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On Self-Improvement (Why
Blaming Him Doesn’t Work) (From Chapter 2)
Some people like to say that when you meet the right
person you’ll know it, and everything will fall into
place. But that’s the exception, not the rule. If
you’re like most women in the world, you know that
relationships, love, and commitment take a lot more
than just luck and timing—although that’s part of
The good things in life, such as the relationships
you value, don’t just settle into place the way you
want them to. Meeting people can be spontaneous and
easy, but to maintain a meaningful and fulfilling
connection in your life requires some real work on
both sides—like it or not.
Men, dating, relationships, and love are the same
way. You’ve got to do some “work” of your own before
you enter a relationship and during the relationship
to be prepared and to be in the right state of mind.
The good news is, working on yourself is the most
rewarding and gratifying kind of work you might ever
At this point you might be thinking “Why should I do
all this work when it’s men that have the big issues
and commitment fears that keep me from having the
relationship I want? Why does it seem I’m the only
one who wants things to be better?”
Well, I look at it this way. There are two kinds of
people: the ones who blame everything on other
people and the ones who take responsibility for what
happens in their life.
Guess which group tends to be much happier and are
able to turn their dreams into reality? Exactly,
it’s the group that takes responsibility for what
happens around them.
If you want to create great situations in your life,
you need to think positively about the situation,
learn as much as you can about doing what you need
to do, and set out to do it in small realistic
steps, without expectations of immediate success. In
other words, you’ve got to expect some failure and
give yourself the time and room to learn.
The best way to make positive changes in your
relationships is to first look at ways you can make
those changes in YOURSELF and learn everything you
can about where the other people in your life are
coming from. You can’t change other people; you can
only change yourself.
The most successful people I know are the ones who
think hard about what they want and come to terms
with the realities of how their desires can fit with
the people involved. Then they plan how to get there
and follow through with a consistent long-term
effort and don’t blame other people for not having
what they want. And they DON’T expect easy or
instant success with any pieces of the puzzle.
It’s no surprise that the women I know who are
happiest in their relationships are the ones who
adopt this long-term realistic attitude in their
Change Your Internal State, Change Your Relationship
Let’s do some important work to address the idea of
your internal “state.” By “state” I mean the feeling
that you have in your body and your heart.
Can you remember a time when you felt happy and
excited? Can you remember a time when you felt
powerful and energetic? If you can, then you can
HAVE THESE FEELINGS ANY TIME YOU WANT THEM.
If you’re feeling down because a friend said
something critical to you or you haven’t gotten a
return call from the man you just started dating,
try thinking about a time when your friend was
complimentary or when that man first asked you out.
It felt great—empowering, even, didn’t it? Try to
really LIVE that moment in your entire body again.
Most people don't use their memories to help them
feel good like this because they say "Well, that's
not really how I'm feeling, I'm just imagining it."
Well, I have news for you: You're ALWAYS just
imagining it. Whatever it is that you’re thinking
about right now is already in the past, you’re not
actually experiencing it right this minute. You’re
“imagining” it. You might as well imagine it when
you need it instead of letting those memories and
feelings come upon you randomly.
Here's how to do this: Write down three positive
states that you'd like to be able to put yourself
into anytime you'd like. Then, write down three
instances in your life when you felt each of those
states. Finally, close your eyes, and imagine
yourself in each of the three situations that made
you feel the state that you want, and do SOMETHING
UNIQUE with your body as you're remembering.
For instance, if you'd like to feel powerful and
confident, recall an event that made you feel this
way, then as you’re remembering the situation,
breath out quickly while puckering your lips. If you
do this process of remembering the states and
breathing out quickly at the same time, all you have
to do in the future is close your eyes, breath out
quickly while remembering these feelings, and you'll
have the states that you want. It's like having a
push button for feeling good on your body. It
creates a mind-body connection that works in your
Next, practice putting yourself into your powerful
states when you're in various environments. Go to
different places, and practice getting yourself into
your various inner states while dealing with all the
distractions around you. This is really the trick.
This might take some doing, but once you have it
mastered, you'll be able to get yourself into a
positive state when you’re feeling the LEAST
positive and when you really need it. (Could this be
useful when you're feeling upset, afraid, unhappy,
or frustrated? Maybe…)
Let’s say you have a tendency to feel easily upset
and insecure whenever your boyfriend tells you he’s
made other plans for an evening that don’t include
you. You know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but
because of painful past experiences, you feel
yourself sink into a tight, worried state that could
potentially spoil your entire day if you allow it to
fester. In this moment, practice your mind-body
exercise and recall a time when you felt loved and
desired, using your unique body movement. Really
feel yourself back in that moment and revel in how
good and secure it felt.
It may not seem that this could work to make you
feel better, but if you practice it each time you
need it, you’ll be surprised at how effective it can
be in time.
Another tip: I keep a personal journal of everything
that I learn and the insights I have, so I can
reflect on it later. This might prove as useful to
you as it was to me.
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