Marrying The Right Person

So not too long ago, I watched a TED talk about how you can find the person you really need to marry.

TV writer of Mad Men and United States of Tara, TEDx presents: Tracy McMillan.

She starts her TED Talk with an interesting hook, that held my attention throughout the TED Talk, then again, Tracy is a TV writer. So this lady knows a thing or two about a thing or two, based on the experiences that she has had in her life.

She starts off by talking about the common song that we have heard (during our childhood) from our friends whenever we were in the presence of someone we liked:

“Tracy and so-and-so sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage!”

I mean I feel like all of us have heard this at some point or another. At a young age, you think that those are definitely the keys (brings in the Godfather of keys: DJ Khaled) to life. To fall in love, get married, and to have children. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out like that. It’s complete with its twists, turns, and not to mention, downfalls. In my eyes, that’s what makes it interesting.

Anyway, so McMillan puts up on the big screen how her life really panned out. She was married 3 times and out of the three marriages with men, she had a child with one of them. Divorced three times. Falls in love much later. Etc Etc. The one thing I found very interesting about this TEDx Talk, in particular, was how openly candid and positive McMillan was about her experiences in life. To me, it shows how far she has come since that time.  It’s like saying, “yeah it was shit, but I wouldn’t change the outcome of these events.” Amazing.

Time and time again, I always hear people say, ‘oh I regret all the time I spent with such-and-such person’ or something like ‘so-and-so has been an awful person throughout our whole relationship, I hope he catches an STI and dies’. That is no way to live. The events in our lives happen for a reason.  Turn a negative situation, into a positive one.

After she has a third divorce in 2005, she realized she had been marrying everyone in sight, except for the one person she needed to marry. Herself. After her many, many errors in her love life, she finally found the one thing that would change her life in a positive way. This idea became known as: Marrying Yourself. How??? As with any relationship you start off with anyone, you apply that same concept to yourself. You build a relationship with yourself and basically put a ring on it. You commit to yourself and realize that no one, nothing will come between the relationship you have with yourself. As with any kind of relationship, you make it work, you work at this relationship until you feel whole. Until you feel that you can take the next step in the relationship, taking vows for yourself.

McMillan then says that “the places where you have the biggest challenges in your life, become the places where you have the most to give.” She opens up about her life. Her parents weren’t around as much (I don’t want to go into too much detail, as I will post the link to the video at the end of this post) and she was put into the foster care system.

By the time she got out of the foster care system, she had one goal in mind and that was to never be left alone. A way she would accomplish said goal was to get married. She got married at 19 and was thrilled that she found a man who was successful and was a part of his family. 5 years later she leaves him. 10 years later she finds a new man and she gets married. She had a child with him and to this day she still has a great relationship with her now ex-husband. She makes a point about how in the process of learning to love yourself, you have to do be painfully honest to yourself. 8 years later, she gets married a third time. She then breaks it down further. Mind you, she didn’t have the best upbringing, so no one showed her what a healthy relationship between two people looks like or felt like. So when she got married the third time she says that it felt right. What felt right was the idea that she held about being in a relationship, being married. To her, being in a relationship with someone, it meant that she would be secure, that she wouldn’t have to be alone, because she had a companion to share it with.

This is where a lot of people are wrong. I learned not too long ago, that a relationship should be the overflow of your already full cup of tea. If you expect someone to fill your cup, i.e to be your one source of happiness, then you are placing a higher expectation on this particular person. When they leave, you’re still going to be left with you. Left with just an empty cup. Work on making yourself happy and then look for a man.

What McMillan is saying is that when you marry yourself, you’re not just going to date yourself and see where it ends up. You’re going to make sure you keep your promises. Yep, that’s right!  Vows. For richer or for poorer, you are going to love yourself from right. Where. You. Are. Think about it this way, you wouldn’t say to yourself: “when you make it big in Hollywood, then I’ll marry you”. The same thing goes for changing your appearance, you wouldn’t say to yourself: “Once you drop those 15 pounds, then I’ll love you”. NO! You become your own boyfriend/girlfriend. You respect yourself. You shouldn’t be a bitch to yourself. When you marry yourself, you walk yourself down the aisle, exactly where you are. For better or for worse. It’s so easy to love yourself in the times that you feel good about yourself. Some examples are (but are not limited to):

  • new hair cuts/ good hair days
  • Getting a job that aligns with your career
  • losing weight/ gaining muscle

That list could go on… But the worst, is the part we should be focusing on. Sometimes, in life, stuff never goes how you expect it will go. You could plan and schedule down to the exact minute and shit still wouldn’t go as well as you would think it would ( for more on this concept check out What Happens When We Act on Our Expectations? ). The worst is what we fear, but what we have to take into account is that, it is a part of life. Shit happens. Sometimes a relationship doesn’t work out. You didn’t get the dream home you hoped to get. Maybe you didn’t graduate from college. Maybe you have a falling out with your family. Maybe you spend too much of your time being angry and less of your time working through that anger. Whatever it is, Just know that this is all temporary. You agree to marry yourself at all costs.

Life doesn’t give you what you ask for, it gives you people, places, situations and things for you to develop the skills you asked for.

In sickness and in health: You need to get to a point where you can sit by your own bedside, nurse your own broken heart and realize that the only person who has you, is you, to have and to hold. To love yourself the way you want someone to love you.

When you make the decision to marry yourself, you are then able to love someone from where they are, for who they are. The same way you love yourself.

When you go out on dates, you shouldn’t be thinking about how you are coming off to the person, instead, think about how you feel in their presence. Do they make you feel good? Does a calming effect take place the moment you lay eyes on them? Be so committed to yourself, that you become more interested in how you feel about you, rather than how he/she feels about you.

Check out the video below!

The Person You Really Need to Marry

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What Happens When We Act on Our Expectations?

Awhile back, I had watched an interesting TED talk by Psychologist Dr. Jennice Vilhauer about how we don’t really act on what we want, but rather on our own expectations of things. It’s a subconscious thing. We’ve probably heard the saying “Thoughts become things” at some point, right? Well basically if we think about an event coming up, like a date, a party, a festival, etc, If we keep thinking about how everything is going to be great, then chances are, it will go right, because you already made it clear that this is going to be your moment or your time to shine. Sometimes, however, we have terrible feelings about how the event will go that it becomes a subconscious thing where you’ll do or say certain things that really enhance the negative feeling.

So say you play the lottery, you’re just trying your luck, and you find out later on that day that you won. What do you do? Was this what you expected would happen? No, of course not. You weren’t expecting to win, you were just playing for shits. In this example, our expectations of certain things don’t really align with what we want.

Then again, when we think something isn’t going to go well, it can sometimes end up going better than expected and vice versa.

What I’m trying to say is that this concept can be applied in just about everything from relationships to events/experiences. Vilhauer goes on to say that she had a client who was gorgeous and accomplished and decided to give online dating a try. Once the client received matches and started going out on dates, the guys that she went out with either weren’t who they looked like in their profile photo, forgot their wallets, or just wouldn’t show up at all whatsoever. Through all these dates, the client began to settle with the terrible dates. They became her expectations.

At one point, she had agreed to go out on a date with this one guy after her yoga class. She, thinking that the date wouldn’t go well, arrived at this cafe to meet up with this guy. The guy was a well-groomed, all-around great guy and the client basically didn’t know how to act. Because she had gotten so used to such terrible dates, she never once thought that she might actually land a pretty decent guy. So the whole time, she stared at the ground and felt really self-conscious. At some point during the date,  she told the guy that she needed to put more coins in the meter and just left the date.

The bottom line was: he was great, but given the fact that she had no idea how to act in a situation like this, it was something new and out of the ordinary for her. I mean, think about it: put yourself in her shoes, shes gorgeous but over time she realized that she wasn’t worth those second dates or a decent man who wouldn’t forget his wallet. Imagine how that must feel. Pretty shitty, right?

Vilhauer then poses a scenario to the audience like:

Say you’re going on vacation to a tropical island.

She then asks something along the lines of: How is what I am expecting, making me feel?

This question not only brings into mind the idea of the future, but it also brings to mind how you feel about a specific thing in the future. This gives you a chance to be in tune with your mind and body.

If you’re like me and are down for a new adventure to a tropical island, then there’s nothing to do. If you’re having positive thoughts and feelings about the whole thing, then you’ve already achieved the goal.

If you’re anxious for this trip, then she follows up with another question: What would I like to have happen instead?

Here, you address to alternatives that go with what you’re comfortable with. What you really do want in the situation. What you want isn’t really what you expect. She then goes back to the example of winning the lottery : you want to win, but you don’t expect to win

She then asks: What do I need to do to make what I want happen?

She says that when we have a negative expectation, we think about all the things that would go wrong. Your aren’t really generating any thoughts and/or ideas about this experience going right.  You begin to see a shift in your thinking once you generate some positive thoughts. In other words, what can go right?

Vilhauer had a client who was depressed and they had been doing a ton of work together, to help this person gain some coping skills and be better equipped with what life throws at them, but nothing really seemed to be working. So Vilhauer posed the question, “Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?” The client looked at her with a puzzled expression. When you’ve been depressed for a while, you don’t really think about the future, you just see everything as a big black hole. It’s like time goes by, but you feel like you still hang in the middle of it, not going forward or backwards, but staying there. So Vilhauer began to pose a variation of this question to many more of her clients, she recalled that she received the same response. Five years later, this is where she began to pioneer a new approach to counseling, called Future Directed Therapy (FDT).

I find this stuff amazing that psychologists like Dr. Vilhauer are changing the way they approach a patient’s unique illness or issue in life. The more we have this, the more we will have psychologists and mental health professionals provide a more interpersonal approach to each patient they treat, which is absolutely fascinating! You focus on what you want, keeping in mind that your expectations should align with your wants.

Check out the video!

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