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Naked Truth #1 – Meeting your soul mate could feel very different than you think

Naked Truth #1 – Meeting your soul mate could feel very different than you think

Naked Truth #1 – Meeting your soul mate could feel very different than you think

When I met my husband for the first time, he was a complete surprise—not an unexpected surprise, but a quiet one. I had arrived at the restaurant early. In fact, he had gotten lost and was at least 20 minutes late for our date. I was seated at the bar, and he walked over to me, took my hand in his, and said, “It is so nice to meet you.” The moment I lifted my gaze to meet his, I knew the meaning of the phrase, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” I was staring into the eyes of the kindest person I had ever met. In that naked moment, he revealed himself to me and I to him. As someone who usually felt anxious on first dates, I was totally at ease.

The feeling I had that night, staring into the eyes of my future husband, took me by surprise. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. There were no fireworks or fanfare. I didn’t feel butterflies in my stomach or light as air. Truth be told, I’d felt those things before… with my ex- husband, and 12 years later, I was asking for a divorce. This was different. It was like I’d come home and I was finally where I belonged.

So many people are stuck on the idea that when they meet the person they’re meant to spend the rest of their lives with, they’ll experience this overwhelming rush of adrenaline and excitement—that weak-in-the-knees feeling they talk about in movies. And when they don’t have that experience on the first couple of dates, they’re ready to write that person off convinced that he or she isn’t “the one.” But if you talk to people who are in loving, committed relationships, they’ll often say meeting their mate didn’t feel overwhelming or like some out-of-body experience—it just felt right. They will also say they didn’t fall for their partner overnight; their feelings came on slowly, and it wasn’t until weeks or months into dating that they realized they’d met someone they could spend the rest of their lives with.

So, if there are no butterflies or fireworks on a first date, how can you possibly know whether a person has the potential to be “the one?” Here are a few suggestions:

First, you need to see if you can find a handful of qualities you really admire about your date. When I first met my husband, I could see that he was kind, accomplished, present, self-aware, and generous, among other things. He was clearly a very special person, but he was also completely different from other men I’d dated. I honestly didn’t have a clue how we would fit together as a couple. I felt like I was in unknown territory. But just because it didn’t feel familiar didn’t mean it wasn’t right… which leads me to my second suggestion:

If someone you’re dating has some admirable qualities and is not like the people you usually date, you need to give him or her a real chance. If you’re like most people, you haven’t chosen the best partners in the past, which is why you’re still dating. To find the right person, you need to get out of your own way and date people who break the mold.

Third, with each date you should feel like you are learning more about each other and growing closer. This can take some time, so pay attention and tune in to subtle shifts in your feelings. Maybe you find that you can’t stop thinking about the cute gap between her teeth or how calls his grandmother every Sunday. It can takes time to develop a real friendship with someone new… and if you really think about it, a partner is actually a best friend that you have sex with.

If you met someone new and he or she hasn’t blown you away just yet, keep in mind that dating is a journey of the heart, but a racing heart isn’t always the best indication of a good match. If you’re out in the dating world, I encourage you to let go of your wild fantasies and expectations, get out of your own way, and give people more of a chance. Who knows? Your soul mate could be hiding in plain sight, and it’s only a matter of time before that person comes into focus.

Are you struggling with dating? Book a coaching consultation and see how I can help!

Naked Truth #1 – Meeting your soul mate could feel very different than you think

“Naked” Dating Tip #3: The best way to get a guy to ask for your number online

"Naked" Dating Tip #3: The best way to get a guy to ask for your number online

“Naked” Dating Tip #3

This guy and I have been messaging back and forth for several days. Why hasnt he asked for my number and how do I get him to!?!

With the growing popularity of online dating websites and apps like Tinder and Bumble, I’m hearing this question more and more often from my female clients. They complain that too many of the men they’re communicating with online never get around to asking for their phone number or asking them out on a date. This can be extremely frustrating because we want a man to be strong and assertive, and we don’t feel like we should have to take the lead.

So, what do we do?

We can start by having a little compassion for the dudes. With online dating it’s really hard for men to gauge if a woman is ready to pass along her digits. That being said, your initial messages aren’t supposed to be used as a way of getting to know everything about each other. You can do that once you meet and you see if there’s an attraction. There are so many people using apps and online dating sites today that you need to separate yourself from the crowd by creating enough interest and excitement to get someone to want to meet you in person.

The way to do that is by being playful and a little mysterious. Sending your number and asking a guy to call you isn’t very original or challenging. Instead, try writing something like, “I bet if you asked for my number, I’d give it to you!” If you want to be even more playful, you could say, “If you think I’m this fun over email, imagine how much fun I would be on the phone :)” And if you’re feeling really bold, you could say, “The suspense is killing me! Ask for my number already :)” Trust me: as long as you phrase it as a challenge and you make your message sound provocative and inviting, any guy in his right mind will take the bait!

If you’re struggling with how to be playful on or offline and you need some guidance, book a consult with me to see how I can help you find the exciting, fun-loving man of your dreams!

The Rules are for Fools

Are You Your Own Worst Frenemy?

Are You Your Own Worst Frenemy?

Are you Your Own Worst Frenemy?

Sylvia’s Story

Six months ago, I was in a coaching session with my client, Sylvia. A guy she had been emailing on Match and hadn’t heard from in a few weeks had popped up out of the blue. “Hey,” he wrote. “What happened to you?” 

“Did you email him back???” I asked. I was excited to see someone she’d been communicating with was trying to reconnect with her.  Sylvia had been having a hard time getting dates from guys she liked. 

“No. I’m not emailing him back,” Sylvia declared, looking at me like I was out of my mind. “I wrote him last and then he stopped communicating with me. He’s got a lot of nerve implying I was the one who dropped the ball.”

Really? I replied, “What’s the difference? He reached out. Can’t you just play along? You have a long email history with the guy. It seems like you were into him at some point.”

I went on to suggest that she write him something playful like:

“Actually, you never answered my last email and I was wondering what happened to you! So, where do we go from here? Ill give you a little hint: if you ask me for my number, I just might give it to you ☺”

Yeah, I dont think so, she insisted. Why should I make it easy for him? I want a guy whos excited about me and pursues me.

My female clients say this all the time; they want men to chase them, but what they really do is make them jump through too many hoops. If a guy makes one misstep—it can be something as simple as dropping the thread of communication for a couple of days or failing to ask them a question about themselves in an email exchange—these women will write the man off, claiming he didn’t seem like he was interested.

Sylvia was missing the point. This guy had reached out to her. Maybe he didn’t use the best approach, but he was trying to get the communication flowing again. When it comes to online dating and two people haven’t even met, it doesn’t matter who wrote the last email. People have busy lives and they get distracted. What’s more, most people are communicating with several different people at the same time and it’s easy to lose track of who you’re writing to. You need to take it all with a grain of salt.

The bottom line is that Sylvia is not dating naked. She’s taking things personally and putting up walls, walls that no man in his right mind is going to work that hard to get through, especially if he hasn’t even met her yet! As long as her Frenemy (read Inner Bitch) is calling the shots and she’s being defensive and closed off, no one will pursue her. I tried everything I could to convince her to write this guy back, even just for practice, but she wouldn’t budge.

Maya’s Story

Interestingly enough, the day after my session with Sylvia, I coached another client, Maya, on the same issue. Maya had also been emailing with a guy who’d stopped writing and then resurfaced a few weeks later. Even though they’d only exchanged a handful of emails, Maya was worried she might have said something to turn him off. By the time we met, Maya was feeling rejected and her Frenemy had put up a wall to protect her. Like Sylvia, she felt that if a man was excited and wanted to pursue her, he wouldn’t have let the communication drop.

Maya’s Frenemy had convinced her that she shouldn’t respond to the email, so she was shocked to hear what I had to say. Before she made any rash decisions, I encouraged her to write him a playful message asking where he’d disappeared to. After all, what did she have to lose?

Maya hesitated, but then she took my advice. “I really hear what you’re saying,” she told me. “You’re telling me to keep an open mind and give people the benefit of the doubt. I need to be more playful and ease up on men; I can be so hard on them. I guess I’m just afraid of getting hurt again, so I push them away before they can reject me. Even if this isn’t the perfect guy for me, I really do need to practice opening up and asking for what I want.”

That evening I got an email from Maya saying that she had not only written to the man we’d talked about, but she’d also sent a playful email to another man who she had stopped writing. Both guys wrote her back immediately, and an hour later she had not one but two dates lined up for the weekend. It’s been a few weeks now and she’s already been out with the first guy five times. Imagine what Maya would have missed out on if she had followed her initial knee jerk reaction and written him off for not making a move?

Fear of being exposed

So, back to Sylvia. Want to know what happened with her? When she had first started coaching with me, she told me about all the self-help books she’d read and how hard she’d worked to get to a place where she liked herself. After our session, she wrote me a long, defensive email reminding me about all the work she’d already done on herself and saying that she didn’t feel she needed to change. Then she went on to reiterate why she was right in not emailing back the guy. To me it was clear that she was guarded. She didn’t really want to put herself out there. Dating can be risky: what if she got rejected and found out that she was going to have to do more work on herself before she would be ready to get into a relationship?

At this point, there was nothing left for me to say. She had come to me for coaching because some part of her knew she was getting in her own way. Unfortunately, she was still terrified of rejection, and rather than risk getting hurt, her Frenemy was putting up an even bigger wall. So, in the end, I could see that her sense of self wasn’t nearly as solid as she wanted to believe. 

In Zen Buddhism, there’s a concept called beginner’s mind; it’s the idea that you approach every situation from a place of openness and curiosity, and with a willingness to learn something new. A quote relating to that concept kept running through my head as I read Sylvia’s email: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Sylvias inner Frenemy was the consummate expert and it wasnt going to budge at least not on my watch.

Are you a Sylvia or a Maya?

When you find yourself getting reactive and your Frenemy is telling you to cut off communication with someone you’ve been talking to online, see if you can let go a little, stop jumping to conclusions, and look at the situation with a beginner’s mind. There’s nothing to be lost by giving someone the benefit of the doubt. If you want things to change, you are going to have to stop listening to your Frenemy, take some risks, and be willing to give more people a chance. Ask yourself: do you want to date like Sylvia or like Maya? I promise you, Maya is getting a lot more dates, she’s having a lot more fun, and she’s going to meet someone… or, maybe she already has!

Are you having trouble opening up and giving people a chance? Book a free consultation with me and see how I can help you take down your walls and start dating with a beginner’s mind!

Are You Your Own Worst Frenemy

Don’t Fall Victim to These 6 Dating Traps

Don't Fall Victim to these 6 Dating Traps

Don’t Fall Victim to these 6 Dating Traps

A lot of current dating advice seems to encourage women to play games and dumb themselves down in order to attract a man—don’t be too available, don’t initiate, don’t return his calls, don’t be anxious, don’t be too independent… If I had been reading some of this stuff when I dated fifteen years ago, I don’t know if I ever would have gone out on a single date!

When I dated fifteen years ago, I was getting my master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and I was involved in some other spiritually based programs. So, I saw the dating process as an extension of the spiritual journey I was on. Instead of pondering the differences between men and women, I viewed every date as a chance to become more open and vulnerable with men–even if I never saw the guy again. I practiced being grateful, kind, playful, positive, warm, and diplomatic–all qualities a man would find attractive.

At first glance, some of what I’ve written below might not sound all that different from what you’ve read elsewhere, but read it carefully. Most of what I am saying isn’t about what to do or not do on a date; it has to do with the mindset you have while dating. We create what we focus on. So, it is important to set the right intentions for yourself as you date. If what you’re focusing on is getting a big ring, that’s what you’ll attract. If you focus on finding a passionate, unconditionally loving relationship, that’s what you will attract. I am not saying you can’t have both, but you need to be clear about your intentions. You need to be honest with yourself about what you’re seeking and why you’re seeking it or you just might wind up with a chunk of ice on your finger and a hole in your heart. My suggestion is this: focus on attracting unconditional love and everything else will fall into place!

#1: If you just go out on enough dates, you will eventually meet the right person

If you’ve got issues and baggage that you haven’t dealt with, it’s not going to bring you any closer to the kind of relationship you’re truly looking for. The real goal with dating is to keep evolving; it’s not about repeating the same thing over and over again expecting different results, but coming back from each date and being honest with yourself. I encourage my clients to ask themselves questions after each date, such as “What did I learn about myself?” “What did I learn about dating?” “How can I start opening up with my dates and become more emotionally naked and vulnerable?” Use the dating process as an opportunity to grow and evolve, so that when you do meet the right person you’ll be ready.

#2: A man will lose respect for a woman if she sleeps with him right away

Many men say that, if they’re really into a woman, they don’t care how soon they have sex. The real reason not to sleep together early on is because sex gets in the way of building emotional intimacy, and this is the most important part of any relationship. Most people don’t know how to open up and be vulnerable with someone they are attracted to. They are afraid that, if someone they’re dating sees something he or she doesn’t like, the person will leave. So, they have sex instead. I encourage both men and women to wait to have sex so that they can learn how to get emotionally naked first. Vulnerability is what will lead to deeper intimacy and ultimately keep two people together in the long run. It will also lead to better and more connected sex.

#3: Let the man be the man

Men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus. We’re both from planet Earth. We actually want the same things; we just go about getting our needs met differently. We both want safety, trust, good communication, compassion (and passion), and empathy. When I was dating, I was never burdened by concerns about whether I was being “feminine enough” or “letting the man be the man.” The question I always asked myself was, “Is my behavior attractive?” Was I being anxious, overbearing, controlling, self absorbed…? These behaviors are unattractive, and they have nothing to do with being a man or a woman. It is important to note that the answers men and women get when they ask the question, “Is this attractive behavior?” will be different. What a man will feel is attractive (or unattractive) behavior for him and what a woman thinks is attractive behavior for her are not the same. As they keep exploring this question, their natural feminine or masculine tendencies will start to emerge.

#4: To attract an alpha male you have to be a passive female

There is an endless stream of information telling women that the way to make men feel feel empowered is to stop being strong and assertive and start being passive and submissive. The problem is that women are no longer stuck in the house raising babies. They are taking over universities and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 40 percent of working wives currently out-earn their husbands. Even if a woman wants to take a more passive role, it’s getting harder and harder to do so. When a woman is in charge of an entire team of people at work, its ludicrous to think that she should have to sit around and wait for a man to make the first move. That’s exactly what Whitney Wolfe thought when she invented Bumble, the first dating APP where single women initiate contact with single men. There is a difference between being a strong and independent woman and being controlling or domineering. A truly confidant man will find a strong, capable woman attractive. He won’t try to clip her wings or hold her back so that he can feel like the dominant one in the relationship. He also won’t mind when the check comes for dinner and she says, “This one’s on me!”

#5: There are rules for dating

There are no rules for dating and there is no one size fits all strategy. Some people are not assertive and they have to learn how to be more so, some people are very aggressive and they need to learn to tone it down. As you embark on this quest to find unconditional love it’s all about finding out what works for you and focusing on the change you need to make to be a better person—and, eventually, a better partner. My advice for one client might be very different than my advice to another. What I’m trying to do is get people in touch with their own personal truths and help them start living authentically from that place so they can attract the kind of partner who is right for them. The truth is that you can’t live by someone else’s rules in life or in dating. You have to learn to trust and follow your own heart.

#6: Dating is about getting someone to commit

The focus of dating should not be on getting a ring or getting someone to commit. Yes, eventually you want to get into a committed relationship, but first you need to get to know someone and see if you’re a good match. People today have instant gratification syndrome. They want everything, NOW! But it doesn’t work that way. There is no fast track when it comes to relationships. Slow is fast. I truly believe dating is an exercise in learning how to let go and not take things so personally. It’s about learning to accept other people, letting go of your judgments, blocks, and barriers, and becoming a more open, loving person. Take it from me—I went on almost 100 first dates before I met the love of my life. Patience truly is a virtue! As you become a more open, loving person, you will attract the love you want. In the meantime, stop focusing on the outcome and start using the dating process as an opportunity to grow.

 

 

Are you struggling with dating and need advice? Book a consultation and see how I can help!

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No More Interviews:

Four Tools to Stop You From Interviewing Your Dates

No More Interviews! “Where’d you grow up? What kind of food do you like? Do you want to get married again? Are you a cat person or a dog person???”

Let’s face it—first dates are nothing if not anxiety provoking. Two perfect strangers walk into a room, each with their own set of nerves, baggage, and expectations, hoping for a connection. Both daters want to have a good time and get to know the person sitting across from them, but before you know it, someone’s firing off a dozen questions and the date feels like a grueling job interview. It’s a total vibe killer.

The other day, my assistant told me a story about a bad date between two friends she had set up that ended up being another unfortunate casualty of the dreaded first date interview. The girl was one of her close friend’s from high school and the guy was one of her boyfriend’s longtime family friends. They were both young, good looking, and had promising careers in the art world. It seemed like a perfect match. When my assistant called her friend to hear about how the date went, she couldn’t believe it when she told her it was one of the worst dates she’d ever been on. “I felt like I was on a job interview,” she said. “He just kept asking me question after question, and I felt really uncomfortable.” Curious to hear the other side of the story, my assistant had her boyfriend get the scoop on the date from his friend. And here’s the rub—he complained about the same thing! They both felt like they had been on an interview and that the other was too guarded and closed off to make a real connection.

Her story got me thinking about my clients and how so many of them struggle with the very same issue on dates. They just don’t know how to relax and open up, and they often go home feeling totally dejected. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Here’s a list of four things you can try on your next date to avoid succumbing to that first date interview and make a real connection with someone:

  1. Ask open-ended questions – rather than jumping from subject to subject, take one topic and explore it. A great way to do this is by asking your date open-ended questions that require more than just a one-word answer. For example, if you’re into film and want to get a feel for your date’s interest in the subject, try asking “what kind of films do you enjoy?” as opposed to “what’s your favorite movie?” The idea is to get your date to open up and share his/her thoughts, feelings, and passions. If you let the conversation flow naturally, you might find the answers to those burning questions will present themselves on their own.
  2. Get comfortable with silence – When it comes to first dates, people often talk about that dreaded “awkward silence.” But why does it have to be awkward? If there’s a lull in the conversation, don’t panic. Use it as an opportunity to get closer to your date and connect on a deeper level. Make eye contact, smile, read his/her body language. I know this can be scary for some people. We’re so accustomed to thinking of silence as uncomfortable or an indication that a date isn’t going well. If your instinct is to break the silence with a series of rapid-fire questions or idle chatter, try taking three deep breaths first. You might find the “awkwardness” will pass on its own and the conversation will resume organically.
  3. Go into each date with a Beginner’s Mind – In Zen Buddhism, there is a concept called Shoshin, or “beginner’s mind.” It encourages an attitude of openness and eagerness when it comes to study, but it can also be applied to first dates! When you’ve been out in the dating world for a while, it’s easy to get discouraged and bring negativity into a date. Just because your last date was a bust, it doesn’t mean your next one will be. I encourage you to practice Shoshin and to approach each date with a fresh perspective, an open heart, and a beginner’s mind.
  4. Practice Naked Dating –Naked Dating® is about tapping into your dates on an emotional level—that’s where a real connection happens. It’s difficult for us to do this because we’re so accustomed to operating on an intellectual level in other parts of our lives. We’re taught that we need to be strong and self-reliant in the workplace, and because of that, we lose some of the softness and vulnerability that makes us attractive. Naked Dating® is about letting down your guard and allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable with your dates. It’s about looking at each date as an opportunity not only to meet a potential match, but to get to know yourself better, learn how to ask for what you want, and open yourself up to new possibilities in life and love.

While I can’t offer you a magic wand that will take away all your first date jitters or guarantee your next date will be a perfect match, I can tell you with confidence that if you start trying these approaches on your dates, that dreaded first date interview will become a thing of the past. You’ll start connecting with your dates on a deeper, more emotional level, and you’ll go home at the end of the night knowing that even if you didn’t meet “the one,” you learned something about yourself and what you’re looking for in the process. You’ll stop interviewing your dates and start dating Naked!

If you’re having trouble connecting with your dates, book a free consultation with me:

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Online Dating: Getting Back in the Groove

Online Dating: Getting Back Into the Groove

Are you in a slump and need some help getting back into the online dating groove? Here’s the first thing you need to know: after a few months of online dating, it is inevitable to go through a slump and for feelings of futility and frustration to set in. This can feel especially discouraging if you’re doing everything can at your end to meet someone. It’s hard not to feel disheartened when the initial rush of emails you got when you first signed up dies down, your searches for a partner net fewer and fewer prospects, and you start to see the same boring profiles over and over again. But almost everyone goes through this! Even though the novelty of online dating has worn off and you’re no longer the ‘new kid on the block,’ you can’t let it get you down.

Here’s what one client said when her online dating began to slow down: “I really did not know that ‘a slump was inevitable,’ so this is important information. Now that I know this, I can feel more at ease with the process.” She went on to say that, after 25 years away from men, all the attention she got through online dating was intoxicating, and “it was almost a feeling of withdrawal when it all came to a halt!”

The truth is, you might be doing everything right and it’s just be a matter of time—and timing—before you meet someone. It’s entirely possible that, at this very moment, the future love of your life is getting out of a relationship and is planning on posting an online dating profile in the days or weeks to come. You never know. What you need to remember is that, for a romantic connection to happen, two people’s lives have to align. So even if you’re ready to meet your life partner, your future life partner might not be ready to meet you.

It’s also important to remember that, just because it seems like there’s little movement on the online dating front, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing happening. Even if you’re not getting as many emails responses or dates as you’d like, you are always evolving and getting clearer about what you want in a partner and in a relationship.

I have many clients who went on very few dates and still found someone special through online dating. Remember, it only takes one date to change your life forever. If you feel like you should be doing more, I would encourage you to read relationship-related books, work with a coach, or spend time meditating and envisioning the kind of relationship you want. You can also write love letters to your future mate. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. The more real you can make this person seem, the more connected you will stay to your online dating journey.

Something I often suggest to my clients is that they practice becoming more comfortable with all members of the opposite sex, even if they aren’t people you would ever date. As crazy as this sounds, spend time connecting at a deeper level with members of the opposite sex in your immediate world. If you’re a guy, spend time with your mother, sister, or aunt. If you’re a woman, spend time with your father, brother, or uncle. It’s also nice to make a few friends of the opposite sex. Learning to flatter them, have playful banter, and understand what lights them up will bring these relationships alive in a whole new way. It will also help you feel more at ease when it comes to online dating.

Something else to consider is that, no matter how open and ready you are to meeting your partner, you may be resisting the process in ways you haven’t considered. It helps to keep reminding yourself to let go and surrender to the online dating process. Pay attention to any resistance you have to what’s happening and listen for any judgments that you might have about yourself, other people, and online dating in general. Here are some things you might be telling yourself that are causing your resistance:

  • I should be getting more dates.
  • Online dating works for other people but not for me.
  • There’s no one I’m interested in dating online.
  • I’m too old to meet someone.
  • I should have started this process much sooner.
  • This is never going to happen.
  • I’m wasting my time.
  • All the good ones are taken.
  • I can’t write flirty emails.
  • The people I’m interested in aren’t contacting me.
  • I’m not attracted to any of the people who contact me.
  • I’m too boring for anyone to date me.
  • I don’t know how to date.
  • _____________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________
  • _____________________________________________________

 

The number one way that people hinder the online dating process is by not being open to enough matches. Online dating makes it way too easy to eliminate people for superficial reasons. Many people today say they want a partner, but they aren’t willing to compromise on anything. I have even had female clients who are 5’4” who insist on only dating men who are 6’ or taller and male clients who are of average good looks who would only email the prettiest women. Odds are your ideal match is not going to come in the exact package you would like. When my husband and I met, he was about 3 inches taller than me. The other day, when he walked over to kiss me, I was towering over him. We both burst out laughing. I kicked off my shoes, but I was still quite a bit taller. So, even if you do get what you want in the beginning, you have no idea what’s in store for you. Please, please, PLEASE, give more people a chance. I promise you, people will surprise you if you let them.

The bottom line is that it takes patience and perseverance to find the right partner online. Two people’s lives have to line up for that to happen, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Sometimes you will get a surge of new interest from potential matches, other times it will feel as slow as molasses. The key is to stick in there and do your best to go with the flow. The more you can get out of your own way and not take it personally, the easier—and faster—your online dating journey will seem!

 To book a consultation with Lisa Shield and find out if coaching is for you, click here:

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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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More Tools for Your Naked Dating® Toolkit

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In my last blog, I talked about how, despite the fact that Internet dating is fraught with challenges, you have a choice in what you get from the experience. You can go out on one boring date after another and become increasingly hopeless about ever finding The One, or you can see every email, phone conversation and date as an chance to learn more about yourself and the opposite sex. Many of the skills that will make you a successful dater—being kind, compassionate, open-minded, open-hearted, non-reactive, interested in what others have to share and open to sharing about yourself—will also make you a better life partner.

When most clients first come to me for coaching, they think that they’re ready for a relationship, but they’re not. They might be ready to start dating and learning how to open their hearts to let another person in, but they are not ready to be in the kind of passionate, playful, unconditionally loving relationships they say they want. Remember, having a successful life partnership means that you no longer get to have it your way all the time. When you are a couple, you must make room in your life and in your heart for another person. This usually isn’t an easy transition for most singles to make.

I love online dating because it’s where you’ll get the most dates and have the most opportunities to stretch and grow. While you’re out there, you want to practice developing the skills that will make you a better dater and partner. In my last blog, I talked about becoming a positive spin-doctor so you can stay optimistic in the face of all those Internet dating challenges. Let’s look at some other skills you can hone while navigating the wacky world of cyber dating.

  1. Becoming a “quality” person. Choose a quality in yourself that you would like to develop such as: playfulness, compassion, kindness, trust, sensuality, generosity, vulnerability, etc. Now, set an intention to use it in everything you do. If you chose playfulness, write emails that are short and silly. Add some funny, offbeat lines to your profile. When someone you like stops emailing, send a quirky message asking if he or she was kidnapped by wild pygmies and offer an escape plan. When I was dating, I wanted to become more playful, so I wrote a nonsensical profile that began: “My niece thinks I’m funny, my nephew things I’m pretty, and Milo the puppy doesn’t have an opinion because he’s too young and he can’t talk yet.” I don’t know what it meant, but it caught the attention of the right guy who wrote in his profile that he was looking for a woman with a “twisted sense of humor.”

  1. Becoming true to your goal. One of the most difficult things to do in dating—and in life—is to learn how to stop pushing for what you want. There is a saying that rejection is protection. If someone rejects you it’s because he or she isn’t right for you. If the other person isn’t responding in the way you want, you need to let go and move on. Learn to let go with love and respect. You want to learn how to do this without anger or blame. No one owes you anything. It is up to you to keep dating and moving towards your goals and dreams. Learn to trust the universe and keep reminding yourself that there is someone out there for you. It took me two years and nearly 100 first dates before I met my husband! In the end, you need to find someone who is ready for a relationship here and now, not next week or a year from now. Right now.

  1. Becoming the real deal. A lot of people misrepresent themselves online. They lie about their age, height or body type. It’s a shame that we feel we aren’t good enough. Every time you distort the truth to get what you want, you actually push it away. Try to be as real as you can be and see what happens. You will get more responses from people who are actually viable candidates for you. Have the guts to stand in your own truth and see what happens. I now it’s hard when other people are lying about these things, but I urge you to have the guts to stand in your truth and see what happens.

If you are serious about finding a partner, online dating is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for being in a relationship. Be open, be honest, and move on gracefully when you need to.  Don’t let yourself get dragged down. You are in control of your experience- make it fun! It’s great practice for when the real deal comes along.

Make the first step to finding the one, schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield today

How to Approach Online Dating Like a “Naked” Dater

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It’s no secret: online dating can be a drag.  Some people start communicating and stop without explanation, some ask for your phone number and then never call, some even suggest a date and don’t follow through. There are myths that all the men online are commitmentphobes looking for sex and all the women are foreigners looking for husbands. And have you heard of the “New Math?”  Add three inches and deduct 5 years, because everyone knows that many online daters lie about their weight, height, and age, amongst other things.

It’s hard not to get discouraged when so many things can and sometimes do go wrong, but don’t let yourself get dragged down! I encourage you to look at Internet dating in a whole new way.  “How would I do that?” you might ask.  Well, I developed a strategy called Naked Dating®Naked Daters figure that as long as they have to go out on all these dates, they might as well use them to their advantage and work on their relationship goals while they’re out there!

Of course, Naked Daters didn’t always think this way.  When most of my clients first came to me for coaching, they weren’t all that happy when I suggested that, just because they wanted to be in a relationship, it didn’t mean that they were ready for one.  At least not the deeply committed, wildly passionate, emotionally naked relationships they were describing to me.

Going from single to a relationship is an adjustment.  When you’re single, you don’t have to ask anyone if you can buy that new TV, or move to a new city for that great job opportunity.  You can do as you please!  But things change radically when you’re in a relationship.  Having a successful partnership, requires you to make your partner’s needs, wants, and desires as important to you as your own.  This isn’t an easy shift to make after being single.

Here is where Internet dating proves useful. As a Naked Dater, I encourage you to see every email exchange, every phone call, and every date as an opportunity to practice getting emotionally naked and opening up your heart.  This way when the right person does appear, you will be ready to step into the relationship of your dreams.

There are many different skills you can hone while dating online.  In my next blog post I will talk about a variety of different ways you can use the online dating process to challenge yourself, but for now I don’t want to bore you to tears. So, today we will focus on one very important skill: How to become a positive spin-doctor.

If you are going to stay online long enough to find the right partner, it helps to learn how to put a positive spin on your experiences. To do this, you need to stop listening to your inner “Frenemy”—the voice of judgment and fear—and start listening to your Naked Dater—the voice of compassion and love.  You could also say that the Frenemy is your inner critic and the Naked Dater your Higher Self. Let me show you the difference between listening to The Frenemy and listening to the Naked Dater.

Let’s say it’s a Friday night and you are waiting for your hot date to show up—but he never comes. The Frenemy might say, “You are not good enough. There isn’t anyone out there for you. Who are you kidding? This will never work.”  The Naked Dater would think, “This person’s behavior shows that he isn’t ready for a relationship. His profile says he is looking for a life partner, but his behavior is saying something else. You showed up and did the best you could. It’s best to move on.”

The wonderful thing about mastering the art of being a positive spin-doctor is that this skill will come in very handy once you’re in a relationship. My husband is often so tired at the end of a day that he will close his eyes right in the middle of a conversation with me. I will be talking and he will close his eyes, even if I am saying something deeply important! If I wasn’t well versed in being a positive spin-doctor, if I hadn’t learned this lesson from Internet dating, I might become upset and feel that he was being rude. But I know better.

They way I feel in every moment depends on the stories I make up about what’s happening to me and around me. I can tell myself that what I was saying was stupid (and feel sorry for myself), or I can put a positive spin on it by telling myself my husband works hard and that he’s just tired (and feel better about what happened). You get to spin your dating stories any way you want to, so why not practice making them positive? Mastering this skill while you date is guaranteed to radically improve your online dating experience, but most of all, it will help you sustain the romance you are working so hard to find. When you are able to see the positive in every moment, you will stop being so reactive to every silly thing your partner says and does. Ultimately, isn’t this what we’re looking for?

For more helpful skills to practice while Online Dating, stay tuned….

Make the first step to finding the one, schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield today

“As fate would have it”

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I am so excited to share the following email. It is one of the most extraordinary pieces of correspondence I’ve received in 10 years of coaching! I am reprinting it here with the permission of my client, Osa Notting. Click here to schedule a session. 

As fate would have it, Osa’s email arrived at a most opportune time, right when I was struggling with an unusual number of coaching clients whose dating lives were suffering because of their rigid beliefs ideas about the kinds of partners they wanted. As a dating coach, I know that the more inflexible people are about what they’re looking for, the harder it becomes to find someone. The more my clients are willing to go out with all different kinds of people—even those who don’t fit their preconceived notions of their ideal partner—the easier it is for them to find someone who is a truly good fit. This is especially true when it comes to things like age and other physical characteristics. So many people shoot themselves in the foot and limit their choices by being rigid about certain physical qualities that, in the grander scheme of things, DON’T MATTER.  When I met my husband, he was 30 pounds heavier and 2 1/2 inches taller than me. With time, he is now an inch shorter and 30 pounds lighter. I, on the other hand, have gained 25 pounds since we met. Such is life :)

Here are a few examples of what I am talking about: One 58-year-old client will only date younger men with full heads of hair. Another female client who is 5’2” will only date men 5’10” and taller. The men are even pickier. One portly man who is in his early sixties will only look at slender women who are no older than 45. A very handsome Asian client insists that he will only date blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian women—the majority of whom never write him back. When I try to get them to open up and consider other options, they all tell me: “I can’t help it. This is what I’m attracted to.” You know, I think Patrick Wilson is the handsomest man alive and my husband is enamored with Penelope Cruz, but here we are.

Osa’s email is a testament to what I am saying and serves as an inspiration to us all. You cannot know what kind of package your soul mate will come in. The best thing you can do is this: Open up your heart and mind to the magical journey of dating and allow yourself to be mystified and surprised, like Osa. I hope you enjoy her email as much as I did! FYI, I tried to edit it down length-wise as much as I could, but there is such pure joy here that I didn’t want to lose the beauty of what she’s saying.

Hi Lisa,

 

There have been some major awesome changes for me already, thanks to you and my Tony Robbins coach, Jessie. The last time we spoke I told you about a man named Jay whom I met during the fall. He was my contractor on a build out. When I spoke with him on the phone from Sweden last summer about the job coming up, I felt this super duper connection with him, and it stayed with me for months.  I also dreamt of him on several occasions and those dreams were amazing.  We started playing tennis together in December, and I was always joking and flirting with him, but he seemed shy and not interested.  To tell you the truth, I had also been feeling VERY ambivalent about my feelings for him, questioning HOW it could be possible for me to feel a connection with this man?  He is short, Caucasian, (I always go for dark-skinned men), he has a beard, and one eye?!  Short was by far the biggest problem for me.  I kept telling my friend Jen about him, over and over again.  I told her that he seemed kind, loving, and super sweet in every way. We had this fabulous connection, but he IS short, so I felt he “couldn’t be THE man, cause in my mind my future man is tall.”

 

Then, I had my talk with you, got that book you recommended, and worked on speaking my naked truth (which I realized I had never really done before because, strangely enough, I thought I had).  I really worked on embodying what you said.  I allowed myself to be more feminine and more vulnerable, and I saw that you were right: Men and women are equal, but they have different roles. I LOVE THAT! It really hit the mark!

 

Finally in March Jay told me, “I’m obsessing over you, and I can’t get you out of my mind!”  That was the first time he opened up to me. Before that, I was worried that he may be emotionally unavailable, like every other man in my past. During this conversation, I had to work on staying in my naked truth and being vulnerable.  This made me realize some of the ways I had been behaving with men! I was floored!! I kept moving my eyes away, I didn’t listen to the kind things he told me—I brushed them off, cut him off, feeling I wasn’t worthy of his attention. After that conversation it became very clear that I had been self-sabotaging in some really awkward ways, attracting emotionally unavailable men and then trying so hard to change them.  Most of all, I realized that I hadn’t felt like I was worthy of having a loving man in my life!

 

On March 9th he called me and asked if I was available for dinner that night. SURE I was! He picked me up and we went to a nearby restaurant and had the MOST amazing time. He was totally emotionally available, and more interestingly, I WAS ALSO! For the first time in 41 years, I was able to receive this gift of speaking the naked truth with a man and receiving the same. I’m amazed and grateful. Everything since March 9th has happened so very fast.

 

So, Jay and I are in love, we love each other, totally respect each other, and we’re 100% emotionally open with each other.  I tried fighting it a bit because he is short, but after writing down 100+ things I want in my man and seeing that he has every quality on my list except for the fact that he’s short, I realized that I was just being stupid. He is loving, gentle, smart, ambitious, cute, positive, loyal, honest, single, emotionally available, has a great sense of humor—we laugh at the same stuff, he is EXTREMELY GENEROUS with his love and attention, he’s a gentleman, he’s supportive, and so on. As an example, I had told him how special March 21 was for me—that’s the day my dad passed away and my life changed forever—so he honored that memory in such a beautiful way by sending a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to my work. 

 

Lisa, this man is EVERYTHING I have ever dreamt of; in fact, it’s hard not to feel that I’m dreaming!  I love him, Lisa. I feel he makes me a better person. I WANT to be ALL of the great things he is to me. We are so open and honest with each other. We feel like old souls. I am the luckiest woman on this earth! Truly. This is an experience that I cherish for the rest of my life and the best part of it is that DEEP IN MY SOUL I FEEL I AM WORTHY OF IT, OF HAVING THIS AMAZING LOVING MAN IN MY LIFE. I AM SOOOOOO WORTHY OF IT. And he knows and he agrees. And we are just happy to be in each other’s lives.  I feel I’m in this ginormous puzzle and now, at last, the pieces are falling into place. I am blessed, truly. I feel that to have Jay now in my life was worth the loooong wait, and all the sorrows and pain I endured along that wait. With confidence I can say that this man loves me, not “I think he loves me, or I think he is into me.” No, Jay loves me. He adores me. He has my best interest at heart. Not because of what he says, but because of what he does. And I feel it. I’m very, very grateful.

 

I feel I’m going to spend the rest of my life with him. I ask myself if I’m crazy for even thinking that, but I trust my feelings and the connection Jay and I have, and that’s my honest truth. He is THE ONE :)))))

 

So where do you and I go from here? Thank you for reading this long email. An hour or something ago I thought it would have been a short text, lol. From my iPhone and all. 

 

Thank you so very much for your support.

Hugs from NYC :)

 

Osa Notting

Make the first step to finding your love, click here to schedule a coaching session.

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