Chances are, if you’re reading this, this isn’t the first bit on relationship advice you’ve ever read. With all that’s out there these days on how to find and have great relationships, how can anyone tell which advice is solid? Which piece of brilliance is going to lead to the outcome you want?
If you talk to a hundred women about how they got into the relationships they’re in, you can potentially find 100 stories. I chased him until he said yes. He had a crush on me for ten years before he said anything. We had a one-night stand and then fell in love over breakfast the next day.
You name it, it’s happened. And the things that were right for those 100 women to do in those moments were right for them. But right for them only. Their answers or methods may not be right for you and what you’re looking for.
If everyone is doing it differently, how are you supposed to know who’s advice is any good? What’s the guidance that’s going to help you get the relationship that you want?
This is why One-Size-Fits-All dating and relationship advice sucks. It’s also why I don’t give it. (Because, let’s be honest, I don’t want to be a sucky coach giving sucky advice.)
The thing that does work? Getting to know yourself like, well, the back of your hand.
Get to know and trust yourself so damn much that you never question what is the right thing for you. Trust so deeply that even if you make a freaking terrible choice (because you will at some point) that you will be ok. That you will pick yourself back up and still be worthy and still be a good person and still be able to have what you want. (And that you will get the thing you needed to get to never make that terrible decision again.)
How do you get to know yourself?
You may be thinking this seems like such a lame question. If you’ve reached midlife, you might scoff and say, “Of course I know myself.”
Maybe you do, but we are always changing, so it never hurts to try on what we think we know is true to make sure it still fits. Like a dress, it may still physically fit, but it might not quite match your personality anymore. (Kind of like slipping your 45-year old rockin’ body into that dress you bought 15 years ago at Forever 21 – it may still fit, but nothing about it is right.)
Ok, now that we’ve agreed that continuing to get to know yourself is generally a good idea, here’s how to do it.
Observe yourself. Notice what you like, how you spend your time, and how you want to spend your time. Notice how you behave in certain situations. No need for judgement here, just curiosity.
Once you’ve got these ideas going, start asking why? Some variations on why are below:
- What do I want to feel here?
- What do I get from doing this?
- Who am I doing it for?
- What do I make this thing mean about me?
Then pay attention to what unfolds. You’ll start to learn some really interesting things about yourself! (This won’t happen overnight…it’s a long term project, if you will. But now you know how to get started!)
How do you learn to trust yourself?
Simply put, you get quiet and you listen. And then you do whatever that quiet voice says you need to do. This is often referred to as intuition – your deep inner knowing. Most of us hear this voice, but we’ve also been well-trained to ignore it, so it can take some practice to hear it again. (If this is the case for you, be patient, and just remain open to hearing it.)
Intuition is usually about the “what” and hardly ever about the who/where/when/how. So learning to trust yourself comes from hearing the “what” and moving toward it without having a clue about how it will turn out. (This is what tends to scare most of us about listening to this very powerful voice.)
In the process of listening to your intuition, you’ll do the hard things. You do the things that scare the shit out of you. You poke at the places you’ve likely avoided your whole life. You explore things that you have judgement about.
You check out the unknown. And you do it with the intention of seeing who you are.
You put your feet in the fire and you show yourself that you aren’t going to burn to a crisp. You find the strength, the courage, and the determination to put one foot in front of the other to make it to the other side.
How does that translate into good relationship advice?
When you trust yourself, you really can’t fuck it up. You inherently know that you’re going to be fine, better even, as a result of the chances you let yourself take. And so you do the things that feel right to you, even though you have no idea how they’re going to turn out.
There is nothing perfect about me or my relationships, but every decision I make is born from a combination of listening to my gut and knowing myself — the feeling I have about what is the right way for me to go overlaid with what I know about me — where I lump unrelated things together, how my deepest fears are getting in the way of me seeing clearly, or the places that I try to let myself off the hook from doing the hard stuff.
When I pay attention to those things, my decisions will always be 100% right for me. And the same is true for you.
What’s one thing you’ve recently learned about yourself that you weren’t aware of before? And, what’s one thing your intuition has been telling you that you’re ready to listen to? Leave a comment below and let me know!