101 pieces of advice

We started out this blog, 99 posts ago (a whole year and a half ago), because we are told we give good advice and are always asked for it. Self-proclaimed, self-help junkies—we love and absorb ideas, knowledge and advice. We both love to expand the mind, quest for happy living, and search for analysis and reasoning in human behavior. Here are our 101 favorites from our blog, and from a few of our favorite bloggers (note that if you want to read more, just click the link at the end of each quote!):

  1. “OWN being in transition.”  Transitions
  2. “Help yourself out. Sort through all the issues in a simple and effective way: Make a list.”  Regain Control of your life- Make a list!
  3. “Things, life, kisses, don’t always happen the way you dream or plan.” First Kisses
  4. “Change needs to happen. Not all of it is drastic. Sometimes little change is good. It keeps you on your toes.” Patterns vs Change
  5. “You already know the answers.”  Breaking up was RIGHT to Do
  6. “It’s completely OK to know what you want but not want it now.” Don’t want it now
  7. “You really don’t need to keep things. Really.”  5 things I have learned from Moving
  8. It doesn’t matter where you lay your head, as long as you have a place to lay it.5 things I have learned from Moving
  9.  Be vulnerable. Take a breath. Ask for what you need. “ 5 things I have learned from Moving
  10. “… remember to breathe through the painful moments and just keep moving forward. If nothing else, you’ll figure it out as you go.” 5 things I have learned from Moving
  11. “Like any good relationship, a good friendship brings out the best in ourselves.  If you’re not seeing your best, you’re not in the right relationship anymore.” Growing out of Friends
  12. “Its time we make connecting in real life a trend again!”  Eye to Eye
  13. “Cut out the excess chatter and find that peace within.” Text-a-Bitch
  14. “It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.” No more projections please
  15. “‘No’ is a full sentence.” The Olsen Twins said that.  Basically…life’s too short to do anything you don’t want to do, or anything that makes you uncomfortable. You always have a choice.–Honestly Libby’s Blog
  16. “A flirt is really just a compliment of you being alive and in this spot at this moment.” Flirting: A How To Guide 16332829367_ddb088af60_k
  17. As cliché as it sounds, love will happen when you least expect it… The most important thing to do is make sure you are living a full life. Fill your days and nights with the things you love, your passions, your family, your friends. Don’t wait for love to happen.–This That and The Other Thang’s Blog
  18. “…. do it with bells on—figuratively that is.” Duty Dating
  19. “Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but the important stuff is covered up! In a world where we rely heavily on data, it’s people who are at the heart of what really matters and numbers can paint a very different picture, whether good or bad.”– Aloada Bobbins’s Blog
  20. “We all have our lists of wants and needs in a mate. If you don’t experience it in the flesh how do you know its something that is a deal maker or breaker.” Duty Dating
  21. Treat dating as a hobby. If you’re too busy with life, or not having fun, stop. Don’t stop your life, just do it in your spare time. First, dating should never be your number one priority.”  Duty Dating
  22. “Whatever happens, we are responsible for our own happiness and success.”– Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  23. “Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.” Lying: is it really worth it?1438336432_0904c3f0be_o
  24. “..not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.” Whats in a Name? 
  25. “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.” Move On From a “No”
  26. “If you want it and are willing to work for it, you can make it happen!  “It” can be anything.”–Lessons From My Daughter’s Blog
  27. “The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer!” Leap of Faith
  28. “Chances of winning the lottery are increased significantly by actually buying a ticket.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  29. “If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave: do.” Am I an Amy
  30. “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.” Professing
  31. “…forgiveness isn’t letting down the protection walls. Its more of the mental version of just releasing unneeded tension and relaxing your shoulders.”  How to Apologize to Yourself
  32. “Only tell others things that you wouldn’t mind the rest of the world knowing unless they have consistently proven that they are trustworthy.”–Suzie Speaks’ Blog
  33. “…acting like a queen means watching and kicking lots of jester’s to the curb but one day your king—do not settle for a prince!—will show up.” RESPECT
  34. “You can change anything in your present.  You can take steps to cure your own unhappiness.” Stick Your Neck Out
  35. “Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…” The Best Sex
  36. “My advice for you is dream big.  Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with.” Climbing the Career LadderSONY DSC
  37. “…moving and doing creates options.”  Round Peg Square Hole
  38. “…the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of ‘jeans’.” Because He ASKED
  39. “If something makes you want to scream, it’s the absolute wrong answer. Step back. Put the item down.”  Holiday Sanity
  40. “Desire: the sexy Live ClareLesley way to prepare you for a positive path for your future! It’s the Fuck Yes way to set your “goals”. If you don’t desire the outcome, it’s a Fuck No!” Desire
  41. “Happiness is ALWAYS just a perspective.” Happiness
  42. “Sudden change of who you are shouldn’t happen just because the calendar changed, but instead because you want to become a better, upgraded version of your current self.”  New Year, Same You: Upgraded
  43. “Once you start sneaking in the time to create, you’ll start making time for yourself to create.” Competitive Progress
  44. “Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.” In Your Social Face
  45. Make your own damn plans.”  Valentines Survival
  46. “Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness.”  Red Flags
  47. “Don’t make yourself smaller for a mistake.” Stop Saying I’m Sorry
  48. “ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make.” Sex with Friends
  49. “Remember, the right one isn’t “out there” but instead is inside of you.”  How to be Single
  50. “You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?” Climbing the Career Ladder
  51. “We decide when we want something to be done, and we arbitrarily pick dates and times and abilities that we think we should be able to do.” New Year: Same You. Upgraded
  52. “Remember, breathing is the opposite of nerves—if there is plenty of good warm breath in your stomach, there aren’t room for butterflies!”  Nerves: Squish Those Butterflies
  53. “You rest, you rust! Seriously. When I think about rust I remember this old wheelbarrow out in the back yard where I grew up. Do you really want to become and old wheelbarrow?”  Love the Skin You’re In
  54. “…dating should be fun. It should be treated as a hobby. No one freaks out about or overthinks yarn, book club, or collecting stamps.” Dating:  Straightforward From the Beginning
  55. “Texting does not a relationship make.” No Waiting Dating
  56. “Get your face out of your phone. Actually talk to people, see what happens.” Crying wolf on social media
  57. “Sometimes we set goals and then we grow out of them. Luckily we write goals on paper, not in stone.” How To Stop Avoiding Your Goals
  58. “How do you fight the distortion?  Fight it with truth. Get down to the nitty gritty. Get naked.  Find a full length mirror you trust, and take it all off.” Love Your Skin Now
  59. “It’s nice that someone is contacting you. Wallpaper is nice my friends; your relationship should not be just nice.”  Texting is not a relationship
  60. “If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.” What Is Your Worth?
  61. “Sometimes the dream we have had in our head since childhood isn’t the one we really want to achieve.” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  62. “You are a beautiful snowflake, and you travel however you want to.” Age–Does It Really Matter? 11445631923_df52846c49_o
  63. “Be ok with changing your timeline.” Are you in a trough of sorrow?
  64. “It is great to be altruistic, but you have to take care of yourself if you are going to be any good to anyone else.” Rest IS good for you
  65. “Just like a stockbroker doesn’t put all his money in one companies stock. Don’t out all your stock in dating online. Keep yourself available to meet people multiple ways.” 5 ways to change up your dating game
  66. “I will survive my crisis. You will survive yours.” How to survive your own personal hell
  67. “Your life shouldn’t be supporting your business; your business should be supporting your life.” 5 steps for getting out of your own way
  68. “Even if you walked the same path, at the same speed as another person, you would have a completely different experience. If you open up your eyes and have no expectations, you’ll have enjoyed the journey much more; you see more, experience more, gain more.” Age–Does It Really Matter?
  69. “Slowly progress into the schedule you need to hit the goals you have.” Love the Skin You’re In
  70. “What do you really want? Re-tailor your life to that dream!” 5 questions to help you focus your dreams
  71. “Go, picture the life you want to live, ignore the negative voices, try something new and have fun while doing it.” I Said Yes
  72. “Understand you are not on a timeline/time crunch/expiration.” 8 tips to survive your friends wedding announcements
  73. “Be careful what you say: your brain is listening.” Be careful the things you say: Your brain is listening
  74. “Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.” Labels are for Soup, Not People
  75. “You will not die from rejection.  The odds are better than any other form of gambling.” Just Ask Already
  76. “Build your business around your lifestyle not the lifestyle around your business.” 5 Steps to get out of your own way
  77. “You are never “too” anything… so stop thinking that way!!” Why the word “Too” is just an excuse
  78. “That is the first thing you have to understand and realize is that all “single” means is that you’re not in a pair.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be–unless you choose it.” How To Be Single
  79. Wouldn’t you rather be your own original story? Knockoffs and remakes are rarely as exciting as the original.” How to deal with a barrage of green grass 2680294816_e710a43d3b_b
  80. “Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.” Sex with Friends
  81. “Focus on yourself. In this time that you’re waiting, think about things to do for yourself, or that you need to accomplish.” 6 Ways to Stop Your Waiting Anxiety
  82. “Stay Hydrated. Drink in lots of self love, big picture thinking and how this storm will prepare you for the future.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  83. “Don’t value the actual money more than you value time.” What is your WORTH
  84. “Don’t create realities that aren’t really happening.” Make like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  85. “Breathing may be difficult, but you’re the only one who can control that. So it is up to you to keep breathing and keep moving on.”  How to Survive Your Own Personal Hell
  86. “You are in control of your life and your thoughts. Remember you have choices.”  5 tips to beat the heat of life
  87. “Maybe you’ll succeed. Maybe you’ll fail. No matter what you’ll try something new and you’ll learn something.” How writing a novel made me a better person
  88. “The thing is, you’re never alone in your crap.”  What to do when Shit Happens
  89. “Forget about “you only live once.” You only die once, and its getting closer every day.”  How to Face your Big Fears
  90. “Change it up! If freestyle isn’t working there are other strokes out there. The important thing is to take action. You’ll feel more in control of your situation.” Just Keep Swimming
  91. “Remember the beginning is always slow, but you have to just slog through it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there eventually.”  How writing a novel made me a better person
  92. “Take a look around you. Say a general thank you to the positives in your life.”  The Power of Thank You
  93. “Let’s stop being virtual recluses!  Go forth and have conversation.” Make Like a Blondie Song and Call Me
  94. “Being yourself, having fun and making eye contact are all things that attract someone to you and your personality.” Could your next date be at the grocery store?
  95. “Sitting around complaining about it and doing nothing to change it seems pretty silly don’t you think?  Unless you do something to change your situation, nothing will change.”  How to Let It Go2512983749_ee38b41e0d_b
  96. “By creating a new schedule for yourself the bad stuff won’t seem so bad because you are living the lifestyle you desire.”  5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
  97. Make mistakes. Make choices. Take chances.How to Listen to Life Lessons
  98. “I understood that I would be even more unhappy and unfulfilled in my life, which would actually be worse than the possibility of failure and the humiliation.”  How to Face Your Big Fears
  99. Being kind only takes a moment of time, but it will earn you moments, hours, and years.–Clare
  100. The true definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You can be the luckiest person in the world if you want to be.–LL
  101. Go out and be great.  Or at least enjoy the ride!–LCL

Thank you!  Here is to hundreds more blogs, stories, and pieces of advice!

xoxo–Clare and LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com   We LOVE your feedback!!   Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Photo credits–all photos from Flikr Creative Commons: 100 (by Ash); lightbulb (by Beat Kung); Create (by Dana Bateman); Truth (by T); Snowflakes (by MayYeo); Dream Big (by Heidi); Ant Heart (by uditha wickramanayaka)

Labels are for soup, not people

I have fallen into a trap.  I have measured my value in a relationship.  Many people go through this when you’re at a certain point in a relationship and you’re trying to decide if its time to put a label on what the two of you are.  You know what I’m talking about; you’ve been seeing someone for a while, you do like each other a lot, but is it time to go to that next level?  Do you put a label on the relationship?

But really, what is the point of a label?  As humans we need to know what we are dealing with.  We love a definition.  We love a regularity.  We automatically lean towards anything that can delineate life and quell the questions.  But in reality, a label gives us a false sense of security.  Humans should be called Questionables, because we constantly question what we are and what we’re doing and where we are going.  Inversely, we dislike change, but we are continually changing.  The thing is, someone you are close to can completely surprise you one day because they have changed or are showing you a side you have never seen before.  We truly never know anyone.


Humans should be called Questionables because we constantly question.


And to bring a whole different level to this post, I’ve tried to label a friendship.  Its a terrible rabbit hole… because it shouldn’t matter how important you are to your friends… but for some reason quantifying it matters.  Its kind of like sitting around asking yourself if you and your significant other are ready for the label “boyfriend/girlfriend”… it kind of just happens.  and putting a label or a measure on something only creates pressure on that relationship to be a certain way.  Its like putting “best” in front of “friend” requires a whole separate list of needs/wants/desires/requirements.

Sometimes I think the only point of Live ClareLesley is so I can air my ridiculous notions out for the blogosphere to see, to suffer through with me, and when I get the realization then we can all walk away changed or at least inspired to stop wallowing.  I feel utterly ridiculous that I can’t get this one off my mind.  Its been weeks that I’m walking thorough this.  I have five people in my life that I consider my “best friends” and usually reach for the phone to tell one of them, if not all when something happens to me.  Recently, I went into a really dark place, and wondered if I was the one that people reach for the phone to tell me something.  I’ve been thinking about this, and belaboring the topic with several friends, trying to work out my feelings on the subject… and the answer that is continual is: why does it matter?  Why do I need to be “the first” or “best friend” or any label of friend?

The whole point of labels is security.  But what we don’t realize or remember when we demand a label is that it is a false sense of security.  Why does it matter if a person has a definition in our lives?  Tomorrow they might not still fit that definition.  Tomorrow you might not want them to fit that decision.

So, the thing is, I want, no actually I need to solidify that other people feel the same way about me that I feel about them.  The same is true about any relationship:  in a friendship, you want to get to the level of dependability and achieve that “best” title;  in a romantic relationship you want “boy/girl” in front of friend; in a job you want a title of importance to show your co-workers and other people in your field that you’re capable of the job, and should get the respect that goes with it.


We label because we need to solidify how we feel about others, and how they feel about us. 


Here’s the thing… we only want a label because we are human.  We want parameters for ourselves and others, to understand and realize what we are and what we mean in the world.  A label on a can of soup, or a bottle of water, or a box of crackers leads you to believe that something is of better quality.  But a lot of times, in taste tests, you don’t taste much difference, or you might even prefer the lower quality.  The point is a label only leads us to believe a different set of truths.  It requires a different set of rules.  We should rejoice in the time we don’t have a label—it requires so much less pressure.

The new roommate and I are spending a lot of time together.  We have been going on walks and cooking together, and many times, I pick up my phone and she is one of the people I want to tell my breaking news to… but I don’t consider her a best friend… but in a way, she is.  Our relationship is easy because we don’t have a label on it.  If I forget to tell her something, its fine.  If I text her too many times in a day, its fine.

label.friend.liveclarelesley

I need to treat all of my relationships like this.  Live day by day.  If I offend or hurt or damage something, I’ll make amends and do my best to fix it.  If I am upset, I just bring it up.  Relationships of any kind, are so much better when they are easy, and have no pressure.  Labels create a sense of false security.  It’s a person, not a can of soup.  Love the person, leave the label off, and let your expectations and demands on a relationship fall away.  You’ll be much happier.  Really, you’ll be much happier.

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Sex With Friends

I have promised in the past that I would explain how you can “hook up” with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship.
Finally I’m delivering…

First, is it possible to date, make out with, or sleep with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship? Sure! Anything is possible. Do I recommend getting skin close to all your friends? No. But the reality is: you probably will, and I want you armed with the tools to enjoy it before, during, and after.

A few disclaimers:
1) just because you “hook up” with someone, a friend, stranger, or date does not a relationship or commitment make.
2) if you “fall” for every person you flirt, kiss, text or sext (I have opinions on this stay tuned on my sexting blog another day) then diving into your pool of friends is not the best idea. In fact I would tell you absolutely not. You’re not able to handle it.
3) if the lack of communication from someone you sends you to the fridge, bar, or any other binge…you’re not ready (for dating of any kind, and definitely not dating a friend).
4) if you don’t have all the self love we coach/talk about here at Live ClareLesley…you’re not ready.

If you fall into the “not ready” category this doesn’t mean you have to hide in a closet. I don’t want to make a hermit-nun out of you. Quite the opposite, actually. But your focus shouldn’t be on dating anyone, especially your friends. Your focus should be self love, self respect, self growth. When you’re the person you want to be, then go enjoy the fruits of your labor. If that means hooking up with a friend, cool.  You will have our glowing permission. Get yourself to be your WHOLE self first. Then another Whole self will find you. It may even be a friend.

Ok, now that the disclaimers are out of the way lets get dirty, in a friendly way.

Why are friends with benefits a good idea? Think about it! You pick your friends based on things in common. You spend time together, talk about things you like, don’t like, want in life…sounds a lot like dating to me.

There’s nothing awkward about a friendship, no games being played it’s easy-peasy, my dears. So, it makes sense if you and a friend find your way into each others arms. In fact, in most of my coaching on relationships my clients wish they could find a partner they are best friends with. Again, why not dip into the friend pool?…you want your partner to be your friend. Your friendship foundation is already set. Try the dating thing. It might just be the door to a fantastic relationship.

Can you just be friends with benefits? Sure!  Again, anything is possible and it really depends on the two (or more in some cases…my sweet friend, you know who you are) parties involved. Again, you must be able to get past all four disclaimers above and you must truly know and love who you are. The other parties have to also be the same. It won’t work if one of you is a rock star in the self growth category and the other is starving for love, attention, and a partner.

Remember sleeping with a friend does not a partner make. Just because you and your friend cross that clothing barrier bridge, doesn’t mean you are an item. It means you slept with your friend. That actually is worth repeating! Anyone and I mean ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make. Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.

So, How do you start? Well one of you has to make a move, start the conversation. Is the thought of making a move freaking you out? Then, you’re not ready for this. In my past dates with friends, it’s not so black and white. The line from planning, to hang out as friends and going “out” is blurred. In fact, looking back I can’t say at the time I knew we were “crossing the barrier.” It was more like, I hoped we might.

The Comedian: He was more of an acquaintance. We would see each other out with other friends. The two of us were connected via the benefits of twitter and Facebook but we had not exchanged digits. We had lots of things in common. Eventually, he reached out to me personally. He heard I was single and we took our fringe friendship to a direct one. Texts became more frequent a date was planned and a dinner an kiss were enjoyed. There were no fireworks. We had a great time. We have hung out since even. Celebrate the successes we’ve achieved individually. We are closer friends now because we tried to take it to the next level.

Those of you who understand this, are ready for the dating world and even the dating-your-friend-pool world. Just because we didn’t fall madly for each other, does not mean we can’t be friends still. None of those things changed.

The Yogi: I do not recommend you fall for your Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainer, EVER! If things get weird you will be the one to find a new teacher. They have their classes, their schedule set. In my case as a Pilates Instructor I know many other instructors so me dating a Yogi friend…well I have plenty of them. We had been friends for some time. Our clients and surrounding acquaintances often overlapped. Finding out we both were single at the same time, we set up a time. Again, no definite plans for the long term, but there were hopes. Wishes do come true. We had a great date, awesome convo, and an enjoyable night. We even wanted to go out again. But timing is everything. In the end we went back to being friends. We still are. We both have found wonderful happiness in other relationships. Turns out, now both of us  are dating someone we were friends with before.

My Love: We were introduced by a mutual friend. We had the best time together. We talked for hours. Then because timing is everything. We did nothing. Over the course of the next 4 months we spoke, even hung out once. We got to know each other. Then logistics in our lives made it easier to hang out. So we did every week. We talk about our pasts, past relationships, breakups, desires and dreams. Then we decided to give it a go! Best decision EVER. Dating one of my friends means I always have someone to talk to about ANYTHING. No games. Just love, kindness and respect.

What do each of these scenarios have in common?
1) COMMUNICATION.  In person, or over the phone. The good, old fashioned conversations. Between each other, not other people.
2) NO BIG DEALS.  We didn’t make a big deal about the event, we didn’t get lots of people involved. We just did our thing.
3) WE ARE STILL FRIENDS.  Friendships don’t end because you kiss. They end for other reasons. See “Growing out of Friends

Each of you reading this will have a different experience. I am not going to sit here and tell you go slow, go fast, do this, or don’t do that. Nope. You have to choose your own adventure. I won’t be there every step of the way. All I can tell you is what I have already: you must be your whole self before you date anyone. Especially your friend.

Have a friend crush? AWESOME maybe that’s the love of your life waiting for you to be ready to give it a go.  As someone who has their best friend as their partner, I will give you my blessing.  Every time.

Self Love first, Date second, and always Live ClareLesley

LL

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Finding Closure

Here we are in the third week of January. Can you believe its 2015? Last year wasn’t too terrible, but a lot happened to me. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to close the door to 2014 so I can move forward. Let’s find our way towards closure, together!

My amazing roommate has found herself unwillingly in a closure situation. A good friend of hers is in a terrible relationship. The proof is there that the man that the friend is seeing is cheating, in multiple ways. He is also leaving the country to go home to his own country for good in three months. Its obvious to everyone, including my roommate that her friend is in a relationship that is going nowhere and is a terrible situation. The friend just needs to walk away. My roomie talked with her all night long, and finally convinced her friend to kick the dude out. The next day, friend was standing up for the dude to my roommate and saying that he had no place to go, that he wasn’t really that bad, that she had misread things and none of the cheating was really as bad as she thought…. And so on. The reason the friend knew all of this about Cheater Dude was that she went back for closure—she needed to ask (and be answered) why he would cheat on her. Isn’t she more important in her own life to allow that kind of treatment? My question for her is: why do you need to know?

This has happened to all of us! Eeek!! You’re in a situation that you know is wrong. It just is. Its bad for you. It’s deteriorating your life, your sensibility, your soul. You walk away, or really you start to take steps in the direction that leads away, only to proverbially look back over your shoulder, catch a glimpse of what you’re leaving, and you run back looking for confirmation that you’re retreat was best for you. Only to find out information that you didn’t want to know.

When you read it all written out in a hypothetical, it sounds rather silly. However, it is human nature to look for closure. Humans are a species that likes to tell stories. We have proof that cave men and women painted pictures to tell tales. The Egyptians are famous for hieroglyphics that tell their history and stories. Disney makes millions and millions of dollars on stories that parents across the world are exhausted of watching over and over (if anyone sings to me one more time about wanting to build a snowman…). What do you do when you go out with friends—you tell stories about the things happening in your life! One thing about stories. They all have endings. We have trained ourselves as a society to look for endings. Everything that begins has to have some sort of close. Although we may, from time to time, refute this fact—it is true. Everything has an end. Every chapter has a final period. Every book has a final sentence. Every movie has rolling credits. There is seemingly an end to everything.

In every day life, credits don’t roll. There isn’t a final punctuation mark or thought or sentence. Sometimes there is just the quiet sound of someone giving up. Or being fed up. Or generally not being invested or interested anymore. It happens. Life is short. Just like when the book we are reading or the movie we are watching ends, we move past it because its over. Our attention span is only so long, and we move on to another event or person in our life. Sometimes we don’t even finish that book or movie.

In relationships, curiosity always gets the best of us, and pulls us back into situations that we know are wrong. We need to know the answers, we need to figure out what we did wrong, we need to know how to fix it or do better next time. Because of our story telling culture, with their morals and their tidy endings, we feel that we need to make everything end with a tidy final sentence with the bad guy going off to something horrific, and with a lovely scrolling “The End.” Roll credits. My lovelies, this is life. It’s harsh, it’s insane, it’s chaotic. There are rarely satisfying endings in life. Life is most satisfying when you take the reigns, go out and make it your own. If you don’t like the way a relationship or friendship or job situation is playing out, approach it. Work it out. If it isn’t work out-able, move on. Sometimes you have to let things go, and let them work themselves out. Sometimes you have to run, don’t walk, away from Cheater Dudes and Dudettes. Sometimes you have to end relationships with friends. Sometimes you have the chance to see them later in life and enjoy Schaudenfreude at their expense, and sometimes you have to remove them from your Facebook because you can’t stand to see continual happy pictures of them at family gatherings, weddings, with babies, etc.

Yes, it is an attractive thought to look up people and friends from past lives. With so many social media outlets that are at our fingertips, it is just too easy to look up people or groups that we have left behind, but still need to connect to, or confirm that our leaving was best. I fell into the trap of looking up an ex’s profile the other day—I felt good about myself because, oh my goodness is he still in the same exact place he was when we dated, and is seemingly going nowhere! But then I started to feel horrible—how could I ever have dated that person and why did I spend so much of my time at the end and after it was over, bemoaning the loss? Of course I spiraled for a bit, feeling sorry for myself. Anyway, the point is: had I not indulged and went to take a look at his profile, I wouldn’t have spiraled. I should have left that door closed, instead of seeking to find more closure on the subject. Because, here is another point: nothing would have satisfied me. Nothing. Even if he had died, I still would have been sad. Even if he had been ripped apart by dragons, his parts divided between aliens, and then eaten by worms on their separate planets, I still wouldn’t feel quelled. It was better to just not think of him at all. I made my closure when he left my life the first time, and I should just leave it at that.

I’m going to tell you a secret about closure: its within you. Yup. Serious. You’re in charge of all of the closure you get. Which is great because you’re in control of when the story ends. You can walk away at any time. You can choose how the story ends. However, when you return to someone else for closure, they have the power. Don’t let them have it. They’re probably the one who is in control of you anyway because you let them be. Stop the insanity. Take control. Make the closure happen. Walk away. Tell yourself positive things like: they were sucking the soul out of you and now you can actually thrive; single is much better than being someone’s puppet; that friend was making you into something you hate; you’re better than the ick that was happening to you; you’re a sensitive, wise individual who deserves better. Get up and get out. I promise you once you step away from the bad things, new and better things will replace it. Remove yourself from the toxicity.

I had a really “great” job several years ago. You might hear me reference this job several times, because having that job, actually losing that job was a huge catalyst in making me head in the direction I was meant to go. For now take my word on it that it was a good amount of money and benefits, but it was squashing my soul. I made some mistakes in the job, which led them to find more reasons to let me go. The thing is, to this day, I’m still curious about what happened to that place. They made me feel so terribly about myself in the time span I was working there, that I wonder if they’re still in business. I sometimes even find myself opening up a search engine and start to type in their name to look them up. But really, it doesn’t matter. I’m sure they’re still surviving. More importantly, I’m thriving. My life is all the better for having been kicked to the curb. That door was closed, and I’m leaving it that way.

My roommate chose to take closure into her own hands, too. She told her friend she could be friends, but could no longer listen to or be a part of her friend’s deterioration. My roommate stepped away from her friend—which wasn’t easy. We still don’t know what happened with the friend, and her straying beau.

We search for closure all of the time because we are trained to find the ends to stories, the results to equations, and the outcome of everything. Life is messy, and really only ends when you’re dead—and even then it’s questionable. Depending on what kind of mark you put on the world, you could live on in infamy like Marilyn Monroe, Al Capone, Robin Williams, Maya Angelou, or Mother Teresa. As an actress, I go to so many auditions that I never find out the results to—I could sing my face of and act my heart out and not book the job for any number of reasons. The same goes for any job interview, college application, house buying opportunity, great first date that never amounted to anything, or missed opportunity. Things end or don’t even get started. Sometimes the why isn’t important.

The biggest thing to know about closure is that it too is like a book or a movie—you have the ability to watch it again, or open up the book and start from the beginning. However, you already know the story. You know how it will end. You know that you didn’t enjoy it the first time… so why put yourself back in that situation. Instead, put the “book” back on the shelf, and the “movie” back in the case. Look at it from time to time to know that you lived it, and move on. Psychologically, we remember mostly the good things, and forget all of the bad. This is awesome; however, we have to remember that the toxicity is not for repeated indulgence. There are much better stories out there with much better plots, and more worthy of our time. Don’t reach out for closure. Close the story within yourself, put it away, and reach for a better one. Start 2015 by closing the door on the past!

–Clare

Our Top 5 of 2014

As this is the week of new years, we wanted to say goodbye to 2014–a great year because it was the launch of the Live ClareLesley movement!  We want to thank all of our followers and readers–you all are amazing!  We’re so glad you’ve decided to Live ClareLesley!

This week we wanted to revisit some of our FAVORITE posts.  Please read, re-read, and share!  Come back each day this week to see what’s next!

Day 1 of the 2014 Picks: Growing Out of Friends— maybe its time to clean out your friend list, as well as your closet!

And make sure to stop back next, and every Wednesday for new blog posts!  Better yet, follow us and we’ll let you know when we have a new one up!  Also follow us on Facebook or Twitter @liveclarelesley  Also, feel free to #liveclarelesley and share and post!!

xoxo–LL and Clare

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

Lying–Is It Really Worth It?

Last week I did something I wasn’t proud of. And even worse, I was called out on it. I lied. It was a small lie, one that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things… I gave a friend some sunglasses that were given to me, told her not to say where she had gotten them, and lied to get another pair. I did it because I knew I could. Instead of just asking for another pair of sunglasses, I lied saying that mine broke. The friend I gave my other pair to was seen wearing the sunglasses the day after. When asked where she got them, she said I gave them to her.

I’m not of the belief that “no good deed goes unpunished,” however it sometimes reigns true. This article isn’t about being punished for trying to do good. It’s about lying. I hate that I got caught trying to do something nice. It is worse that I thought I needed to lie to get what I wanted.

Sure you’re probably saying, “It was only a little white lie,” or “It was a lie to help someone else,” or “really, it wasn’t that big of a deal.” You’re right, on some levels. Ultimately, no one died, no one was bleeding… so it should be ok. It was only a pair of sunglasses, it helped someone else out, and no one was really hurt. Or were they?  Two friendships were harmed. The person who gave me the sunglasses now has the need to question when I ask for things, he generally trusts me, but that trust was broken down until further notice. He has every right to feel mistrust towards me. The friendship between the new owner of the sunglasses and me is also harmed. I held her in confidence, I trusted her, and now that trust is broken. So, with one tiny little lie that didn’t really hurt anyone, I created questionable relationships.

The major point I want to make is: lying just isn’t worth it. A few years ago, I made a huge effort and stopped lying. I was inspired to do this by my roommate Melisa, who posed the question to me: why do you lie when it doesn’t really benefit anyone? My eyes were opened in that moment. It wasn’t easy always telling the truth. Especially, in those moments where a lie would make someone feel better. It is so much easier just to tell a lie sometimes. But in the long run, lies hurt. Sometimes it’s not a detrimental, life ending, tragic outcome. Sometimes it’s just a friendship level readjustment (if it’s a big change you might want to read Growing Out Of Friends). However, no matter how high the stakes, why do it? Why not make honesty and truth your go-to? I don’t know why I didn’t just tell the truth in the first place. More people got hurt because I told the lie, than if I had just been honest.

Honesty is the best policy. Benjamin Franklin didn’t just say it to sound smart, and add to the thousands of things he is known for. He said it because it’s true. It takes time to be able to be honest. Why is that? It is hard to be honest. Not only to dis-ingrain lying from your natural instincts, but also to be able to hear the feedback to your honesty. I didn’t want to hear “no, you can’t have a second pair of sunglasses because you gave away your first pair and that was your choice.” So, I made the choice to manipulate the situation, and lie, so my chances of hearing “yes” were higher. Re-read that last sentence. If the word manipulate didn’t jump out at you either time, I want to make it clear that every time you lie, you are manipulating a situation. A lie might not be a big deal, but a manipulation should be. No one really likes to be lied to, but most people hate to be manipulated. A lie is a manipulation. When you lie, yes even to tell someone they don’t look fat in that dress, you’re manipulating the situation to make yourself more comfortable. Yup. Think about it. The last few times you’ve lied: maybe you’ve only told a friend who asked you to hang out that you’re doing laundry, when you’re actually hanging out with another friend. (Why not just say you have other plans? If pressed for more info, just say you’re doing something with a friend or you’re helping out a friend. If you say who it is, and the other person is judgy about it—tell them that is why you weren’t as revealing at the beginning, and its none of their business who you are hanging out with.)

If you’ve told your mother/father/significant other that you can’t do something, why not just tell them that you don’t want to do it? These are people you’re supposed to be intimate with, why not just tell them your preference? Yes, there are sacrifices that should be made in close relationships, but if you’re really against something, tell them. I know you don’t want to create fights that aren’t necessary, and maybe to start out, lie now and tell them later, “you know, I actually lied to you before, I really am not into that Indian restaurant/knitting club/model trains/baking cupcakes these days. I want to spend time with you, but can we do something else instead?”

If you are asked the dreaded “how do I look in this?” Don’t lie and tell the person they look great. Instead think of something else to compliment, or if you think the person can take it, say that it isn’t the best choice of outfit, or that they might want to try another look—especially if you’re in the store—don’t approve a horrid outfit!!

In all lying, you need to observe the reason why you’re lying—is it to protect the other person, or is it self-preservation? Why not admit you’re hanging out with the people you are—its your choice, and that is ok. Why not tell the people you love, that your interests have changed? People grow, people change. You don’t love anyone less for having changed. You just changed—go re-read Patterns Versus Change.  If its about a fashion choice, is it possibly that you want to put your fashion choices on that person, or that you, yourself have body issues? Or, is it truly because they look fat? No matter the reason, there are delicate ways to deal with all of these situations, but you have to figure out what is really happening in you.

It takes strength to show vulnerability and weakness. I’m not asking you to change overnight. I’m asking you instead to be strong. To be willing to hear “no.” To be willing to show who you really are.

Let’s start you on the Path of Truth Telling. First: start small. Start with the fibs. (But Clare, you’ve opened my eyes, and I do tell a lot of lies, and manipulate people, and I need to stop, today.) Well, darling hearts, most people aren’t good at quitting anything cold turkey—and even if they are, relapse rate is high. Instead, like a work out, or a new diet, or starting a new job: start small changes and know you’ll have to work at it daily to have results. Start observing when you lie, and see if you can stop yourself before you do. Instead of telling someone that they are wearing an awesome outfit when they look terrible, tell them instead that their hair looks awesome. Or instead, maybe their choice isn’t quite right for where you’re going or what you’re attending.

Second: remember brutal honesty serves brutal honesty. In other words, when you give feedback that is straight up, you might get it thrown right back at you. Find ways to tell the truth but that might not be as harsh as you initially want to respond. (Part of the reason we stray to lying is because we think it is easier to just lie. Instead of putting the work in to readjust our truth to a kinder, gentler version.) Don’t be angry with your mom for not remembering you don’t knit anymore. Instead, kindly tell her that it’s no longer exciting, and instead you’d like to see a movie/art show/ concert with her. Don’t tell your significant other that ballet sucks. Instead, say that you wanted to make him or her happy by attending those few times, but you would love it if they found another friend to go with, and rain check you for some other activity.

If you ease yourself into a life of truth telling, albeit gentle truth, you’ll find it feels better to tell the truth, and its actually harder to lie. Telling my lie about the sunglasses really wasn’t a big deal. I was approached by the giver, and we worked it out. I then approached my friend and talked to her about her side of it—even though she was the one who told the truth in all of this. The funny thing is that I felt horrible for telling a lie. In my truthful world, I was bitten in the ass by telling a lie that didn’t even benefit me. I’m glad it happened, because it inspired me to write this (even though it’s written guiltily). Truth sometimes hurts, but lies are ultimately more painful. Let’s stop lying to each other and make this a more truthful world.

Clare

No More Projections, Please!

I was beat, abused, salted in wound and stabbed-in the front. Verbally. By a friend.

Now mind you it wasn’t the first time. I think we want to claim shock, surprise when these things happen but the truth as we know it is that we know our friends who do this have done it before. The friends that undercut, hit you where it hurts or take a dig at you. They’ve done it before maybe not so blatantly or maybe we excused or away. Perhaps we were “asking” for it or just turning the other cheek. After all they are our friend, right?

As Clare wrote about last week, Growing Out of Friends is an occurrence that happens. I started taking a look at my closet of friends. Who fits? Who’s in season or just a night on the town? On this particular night I decided to put on my Friday night family dinner outfit on. Everything was same old hang time until the evening went on. In an effort of caring my friend started lecturing me about choices I make, men I attract and why it’s all bad. I asked her to stop, I stood up for myself. She continued this time accusing of me being in love with “him”. I didn’t actually know who “him” was. So I asked her. As she said my ex’s name I got angry. First: NO. Second: why would she even say it? This totally came from left field and it stung. As calmly as I could I ended the conversation. Waited a minute and politely left the situation and went home for the evening. I am quite proud of myself. I do not know what she is going through but I have to believe that I know what’s best for me.

The situation got me thinking. This happens to so many of my clients. Friends digging into friends. I do not believe it’s on purpose but what if we caught ourselves? What if we stopped this cycle? Ladies, I love you. I truly do. But, I need a favor…please stop projecting your fears, worries, doubts, insecurities and any other negatives you’re feeling onto your friends.  Ok, I realize we all have been guilty of this, even me. However, I am working on. Taking a stand against projecting how I am feeling onto others in my life. Why? It’s really not helpful to anyone!

Let me give you another example: A Lovely Artist in my world had a chat with a girlfriend of her’s the other day. This other friend of hers was probably thinking she was being helpful, suggested Lovely Artist get back with her ex-boyfriend. After all she wasn’t getting any younger and it’s harder to find a good date, she should just go back. Lovely Artist was sent into day of feeling as if she maybe should go back to a guy she didn’t feel good about dating in the first place. Was he nice? Sure but he didn’t rock her world. She didn’t feel good about herself with him. This friend has told her more than once this week she just needs to go back to him. So, so wrong! Lovely Artist should do what makes her feel good about herself. She left him because she didn’t feel good about herself with him. Her friend should be supportive instead of projecting onto her the fears and woes she’s having in the daring world. Bad Advice Friend is probably wanting to get back with an ex, or is having troubles finding a good guy. Guess what? It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.

I teach Pilates to both men and women. I hear many stories about lovers, parents, friends and work. One thing I don’t hear a man complain about is his friend telling him to get back with an ex that wasn’t good enough for him. I don’t hear him say “my friend said I should just settle for the job I’m in.” Nope I do not have any male clients come into a session telling me that they are questioning their own judgment because of a friend’s advice. I have had many a female client come in after just hearing from their mom, best friend, female coworker that they “shouldn’t have done…” they “needed to do…” We women should be supporting each other. If your friend leaves her boyfriend: support her. If your friend says she’s thinking of leaving her job: support her! If she’s going back to the gym regularly: support her! Are you seeing the theme?

I understand that we worry for our friends. What if she can’t find another job? What if she ends up single for years? What if she becomes a gym rat? What if—who cares what if! There are what ifs for EVERYTHING! You can “what if” until the cows come home. Why not turn those “what ifs” into positives! What if she finds her dream job? What if she gets healthy feels good about herself, and because her self esteem is skyrocketing, she meets a great guy? What if she starts sailing her own ship? Wouldn’t that just be awesome?

I, honestly, do not think many of us ask the questions that put doubts in our friends minds on purpose. I really hope I’m right that its not a conscious decisions. Instead we should be more present in our conversations. Ask ourselves the question in our minds before stating it out loud how it might affect the person sitting in front of us, that we do care about. I think we would actually

1) learn something about ourselves.

2) have deeper, stronger friendships. We would be lifting up our friends rather than bringing them down.

How can you be sure you’re an uplifter? Think before you speak. Is what you’re about to say supportive of your friends decision? If its not, file it away for now. Ask yourself why you think that question is important. What do you fear?

My Lovely Artist spent a whole day feeling terrible and questioning whether she made the right decision when she left her ex for the possibility of happiness.   I will give her friend the benefit of the doubt that she did not mean to put Lovely Artist into a tailspin of self doubt. But, she wasn’t asked or this information, so why offer it?

Lastly, ladies don’t be afraid to tell, your friend: “Stop, hold up. Thank you for your opinion but I feel very good about this decision. I really just want you support.” Then check out Clare’s info one “growing out of friends.” (Read that blog post here: Growing Out of Friends)

I love being a strong woman, I love that my friends come to me for advice. I will be working hard to be their cheerleader not their party crasher. Who’s with me?

–LL