“In most situations when it takes months, you have not fallen in love. You’ve learned to tolerate them. You’ve grown attached to them”. That’s a quote from Stephan Speaks and it’s how he answered Lewis Howes during an interview they had on the “The School of Greatness” podcast. Listen for more on how to tell if you’ve healed from a past relationship, if compatibility and chemistry are all that matters and why you might be using sex as a distraction from moving on.
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I had a hard time deciding which part of the conversation to share because, well, really the whole thing was so good. As the title suggests, and you might have guessed it’s filled with all kinds of practical dating tips and tools, if that’s where you are right now, But what held my attention most was their focus on the behind the scenes work that needs to get done before you can even consider meeting someone new. Or as Tom Bilyeu, host of Impact Theory, and one of my favorite podcastors would say, “how you feel about yourself when you're by yourself”. It’s taken me about, let's just say a number of years to figure out that no one outside myself has the ability to make me feel good about who I am. There’s no one out there to complete me. No void in me that can be filled by another person. And no guy is going to make me feel whole. Only I have that power and only I can take it away.
In the interview Stephan talks a lot about the healing process, both from old relationships but also past traumas that we all have. Because one isn't necessarily separate from the other. The relationship we have with ourself, largely created from previous experiences and outdated stories we tell ourselves, has a direct impact on the relationships we have with other people. Ang I definitely felt this in my life. As someone who tends to be extremely hard on myself, I often projected that outward to those closest to me. No one could measure up to my high standards...not even me. Most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it. My kids might come home with an A paper and rather than congratulating them, I’d ask why they missed THE ONE question. I know that’s how it was for me growing up, an emphasis on what I did wrong vs what I did right.
Obviously for me It started out young with critical parents and then it was 10x when I got married. You know what I’m talking about it you have that person in your life where nothing is ever good enough, aka, you’re not good enough and no matter what you do or how hard you try, you just can’t win. And the longer you’re around them, and the more you try pleasing them, of course at your own expense, you take in their negativity, then their words become your own because they’re echoed over and over in your head, in your voice and then you accept them as truth. They aren’t really your truth because they didn’t come from you but you can’t tell anymore, you can’t distinguish your own thoughts from theirs. It’s insidious and it happens slowly, over time, without awareness until it’s too late. So imagine the relationship ends and before long I’m jumping both feet first into another one without doing any kind of work whatsoever to heal from the last one. I know what would happen. I would be right back where I was, in the same situation, different day, different guy. same doubts, same insecurities. Through therapy and other things I’ve done I speak to myself and others with much more compassion and kindness. I’m much less judgmental and truly believe people are doing their best. I’m not perfect, I'm not 100% but a lot better. There's a saying, I'm fond of sayings, how you do one thing is how you do all things. That applies here.
It’s been almost 2 years now, I’m not saying it took that long but I was married 20, together for 24 so 2 years is nothin. And I’m enjoying being on my own and enjoying the freedom. This is the first time I’ve ever lived on my own. I moved from my parents house, in with my husband at the time and have been there ever since. I used to joke with my daughter... So it’s been a learning experience and one thing I realized is I didn’t need anyone to come and rescue me, no knight in shining armour that little girls grow but thinking will come and save the day, because I was/am saving myself. I’ve become my own hero!
Now when people ask me if I’m dating, I say yeah, I’m dating myself. I’m no therapist but I’ve heard it said that the qualities we look for in our partners are the ones that we feel we lack in ourselves. Remember the movie, Gerry McGuire where Tom Cruise says to Rene Zelwegger, “you complete me.” That. They're is only one person that can complete you...and that’s Brad Pitt! Just kidding, it’s you. Only you can complete you!
So what are some of those qualities that I’d like to develop in myself and that, at least right now, I might look for in a partner? Things like confidence, strength, compassion, kindness, adventurous, giving, vulnerability, leadership, courage...the list goes on. As you can probably tell, I’ve thought a lot about this. I’ve had two years people. And if you haven’t already you might want to do this yourself. Just sit down and ask yourself, what are the qualities that attract you to someone else? And list them out. You might find that, like me, you actually want them in yourself and that’s what attracts you to them. What's even more interesting and what I sometimes think about is once you feel you’ve developed them, to the best of your ability, would you still be attracted to the same person? Or would you be attracted to something/someone different? I don’t know. But regardless, I want to make sure I’m with someone for the right reason and not because they have something I feel I lack and that somehow they’re filling a gap within me. Always a work in progress.
If you get a chance, try and listen to the entire episode because it’s kind of a soup to nuts conversation of relationship advice. And they go into depth on many different aspects of finding a partner as well as suggestions of what to do depending on the stage you’re at. Which is helpful since we’re all in different stages of our journey. And of course I understand, my story isn’t yours and maybe you’re not looking to be in a romantic relationship or you’re currently in a relationship, romantic or otherwise that you’d like to make even better. The thing about improving your relationship with yourself is that, as I said earlier, it improves all the relationships in your life. And one of the exercises mentioned in the show, that I’ve done and found helpful is writing a letter to yourself or someone that’s hurt you in the past and letting all that resentment and frustration out and it’s applicable to anyone at any time regardless of trying to attract a partner or not. Living by myself after being in a household with 5 people I’ve had to learn that even as an introvert, I’m not an island. I need people. And if I want to attract and maintain deep connections with them, it has to start within me.
That's all I have for this week. If you’re interested in learning more about Lewis and Stephan’s conversation, check out the “School of Greatness” podcast episode 994 “Secrets of attraction, dangers of sex and keys to finding the one with Stephan Speaks”. Links to that and both their social media profiles are included in the show notes below.
If you enjoyed today’s show please share with someone you think might benefit and until next time, Thanks for listening.