One question I have been asked often recently is this:
“After years of childhood misery and years of unhappy, unsuccessful adult relationships, how did you manage to change it all and ALSO find a great guy?”
Basically they are asking me, “How did you get happy?”
The simple answer is: I realized I was the common factor in my unhappiness, and changed my choices.
Here I refer to three bits of wisdom a therapist once gave me. (Did I mention he’s Italian?)
PITHY ADVICE FROM THERAPIST #1
He said something like this:
“You walk into a bar. You see a person at the bar you’re really attracted to. S/he’s got that “spark” that all the other people you once loved (and went through hell with) also had. Walk over to where s/he is sitting, TURN AROUND, AND TALK TO THE PERSON STANDING NEXT TO THEM.”
I never forgot the simplicity of this advice. The message is: what is familiar may be a “draw” for you. “Spark” may resonate with all the hope of finally fixing your love life, or maybe even your childhood, but when you go down that path… you usually get drama. Despair. Frustration… and end up back on the usual emotional merry-go-round. What to do?
TURN AROUND AND TALK TO SOMEONE YOU WOULDN’T CHOOSE.
Yeah, yeah, I know…
But look. If you are like I was, your “picker” is broken. You simply have to look around at all the people you are not currently picking.
So be brave! Say hi to someone you might not have. You never know where it could take you. Honestly, it’s how I met the love of my life.
Speaking of which…
PITHY AND REMARKABLY USEFUL TID-BIT FROM THERAPIST #2
…went something like this:
“Take a pencil and a piece of paper. Draw a simple circle. Make a point in the middle of the circle. Now draw a line from the point in the center of the circle to any point on the outside of the circle. (This is a lot easier than I am making it sound.) Now draw a second line from the center point maybe 3 degrees from the first line.
If you kept on drawing those lines further and further out, they’d end up really far apart from each other.
Line ONE is the path you are on.
Line TWO is where the new choice takes you. Just 3 degrees of change can make you end up far away then where you were headed.”
BETTER CHOICES + TIME = NEW LIFE.
PITHY AND SURPRISINGLY USEFUL ADVICE FROM SHRINK #3
“Here’s your homework. Go home and WATCH JUDGE JUDY.”
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Seriously… my therapist told me to watch Judge Judy. When I did, I realized that I was being really “wishy-washy” in my life, giving some people FAR too much credit, and definitely not standing up for myself. I needed a New York Overhaul and JJ was just the lady to help me out. I can’t say it worked overnight, so if you are shy, like I used to be, repeated viewing is highly suggested.
Finally, in order to accomplish any goal, all you really need is one attribute. I think this ONE THING is what separates those who change their lives from those who never do.
WILLINGNESS. If you are willing to change, or can cultivate the willingness to change, then you can change your life. I admit, sometimes I know what I have to do in order to change, I’m just not willing to do it. But at least I am 100% clear that I am choosing to NOT be willing. The willingness to change sometimes comes slowly and is usually accompanied by great pain, and pain… well, pain sucks. But enough of it sure can make you willing to change.