Tag Archives: love

Is Your Way Really the Best Way? Letting Go of the Need to Fix Others.

One of the most difficult things I’ve been working on is letting go of the idea that I can change other people.

I can’t help someone who is unhappy be happy.
I can’t help someone who doesn’t pay their bills on time become a responsible person.
I can’t change how someone is raising their kids.
I can’t make someone eat better if they don’t want to.
I can’t make someone care for their health, their future, or their security.

Even though in my core, I know these things, sometimes I still find myself thinking, maybe if I do X they will be happier.
If I say X they will feel better.
If I do X they won’t have this problem anymore.
If I suggest X they might be more motivated to change.

But I can’t make them want what I want for them.
I can’t make them take actions that I want them to take.

Salt ‘n Pepa said it best: it’s none of my business.  How others live their lives is actually none of my business.

It may feel like my business sometimes – especially if the person who is unhappy is close to me or if the person who doesn’t pay their bills asks me to bail them out.

If I care deeply about them, it really does feel like it’s my business and it feels like I’d be failing them if I didn’t give it my all to help them change.

It’s painful to not be able to snap my fingers and create the result I want to see for them.

Not being able to help the way I want to leads to frustration for me.

And sometimes for them too.

Because if I’m putting all my energy into what they are doing wrong or not doing the way I want them to do it or trying to get them to feel differently than they do, my time with them doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel good. They don’t feel good. I’m actually failing them by focusing on what I want for them.

What I can do is focus on how I want to feel in my relationship with this person or how I want the other person to feel when they are with me. In all of these situations, I want the other person to feel loved and supported. Understood. Listened to. Heard. Not alone. I want to feel like I am being the most helpful I can be.

That comes from being kind and supportive.

And letting go of my need to fix how they live or experience their lives.

photo credit: tsny los angeles via photopin (license)

Sometimes you have to let go to get to the next level in your relationships    (photo credit: tsny los angeles via photopin (license))

Maybe, happiness, good parenting, responsible finances or healthy eating to them doesn’t look like what I think it should look like.

I have a client who says, “This isn’t my circus. These aren’t my monkeys”.  She’s right. It’s simply good advice. (Sometimes I’m the client and they’re the coach!)

In my coaching practice, I have no problem with this. Showing up. Listening. Supporting. Asking questions without judgement. Encouraging when needed. Not being attached to the outcome. Going where the client needs/wants to go.

But it so much harder to do in my personal life.

Just like with anything else that we get good at and becomes second nature, we have to practice it. Over and over.

The only way for me to feel better about my relationships and help them have more of what they desire in their lives is for me to show up in them with love. And to practice that over and over (and not give up when I slip back into an old way of interacting with someone).

The awesome thing that happens is that when people are loved and supported (instead of judged or pressured), they are more apt to make changes to better their lives (whatever that looks like to them).

I don’t have to like what someone is doing or how they are living to be able to feel love towards them.

Truly, the best way for me to help someone change is to change myself first.

I’d love to hear from you. Are there relationships in your life that you struggle with wanting to control? Have you ever successfully convinced someone that your way is better? What was the result? What helps you distinguish your “circus” or your “monkeys” from someone else’s? Have you experienced a shift in your relationships by changing how you show up in them?

Hey are you joining my Free Exercise challenge that starts next Monday October 12? You should! It’s 30 days of short workouts, encouragement and support – great for beginners! Create an exercise habit that you can be proud of!

Going After Love: “When You Stop Looking It’ll Find You” is Bullshit

Photo taken by Brianna Sherry at Timeless Treasures during our elopement.

Photo taken by Brianna Sherry at Timeless Treasures during our elopement.


There are women (and men) out there who need to hear this:  When people tell you that you’ll find love when you stop looking, they’re lying to you. 

At a friend’s son’s first birthday party recently, I was chatting with some of my girlfriends about how they got together with their husbands.  I can’t remember how the conversation started but I suddenly realized that all 4 of us involved in the conversation were only with the men we married because we went after them.  We had to put ourselves out there in some way and make the first move. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize this sooner (heck I was in some of their weddings)!

From a pretty early age, women are taught not to go seeking love, instead we’re told “When you stop looking for love, it will find you”.  I always thought that was bullshit because of my own experience with dating but I’ve always gotten crazy looks when I told people that.  After talking with my friends, it’s clear that my experience is and was not unique.  Many of us were taught that it was up to the man to initiate a date, a relationship or even that it was inappropriate to call boys.  Times have changed and people are dating longer and getting married (if at all) later.  Male or female, if you wait around until someone asks you out because you don’t want to be “looking for love”, you may be waiting around a long time.

Taking action isn’t being desperate
Why are we encouraged to put so much effort in other areas of our life but not with finding love?  We work hard, study hard and play hard.  But God forbid you’re a woman who wants to find love and you’re actively trying to meet someone.  You’ll hear “Stop looking, it’ll find you”. What? How?  Does Love have GPS or your cell phone number?  Probably not.  You also might hear “She’s so desperate”. The idea isn’t to go around throwing yourself at everyone you meet but you must open yourself up to the possibility that love is out there for you. Taking action isn’t being desperate.  If you sit back and decide to stop looking, you are closing off a huge opportunity to get what you want.  You are responsible for putting yourself in situations where there’s even a chance love could find you.  You are responsible for projecting an attitude that says “I’m here. I’m ready. I accept”.

No one will love me because . . .
When I was in my early 20’s, I had a non existent love life.  I had zero luck with guys and I always blamed it on my weight.  I was outgoing and got asked out but would quickly shoot down anyone who showed interest because they weren’t fitting in to whatever criteria I had decided I wanted at the time.   By the time I was 25, I was frustrated, sad and lonely.  I had lost the weight but I hadn’t lost the attitude of “No one will love me because of my weight”.  That’s what I was projecting to others even if I didn’t mean to.

The Summer of Yes
Out of frustration, I finally decided that I was going to have more of an open mind when it came to dating. I was going to be more proactive about getting what I wanted.  I was tired of everyone around me finding love and still waiting for it to happen to me.   I started to say yes when guys asked me out (provided they weren’t giving off a serial killer vibe).  As long as they were nice, it was worth going on one date, right?  I needed to stop pre-judging them.  I went on some really good dates and some bad ones (one picked me up on a motorcycle in a thunderstorm, then told me 5 minutes into dinner that he tried to kill himself after his last girlfriend dumped him – ahh, red flags everywhere!).  I call this period of time my Summer of Yes.

When there was a guy I thought was cute at the bar, I started to be the one to show interest instead of waiting for him to do something about it.  At the end of one night, I told one man I had my eye on:  “This is the time of the night when you ask for my phone number”.  He laughed, seemed a little surprised but he took it and he called.  And we dated for awhile.  Was I nervous putting myself out there like this?  Hell yes!  But my strategy of waiting for the right person to come along wasn’t working – I had to change my approach.  What’s interesting, is that after a while of taking action and being open to people I normally wouldn’t have been interested in, I started to get a lot more attention.  Instead of putting out “No one will love me because of my weight”, I had started to put out “I’m here. I’m ready. I accept.” and others could see that so they were attracted to my energy.

Come back here and kiss me
By the time September of that year rolled around, I had done more dating than ever before in my life. I was sending a beacon out into the universe telling it that I was ready for love.  I went stag to a wedding in early September and there was a cute boy at my table.  I managed to get his phone number early on in the day because some of us were going to carpool downtown after the wedding was over. We said goodbye at the end of the night and I told him “We should hang out sometime”.  He agreed but we left it at that. He drove away and I began to walk home.  I thought he was interested but just shy and I realized that if I didn’t let him know that I was digging him, I may or may not hear from him.  What did I have to lose? Nothing. I pulled out my phone, dialed his number and when he answered I said “I think you should come back here and kiss me”.  There was a pause (which was only a second but felt like three minutes) and then he said “Where are you?”.  I told him where I was, he came back, he kissed me and we’ve been together ever since.  That was close to 10 years ago.   I’m so glad I had the guts to do that – he’s admitted that while he thought I was cute, he had had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t ready to take initiative himself.  He never would have called if I didn’t do something about it.

I know the only reason we met was because I had opened myself up to the possibility of meeting someone.  I thought I was open to it before I went on this active quest to date as much as possible (even those that I didn’t think I was interested in) but I was sitting back waiting for others to make the move.  It didn’t matter that I was social and outgoing, because I wasn’t taking an active interest in anyone, the universe thought I was fine with the way things were.

You have to go to the ball
Do you need to go out and ask out every guy you meet?  No. But if what you are doing right now isn’t helping you meet people, you need to make a change. You need to get out, talk to more people, ask people out if they’re not asking you and if you don’t have anyone to go out with, go alone. I ended up going to concerts alone, went out for a drink alone, sat in coffee shops alone and as uncomfortable as it was at first, I did end up meeting people. And it got easier.

I know it’s naive to think that everyone can and will find romantic love.  I’m not saying that it will happen for everyone.  But you’re a lot more likely to find it if you put a little effort in.  If you don’t think you will ever find love, guess what? You are right. Whatever you believe will become true for you.

If you’re sitting at home wondering where Prince Charming (or Princess Charming) is, I’ll tell you where he is. He’s at the fucking ball. If Cinderella didn’t go to the ball (and lost her slipper), she would have never met him.

The Time is Now
And if, as you are reading this, you are thinking of all the things that are holding you back from loving now, dating now, being happy now? Your weight? Your hair? Your income? Your past baggage? All of that is a story you have been telling in order to keep yourself from being and feeling vulnerable. You deserve love and can find love right now.  Not when things are perfect (because there is no such thing).  And if you are someone who has been in love and had their heart broken? Then it’s even more important to take action.  When we’ve been hurt we put up walls that no one can climb over.  How can love find you if you’re blocking it with a barrier?

To sum up a really long post:   I’m not saying you need a Prince CharmingHell, some of us don’t even want one.  But if you want one, you deserve one and you need to take some ownership in your love life and make it happen. You have to welcome love in by taking active steps towards it.  Love will only find you if you let it in.  Let it in by showing others that you are here, you are ready and you accept.

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