It’s easy to doubt ourselves, our choices, our lives, our everything.
And especially it is easy to doubt ourselves in regard to our love lives. We can find ourselves second-guessing every choice, all along the way.
In my book, OPENING TO MEDITATION, the line that I loved most is this: “If there is a devil, it is doubt.”
We may ask ourselves when we are single, “Will he ever come?” And if we are in a relationship we may ask, “Is he really right for me?” Either way, we are doubting.
All of this is just the play of the ego.
The ego is a perpetual worrying machine. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. The mind will generate fear after fear after fear. When one is allayed, another one pops up. It is the nature of the beast.
But it can be trained, and that is where meditation comes in. Meditation teaches the mind to become still, to live in the moment rather than the past or the future, and finally, meditation teaches us to connect with our higher selves, our true selves, our sacred selves. In this process, the mind learns to become reflective and listening. We become calm and steady. We start to know.
When the mind has no bounds it is like an untrained dog.
The mind will chase after every ball that comes by. It will be sitting quietly in one moment, when suddenly, “Squirrel!” and off it goes, running madly after some random thought. And that’s the problem; it chases every single thought. An untrained mind doesn’t know how to prioritize well. It is indiscriminate and fearful, or boasting and trying to prove itself.
To the untrained mind, every thought is worth chasing.
In theory, we know everything, we think everything – but – all at the same time! But when we meditate, we discover we have a very refined, highly calibrated, inner psychic barometer within us that teaches us subtlety and discrimination, discipline and awareness.
When we meditate, we are teaching our minds to become observers rather than reactors. We teach the mind to “sit” and “stay.”
Thoughts of the ego are always fear-based. The ego chases every squirrel, and pretty much every ball that goes by too. So when we teach our minds to sit and stay, to listen and be present, we immediately become calmer and clearer. Suddenly our lives become simpler because we are not over-complicating them with every single thought we think. We simply begin to know.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Don’t believe everything you think.”
This is sage advice. Just because you think something doesn’t mean it’s true, or that it’s right for you. We can think many things at the same time – and do! When we meditate we are spiritually prioritizing: THIS ball, not all those others.
You can let them all go by, and stay . . . with this one.
In the end, what it’s really about is application, application, application. Over time we build a muscle of awareness. We learn to be conscious and present. And on the subject of love, it’s no different than any other. We begin to learn to trust our lives, and to trust love.
From a spiritual perspective there is a perfect time for everything. We can stay busy and distracted by chasing after every squirrel, or we can wait for right timing.
Squirrel timing will take you on a wild goose chase. Spiritual timing is perfect timing.
This does not mean being passive and doing nothing.
It means responding to what’s at hand because you are present to what is happening.
It means living your life with passion and gusto, love and enthusiasm.
It means bringing your whole self to every moment and to every exchange.
When you establish a meditation practice, you will learn that you can trust life, that you can trust love, and most importantly, you can trust yourself.
Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation – www.dianalang.com
Popularity on the open market has always been a challenge for people looking for an intimate partner.
With the advent of the Internet, that process has greatly intensified. There have never been so many options with so many unknowns, leaving most would-be partners in a frenzied state of mysterious, frustrating, and often elusive relationship adventures.
The result is that most people are spending more time and energy trying to stay up front and center than ever before to strengthen their odds of finding that small romantic needle in a very large haystack.
The average amount of text messages, invitations, winks, and other possibilities my dating patients receive in a day can be absolutely confusing and overwhelming.
Add to that the time they spend on dating websites, Facebook, and other potential meeting connection routes. The time left to ponder what a person really needs, wants, and can give in a long-term, successful relationship is reduced to a fraction of what it should be.
To add to the dilemma, attitudes and directions are so completely formed by the media’s definition of value, that seeking one’s own most desirable core self is too often on a back burner.
Yet, the sound and confident knowledge of what a person is really selling produces the most effective consistent way to find who is buying and whether that co-seeker is viable. If a person is too busy and too obsessed to do everything right without a map or manual, he or she will miss the important cues that make successful dating possible.
The frenzy of obsessive dating concerns is currently mirrored in the depersonalization in almost every other area of life.
My patients frequently report to me how many “friends” they have but how “lonely” they still feel. They are getting better and better at superficial connections and less competent at deeper ones. The revolving door relationship demands that could result in more intimate closeness require skills that many do not have and don’t know where to learn.
How does someone get enough information, enough connection, or enough experience in short-term interactions to even determine if a second date is worth doing? No wonder so many relationship seekers are anxious and hyper-focused on not making mistakes.
The answers are slow in coming but beginning to materialize.
The antidote is, of course, staying in the moment, deepening experience, and not being so attached to the past or the future.
That’s easy to say when the world is spinning around you in ever-greater intensity. Yet, it must happen. The old ways of going on a date, sharing personal information that might sort out whether there is compatibility, having the time to learn more in a gentle way, and having references from trusted friends, have all but disappears.
And, using dating sites, or any other kind of connection media, no longer guarantees a relationship seeker that anything he or she reads or hears is even true. People show up, too often fabricate, and disappear without a trace.
What needs to happen in its place is a very different kind of way to relate to a stranger in an efficient and accurate way, without urgency, anxiety, or distress.
Since personal information is no longer trustable, daters must learn how to assess a new person to reveal his or her true nature and core personality within the first hour of personal contact while simultaneously presenting self in the most authentic and open way possible.
What is necessary is that people must know how to be uniquely present and emotionally intimate from the first moment of contact, rather than having the past luxury of continuous exploration. And, to behave in the spirit of timeless adventure rather than goal oriented obsession.
The most direct route to that mastery is to understand and master the difference between personal information and true intimate communication, and the way to begin each relationship with the latter, even on a dating profile.’
Here are some examples:
Offering personal information
“I love camping.”
In a trailer, in a state park, in a rugged environment, alone or with others, in what kind of weather, at what time of the year, occasionally or the only enjoyment that means anything? In each individual brain, that simple set of words will spark literally millions of neuronal pathways that can mean entirely different things to different people, but are assumed to mean the same.
Try this, instead, if this is really you, or your own revision:
“Waking up early in the morning in a forest of trees, watching the sunlight come through them as if a God were sharing a blessing with me, listening to the sounds of rustling leaves laughing together, and smelling fresh pine trees, makes me aware of the beauty and wonder of nature. When I’m there I feel like I’m truly alive.”
Does that give you a better sense of who that person is?
“I really enjoy physical intimacy.”
Does that mean sex early in a relationship, with concurrent or sequential partners, often, slowly building up with emotional closeness, best in the morning, always with wine or pot, with concurrent conversation, or only on weekends when relaxed?
Try this, instead, if it is really you, or your own revision:
“You know, I’ve had my share of sexual partners, and I’ve learned a lot about who I am and what kind of relationship or situation where I’m really at my best in bed. I’m equally comfortable being the initiator or being sought out, but I like that to be up front and not play games. I know how awkward sex can be when people can’t communicate what they need or want, so I like to be able to talk openly with a potential partner so we know what to expect and to share what we can give. I’m a gentle lover, but still passionate. It takes me a while to get going, but I love the process once it’s working.”
The major difference in the sharing of personal information versus intimate, open, authentic, in-the-moment communication is the level of risk you take by sharing that with a stranger.
The potential loss, of course, is rejection of your core self and that can be harder to take than rejection of your profiled, personal self. But the potential of real connection with someone who loves that part of you is phenomenal, because he or she knows who you really are up front. If you are then accepted and acknowledged for who you really are at the beginning of a relationship, the future will only get better.
Though this may seem initially difficult and hard to master, it gets easier and easier over time. If each person you know, whether for an hour or a lifetime, feels treasured by you and treasures who you really are, you will never regret a moment spent. That focus on what is real and quality, builds a better future formed by a more meaningful present. Obsession is then replaced with chosen, deep experiences of interpersonal adventures. Time disappears, and intimacy thrives.
Please feel free to blouse my related articles on Psychology Today:
“How Can I be more Popular?”
“Do Touch and Go Relationships Have to be Superficial?”
“Ten Important Questions You Should Ask A Potential Partner”
“The Most Important Quality of an Intimate Partner”
“When Should I have Told You?”
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
When you put a lot of focus on finding a relationship and keeping it going, there is going to be some natural anxiety that goes along with it.
When you laser focus in life on specific areas, you will worry because it’s where your attention is at and the area you want to improve. My recommendation for you is to shift your focus into all areas of your life and create a balance.
In my office, I have this really great therapy worksheet that helps my clients rate the following areas in their lives:
– Social relationships
– Learning and Growth
– Play and fun
Rate each of these areas from 1-10 in your life.
From there, create a goal around each area to make an improvement. If you rated low in professional, update your resume and send it out to three places.
When you work on improving all areas of your life, you create balance and your anxiety will reduce.
You may feel some worry while setting your goals and working on it; however when your life is in balance and you can rate each of these areas as high, your worry will reduce.
Working with a therapist will help you to keep accountable to your goals, as well as work through any blocks you have to certain areas.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
Worry is wasted energy.
You can live your life and enjoy what you are doing in the moment or waste time worrying about something that you cannot control. It is a waste of your precious time to worry about what someone else is doing. How do you want to spend your time? You won´t be able to change that he is unfaithful. If you are worried this much about this issue, then maybe it is time to rethink whether he is worth your time and being in a relationship with him.
Keep yourself busy and live your life.
Do not accommodate and change your plans because you think that it will keep him from cheating. Do not stop hanging out with friends and having a social life because you think that by spending all your time with him, he won´t stray. If he wants to stray, he will and nothing can stop him except his choice not to.
If he is the one, time will tell.
You need to conduct yourself with integrity and dignity. It will come out if he is cheating on you. Do not stoop to behavior that is beneath you and does not honor who you are and what you have to offer.
Reflect on your behavior and what intentions, attitudes and beliefs you spend your energy on. If you tend to think negatively, then that is what you will manifest over time because you are subconsciously engaging in behavior that will lead to the outcome you fear the most.
Reflect on where your anxiety about things going wrong comes from.
Is there a history that makes you feel like you are always waiting for something “bad” to happen because it is too good to be true? Is there trauma in your past regarding issues of infidelity or relationships that start off on a good note but go south over time?
Be mindful of the patterns that develop in your relationships. Journal and reflect on your past relationships and examine any behaviors that are familiar to you. Do you notice any similarities in the types of men you are attracted to and that you attract?
When you start to worry, catch yourself and try to break the habit.
Notice what triggers your worry and anxiety about him cheating. Work on going with the flow and staying in the moment rather than getting ahead of yourself and thinking the worst.
- Is there a need for validation in that you want an immediate response and you think the worst if he doesn´t text you back or answer the call?
- What is going on internally that makes you think that he is cheating?
- Do you need to work on learning how to self-soothe and internally validate?
- Do you rely on him for validation?
If you find yourself in similar relationships with similar patterns of anxiety, it might help to talk to a therapist and process where this anxiety comes from.
A therapist can help you examine patterns that repeat in your relationships. Therapy can help you learn tools to identify these patterns and change the behavior that keeps you in these cycles.
Be honest with yourself about what you see him doing and if it is congruent with what he is saying.
Maybe he is cheating. If so, examine if you are ignoring the signs and move forward in the relationship anyway despite the red flags. Work on you and be the best version of yourself that you can be. When you do that, the rest will fall in place and the one that is meant for you will find you.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
If all you think about is your love life, then you are in trouble.
After all, there is more to who you are than who you are in a relationship. You are an interesting person and you need to acknowledge that you are a whole person when someone is in your life or not.
Sure, you want to feel secure and happy with the one you are with, but you also want to feel secure and happy with yourself.
So how do you stop worrying about your love life and start thinking about yourself?
1. Your relationship is there to enhance who you already are.
It is not there to complete you or fix you. It is something that you don’t need, but rather something you want because it gives you enjoyment, pleasure, fulfillment, and support.
Being all you can be in your relationship is more important for your mental health and sense of self, than trying to please the person you are with.
2. If you are concerned about your relationship and wondering if he really likes you, is committed to you and is thinking about you, then you really don’t know the guy.
He should be making you feel that way all the time. The fact that you don’t know for sure, means the relationship may not be all you think it is — and maybe it’s time to move on.
3. You are a work in progress — meaning that it takes time and effort to make a relationship work.
For you to grow emotionally, so you can give of yourself to another person, you have to focus on your needs, your wants and your love of yourself. As an empowered individual, who has a lot to offer others, your well-being is significant for your progress. Don’t sell yourself short by compromising who you are for the sake of the relationship.
When you finally meet someone you care about, put your emphasis on enjoying what you have and stop worrying about the “What If’s.”
Too many concerns will cause your partner to wonder whether you are right for him, since insecurity, jealousy, interrogation and fears are not attractive qualities and usually sends someone on their way.
You can easily sabotage a good relationship with suspicions, especially if they are unfounded. Do the inner work to be sure you are coming from a place of strength and security before entering into any relationship.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Worrying is one of the least useful uses of our time and energy.
It accomplishes absolutely nothing. I used to spent a good deal of my time worrying. It’s a hard habit to break. I think I’ve made some inroads but it still creeps up on me now and then.
Whether you’re worrying about your love life, climate change, money, or Isis, you worrying isn’t going to change a thing.
When you get anxious about a situation it’s best to look it square in the eye and ask yourself the following:
1. Is this a legitimate concern? In other words are there facts or information that I have that let me know that something is amiss?
2. Is there anything I can do about it? If the answer is no then the questions end there. Try meditating.
3. If there is something I can do about it, what are the steps I need to take?
With relationship worry, that first question is really important.
You need to ask yourself what is actually happening that leads you to think that there is something wrong. You have to be able to delineate between tangible signs that your relationship is in trouble, and your own basic underlying insecurities.
Chronic insecurity will cripple you in every area of you life including romantic relationships.
You need to fix this ASAP, and sometimes a professional can be very helpful in this process. If, however, there are real signs that your relationship is rocky, you need to address those with your partner. The opposite of worrying, is sticking your head in the sand. Neither is productive.
Worry is a passive activity. It feeds on itself.
You know that while you are caught up in worrying you are not doing anything productive, so the worry increases. Once you have a plan of action, worry generally begins to decrease. Taking active steps towards solving problems is empowering and decreases worry even more. Each step you take moves you closer to a solution and a feeling of competency.
Think about what you are telling yourself.
Do you face life with the attitude that you are deserving of happiness? Or do you tell yourself that you are not really capable or loveable? Do you feed your insecurities with irrational beliefs about your worth?
To have the kind of life you want you have to believe that you deserve it. In the end we are most likely to get out of life what we ask for, maybe not all of it, but a lot of it. Don’t undermine your success by focusing on the problems or engaging in negative self-talk.
Determine what you want your life to look like and then take the steps that are most likely to lead you there.
One last thing. Never hang out with people who undermine you or make you question your value. Those people are dead weight. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you and are secure enough in themselves to root for your success.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com