is a relatively attractive, 30-something, brunette, with an impressive career and a trendy group of friends. Samantha, Ali’s roommate, invited her to meet a couple she thought Ali would like.  Ali wrote off the husband at first sight.  He was a total nerd—as boring as a blank sheet of paper.  He had no panache.  Then there was the wife.  Her velour tracksuit and sneakers were so outdated that she would have been a perfect candidate for a reality show makeover.  When two more couples joined the group, Ali quickly found fault with them, as well.

“Lisa,” Ali said, shaking her head and feeling genuinely remorseful.  “I’m a terrible person.  They were all being so nice to me.  They kept trying to ask me questions and include me in the conversation, and all I wanted to do was leave.  I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I couldn’t stop that horrible voice my head.  What am I going to do?”

Stay tuned for part II of How to Tame Your Imaginary Frenemy.  Find out how Ali rises to my coaching challenge and turns her Frenemy into a friend.  Also, discover some easy techniques to get your IF under control. And finally, learn about how I tamed my Frenemy, a.k.a. “The Shrew.”

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