Monday, July 25, 2011

Why Smart Women Miss Red Flags.

Relationship red flags, we've all seen them and we've all ignored them at sometime in our lives.  I know I've turned a blind eye a time or two in my own life (okay it's probably more than that) so this whole thing of 'relationship red flags' always gets my attention.  Because recognizing the signs early can save us a whole lot of pain in the end.  It like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is work a pound of cure.  Or something like that.....  

So, why is this that we miss huge red flags when dating?  Why is it that hind sight is always 20/20 but foresight is more like 40/60? We can look back on a past relationship and slap our hand to our forehead and think, 'Whoa!  How the heck did I miss that?'  Not to mention the fact that we can seem to spot a red flag a mile away when it comes to our girlfriends, yet when it comes to our own lives we miss big GLARING red flags!  

 This very conversation came up with one of my clients.  She, like many women, is that friend that all of her friends come to for advice and she gives them great dating advice.  That was the problem,  she could instantly recognize a red flag when her friend was dating someone but somehow scoundrels continued to sneak into her life undetected, until their dastardly deeds were somehow exposed.  By the time she recognized the red flags, it was always too late.  "What is wrong with me?  How can I give other people such great advice and not recognize those same red flags when I'm dating someone? ", she asked.    

 We talked a little more and 3 basic reasons emerged as to why she missed or sometimes outright ignored relationship red flags.  I realized that these were things most if not all of us had done at sometime or another in our lives.  So, I've decided to share them with you guys.  Drumroll please........  Here are the top 3 reasons why smart women miss red flags.   

  1. You don't want to know.  Now this is always a good one.  Not wanting to know or 'ignorant bliss', as I like to call it, is always a wonderful way to set yourself up for heartbreak.  This happens when we unintentionally or very intentionally turn off our radar.  We usually do this when a man is saying all the right things, has got our head swimming and we are feeling so good we don't want to hear 'no bad news'.  So we ignore the obvious until the evidence can no longer be denied.
  2. Desperation.  Now this is a low down dirty one.  The worst part of desperation is it creeps up on us.  Slowly seeping into our subconsciousness. Desperation says things like, “You are getting up there in age.  So what, he’s not working consistently, you make good money! You can support him until he gets on his feet.  You don’t want to end up alone do you?  This could be your last chance, you better make it work!” 
  3. Then there is the unmet need.  Sometimes we are not aware of how much we are craving things like attention, admiration or appreciation until someone gives us a little.  We try to convince ourselves that we don’t need something that we actually need very much!  Not staying in touch with ourselves and our needs can make us easy pickin’s when it comes to dating ‘Mr. No Good”.  Because if I don’t know that I am hungry for attention and the wrong guy figures this out (and the odds are he will) AND  he begins to fill that need, I’m in trouble! 

        So, here you have it.  Three of the main reasons that we miss red flags in our own relationships.  Well, these are 3 of the main reasons that my client and I came up with for why she found it hard to recognize red flags in her dating life.  But I think they are pretty universal and I can relate to every single one.  And I know some of your guys can relate too. So, take a minute and take a look at past current or past relationships and ask your self the hard question.  Where are you guilty of doing one or all of the above?

      How to Recognize Relationship Red Flags.

      They say hind sight is 20/20 BUT wouldn't it be great to be able to identify relationship red flags right away? How much heart ache could you have avoided it you would have known how to recognize a red flag? How can you avoid making painful relationship choices that bite you in the butt?

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      What My Hair Continues to Teach Me About Love and Life

      This week the SoulMate Coach Crystal Show is all about beauty and putting your ‘best’ face forward. Needless to say, I have been thinking about beauty, a lot!  Most of this has to do with my hair and going natural.  If you read my post last week I really loved my hair BUT what I am learning that natural hair, much like life, cannot be completely controlled!  There are always variables. You can work with it, befriend it and try to coerce it into acting 'right' but for the most part it is going to do what it wants to do.   And you either  find your peace with it or you don't!  It has opened my eyes to a whole new world when it comes to appreciating my own beauty.    

       I am living in a world, a kind of Twilight Zone existence,  where I am having to define and re-define my own sense of beauty almost daily.  A place where what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow and there is not much I can do about it.  A world where sometimes I feel like a Nubian queen other days I feel unsure and awkward. A little voice can creep up and ask, ‘Do I look crazy?  Am I still pretty?  What the HECK made me think I could do this?’    

      This doesn't only affect me, it has touched my husband too! Oh, my poor, poor  husband!  The first week or two, after I took my weave out was probably pure hell for him. He tries to act like me asking him 100 times a day ( okay, it was probably less but you get the picture), ‘ How does my hair look’, was no problem.  BUT I know it was hard for him, and I am sure he is glad that I have come through that phase.   

       Then there are the pep talks I have started giving myself.  They usually go something like this, ‘Crystal you are beautiful no matter how you wear your hair.  Your hair does NOT define you! Now shine on child! Shine on!” Now even though I know these words are true, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't!   Seeing our beauty should be easy right?  Then why the heck is it so hard sometimes?   

      I guess that’s because connecting with our sense of beauty is not always as easy as we would like it to be.  I am not talking about superficial beauty,  I’m talking about really  feeling good in our own skin.  Appreciating ourselves when we don't look our best or learning to love and appreciate who we are, warts and all, really takes work.  It is the kind of work that can be gritty and hard BUT it also necessary when it comes building up our sense of self. I've GOT to be grounded in loving me before I can love another or even allow someone else to truly love me.   

      What I know is this; every relationship that we have with another is a reflection of the relationship we have with ourselves.  It is impossible to have a relationship full of love and acceptance, if we can’t love and accept ourselves and I am finding that this love and acceptance can start with something as simple as learning to see my beauty as I adjust to wearing my hair natural!  Who knew?  I guess that’s the beauty of living, you learn something new every day!  Where do you need to learn to love and accept your own beauty?  What are you willing to commit to doing today, to show yourself more love and acceptance in this area? 

      Monday, July 11, 2011

      Can "Happily Ever After" Exsist After Infidelity?

      If a man cheats once is he always going to cheat? How DO you determine if your relationship is worth trying to salvage? What are the signs that let you know your partner is serious about dealing with the issues that led to the infidelity? How can you tell the difference between guilt and a REAL commitment to change?  Check out my video for more!

      Tuesday, July 5, 2011

      My Weave, Transitions and Relationships~What I've Discovered!

      This week I took my weave out.  And as any sista’ who has worn a weave know’s; I am in transition!  Boy, oh boy am I learning quite a bit about myself.  Now let me give you a little background.  I am not one of these people that has huge hair issues, I think that is why I am so shocked. 
      I’ve worn my hair short for over 10 years.  I have worn braids, weaves and everything in between.  I usually find a style I really like and stick with it for years.  Almost 2 years ago, I decided to go natural.  You see, it wasn't anything big, my relaxer just grew out and I decided to see what would happen if I let it grow all the way out and well, here I am.
      What is surprising me is how I have gotten so used to what I call “hiding out” under my weave.  It was big, full and fluffy and my hair is fine, soft and floppy.  The weave is shiny and silky and my hair is well, less shiny and silky.  I am having to figure out what to do with this hair of mine.  How do I make it look pretty?  Maybe I need to re-define what pretty is for me.  How the HECK do I do that?  Needless to say, I am experiencing some of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world!  
       Finding my sense of feeling beautiful with a natural is more work that I though it would be.  In the past I would have just put my weave back in and kept it going (and I still might) but this time is different.  I want to give myself a little time with my new natural do.  I want to learn about who I am when I am uncomfortable and transitioning at the same time.  SO what does this have to do with relationships, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you!
      In the last few day’s I have realized, first hand, how hard it can be to show up honesty and openly in unfamiliar territory.  How temping it is to want to go back to what you know before giving yourself a chance to explore something new.  Why torture myself?  Perhaps, for the opportunity to gain a new perspective and open up new options.  Options that may never be available to me if I just stick with want I know.
      As a coach I know that this is the place that most people run from (heck, part of me wants to run back to the safety of my weave as I am even typing this) but it is also the place to gain great understanding of who we are.  For example; It may be easier and far less painful to hide out behind the wall you have built around your heart than it is to open up and allow new people in.  Or it can feel much safer to not ask for what you want in relationship because “he probably won’t do it anyway”, than it is to open up and honestly ask for what you want.  
      In each one of these examples you will have to step out of your comfort zone and learn something new about yourself.  This will require that you face some uncertainties and probably some difficult times learning to find your center in this uncomfortable place.  It may bring tears, anger and frustration as you face the things that make it hard for you to  take down that wall or ask for what you really want.  However, once you do the work and find understanding, you are that much closer to having the relationship that you truly want. 
      In my own life challenges (this week it’s adjusting to my fine yet somehow poofy, natural) that these uncomfortable, even painful places, are where I learn the most about me and who I am. Having the life and relationship that I truly want always starts with my relationship with me first. I have learned that transition, as uncomfortable and down right painful as it can be, is a necessary part of finding the life I am meant to live.  What transition is it time for you to make?  

      Follow up: It is 1 1/2 weeks later and I am absolutely in love with my natural now!  I am so glad I gave myself some time to transition, instead of running back to what was familiar!