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Ask Our Coaches:
I get depressed during the holidays - what can I do?
"I get so depressed over the holidays...how do I change this?"
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach
and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I get so depressed over the holidays because everyone is doing things as a couple, I feel left out. I don't have family in my area, so I spend a lot of time alone. How do I change this?
Anita responds ...
I spent many years single. Seems like everyone who has someone purposefully gathers around you to celebrate their union, especially on holidays, right? :)
Then I realized I wasn't the only one who was single. Single people hold parties, connect with friends and meet other single people who just may feel the same as we do!
Just because we are single doesn't mean that we have to feel singled out. Once I realized this, I used those holidays and moments to focus on who I really needed to love the most: ME.
I invited fellow single friends to meet me at the local comedy club for a night of laughs.
Loving yourself fills you with joy and confidence builds. Over time, someone special gravitates to your new positive energy, eager to bask in your vibe. Love, then, extends its hand to that special someone.
I danced at nightclubs - loving music and dancing.
I caught a movie with a friend, or rented one and ordered in from my favorite restaurant.
I signed up for activities that I've always wanted to do.
I stopped focusing on others, and started celebrating me.
May your holidays be filled with love!
Anita Myers | www.innerscopeconsulting.com
Nina responds ...
If you want to really make a difference, connect, and make new friends for the holidays, volunteer at any homeless shelter or find a group that has special events for families in need. Not only will you be a part of something special for others, you’ll meet the most wonderful volunteers at these events.
Consider opening your home for college students who are unable to make it home for their holiday. If you contact the local schools they can direct you to who lines up the holiday ‘strays’ with locals who invite them for holiday dinner.
If you have a good profile of your ideal partner, go hang out in the kinds of places she would likely be during the holidays. Go to every party you can get invited to. There are usually singles at parties and couples usually try to invite other singles if they know some are coming. Couples love to match-make! While at the party, let the hosts know you will be alone for the holiday dinner and they’ll usually find someone who wants to “adopt” you for the holiday.
Remember that to have a friend you have to BE a friend.
Nina Potter | www.ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org/
Carol responds ...
The holiday season can be challenging for single people, especially if you don't have family or friends close by. But the key, as with most things in life, is to change the way you think about it. It is easy to get yourself into the victim mentality in which you feel sorry for yourself and hope that others will take sympathy on you. Generally that will have an adverse affect, leaving you feeling depressed.
A more positive approach is to focus on becoming a happy, successful single. Think about everything you have in your life to be grateful for. Rather than waiting for others to include you in their plans, consider how you would like to spend your time, and what you can do to make that happen.
Start thinking now about next year. Would you like to find a partner? If so, what are you doing, and what more could you do to make that happen? Consider working with a Relationship Coach who will help you to overcome the obstacles that are preventing you from being the person you really want to be, and start living your dreams!
Carol Page | www.new-relationship.com | Skype: newpagelc
Barbara responds ...
Because we are relational beings, we often look for others we can connect with to help us feel better. During the holidays, if you’re not in a relationship, or close enough to be with friends and family, it can be a lonely time. This can easily send you into a state of sadness and even depression. It’s also very easy to get hung up on “woe is me” and all that doesn’t seem to be going well.
Chances are someone else around you is having this same experience, and the greatest thing you can do to lift yourself from this place is to find someone else in the same state, or make yourself available to befriend another. Not only will this encourage someone else, it will also encourage and move you from an unhealthy to a healthy state. Reaching out to others and sharing yourself is the best gift to offer the world, especially during this holiday season.
Changing your attitude and perspective on the way you look at things will change the way you feel; after all, you don’t have to be alone to be lonely. Be your own good company and share yourself with others.
Barbara Williams | www.barbarawilliams.relationshipcoach.org/
Singles and the Holidays, What Are You Doing to Prepare?
By Candace Brindley
Now that the holidays are looming and people are ramping up for parties and gatherings of all kinds, I'm starting to hear singles murmuring about wanting to shrink and hibernate for a while. They admit they don't find the glamour of the holidays quite as tinsel perfect as their dating and married friends.
Couples have each other, but singles suddenly start feeling distinctly alone - struggling to motivate themselves into the world of reveling couples.
Singles actually dread the prospect of getting dressed up, going out into the cold night, and trying to gracefully fit into a room of what appears to be happily connected couples ...alone. Formal parties can really tug on the lonely strings for singles without a designated ‘other’ to mingle and dance with.
Privately they admit that they're somewhat reluctant to be themselves - laugh and have a good time - for fear someone will misconstrue their behavior as flirtatious.
It's understandable that with so much holiday emphasis on love and giving, singles experience extra sensitivity to being alone. Even singles content with their life harbor dreams of meeting that perfect someone from time to time, and the holidays are definitely that time.
As simple as it sounds, I like the buddy system for singles! Pick one friend to go places with, be it your girl or guy friend. For extra insurance also be proactive and ask your party-planner friends to invite other singles they know and love - with you in mind!
If being single during the holidays makes you cringe and want to stay home, find ways to take charge and claim your stake in the fun. Maybe you just need a buddy, a friend who will notice how handsome or beautiful you look, someone you can be yourself with, laugh and dance with, and someone with whom you can completely relax and share the festivities of the season. You deserve fun and love ... especially over the holidays!
Besides the ‘buddy plan’, what else can you do as a single to participate in and enjoy the upcoming holidays?
Copyright © 2012 by Candace Brindley. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Candace Brindly is a Certified Relationship Coach for Singles, Couples and Parents with Teens. She specializes in helping people find, create, and sustain deep and lasting love connections.
'Tis the Season to Turn Sadness Into Joy
by Barbara Williams
In many traditions in our busy world, the holidays signify the time of leisure, of relaxing, reconnecting and spending quality time with loved ones. Initially intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we're accustomed to Christmas as: "'Tis the season to be Jolly!”
Regardless of where we are in life, most of us cannot help but feel the joy and excitement of Christmas. Our senses are filled with aromas of pine, cloves and cinnamon, candy canes, home cooked meals and enticing desserts. We are intrigued with the colorful lights, decorations and trees adored with beautiful ornaments. Our ears tune into the piped music and carolers singing cheerful Christmas songs, plus the laughter and squeals of little children, as they wait in line to sit on Santa's lap.
Who could not help but feel joyful in such an uplifting atmosphere?
Add shopping and gift-giving to the picture and the air is full of amazing delight.... until we suddenly find ourselves in the long shopping lines, heavy traffic and are too tired to cook dinner. Next thing we know, we get caught up in unnecessary quarrels, disagreements and misunderstandings with our loved ones, with hope that all becomes resolved in time for Christmas.
Going a step beyond typical holiday upheavals, there are those less fortunate who find it far more challenging to rejoice in the Spirit of Christmas. Think of individuals, couples and families who are experiencing their first Christmas alone, perhaps without a special loved one due to a recent loss, break-up or separation. Or those left in a nursing home, or who have recently moved away from family and friends. Instead of feeling "jovial," they may feel sad, abandoned, isolated or heartbroken.
And what about those who've experienced tragic moments; losing their homes or belongings to theft or natural disaster? Or those who are in the hospital with a serious injury or devastating illness? Rather than feeling joyful and excited about Christmas, these people are feeling helpless, disheartened, scared and even in great pain.
The most precious gift we can give anyone during these challenging times, including to ourselves, is genuine love, empathy and positive thought.
Take this time to remember a loved one who may have departed recently, leaving you with sad and painful memories. After releasing any remaining emotions with several deep cleansing breaths, begin to remember your loved one in a way you celebrated with them previously. Think of how they smiled, laughed and rejoiced with you. Think of how they would want you to feel happy, peaceful and grateful during this holiday season.
After all, they are still in our hearts and still with us in spirit... so let’s celebrate that!
Try not to get so caught up in the “holiday spirit” that you neglect the very person or people that matter most to you, even if you end up in those long shopping lines, heavy traffic or just missed that last item you hoped to get by the person who picked it up before you. Take a few moments to offer random acts of kindness to both those you know and those you don't know. Remember, holidays are "days off" from normal day-to-day activities and it is truly the time to enjoy and relax with those you care about.
And if you are caretaking someone less fortunate, be sure to take good care of yourself: get the rest you need, eat the proper foods and drink plenty of water to stay healthy, grounded and strong. Trust that you (and your loved one) are divinely loved and blessed by the greater good and that all will be resolved, soon. Choose to be grateful, hold to pleasant thoughts or memories, and keep a gentle loving smile on your face.
- Be grateful and express your appreciation towards others.
- If someone is having a difficult time coping with this holiday season, reach out to them. This will help you as much as it does them.
- Accept and acknowledge random acts of kindness shared with you by others - especially if they were not aware of it.
- Be more patient with yourself and with others.
- Focus on maintaining healthy eating habits, stay hydrated with pure water, get proper rest and plenty of exercise.
- Let go of past regrets and fears of the unknown.
- Don't sweat the small stuff and remember to keep giving the gift of LOVE.
Here’s wishing you new memories filled with joy, hope and peace for this and many seasons to come!
Copyright © 2012 by Barbara Williams. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Barbara A Williams is a Board Certified Coach, a Professional Life Coach, and a Certified Relationship Coach for Singles and Couples. She is devoted to helping people look at and make necessary changes in the way they think, and how that thinking affects their everyday attitude, behavior, relationships with others, and ultimately their outlook on life.
Dealing with Your Teen Scrooge During the Holidays
by Maeve Crawford
"Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat, if you haven't a penny a ha'penny will do if you haven't a ha'penny, then God Bless You!"
The meaning of this traditional English children's rhyme is to focus on being charitable at this time of year. Even if the child doesn't have a ha'penny (half a penny/nickel) they can still be charitable by giving their blessing. This is the rhyme my mum used to sing to us when Christmas was on its way and we were preparing our living room for the tree and all its decorations and is one of my many fond memories of my childhood Christmases.
Our memories and traditions begin when we are small, but as children grow into young adults and they resist the family traditions, it can become an emotional inter-generational hotbed. Typically teenagers want anything other than what their parents want (or so it would seem) so decking the halls and trimming the trees, is something you may have to do without them!
So what is the solution?
If you live with teenagers and would like to enjoy your Christmas without the sulks, moans and groans, here are a few ideas to help make this holiday season peaceful and harmonious:
- Consider asking for your teen for ideas for a new family tradition and be open to their suggestions
- Give your teen a role so they feel a sense of responsibility.
- Talk to your teen about your experience of Christmas as a teenager and let them know you can relate.
- Be open to the possibility that your teen could surprise you with their ability to join in, when they recognize that you understand them.
- Let go of attachment and be open to other possibilities of being together during the holidays.
- Create and make something together. This can be a fun and liberating experience for you as well as your teenager.
- Express yourself so others know your needs. If you aren't able to speak about what you want, how will you get your needs met?
An open heart and good communication is the key
There is a massive buildup during the holiday season and a tremendous amount of pressure on families to have fun, play games and enjoy each other's company. 'Tis the season to be jolly, after all.
It is also a time of potential family disharmony, emotional disputes and rehashing unresolved disagreements. With a bit of understanding, an open heart and good communication, this could be a time where you learn how to spend the season with peace, love and unity. It could be viewed as an opportunity to develop a new tradition, one that sees family members valuing and respecting each other, and this includes the adults!
However you spend this season, bear in mind that buying the most expensive or popular gift may create temporary excitement, but connecting with your family and loved ones is priceless and can last for eternity.
Copyright © 2012 by Maeve Crawford. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Maeve Crawford is a certified relationship coach for singles. Now affectionately known as The Soul Mate Catalyst, she specialises in empowering women who feel they've left it too late for children and marriage, to fall in love with themselves as part of the soul mate attraction process she teaches.
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