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Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of Your Life in Today's World
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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.
Maeve responds ...
I acknowledge you for pursuing a path of personal and spiritual growth. I feel your passion regarding self-awareness and evolution.
You mention the men you date are not a match. As long as you gauge this accurately, and base this on your requirements so you know without doubt that you are not prepared to settle for less than you deserve, I don’t see there is anything wrong with this. I support you for taking this approach. Why would you continue to date someone if you already know it wouldn’t work out?
Don’t give up. You never know when it will happen for you. Begin to believe there are men out there who are spiritually and personally as evolved and wise as you.
Maeve Crawford | www.becomingyourownsoulmate.com
Denise responds ...
Let me congratulate you for your evolutionary journey. That said most women tend to have a heightened relational and emotional maturity level that serves as an advantageous gateway to higher consciousness. Women also tend to have more synapses linking to the limbic areas or connections to their emotional center of the brain affording them a smoother self exploration than most men experience.
Denise Wade Ph.D. | www.sweetharmony.net
Wendy responds ...
Short answer: Elaborate on your definition of wise! Explore what you mean when you say someone 'seems committed to growth'.
Longer answer: I commend you for being true to yourself and your values and not settling for someone who falls short of what would be a fulfilling relationship experience for you.
If you haven't considered the following, it might help focus your energy in a new way about the subject. What do you hope to experience with another? How do you want another to enhance your life? How do you see growing together while respecting each other's journey? What values must you share? What interests do you hope to share? Could you write an ad (even if just as an exercise) that would elaborate on what you want. And finally, How do you recognize this person when you meet him?
If you have done something like this, it might help to revisit it again to explore your inner dialogue. Do you truly believe you could meet such a person?
On a more practical note, in what venues do you usually meet guys? Also there is a site called spiritualsingles.com you might check out. Wish you well. Let me know if I can be of more service.
Wendy Wahlstedt | www.eagleeyelifecoaching.com
Tracy responds ...
Have you reflected on reasons you might be bringing men into your life who are unequal to you in these areas? Are you really clear with your needs vs. requirements? How would the requirement read that describes this? Do you have limiting beliefs which are contributing? Do you think each partner should contribute in exactly the same way to the partnership?
While you excel in the area of self-awareness and self-growth, can you think of an area in which you might have room for growth? Would you like to have more of or less of something? Let's say you would like more business savvy, then you might remain open to finding a partner who wants to learn to live more consciously, while at the same time has great business savvy. Mutual support, even if each partner contributes in different ways, can create a beautifully balanced relationship.
Tracy Gilliom | www.lovingwithawareness.com
By Laurie Cameron
First dates, especially blind dates can sometimes be unnerving at best. What to say, what not to say, what to wear, where to meet, how will you recognize him or her? All these questions can add to "introduction anxiety", but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some DO'S and DON'TS that will help you make every first date a fun experience and a complete success!
DON'T be something you're not. There might be a temptation to impress your date by "fudging" your accomplishments, qualities and appearance. This is very dangerous! If you begin with lies, when the truth is uncovered, all trust and credibility is lost.
DO be authentic. It's a great idea to put your best foot forward, just be sure that it's YOUR foot! If you want someone to like you for who you are, you have to know how to BE who you are. You have nothing to lose by being yourself!
DON'T dump your life story on your first date. Even if it's a fascinating story, the first meeting is not the place. You can do a Cliff Notes-style version, but leave the details for future dates. And definitely DON'T DON'T DON'T dump your divorce or past break-up stories on your first date. This is a great way to guarantee that your first date is your last date with this person.
DO keep it relatively light and listen more than you talk. You can have a lively or even a deep conversation without monopolizing the time. If you start feeling like you're doing all the talking, transition gracefully with a question such as "Have you had a similar experience?" You can't play tennis if you keep the ball on your side of the court.
DON'T interview your date. There's nothing worse (except divorce war stories) on a first date than feeling like you're on a job interview.
DO come prepared with conversational questions. If you listen carefully, you can hear values and beliefs in answers to many ordinary questions. A question about the stock market situation can reveal attitudes toward money. A question about travel experiences can reveal attitudes about adventure, risk and lifestyle.
DON'T make snap judgements. It's easy to "sum" someone up in a matter of moments, especially based on appearance. And although physical chemistry is vital to a successful relationship, don't assume that if it's not there in the first five minutes that it will never be there. I have many clients who found that chemistry and attraction grew as they got to know their partner.
DO be open and give each person a chance to be who they are. Treat each date like a blank etch-a-sketch and allow them to draw themselves for you.
DON'T assume that if the person isn't "the one" that the date is a failure. That kind of tunnel vision is needy and definitely NOT attractive. If you're only looking for "the one", you're missing out on a whole lot of great stuff in your life.
DO expect to learn something about yourself from every date. Someone may not be your one true love, but they may be a great business contact, a good resource, or just an interesting person to spend a bit of time with. If you go into each date with the intention of becoming a healthier, more conscious person, each date will be a complete success!
Finally, DON'T treat a date in any way that you would not want to be treated. Think back on past "disaster dates" and note what made them uncomfortable for you. DON'T be the type of person you wouldn't want to date.
DO practice the Golden Rule. If you want to be treated with kindness, honesty and compassion, the question of your own behavior becomes a real no-brainer!
Copyright © 2013 by Laurie Cameron. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
By David Steele
"She's so hot!"
Women commonly dislike being evaluated or pursued by men solely for their physical attractiveness, and men commonly dislike being evaluated or pursued by women for their job or money.
When we don't know someone, it is natural to focus on the outside packaging. It is also understandable to be attracted to something that is very important to us, such as looks or money. Deep down we know that potential partners, like us, want to be viewed as multi-dimensional beings, not just a body or a wallet. Yet, in dating, whether straight or gay, young or old, unconscious singles commonly focus on the one big thing that attracts them, and then wonder why their relationships don't work.
Beware of the "PACKAGING TRAP"!
In our culture we objectify people by focusing on their age, gender, race, clothes, hair, weight, job, finances, and other external characteristics, and make generalizations about who they are as a person. When scouting for potential partners, it is common for some singles to focus on the packaging first, then not see much else beyond that. This works both ways- rejecting some people because of their packaging, and pursuing others because of their packaging.
Focusing on packaging can interfere even when you don't intend to.
It is understandable to have preferences and reactions to external packaging; however, if our goal is an internal experience, such as to be happy, loved, and fulfilled in a relationship, we may need to balance our attraction to the outside packaging by paying more attention to the person inside.
I recently had a conversation with a single friend who was frustrated about getting involved in relationships that appear promising in the beginning then don't work out. He and I have had an on-going debate about his weight requirement- no more than 5 pounds overweight (I could never figure out how he would measure that!). Body shape was his first and primary sorting tool, pursuing women with great bodies (who were usually not attracted to him) and immediately rejecting women who were not slender. Still single and nearing retirement age, he was despairing of finding a partner. I like him a lot, wanted to see him happy in a relationship, and really wanted to help. This time, our conversation focused more specifically on the Law of Attraction, and how his weight "requirement" may be interfering with his success.
Remember, the Law of Attraction can work for you or against you. If you objectify others by focusing on their packaging, then you will probably be objectified in return. As a man objectifying women by their appearance my friend might be attracting women who objectify him by his appearance, job, money, car, or other external packaging characteristic, and might not be capable of the kind of relationship he really wants.
In our Conscious Dating program, we specify that Requirements are almost always behavioral events in the relationship, not traits of a partner. This has been challenging for many singles that are used to making a list of what they want in their ideal partner. I like to say, "you can make a list of a hundred traits or qualities, find someone that meets all of them, and STILL be miserable."
We help singles refine their list and translate their requirements from traits of a partner into behavioral relationship events by asking "What does _____ mean to you?" and "What must happen in your relationship to be _____?" Any personal trait or characteristic can be transformed into a behavioral relationship event, such as "Good listener" into "Good communication" or "Deep listening to each other." The more specific and bottom-line- the better. Most requirements go both ways and involve both partners, such as "good communication" and "addiction-free."
Balance is the key. RCI coach Mike McCartney said "JUST the outside without the inside won't work. JUST the inside without the outside won't work for the vast majority," and I agree. It is natural to have some requirements related to packaging, such as race, height, age, and even body type or weight, but I prefer to de-emphasize focusing on packaging that doesn't have much to do with a quality relationship, and emphasize what is required to have the life and relationship you want.
In practice, very few external characteristics pass the requirements test- "If you were totally in love and really wanted this relationship to work, would you break it off because of _____?"
The 2001 movie "Shallow Hal" has a great example of this. Jack Black as Hal, a single guy obsessed with external packaging, was hypnotized to see only the person inside and pursued Gwyneth Paltrow's illusionary slim character. Then, when the hypnotic spell broke and he saw her actual obesity, he decided that her weight didn't interfere with his love and desire for her.
My friend held steadfastly to his weight requirement, fearing that if he let go of it, he would end up with someone he was not physically attracted to. I tried to reassure him that with the Law of Attraction "like attracts like," and if he let go of focusing on weight he might be opening the door for his soul mate- a wonderful woman who is attracted to him, to whom he too will be attracted.
At the end of the evening, my friend still seemed skeptical, but he said I gave him a lot to think about. I hope he can let go and give the Law of Attraction a chance to work for him- at this point he has nothing to lose!
PACKAGING TRAP: Focusing on outside packaging, such as someone's body, looks, job, wealth, material possessions, etc, overlooking the reality of the person inside. Opposite of the Marketing Trap; instead of seeking to sell yourself with attractive packaging, you focus on the packaging of others.
SOLUTION: Define your requirements for the life and relationship you really want and seek to balance your attraction to the packaging by paying attention to the reality of the person inside.
Copyright © 2013 by David Steele. All rights reserved in all media.
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