It’s that time of year again, that once-in-four-years experience: the World Cup. What a wonderful time to talk about goals!
Sure, the kind of goals I’m going to talk about don’t involve juking a defender and lofting a checkered, leather ball over the out-stretched arms of a goalie. But they’re just as exciting. Why? Because these goals are about YOU – your hopes, your dreams, your personal development, what you want in a relationship.
The idea of learning how to set goals and get what you’re after generates all kinds of opinions. My opinions come from my own personal experience of ditching the corporate game for my coaching practice. I had a goal in mind about how much money I wanted to make. I had a goal in mind about how many clients I wanted to work with. I had a goal in mind about creating digital products that I could give to people. I had a goal in mind about making an impact.
With each goal I set and achieved, I became driven, even more driven than before. My focus grew keener and I taught myself how to solve problems, no matter how insurmountable the obstacle appeared. But as all of this set into place, I became someone I did not recognize. I did not realize that I had arrived at the place I had once established as my ideal destination. In failing to validate this arrival, I was unable to give myself permission to relax, to calm, to stay present in the moment.
Suffice it to say: setting goals – as necessary as they may be – can force us to live externally, growing disconnected from who we truly are. We become people who can’t rest, lest we feel guilty for not propelling forward.
Now how, exactly, does this relate to relationships?
Goal setting, whether in the boardroom or bedroom or living room, is similar. Sometimes, we grow so intent on finding someone, in being in a relationship, that we don’t allow ourselves to be alone. We fail to gracefully dance with being lonely. We look towards distractions. We turn to our cell phones in search of cat videos or idle Facebook chatter. We disconnect. We date just to date. We enter relationships with the wrong people in return for a warm body.
We don’t like how loneliness feels so we try to squash it anyway we can. And this leaves our relationships failing consistently.
When we can master loneliness, on the other hand, we set ourselves up to master relationships too.
When we can master loneliness, we enter into relationships without the disconnect mentioned above. We allow ourselves to be present in the relationship and true to ourselves, our needs, and desires. We date people for the right reasons and not as a practice in avoidance.
What is comes down to is this: if you want to have a successful relationship with someone else, you must have a successful relationship with yourself first. Go on and ask yourself out. Just think how sexy your date will be!
How can you do this? How do you love thyself even when thyself is by yourself? Ask questions! Ask yourself what you’re doing as a single person. Are you hiding from the experience? Are you distracting yourself? Are you running from something? Are you avoiding something? Are you judging yourself and labeling yourself for being single? Are you embarrassed to be alone?
If you are embarrassed about being alone, know that, ironically, you're not alone to feel that!
Notice your habits – notice when you pick up your phone in need of a distraction, notice when you abandon yourself, notice when your mind wanders off instead of staying present in the moment. And then, practice staying connected instead.
Take a few deep breaths and remain in the moment. Trust that any discomfort you feel is merely a building block laying the foundation to something bigger in the future. Get curious about your feelings and your perceptions. And welcome whatever feelings you feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Once you can find comfort in being alone, you’re ready for a relationship with someone else. But the union with yourself is the one that must fall into place first.
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