Be Who you want to Attract – Part 2

But when I imagine WHO I want to attract: the character, the looks (yes I’m a shallow single girl), the spirituality, the personality, and the charisma; then follow that up with my ability to carry those same strengths in my own life, I feel nothing but disappointment and failure.  The response that comes screaming to mind: I will never be that good.  What a sad and depressing statement that is.  It sucks the hope of finding the one (I hate that expression by the way) out of it completely.  It brings a truck load of despair that I am attempting an IMPOSSIBLE mission in believing for a minute I could even come CLOSE to what I have created in my head for my spouse. 

And it is in those hopeless despondent thoughts that I believe I must settle.  That I can’t like who I want to, I am resolved to only like the guys that first like me.  Because otherwise it is a waste of time and waste of energy.  I mean after all I have had crushes, attractions, infatuations, and interests for decades and not one of them have ever liked me back.  I’ve liked guys cuz they like me.  I’ve been interested in guys when I see they are interested or curious about me; but it has never seemed to been the situation where my interest or genuinely heart attraction to someone has ever been reciprocated.  (I’m not searching out pity in this – it is just a statement of my perceptive fact to communicate more clearly why I do what I do NOW.) 

At this point, I struggle to forgive my past, I struggle to wait for my future, I struggle to know what’s right and what’s wrong, to know whose supposed to be in and whose supposed to be out of my life, and deciding what is healthy and unhealthy.  On one hand, I see myself as attractive, funny, deep, caring, spiritual, mature, flexible, decisive, and committed… but  most days I just see all the flaws, weaknesses, bad habits, and sins that are ever-present whether by choice or by nature they are part of me.  Who would want to love that?  Who would want to spend time with that?  Who would commit a lifetime to dealing with that?  And it is in those questions that my mind begins the death spiral to a place I hate to live: Lonely Village.  It’s not a resort town with smiley hosts, it’s a Senior Community Center where once you’re in… your here to stay. 

Since I see myself more often than not through the microscopic glasses that see all my flaws, weaknesses, and sins to up close and in detail, I can’t bring myself to believe I will find a guy that meets my needs, measures up to my list, or will make me really and TRULY happy.  I don’t deserve it and I definitely do not attract it. 

So a few years ago I realized I changed the game.  At least I changed the mission in my head because I wanted different results.  (It’s amazing how sometimes we just make subconscious changes because we think we are off track or losing in some way.)  In a desperate effort to achieve different results – actually date, have a boyfriend, start that trip down together lane.  I stopped trying to change myself into what I wanted to attract, because after all that has proven to be too hard.  Nothing I have done has improved my status, my flaws are unavoidable, and I have NO HOPE of changing who I am let alone into the type of woman the guy I think I want would be attracted to. 

Instead, because I always have a better plan than God, I have decided to like who I can get.  I stopped believing that liking a guy mattered.  Instead, I just be friends until I see interest in me.  I don’t get all girly and wanting someone who will NEVER like me, I wait until a guy wants me.  Then I like him back, because that is the only choice I have (which isn’t much of a choice I must say). 

As much as I have been in opposition to the idea of settling, I think I just realized (amazing how writing certain things down gets your mind to realize – OH CRAP I have been doing ________),  I have just made the biggest settling a person can make.  I have been telling myself that I don’t have a choice in the matter because I can not control who a guy likes.  But I really believe I have taken that innocent little idea and distorted it into a full-fledged dating philosophy.   WOW… *deep sigh* personal revelation is depressing, agonizing, and freeing all at the same time… I think.

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Be Who you want to Attract – Part 1

I have heard this statement 3 times in the last 6 months and I am beginning to think I should pay attention.  Have you ever noticed that when pieces of knowledge arrive in your mind it takes a couple of times for things to sink in? 

For me the magic number is three.  The 1st time it comes by I think…OH that’s a good insight, VERY interesting I should incorporate that into life.  The 2nd time it wanders through I think… Hey wait a minute I’ve heard this before.  I wonder where I heard it?  I did think this was an important insight last time right?  The 3rd time I begin to look skyward and say OK OK OK God you have my attention I will start to apply this in my life more PROACTIVELY. 

Then there are those moments when something is said and it cuts to the most wounded hurt part of my soul (that I honestly try to forget is even hurt) and along with a physical pain I can feel the soul slump down a couple of notches.  My gut tenses up and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and all of a sudden I can FEEL that fight or flight compulsion start to look for the exits.  At times I even feel like less of a person.  That all those EXACT emotions and feelings I had in High School return in Tidal wave proportions to which I have no control. 

This statement generated that second response, so you would think I wouldn’t have forgotten it.  But because it seems like an IMPOSSIBLE task in my mind’s eye; I felt it… agreed with it… and promptly forgot it.  But in surprisingly clear fashion this statement has returned yet again.  But I find myself wondering if my brain is reverting back to thinking the wait it always has EVEN though I have a new thought to think. 

Is it always that way when we come across something that seems to hard to change or overcome, but it hurts just to think for a minute that this particular thing applies to us?  So I don’t know if it was in a book, said during a movie, or a theme in a television special; but this phrase seems to be haunting me. 

Be who you want to attract.  Such a simple expression.  So easy and elegant a sound bite as one could possibly ask for when it comes to dating or finding the person you want to marry.  Because for me it’s not about just having fun and being romanced around every corner; I genuinely, honestly want to find that man who will love me and who I will love.  That we would want nothing more in life than to do this life thing together.  As independent as I have become and as self-sufficient as I have directed my life.  My heart’s desire is to not do this life alone.

Since I have come to believe that I must DO something in some capacity, the idea of BE who I want to attract is some what of a puzzle.  First I must figure out who I want to attract – which I thought I knew, or do I?  Next, I have to be that person of character or confidence or faith or something.  Guess I better get back to that list before I can be, right?

The List – People Picker & The Spark

Dating is not about Marriage, WHAT?!?!?!?

There was this book, yes all good discussions start with there was this book: How to get a date worth keeping by Dr Henry Cloud. It had at least a dozen good points about patterns of behavior, being aware of your own shortcomings, and getting out there because the more rejections the better. But it really got my attention when I arrived in chapter 4 and this announcement was made by a Christian author no less and I was a bit confused and conflicted.

Here is just a sample of that chapter:

You just said we ought to date A LOT of people to learn and grow and all that stuff, but I really disagree. I don’t have time for that – says a woman at one of his seminars
What do you mean you don’t have time for that? – he responds
I don’t have time to waste on dating someone whom I couldn’t see myself marrying. If he doesn’t have the potential for a serious relationship that could lead to marriage, I don’t want to go out with him.
What’s your hurry?
Well, I’m forty-two, I’ve been married once before, and I want to be married again. I don’t have time to waste.
What’s your hurry?
I just don’t have time for all this dating. I only wan to go out with someone I could marry. Isn’t that the purpose of dating? To find a mate?
NO! NO! NO! NO! (He goes on to explain that she was in a hurry an don the hunt, which always means something. It also implies she sounded like she knew what she wanted and needed. Which he didn’t believe.)

After asking her a series of question, this was his summary:
So what you are telling me is that the last time you chose someone, it ended in disaster (divorce). And you have chosen no one since him (she confirmed this was true). So you have made one choice fora mate, and it was a bad choice. Isn’t it obvious that your “people picker” is broken? Now with no further experience dating, you think you are ready to make another lifetime commitment with the same people picker you use to pick the last one. No, No, No! You are not ready to date to find a mate. You obviously do not know what you need, what is good, and what is not good, and what your unhealthy patterns are. You are 0 for 1. The last thing you need is to date to find a mate. You need more than anyone to go out with many different kinds of men for a number of reasons.

Now I have not been married, nor have I been in any relationships that would be considered long term. But I do have the tendency to fall for or be attracted to manipulators and controlling personalities. With this new focus in my life to stop sitting around and NOT doing ANYTHING in the dating or meeting guys arena, I am beginning to have some of these worries arise again. What if my perception, ideals, wants (THE pure nature of the list) are all wrong? What if my people picker is broken? I mean how does one know if they have an accurate ability to pick a good man, boyfriend, fiance, husband instead of it just being about the SPARK?

One of my ALL time favorite movies (mostly because it has some of the best quotes on dating ever – not to mention me and my friend Amber were mentioned by name – ok almost), He’s just not that into you. The scene is set between two NOT dating people in a bar watching a hot chick and not so hot guy interact:

Boy: Now check out Droopy Dog (nice quiet guy) on the other side (of the hot woman). He’s gonna buy her drinks all night and she’s still gonna insist there’s no spark.
Girl: Maybe there’s not. You need a spark.
Boy: Oh, the spark thing is BS.
Girl: Really?
Boy: BS.
Girl: Enlighten me.
Boy: Guys invented the spark, so they could not call and treat you kind of badly and keep you guessing. Then convince you that; that anxiety and fear that just develops naturally was actually just a spark. And you guys all buy it. You eat it up and you love it. You love it because you feed off that drama. You all love that drama.
Girl: I don’t.
Boy: So you never wait until the last minute on a deadline or a phone bill because secretly you love the drama of not knowing whether or not you’re gonna make it?
Girl: Maybe.

That honest evaluation between FEELINGS and Reason, bland versus SPARK, regular life or drama filled existence is where I sometimes get lost between what I want and what I will end up with. Because dating in the past has ALWAYS been about the rush of my pulse, the stomach churning, and my chest tightening as I see a HOT guy cross my path. I mean that must be MUST be the indication that I’m attracted, right? But what if this is just my mind reacting to the potential drama? What if the guy I would pick based on the feelings and rush of emotions in the moment at the time is not going to provide a good, balanced, long-term guy for ME? How do I begin to tell the difference between genuine attraction and just the illusion that is the SPARK? Can I really trust my FEELINGS or my judgment to pick out the right one? What is a girl to do if she thinks her people picker is broken?

The Amazing Christina – LA Edition

A group of circumstances completely fell into place last December that produced the need for me to go to Long Beach, California for some necessary on site training, which never happens.  The Regional Trainer for the LA area was out-of-town on a much-needed vacation and the Regional Sales Manager was having a meeting and practically demanding the presence of a trainer at this meeting.  As usual, I was all about the pick me Pick Me, PICK ME!!!

So with an amazing string of luck or blessing I was chosen. I do believe it had more to do with the price of my plane ticket instead of my stellar training skills.  It was a short trip pretty much 24 hr turn around.  The expected training time somewhere between 1-3 hours.  The Manager had provided a set of subjects that he wanted covered, but since most of these items had been trained already, I had to assume they didn’t want a formal training session of the basics.  The subjects I know very well and can even anticipate some of the questions and challenges they may have. 

What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would absolutely LOVE the experience.  It was a nervous wreck at first because I didn’t have a formal Powerpoint presentation and I didn’t know any of the people I was coming to train.  It was typical travel: arrive in the morning, rental car, and I arrive in the conference room and just sit and wait.  Enough time to sit and wait and let my nerves get to me. 

Once I got started with the basics, it lasted about 15 minutes.  The plan, the training, the intended topics, yes at 15 minutes into the presentation, I was smack dab into the middle of crossfire style questions on EVERYTHING.  From processes, to programs, to procedures, and internal branch communications.  It was an amazing rush and of all the questions that were tossed at me or near me for the next 3 hours, I only had 4 take away questions (things I couldn’t answer).  Mostly because I needed to do some testing and followup. 

In a room full of 15 men all master outside sales people with more focus on sales than on training, but there were questions and scenarios flying all afternoon.  I was the center of the room and the center of information all at the same time.  I felt like saying, Queen of the LAB in classic Bones style.  The manager thanked me and we discussed other options for training and situations.  The pricing team thanked me and I was able to connect with a group of people throughout the former corporate office of this acquired company. 

I was AWESOME and valuable and useful and the perfect trainer.  And I love the feeling of a new place, new car, new hotel, and new people.  Some how I had forgotten what it was like to travel and love what I do, even when there is a portion of not knowing EXACTLY what I will be doing.

The Amazing Christina – Trainer that is

Last year I was in a training conference of sorts with my entire team, plus 12 temporary trainers.  It was a week-long conference, where we planned some train the trainer sessions, soft skill presentations, and it seemed we were visited by every department imaginable for 1-2 hour blocks of time.  

We were reviewing a bunch of new material during one of our days in class.  There was a modification being made specifically to our software to allow users to enter specific and detailed information about commercial doors.  I promise I will not provide you with step by step detailed IT trainer description of the modification.  Besides I am sure that the software company will charge you a pricing deposit just to know this mod exists. 🙂  Thus learning the modification was not where Christina was amazing; although I am learning even now that the ability to learn something the first time through is pretty amazing.

The trainer who had been working on the pieces of this new mod was reviewing it with the whole room of 24 people.  Most of us had heard ABOUT this process, but this was the very first time we were SEEING it in the software screens and in actual action.  After showing us a series of 4 different processes, we asked a set of questions, I jotted down a couple of notes; and retired to the reclining posture of my chair.  You know the universal sign for I’m good, I got it, What’s next? 

As a group, we were all asked to log in and attempt to USE the process in pairs.  There were some glitches with this and because we couldn’t all use the same data we couldn’t do the EXACT same process at the same time; and it was obvious that this portion of the training was not thought out completely, but I still felt confident that I was prepared enough for training it.  The room was getting tense and our boss was getting frustrated so we moved on to another part of the seminar, since we were out of time. 

The next day we had a catch-all period of time (that time that all event planners leave open JUST IN CASE there is something that didn’t get covered or needs to be revisited).  When our boss speaks up and asks if everyone in the room feels comfortable training the door process?  Much as she expected everyone seemed to respond with No, not it, I don’t, I’m confused, I’m not sure kind of language.  Then in classic reversal of fortune she asks if anyone in the room is comfortable training the door process.  I look to my left and right there isn’t a single hand, but I was confident, that I have the process down because I didn’t get caught up in the details.  YES FOR ONCE I SAW THE FOREST AND NOT THE TREES.  I threw my hand in the air loud and proud. 

In almost disbelieving tone my boss says, “Alright Christina train the trainer (the guy who originally taught us) how to put in a commercial door sale in the system.”  I jumped out of my seat and walked to the front of the room.  Where I realized I didn’t have to go I could have done this from my seat.  (hee hee hee guess it’s that little inner stage actress that wants to leap onto stage at any chance she gets.)  I begin in classic Christina form, acting and being funny and creative and full of bologna ( you would think I would be better at the card game BS).  But I started with the Thank you for calling Our Company how can I help you today?  Which generated an ENORMOUS amount of laughter from the crowd.  Gotta know your audience, right?

And without missing a beat or a step just like Edge taught me in speech class, I did the best Impromptu speech of my career (well of my life at this job, in front of an audience, of my peers, with my boss, etc).  I guided him through exactly which buttons to push and what information to put in through a series of questions and praise statements.  I let him fill in the size, specs, details, and dimensions (as a real life user would know these things) and ALL I did was tell him which keys to push in order to get to the AREA on the computer screen to put in that information. 

When we were finished, I received an AMAZING applause from the room that seemed to fill my soul with such admiration and appreciation from my peers.  I even got a NICELY done Christina from my boss (gotta cherish those praise moments cuz they don’t happen often).  After my demonstration the whole room felt more confident about how to train this particular portion of the system.  It wasn’t about knowing ALL the specs if was about knowing how to guide the learner through the screens. 

The confidence that filled me was  this age-old belief I have, I can train anything to anyone – I don’t even have to understand it.  There are many a good debates I have been in on that subject (which will remain for another posting); but in my mind I KNEW what I KNEW about the system and which keys to push.  I KNEW how to navigate the structure of the process and I would then leverage the user’s knowledge of the details to complete the process.  Now don’t ask me what the door looks like or how it will hang in the frame or even it is hollow or solid because I just train the software folks, I don’t know what the stuff looks like out in the real world. 🙂

Future Purpose – Unadoptable Children

On some level I have gotten into a groove of the routine of life.  Go to work, make money, pay bills, save for the future.  Well WHAT FUTURE??? Am I just marking time until I get married?  Am I just holding my breath until the right man comes along?  Am I too afraid to branch out and try something because if I fail I will be alone and broke and on the streets?  Have I become so comfortable with the security in having a job that I am not willing to risk or try something else?  Get my Masters, Take another Job, work for a church, teach english in Thailand, be a foster parent solo…

I haven’t thought of these things because in some capacity I have gotten use to what I have.  I have gotten that safe and secure feeling of what life is like to have a job and then do a little smattering of fun things here and there.  But then there is that urging, nudging question that seems to creep up into my mind. 

What is my Purpose?  I mean really seriously down deep making changes to the universe and humanity… Why am I here on this earth to do things?  What is it that is bigger than me? More important than me? What is my purpose?

I know that there is a part of my desires, since I was just a small child, that has wanted to take care of foster kids or adopt orphans.  Maybe I watched the Annie movie TOO many times for my own good.  But there I even had a dream when I was younger that I would live in a house full full of friends all living together… and AMAZINGLY enough I am doing that now, in one form or another. 🙂 So what can I do to take care of foster children right now?  I can’t take one on because of my job and I am genuinely afraid of doing it by myself.  I am not sure about working with a boys and girls club because I can not be consistent.  What about working with a Jr High youth program, well not if I am going to be on the road 3 weeks of the month for a year.  Again it becomes about the job.  But if this is my purpose, my heart’s desire, my destiny, my true calling; why am I letting the JOB I have interfere with that? 

This led to my decision that I need to quit my day job.  Just kidding. 

What I need is to devise a 5 year plan, how did I get to that you may ask?  Well, any change takes planning and as the famous saying goes those who fail to plan plan to fail.  So for my life I need to do just that make a plan.  The 5 year plan is a method for me to put on paper and give myself direction to accomplish my goal.  Of course I kinda need to start out with the goal in mind.  So that is my focus FIRST… then even if I don’t end up working with foster kids in 5 years, this will have gotten me focused on thinking about what DO I WANT out of this life.  What is my purpose and how am I taking steps to fulfill it? 

I do want to remember my heart’s desire… to work with children that have been lost, forgotten, abandon, left, ignored, discarded.  The difficult… the misunderstood.  To work and restore and love continually and forget their wrongs and failings and issues.  To help them find victory in a life that has been set forth in chaos and untruthfully destined for destruction.  To encourage their minds that may believe there is no hope and no future.  Somewhere in that pocket of unadoptables is my audience…

Now the question becomes, what do I do to go there? What must I do today to be ready for tomorrow?