Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. The day EVERYONE wants to be loved. Yes, we all want to be loved everyday, but this time of year is a great time to take stock of where we are and see if we want to upgrade.
How much more love and connection would you like in your life?
On a scale of 0-10, (with 10 being having all the love you could ever imagine) my love life is a ___.
It’s rare for people to be a 10. And one of the biggest reasons is we don’t invite connection.
This was so surprising to me when I first realized it. I certainly WANTED connection. I was very willing for people to reach out to me. But I wasn’t giving signs, and I wasn’t reaching out myself nearly as much as it seemed from the inside.
It felt like I was giving all kinds of signs that I wanted connection, but the objective truth is that I’m shy and somewhat quiet. Therefore, my “signs” were really quiet, too. From the inside, it seemed like I was clearly saying, “Reach out, I’m open to connection! Invite me, please.” And because no one reached out, I thought no one wanted to know me. My heart hurt a lot!
Since then, I’ve gotten that people… and the Universe… like direct invitations. Explicit invitations. That was SO hard for me at first. I really like being the one invited. (It’s less emotionally risky.) I like it when friends and lovers appear in front of me and say “I’m here! I pick you!”
Now, my life is so much fuller and more delightful since I started asking people to connect.
There are a couple things that helped me with this process. (Are you shy? Me, too! If I can do this, I promise you can, too.)
1) I remind myself that other people are insecure, too. Even if they look all smooth and together on the outside, they generally are full of doubts and worries and love being invited. And if you run into that rare, secure person… they like being invited, too! It’s flattering, even if they’re a no!
2) I make it an Act of Service. It’s really hard for me to reach out just for me. My shyness is often bigger than my loneliness or my desire to reach out. If I remind myself that other people are lonely and wishing someone would reach out first, it makes it lots easier!
3) I start small! I can smile and ask someone about their day, without having to pre-decide to be their best friend. I’m ok with touching people’s lives with a bit of friendly energy… and wait and see if we build more connection over time. This makes the occasional rejection lots lighter (and they happen far less than I feared). I can shrug and offer my smile to someone else. Maybe they’re having a small day…we all do once in awhile!
So go out there and invite connection. Turn up the volume on your invitations. Ask people explicitly for the connection you want… Invite a co-worker to have lunch with you, a casual acquaintance for coffee, your kid for a hug, your partner (or potential partner) for a hot date. Decide what you want and start sharing that with people! You’ll be surprised what the Universe will bring you.
Karate Chop: Even though Cathy is crazy, I can’t do this… I do want more connection and joy in my life.
Even though this scares me, and I’m so afraid of rejection, I wonder if other people are lonely, too.
Even though inviting more connection is overwhelming… and I’m not sure where to start, it would be fun to lighten up someone’s day, and maybe I can start with something small.
Top of the Head: I’m too shy!
Eyebrow: They won’t want ME…
Side of the Eye: I don’t want to be rejected.
Under the Eye: It hurts.
Under the Nose: But so does loneliness…
Chin: And I do want more connection.
Collarbone: I thought it was obvious what I wanted.
Under the Arm: Do I really need to be more clear?
Top of the Head: I feel ashamed…
Eyebrow: That I don’t have more connection in my life.
Side of the Eye: I’ve been convinced that there MUST be something wrong with me.
Under the Eye: Or they’d invite me.
Under the Nose: Maybe the only thing wrong…
Chin: Is that I haven’t asked…
Collarbone: I feel afraid.
Under the Arm: And I can take this in baby steps.
Top of the Head: I do want to add joy to my life.
Eyebrow: It would be great to add sunshine to someone else’s, too.
Side of the Eye: What if I released this shame…
Under the Eye: And started asking for what I wanted?
Under the Nose: What if I started sharing who I really am?
Chin: A little at a time.
Collarbone: They might be shy, too.
Under the Arm: It could be a gift I offer myself…
Top of the Head: And my future friends and partner!
Take a deep breath.
The first steps can be frightening. And they are So Worth It. I’ve been there. Having more people in your life, and deeper connection, is what makes life worth living. It brings joy and purpose and play.
If you’d like to learn these skill and practice them in a safe, friendly environment, I invite you to join our group coaching program where you’ll meet amazing people, all taking this to deeper levels and laughing and trying out new skills. We’d love to have you join us.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sending an Encouraging SMILE for you!!!
P.S. If confidently handling rejection is a skill you need help with before you start inviting, that is a core part of our Breaking Out Of Your Shell coaching program.