Quick question. Are you happy? That's right, I am talking to you. You know, the one half of any relationship you create and the only part you can control. You.
As a dating coach, the new year always brings a new group of singles contemplating their hot mess love lives as they come to me with this "please fix my life" crazed look in their eyes. I am always a bit gobsmacked by the amount of ladies who come to me wanting a happy and fulfilling relationship but aren't actually happy with themselves. What? How much sense does that make? Or is that poor, unknowing, already-set-up-to-fail guy supposed to "complete you"? Lucky them. That makes about as much sense as not having oil or gas in your car and thinking it will run. I have done that. It doesn't work no matter how much I click my heels and wish it would.
Too many times I see people daydreaming and waiting for that "someday your prince will come" moment. Well, I got something better. What if I told you that you have a power in yourself bigger than any royalty and the ability to change your life starting today! True story.
I like to think I am a Ms. Smarty Pants, but honestly, being a dating coach isn't rocket science. The overall concept is very simple: The happier and more complete you are as a person, the less you are searching for someone to fill in all the gaps. You will not need your guy to be your best friend, a great listener, your rock and support system, strong yet sensitive to your different moods, your study buddy, your super model to make you look good and your own personal super hero who swoops in to save the day and tells you how good looking you are every day through well written love notes. I am exhausted just thinking about what this poor guy is expected to be. Can anybody really live up to that?
Instead, why not truly search for a partner on this crazy journey we call life instead of someone to fix your crap. Here are three easy ways to jump start your happiness factor in 2011 and start creating the person that you want to date.
1. Love your goods, bads and nutties: What happens when we find someone with real potential? Many times we mold ourselves into the person we think that they want us to be. We make small (sometimes not so small) changes to make sure that they stay. Eventually we realize somewhere down the road that we are unhappy and start to go back to being ourselves, which leaves them scratching their heads saying "WTF?" Instead we need to learn to love our real, authentic, imperfect selves, creating healthy boundaries in the beginning of the relationship - trying new things, always working to being better, but always being ourselves. Everyone else is already taken.
2. Build a Life Support Team: Feel like you are attracting the same jerks over and over again? Start by taking a look at what you are putting out there. Usually what is going on around you is a reflection of what is going on inside you. There were times in my life where I looked around and felt most people in my life were negative and unhappy. And then I realized that I was in a place where I was feeling pretty negative and unhappy. Hmm. Coincidence? Nope.
Let's instead take a look at you. Are you the person you want to date? If you met you would you be excited? Delighted? Are you over your job? Unhappy with your weight? Think your friends might be holding you back? Figure it out, pick a goal and start working on you. What small step can you do today? Feeling shy? Take an improv class. Want to be more interesting? Go on a trip. Want to get healthier? Hire a trainer or a nutritionist. There are a plethora of coaches and consultants out there just to help you. Even if you can't afford them one on one, many have classes and workshops to keep it affordable. Why not get a whole team on your side and become the person you want to be and be with? You don't have to do anything alone.
3. Tell a Happier Story: My friend and fellow life coach Rob Mack says it best. "If you don't have anything nice to say about somebody, don't say it at all. Now make sure that includes yourself." We can't be happy unless we have happy emotions with a happy story. You know your story. The one of how you got to where you are. When you tell yours is it fun, adventurous and full of life lessons? Or does it have lots of upset, drama and bad circumstances? People are not born with the "glass half full" mentality, they have to work at it. And that means you!
When you are meeting new people or out on a first date, reach for your positive thoughts first. Instead of looking for how that person doesn't fit your perfect match list, go in with a child-like curiosity to find out what makes them unique. Focus on the exciting possibility of meeting a new person and that they are devoting an entire evening to get to know you. How can you retell your story?
By adding these three simple ways to get happy into your life, you will be amazed who starts showing up in the new year.