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I have a bad habit when it comes to relationships: I'd rather self-sabotage a relationship than allow myself the space to leave one. Even if I know it’s failing and not right for me, I’m scared I wont find anything better. I know this is a reflection of how I see myself, so I’ve been trying to practice self-love, but it makes me scared to fall head over heels from someone again. I want to be vulnerable and find love, but I want to be strong and hold my power. How do I do both?
The Self-Aware Saboteur
Dear, Dear Self Aware,
As always, I have a little story of how I got my strength and power back (by not staying in an unhappy relationship).
I was married at 18, divorced at 29, with two girls, aged 5 and 9. I had never worked a day in my life. My Father tried to convince me to stay married for fear I would come back home with 2 kids. I can’t really blame him, I live in a bachelor apartment just in case my girls get any ideas.
Anyway, I had reached a point where if I didn’t leave, it was not going to be pretty (orange is not my color, and I look frumpy in jumpsuits). I didn't think about how/what/where. I only knew I was miserable. But I was also terrified of being alone. Not because of the Boogieman but because at 29, I had never lived alone.
Even though my girls lived with me, when the weekend came they were with their Dad. If I didn’t have something to do, I would have the worst anxiety attacks. One Friday night in particular I thought I was going to die. Ahhh, but then I remembered I had hidden a Magic Mushroom.
I popped it in my mouth. *chew* *chew* *chew* (it was awful) 20 minutes later I felt like my insides were going to jump outside. I was so hyper. Like, Lance Armstrong hyper. All I remember is vacuuming at warp speed. (I'm not advocating Magic Mushrooms to fill that empty spot dear SAS, maybe just a little medical marijuana to help with any anxiety.)
At that point I realized nothing was going to change unless I changed it. I reached the point where "on my own" was an adventure I was willing to take. I made the decision to take my power back and create a life for myself and my girls. This is a conscious decision you just have to make.
As for self sabotage, my Beautiful, it sounds as if it's easier for you to let yourself down. When we say something over and over and over we believe it whether its true or not. You have taught yourself that disappointment feels more comfortable then a little risk. Why not try changing the word "scared" to "excited" and see what happens?
If you attract another man (or woman!) before you get yourself aligned with you, you'll get the same guy over and over. Nothing changes until you do. It is Universal Law that like attracts like. (I check in with myself by looking at the company I keep.)
Start to notice where your thoughts go. Once you can recognize "damn, I did it again," you'll be on your way to replacing those negative neurons with “I am worth more then I gave myself credit for.”
The relationship of your dreams is out there. You just have to make sure you are in love with yourself first. It takes a little work but you’re worth it. You've always had the strength and the power to do it, says the good witch. Now click your heels 3 times and say, "my strength and power comes from the way I choose to think."
*Ladies, please share how you found your power and let’s help Dear Self-Aware become even more self-aware!*
I have a young daughter and want to ensure she grows up to be a kickass woman. Besides being the best role model I can be for her, any tips for raising brave, outspoken, compassionate, rebellious little lady?
You might want to re-think rebellious. 😆
Wow, mothers have changed. When I was a kid, my mother raised me to believe I would marry a nice Jewish boy and be taken care of. (We all know how that turned out.)
What I can assure you of is that your baby girl is going to be whoever she is going to be.
If her personality is kickass, you don't have to worry, the rest of your wish will fall into place. But lets say she errs more on the cautious side. The most inspirational lady to me, Maya Angelou, was a soft spoken woman but she carried a mighty sword.
Kickass or not, I can tell with you as her mom she will learn how to be seen and heard without needing her own reality show.
You've got this Ma, don't worry.
*Anymore advice out there that Ma needs to know ASAP? They grow up fast!*
What advice do you have for a 40 year-old still trying to figure out her true calling?
Searching in Scranton
That's quite a question. I can tell you that more ladies feel the same way than you can imagine. At 40, you realize you're not a kid anymore and that life is going a little too fast.
Not everyone is lucky enough to wake up and be a Mozart, Picasso or Beyonce.
I thought my calling was to be a singer. I knew I was going to be a big star. Imagine my surprise when I was told I can’t carry a tune. Then I wanted to be an artist. I could always draw. That didn't happen either. I could go on with all sorts starts and stops but I don't want to bore you (there were a LOT). Then one day I decided I was going to make myself my passion. That way I didn't have to think about it again. I only had to practice being the best person I could be.
What I’m saying is I've never found a real passion. Just like Aziz, I'm a jack of all trades, and master of none.
Your true calling is whatever makes you happy in the moment.
Everyday we have the choice to do whatever it is we want. Become a living Nike ad and just do whatever gives you a thrill. Your calling maybe baking cookies and giving them to the neighbor's kids. Callings don't have to make it on CNN. They just have to warm your heart and move your spirit.
When you're doing something and time just flies, that’s your calling. One of mine is talking on the phone with my sister. Hours just fly by.
Don’t worry about why you think you haven’t found it. You have. Your calling is calling YOU.
*Tell me about your calling! How'd you find it or are you still looking?*
~* Have any burning questions for me? Send 'em! email@example.com *~
Meet Sheilah: our pot-smoking, straight-talking, completely uncertified advice columnist. From seasoning humor into a cooking column, to pitching NBC game shows, Sheilah's always had a way with words. She's discovered her calling of helping others heal, through massage and writing this column. Sprinkling wisdom upon Icon readers saved her from living a boring, damp life. Sheilah is the proud mother of 2, grandmother of 3, and lives in California with her beloved yorkie, Max.