Stepping outside of your box
“The day a child realizes that all adults are imperfect she becomes an adolescent; the day she forgives them, she becomes an adult; the day she forgives herself, she becomes wise.”
I know it can be incredibly uncomfortable at times, but the best you can be is where you are right now. This can be especially uncomfortable if you are older and feeling unloved or unlovable.
Being where you are is the first step towards becoming someone you might rather be. Feeling unloved is where you need to be to change into the kind of person you wish to be tomorrow.
Only by feeling your true feelings do you then find the power to transform them into deeper levels of self-respect and self-compassion.
Do you blame yourself for previous mistakes in love?
“The journey back to believing in love again, must begin with finding a new and much higher level of self-respect. The secret to letting go of all of the hurt and betrayal you may have suffered in your past, is the slow, gentle process of giving yourself heart-felt compassion for all you have endured at the hands of others.” – an excerpt from How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom.
I am reading a fascinating book lately, one that is making me think much more deeply about how fragmented our world has become because of technology.
Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson is a real eye-opener! It helps me focus for a few minutes on exactly HOW distracted most of us are most of the time. It also helps to explain why fewer of us are willing to risk genuine, face-to-face relationships these days.
When it comes to finding new relationships, online is a very real alternative. That is how I met my new husband seven years ago.
That is why it amazes me when I hear others speak about meeting someone online, developing a virtual relationship, and then deciding not to ever meet in person. The fear is that by meeting face-to-face, the “relationship” will somehow be ruined.
I feel you have no “relationship” until you have met someone face-to-face. That is why I always advise meeting in the same room soon after connecting online. Chemistry is so key to relationships, and cannot be detected through technology, either phones or the Internet. Chemistry is what happens when your eyes meet face-to-face in the same room!
Technology has gotten in the way of real human connection in so many ways, and partially because it feels somehow safer not to meet fully with others. Perhaps that is why one quarter of Americans today report no close confidantes in their lives, a figure which has doubled since 1985. We are so rarely completely present for one another, and yet those are the BEST moments of our lives!
Face-to-face meetings demand mutual reading of body language, emotion, and soul. They require that we become fully present and alive to this moment. When was the last time you rewarded someone else with your complete attention?
I know I will NEVER forget the first time I met my husband after only a few e-mails and a phone call. To meet in the flesh was so much more intense than any “virtual” connection could have ever been. To experience the look in his eyes, his eye color, the feeling in the room, and the excitement in our voices…that is being alive!
Take the risk to meet fully with another person TODAY, instead of maintaining only virtual relationships.
Take the risk to engage in reality!
A very close friend of mine suffered one of the worst possible losses back in 2003. Her 20 year old daughter was killed in a car accident.
One day she had a beautiful, healthy daughter headed home for Thanksgiving, the next she had the state patrol at her door announcing the worst possible news ever.
My friend has fought so bravely through this tragedy. She struggles to this day.
Yesterday she said to me, “I think you should include on your website stories about learning to believe in love again after major life tragedies, not just the loss of romantic love.
She then told me this story:
Not long after the loss of their daughter, her husband brought home a tiny, darling puppy. My friend was not pleased. Her immediate response was to generally avoid the dog. She did not want to feel loving and vulnerable again. It seemed a natural reaction to being in so much pain. She didn’t want to risk getting attached again, only to suffer further loss.
This is true for any type of emotional loss. Why risk the pain again? We often feel we simply cannot bear anymore pain. There is a natural survival mechanism inside each of us for a very good reason, and we are wise to listen to and respond to that inner wisdom.
But there may come a time later when your wisdom says you are now strong enough to love again. I would like to encourage you to try again if you feel so motivated. I believe the ability to love again is always worth fighting for. I believe we grow old as soon as we cease to love and trust our inner wisdom and in the generosity of others.
That is why I wrote my book. Spend the time you know you need when you feel so hurt and fearful of ever feeling vulnerable again. Be generous and give yourself loving respect and compassion. Then, eventually, begin to fight back against the natural urge to never love again.
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day which says, “I will try again tomorrow.”
Just viewed a fascinating segment on the “Science of Love” on CBS Sunday Morning.
There they looked at whether using algorithms like E-Harmony and Match.com use to match customers, work any better than dumb luck.
First of all, contrary to urban legend, only 20% of new relationships begin from online dating services at present, even though there are now more than 1,000 different kinds.
Some use complicated mathematical formulas to help match you with just the right person, but according to a new study, online dating is only number two in matchmaking America-style. Meeting through mutual friends is still the number one most popular way to meet a mate.
The scientists, whose research is slated for publication in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, reviewed over 400 psychology studies and public interest surveys. In one study, they found that in a single month in 2011, nearly 25 million unique users around the world were online dating.
If you are truly serious about meeting someone wonderful this year, perhaps you should consider investing more of your time and money in an old fashioned, one-on-one matchmaker. Ann Wood, age 79, has been doing this kind of work in the Washington, D.C. area for decades. She charges $1000/year, and her only caveat is, “I can’t help stupid people.”
Of course, it always helps if you BELIEVE IN LOVE to begin with!
HOW MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? 48% said YES 49% said NO
Since Valentine’s Day is coming right up, let’s read some findings from scientific studies on emotional intimacy:
* People feel closer when they do new things together.
* Emotional bonds are strengthened when people do physical activities together.
* People tend to bond when they’re in frightening situations together.
* Feelings of love grow when total strangers simply gaze into each other’s eyes for two minutes.
Emotional bonds often get stronger when people feel vulnerable, and this works for two reasons. First, when you see someone who is in a weak and vulnerable state, you often feel like comforting or protecting that person; those tendencies make you feel close to them, and they often bring you physically closer, too. Second, when you are feeling vulnerable yourself, you could interpret your emotional state as a loving one—especially if someone nearby happens to reach out to comfort you. If two people feel vulnerable simultaneously, these two tendencies can interlock and increase synergistically.
Most of the experiences that lead to increases in emotional intimacy produce this kind of dynamic. Strong sexual attraction, scary situations, vigorous exercise and novel situations all make people feel vulnerable to some extent. And, yes, even gazing can have this effect. The difference between mutual gazing and staring is consent; people are giving each other permission to invade their privacy in a way that is normally quite threatening.