As a recovering "strong friend", I write this message to all the other strong friends out there. You're probably the person that all of your friends come to with their struggles, concerns and challenges. You are reliable, kind and trustworthy. You care deeply for your loved ones. For this reason, you make yourself available to be there for them and you don't want to burden them. This desire to not burden others often results in you not sharing your own struggles, concerns and challenges. You try to deal with things on your own.
I feel that society does not celebrate single women nor speak to the nuances of our experiences. I want to celebrate you and bring the nuances of the single experience to light. So I've decided to share my thoughts in letters to you, my lovely single friends. I want to share a different perspective with you - hopefully a more positive one that doesn't feel so heavy. Yet I also want to keep it real, because it does sometimes feel heavy...
During a conversation with a friend yesterday, I had a huge AHA moment about the concepts of comfort and freedom that were discussed a few times at OWA. My friend was talking about a situation in which she was faced with the choice between two options. It suddenly dawned on me that her first choice represented comfort and the second represented freedom.
I'm a huge advocate for single women enjoying their lives and not waiting around killing time until "The One" shows up. But some days, being single really sucks. There are days when I feel really alone and I'm longing for connection with someone who will be there for me in the good times and the bad - "my person", you know?
I'm usually obsessed with trip planning. I love working out all of the details, from what neighbourhood to stay in, what sights to see, to figuring out the local transportation system. Given my turbulent year in 2016, I knew that I was in need of a getaway, but I just didn't have it in me to do my usual sort of planning. So my friend and I decided to make it super easy and we booked a one-week stay at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica. We got back a week ago and it was AMAZING!
As a personal development coach, I'm all about personal growth and that often involves challenging limitations and perceived weaknesses that are holding us back from achieving what we want in life. Lately, however, I've been seeing a lot of things written suggesting that rather than working on weaknesses, we should instead consider playing to our strengths. I recently had a conversation with a good friend about this very same topic. It's such a different perspective than the one we're used to that I've decided to write this post to take some time to mull it over and see how I feel about it.
As someone who struggles with perfectionism, I've always liked planning and predictability. I've come to realize that living life that way is so limiting and rigid. Sooner or later LIFE happens and that perfect, predictable plan you'd laid out gets completely blown up. When you don't leave room in your life for unpredictability (and isn't that the essential nature of life?!), when the unexpected happens, you become completely derailed and feel totally out of control.
Have you ever had a moment of clarity so profound that it hits you like a tonne of bricks? Like a real Oprah-style "aha" moment? I experienced such a moment when I first heard the famous Voltaire quote about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. In hearing this quote, the many unseized opportunities, unlived experiences and untaken chances in my life flashed before my eyes and suddenly made sense. I would never have described myself as a perfectionist but, in that moment, I realized that perfectionism had always been lurking in my life behind self-descriptors such as prudent, careful and conscientious.
Oh Valentine's Day...what a polarizing holiday. Some hate it, some love it, some celebrate it, others don't. Some wish they were celebrating it, others wish they didn't have to. Aren't special occasions supposed to be fun?!
Some single people find Valentine's Day especially hard. Yet other singles have no problem with this occasion at all. I'm going to wager that for unattached people, our attitude towards Valentine's Day is a reflection of our attitude towards being single and the meaning we've attached to that. What do I mean? Well, does your singledom make you feel unchosen, unloved and unlucky? Do you find yourself constantly wishing that you were in a relationship and comparing yourself to others wondering why they got so lucky? Do you see being single as a terrible state that you can't wait to move out of?
We're a couple weeks into the New Year and I hope you are all making progress with your 2016 intentions. I have to say that I completely missed the mark on my intention of 8 hours of sleep nightly, daily meditation and 2-3 days of exercise in week one of 2016. But, I didn't beat myself up. I refocused and week two went really well!
Like me, many of you likely set intentions that involve making changes in your lives. I thought I would write a bit about change in today's post. First of all, we should acknowledge ourselves for valuing personal growth by trying to make changes in our lives at all. Nevertheless, if the change we're trying to make is one we've struggled unsuccessfully to accomplish before or if we've set a big stretch goal that's out of our comfort zone or current ability base, we may be feeling some frustration and anxiety setting in. We may even be asking ourselves why we thought we could make this change now when we've failed at it before or we might feel that we were way too ambitious and bit off more than we can chew.
Hello 2016! The start of a new year is always filled with hope, possibility and, of course...resolutions! But as you can tell by the title of this post, I'm suggesting that we say no to resolutions and embrace intentions instead.
It may seem like semantics to some people, but I feel that there are major differences in the energy and emotions behind the concepts of resolutions and intentions. Those of you who've been reading my posts will remember the distinction I made in my post on values between the "have to" versus "want to" values. Resolutions are filled with a lot of "have to" energy but intentions have a "want to" vibe about them.
Values! (Insert yawn and glazed over eyes here). I get it. I totally used to feel that way whenever the topic of values came up in school or training on the job. I used to think there was nothing more boring. Oh, how wrong I was! Now, values are one of my absolute most favourite topics. So please bear with me.
I am so grateful to have a life that is rich in relationships with family and friends that bring me joy, support, connection and fun. That's why it's incredible for me to think that less than two years ago, I was completely dissatisfied with my social life.
It's not that I didn't have great family and friends then, but I didn't feel fulfilled or satisfied. I now realize that the missing element was my role in the relationships. I was completely passive and I was always waiting: waiting for someone to call me up to do something; waiting for someone to come up with a plan; or waiting for friends to be free. In addition, I was relying on a core group of a few people to fulfill my social needs and desires. I hadn't really expanded my network very much and I certainly wasn't putting effort into making new connections. I had my "people" and I was sticking with them. There were countless weekends that consisted of my couch, snacks and Netflix (I got real tight with Walter White). Don't get me wrong, that is still my idea of a pretty great weekend, but it's definitely not what I wanted to be doing all weekend, every weekend! I was totally stuck in a rut.
What do you want to be when you grow up? It's a question that kids are constantly asked. They dream up amazing jobs, adventures and plans for the future. They don't focus on how realistic or attainable these dreams are, they just know they want them.
Some of us decided to pursue our childhood dreams and have worked towards the vision we had as kids. Some of us decided that our childhood plans were unrealistic, unattainable or undesirable and chose to take other, seemingly more reasonable, paths. Regardless of how we got here, many of us are going along a path that we decided to take years ago.