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My tastes in music tend to run all the way from classical to country. When you spend 15 years training in ballet and the in-between time milking cows, working on a ranch, and going to rodeos…well…you can sorta see how the tree got bent…musically speaking. So it was with some measure of delight that I read this quote in the Sunday New York Times a few weeks ago by country artist, Kenny Chesney:
Playing football was one of the first times in my life I realized nothing is given to you. You have to work really hard. I was a very short, slow wide receiver on a very mediocre football team. And we had to work really hard to be as mediocre as we were.
Not only do I like some of this guy’s music, I love people who know how to make honest statements like that one. I’m growing kind of weary of the… “you can be anything you dream of…” declarations. From where I sit, I would say…not exactly. Dreaming is one thing. Doing it is something else. You can’t leave out the most important element of all—hard work.
As a dating coach, most people who seek my services are shocked when they find out that being successful at dating is just like anything else…it takes a lot of work. There’s the work of confronting the baggage, beliefs, and habits that have held you hostage for years. Before you meet someone, you have to first meet yourself…and then set yourself free. Following that comes constructing a life you are proud of that has purpose and passion that exudes an energy that attracts people. Finally, with techniques, skills, and personal savvy, dating takes courage to get out there over and over to be willing to meet new people.
There’s a lot to be said about going for your dreams. I have nothing against that and have always believed in the power of the mind and visualization. But none of those forces come into play without the added principle of discipline …and plain old hard work.
Do Your Old Friends Like Your New Friend?
Have you met someone new? If so, you may find that some of your old friends have a hard time adjusting. If they think that they are about to be replaced as the special confidant, best-buddy, first-priority in your life, they may experience a wave of panic.
Some people will be thrilled that the two of you have found each other. However, if some of your friends that you hang out with have been avoiding their problems or their empty lives …and you have been a big part of that distraction, they may start to feel threatened. They may be invested in your staying single more than they (or you) understand.
Most relationships among family and friends are resilient, and can allow someone new into your life. But some are fragile, built on unconscious and hidden agendas of the other parties, and are not meant to endure. One of the ways to navigate those shifts and changes is to understand boundaries and how to set them. With your boundaries in place, you can let people in …or you can encircle yourself and come out when it’s safe. Boundaries are the necessary lines we draw to protect ourselves. They are the limitations we set that let people know how close they can come. They are also there to keep us from reaching out to people who have shown that they can’t be friends.
Often, we find it hard to refuse people. Saying “no” can be hard when we think it means upsetting someone. Most of us are afraid of being rejected or not being liked. What is important to understand is that whenever we don’t set boundaries, we are open to being taken advantage of, and therefore, not respected.
To set tighter boundaries is to say goodbye to people, activities, and habits that drain your energy. If you feel tired, upset, or troubled, time after time, when you have been in certain situations… chances are, it’s time to let go. When you know what is authentically good for you, perhaps you’ll know when to say “no” to a long list of demands you have been tolerating.
We cling to some of the relationships we know and to some of our old ways out of a sense of familiarity… or misguided loyalty. Sometimes, the people in our lives (for reasons they don’t even understand) would rather see us stay the same and be miserable rather than change and ultimately be happy. So get your boundaries in place.
It’s important to remember that there is always a possible collision course—when your old friends meet your new friend.