New From @godsbutterflykw: Relationship VIP

Twitter is all a buzz. Entertainment news shows are reporting. Magazine after magazine is covered with the same headline. Who cheated on whom? Who’s dating whom? Breakup shocker! Are Rihanna and Chris Brown really back together? Jaws dropped at the news of Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman’s split up. And every week we rush to the nearest information source for the latest on Rob Pattison and Kristen Stewart. Why are we so obsessed with the love lives of these people we don’t know? We learn about their lives in sound bites and the scroll of the ticker tape. Surely there is something or another relationship perhaps, we can be concerned with.

It’s been suggested that we get so caught up in the entertainment love news as an escape from our own ‘stuff’. I wonder how much we’d really care if we were busy taking care of ourselves. Oh, I don’t know turning the tube off and spending that time learning more about ourselves; rather than dissecting who and why of which celeb should be with whom. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy star gazing as much as the next person. What if we took the time to love ourselves as much as we spend the time worrying about their love lives maybe we wouldn’t have time to do so? Make sense?

That got me to thinking. What do we, can we do to work on the most important relationship we have – our relationship with our selves. I am the VIP of my life after all! Aren’t you? ABSOLUTELY! No? Let’s look at some ways to o ascend in our personal VIP (PVIP) status.

  1. Window Cleaner. The first step to reaching optimal PVIP status is to get clear about who you ARE and who you are not. One of my favorite lines from the movie, The Color Purple, is “…Harpo who dis woman?”  While the question was being asked of a male, the point is to get in your own face and really look at the person staring back at you. There was a time when I didn’t/couldn’t see myself. I couldn’t see all the wonderful things others were saying about me. The time came to sit with who I thought I was and who I thought I was not. Where did those ideals come from? Were the inherited or self-imposed. Once I got clear about the woman in the mirror (feel free to jam your Michael Jackson in the background), I could move on to the next step.
  2. Permission Granted. Give yourself permission to choose you. Put yourself back at the top of your (never-ending) to-do list. That’s not selfish. It’s necessary. This will be new for some and a reminder to others. You’ve heard the parallel of the in air safety review, that instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first. It truly is just that basic. You can’t be your best in any relationship capacity (personal, romantic or professional), if your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual oxygen level is low. It’s like running a computer that needs more bandwidth – it just doesn’t function at its best. So, how do you add more energetic bandwidth to your life?                 Think things that will simultaneously a) benefit you directly, b) give you peace within and c) cultivate your body, mind, and spirit. Do things that say I LOVE YOU – to you!  Think of it as courting yourself.
  3. Un-Cuffed. All too often we are bound by I should, I have to, and Yeah but. Saying no to what we feel obligated to or pressured by is not a bad thing. No is actually a beautiful word. It only has two letters and rolls smoothly over the tongue. The thing is sometimes we get so used to saying no, we look up years later and realize somewhere along the way we started saying no to ourselves; in addition to saying those things that feel heavy and don’t feed our spirit. You probably won’t come out of the gate shaking your Yay Me! pom poms. It’s a journey. And you may have to remind yourself. That is perfectly okay. Feel free to repeat as needed.
  4. Add Three Cups of Joy and Stir. What makes you happy? What brings you child-like giggle joy? When is the last time you did something that added joy to your life?  If it helps, think back to what you enjoyed as a child. I remember coloring, gold fish and playing in the water. I still love being in water to this day. Every chance I get, I play in the water. Recently I went to the local pet store to learn about fish. I’ll be adding a small fish tank to my office (a tad different from the single gold fish I had as a kid). Every now and then I still color. Yes, in a coloring book! Don’t judge me –lol. Seriously, what things make you smile from the inside out? It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Keep it simple. Don’t overthink it.

Becoming your PVIP is a learned way of life, not taught to everyone. Some of us need a refresher course. Wherever you are on your PVIP journey, you are not alone. There are others on the same journey and luckily for you, you have me (smile) to help you on the way!

Have questions or just want to share part of your journey? I’m an email away at chiefheartwranglerr@whatthelove.org.

Remember, if you don’t define you, someone else will. And that’s too important a job to leave to just anyone.

X’s and O’s

AskCoachSteph: What About Your Friends?

Steph,
I need your help! I started seeing a girl and she’s amazing! We’re moving at a pretty good pace, not too fast or slow…it works for us. Of course, we’ve have a few issues, and I told my a buddy of mine, and it was no big deal. Now, it seems that everyone else has something to say (I guess one buddy told another and so on), and I am tired of it! They keep reminding me about my ex, and she was crazy, I know, but this girl is not like that.

How can make them stop bothering me?  I appreciate that they care, but I think I am doing a good job of handling the situation on my own.

PLEASE HELP!

-BFM

[warning] Use the advice below at your own discretion.  WhatTheLove/Coach Steph promise no outcomes, but provide the following response for entertainment and educational purposes ONLY. (The Legal Department has spoken.) [/warning]

Dear BFM,
Wouldn’t you know that I just finished screaming that I wish everyone would leave me alone about a certain situation? (Which is why I had to answer you this week. LOL!)

Our friends usually mean well, but sometimes it is too much to deal with. While you didn’t state the “issue,” I am going to assume that it wasn’t major enough to warrant termination of the relationship, nor is it a “Book of Bye” type of situation. As such is the case, telling your “buddy” your concerns is fine, but for everyone to have an opinion, that’s just too much.

So here are your options:
Tell everyone to get off your back!  While this sounds drastic, there is a way to CALMLY and NICELY let your friends know that you do appreciate their concerns, but that they also must not bring the Ex into the Next.  Whatever happened before, is not happening now, and even if there was an issue, as long as you can return to a healthy relationship, then everyone should just chill out.

Put up with this nonsense in silence! Now this may seem easier, but it’s not.  As you suffer in silence, your frustrations will find an outlet–which may be your relationship.  There’s really no reason to put up with the intrusion of others’ opinions and advice, unless you want to do…which if you wanted to, you wouldn’t have reached out to moi, right?

Take their feedback as gospel, and run the risk of ruining your new relationship.  This is different from suffering in silence, because it means that you are silently agreeing with them.  Sure, our friends have seen us through a fair share of relationships; however, that doesn’t give them carte blanche to remind us of our mistakes at every turn.  If you begin to believe whatever they are telling you, you will surely begin to sabotage this new relationship, just because it seems easier than being wrong.

I don’t know what you’ll choose, but I’d like to offer you a little help with my Be a Rockstar video (and here’s the link, because I like you :D). The Be a ROCKSTAR program talks about boundaries and who to let into your VIP area. Get the idea?  So, if there are at least 3 people who are getting on your last nerve…then this is the program for you.

Ok, so now you’re equipped to make some choices…choose wisely.

Xoxo,

Coach Steph :-X

AskCoachSteph: I Said I Didn’t Care…But I Do.

Coach Steph,
I was dating this guy for 6 months, and everything was going great. But, we never said that we were exclusive, so, I started seeing someone else.

Anyway, now I am confused.  I still like the first guy more, but he found out that I was seeing someone and we had a big fight.  I told him that I didn’t care what he thought about me seeing the other guy…but I lied.  I really wanted him to say that he wanted to be with me, but I was too scared to say that, because I didn’t want to say it out  loud.

HELP!  I don’t know what to do know.

I Care…da** it!

-D.P.R.

[warning][/warning] Use the advice below at your own discretion.  WhatTheLove/Coach Steph promise no outcomes, but provide the following response for entertainment and educational purposes ONLY. (The Legal Department has spoken.)

Dear DPR,

As someone who has tested many, many men, the truth is that you know EXACTLY what to do…you just have to muster up the courage to do two things:

  1. Decide that you are okay with WHATEVER the outcome is, when you go back to Guy #1 and tell him that you want to be with him.
  2. Decide to go back and tell him–not text him, not email him, but call him up, and make time to tell him what you feel face to face.

When we like someone, we all seem to goto mush.  We seek having the upper hand, in a situation where there are no winners or losers.  Admit it, the real reason that you started seeing the other guy was because you wanted a reaction from Guy #1.  You got a reaction when he got upset (make a note of that), but you remain confused because he didn’t say what you want him to say in the heat of that moment.

Too many RomComs….I know…

It’s okay I’ve been there.

The best solution here is what I call the Communication Situation.  It requires you to do 3 three things:

Thing One: Be humble

Thing Two: Be HONEST

Thing Three: Get the whole story

Be humble because you have to eat little crow.  You know you went out and flashed your “I am a big, bad single chic badge” and made a bit of a stir.  But it’s okay.  When you call, be quick to apologize, and ask (not demand or require) that they schedule some time to speak with you.  Remember, you have to be okay with the outcome (see my earlier statement), so if he doesn’t want to meet with you, then don’t press the issue.  Just reiterate that you are sorry, and leave it there.  Call it woman’s intuition, but I do believe that he’ll want to speak with you…keep me posted.

Be HONEST.  This is NOT the time to be coy or cute about what happened, or about what you want.  Honesty is the best policy.  So, once you set this date, show up, explain briefly, and then be honest about what you want from this guy.  It’s that simple.  All he can say is that he wants the same thing…or not.  Either way, you will cease being confused about how this situation will work out for you.

Get the whole story.  If you are not cute or coy about the situation, then this may not be a problem.  However, I will say this: If you want to know if Guy #1 wants to be with you exclusively, then ask that EXACT question.  Do not ask him trite or trivial questions, such as, “do you miss me?” “have you thought about me?” and other things that truly don’t matter in this moment.  All that matters in this moment is that you get a complete answer to the question that you have.  If his response leaves you wondering, then clarify…again GET THE WHOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE STORY!

In conclusion, don’t beat yourself up.  As women, we live (especially our love lives) as double agents.  Strong on the outside, but ooey and gooey on the inside.  As such is the case, sometimes we say and do things in an effort to preserve our strength and to avoid being vulnerable.  As I told you in “Why Don’t You Act Like a Man…” we are emotional creatures…it’s okay.  The man that loves you will embrace that part of you.

Now, all that’s left to do is to pick up the phone…are…you…ready?

Keep me posted…it’s Snuggleville or bust!

Xoxo,

Coach Steph 😉

Ready for a (Relationship) Revolution?

Me and Charles had a blast! Join in “the revolution!”

Dating is like interviewing for a job: You keep your best foot forward, make the best possible impression and hope they don’t see any of the flaws that make you YOU. So does that mean dating is like business? As a wrap-up to Charles’s month-long Online Dating Intensive, Charles discusses the business aspects of relationships with Stephanie D. McKenzie (aka “Coach Steph“), certified life coach and author of The Business of Dating: Traditional Business Principles for your Modern Dating Life! Get to know how you are presenting yourself, establish early boundaries, and read early red flags. Don’t miss this episode!

Listen here.

All the #SingleLadies…

I have held my tongue long enough!

After being repeatedly disappointed in the second season of the dollar-store version of Sex and the City, known to most of you, as “Single Ladies,” it’s time to make some things clear…

Single Ladies is doing its millions of viewers–who are largely female– a huge disservice.  Not only are these characters void of executive level careers, it seems that their every dating move, must culminate in some version of sex, which usually creates a even more dysfunctional relationship than what was occuring pre-sex.

In fact, all of the relationships on this show exhibit some level of dysfunction.  But, we continue to tune in because, for some, this is just life imitating art imitating life.

WTH?!

I was almost proud of the character played by Denise Vasi (Raquel) when she decided that she could date two different men.  However, my pride was dashed (no pun intended) to bits as she took the opportunity to bed one of them during the same episode.  Dating aint’ mating–consummating, that is–and as such is the case, should you follow the example of Denise’s character, you will end up just like she did…empty handed.

I won’t even go into the exploits of LisaRaye’s character, because the truth is that she is too old to be ungainfully employed, and driving the Ashton Martin her ex-signif bought for her.  While there are some of you reading this who think that is cute.  The truth is, she should be able to afford her own.  Her own Ashton Martin, her own house, and her own life.  But, that’s enough about that.

If you haven’t noticed, everytime one of these women engages in the sexual conquests, they are the ones that are conquered.  The lusts and passions of these characters are very true to life, and the outcomes of their decisions are very true to life, too.  If you continue to use sex as a toy, tool, plot, or powerplay, you will remain as these characters do: SINGLE.

It’s no secret that I don’t advocate for pre-marital sex–in my life, or in my practice; however, if you don’t want to ride that wave with me, at least be mindful of the fact that sex is nothing to play with.  It is nothing that you use to get or keep someone, nor is it something that is casual and without consequences.

Listen, relationships take time to build, and when you add sex before that foundation has been poured (and dried), then you leave yourself in a very vulnerable position.  I am not saying that you should implement a three-month rule, or some ridiculous RULE for when you will give your body to someone, I am saying that sex will change your relationship.  Done too early, it will change it for the worse.  Too early for me, if before there’s a hyphen in my last name; however, again, you may not want to ride that wave with me–that’s fine.  Just be clear about what you are doing when you are “doing it.”  And to make it clear, you are shifting the possibility of building a relationship on ROCK, to one that is built on SAND.  Have you ever seen a house built on sand? Nope–there’s a reason for that.

Bottom line…acting like a “single lady” will keep you a…(wait for it)

…single lady!

If that’s where you want to be, then carry on as your were.  If not, then perhaps you need to reroute the path that you are on, and let Raquel, April and Keisha be characters you watch, not people you imitate.

#CoachStephHasSpoken