Interview With Ileana Hinojosa: Sharing Her Thoughts on Must-Know Truth About Chemistry, Importance of Integrity and Much More
1. A common problem that we hear often from our subscribers is a feeling of being inadequate and unworthy especially as they age. Women feel anxious and stressed as they compare their bodies and looks to the younger women and unfortunately believe they aren’t able to attract men into their lives because they aren’t physically attractive. Some of our subscribers confess that they hate their bodies and feel undesirable and unattractive whenever they look in the mirror.
Can you share your advice on what women can do to shift their negative self-talk and how they can be more self-accepting and start loving their bodies?
First of all the thing to remember is that we pick the men and it is not the other way around.
The most sensual and sexual organ is the mind. Sex appeal and confidence comes from within. It is important to appreciate the value that we add to men’s lives because of experience and wisdom as we age.
As we age, we also become more comfortable with some aspects of ourselves such as knowing what we enjoy or want sexually and being more comfortable asking for what we want. It is important not to compare ourselves to others as we are all individual and unique in our beauty.
Being comfortable in your own skin in and of itself is sexy because it exudes confidence and a knowing that you are beautiful.
Intentions are as powerful as the deed.
When you look in the mirror, what is your intention? Is it to see your beauty and appreciate what and who you are or is it to criticize and put yourself down? What we project is how others perceive us.
If we cannot appreciate and love ourselves, it will be difficult to find someone who will appreciate and love us the way that we need. Women need to learn to be as kind and nurturing to themselves as they are to others. We have it in us to be so gracious and loving to others, yet deny that for ourselves.
No one can validate us as powerfully as we can validate ourselves.
It is about seeing our own power and how attractive that power and confidence is when we smile or in the way that we carry ourselves. Do not hand over your power over you because someone does not like the way you look.
Other people´s opinions of us do not define who we are, we define who we are.
That is standing in your power and one of the most inspiring things a woman can do. This is what makes her attractive. Knowing who she is, what she is about and that she is not going to move.
Looks fade, yet remember our heart and who we are is what makes us beautiful.
If someone is only looking for someone who physically attractive, is there more to the connection between them? Is there substance to the relationship and will the relationship fade when their looks fade? You can clean someone up, but you can´t change a persons heart.
Love is about a connection, substance and nurturing the relationship and learning to love what is good for you.
We may not always get what we want, but if we open our hearts, we may actually get what we need. Don´t be so attached to outcomes. Love yourself and you will surprised what that love for yourself will attract. No one is without physical flaws, and if someone cannot see or value your heart and what you bring to the relationship, then maybe that person is not for you. In the end, you want someone that sees you and who you are and knows your heart. Anything less is unacceptable.
2. Another common problem we hear from our subscribers is the fear of being alone and never finding the right man. This is especially common as women enter into their thirties. They see their friends getting married and even having kids, they are asked by friends and family when they are going to get married and they feel the pressure of a ticking biological clock. In the process, they approach their relationships from a place of fear. worry and anxiety.
Instead of enjoying their dates and conversing with men, they tend to interrogate them so that they can stop wasting their time and weed off the wrong men. They tend to fall too hard and too fast in love when they find a man they like but often that scares men away.
What advice do you have for women who approach relationships from a place of worry and how can they shift from a clingy, desperate vibe to an empowered, joyful zone?
Dating is time for us to slow down and enjoy ourselves.
It should not be something you rush into because you want to know the truth about who you are dating not the perceived idea of who you think you are dating. If we live by a clock then we miss the spontaneity and organic development of a relationship. A relationship can be a contract if that is what you are looking for. A fulfilling relationship is when we are fully exposed and we are unafraid to ask for our needs to be met.
First of all, it is important not to compromise the integrity of who you are when looking for someone.
There is a difference between polishing versus outright misrepresentation. When we operate in a certain “energy”, that is the “vibe” others pick up from us. Be in the moment and stay in the present. When we are attached to an outcome then we are willing to compromise the way we do something to achieve what we think the goal should be.
If we compromise having our needs met, then we compromise the very essence of who we are by being untruthful.
We will resent when our needs are not met later in the relationship and this will be a catalyst for asking the other person to change. If we are truthful from the get go and stand in our power, we might have to pass on one or two prospects that may not meet our needs.
Yet if you hold on, you just might find that fulfilling relationship that meets all of your needs if you take the time to look and not rush the process. It is about quality and not quantity. Your fear of being alone should not drive you to pick someone out of haste. That is how we end up in relationships that do not honor us as women.
When a woman stands in her power it is an amazing energy that she projects.
This vibe will also attract men who like that and are attracted to confidence. If you want someone who is really who they say they are then it has to start with you. What you put out there is what you will get back. If you stay in your integrity and honor yourself, you will be surprised who you might attract.
3. From our subscribers, we often hear “lack of chemistry” as a leading reason why they aren’t willing to go out on a second date with a man even though he seemed to be a decent guy and they were comfortable and treated with respect during the first date. Can you share your thoughts on chemistry- how important is it for a relationship to succeed long term and can chemistry grow over time?
Is it worth persisting with a man with whom a woman feels comfortable but doesn’t quite share the chemistry?
Chemistry isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
Just look at Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. They had great chemistry but were horrible for each other because they brought out the worst in each other. It is important to be honest and ask ourselves what we really need in a relationship. A man that is all polished up and has that shine to him maybe great to look at and be great on paper but is he really what you need. Is there substance to the connection? I tell my clients to be patient and look at a man’s intentions and his heart.
We can learn to love what is good for us because it is a love that grows from a genuine place.
What kind of love and connection do I need from someone as I age and change? Do I need the shiniest rock in the bunch or the most durable? Sometimes this kind of love grows stronger with time and sometimes it does not. The important thing is to give it an opportunity. How many of us have made friends with someone that we might not have hit it off with right off the bat?
Then as time goes by, this person that you did not mesh with has suddenly grown into a friend. Don’t be attached to the outcome, let the process of dating runs its course. Never assume something about someone, it is better to ask. Getting to know someone and the subtleties of who they are takes time. Don’t rush and miss out on the diamond in the rough.
4. Can too much honesty negatively affect a relationship especially when you have just started seeing the other person? How much of the past and even the present should you reveal to the man you are dating? Should you share details like cheating in the previous relationship, the fact you are currently seeing a therapist or you are a recovering alcoholic etc?
Some of our subscribers have been too honest and in the process lost out on many men because it freaked them out. Can you share your thoughts on how women can balance the fine line between honesty and giving themselves the chance to date men and pursue a long term committed relationship?
Healthy boundaries and timing are important.
When you first start dating it is important to resist oversharing until you really know the person and determine if it is something that the person really needs to know. Sometimes sharing is productive and sometimes it is not and only provides fodder and justification for future disagreements.
Oversharing on the first date or too early in the relationship also reveals a lack of healthy boundaries and may cause the other person to shy away or see you as needy.
The issue of recovery should definitely be discussed early on to establish the boundary around maintaining sobriety. Sharing intimate details about another relationship can create distrust. If this person talks about their ex like this, what will this person say about me?
It is important to determine whether this person might be a good match and someone that you might establish a relationship before sharing too much. Will this person respect your privacy or use information against you? These are all things to consider when determining what and how much to share.
5. Some of our subscribers feel stuck in their love lives because of their past emotional baggage. This affects them in a number of ways- they either tend to compare the next man they are dating with their ex or they have trust issues because they have been cheated on before or they just cannot seem to forget their ex and move on in life.
What are some practical ways that can help women release their past emotional baggage so that they can start attracting healthy love into their lives?
The first step is to stop living as a victim and consider yourself lucky to have moved on from the relationship that caused the baggage.
Second, shift your perspective and believe that you are a survivor and empowered because of your decision to leave a toxic relationship. Seek counseling or other support to process your feelings and help you to overcome the past in healthy ways.
Remember that each one of us is different and if you want someone to see you and treat you based on who you are, you must do the same.
It is not fair to compare or label someone who has not done anything do deserve the comparison or label. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would it feel if someone did that to you? It is like living with someone else’s ghost.
Try to stay in the present and maintain the context of who you are with and not compare the situation just because it is similar.
We can create similar dynamics in each relationship because of our own habits and behaviors. It does not mean that you are dealing with the same person or the exact same situation. Maintain the integrity of the relationship by keeping the conflict relevant and focused on the here and now. By defaulting into the past, you are also avoiding doing your work to resolve the conflict in the present and doing your work in the current relationship.
6. Some of our subscribers have the tendency to ignore and overlook the red flags especially when they really like a man. In the process, they create an idealized version of the man and overestimate the feelings he has for them.
For women who have a history of fantasizing and idealizing a partner, what can they do to evaluate the man and their relationship for what it is truly worth rather than what they ideally like it to be?
I have a saying that I started using when working in a prison, “Are you who you say you are?”
I learned so much from the inmates that I worked with and what I learned from them is priceless. Not everything or everyone is what they seem to be on the surface. For people with pathology and those who are predatory, this is exactly what they want. Someone who is unhealthy wants you to have poor boundaries and get drawn in sooner than later. That way you are in too deep to get out easily once you realize who they really are.
Evaluating a potential partner takes time.
Does what they say match what they do? Do they claim to be an animal lover yet kick the stray dog you encounter? Does what the person says match what the person does? Does the person add value to your life or take away more than he or she brings? Does the person bring consistency, trust and stability to the relationship or does the person bring chaos and drama?
Being attached to the outcome can often lead to idealizing a potential partner.
It is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Just because you want it fit does not mean it does. Take a step back if you are seeing red flags. Give yourself some time to get past the honeymoon phase so to speak. There is nothing that can’t wait 24 hours to think about it before you decide.
Don’t let others rush you. Be mindful of your intention in the relationship and your attachment to the outcome. Step back and ask yourself what advice you would give your friend if she saw and experienced the same red flags you are seeing and experiencing.
7. Some of our subscribers hesitate to share their honest feelings especially as they are getting to know a man and want to grow the relationship. This hesitation comes from the fear that they may come across as someone too emotional and needy and feel that it may push the man away. So they don’t raise the issues and avoid tough conversations because they want to be the “cool” girl. Here are some examples: she goes out on a date and he says he will call her but he doesn’t. She is disappointed when he doesn’t and doesn’t discuss this when she hears back from him. Other examples are not calling ahead of time when he is running late or not making plans for a date etc.
What advice do you have for women who have issues that they want to discuss with their man but have troubles expressing them because of the fear of coming across as a nag or needy or demanding?
Holding others accountable for their behavior is not being needy.
If you don’t hold the other person accountable for their behavior, you are enabling and the behavior will not change and may even get worse over time. Give your partner the opportunity to attend to you feelings.
When you don’t give your partner the opportunity to support you, you are cheating them of the opportunity to be present in the relationship and grow.
If the person is bothered by being held accountable, then look out, this is only this is only beginning. If you think it will get better without addressing it, you are burying your head in the sand.
If you are concerned about the way that you might come across when you express your concerns, you might want to see a therapist to help you determine the healthiest and most effective ways to communicate your concerns without coming across as demanding or needy.
8. Our subscribers also run into a situation where things are going great and just when they think the relationship has great potential or feel he is the one, the man starts developing cold feet. He pull away, doesn’t respond to phone calls or text messages and in some cases disappears for a while.
What advice do you have for women who deal with men that suddenly pull away and act inconsistent?
Men and women communicate differently.
Women process out loud and men process internally. Men think about things and make a decision, but often forget to send the memo letting everyone else know about their decision.
It is best to just leave him alone.
Something spooked him or maybe he just isn’t ready or has his own baggage to deal with. Don’t take it personally because it may not be about you at all even if it seems that way. If this is how he copes with his concerns, then this might be a pattern of behavior that you don’t want any part of. Don’t get drawn in with trying to fix or rescue someone like this.
If someone wants to communicate with you, that person will.
Don’t stay at home and suspend your life. Keep going and find other activities to engage in. Hang out with friends and do your self-care. If he wants to talk, he may come around. And if he wants to talk and you have found someone else, so be it. Don’t put your life on hold for a what if.
9. Some experts recommend women wait till they get to know the man they are dating and not have sex until you both are committed to exclusivity. Some experts believe you should go with the flow and be spontaneous and not have any rules regarding when you want to sleep with a man. Can you share your thoughts on the right time to have sex?
Timing is important when it comes to sex.
You need to be honest with yourself and ask if you are the kind of person that will get drawn in too soon emotionally if you have sex too early with someone you are dating. Your values and expectations regarding sex is an important conversation to have as your dating becomes more serious.
If you are feeling pressured or are unsure, pull back and take your time.
Set your boundaries and be clear about your need for your boundaries to be respected. Again, if someone is rushing you, ask yourself why it can’t wait another 24 hours for you to think about it.
Having sex too soon may turn your date into a NSA FWB prospect instead of a boyfriend.
Is the person you are dating genuinely interested in you or the sex? Be mindful of your intentions for and in the relationship and make sure that you are both on the same page with regard to your expectations. If you are not clear, the someone that may get hurt is you because you became attached to soon because of the sex; and you didn’t know who you were really having sex with until it was over and he moved on.
10. What are your top 3 relationship tips that you would offer women who are single and looking for a long term committed relationship?
1. Make sure that the person you are with is really who they say they are.
Do not be afraid to ask yourself hard questions about a person’s behavior and intentions. Don’t overlook red flags because you are attached to the outcome. Don’t idealize or gloss over inappropriate behavior because if you don’t address it, it won’t change or it may get worse. Sociopaths and Narcissists can come across very polished and put together, but can be extremely toxic and destructive over time.
2. Stay in your integrity.
Be honest, authentic, and be yourself. Don’t overshare and set healthy boundaries. Remember if you start out with a lie, you have to maintain that lie. This is never a win-win scenario.
3. Remember that you get to determine when you are ready to have sex, not him.
Honor and respect this about yourself. He needs to come to you and have something to offer you not the other way around. You are the one being courted.
About Ileana Hinojosa
Ileana Hinojosa is Spanish/English Bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Texas. Ileana has a Masters of Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Anthropology and Sociology and a Masters of Arts in Counseling from St. Edwards University. She has over 10 years of field experience working with Latino audiences in community based settings and 4 years of policy experience.
To know more about Illeana, visit her website www.themindfullife.net.