Hello everybody, welcome to Episode 20 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we answer all of your life questions on the show.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino. Today’s inquiry allows us to dip into romance a little bit and the complicated process of meeting the right person, being open but also having standards — you know the drill and how tough it can be. But let’s see if you’ve heard this one before.
QUESTION: “How do you trust your intuition and still make logical decisions? I acted on a feeling about meeting someone new. I instantly regretted it. I know I should have waited on reacting, at least one day. But I have followed my intuitions before, and then it turned out wrong. I am learning from it all, but when will I be able to trust myself? I am 58 years old and STILL not getting it right.”
Why the Instant Regret?
Let’s take it from the top. First of all, what I’m curious about is why you regretted meeting that person. I want to know, but what I want more is for YOU to know. Do me a favor — well, do us both a favor — and write down a list of all the reasons you regretted meeting this person instantly.
Look at this list you have in front of you and ask yourself how LOGICAL it is for you to have the reasons immediately upon meeting them. Unless this person did something incredibly insane — maybe he arrived at the restaurant with his pants down or handed you a Nickelback CD — my bet is that you’re jumping the gun a little bit and thus not being logical at all.
That’s okay. Let’s just explore that:
I know you said you should have “waited” on reacting, which is fair, but at the same time, you can’t really control your emotions too much or at least say you’re right or wrong for feeling something. So the predicament you seem to be in at the moment is that you want to give this person enough of a chance but you simply can’t bring yourself to.
Or are you perhaps just wanting to give them a chance for the sake of saying you did, but in reality, your mind is made up from the get go? After all, psychological research suggests that changing our minds is very difficult once our minds are made up on something important.
Intuition and the Labeling of Good and Bad
Whatever the case may be, you’re coming to a lot of snap decisions and labeling good and bad very quickly, and I suspect that that habit is the culprit here, not only for this new person, but for the other times you’ve followed your intuition before and had it turn out wrong.
Beneath the list of reasons I had you put together about why you regretted meeting this person or what you felt was wrong with them, are feelings; the feelings you have that are tied to these reasons and drive you to find them in the first place.
Next thing I want you to consider is what the feelings are. Of course there’s the sense of intuition which is inevitably laced with hope and eagerness. But what else?
Did you feel yourself being open and peaceful as one normally would alongside hope and eagerness? My guess is no. My guess, or at least my fear, is that failed meet ups with people you felt intuitively good about in the past have resulted in failure, over time causing you to have a hard time differentiating between intuition and skepticism. When I say it aloud, it sounds like there’s a lot of assumption there, but if you have your mind made up — based on how you asked the question — that each time you follow your intuition it ends up blowing up in your face, then how good of a chance are you giving yourself to meet the right person? It makes sense that you have a hard time trusting yourself.
But I don’t think it’s a problem with intuition; I think it’s a problem with expectation.
The Problem with Expectations
You say you can’t get it right after 58 years, but surely all of your attempts to meet the right person in that time weren’t based on intuition alone.
Expectation is the pattern I’m concerned about, and I’m especially convinced of the expectation you might be putting on these people you meet, because I see you putting them on yourself. You speak about what you should have done, you talk about not getting THIS right, and THAT turning out wrong.
Where’s the flow? Where’s the acceptance? Where’s the gray area?
I just want you to be kind enough with yourself and patient enough with yourself first and foremost. If this is something you have a hard time doing — and it’s up to you to reflect honestly on that — then you’re definitely not going to do be any easier on other people. Meeting the right person WILL require compromise. It will require you to see past some of their less desirable traits and love them for who they are. Right now, you’re not even patient enough to do that throughout the duration of one date, let alone a long-term romantic relationship.
Again, this is fine if it’s where you are. I’m here to tell you that this is not yet another thing to start saying you’re “wrong” for feeling or doing or whatever. It just IS. And being that it IS, it’s where you’ll have to start if you’re going to break this pattern of strict expectations that doesn’t seem to be getting you where you want to go.
Being More Accepting of Yourself and Others
To start that process, it’s important for you to reflect on WHY you put such quick decisions onto yourself and others.
I think it’s important for you to get in touch with the things you can do better, and be okay with the fact that you can do them better.
Maybe think back on times where your shortcomings ended up helping you out. These are important questions for you to ask about yourself first, and then to ask them about others, like these people that you’re meeting.
It’s all in an effort to become more lenient with the “bad characteristics” of yourself and others so you can, in turn, become more accepting of yourself and others. That’s how you become more patient with yourself, become more patient on dates, get to know yourself better, get to know others better, and ultimately be set up to create healthy relationships with both.
And that does it for today, my friends. I really hope I was on track with this question.
It’s difficult subject matter, relationships are so important — so I just want to say thank you for sending this question in. It was honor to offer a hand at helping you just as it is in each episode.
If you have something you need help with and would like to submit a question, and have it answered on the show, you can email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are sending a book from our collection to those submitting questions, so that’s something to look forward to as well! Have a great day, everybody, we’ll see you for the next one.