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Archive for October, 2012

A few years ago, I decided that if I was going to be happy from within, I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. It was time to figure out how to make the “self-help” or “personal development”  theories real in my own life. This time was going to be different. I was going to be my own best friend-and not because I was stuck with myself without any other options. This time it was a choice, a choice of free will.

Being your own best friend sounds cute, doesn’t it? A great lofty concept and not much else, if you want to keep it real. Or it just sounds pathetic-a last resort for losers, social rejects or spinsters whose biological clocks are ticking away as they sit home alone on the weekends-the bridesmaid, never the bride types.

I thought to myself, can it be more than that? Can it actually be a state of personal evolution rather than a last resort of desparation and loneliness? If you’re wondering that too, then you’re in the right place. Read on.

So, being the pragmatic soul that I am, I opted to go the practical, action-oriented route.

This route began with me thinking about my best friends and how they became my best friends in the first place.  I spent time with them, we talked, we went places. We shared things and experiences, secrets, tears, laughs, frustrations….

So that’s what I decided to do with myself. Becoming my own best friend. Step by step.

Step number one: Quality time. 

I realized I was with myself 24-7 but not really.  My friendship with me resembled Al and Peggy from the show “Married with Children.” If you haven’t seen the show, I’m referring to the archetype of the jaded old married couple who are miserable and hopelessly stuck with each other- the proverbial ball and chain.

In my old, stale marraige with myself I was taking the woman in the mirror for granted. I was merely co-habitating with myself  like a roommate. Routine. Hum-drum. Wishing I was someone else doing something else. I was so dull to who I was that getting to know who I was didn’t even occur to me. But I didn’t know myself. And because I didn’t know myself I didn’t like myself.

So I started spending quality time alone. I did the unthinkable: going where I wanted to go-even if no one could go with me. I’m talking social situations, where being with a friend or a significant other is deemed indicative of self-worth in our society.

When I wanted to see a certain movie, I scoped out the small local theater and watched a flick-just me, myself and I. Got some popcorn, soda (back then I ate those things) and kicked my feet up. It was very embarrassing at first. I felt like a real loser sitting there with couples and groups of friends all around me. To ease the impact, I chose either matinees (a time of day where there were less people compared to a Friday night) or I went to small second-tier theaters where there wan’t much action anyway.

The experience was freeing. After I went home, I felt liberated from the social confines of having to be with other people all the time to have fun.

Then I did it again. I wanted to eat, to try out a new restaurant in my area. So I went. Treated myself to dinner.  Alone. No dinner date. No girls night out. Just me, myself and I.  Gotta admit, it was pretty awkward just sitting at a table for one. It felt like I was trapped inside a bad romantic comedy.  Around me in all directions, it seemed that everyone was on a date or group outing with friends or family. I couldn’t help but feel lonely. I also felt embarrassed that people might be looking at me and thinking I’m a loser. But once more I stood my ground and blocked other people out, focusing on how good I was feeling inside. I ordered what I wanted and savored it all.

I discovered something. Being out with yourself gives you the opportunity to hear your thoughts in the present moment. Not the repetitive thoughts, those old tapes that always play inside your head, but your thoughts in real time-the new thoughts.  

On my dinner date, as I sat at my table waiting for my meal to be prepared, I began noticing all the little things around me-the color scheme of the room, the way other people interacted with one another, and other details I otherwise would be oblivious to.  I could look into the aura of other people and connect with them. A woman would be sitting there with her husband at the next table and I found it fun to just gently observe them-not eyeball them like a stalker, but allow myself to tune into their energy, seeing them in a deeper more introspective way and wonder about their lives. 

Usually when people do this it comes from a place of judgment-what kind of clothes they are wearing, the brand name purse, and other things of a superficial nature on the basis of self-comparison. I’m talking about observing them from a neutral place without labeling them or feeling you are better or worse than they are. Being thoughtful instead of critical.

I discovered something more. Thinking to myself became like a personal conversation with me, myself and I. In the present moment, hearing my own thoughts rather than ignoring them or letting them fade to a “wah wah wah” in the background was new and subtly profound.

This was the beginning of getting to know me.  When I did these things with myself, they were in essence for myself  and subconsciously I felt loved and appreciated by myself.

Spending quality time alone showed me that I could actually be good company. It was a true revelation. Contentment can come from within. In fact, it can only come from within in the first place.

Next up, Step Two…..

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When you’re dating yourself, it’s no different than dating another person in most respects.

We’re talking about falling head over heels in love with you, so let’s approach it from the very beginning.

Even though we spend all day every day in our own skin, most of us don’t know ourselves. Many of us hate silence-which is indicative of not liking who we are. It’s as if we are terrified to be alone with our own thoughts. Rightly so, because those thoughts are often-if not always-condemming.

If I were to ask you to name five things you like about yourself and then asked you to name five things you didn’t like about yourself, the first list you most likely would struggle to name three things. The second list would be much easier-and would be hard to cut off at only five.

See the problem?

Here is the million-dollar question: if you can’t name five things you love about yourself-or even like-then how can you successfully attract the kind of love into your life that is what you desire?

Let’s get this straight-you can’t name five things you like about yourself  but you want someone else to like you for you? For what-some invisible qualities? When you don’t like yourself, guess what happens in a romantic relationship:

1. The other person tells you you’re great and because you have no idea what’s great about you, you reject their positive input, putting them down.

2. You begin to look down on your partner because DEEP DOWN in your sub-conscious, you think you are a loser and if they think you’re great and want to be in a relationship with you, they must be a loser, too.

3. You are so insecure that you are always worried they will see you the way you see you and will leave.

See, dating yourself is not meant to be some cute, trendy phrase. It is a way of BEING that people who are emotionally successful embody. They may not call it “dating themselves” or being in love with themselves, but they are without a doubt living that way. You have met them. They walk down the street and their energy is magnetic. Their joy level is obvious and people want to be around them. These people when in relationship seem irritatingly happy to onlookers but they are people who love themselves-people who can easily name five things they love about who they are.

Note: this type of living takes practice. It is a CHOICE. I have to choose every day to live this way-and so will you. The hard part is the beginning. It’s difficult shifting how you think about yourself since your entire life has conditioned you to think a certain way.  But once you make self-love a habit, life becomes much, much, much easier.

I know-you’ve heard this concept before, in many different ways. But that doesn’t negate its truth. Bottom line, until you make the decision to change, the truth will be annoying to you.

So, here’s the mental exercise for today: get a piece of paper and a pen or open a Word document on your computer and list FIVE THINGS YOU LIKE/LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF.

Need a little help?

1. I have a funny sense of humor.

2. I’m a people person.

3. I love animals.

4. I’m not judmental.

5. I have pretty eyes.

Now that you’ve done this, step back and read it. Soak it in. You have permission to feel great about who you are. You don’t have to be “perfect” before you can like yourself.

I repeat: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT BEFORE YOU CAN LIKE YOURSELF!!!

There can be no love without acceptance. And there can be no acceptance without appreciation. Sure, you may get impatient sometimes, but you are a generous person, too. Appreciate the attributes that you like TODAY. You are and will always be human, which by definition means imperfection. Our weaknesses are our vulnerabilities and these vulnerabilities are what connects us to one another-and to ourselves. So when you can see your weaknesses or flaws-or whatever you choose to call it-and can appreciate yourself anyway, then you are on the path to self-love.

Be well and love well,

Helen

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What’s all this “marrying yourself” business about? you may be wondering. I probably would be, too-that is, if I wasn’t the one writing this.

Can I tell you how shocked I am that I’M the one writing this?

Never in a thousand years did I imagine I would even be in the STATE OF MIND to encourage anyone on the topic of self-love (especially in the way I do in this blog).  I’m the girl who gave up on love a long time ago, the girl who sat around with her girlfriends having the infamous “man-hating” sessions. You know, those lovely little roundtable discussions similar to “The View” where you drink coffee or tea and vent about the opposite sex?… It was always the same ol’ convo: men are dogs, they’re pigs, where oh where are all the good men?…

I was the girl who felt the pain cutting through her chest like a cake knife when a bitchy friend or family member was adamantly pursued and adored by the most amazing men-men who let these women treat them like doormats. I didn’t want a doormat, but I did desire someone who adored me. I just couldn’t grasp why mean girls seemed to get the nice guys who have it together. I was also the girl dripping with acidic thoughts and venomous cynicism. I was the girl who hated romance movies-especially romantic comedies. They were just too unrealistic for me-for my own reality at the time, that is. I used to think, how fake. That never happens in real life. Men are not like that in real life…yes, that used to be me.

The most important thing I want you to know is that this blog is not a dressed up version of “I can do bad all by myself.”

No, no, no!!!!!!!!

I am NOT writing this to say you should never marry or seek love. On the contrary. “Idomewed” is about preparing you for intimate love with someone else. I believe in love and desire it myself. I just no longer desire it for pre-determined reasons or as a form of escapism to distract myself from myself. Marrying oneself is not a cop-out, either. It isn’t about being a loser who basically is trying to make lemonade out of lemons. It is about the ultimate, romantic, passionate, sexy love imaginable-the love with yourself, with all the aspects of yourself, and with the higher aspect of yourself (which isn’t so abstract once you open yourself up to it on a daily basis.)

The society often implies (either overtly or covertly) that wanting love automatically is some kind of selfish, superficial thing.  But let’s get real. As humans, we should desire romantic love with another person and we should not be made to feel unspiritual about seeking it….

But my message is that you can be GREAT all by yourself in the meantime. You can be BLISSFULLY HAPPY all by yourself. You can be FULFILLED all by yourself.  You can HAVE FUN and ENJOY LIFE all by yourself….and the list of [FILL IN THE BLANK] goes on.

The point is, this blog is my love letter to you! It’s a love letter to your soul. We live in a culture that focuses so much on the external image of things and yet inside we are starving to death. We’re told “success” is some generally accepted standard, which can be marriage, career, how much money you make or how big the engagement ring is on your index finger. These supposed earmarks of success depends on the circles we run in and what messages were are exposed to at home and out in the world as young children.  Interestingly enough,  people who appear to ” have it all” many times are suffering deep inside because their whole life they were told what “having it all” meant but once they achieved what everyone expected of them- they, having denied their own heart’s desires, were miserable.

But, times are changing. More and more people are walking away from the programmed pre-determined life and seeking truth and enlightenment-which is knowledge of self.  We’re discovering that it’s not “either or” but rather “I can have my cake and eat it too.” You can be happy and single and still seek your dream man or woman. You can be “successful” in life and be internally fulfilled. You can have it all! This quest may lead us to big stadium conferences, forums, mentors, and even blogs but I’ve found (along with anyone else that embarks on this journey) that the path-though cleverly disguised as what we call life- lead us back to ourselves-always. And when you are madly in love and married to yourself, you can appreciate being led back to yourself because it’s a warm, fuzzy and accepting place to be! In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy calls that place “Home”.

And that’s what “Idomewed” is about: coming back home. You’ve been gone for way too long. This is about courting (dating) yourelf, absolutely falling in love with yourself and then “walking down the aisle” with yourself- the sacred, delicious, beautiful, bomb-ass moment when you fully embrace who you are, who you were, and who you’re going to be.

See, I have spent years in a committed relationship with me. Those first years were rough-I mean, I had my ups and downs along the way, but really they were life lessons and experiences cleverly disguised as ups and downs. One thing to be very clear on-this is not about me “arriving”. There is no such thing. Don’t put anyone on a pedestal and then you don’t have to worry about them falling off and dissapointing you. Let me offer wisdom as that is what I’m great at doing-practical “where do I start” wisdom-wisdom on how I dated myself and fell head over heels in love with myself. It can be a real tangible thing in your existence and if you keep reading, I will show you how.

I cannot promise a secret formula or a magic pill, just me sharing what I feel compelled to share. My deepest desire is for something-anything-I do to inspire, motivate, and most of all PRACTICALLY show you where to begin.

All my love,

Helen

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