Take Off Your Masks

Take Off Your Masks

The Rules are for Fools

The Rules are for Fools

In my grandmother’s era, there were lots of “rules” about dating. Her brother, my Great Uncle Sid, loves to tell the story of the first time a certain gentleman called to ask her out. Uncle Sid said that this man was handsomer than Gregory Peck and equally as charming. All the young women at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, MO had their eye on him, but he only had eyes for my granny.

One Thursday evening, the gentleman in question gave my grandmother a call. They chatted easily and effortlessly for a few minutes, but when she hung up the hallway phone, she collapsed in the corner and burst into tears. The family came running to see what happened. “Helen, darling,” my great grandmother said, crouching down to wipe her daughter’s tear-stained face with the hem of her apron. “Tell us what’s wrong!”

“Al Gelfand asked me on a date… b-b-but,” she replied, choking on her words, “I told him No.” My poor grandmother. Prince Charming had just asked her out and she turned him down. But why!?

“What are you talking about, Helen?” my uncle Sid said, questioning his older sister. “All you’ve been doing is blabbering about Al Gelfand for months, and now he calls, asks you on a date, and you say no?” He cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow suspiciously.

“You dont understand,” my grandmother lectured. “It’s Thursday and he asked me out for tomorrow night. No self-respecting girl would ever accept such an invitation! He needs to give me some advance notice. Doesn’t he think I have a social life?”

“But this morning you told me you didn’t have any plans tomorrow,” my uncle retorted.

My grandma eyed her little brother curiously. “That’s not the point,” she said, feigning an air of superiority. “Albert Gelfand needs to know that I’m in high demand and that I’m not just sitting here waiting for the likes of him to call.” She managed to remain calm for a few seconds, and then erupted into another crying fit. “Oh no!” she sobbed despairingly. “What have I done? What if he never asks me out again?”

The good news is that Al Gelfand was no slouch. He didn’t give up easily. And being the smart cookie that she was, my grandmother probably gave him a little hint before turning him down, as well. I’m sure she said something like: “I’d love to go out with you, Al, but my weekends do fill up rather quickly.” The dapper Mr. Gelfand took my grandmother’s advice to heart. The next time he called to ask her out, my future grandfather gave my grandmother plenty of notice.

In my grandmother’s day, women really had only one path in life: to become wives and mothers. My grandmother’s entire agenda was to bag a great man and, to do that, she had to use her womanly charms to lure him in. But now it’s 2016! We’ve fought long and hard for equal rights, and we have so many more opportunities available to us than just getting married. Still, when it comes to dating, many women feel the need to follow the same antiquated rules my grandma Helen did all those years ago. From never making the first move to not accepting a date without three-days advance notice, I’m shocked to see how many of my female clients still date like it’s 1936. Many women are still convinced that they have no choice but to continue playing silly games to meet a guy.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Some of my female clients feel they need to downplay their success or accomplishments for fear of overshadowing a man. How can we have come so far in so many ways, only to feel that we still have to hide who we are? Case in point: a few months ago, my client, Maggy, told me that she was afraid of what would happen when Marco, the guy she was dating, found out that she owns three investment properties. Marco wasn’t doing as well as she was in his career and she was scared he would be intimidated by her success. Maggy is turning something that should be a blessing and make her more viable as a partner into a curse. Ironically, if she keeps downplaying her success, she will continue to attract insecure men. The right man wouldn’t be threatened by her success, he would feel proud to be with her.

Women today are not like my grandmother. We have careers, mortgages, and bank accounts of our own, and most of us don’t need a man to take care of us. It’s time to stop playing games, embrace our accomplishments, and look for men who are our equals. If you’re out in the dating world and you want to attract a good man, don’t play by my grandmother’s rules—in fact, don’t play by anyone’s rules. The real way to win the heart of the right man isn’t by avoiding his calls or downplaying your success; it’s by showing up authentically and opening up your heart so he can see the real you. Your soul mate can’t find you if you’re hiding behind a mask or playing by rules that were created in a different day and time. If my grandma Helen was around today, she wouldn’t kowtow to any man. She would be running the show and she’d have all the men chasing after her!

Do you want to learn how to get “naked” and show up authentically on dates? Book a consultation with me and see how I can help!

The Rules are for Fools

Personal Reflections: On Learning to Love Yourself

Personal Reflections: On Learning to Love Yourself

Personal Reflections: On Learning to Love Yourself

My little half-sister

According to her mother, my 18-year-old half-sister is really struggling. When my father died last year at 78 from the long term effects of drinking and smoking, my sister was hit the hardest. Now, she’s away at college for the first time and it sounds like she’s feeling very lost and lonely. Listening to her mom describe what a hard time my little sister is having, I was reminded of how, for the first 34 years of my life, I felt like I stumbled around in a fog, not sure of who I was or where I was going in life.

I’m 54 now and I know how my story works out. I’ve created a life I love complete with an adoring husband, two very amusing dogs, and a rewarding career as a dating and relationship coach. Most of all, I’m genuinely happy.

Sadly, I don’t know what’s in store for my little sister. I don’t know if she’ll figure out her life, but it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain. I can imagine how much she’s hurting and how insurmountable this situation must seem to her.

People like people who like themselves

The other day I phoned my little sister to see how she’s doing and she confided that she hasn’t made any real friends at school. Can you imagine being away at college and not making friends? I can. When I was her age, nothing seemed more terrifying than opening up to other people. I felt certain that, if they got to know me, they wouldn’t like me… but then I didn’t like much myself either.

Now that I’m older, I can see how hard it is for others to like you when you don’t like yourself. But it’s also hard to like yourself when it feels like nobody likes you. It’s a Catch-22. How could I possibly believe I was likable when I constantly felt like people were turned off by me? I felt so lonely and confused that I resented other people for how I felt, but I also desperately wanted their approval.

“Searching in all directions with your awareness, you find no one dearer than yourself.”   -The Buddha

When I ask myself how I got from where my sister is today to where I am, I realize that it came down to a single choice. One day, when I was 34-years-old and trapped in a bad marriage, I simply decided that it was time to start loving myself. I realized that the love I needed most of all was my own, and that I had to find a way to give it to myself. Of course I didn’t have a clue how to do this, but I needed to find out.

Turns out that setting an intention to start loving myself was, in and of itself, a powerful step in the right direction. I didn’t need to have it all figured out. Simply by changing a single thought, my entire way of thinking began to change. Instead of focusing on all the reasons why people didn’t like me, I started to think about what I liked about myself. When I did this, my negative thoughts receded into the background and my positive thoughts came to the forefront. My mind was like a camera lens; whatever I chose to focus on became sharper and clearer, while everything else fell away.

Just find one thing to like about yourself

You don’t have to start with anything big. Maybe you think you have pretty hair or a nice smile. Maybe you like the fact that you’re an out-of-the-box thinker. I loved my sense of adventure. At a time when the vast majority of people hadn’t traveled much, by the time I was nineteen, I had already been around the world to places like Sri Lanka and Katmandu. I thought this made me pretty cool. All you need to do is find one thing to like about yourself, however small. Make a list of 10 things you like about being you. Everyday add one more quality to the list. Watch it grow.

Eventually, I was able to start looking at the things I didnt like about myself, too. It was scary at first, but I owned them one by one. I took responsibility for everything about whom I was being and the choices I was making.

There were some parts of my personality that weren’t so attractive. For example, I could be defensive, obsessive, a know-it-all, and self-absorbed. The good news was that I was ready and willing to change. For most of my life I had felt like the world was against me. Figuring out that I could improve myself on the inside and change the results I was getting on the outside felt liberating.

In certain spiritual circles the word “change” has gotten a bad rap. Some say we’re all supposed to accept others and ourselves exactly the way we are. This isn’t exactly true. While it isn’t your job to try to change other people, you can change how other people respond to you by changing yourself. If something you’re doing isn’t working and you’re not getting the result you want, then you need to change your approach. We are all works in progress, but if you want to have a life you love, you can’t continue to blame the people around you for why your life isn’t working.

Beauty isn’t everything

One of the biggest challenges I faced when I was my little sister’s age is that I placed way too much emphasis on physical beauty. A voice inside my head was always saying things like, “Lisa, if you were thinner, your life would be different. If you just lost weight, people would like you. Then you could fit in. If you were prettier, people would like you and want to be your friend.” No wonder I didn’t like myself. I was mean and negative and I was making myself into a victim. I really believed that if I were prettier and thinner people would like me more. I never realized this until just now, but the few times I actually did lose weight, I was so uncomfortable with the attention I got that I put the weight back on again. It didn’t matter how I looked on the outside because I believed that, once people got to know what I was like on the inside, they wouldn’t like me. The problem with wishing I was thinner or prettier was that it set me up to never like myself. I was always disappointed in myself. The only way to love myself was to be willing to accept myself flaws and all. I still wanted to lose weight and keep improving, but I stopped beating up on myself up for not being perfect.

The other night I was invited to a fabulous party in the Hollywood Hills. I don’t think there was one person there who was classically beautiful, but every single person had his or her own distinct brand of charm. I met a famous actor, a world-renowned photographer, a jewelry designer, a frozen quiche and pizza manufacturer, a high-end photographic book publisher, a designer of exotic gardens, and a novelist. It was one of the most fascinating groups of people I’ve met in a long time. Not one person there was a head turner, but you could tell that they all liked themselves and they each left a lasting impression on me.

My friend Peggy

I really have come a long way in the past 20 years. My friend Peggy, who knew me when I was first trying to figure myself out, likes to remind me of how far I’ve come. She gets this mischievous twinkle in her eyes and says, “Lisa Minkin (my maiden name), you’ve come a l o n g way!” She’s seen the best and the worst of me, and you know what? She doesn’t just like me: she loves me.

When I first met Peggy, I fell in love with her spirit and I wanted to be her friend. She was the kind of person I wanted to like me back. I actually went out on a limb to cultivate a friendship with her—something I never would have had the guts to do when I was younger and more insecure. The old me would have told myself that Peggy wouldn’t want to be my friend, but the new me tells myself that I can have all the friends I want! Just writing those words makes my heart leap because I never imagined I would feel that way. Peggy’s love and friendship are proof that I’ve grown into the person I’ve always wanted to be because the people who love me are the very people I want to love me.

In conclusion

Now that you’ve read this far, you might still be wondering, “But how did you learn to love yourself?” I’ve already told you. I changed a belief. I simply chose to stop telling myself that I was unlikable and, despite what anyone else thought of me, I decided to like myself. Changing this one belief opened up a whole new universe of thought for me. Over time, much of my negativity and fear fell away and it was replaced with loving-kindness and self-acceptance. This didn’t happen overnight. Transformation can take time. Just because I had a breakthrough didn’t mean that I was changed. The changes came gradually, but once I set foot on that path, I kept on going. I changed from a confused, frightened, insecure girl into a clear, confident woman. I hope with all my heart that my little sister will do the same.

If you are struggling to love yourself and meet the partner of your dreams, please contact me for a free consult. You can learn all the tricks of the dating trade, but if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, it’s hard to be a great partner even if you meet someone wonderful. The good news is that you can learn to love and accept yourself and my guess is that you’ll find out you’re actually pretty fabulous!

Adventure, Mission & Romance









Older Women Are More Beautiful

Older Women Are More BeautifulOlder Women Are More Beautiful

How to Spot a Cheater


How to Spot a Cheater

How to Spot a Cheater

When I was in my thirties, I had a relationship with a ridiculously handsome guy from Oaxaca named Juan Carlos. I was crazy about him— his boyish smile, his tan skin, his big, chestnut eyes. And don’t even get me started on his accent… I never knew my name could sound so exotic… until I heard it leave his lips. Needless to say, I was totally hooked. My gut told me it was all a little too good to be true, but when I listened to the way he rolled his Rs… all reason went out the window. If I had only know then how to spot a cheater!

Of all places, Juan Carlos and I met in a cemetery in Oaxaca on the Day of the Dead. I was there buying folk art for my Mexican import company. When he smiled at me from among the candle lit graves, I was hit by one of those thunderbolts you only read about in romance novels. Six months later, he moved to New Mexico to live and work with me.

Now, he was planning a trip back to Mexico to visit family—or so I thought. As he packed, a greeting card fell out of his knapsack and landed on the floor in front of me. I couldn’t help but see it and ask who it was from. He snatched the card up, told me it was nothing, and then shoved it back in his bag. I asked him again who had written it and he shouted, “¡Dejalo!” Leave it alone. His tone was cold and I knew something was wrong. That night I waited until he was asleep and found the card in his bag.

The card was from Margarita, a female friend he’d been hanging out with from his English class. Clearly, she was in love with him. In her note, she went on and one about how wonderful he was, how he’d changed her life, and how she’d miss him while he was away. This shocked me, but not half as much as what came next. Margarita wrote that she was sorry she hadn’t met Juan Carlos before he’d met his girlfriend—Carmen. Carmen?! Wasn’t she Juan Carlos’ ex back in Mexico? I thought I was his girlfriend!

Alarm bells sounded in my head. It seemed that Carmen and Juan Carlos weren’t such ancient history, after all. Then, the floor fell out from under me. He wasn’t going back to Mexico to see his family, he was going back to see her. When I got my phone bill the next month, I saw that I had been paying for his long distance affair all along.

Not only did I feel totally destroyed inside, I felt completely taken advantage of. Looking back, there were warning signs all along—I just didn’t want to face up to them. Remember, this was 1990 BC (before cell phones). That letter from Margarita was the prehistoric version of a scandalous text. When friends warned me that they had a rotten feeling about JC, I had chalked it up to jealousy. After all, he was hot. When JC wanted to stay home at night (so he could whisper sweet nothings to Carmen!) I thought it was weird, but I reasoned it away. I told myself he was tired and that he just needed a little break. I made all the excuses in the world for him. Why? Well… he was gorgeous and he was every bit the Latin lover! But in all seriousness, I just couldn’t believe that I was the kind of girl who would get cheated on. If I had read the signs—and listened to my intuition—I would have saved myself a whole lot of hurt… and a whole lot of dough. What can I say? When you love someone and put all your trust and faith in the relationship, you don’t want to believe that the other person could turn around and betray you. After all, he was living in my house, working in my company, sleeping in my bed, using my phone… which might have been part of the problem.

Do you suspect your partner is cheating? You might not find written proof like I did with Juan Carlos, but you can take advantage of one of the most powerful tools of all… your gut instinct.

Research shows that when it comes to matters of love, your intuition just might be the best judge of all. In a study conducted at Brigham Young University, psychologists observed 35 women and 16 men who were involved in romantic relationships. The psychologists videotaped interactions between the participants and their significant others and showed the tapes to third party observers. The observers were able to detect who among the participants were cheating with stunning accuracy.

The moral of the story? If a perfect stranger can glean cheaters just by watching the way they interact with their partners on film, I’d wager to guess your intuition might be worth more than you’re giving it credit for. If you sense something is wrong in your relationship, you need to pay attention. I knew in my gut that Juan Carlos was spending way too much time with Margarita and he wasn’t inviting me to join them. That alone should have told me something. I had even asked him a couple of times to introduce me to her and he had refused. Now I know why. He had told her we were just friends and that he worked for me. Looking back, I had an uneasy feeling about JC all along… and it wasn’t just all the Mexican food he was cooking for dinner.




Life is a Gift–Accept It!

Life is a Gift

Believe it or not, it can be a lot easier for people to get physically naked with a partner than to get emotionally naked. Usually, when we take off our clothes for someone, it’s because we are giving something to another other person—namely, SEX. It’s a whole different story when we get emotionally naked and bare what’s below our skin.

Our fear of rejection makes it hard to let down our guard and reveal ourselves to another person, especially when we want that person to find us attractive. No one can be more critical of us than we are of ourselves. But if we don’t even love and accept ourselves, how can we believe that another person could love us?

Fifteen years ago, I was walking down the beach contemplating this very question. Since my first marriage ended eight years earlier, I had been on what you might call a spiritual journey, actively searching for answers to life’s big questions. During that time I tried everything from traditional therapy to working with a world-renowned Mexican shaman. I had just started dating again and I couldn’t believe that, after all the hard work I’d done, my old feelings of self-doubt were resurfacing again.

I knew this place all too well, and I didn’t want to go back down that road. So, I started searching through my mental knapsack of self-empowerment tools. After all the work I’d done, there had to be something in that brain of mine to pull me out of my funk. As I was feeling good and sorry for myself, a voice inside me piped up. “Life is a gift,” it said, quite matter-of-factly.

I stopped in my tracks. Why was it telling me this now? I had heard this phrase countless times before, but what did it really mean? People say that a gift is something you give without any strings attached. I didn’t know how or why I was alive, but by some force of nature I was here. Someone or something had given me the gift of life, and as with any gift, I could choose to do whatever I wanted with it—no strings attached. If I wanted to sit on a street corner and do nothing, I could. I didn’t have to justify or explain my choice to anyone. I would probably starve to death, but I had been given the gift of life and I could choose to do whatever I wanted with it.

So, what had I been doing with my life? I realized that, mostly, I had been trying to prove my worth and impress other people. My choice of jobs, the way I dressed, and the people I surrounded myself with were mostly based on what I assumed others would think of me.  And who were these people I was seeking approval from, anyway? My parents? My friends? My enemies? It occurred to me that I was trying to live up to their standards instead of my own and that the one person I needed to please was myself.

It was then, for the first time in my life, that I stopped pretending and got real. I admitted to myself that I was angry because I didn’t think I was “the best” at anything. I didn’t think I was special. I wasn’t the prettiest, thinnest, youngest, smartest, richest, most interesting person I knew. When I compared myself to others, someone always seemed to outclass me in just about every area I could think of… and they always would. Every time I compared myself to other people, I felt inadequate. So I asked myself, “Lisa, can you accept that you are not better or worse than anyone else? You are simply a special combination of qualities that makes you unique?” In that moment, I saw that I didn’t need to be better than anyone else. I was able to accept myself for who I am and acknowledge that my life mattered—that I mattered. I stood on the beach that day feeling genuinely at peace and thought about what I enjoyed most about being me. I was surprised when I realized how many things I actually liked about myself!

I had done a lot of work on my character to become the woman I was in that moment. I had let go of a great deal of drama, suffering, and blame to become kinder and more compassionate towards others and myself. I knew how to take responsibility for myself and the life I had created, I knew how to have fun, and I was generous with the people I cared about. I appreciated beautiful things, but I wasn’t materialistic. While I was far from perfect, I wasn’t all that bad, either. I could see that I actually had a lot to offer someone in a relationship.

It was only a matter of months after this insight that I met my future husband. He is so much more than I ever expected in a partner. Had I not accepted myself that day, I don’t know if I would ever have believed that someone could love me as much as he does. Now I know that I deserve to be loved not because I am better than anyone else.  I deserve to be loved because I love who I am.

If you’re struggling to love and accept yourself, I can help! Click here to set up a consultation and see what I can do for you:


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