I was just reading Mark Twain’s Top 9 Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life, a really great article by the way, from the Positivity Blog, and I thought many of the points could be applied to relationships!
Here’s my adaptation:
1. Approve of yourself.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
When it comes to relationships, I think this is the first step. It’s a little bit different than what we normally hear, the whole “love yourself” mantra. Love is a word that is overused, not fully understood and has many varying meanings and levels of intensity and commitment. Approval on the other hand makes total sense. The term is not so vague. You can love yourself in the way that you love your annoying distant uncle who you see ever couple of years just because he’s family, but you may not necessarily like him or approve of him.
Approving of yourself is like telling that doubtful inner critic, the one who tells you you could never get that girl, or that guy would never be interested in you, to shut up. It’s giving yourself a pat on the back and telling yourself, You’re good to go.
When you approve of a restaurant or product, you’re not ashamed to promote it. When you approve of yourself, you’re not ashamed to tell your friends you’re ready to meet women. You’re not afraid to ask them if they know anyone they could set you up with. You’re telling them, I think I could be a good boyfriend. If you approve of yourself, you recover from rejection quicker and don’t take it as personally. If you approve of yourself, you’re willing to meet men sooner and you stop hiding behind your online profile. You want the person on the other end to get to know you face to face as soon as possible.
How do you learn to approve of yourself?
Think this: I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. I have baggage, and that’s okay too. I may not be the most charming, most handsome or richest guy, but I could love someone well…. or I may not be the thinnest, most beautiful, most sought after woman, but I could love someone well. Someone would be lucky to be the recipient of what I have to offer. All my flaws make me relate able, keep me humble, and link me with humanity. By approving of myself even with all of my imperfections, I am showing others they can do the same.
2. Your limitations may just be in your mind.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
I find that before many single people put themselves out there, they are held back because of their own rejection of themselves, even before they give another person a chance to make a judgement! They will say things like, “Oh, she’s going to think I’m too old.” Or they will think things like, “He’s really fit, he won’t want to be with someone so curvy.” One of my best friends is a curvy girl, engaged to a personal trainer, and he actually prefers his woman soft and curvy as opposed to hard and toned. Who would have known! You can’t make a judgement call for someone else. Some people do have “types,” but disqualifying yourself before you even interact will get you nowhere.
I’ve had a reader email me about my thoughts on the height difference between him and the woman he’s interested in. He was basically wanting me to tell him it was okay to pursue a woman who was taller than him. Many times, if you’re okay with something, other people will be too. I told him that if I was a tall woman and a shorter man approached me, I’d find it very attractive that he was man enough to not let height be a barrier. Is that how all tall women would view it? No, but some will, and that’s all you need.
Here’s what the article said:
So many limitations are mostly in our minds. We may for instance think that people will disapprove because we are too tall, too old or balding. But these things mostly matter when you think they matter. Because you become self-conscious and worried about what people may think.
And people pick up on that and may react in negative ways. Or you may interpret anything they do as a negative reaction because you are so fearful of a bad reaction and so focused inward on yourself.
3. Lighten up and have some fun.
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
Dating is supposed to be fun right? The nerves, the excitement, the anticipation of a possible first kiss, the first chill up your spine when your arms touch at the theater. The exhilaration of not knowing what lies ahead, if this person could possibly be someone not so transitory…
But instead we focus on what terrible things could possibly happen. We worry about how they are judging us. We worry about how we look, how we’re being perceived, how things might become awkward.
So here’s my idea:Go into this event with the idea that you’ve just met a new friend, one that you want to get to know better. Focus on having fun together. Take risks, throw out some compliments and flirt like you don’t give a damn how they will react. You’re there to have a good time, regardless of how things turn out. And isn’t there really nothing more wonderful than getting to know another human being? And isn’t it just an added perk that it’s an attractive, mysterious new character in your life?
Look, they’re probably just as nervous as you, so if you lighten up, you will be doing both of you a favor and easing the tension. Take her to a comedy club, go see the lastest Adam Sandler movie. Whisper in her ear in the middle of the movie and tell her how amazing she looks. Or just find anything around you to laugh about. You can whisper, “Look, check out that girl in front of us… She’s fallen asleep and she’s drooling!” Even if it’s not true, do it. If you’re fibbing, just whisper back, “I’m just kidding. I just wanted an excuse to get close to you.”
I call this in public whispering move the “Tom Cruise whisper.” There is nothing sexier than having a man’s warm breath whispering something in your ear. The warmth of your breath is so sensual. It tickles and teases (you’re not touching but you’re sooo close!) and the playfulness of having a little secret between you in public feels rather naughty. I love it!
4. Release yourself from entitlement.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
From the article:
When you are young your mom and dad may give a lot of things. As you grow older you may have a sort of entitlement. You may feel like the world should just give you what you want or that it owes you something.
This belief can cause a lot of anger and frustration in your life. Because the world may not give you what expect it to. On the other hand, this can be liberating too. You realize that it is up to you to shape your own life and for you to work towards what you want. You are not a kid anymore, waiting for your parents or the world to give you something.You are in the driver’s seat now. And you can go pretty much wherever you want.
Although you need to approve of yourself and not set your own limitations, you also can’t expect anything without putting in work. For men, this means pursuing women, dusting yourself off from rejection and doing it again and again. It means not waiting for them to make a move. It also means making yourself the kind of person that people want to be around–getting help if you have any addictions or anger problems. It means giving others room to be imperfect and not dismissing women for shallow reasons. Even if you are a great catch, you are not entitled to a great catch, especially if you are too proud to let flawed women in, and too blind to see your own imperfections. It’s easy to keep women at a distance and keep up a perfect persona. Relationships can be messy, dramatic and bring a rollercoaster of highs and lows. But standing on the outside waiting for your “perfect” woman will just leave you lonely and bitter in the end.
For women, it means being in “circulation” as my mother puts it. Not staying in on Friday night with Ben and Jerry and wondering why you’re single. It means telling your friends you’re open to being set up and would love their help. It means actually meeting men in person who you only have a facebook/texting relationship with. It means taking care of your appearance, making an effort to work out and look nice. Men are visual creatures as we are more emotional. We shouldn’t hold that against them, as we ask for them to understand our emotional nature as well. It means looking men in the eye and smiling at them so they have encouragement to pursue you. It means having good posture and walking into a room not afraid of being noticed.
You can go far in your dating experiences by first approving of yourself, not setting limitations, and working hard to get what you want.