How To Apologize to Yourself

“I told you so” is one of the worst things to hear. Partially because when hearing it, you know that you partially agreed when your friend or relative said it to you, or at least had the knowledge before hand, but you still sojourned into the choice and came out on the other side, as predicted. Hearing “I told you so” from yourself is even worse. Knowing that a situation will not turn out the way you think, want, or need it to, but still going in with the understanding that failure is not only possible but imminent, is tough. Maybe I’m a hopeful dreamer, maybe I’m overly positive, maybe I’m just an idiot, but I have once again found myself on the back side of a situation that I knew what the result would be, as did almost all of my friends, but I tried it anyway. Of course it was a romantic situation. I’d tell you about it, but it’s a pretty generic scenario, and it’s also not the point of this article. I want to talk about forgiveness.

Yeah, forgiveness is one of those topics right now that is bouncing around the personal growth world that exercising forgiveness allows you to grow. And it does. Gabby Bernstein is one of my favorite advocates of this. What all of these other articles and blogs are failing to mention is how hard forgiveness is and that it is a process. Its not like you can just wake up, add water, and poof, the person is forgiven. It takes time, effort, and reliving—not the incident that happened, but reminding yourself that you did, in fact, forgive the person which means that you are no longer allowed to hold the grudge. Harder than forgiving someone else is how you have to forgive yourself—and that is just as, if not more, important than forgiving someone you don’t have to live with 100% of the time.

Because this stream of consciousness comes from a failed romantic experience, I’ve been told by Lesley that this is the last I’m to write about him, so I’ll name him Lazy Musician and if I ever write about him again, you can pelt me with olives. I feel like I talk about the relationship issue over and over and over… anyway… I was given hope that a dead relationship might have a resurrection, and was given a dangling carrot. To try to achieve said carrot, I reached out for it. Picture me, the extremely tall woman that I am, reaching on one tippy-toe with both arms out, fingers flexed, tilted to the side with one leg kicked out keeping me on balance—it’s a very silly, cartoonish vision. And I’m standing like this for 24 hours. That’s not what I was actually doing… but it felt like it, mentally. My friends were telling me not to give any attention to the situation, to walk away completely. By this person, I’d been hurt before. He didn’t deserve me, and I would only be let down. Again. Twenty-four hours pass. Thirty-six hours pass. Here I am at hour forty-two. Awake in my bed on a Saturday morning. Listening to crickets—well, actually, the boom of the bass and the people outside speaking Spanish on my Harlem stoop—but the point is that he has failed, again, to reach out when he said he would. The thing that keeps running over and over in my head is: Clare, you should have known better, I told you so. Like I said, its frustrating to hear that sentence. It’s horrific to say it to yourself.

I’m the type of person that will over analyze everything from what has been to what could have been to what will be. I could lay in bed and over think this non-situation and waste my Saturday. Instead, I sat up. Moved to the edge of the bed pausing before putting my feet on the floor, and told myself I needed to take this moment to wallow. I made myself agree that that after I put my foot on the floor I needed to move on with my day. I took a breath. I took a moment. Then I put my foot on the floor and walked into my day, leaving the angry and disappointed thoughts behind me. I’d love to tell you that I’m so amazingly well adjusted that I stepped foot on my floor I left the whole thing behind me. However, spoiler alert, it was not the case. I made coffee and lasted about an hour before I had to go snuggle with my roommate to get more out it out of my system. I was fine for about an hour until she left for work. After she left, I felt myself sinking again while washing my face. I found myself staring into the mirror. I uttered the horrific words to my image: I told you so.

Ugh. Sinking lower still, I thought that I wanted to talk to someone about the whole thing. But knowing that I’d hear “I told you so,” repeatedly for the next few days from friends and myself when I chose to relive the account to explain my dull mood. Feeling a tear about to fall down my cheek, and not wanting to go back into feeling sorry for myself, I stared into my own eyes with insolence. I realized I needed forgiveness. I needed to forgive myself for taking a chance, reaching out, but getting nothing in return—just like everyone I know said would happen. With unrelenting, fiercely protective friends, I was not about to hear the forgiveness I wanted from them. I was the only one who could give this forgiveness. I squared my shoulders, looked into my own soul and said: I forgive you. I forgive you for making the choice that you know would fail. I forgive you for wanting something you knew you wouldn’t get and that wasn’t good for you. I forgive you.

It felt a bit silly at the time—talking to myself in the mirror. This isn’t the first mirror pep talk I’ve given myself, but add in the “I told you so” and the frustration I felt of sinking back into a situation that I knew better than to sink into, and it was an odd moment. But now, I feel refreshed and I’ve moved on. It was such a free feeling I felt as I walked back into my kitchen to fix breakfast. As I poured more coffee, I thought that this would be a good thing to share with the Live ClareLesley readers. I felt really silly looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that I forgave myself. Why was this so hard? Was it looking at myself in the mirror—probably not since I do it daily. Was it letting go of the situation that has been plaguing me for the past few weeks? Maybe. If I’m really honest, it’s the forgiving. Moving past the incident and forgiving is not the easiest. If someone has committed an injustice against you, its one thing to get over what happened. Its more difficult to let it go. Its even harder to offer forgiveness and completely move on. All of these steps towards one’s self should be easier, but its not, its harder. Anything for yourself is harder than doing it for someone else. Especially when it comes to mental health and well-being. Its easier to help someone else, even to forgive someone else than it is to be vulnerable. Even to be vulnerable in the confines of one’s own bathroom. To overcome your own ego and forgive is one of the most difficult things to do. We all put up walls, even towards ourselves, for protection and self-preservation. Its an interesting thought trying to protect yourself from yourself. However, it’s a self-taught trait that we all encompass.

The thing is, forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders. Why do we hold onto things? Why don’t we forgive more easily? After the forgiveness is the moving on and feeling better; the world seems brighter; breathing seems easy again. Maybe we don’t want to forgive because we don’t want to move on. We don’t want to face Change. Is it really easier to hold onto that wall and self-preserve or is it easier to let go and move on?

Starting to forgive is an easy process. You just have to wake up and start it. Instructions are simple: figure out who you need to forgive and why you need to forgive them. You can start with a mantra to yourself that what the person did, shouldn’t have as high stakes as you are allowing. Then go to that person (or to yourself) and look them in the eye and say the words: I forgive you. You don’t necessarily have to do it out loud—in fact a daily repetition of this might get creepy—but you have to have a repetition of this. Every day, you have to remind yourself that you’re better off having let go and forgiven and moved on. If you don’t have the chance to forgive them in person, or don’t want to face them again—write it out. Write everything they did to you and how they hurt you and how you would love to shove it back in their face. Take the paper, somewhere safe, like a lake or your toilet, and burn it. Let the fire literally take away your feelings. (Again make sure that you’re doing it in a safe place that the ashes will scatter and won’t burn anything to the ground.) Don’t let this person have power over you anymore. That is actually what forgiveness truly does—it takes your power back and makes you the stronger person. Forgiveness is such a powerful thing. Harness that and not the frustrating thoughts you’ve been harboring.

Going back and reliving my moment this morning in the bathroom, I now feel silly about it, but I’m so glad I did it. It hurts to think of the choices I made to get to the point of forgiveness. I also want to think about them and rethink and analyze… but I’ve forgiven and I need to move on. Lazy Musician has no ties to me anymore. I just don’t care, and I’m giving him no more power over me. He doesn’t deserve it. I need to look forward into the future and remember that in a week or a year or five, I won’t remember this day, or any injustice I feel now, because I’ve let it go. In the grand scheme of life, the negative things of today won’t matter, but my letting go and self-forgiveness will. What do you need to forgive yourself for? Until you forgive yourself, you’ll keep reliving the same mistakes. Maybe its time to have a little one on one chat in the mirror.

Clare

Professing

In my first weeks of post relationship I read dating books upon dating books! Ok, that’s not the point of the blog,its just my disclaimer (Men…Don’t skip this post there is some tidbits just for you) . When I first became single I read Steve’s book “Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man” and “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.   Both contain the absolute truths to dating. When you read them you will have many disagreements with them, you will love parts and hate parts (Clare read He’s Just Not That Into You and threw it across the room in exasperation). You will question, doubt and become annoyed. But, their advice is spot on. Sorry. You WILL probably date LESS. This is because you will be dating SMARTER. But, I am still digressing.

So, I read both of those books back to back and it was as if someone had given me the keys to the kingdom of my dating life. There will be more examples of this in future blogs and the Live ClareLesley book. But, today I want to talk about Professing. The first time I heard about this and realized how important it is in a relationship was in Mr. Harvey’s book.

In the past, girls would get “Pinned” or wear their boyfriend’s letterman’s jacket. These were symbols that they were someone’s girl. I know that are opinions that these could also be symbols of ownership, claiming etc. But, for the purposes of this post, let’s look at them as signs of love and endearment. Of a man Professing his relationship and commitment with the one he wants to be with.

Once we left high school there are no iconic ways to claim and be claim. No letterman’s jackets. There are no pins. So, how do you know a man is Professing that you are the one he is proud to have on his arm? (Men, how do you prove that the person you’re dating is yours, to others?) There are the signs, including being introduced as his “girlfriend” when you meet friends, families and co-workers. By the way, this means if he is introducing you only by your name and/or as his friend, then your name, he is not Professing you as his. He’s fine to be seen with you, but he’s keeping his options open. If you don’t like it, don’t date him. I know you’re thinking “But Lesley…” Do not “but” me on this. Clare will tell you, I won’t listen. Walk away and find a real man who is proud to Profess his commitment to you.  Back to the point: There is also the new way of Professing with the “in a relationship” relationship status change on Facebook. My ex and I in the 5 years we dated, never had ourselves as “in a relationship.” His reasoning was for work. Hmmmm…and somehow we didn’t work out.

But, what if you don’t want to make a beeline for the relationship status change? I will be the first to tell you: do not make a beeline for the relationship status change. I will go into this status change more below. Well there are other signs to be aware of:

1) How are you being introduced? Are you being introduced at all?

2) Whom are you being introduced to?  Close friends, acquaintances, co-workers, family? If you are not meeting anyone in his life, well that’s a BIG neon sign, my friend.

3) Are there posted pictures of you on social media (if they have any pages)? If they have social media and they actually use it yet you’re nowhere to be seen on it, again, it’s clearer than water that they’re not Professing. A change in profile pictures is a pretty good sign you’re in!

It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason. If you don’t want to call them out on it, you don’t have to today. Just be aware. If you want to be the Girl Friend and not the Girl Friday, check out the signs he’s sending to the world about you and the two of you. This is not to say that after the first date you should see yourself being announced from the status bar, tagged in every check in. Professing is gradual. It should be. Dating is a two-way interview. You should probably want to make sure you want him to Profess about you in the first place. I know no one wants to be single but don’t be so desperate to be a “We” that you change your relationship status for the first guy who winks at you.

Now, the relationship status change. Ok, I have not made a clear stance on this yet. Part of me thinks it’s sweet and a great way to announce to the world that you and your guy are a “We.” It also definitely keeps those online lurkers moving onto the next profile (or at least it should). For me, I have never changed my relationship status. I know I would if I were engaged and married. I think that changing it for a boyfriend or girlfriend situation is personal, and there are no hard lines for me on this. I think it’s more important to the relationship that the couple have clear communication with each other on what their status is. Meaning: are they open to seeing other people? Committed to only each other? We put so much of our personal lives out in the world via so many social media handles. The relationship status change to “in a relationship” is not as important to the “Professing” as Facebook would like us to believe. In my opinion, it’s the in person, in public (real public) and close circles of friends and family that’s most important.

Guys, as promised. Here’s why from a Lady’s perspective Professing is NECESSARY: If she knows who she is to you and your life she will:

1) be proud to be by your side

2) support you, massage you, (ahemm) you and make you look like a rock star

3) will have your back more than anyone will

4) is loyal to the core to you

5) love you, get excited for you, get you excited and…more

No girl likes to feel used. The limbo, purgatory, in between time is important. Women—if you’re not sensing Profession, demand it or get out. Men—if you like who you’re dating make it known to those who matter in your life. If you don’t, that’s ok, too. Let her go sweetly, to find the man who will.

Like life, nothing is black and white. There is the gray that is personal to each individual. But, The Steve’s, and Greg’s, and Liz’s have written it. I have read it, lived it, and am here to say to you men and women: it’s time to take notice, be present in the relationships you are in. Life is too short to be anything else than present.

LL

Am I An “Amy”?

I’m reading Gone Girl, and I’m almost done—don’t worry for those of you who are reading it or have plans to see the movie, I’ll talk about the book some, but nothing that gives away any spoilers. I have to admit the book was really difficult for me to read for the first section. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and I know where North Carthage is. I have been to North Carthage. My Midwestern town seems grossly similar. I also now live in New York—and although I’m not the heiress and namesake of a popular book series (yet), I was feeling a lot of parallels in my own life. Which I’m sure is a point Gillian Flynn is trying to make—are you like Amy?

This fact is almost as terrifying as some of the twists in the novel. Amy talks about being a “Cool Girl” and makes herself a blend of what men think they want—the thin girl who isn’t afraid to eat, likes to be adventurous, and isn’t upset if a guy goes off and does his own thing instead of premade plans with her. There are a few articles out on the subject like this one, that state their viewpoints on “Cool Girl” status.

In the shower, I was thinking of this—I seem to do a lot of deep thinking in the shower, which is a pain in the ass because by the time I get out, I forget the amazing topics I had just brainstormed.  In the shower I wondered if I should shave my legs, but shrugged it off thinking: I’m not sleeping with anyone at the moment, so…why? After the shower, I was thinking about my last few weeks…I’ve been occupied by a relationship of sorts with a man and it wasn’t as engaging as I would have liked it to have been, so I’m moving on. But before it turned the corner, I was out shopping and planning. I bought new razors, thigh highs, and the pretty kind of panties—the ones that after you wear a couple of times just get all frizzy, so you save them in the back of your drawer for “special occasions” and then in a few years clean out said drawer, and end up throwing them away because they’ve somehow ratted up in the back of the drawer, even though they were never worn—yeah that kind. I have all of these things, and am ready “just in case.” Lesley and I had a conversation about this blog, and she brought up that a common complaint people have when dating is that the other person changes after three months of dating, and it isn’t true. People don’t change, they just relax back into who they really are.

I’m a comfort woman, not that I am lazy, but there are things that I don’t care to do, unless its for show. That being said, there are several things I do for myself regularly like wearing pretty smelling lotion, daily mascara, and blowing out my hair. But the myriad of things that I list to do when I think I’m about to hop into a relationship is a bit mind blowing for me. Partially because the list is seemingly long, but partially because I’m so easily willing to slip into a vaguely different version of myself, a better groomed, slightly more sexy, taller (the heels come out) version of myself. Because, in a way, this is what I think I need to be in order to start a relationship. Again, not major changes, but I don’t show up to a first date like I do to daily things.

I’m not just a heightened version of myself only when dating. We all go into different situations where we are a shinier, better, improved version of ourselves. There is a different me at work, there is a different me with certain friends, there is a different me at a networking party. It just happens. It’s when we play into this persona and create even more heightened versions of ourselves that it becomes an issue.

In Gone Girl, Amy confesses that she hates this person who she has made herself out to be, this perfect version of a wife for Nick. The perfect version of a daughter for her parents who are in a cookie cutter relationship. She hates it so much that she doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t even know what it is that she likes. Because she has created this character, partially out of fun and partially as an experiment, Amy makes herself out to be likeable (to which at one point she asks the reader if “likeable is a compliment”) and therefore makes fake relationships with people by being an amalgam of the things she thinks people want to see.

One of my favorite quotes is: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ee Cummings nails humanity on the head with that thought. What is the better choice: to be yourself, or to take on who you think people want to you be? Amy says it’s a game for herself to step into these people, these different stereotypes to be more likeable. Feminism says you should stand up and be different than the stereotypical woman. I say: I like fancy undies and heels when I’m out on a first date—heels for the first impression and to give a glimpse at how intimidating I actually am, and fancy undies so if my first impression of you is a good one, I can know that I have a secret I’d like to share—maybe not tonight… but sometime.


I’m not a feminist. I’m an equalist. I think that if you want to let your freak flag fly, then do. If you don’t, well… don’t. Your choice, just don’t hurt anyone intentionally. I think that its fine to be who you want one moment and try on someone else’s skin the next—just don’t get so deep in a lie  that you hurt someone, or worse hurt or confine yourself. If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave, do.

Plans to see the movie tomorrow with my book club, are urging me to finish reading Gone Girl even though my inner voice keeps comparing me to Amy. I think, even though the comparisons terrify me, I know that I’m not like her. Yes, I do try on different versions of myself, but all of them are rooted somewhere in me—I would wear the fancy undies and heels more often if they were more comfortable. But ultimately its not the true me. And when I do put on these personas it is for me—possibly driven by others—but in the end, for me. I’m going to go finish the book now… maybe you should go check on yourself and see how much of your outward self is for you, and how much is for the world… We’d love to hear your thoughts below! (Oh, and I JUST finished the book… I’m NOT an Amy.  Not even close.)

Clare

Take a Leap of Faith

I have fallen into most jobs I’ve ever had. My first job was at a very cute coffee shop near my high school. My mother mentioned it seemed like a great place to work after visiting there. Less than two weeks after our visit, I was hired. I don’t even remember interviewing.  My second job, my classmate put my name in for her job at a doctor’s office when she moved to Arizona. Two weeks later, I was a junior in high school and I had a new job making more than I did at the cafe with weekends off.  In college, I turned in applications at an upscale mall. One of those applications, I handed in to Clare, and the next day I interviewed with the manager. The next Monday I was working for the same boutique as Clare. We became good friends and even business partners.

I stayed at that store from 2002-2007 moving up from cashier to store manager at my original store, and was later transferred to another location 50 miles away to manage that one.  I was good at my job, but it wasn’t fulfilling.  I needed a change of scenery. In hindsight, I needed to change careers. I had already discovered Pilates but wasn’t listening to the voice inside my head telling me “go this way.”  Instead, I tried to “fix” things by doing the same job with a different backdrop. Hello Patterns and Change. I still needed to learn something here.

I thought moving cities, locations, new friends a new life was what I needed. I also thought I was waiting for the next promotion to be a regional manager. I kept thinking that if maybe if I just waited a little longer…I’m sure you may know what I mean here. For years, I thought I was “next” in line. In fact, even other managers in the company thought this. It never really occurred to me if I wanted to be “next” or if I just liked the idea of it.

Think back, or maybe think now! Are you in a job that you wanted or that you just got because it was the next step? Jobs are often like relationships and can “happen” to us if we are not present with our own wants and needs. If we are not clear on our goals then someone else will get clear on their goals for us. This was the case for me. While I was “figuring” out my early twenties I wasn’t clear with myself on my goals and I began working very hard for someone else.

While waiting I decided to start training as a Pilates instructor. I thought I would do it as a hobby. Something to keep me busy. As I mentioned back in my Orange County life I had already discovered Pilates. I freaking LOVED it! As an ex athlete, Pilates made me feel like I was back in training again. But this time instead of training for a race I was preparing my body for my own life. I loved how strong it made me feel and I also enjoyed how no matter my mood walking in I always walked out focused, present and invigorated. But, when I moved to LA I struggled to find a teacher I could jive with like I had back in the OC or afford. I went to a training mostly for my own self learning. I knew enough about the body (I went to college originally to become an Athletic Trainer, the dream was to work for the San Diego Chargers) I figured I would just teach myself. A girl on a budget I could save a lot teaching myself.

The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer! If you don’t it’s like a phone that doesn’t stop ringing. You can ignore it, even try to silence it but the call list still shows it’s trying to get a hold of you. Try not answering see where it gets you.

I couldn’t though. I answered it! Except, I tried to conference call—I tried to do both, manage a store and start my Pilates Teaching business. What happened? Well after a couple months of working 7 days a week some days 6am to 8 or 9pm! I needed to hang up the old landline. I just didn’t know how.  My transition from my manager job to full time Pilates extraordinaire was a big deal for me. Many around me tried to give advice. Tried to tell me I cared too much. To just put in my notice and move on with my life. The thing is, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was still caring too much about someone else’ goals for me. I was still not fully engaging in my calling. I was on the phone, but I was also talking to the person next to me. Eventually, I was forced to get f’ing on my call and hang up the other. Callings are like that. They are demanding. Selfish. And they should be. It is your calling—what you’re meant to do with your life.

I wish I could say that those on my other call were still part of my journey. They are not. That’s ok, as we all know when someone doesn’t join us on our journey we can take it personally. We shouldn’t though. Now, on my own journey I have worked hard to support those who have to take their own path. In fact, I get excited even through them a party! Today I will encourage anyone who wants it to follow their bliss as soon as they can. Why? Because I took a little too long to admit that I didn’t want to just keep getting promoted. Of course new titles are exciting, more money in my pocket. But, what did any of that matter if I was following someone else’s dream and not my own?

I will never say it’s easy. Actually, it’s probably easier to ignore the call then it is to hang up and answer the new one. I knew what was on the old line. My store manager job was a salaried job with commission. I knew exactly what the minimum I was going to make each month. Security is a big deal. I knew I had health insurance and vacation time. Leaving that for my bliss too a huge leap if faith. Faith in myself and the Universe.

That leap was the best jump I’ve ever had. I’m still flying high 6 years later. The thing is when you start following your bliss, when you answer your calling. You’re rewarded!

How do you answer your call?

Well, turn off all the noise. Yep! Put the distractions away, the apps, gossip magazines, the reality TV shows, your email. Sit still, go for a run or swim, grab a notebook. It’s time to hear what you’ve probably been avoiding. Change is scary, leaps come with fears, what if’s, how’s and unknowns. All those distractions keep you busy avoiding that nagging voice telling you you’re meant for something bigger!

You know deep inside your heart what that is. What if you had zero obstacles keeping you from your calling. Forget money and time and anything or one that is putting doubt in your mind. Take a step in the direction of your dream. It’ll pay off!

As I said it’s not always easy. But wouldn’t it be the greatest to wake up and be excited about what you have on your calendar that day? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have career love? To have Life/Work balance? (Yes, I wrote LIFE WORK balance.) wouldn’t it just be grand to live your dream, and not someone else’s? Leaving a consistent guaranteed paycheck for a “service job” where I’m paid only when I work was scary. I had and still have bills just like everyone else. I have student loans. I still had to make a certain amount. But, looking back and looking forward no regrets or worries interrupt my call. I am excited for what I know is coming ahead and for what I don’t.

LL

Move On From A “No”

There has been a recent resurfacing of Mark Manson’s F’ck Yes or No article—it’s a good one, go read it. I’ve had three friends send it to me in the past few weeks… and I read it last year when it came out. He makes such a great point: don’t stick around if the relationship doesn’t work for you or isn’t what you want. And don’t live in the grey, indecisive land of a possible relationship if its not a firm “yes.”

So, that being said, what do you do when you like someone but you need to move on? Maybe you’ve been on a few dates, maybe you’ve just been in a few social situations together, and even though there is chemistry—or at least you feel like you get along well, nothing has happened, and you’re holding on to a “no.” If you’re one of those people who can move on quickly, bravo to you! What about a job you didn’t get or a family member who always gets under your skin and you don’t understand why? If you can let these things roll off your back, you can skip over this part and go read some of out other articles. Or, maybe you should read it and understand that you might be the catalyst, and let the other person have some sort of sign that they should move on with life. However, if you are a hopeful wisher, watching and waiting for a reason to step forward, or make a relationship happen, or do the perfect thing at the right time, and the other person will flip on like a light switch and finally see you standing in the middle of the room, just waiting for them… well, come with me. This journey is one you need to take.

I probably have close to fifty versions of this same story when it comes to these “kind of sort of but not yet really a relationship thingys”… for all intents and purposes I’ll call them “crushes.” I meet a boy/guy/man, there is some sort of zinger connection, and I am, for better or (mostly) worse, hooked. In any quiet moment, I sit and think over and over and over that moment of connection, the one that I swear to remember to bring up over a fifth date, and an important anniversary, possibly a wedding speech, and I analyze it. I think about and hope for other chance meetings, I look to see if his name is on invites for events, and if he’s confirmed his attendance, I’m more willing to go. And to bake something to bring. I’ll admit it sounds mildly psychotic. But first, I admit that I think like this. And better yet, second, I’ve learned how to stop myself.

Let me give you a scenario. One Saturday night, I go to see a friend’s show. Before the show, I’m chatting to a mutual friend I know and Mr. Tall and Handsome comes over to say “hi” to the mutual friend. T&H and I are introduced and I feel a zing in my stomach. Mutual friend is called away by someone else, and so T&H and I stand and chat. Now, I’m a great chatter. I’m also great at flirting—but more on that later (for how I do it go check out Flirting). I’m attracted to this man, who I’ve learned after about five minutes of talk is older than me, used to be in the arts but has now moved on and has a steady 9 to 5 job, and makes a steady pay check. Um… pause. In five minutes I’ve found out that this person who just randomly walked up, and I was left alone with has 5 out of 7 on my list of qualifiers—don’t judge, we all have them. (Turns out he made it to 6, has college degree, but found that out later in the evening). Since it was open seating, we sat next to each other and enjoyed the show. After the show he continued to chat with me while we waited for our friend who was in the show to come from back stage. The three of us chatted together for a bit, and then she went off to greet other guests. They were closing up the venue and the three of us head to get a slice of midnight pizza, and then we all ride the train home together, as we are only a few stops from each other. Show friend gets off first, and T&H and I have six whole stops to ourselves. Chatting continues. My stop arrives. He doesn’t ask for any way to contact me, (and this year I had turned over a new leaf, I was not going to offer mine—I used to be one of those gals who gave you every way to contact me possible if you seemed interested… I know. But not this time. If he wants to contact me, he’ll ask for my info) and resolutely, I give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and walk off the train.

Two weeks go by. I wonder if he’s thought of me at all. He obviously hasn’t called, or texted, or emailed, or found me through social media. I wonder if I should have turned around and waved at him when I got off the train. I wonder if I should see if he has a Facebook page. I try to remain empowered by the thought that I didn’t throw myself at him, but instead stood tall and true to myself.

Third weekend since our first meeting arrives, and I’m attending a house party, that he has also been invited to—he is on Facebook, and he has been a “maybe” to attending. My hopes have rollercoastered all week, but on the day of the party, I’ve had such a packed day, I don’t even think about it until the friend (who rode the train home with that fateful night), texts me saying that he just confirmed he will be at the party. I do that panic/excitement thing where I think way too much of it in the first five minutes, and then try to remain calm and collected for the next two hours until I actually see his face.

At the party, I’m cool and collected when he comes in. Having a good time, enjoying myself. He comes right over, says hi, and kisses me on the cheek as we hug a hello. On the cheek. His lips squarely on my face. Outside I was calm and collected, trying to convince my knees to stay firm and steady. On the inside, I was jumping up and down, doing a touchdown dance, and screaming that I’d won the jackpot. All night long we flirt, and talk, and at one point we are even sitting next to each other on the sofa, and there isn’t much air between us. End of the night, party is winding down. T&H and our train buddy decide to walk to the train together, while I head off in a different direction. The party was in my neighborhood, so my apartment wasn’t far enough to take the train. Don’t panic, she has a boyfriend, and clearly knows my interest in this guy, so she doesn’t snag him out from under me. I find out a week later, though, that she asked him how he felt about me on their stroll. She says he said that he “likes me but is not in a place to date right now.”

So, what do you do with that? Obviously, he doesn’t want to date me, we’ve now interacted twice and no exchange of digits took place and he’s actually said that he isn’t interested. He hasn’t tried to find me outside of these social interactions. But he’s a 6 out of 7 so I should keep hope alive just in case in a few weeks he finds himself in a place to date, right?

Wrong. As Lesley and I conversed about this section, she said to me “Maybe you want to be distracted by a 6 out of 7, but 7’s and 7 Plusses do exist, and are out there for the finding.” She is exactly right—I say this to friends all the time. But why can’t I say it to myself when these instances come up? I need to move on down the road of life. Maybe, someday when he feels like he has all of his stuff together, his ducks in a row, his life as he needs it to be, maybe he’ll come looking for me. In the meantime, I need to get my own life, stop thinking about future scenarios in my head, stop hoping he’ll call, stop looking at his pictures on Facebook—we’re now friends so I can officially do that, and stop falling asleep dreaming of him. (Yeah, in black and white, it feels really horrible to read all of that. I’m cringing as I type it… and hoping that Lesley will edit this section, so I don’t have to read that confession again. All I can say is that, yes, even tall, beautiful, talented people fail at life sometimes.)

So, how did I move on? Well, a great deal of will power, and the lovely toolbox I’m about to dole out to you.

Above, I mentioned this also works for jobs and family members. It does, just adjust for whatever you cared about and were waiting around for a change to occur, that still hasn’t happened.

First, I used to get over these things by trying to make myself dislike the person (workplace, family member, etc.), thinking of the worst qualities, or attributes, or even making things up if I didn’t know any. This isn’t the best idea—in fact it’s probably the worst. One, it is negative, and there is enough negativity in the world, we don’t need to create more. Two, healthy people live and let live, and just move on in the world. Three, and this one is not a hopeful statement to get you (or me) wrapped up in hope, again, you never know when and where you might run into that person again—life has a funny way of reinserting people in my life. And finally, thinking about the worst things draws you into the person more, whether its thinking about them generally or whether you have a “bad boy/girl” complex that sucks you in, its just not a good idea.

What do you do instead: when they pop in your head, think about it for a moment, possibly send them light and love (this is what Elizabeth Gilbert suggests), and then tell the thought to leave you alone. I know it sounds corny, but it will work. If you acknowledge the thought, it won’t fester in your brain. If you put a positive spin on it, and let it go, its even better. It’s a mini-forgiveness. Let it all go: the person doesn’t deserve to be in your life, and neither does the thought of them.

Second: And this one may seem really obvious or repetitive, but live your life. If you’re a regular Live ClareLesley follower, you know that we preach this! But it’s the truth! Really throw yourself into the things you enjoy, especially the things that get you out and moving and being physical. Join sports teams, join a book club, go to yoga classes, go to the book store, go to a movie and dinner with a friend, get up and out and moving. The more you fill your time, the more you prove to yourself that you’re a worthy person, and you don’t need that crush or that few date person in your life to make you feel fulfilled. You can do that on your own. In fact, any person that you bring into your life can make you feel a certain fulfilled way, and really—and here is the kicker—they’re just reflecting you. Yup. Let me restate that. The people you bring into your life are reflections of your life at that time, and therefore can give back to you what you’ve given out. Therefore, go out, live your life, and find people to reflect your happiness.

Third: Get out of your comfort zone. If you find that you’re generally attracted to the same types of people, figure out where you keep finding them, and steer away from it and find a different place (Go read Lesley’s “Duty Dating” and review your picks—do you continually date the same type?). I’ve now made a personal edict, I should not date any actors. Ever. They’re always so handsome and they always suck me in, but It just never seems to work out—probably because actors have to be very self-involved in their careers, and never know what direction they’re headed next. I need someone more stable than that. I’ve spent the last year trying to date any type of guy that is not an actor. I haven’t had a ton of success, but I do know what I don’t want now. For a job, apply for ones you have qualifications for but wouldn’t apply for normally. Or apply for those that seem really interesting that you might not be quite qualified for, and write an amazing cover letter! Family members: approach them in a way that you haven’t before. Remember change in a family usually received best when coming from a caring place.

So to reiterate, move past the old person by getting out and living life. Once you’ve done that, you can start looking again. Go read Lesley’s chapter on Duty Dating. You’ll enjoy yourself, and it will distract you. Remember that dating is a hobby and you should treat it as such—when it becomes confusing/frustrating/questionable, STOP. When it becomes a relationship, then, you can allow yourself to be in a tractor beam, but until then, live your life and stand up on your own two feet! The amazing thing is, a few months from now, or after you decide to let go, you’ll think about the person. It will be a random, drifting thought through your brain, and you’ll say to yourself, “huh, I haven’t thought about that person in… I don’t know, a while. Which is weird because I was so invested at the time.” Its really ok. There are many relationships on the journey of life. You have to experience and live though all of them to find out who you are, and to live your best life. Move through both the good and the bad, and try not to let it damage you. Instead, grow through and move on to the next!

Clare