A detour to crazy town

abstract-254121_1280Have you ever been to that emotional place where you get completely hooked on the other person?

Where they are all you can think about, and it feels like the only thing that is important is seeing or at least connecting with them again, NOW. Your emotions are all over the place, as well as your thoughts, which go back and forth between heaven and hell. You are longing so much for this person but at the same time you’re so afraid of it not working out that you almost can’t bare it.

This is what I call Crazy Town. The thing about Crazy Town is that it’s super easy to see when someone else is there (they’re obviously over reacting), but when you end up there yourself it really does feel that urgent and not like an exaggeration at all.

Just knowing about this place, and giving it a name, will help. Hopefully you will recognize what is happening the next time it does, but then what? How do you get out of crazy town? Here are 5 steps you can take to get yourself back.

1. Do nothing!
I know that the urge to “take care of the situation” is huge when you are in Crazy Town. You might want to send a million text messages, call the other person and tell them how much you like them or break up because you can’t stand the uncertainty of the situation. Don’t. Your brain is “emotionally hijacked” and what you feel doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with reality. The only thing you need to “fix” right now is your own emotional state, then you can take care of more practical things, if you still think it’s a good idea.

2. Self compassion
First of all, acknowledge that Crazy Town is a horrible place to be. It stirs up all of your insecurities, the uncertainty is painful and you go into a panic-like mode that actually cuts you off from the more logical parts of yourself. This hurts. This is not something you can just “get over” by telling yourself to. Take a moment and sit down with yourself and take the pain seriously. Feel it in your body. Maybe it’s like a gray raincloud in your belly, maybe it’s your heart pounding really hard, maybe it’s a lump in your throat. This is your nervous system reacting to stress, it feels threatened. Take care of that, in the same way you would if a friend was sad, afraid or worried. Ask yourself what you need to feel safe and calm again, and do that. Also remember that you are not alone, weird or crazy. We all end up here every now and then (yes, even the person who caused you to end up here).

3. Meditate
When your head is filled with a thunderstorm of thoughts and your body with an hurricane of emotions, it might feel a little bit crowded inside of you. To create space: meditate. It slows everything down, brings you clarity and gives you a little more room to breathe, think and feel in your own terms.

4. Live your life
When something or someone grabs your attention as powerfully as this, it creates a huge impulse to rearrange everything else around it. You want to keep things open in case that person gets in touch or you start doing things so that you might “accidentally” run into each other, and a lot of time is spent just thinking, almost compulsively, about it. An effective way of avoiding this energy consuming behavior is to stay busy with your regular life. Meet friends, go to the gym, help someone with something and make sure that you do things that keep you occupied, just like you would otherwise. Don’t cancel plans because maybe you’ll have another date this weekend or change your behavior in big way “just in case”. Live your life! It is needed to stay sane and grounded, and to keep the relationship working. There can be no good relationships in Crazy Town, so make sure to stay connected with your regular life.

5. Trust
There are things in life that we cannot control. This is hard, especially when we want something really bad. We want to make what we want to happen, happen. Unfortunately not everything is up to you. You cannot will someone into calling you or liking you. You have to let them do their part of things on their own terms. You have to let life happen. I know this sucks really hard, especially if you’re used to being in control in other areas of your life. But love, flirting and relationships don’t work like that. You need to give other people space to come to you. And yes, that involves the risk of that not happening. I’m sorry, but you need to be willing to take that risk, and trust that if it doesn’t end the way you want, you will be able to survive it. All you can do is to be clear on what it is that you want, be brave enough to convey it to the other person, and then trust life. It’s the only way. Not trusting life, but rather trying to force things into happening will not work. I’m sorry.

Are you taking dating advice from your friends? Should you?

girls-685778_1280I would guess that the most common topic of conversation between many friends is their love lives. Endless conversations, phone calls and coffee breaks are spent analyzing the latest fling, date or text message.

What did the other person mean? Do they like me? Will there be a second date? Is it gonna get serious? Do I like them?

And if things go bad a million other questions get up on the table. What went wrong? Was it me? Can I get them back? Will I ever find someone else?

On and on it goes, and hopefully your friends are there to listen, support and share their advice. It usually makes it all feel better, but I want to challenge how wise it is to listen to your friends in this regard. Cause there are a few problems with that.

1. First of all, do your friends know more than you about successful dating? Or are they just as confused as you? Are you taking advice from someone who means very well, but doesn’t really know what they are talking about? That might not be the best idea.

2. Friends who are successful in their dating life might actually be even worse to ask for advice since they usually have what is called “unconscious competence”, which means that they don’t know what they are doing that is working. To them it actually feels like it just happens when it happens or that all you have to do is be yourself, and it all works out. That’s great for them, but if you are having problems, you need to talk to someone who understands those problems and can explain how to solve them, in an explicit and clear way.

3. Even though your friends know you well, they have probably never been on a date with you. All they hear about your dates is your subjective retelling of it. And they are probably assuming that you are the same awesome person on your dates as you are with them. But are you? Most people behave very differently with their friends versus on a date. And most of us aren’t even aware ourselves about all the weird things we start doing when we get nervous or interested or afraid of being rejected.

Keep this in mind when you are asking your friends for advice  – or when they come to you for advice.

Are you crushing on a friend?

couple-692715_1280Having a crush on a friend can be very frustrating. They’re so close, but still so far away. You obviously like each other, and spend a lot of time together, but it’s a totally different kind of connection than the one you are longing for.

A lot of people talk about “the friend zone” and feel very unlucky when they get stuck there. They have no idea why and sometimes even blame the other person for not liking them the way that they want them to.

But is it really about luck? I don’t think so. If you look at how most people in “the friend zone” behave towards the one they have a crush on, the behave like – you guessed it – a friend. Of course the relationship is going to stay friendly.

If you want the relationship to include something more, you must bring it.
Like this:

Behave like a frend – get treated like a friend.

Behave like a flirt – get treated like a flirt.

If you want to spice things up with your friend, you need to start doing some things differently. You have to make the change, take some risks  and be flirtatious! It’s as simple as that.

And as hard as that, because I know it’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s necessary if you want to create the change.

Here are 3 things you can do to start creating the shift:

1. Increase the amount of physical contact between you two. Initiate hugs, stay close and make body contact a natural thing for you to have.

2. Give compliments, and do it in an ambiguous and flirty way. This will change the dynamics between you two, and you need to stay centered and say it like you mean it, even if your friend starts to wonder what’s happening. Don’t laugh it off, or take it back. Then you move back to where you were.

3. Don’ be your friends relationship coach. From now on you are not available for talking about other people they are seeing. Don’t be rude or anything, just don’t encourage the conversation. Talk about something else.

 

Are you tired of boring dates?

Dating should be fun! I know there’s a lot of psychological stuff, nerves, self-doubt and chaotic emotions that make dating a bit difficult from time to time (and that’s exactly what I help my clients with) so let’s at least practically do what we can to ease things up and make it fun!

The easiest way to get rid of mindfuck, self-consciousness and worry is to be engaged in the moment. But that’s royally hard to do if you’re just sitting and talking with someone. Most of us need to do something that engages us fully to get out of our heads.

This is why I am a big fan of activity dating where you do something enjoyable, fun and engaging while getting to know each other. There are so so many really reasons to do this (it changes everything for the better), so I decided to write about ten of them in a Huffington Post article.

Check it out here. It will improve your dating life dramatically.

Skärmavbild 2015-04-25 kl. 11.00.52

Skärmavbild 2015-04-25 kl. 11.01.00

“Most people” have nothing to do with your love life

It often hits me how unusually I think about dating and attraction. When I get a question I often flip it, because I think the opposite question is more interesting.

It’s not about finding the right person but about being the right person.

It’s not about finding out if the other person likes you, but if they are a good fit for you and if you like them.

And its not about what all men or all women want, or what works to attract everyone, it’s about what is important for you.

Because you don’t want to be with everyone (ain’t nobody got time for that, so to speak)

Therefore it’s completely irrelevant what everyone is doing. You need to find out who you are, and who you want to meet, and then go find, and attract, that.

love-241207_1280

Many I talk to are only looking to find one person to have a relationship with. Still, they find it very troubling when they feel that the majority doesn’t match what they are looking for, or doesn’t click with them.

I know it can feel discouraging, but the truth is you only need to find the right person once (at least at a time).

And here’s the really good news: you can try an infinite number of times. 

It’s not like you only have 3 chances and then you’re screwed. Nope.

You can go on a hundred bad dates, or be single for decades and then make it all work out for you beautifully.

Most people have nothing to do with your love life. You are at the core of it, and you invite whomever you like.

Do you know what you want?

How you feel about your looks is more about how you feel than how you look.

When talking about dating, attraction and flirting, one thing that comes up a lot is the topic of looks.

Will it help to look good? Well, this question is more complicated than it seems. Because “looking good” is a very abstract concept, and depends on who you ask. I’m not gonna talk about the eye of the beholder, rather, I want to point to the fact that looking good and thinking that you look good are two different things, and make a world of difference.

There are many objectively amazingly beautiful people who hate their looks and suffer immensely because they feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Even if other people adore their good looks, they still don’t like themselves, and that is a horrible feeling.

As I write in the title, how you feel about your looks has a lot more to do with how you feel than how you look. Liking the way you look has much more to do with how you look at, and think about, yourself, than your actual looks. It’s very strange that we seem to think that the best way to liking ourselves is through self-hatred, mistreatment and punishment. That that will somehow lead to a change that we will approve of. But what really needs to change is the disapproval. Self-hate cannot lead to self-love.

If you can’t appreciate your self, it doesn’t matter how you look.  And when you can, it doesn’t matter either. Appreciation is the key, not good looks.

eyes-586849_1280-2

Start by looking yourself and others in the eyes! People are not chunks of meat, we are human beings and way too interesting and complex to be reduced to a pair of thighs or a butt. We have souls, dreams, hopes, fears, wounds, longings and deep emotions. But we can’t see that in ourselves, or in each other, when we are busy comparing or obsessing about body parts.

Start seeing yourself and other people as whole and complete persons. Explore who you and they really are, and see what happens. Your appreciation for others and yourself will grow.  The beauty you will see in people will affect how you perceive them physically, and the same is true for you. You will start to connect with people for real, beyond looks and appearances. You will start to see the real beauty, and feel your own.

The reason that you can see and feel all of this beauty is because you have a body. That is the purpose of your body. To experience life, beauty and connection from the inside of it, not to judge the outside of it. 

Is it mandatory to like you?

shutterstock_204097093 kopiaAre you navigating though the world by trying to figure out what everybody else think, like and want? It’s very common, but certainly not unproblematic. Here are a few reasons why:

1. It’s impossible. You can’t read minds, can you? Well, then you don’t know what they are thinking. All you have is your own, made up idea of what they think.

2. It’s unfair. Everybody else is a lot of people. They all think, like and want different things. And there is only one of you. It’s not a fair game to try and satisfy everybody else’s needs.

3. It’s counterproductive. The reason we so often try to adjust to other people is that we want them to like us. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but trying to be liked not the best way. Think for yourself; whom do you like and respect more? Someone who is ever-changing and trying to get everyones approval, or someone who is firmly themselves?

4. It doesn’t work. If you want people to like you, you have to be you. Otherwise there is no you there to like. Changing to be liked is therefore futile.

5. You’re looking in the wrong place. What we want from others is often what we are not giving to ourselves. Not because we can’t but because we don’t realize that we can. It is not someone else’s job to like you, it’s your job. Give to yourself what you are chasing from others.

6. It’s manipulative. By trying to make everyone like you, you are trying to control them and not letting them be who they are.

7. It’s selfish. Someone who is constantly adjusting to others may seem like they are doing it for the other person but they are doing it for themselves: “I want you to feel good around me because I can’t stand it if you don’t.”

8. It’s scary. Never knowing where you actually stand can make people uncomfortable. When you are constantly changing people can’t trust you.

9. It’s dishonest. Since it is impossible to be liked by everyone, if you try, you will be inauthentic to at least some of them. You will give them a false image of who you are, and simply not be genuine or truthful.

If you recognize yourself in the pattern of constantly changing and wanting to be liked I invite you to reflect on this question: What do I like?

Many of my clients go completely blank when I ask them this. They are so used to, and skilled at, trying to figure out what everyone else likes that they never thought about what they themselves like, want and think about things.

The first step before showing your real self to other people, is figuring out for yourself who you are.

Who are you dating?

overthink

When you go on a date with someone, or just meet a new person that seems interesting, what do you think about?

Do you make an effort to stay present, be curious and get to know that person, or do you focus more on how you come across?

I’ve seen that the second alternative is very common. It’s understandable, because when we want to make an impression we tend to get more self conscious, but it’s also unfortunate, because it stops us from actually succeeding.

You cannot meet or connect with someone when you’re stuck in you own head, trying to figure out what is going on in their head.

Still, we try.

What would actually get you where you want to go, and make the connection and impression you want, is being present in the moment where the meeting is occurring, and being more curious about that person than about what they think about you.

Here is the bottom line: you don’t go on a date to think about yourself.

You are not dating yourself, you are there to get to know someone else!
For that to be possible you must:

1. Be in the present moment.
2. Put your awareness on the other person instead of on yourself.

As it happens, doing those two things will also make you less nervous and more calm, charming, confident and attractive.