Interview With Lindsey Ellison: Sharing Her Thoughts on Overcoming Dating Anxiety, Dealing With Resentment and Much More
1. A common problem our subscribers face especially those who are coming out of a messy divorce or breakup is lack of self-belief and confidence. They wonder if there are enough eligible men looking for a serious long term relationship, they doubt if men would find them attractive and some also suffer from body image issues.
What advice do you have for women to overcome this problem?
Yes, a messy divorce or break up can certainly mess with your self-confidence.
So before you start dating and put yourself in a vulnerable place, you gotta get your groove back first. It is SO important to love yourself first before others can love you. How can you expect a man to love and accept your body if you don’t do that for yourself first?
A good man won’t care about your cellulite or your droopy breasts – he will care about YOU and what’s in your heart. If you care about those things so much, then you will attract someone who also cares about those things.
Attractiveness comes within and it’s not always about appearance.
How many times have you dated a guy who was super hot but then he just lacked character or a sense of humor? I’m sure the relationship fizzled. I have dated men who weren’t really all that good looking but if they make me laugh, then I end up finding them attractive.
To gain self confidence post-divorce or break up means you need to be on your own for a bit – prove to yourself you’ve got it, go on an adventure that’s just you, or pick up a new hobby.
Don’t jump back in right away because if you do, a guy will sense your lack of confidence from a mile away and then drop you – because that’s just not attractive.
And if you don’t go into dating with the attitude, “I’m awesome and it’s a privilege for you to date me,” then you’ll just be even more hurt when things don’t work out, thus damaging your confidence even more.
2. 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?
If you look at a past relationship as “what was done to you” and you were the victim, then it’s going to prevent you from meeting someone healthy and wonderful.
I always talk about seeing the past relationship as a huge blessing and encourage people to ask themselves, “What was the lesson?” If you don’t understand the lesson and only see it as something bad that happened, then you will be forever stuck.
For instance, let’s say you saw red flags from the moment you started dating your ex, but you continued the relationship for months or years. But if you now know that you must honor those red flags in your dating, then you’ve learned a wonderful lesson from your past relationship. Sometimes it takes many, many relationships to learn the valuable lessons that will help us meet our mate.
You may also want to write a good-bye letter to your ex but never send it to him.
In the letter tell him how much he hurt you, but then thank him for teaching you the lesson you learned. You can do something ceremonial with that letter like burning it and throwing the ashes into the water, or getting your best girlfriends together and reading it to them and you all rip it up together. Creating closure for yourself can help, even if you never have exact closure with your ex.
Finally, stop focusing on what didn’t happen in your past relationship, but what is going to happen in your next one.
You can manifest this by being positive and feeling open. Write down all it is that you desire, just as if the Universe was taking your order. Start feeling what it is like for this guy to come into your life.
Suddenly this shifts your energy from being a bitter, angry person to being a loving person.
How can you attract anyone new if you’re stuck in the past? Start falling in love with this dream guy now and you will notice how many new men come into your life and hopefully the one is there too!
3. As women prepare themselves to date men after a breakup or divorce, they often find dating intimidating and stressful. They feel out of touch, out of place and suffer from anxiety because it has been a long time since they have gone out on a date. Some even call dating a dreaded chore.
How can women overcome this intense anxiety and start enjoying the dating process?
It is only stressful and a chore if you are attached to the outcome of the entire dating process.
Of course, we date to find one match, but if you are fully attached to just that outcome, you will be constantly disappointed if it doesn’t work out – that is where the stress comes in. The more likely (and less stressful) outcome of dating is that you get to meet a lot of new people.
Go into it by asking yourself, “Who am I going to meet this time? What friends will I make? What new experiences will I get from it? Where will I travel next? What will I learn this time?”
I dated this one guy who ended up becoming my best friend, and he coached me through other dates.
I dated another guy who’s sister ended up becoming my best friend. I dated another guy who brought me to a business dinner and a guest there ended up becoming my client. Dating brings friendships and new experiences, not just the guy who you end up marrying. While I am happily remarried and I don’t miss dating, I do miss the new things that came with dating. So enjoy dating – really enjoy it.
Trust that it won’t last forever and know one day you’ll look back on it and think, “that’s where I really learned a ton about myself.”
4. One of the famous lines from the movie Jerry Maguire is “You complete me.” As incredibly romantic as it sounds, it resonates with how so many people enter into a relationship- expecting the partner to make them happy. We find a number of our subscribers embracing this flawed line of thinking where they seem to be too dependent on their partners to make them happy. You want to be in a relationship to be happier and not to be happy and if you are expecting a man to make you happy, you are setting yourself up for eventual failure and heartbreak.
Can you share your advice on how women can ensure that in the course of a relationship, they don’t lose themselves and burden their partners to make them happy?
I can’t agree with you more on this. Nobody should complete you. Ever.
If you think this way, then you are putting a big burden on the relationship from the get-go. Think of a relationship like a big skyscraper – before you build it, it requires a good foundation and stable support structures. These support structures, or beams, require to stand firmly on their own in order to support the entire building. Do you ever see a support beam leaning over onto another, or relying on the strength of another beam for support?
No, certainly not! It would fall apart, right? So now think of you and your partner as support beams who each carry a burden of weight and responsibility in order to make a solid relationship.
Should your partner “complete you” it means you aren’t strong enough from the start.
It is so easy for us to want to be “saved”, and when we are alone it doesn’t always feel comfortable. But then you run the risk of finding a guy who actually likes to do the saving, and you could potentially fall for a narcissist who loves to be in that kind of role. I always have an expression: In a relationship, 1+1 does not equal 2, it equals two ones. If you can remain two ones, the relationship will blossom into something awesome.
5. Sometimes our subscribers are so scared of losing their man or they refuse to accept the reality that the relationship is over and in the process, they numb their feelings or resort to desperate tactics. They resort to excessive texting and calling, dating other men just to make their man jealous, having sex with him hoping that would save their relationship etc. I guess the root cause of all these behaviors is to avoid pain- I don’t want to feel the pain of being betrayed, I don’t want to feel the pain of being dumped etc.
How can women bravely face their fears instead of working towards avoiding them?
If a man doesn’t want to be with you, why would you EVER want to be with him?
Women are naturally wired to be givers but too often we over give, especially when the person we’re giving to doesn’t deserve it! Stop and think, ladies, if you find yourself chasing after a relationship that is definitely over, or if a guy just doesn’t want to be with you – is this what you require in a relationship? Don’t you deserve 100% abundance from a relationship? Of course you do!
I’m not sure if this behavior is so much about avoiding pain, but more about not raising the bar for yourself, and having zero tolerance for bad behavior.
It’s time you start thinking you are a bad ass, and someone must EARN your love and trust – don’t just give it away. And the more you chase after something that is over, the more you are preventing someone new and awesome to come into your life.
Rather than focusing on your FEARS, focus on your AMAZINGNESS (is this a word?).
Look inward and love yourself – the more you chase after someone with texts and phone calls, you are just telling that guy you’re not that worth it. He’s gonna think, “Man, I’m not even returning her calls and she STILL is after me – she must not have any respect for herself.” I’m sure at one point you have had a guy chase after you and it’s really not hot, and you lose all respect for him. The same goes for you.
6. A number of our subscribers also suffer from being in relationships with years of resentment and hidden anger. This comes from lack of communication, lack of understanding, one partner compromising and sacrificing more than the other etc.
What are some ways for women to effectively deal with resentment before it destroys their relationship?
Resentment usually comes from the other partner’s unwillingness to change, no matter what you try and do.
I probably have an unorthodox view on this, but I don’t think anyone should stay in a relationship if both of you aren’t willing to compromise and there’s only resentment left.
While our culture gets criticized for being too pro-divorce, I tend to counter that criticism and say we are a culture of over-tolerance, especially women. We put up with too much and way too long, for fear of being labeled as “giving up” or not sticking it out.
Human beings are extremely complicated and to me, it’s a miracle people can stay happy in a relationship for years and years.
Yes, it takes work and dedication – but it also takes compromise, trust, friendship, and mutual affection. So while I don’t ever suggest bailing on a relationship without a lot of effort, at some point you just need to move on. Resentment is toxic and can affect your entire soul. You have one beautiful life – make it count.
7. One reason why women tend to be stressed out is because they tend to place everyone else above themselves including their friends and family. When they spend money or time on themselves, they usually feel guilty.
How can women overcome this habit and stop beating themselves when they engage in self care?
Per my earlier answer, women are the best care givers but we over give when we shouldn’t!
Whether you have children or not, I think we are born with this instinct to protect and nurture, and jump in front of a train to save our children. This wonderful instinct is what gives life as well as save it from being extinct – quite the power we have, don’t we?
However, this instinct needs to be harnessed and protected so that we don’t tire ourselves and burn out.
You can’t be that care giver unless you give care to yourself, and also learn to RECEIVE care from others. It’s not easy for someone to pamper us – just let go and let them do it! I laughed when I read this question because I suffer from this exact habit, although I’m becoming more aware of it.
My new motto for 2015 is to do one thing for myself every day that’s just for me.
And that is tough! But it makes me a happier mom, wife, and writer – and that’s what the world deserves, a happy you who can keep on doing what you do best!
8. Another difficulty our subscribers face is trying to cultivate habits that stick for the long term. One of our subscribers recently commented on how she feels good and positive when she listens to a motivating speech or when she reads a self help book but it doesn’t take long for her to get bombarded with negative thoughts. The daily grind and routine of life seems to quickly negate any positive progress she makes. In her words, when I take one step forward, within no time I am pushed three steps back.
Can you share any practical strategies that can help women to not just feel good in the moment but work towards a positive change that lasts?
I totally get it! I call this the Mean Girl Voice and our Mean Girl can really take over if we let her!
I actually have an entire coaching exercise that deals with this. That voice is a culmination of the many influencers in your life growing up. Perhaps you had that one teacher who was always hard on you. Or maybe when you were a little girl your mother said you looked fat in that one dress you loved.
It doesn’t take a lot of negativity in our childhood to make our Mean Girl Voice say horrible things! And then we’ve got the mainstream media screaming down our throats with messages saying we must be prettier, smarter, richer, thinner, etc. So of course it’s difficult to keep positive!
Try this exercise, and make this a daily practice to get the Mean Girl to go to her room and stay!
Purge all of your negative thoughts in a journal or even write an email to yourself. Write them all down – don’t be shy, no one is going to see this but you. Then talk BACK at each thought, as if you were your own best friend. What would your bestie say to you? What would God or your inner spirit say? Would they agree? Certainly not, because none of those thoughts is really true.
By talking back at your thoughts allows your Nice Girl voice to take precedence – and you’re actually training your brain to undo bad thoughts and feed yourself good thoughts! It really, really works.
Lastly, practice gratefulness – always.
Be grateful for your fortunes and all of your beautiful gifts. It immediately centers you and makes you impervious to negativity!
9. What are your top 3 relationship tips that you would offer women who are single and looking for a long term committed relationship?
1. Love thyself first.
It sounds incredibly cliché but if you can’t love yourself, how can you expect someone else to do the same? Loving yourself means not putting up with bullshit and waiting for the right one to EARN your love back.
2. Don’t give away the cookie – If you truly want a committed relationship, don’t have sex with him until he is ready for the same.
Don’t have sex thinking maybe he will want a relationship if only you have sex with him – no way, he’s an asshole, next. If you want to have sex just for the sake of getting laid (and face it, sometimes we just need it), don’t expect a relationship. And don’t have sex right away with a guy who you actually like – you’re gonna give away the cookie too soon and he won’t want to be with you long term!
3. Beware of narcissists – maybe it’s because I specialize in this area, but narcissists are everywhere and they are especially online.
I spend countless coaching hours helping women break free of their narcissists and it’s an incredibly hard thing to do once you’re in it. There are many, many ways of how to spot a narcissist on the first or second date, and that’s a whole other interviewing topic! Huffington Post offers a lot of these kinds of articles, and I have written many of them. Be prepared for what triggers a narcissist and how you might be attracting one!
10. What books or resources would you recommend for women that are looking to attract the right man and create long lasting fulfilling relationships?
I tend to steer away from the typical, pop-culture relationship books and like to recommend books about personal and spiritual growth. Because if you don’t have “you” worked out, you’re only going to find someone who reflects your current state of being. A strong, healthy you will attract a strong, healthy man.
1. The Vortex by Esther Hicks – she is the founding mother of Law of Attraction and will share some mind blowing techniques!
2. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
3. Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch – this book was a life changer for me. I still keep this by my bed table when I need a quick reminder.
About Lindsey Ellison
Lindsey Ellison is a divorce and breakup coach and founder of Start Over. Find Happiness., a coaching practice that helps women navigate their divorce or breakup, and create a life they love post-divorce. She is a divorced mother of two boys and happily re-married.
For more information, please visit her at www.lindseyellison.com.