Blog

06 Apr

The Mindful Man: How To Be A Confident Date

Dating and Relationships

Dating today can be stressful…especially for men. You probably have all sorts of understandable reasons to be hesitant about putting yourself out there, showing up for that first date, or responding to the first message. And why shouldn’t you feel a little anxiety when, in today’s world, the expectation is that you will most likely end up naked with this stranger on the first or second date?

man-1150058_1920Dating doesn’t have to be stressful.

It does not have to feel like a job; tiring, draining, or just plain unfulfilling. It can be enjoyable. It can be a place where you not only get to know someone else (and enjoy it), but where you get to know yourself better, too. Relationships are all about stretching ourselves to deal with uncomfortable, taxing situations. If you’re looking for the easy road to compatibility, comfort, and an abundance of free-flowing sex, I urge you to re-evaluate your own expectations about dating and what you’re really looking for. If what you want is to create a relationship that is fulfilling and long-lasting, then I have some tips for you.

One of the best things you can begin exploring and practicing now, before you ever go on the first date (or 10th date, if that’s you), is mindfulness. Don’t worry, I’m not urging you to go sign up for yoga class or meet with a local meditation meet-up (although, if that’s your thing then absolutely keep it up). What I hope you will allow yourself to explore is the concept of mindfulness and how it can actually make you a much more confident man.

So, what’s mindfulness?

It is a present tense awareness of your own thoughts, emotions, physical responses, and current situation (environment). Mindfulness is the ability to cultivate acceptance of what is going on in the moment, without judgment. There is no right or wrong way to think or feel when you are being mindful. When you are in this mindset, it is a lot easier to respond to situations rather than react in a defensive, sarcastic, or closed-off way.

Here are some specific tips to consider to help you become a more mindful man through dating:

Don’t read into her reactions. Just be.

First dates (or the first few) can sometimes feel awkward, uncomfortable, and uncertain. If you tend to feel like the woman you are with makes reactions, gestures, or closed-off body language to what you do or say, mindfulness can help you create space to understand this before simply deciding that she isn’t interested in you or that you’ve done something to make a horrible impression.

It is not uncommon to personalize others’ body language and responses toward us. But being quick to assume it’s about you could potentially keep you from understanding more about the other person. Who knows what she has been through in past relationships? Who knows what her emotional triggers are? Trust yourself, but don’t sabotage the experience because you feel a “vibe” coming from her. Before you determine that it’s a no-go, try to be mindful and simply aware of yourself during those moments. What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Take a few breaths and let it go. If it persists, check in with yourself and then the other person.

To yourself: “How am I feeling about this date so far?”
To her: “Hey, so how are you feeling about this date so far?” (Yep, that’s right. Ask.)

What’s current, and what’s the past? Know your triggers, and calm yourself down.

We all have our histories when it comes to relationships. Many people have come out of dysfunctional home lives, traumatic past relationships, ugly divorces, etc. The truth of the matter is this: the past does come up in our current, adult relationships. Your job is to recognize the difference.

Is your current date doing something that your past partner used to do all the time? Did she say something that triggered some old emotions about a challenging time you had? Remember, the past is not the present. Be aware (mindful) of what you are currently experiencing, and determine how you would like to see yourself respond. Learn to calm yourself down (breathing, drink ice cold water, change the subject, focus on being present) and explore this more at a later time.

Don’t be what she wants you to be. Be who you are.

Trying to be exactly what a woman wants on a date won’t get you far in the long run. Relationships are all about learning how to lean into your differences and grow as a couple. Be yourself up front, so she knows who you are and what you have to offer.

Feel like you don’t have much to offer? This is a common thought process of people who have confidence issues or low self-worth. This is something worth exploring and working on by yourself before you get out into the dating world. Don’t look for a relationship to complete you. Who you are is plenty enough. It’s your job to find the parts of yourself that are worth sharing with someone, and using those as your strengths! Focusing on being yourself, even in those awkward and uncomfortable moments, is a true mindfulness practice and will ultimately help you remain comfortable in your own skin.

Get curious.

It’s not uncommon to get uncomfortable worrying about what you should say or how you should respond. So, turn that energy outward. Get curious about the woman you are with and use the date as an experience to learn more about her world. Imagine if Luke had not been curious about the force…that saga would have ended a lot differently. Get curious, just like that.

Affirm yourself.

We’ve all got a running movie going through our minds. We are constantly streaming thoughts and applying meaning to what is happening around us. Cultivate the type of situation you want to have happen before you. Instead of falling victim to distorted thinking patterns of anxiety, wondering what she is thinking about you, focusing on the shoulds, or wondering “what if”, try to implement affirmative thought processes like these:

Connection will happen if I am open to it.
I am confident, and I am enough.
Who I am right now is enough (and if she doesn’t understand that, that’s about her – not me!).
I am in control of myself in this moment.

Choose a few of these mindfulness tips to focus on and implement them into your dating experience. They are simple and effective. With motivation and effort on your part, practicing these tools will allow you to be more present, centered, and confident. And…when you are functioning from a place of confidence, that will certainly be the energy you put out into the world around you.

Liz Higgins is a marriage and family therapist located in Dallas, Texas. She specializes in working with millennial couples and individuals through communication issues, premarital and marital conflict, and cultivating more mindful living and relationships. Liz actively writes her own relationship blog and has been featured on the Huffington Post. She is the author of the digital e-book The Five Relationship Mistakes You Are Making And What To Do About Them.

Liz Higgins, MS, LMFT Associate
Prepare & Enrich Facilitator
Supervised by Dr. Ken Bateman, LMFT-S, LPC-S

469-426-7234
www.lizhigginsmft.com

 

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05 Jan

How to Improve Your Match Profile: Part 3

Dating and Relationships, Relationship Coaching

Here is the last installment on how to improve your Match.com profile and have your greatest shot at meeting the person of your dreams! Be sure to check out parts 1 and 2 so you don’t miss out!

1. Be active.  If you haven’t been signing on at least every few days, it may put potential matches off because they won’t think you’re serious about the online dating process.  Take a few minutes to look around and make changes to keep your profile and photos fresh; you never know who will be seeking you out!

2. Don’t overshare.  If you stumble across a profile that says, “I’m getting over a horrible divorce,” are you really interested in reaching out? No one wants to hear your sob story, so zip up those sad tales up and focus on the positive things that you want in a relationship.

3. Reach out! If you aren’t sending at least one email every other day, you are missing out! Keep your intro email short and sweet (no more than three sentences) and always ask a question that reflects something written in his/her profile.  The whole point of online dating is to reach out, make connections, and get offline to find love!

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02 Jan

How to Improve Your Match Profile: Part 2

Dating and Relationships, General Help, Relationship Coaching

Thanks for reading the continuation of our series on ways to improve your Match.com profile!  Here are a few more tips on how you can have your best profile ever and increase your chances at finding love online!

1. Select the right pictures.  Are your photos out of date? Can you clearly see your face and your full body? People want to get an accurate idea of what you look like, so being dishonest will not serve you well in the end.  It is helpful to also show photos of you doing what you love: spending time with families, participating in sports, or anything else that you mention in your profile.  You want to give an inside look into your life and personality with your photos, so choose wisely!

2. Show, don’t tell.  When writing your Match profile, there is a difference between saying “I’m adventurous and like to travel” vs. ” On the weekends you’ll find me scaling the walls at the local mountain climbing range” or “Staring at the Mona Lisa and walking down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a memory that I’ll never forget.” Be specific so your reader will have a better idea about who you are!

3. Don’t write a novel.  While filling out your online dating profile to completion is important, you also don’t want to post anything more than three paragraphs.  The idea is to write enough that someone has something to ask you about when they email you, but not so much that there is no mystery left.  A good profile should be like a great skirt; long enough to cover the important bits, but short enough to keep it interesting!

Stay tuned for part three on how to improve your Match.com profile!

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01 Jan

How to Improve Your Match Profile: Part 1

Dating and Relationships, Relationship Coaching

Online dating can be intimidating at first, but with a few simple tips you’ll be on your way to finding the love of your life!

1.  Create a great username. Creativity will help you stand out from the pack, so pick a name that reflects your personality or interests.  Do you love rock climbing? Try ScaletheWalls.  Are you an avid reader? BehindtheStacks.  If all else fails, use your first name.  This can help someone feel more intimately connected to you and it may encourage them to reach out!

2. Fill out your profile.  I am always surprised to see how few profiles are filled out to completion, and this sends a message to your potential matches that you can’t follow through.  If you can’t fill out an online dating profile, how serious are you about finding love? Take a few minutes and put some thought into your answers; it makes all of the difference!

3.  Keep your information accurate and positive.  It is so important to remain honest about who you are and what you want.  So many online daters list what they do not want in a partner; instead, write about the person who will make you happy and be sure to keep your statements broad.  For example, “I am looking for a woman who has a huge heart and can find humor in any situation, no matter what life throws our way,” as opposed to “I don’t want smokers, cheaters, or liars.”

For more tips on how to improve your Match profile, stay tuned for parts 2 and 3!

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25 Oct

Weekend Link Love Volume 3

Dating and Relationships, Relationship Coaching

Hello, gentlemen!  One week until Halloween.  I’m still sorting through my costume options and getting excited for some tricks and treats next weekend! Now, the best of the web….

pumpkin

Need some Halloween costume inspiration?

10 things women find sexy about men.

Have you been ghosted by a woman? Why good people ghost.

Do not bring flowers on a first date.

What were your favorite stories of the week? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

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13 Oct

5 Steps to Approaching Women

Dating and Relationships, Relationship Coaching

When is comes to approaching a woman that you don’t know, repeat after me: Crawl before you walk, walk before you run.

1. Crawl (i.e. talk to everyone!) If the thought of approaching a beautiful woman gives you anxiety, stop right there!  The first step is to begin talking to everyone you see, both men and women.  Say good morning to a stranger on your way into work, chat with coworkers who you don’t know very well, chit chat with the cashier at the market. Learning how to make small talk and feeling comfortable in your own skin is a skill that requires a lot of practice, so start speaking with people where you don’t feel any pressure to attract them.                                                                                                                       

2. Walk (i.e. learn the gift of gab) You don’t attempt to climb Everest without first hiking less intimidating trails closer to home. The second step to approaching a woman is to begin focusing on speaking primarily to women who you have no interest in pursuing romantically.  While there may be many women who make your heart race, there are plenty of women who don’t, and they will be a great place to practice your new small talk skills. Learn to stay in the moment, listen to what these women say, and ask thoughtful questions.  You will hone your communication skills without any pressure.    

3. Run! (i.e. approach a woman with confidence) This is the time to step into your power and stop allowing fear to dictate who you can and cannot approach.  If a woman is not engaging with you, don’t see it as a failure because there are women all around you who would love to get to know you better.  If it doesn’t work out with one particular woman, say to yourself, “Thank you! Now I don’t have to waste any more time and can move on to finding the right woman.” There’s no “failing” when it comes to approaching women.  As the gorgeous Dita Von Teese once said, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there is still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”

Dita-Von-Teese-quote

So what do you need to do to be successful?

4. Read her mind. Ok, you can’t actually read her mind, but you can observe her.  Where is she? What is she doing? What do you imagine she’s thinking about? Let’s say you are standing next to a woman in the grocery store and she’s examining some fruit in the produce section.  Get really curious about her.  Maybe she’s buying food to try a new recipe, or maybe she hates cooking and is picking up food for her roommate.  Try and think about all of the possible scenarios.  Look at her facial expressions.  Does she seem frustrated and look like she’d rather be anywhere else but picking out tomatoes? Is she smiling and happily gliding through the grocery store? These are the clues that will lead you to the next step which is…

5. Speak up!  Use your curiosity to make an observation or ask a question. If the woman is sighing in the long checkout line, saying something as simple as “Long line, huh?” with a smile can be enough to start the conversation. Glance into a woman’s full grocery cart with beer or chips and say, “Looks like you’re having a party tonight.” Being observant and in the moment will always work better than a cheesy pickup line.  Women want to feel a connection before they open up, and if you are showing that you are in tuned with them, it will lower their guards.

For more relationship tips and tricks, find Sara Sharoff Chesley on Facebook here.

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10 Oct

Weekend Link Love Volume 2

Dating and Relationships

Hello, friends.  Wow, this week flew by. The South is still recovering from the flooding last week but I’m feeling really lucky that we didn’t have any damage to our home. Last night I saw Third Eye Blind perform and it brought such great memories of being young in high school.  What are your weekend plans?

workout

Now, for my favorite links of the week!

Why women like powerful men. 

Need to get back in shape? Top ten ways to shape up fast!

Four online dating profile myths. 

Cooking for your date is always a great idea.  Here are easy recipes to try!

What were your favorite stories of the week? Share them in the comments below.

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03 Oct

Weekend Link Love

Dating and Relationships, Relationship Coaching

Hello everyone!  Fall is in the air and we are waiting out Hurricane Joaquin here in Charleston. Here’s are some of my favorite posts around the web this week.

75

Get your fall fashion right this year.

Fall is the perfect time to try a new cocktail. Yum!

Need to take a vacation? Five awesome road trips to take this season.

Have you seen any of these movies? Here are the 25 best films to this fall.

What are you excited about this season? Tell me in the comment section below!

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