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3 Critical Mistakes You’re Probably Making That Hold You Back from Finding a Good Partner

3 Critical Mistakes You’re Probably Making That Hold You Back from Finding a Good Partner

Everybody needs love.

But it’s not always easy to find it.

In fact, sometimes we get into such a rut of thinking a certain way that it can actually keep us from connecting with a potential partner. Or it might keep sending us to the wrong kind of partner: one who seems attractive at first, but ultimately isn’t good for a healthy, long-term relationship. If you feel like that’s happening in your life, take a look at these three critical mistakes that might be holding you back.

1. You’re not at peace with who you are.

I am all about becoming a better person everyday. And so are you, if you’re hanging out at LifeHack. You want to be better. You want to learn. You have a core of dissatisfaction that keeps you from settling, from being comfortable with average.

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Personal growth is a noble endeavor if you pursue it from a sense of your own worth as a person. That sense of inherent worth—knowing that you matter, even if you never get as “good” as you want to be—gives you a deep, settled peace with who you are as a person. You have to know, as you seek to grow and improve, that the core of who you are is invaluable, amazing, and inherently worthwhile.

Being at peace with who you are means that you aren’t out to prove yourself to any person or any group. You’re developing yourself for your own reasons, because you realize that you’re worthwhile and you have the ability to contribute to the world in a meaningful way. When you pursue growth and self-betterment from that perspective, you do it with calmness, with peace, and with compassion.

When you’re not at peace with who you are, you change to please others. Your need for approval will outweigh your own confidence, and you will hide your quirks, your desires, your personality, and your needs in order to fit in to someone else’s expectations. But nobody can keep that up forever.

When you begin a relationship on a false note, eventually you have to decide: am I going to be honest about who I am, or am I going to walk away from this relationship to avoid being honest?

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When you are not at peace with who you are, you project an image of yourself. And that image isn’t always very close to the real thing. So you end up attracting people to an image, but not to the real you. In short, you’re attracting the wrong kind of people—people who fit your image, but not people who fit with your core, your heart, your real self. In order to attract those kind of people, you have to put away the image and be real.

2. You believe the fronts that other people put up.

When you are not at peace with who you are, and you’re operating mainly behind a front yourself, it’s difficult to see that others are doing the same. You want people to believe in the image you project of yourself, and you want to believe it yourself. Sometimes you do. You get so into your role, so invested in this image, that you blind yourself to what’s really going on.

You will see in others what they project to you. Your inability to go deeper and be honest about yourself affects how you see others. Unfortunately, that means you are blind to the fronts that other people might put up, as well. That guy who is always cocky or that girl who acts like she knows it all? You believe them. You don’t really see that they’re just trying to justify their own existence and hide their insecurities.

In the world of relationships, this blindness can be kind of scary, because the most troubled, insecure, and hurting people tend to put up rather big and bold fronts. If you can’t see through that, you might jump into a relationship that you think is with a confident, secure, stable person, inwardly hoping that they will balance out all your insecurity. Eventually you will find that they have the same insecurities and pains, and you can’t help each other until you both do a little inward healing and growing yourself.

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3. You don’t have a life of your own yet.

Maybe you’re still depending on your parents.

Maybe your peers, best friends, your old relationships, or your co-workers are defining your lifestyle for you.

There is some person or group you depend on to tell you what you like, what you do, where you go, and what you’re about.

You have never stepped away long enough to develop your own interests and your own opinions. It’s probably because you’re still not at peace with who you are, so you’re not willing to step out there and say: this is what I’m about; this is what I like; this is who I am. You’re still trying to hold a front up and fulfill other people’s expectations.

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It’s time to break free from that.

When you don’t have your own interests and your own life yet, you will be looking for a partner to provide those for you. But the truth is this: no one else can give you your own life. Only you can do that. And it’s only when you decide to do that, and start building a life of your own, that you will attract and recognize someone whose life is compatible with yours.

Not someone just like you. Not someone with a substitute life you can hide in. But someone whose life can complement yours, can mesh with it in good ways, while you also both maintain your own identities and interests.

You want to share certain core values and interests, and also have offshoots that are uniquely yours. This combination is what gives a relationship strength and solidarity (in shared interests and shared values) and enough breathing space and individuality (in the things that are each uniquely yours) that you can respect and value each other, long-term.

But you can’t get that kind of relationship unless you first know what you’re about, and can be at peace with who you are. Start working on accepting yourself and building a life you love, and see what happens.

Featured photo credit: kohlmann.sascha via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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