I am burning to share this today, because I have heard several clients in the last day or two tell me that they met someone, had a “good” first phone call, or is going to be “fixed up,” and doesn’t want to get their “hopes up!” Hmmm. Sound familiar?
I remember when I was first learning to date with dignity, and always went immediately to the default position of, “I’ll reject you before you reject me,” even though I had a good first connection with someone. I did this quite effectually by simply squashing my feelings of hope, excitement and optimism. I would create an internal dialogue in which I would experience butterflies, then interject what I thought was a big dose of reality that said, “DON’T get excited. It could not work. It might not happen for me.” Then, I would get excited again, experiencing the feelings in my body that said, “maybe this, in fact, is the miracle guy.” Once again, however, the voice of “reality” would return, guarding and protecting me from potential hurt or disappointment. In sum, I was becoming adept at throwing out what I call, “The Heisman.” (The Heisman is based on the football trophy in which the cast iron football player has one hand held close to his body, carefully protecting the football, while the other hand is stretched outward, elbow straightened, protecting the player from the offender.) I pretended to hold the idea of partnership in close (like the football), yet my unconscious beliefs, words, actions and inner dialogue communicated the outstretched defensive hand.
The question becomes, then, how could I feel excited, not get sucked into a ridiculous fantasy, yet live in the possibility of experiencing someone new. Appropriate optimism, if you will. The answer is simple to understand, yet a challenge to manage.
The answer is this; Discover a way to hold on to the HOPEFUL, positive energy WHILE simultaneously transforming the negative energy that lies behind fear, disappointment and loss! How can you use the anxious, butterflies and to turn them into lovely possibilities. The key is understanding that the moment in which you feel that excitement is just ONE moment! Enjoy it. Savor it. Then, move into the next part of your day, your life, and the connections you have with other people in your life. Remember, this guy — this woman — is not the ONE thing that will change your life and bring your happiness. It will not heal you. It will not save you. If it works, and you are truly dating and living with dignity, the relationship itself will not single-handedly CHANGE the way you feel about the big picture of your life. It would be something very special that could make your life rich, add new texture, and challenge you to access new parts of yourself.
Check yourself out this weekend. Are you good at The Heisman? Do you catch yourself rejecting others so that they can’t reject you. In fact, do you unconsciously find yourself attracted to those men or women that trigger a “Heisman” reaction. Consider this, and let me know what you find.