My Single Valentine

(I first published this post in February of 2014, but I think it still stands true and I’m hoping it’ll reach a few more hearts this year. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovelies.)

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a male co-worker about relationships and my state of singleness. Okay, if I’m honest, it was one of many conversations I had made this kind man patiently endure on this topic. After listening to me drone on about my horrible affliction for the gazillionth time, he asked with a voice of exasperation, “Amanda, why do you let being single define you so much?”

I remember it like it was yesterday because it struck me deeply and I felt embarrassed.

He was right.

Something clicked and I realized that he didn’t see me as his “single friend Amanda.” He saw me as a smart, funny, interesting woman and he was baffled – and almost angry – that I could not see myself the same way simply because I was single.

But sometimes it’s hard not to fret about our relationship status, isn’t it?

And, on Valentine’s Day, when we are literally getting slapped in the face with heart-shaped balloons, it’s particularly hard to ignore the questions—“Why haven’t I met The One?” “Am I doing something wrong?” “Am I swiping left too much on Bumble?”

So, as I prepared to write this article, I went to the ultimate source for answers— Google.

Whoa! There is a lot of information out there about what you’re doing wrong and what you need to change about yourself to score a relationship: “be more aggressive,” “don’t make the first move,” “wear more skirts,” “don’t be so picky”… does any of this sound familiar?

After reading all the dizzying advice, I started thinking about the tape that runs in the heads of single women. It’s no wonder that women feel a sense of shame and responsibility for their singleness. It’s tough out there, and it’s hard not to look for an explanation as to why you haven’t found the right person.

But, unfortunately, all too often that internal tape turns into negative thoughts and self-blame about not being enough or doing enough to be in a relationship.

I’m not going to attempt to tell you why you are single or offer up a to-do list for how to get a relationship. But, I will ask you this one question: would you do anything differently?

When you look at how you live your life, does it bring you peace and comfort – and maybe even a sense of pride? If it does, then what is it about you that needs to change?

  • If you are open and vulnerable to the idea of love and relationships, don’t change a thing.

  • If you are “putting yourself out there” in a way that honors your authenticity and values, don’t change a thing.

  • If you are waiting for the right fit – even if it means being alone for now, don’t change a thing.

  • If you can accept imperfection in others and yourself, don’t change a thing.

  • If you are pursuing activities that fulfill you, don’t change a thing.

  • If you have relationships that help you to be your best self, don’t change a thing.

  • If you are a source of love and encouragement to others, don’t change a thing.

  • If you take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally, don’t change a thing.

Listen, I’m not trying to sugar coat the pain that comes with wanting to share your life with someone and that reality feeling out of reach. It’s okay to be sad about it sometimes, abuse chocolate in times of need, or to cry out “what is taking so long?” But, at the end of this well-deserved venting session, I hope you’ll ask yourself “would I do anything differently?”

If you can say no to that question, I hope you’ll take a moment to marvel at your life; a life that you have worked hard to create; a life that is being lived with intention, strength and character.

And, if you would like to do some things differently, I encourage you to think about what you’re waiting for… Are you afraid that if you get too busy loving your life you’ll miss out on meeting someone? Are you letting your fears and insecurities rule your decision making? If so, maybe it’s time to quit letting your singleness define you.

No one can guarantee you a relationship. However, being able to say “I wouldn’t do anything differently” can help ease the sting of the disappointments and will put you in an emotional space that allows you to be open and ready for the many gifts this life has in store for you.

Yes you may be single.  But, girl, you are so much more. Now go out and live like it.

Tired of dating the same way with disappointing results? Ready to get clear on what it is you need in a relationship (not necessarily just what you want)? I have one spot left for my popular Dating with Authenticity and Confidence workshop in Austin, TX on Sunday, February 26th. Change your dating story in 2017! Learn more here

Amanda is a trained Life Coach and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling. As a recovering risk-avoiding scaredy-cat, she is passionate about empowering women to live and love boldly. Amanda shares her inspiration through personal coaching, corporate training, workshops and international retreats. She particularly loves working with women in the areas of dating/relationships, career growth, and overall self-confidence. www.lifecoachamanda.com

I Have A Confession To Make

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been a bit sad lately.

Yep. Just plain sad.

And now I feel like I’ve just walked through the trendiest restaurant in town with toilet paper stuck to my shoe, because admitting I have been feeling sad isn’t cool, sexy or exciting.

I also worry it might make you uncomfortable to know I’ve been a bit melancholy lately. And lord knows, a life coach isn’t supposed to make you feel uncomfortable! I’m supposed to stick to, “The Universe and I are totally killing this life thing together” kinds of Facebook posts and blogs. And yes, I am fortunate to feel that way a lot of the time. But, because of some recent events in my life, I’ve also been feeling sad.

Believe me, I fought this whole sad thing with a vengeance. I tried to be angry. “Surely there is someone or something I can blame for this feeling?” I thought. Yes—anger! Let’s try anger. Anger is righteous, powerful and even kind of badass.

But nope—being angry didn’t seem to help.

Hmmm…maybe I’ll try being a victim. I mean, how could anything sad happen to little ol’ me? I’ve been good. I’ve chosen to follow my heart. I try my best to be honest and kind to everyone.

Yep, I’ve been screwed. Life is being totally unfair, and someone or something needs to help me out of this pain. I mean, “Hellooooo Universe! If you were kind at all, you would save me from this horrible thing called sadness!”

But no person or thing seemed to be able to rescue me from sad-town.

So what the heck should I do now? Just feel…sad? Oh, no. That sounds so gross. So pitiful. Definitely not life coach material.

Or, is it?

Feeling sad is one of the most alive experiences we encounter. Perhaps that’s why we’re so scared of it. We feel it in our bodies. Our stomach turns. Our heart seems to actually ache in our chest. Our confident swagger slows to heavy, clunky steps. Our throat convulses in an effort to control our sobbing.

It ain’t pretty. But my gawd, it’s real. No wonder we try to numb our sadness with short-term salves like alcohol, food, meaningless hook-ups and Netflix binges.

The most panicked calls, texts and emails I receive from clients are when they are beginning to feel the dark clouds of sadness rolling in. They are scared. And honestly, these sweet, panicked pleas for help used to scare the beejebus out of me too. I mean, I better have the right thing to say. They are paying me to make their lives happier for gosh-sakes!

And when I was first starting out, I would try my best to talk people out of their sadness—a sort of pep talk/ tap dance routine that left us both looking at each other thinking, “This is bullsh*t.” I was doing this because I was just as scared of sadness as they were.

After some time and some valiant but failed attempts at avoiding and eradicating sadness, I realized that there is simply no way around it. We just have go through the eye of the storm. We don’t have to go through it alone, but we do have to go through it to get to the other side.

So, if and when you get a taste of that oh-so-real experience of sadness, I’m not going to try to talk you out of it any more. I’m not going to look at you with panic-stricken eyes and start my awkward pep talk/ tap dance routine in an effort to “fix” your unseemly condition. Because you aren’t doing anything wrong by feeling sad. And despite how it may feel, you are not going to explode into a million pieces.

I am not going to be able to take your sadness away, but I will do this:

I’ll remind you that you can handle it. I’ll never stop believing in you and your ability to handle difficult things.

I’ll remind you of your inner strength, and of your commitment to live with authenticity and integrity despite what life throws at you.

I’ll remind you to love your perfectly imperfect self.

I’ll be here for you if you need me.

And of course, I’ll always tell you if you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe.

-Amanda