Relationship Dirt, Part 1

When I was a little kid I used to make mud pies out of dirt and water and secretly leave them on my neighbors’ doorsteps. In my five-year-old mind, if they accepted the “pie” it meant they were friendly, had a sense of humor, were open, and likely safe to play around and with. If not…they weren’t; I didn’t take it too personally and moved on to the next house. I didn’t try to make them like the pie or want the pie, explain why I left the pie, call them, stalk them, cry myself to sleep, try to lose ten pounds, have plastic surgery, or swear I would never make another pie. I just brought my pie elsewhere! Simple as that. Whether or not you made mud pies yourself, the metaphor is the same; “ignorance is bliss” or “innocence is bliss,” whichever you prefer. Let’s make the leap and look at how so many of us end up with adult-onset pie neurosis; people who have given too many pies to people who don’t want them and, over time, end up giving away sex instead of mud pies. And let’s take a look at an alternative to becoming neurotic or feeling perpetually pie-challenged, let’s look at the nature of who people really are—and, of course, who they are not—and how knowing this could save you a lot of unnecessary heartache.

While knowing why something causes you pain is important, as most awareness is, the mechanics of how to do something to avoid suffering interest me more. Given that love and relationship fall into the survival category (i.e., if I am not loved I am not worthy/cannot live/don’t exist/cannot be happy, predominant beliefs among most women), let’s have no grass growing underneath our feet here! Let’s get dirty!

How it happens, and how to change it!

I must have been five the first time I can remember being shushed by my mother for talking to a stranger. “Missy,” she would hiss, “We don’t talk to strangers, number one, and number two (she loved to count when she talked), it’s rude to ask those kinds of questions!” I remember furrowing my little brow thinking, Well then, how are you supposed to get to know anyone? How are you supposed to make any friends? My mother’s etiquette and polite manners were interesting since I didn’t want a spanking, but barring the threat of corporal punishment not much could stop my insatiable appetite to talk to almost everyone within two feet of me. My flame was strong and I didn’t give up my desire to know people, despite strong familial and social etiquette nonsense. To this day I ask every question imaginable under the sun to everyone and anyone (my mother still cringing and shushing me, of course), except now it’s part of what I do for a living as a relationship expert and, even more importantly, part of what I want to teach you to do; play in the DIRT! Relationships can be filled with joy and alternately complicated and messy. If you want to attract and create a great one, a healthy fulfilling sustainable one, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get into the dirt.

To embrace what you knew in your bones and soul as a kid. The simple things, like how to be vulnerable and stay open, how to tell if someone is safe or not, how to put yourself out there even though you may be rejected—and if you are, maybe have good cry, shake it off, and move on to the next one instead of taking it personally. Noticing curiously and navigating accordingly towards where and whom is warm, safe and kind, and moving away from where (or whom) is not.

That is, if what you want for yourself is a great relationship instead of another disappointment or heartbreak. Make no mistake, this is not a “how-to” report that will give you some clever insight into how the opposite sex works so you can “get” them, filled with clever tricks or gimmicks that will help you get a person to commit. Instead, this is a guide containing the power tool of all power tools for your relationship tool belt—how to Inner-view for success!

Even though it seems great relationships are rare, maybe even impossible (depending on how many you’ve already had), I am trying to change that! They ARE possible for you! While it’s popular to think that relationships are hard and take a lot of work, the part that takes the most work is YOU! Knowing who you are and what you want and having a relationship plan not only sets you up to succeed, it exponentially increases your likelihood of having a great relationship. You know the expression, “A fool and his money soon part”? Same is true for great relationships!

Here’s something else to consider; while we do get older, we don’t always get wiser. Luckily, the ABCs of relationship are basic. When we want people to like us, we put ourselves “out there,” and instead of a mud pie (I hope, for your sake) we offer a smile, a lingering glance, maybe a few words, and see how we are received. Then we use our intuition (our body/mind/spirit internal navigational system) to help us determine how we proceed. If we feel open and good about how we are received, we advance or engage in some way, like accepting or initiating a conversation. Then we observe some more, if things continue to feel good and we feel open we might continue along this line, and perhaps give the other person some sense of encouragement back. This may all happen within minutes or over days, weeks or months. My goal is for you is: once you feel you know who you are and what you want, you’ll learn to harness your passion for connection and curiosity and invest it wisely, so your precious time and energy is reflected back as you endeavor to find your next great relationship!

Be sure to read the next installment, where I offer you the first of 101 questions you need to know that can make or break a great relationship.