Room for improvement
Your behaviors and habits develop over time, often without you ever being aware of their development. Same goes for me, too, of course. I know I need to take a step back and look at some of my behaviors and tweak them. When this project is accomplished, what in my life will be different? What SHOULD be different?
It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve actually been waiting for somebody to get in my face and say, “Who’s fault is it that you haven’t been kissed? It’s nobody’s fault but yours. If you wanted a kiss, you should have gotten out there and gotten your kiss!” And for that, I would have no snappy response. It’s true. When somebody finally does say that, I’m going to be left shrugging my shoulders and nodding my head in agreement. Lame, but inescapable.
So, where’s the room for improvement? Do I have some common behavior glitches that I ought to consider reprogramming? My friend Erin suggested I talk to a therapist, not in the “you’re nuts” way (I hope), but in the “do it for your blog” kind of way.
Enter Millen Umoh, a licensed psychotherapist. In her blog, Psych and the Single Girl, I found a post from a few months back: Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Single Women. Perfect! Sounds like something I could use. It’s actually a list of things to STOP doing (you’ll have to refer to her post if you want her friendly guidance about what to do instead):
“1. Living by a timetable”
Well, I screwed the pooch already. However, I’m giving myself permission on this one: I should have had a kiss by now, it’s overdue, and I want that kiss yesterday!*
In general, though, this list item is more focused on setting a timetable for love/marriage/kids. That’s not really something I’ve ever had a timetable on. The only life timetable I have going on is that I want to travel someplace new and interesting at least every other year.
On the other hand, I do fall into a mental trap of, “Well, I’ve never had any relationship, let alone a serious one. Isn’t it just a bit too late to start?” And I know I’m wrong, but that doesn’t mean that thought doesn’t still pop into my head now and then. It’s a self-defeating thought that’d be good to ditch.
“2. Waiting for company”
This list item is about getting out there and doing things solo. I’ve done some little things solo, but nothing major.
I was so impressed with my friend Lauren when she went traveling abroad on her own just because she wanted to. She floored me, leaving me in awe when she came back with great stories. And because most of my friends aren’t available to be travel buddies lately (they keep getting married and producing offspring), I need to grow a pair and really consider traveling on my own.
“3. Saying ‘there are no good men out there’”
Of course there are good men out there! They’re the gay or married ones.
Mm, I don’t really have a problem seeing that there are good men out there. Of course there are good men. It’s more like I’m saying “there just isn’t a good man for me.” Which, I know, just like with number 1, I’m wrong, but it’s still the thought growing in my head like green gunk growing on old bread.
“4. Sleeping around” and “5. Sleeping with your ex”
LOL, not even a concern. Moving on!
“6. Tearing down other women”
Huh? Wait, adult women still do this? Wow, sorry, I’m even more socially out of it than I thought. Tearing down others out of jealousy is high school stuff.
I think, for this list item, the reverse needs to be added because it’s just as common if not more common: “Tearing down yourself in comparison with other women.” Jealousy doesn’t always turn catty. It can just as easily be self-demoting. For instance, when I read posts by The Bloggess, I don’t want to tear her down. Rather, I want to beat my head on the desk and cry because I can’t write like she does and because there are no homicidal monkeys in my life to write about (proof that reading The Bloggess may lead to concussions). If only I could come across a depressive lemur…
“7. Trying to be perfect”
Who’s trying? I’m perfectly flawed.
“8. Stalking your ex-boyfriend”
Please refer to my response for 4 and 5.
“9. Turning up your nose at online dating”
LA LA LA! *fingers in ears* I’m not listening!
I’ve tried the online dating thing. I dipped my toes into the pool. I didn’t like it. Oh, it’s tons of fun to go through the lists of people, searching for potential. That I enjoyed. But everything about making contact, responding to mail, and meeting up felt so incredibly unnatural. I felt like I was going through motions like a clockwork toy. If you asked me whether I would prefer to meet a really attractive, nice man through online dating or wear a rainbow clown wig, a set of fake vampire teeth, and a hula skirt to a team meeting at work, I would have a hard time deciding. I’d probably try to talk you down from the hula skirt to just the wig and teeth, and then it’d be no contest.
I know. Online dating is something I should reconsider, perhaps try again, but eeeaauugghh, I don’t want to! Alternatives could be interesting, but any alternative I hear of costs a sum that makes my paycheck look runty.
“10. Thinking that marriage will solve all your problems”
I have my head on straight. I know that both situations, single and married, come with different benefits and problems.
I think this list is targeted largely at single women who are dating and have been dating, but the list has some gems that are useful for a single girl more like me: 1, 2, 3, and 9 are things I know I need to work on.
Everyone has behaviors and ways of thinking that they’d be better off without. Sometimes it’s just hard to pinpoint those pests and squash them. Do you have any that you’re trying to squash? Not necessarily about being single…just, are you getting stuck in any mental traps, like I sometimes do?
* To my fellow grammar geeks: Redundancy has been deliberately abused for emphasis, so STET.