I count myself VERY lucky to know the woman behind today’s post. We met when I was a twiggy sixth grader with a big mouth and even bigger opinions. Through the years she’s been one of my biggest supporters and largest advocates for my own self-worth. She’s one of the most generous people I know in every aspect of her life, and one thing she’s given abundantly beyond her time and energy is her advice. Below is some thoughts she wanted to share with all of you beautiful readers. Thanks for being on my team Dana, and challenging me to be the best version of myself. Love you!
“There comes a time we all have to reign in our crazy and become what we want to attract.”
A few weeks ago I clicked on a link that one of my Twenty-five year-old friends had shared on Facebook. It was a blog posted by a young woman and was titled something like: “Why I feel like shit when I date men.” The title caught my attention and I made the automatic assumption that she was lesbian. No, that wasn’t it, she was heterosexual. Still, she said she always felt worse about herself after getting naked with guys. Her premise was that men feel shame in the face of their own sexuality and sexual urges, and that they transfer that shame to the women they sleep with. Hmmm. Maybe. Sometimes. I have to admit though, now that I know she’s straight, I think it’s more likely she’s getting naked with the wrong guys.
If you are in your twenties, and single, there is a strong chance that you’re looking for a partner, and, if you’re doing what most of us did, sometimes you’re getting naked with some pretty poor candidates.
See, in my experience, here’s the deal: Getting naked with the wrong guy is supposed to make us “feel like shit”; That’s one of the ways we know it’s the wrong guy! Now I’m NOT advocating getting undressed with random men as the ouija board for leading you in the best relational direction, far from it, but learn from your mistakes ladies; If casual dating, and hooking up have become your norm, and you are feeling worse, not better, about yourself these days, than consider that “good information.” They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. There comes a time in all of our live’s when it’s time to reign in our “crazy”. Is this your time?
So what to do instead? Good question! From the vantage point of my own rearview mirror, not to mention my thirty-five years as a psychotherapist to women of all ages, here is my best advice based on what I wish my twenty-something-year-old-self had understood:
There is nothing wrong with yearning to walk through life with a partner. At the most basic biological level most of us are designed that way. But, when it comes to finding another person worthy of that position beside us, we, AND ONLY WE, are responsible for making choices that our future selves will thank us for. And, believe it or not, there IS a formula for getting started where finding that great partner is concerned! Here goes; while it may not be easy it is very simple:
Make a list of everything you yearn for in another person. Physically, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally-include it all. Don’t be embarrassed, maybe it will include stuff that feels pretty shallow, but, NEWSFLASH, if a good body matters, then physical attraction matters to you. If finances matter, then security matters to you. If education matters, then an intellectual connection matters to you. Own it; this is your list and your life, no-one else’s.
Next, and this is where we move away from “easy”, and diverge from that formula many of us learned in high school or even junior high youth-groups, do not put the list in God’s hands and ask Him to bring you that guy! No. No. No. It is not your Higher-power’s job to bring you someone to complete you. Here’s newsflash number two: It is always our job to fill in our own missing pieces! No other person is supposed to, or equipped to, do that for us.
Wishing that you had financial security and looking for someone to provide it? Looking to “lighten up” and wishing there was someone to bring out that side in you? Wanting to be adventurous but afraid to venture out on your own?
Now is the time to become what you want to attract.
Look at your list of the attributes that really matter to you in another person, and instead of looking around (especially while naked) and asking “Does this guy have them?”, look at yourself and ask: “How am I doing? Is this who I am? What do I need to work on to be who I want in my life?”
If you are like most of the twenty somethings I spend time with you are probably already fit, smart, energetic, and nice. (If not, get some exercise, watch what you eat, read something serious, and address your attitude!) But are you responsible, or do you make excuses? Are you punctual, or is your time more valuable than other’s? Do you take financial responsibility for your own self, or still feel entitled to support? Do you face your very human feelings of loneliness and self-doubt, or do you self-medicate on Friday nights? Do you consistently tell the truth even when it’s hard? Are your choices mostly ones that you will thank yourself for in five years? Let’s be honest- probably not always; But are you on the right trajectory? If you’re improving it’s no coincidence that the caliber of people around you is probably improving. The opposite can also be true, and if so, that’s on you.
If my years as a therapist have taught me anything it’s that relationships always consist of two even-up partners.. Are you ready for something better? Tired of feeling like shit deep inside of yourself after spending time with the wrong guys? Ready to shoot for the moon? It’s probably time to do what it takes to become the moon. Do something that yourself five years from now will thank you for: Make the list. Become the list. Before you know it you’ll look around at others equally magnificent in your orbit.