It’s almost 2010, and there is no better time than now to bust free of the patterns and behaviors that are keeping you stuck in the romantic rut you have possibly been experiencing for years. While it’s no easy feat, the first step is to identify what, in fact are those behaviors that leave you wondering and unhappy “the morning after.” Here’s a simple, (although not without it’s challenges) step-by-step process to break free of your romantic rut:
1. Think about those moments when it seems the voices in your head are screaming conflicting messages. For example, see someone whose smile gives you butterflies but leaves your feet frozen, your lips sealed? What are the messages you hear from the “inner critic” inside your head? “Do, it! Just talk to him/her” vs. “She/He doesn’t want to be bothered. “Walk away,” the inner critic shouts. “Just grab your coffee and move on!” These moments provide an opportunity to look deeply at what keeps you from moving forward.
2. Grab a piece of paper and pen. At the top of the paper, describe the “moment” above using just a few simple words. For example, ” I want to talk to someone I find attractive.” Next, ask yourself, what feelings result from my fear. Perhaps your answer is something like this, “I feel fearful, afraid of rejection.” Then, draw a downward arrow which begins at the original moment, leading to the resultant feelings or thought described above. Draw another arrow. What happens when you feel fearful and afraid? Perhaps you convince yourself that it’s a smart decision NOT to speak to this person. Once more, draw another arrow. What is the resultant action from this thought or feeling? Does this one sound familiar? “I look down, grab my coffee and leave the store.” How does this make you feel? Possible answer? “Ashamed and stupid.” Ahhhhh. Now then, if you feel ashamed and stupid, what will you do the NEXT time you see someone you want to approach? Most likely, you will repeat this cycle endlessly. Becoming aware of these cycles is paramount to breaking them.
3. Commit to making NEW choices in 2010. At what point in the cycle are you willing to make a new choice and adopt new behaviors? For example, the next time you see someone attractive at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, (apologies to Starbucks, my usual coffee shop reference) you remember that today you will make new choices. Then, when confronted with the “old” messages, you decide this time you will make a different choice. You will not be victim to the vicious cycle. You choose defiantly; this time you will not look down. Instead, you smile! Perhaps today will not be the day you speak to this person, but you will be victorious in knowing this small thing — this smile — has lifted you up, freeing you from the romantic rut of yesterday. As a result, you no longer feel ashamed or stupid. You feel confident, proud of the way in which you have confronted your fears directly. Bravo. And then, perhaps, one day, the next time you get coffee, you will talk to this person, complimenting him or her on her decision to go with the Hazelnut Soy Latte.
4. Wash, rinse, repeat. By taking time to become aware of all your cycles, you can begin to make new choices every day. New actions will bring new results. Experiment. See what behaviors continue to be challenging. Congratulate yourself when you experience successes. Gently dig deeper when you continue to feel stuck. Either way, confidently trust that new results will bring happiness, fulfillment, freedom, peace of mind and dignity. Continue to explore repeatedly, and watch your new life blossom as you transform before your eyes.
In January, 2010 I will launch a series of monthly 30 minute free tele-classes called “Date-Tactics 2010.” During these 30-minute sessions I will teach, support you in your efforts to break free from romantic vicious cycles, help you make new choices, and answer your questions. I hope you join me. Watch the website for dates and times. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to your greatness in 2010.