Cheering each other on
Have you ever cleaned out your purse or messenger bag or carry-on luggage and found a little piece of old candy you forgot about?
Maybe it was a cellophane-wrapped sugar candy or a lollipop. Maybe it was a broken piece of holiday Candy Cane, or a piece of gum sitting so long on the bottom, the sugary goo had bled through the paper itself. It makes you wonder: Why didn’t I just eat this and get it out of the way when I took it? Why have I been carrying around this yucky little thing for so long without even realizing it?
Well, I think we all do the same thing with our emotional experiences, too. Sometimes, we experience something that makes us feel so embarrassed or guilty or full of shame, that we hold onto it like an old butterscotch.
We carry that guilt like candy left to sit and get sticky in our emotional brains, collecting dust bunnies from the corners of our heart for no good reason at all. I call that “guilt candy” and it’s time we cleaned out our emotional pocketbooks of them once and for all.
Sometimes, we experience something that makes us feel so embarrassed or guilty or full of shame, that we hold onto it like an old butterscotch.
Let me explain by telling you about the old piece of guilt candy I’ve carried around too long.
When I was a kid, I went to visit the offices of Newsday with my Dad, Ken Spencer, who worked as a feature photographer for the paper for over three decades. On our tour through the building, I was shown the newsroom, the paper machines and I got to meet some of the writers. The real actual newspaper writers! It was one of the most exciting and memorable days of my childhood. Yet there is one conversation I’ll never forget—for a strange reason.
One writer was showing me his desk and his computer (very likely a Commodore Vic 20 at the time). And, oh, I was in absolute awe as he showed me how he typed up his stories on his computer. I couldn’t believe my eyes when he showed me how he pulled down the “Print” screen. And how, with one press of a button, his story would be sent to the printer. With just a few seconds pause, the writer walked us across the room, twenty desks away, and up to the printer. “And here,” he said, pulling his article from the printer , “is the story we just printed.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“That’s it?” I said, in awe that with just one tiny press of the “Return” button, those words on his screen were being somehow sent fifty paces across the room. Just one button!
“That’s it?” said the writer. “Gosh, what does it take to impress you?”
He was joking and laughing as he said it, and I was too confused by his laughter to get what he found so funny. But a few minutes later it finally hit me what he meant. That when I said “That’s it” I meant “One press of a button?! That’s all it took to get it here?!” But when I said “That’s it” he thought I meant, “Really, that’s all ya got?”
I was so young and shy and didn’t want to correct him that I let him joke and then carried on with the tour. And I spent the rest of the day feeling bad that he misunderstood me. Actually, it wasn’t just the rest of the day. I have carried that small, silly misunderstanding with me for thirty years. For thirty years, I have wished I could tell him that wasn’t what I meant, that he misunderstood, that I was blown away!
It has stuck with me in the strangest way, being misunderstood and mistaken for being ungrateful. But you know what’s funny? I’ll bet that if I was able to mention this to him today, he’d probably say, “I took you on a tour of what?” I couldn’t be more sure he has no recollection of it at all.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Carry around little old pieces of guilt candy that the other people in our lives haven’t even registered as a blip on the radar?
Check in with yourself and clear out your own old pieces of guilt candy. Trust me, it feels good to get it out and take the first step in letting it go.
Seeing as this is the big love month, I wanted to share this fun news: I’ve updated my iPhone app Half-Orange Optimisms and in addition to making sure it works on all the iOS platforms and the newest iPhones, I’ve added a whopping 150 *brand new* thoughts to it. Which means the app now has more than 250 positive ideas to happy up your love life. Can you take it? I can barely take it.
Wait, do you know about this app yet? When it first launched along with my book Meeting Your Half-Orange, the iTunes store put it on the Hot List and it was recommended by The Daily News. You can find out more about the Half-Orange Optimisms app on the iTunes store. If you already have the app, be sure to update it to Version 2.0! And if you don’t have it, check it out. Because these are all original words of mine, and I wrote every single positive idea with happy love in mind. Here’s the gist:
Do you sometimes feel discouraged with dating and love? If you could use a pep talk every now and then about yourself and your dating life, Half-Orange Optimisms is here. Your “half-orange” (the translation of the Spanish term mi media naranja) describes your sweetheart and perfect other half. And the path to yours can be paved using dating optimism. Use them as a companion piece to the book Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match by Amy Spencer, or just dive into dating optimism on your own!
These are not reprints of quotes or lines you’ve read before. Half-Orange Optimisms are freshly original tips and insights that provide the dating optimism you want on demand! Like a Magic Eight Ball of love wisdom, they’re the words of dating and life encouragement you need to hear at the time you need to hear them. Just ask for some sweet orange guidance, then shake the phone for the dose you need to turn on your positivity and draw the right person straight to you. And when an Optimism really hits home, email it to yourself or a good friend for an added boost.
• Over 250 original, unique Optimisms written by Amy Spencer.
• Get a new Optimism every time you shake.
• Optimisms are more than just inspiring quotes—they provide actionable suggestions and ideas for improving your relationship point of view.
• A bright animated 3D orange delivers your message.
• Email your favorite Optimisms to yourself or a friend. Or save one to paste in your Notes app, a post or a tweet! (Note: There is not a Saved Favorites page within the app.)
• Optimisms are for all singles—women and men, single or divorced, of every age. If you are seeking your other half or just want reminders to make the most of a love you have, these words are for you. Your thoughts about dating can change your love life forever. Let Half-Orange Optimisms help you put your thoughts in a positive state of mind. Visit amyspencer.com to contact Amy and learn more about this app, as well as the books and the optimism that goes with it.
What’s New in Version 2.0
Big fixes and updates with this one! Cleaned out all the bugs and freshened it up, so it’s now working perfectly and up to date for all iOS and iPhones from the 4 on. Plus: I’ve added a whopping 150 *brand new* Optimisms in this version, so the app now offers more than 250 fresh, inspiring thoughts to enhance your gorgeous life even more.
I wanted to share something that warmed my heart.
I got an email from a gorgeous soul named Ingrid who said she read Meeting Your Half-Orange when she was in a difficult place emotionally and it shifted how she felt about herself and her dating future. As Ingrid put it:
“I had what I considered a breakthrough and an epiphany: ‘The man I’m waiting for already exists, he isn’t going to appear when I meet him. He’s already here, living his life. I don’t need to crane my neck looking for him at a bar or the grocery store. When it’s the right time for us to meet, he’ll show up!'” He did show up. And now the pair are making beautiful poetry together, literally. Ingrid and Hamilton call themselves the “Twin Soul Poets.” And here they are performing their moving poem Loving.
You never know where a partner will appear. You don’t know what he or she will look like, how they’ll sound, what they’ll say. But if you know how you want it to feel when you meet, you will draw your other half — your half-orange, your own twin soul — closer every day.
I hope this inspires you the way it did me. And I wish you all LOVING like this in your Beautiful New Year.
I just watched my own video again for kicks. I can’t help it, it makes me happy! Maybe because it’s the one I made for the release of my latest book, about how making a “happy life checklist” can affect your life in the smallest, coolest way. Maybe because I feel such a sense of accomplishment that I pulled it off, with a video that I think is as cute in real life as I imagined in my head. Anyway, when it directed me to YouTube to watch it, I noticed how many people had viewed it, and it made me smile again. Look:
Can you see? It says that at the time I was watching it, 7,777 people had viewed it. That’s a lot of 7’s! Hello, lucky. I got such a kick out of that. Moment = awesome. It was a sudden reminder for the day that we need to direct ourselves to more of those seconds more often. Because they’re happening all the time, everywhere, no matter what.
Sitting at my desk right now, for instance, I notice there is a pretty shadow of tree leaves on the floor from the window light. And as the leaves move, the shadow dances. Moment = awesome.
So I ask you this: What’s around you? Right now. Maybe…
You’re in a long line for a coffee and it’s not moving very quickly. But when you look up from checking Instagram, you notice there is a framed poem on the wall. You read it. It’s beautiful. Moment = awesome.
You’re waiting for a client who is running late, so you’re stuck in that weird limbo between stopping your last project and starting your next one. But in that limbo, there is rest. It’s quiet. And you can close your eyes for ten seconds and take a big, deep breath. Moment = awesome.
You see a comment on your Facebook post from an old high school friend. Instead of skipping past it, you picture yourself back in those echoing halls, where you’d chat by your lockers, wondering where the mad merry-go-round of life would take you. You were good friends then. And look at that, you’re still in touch. Stopping by to support each other in the comment section now and then. Moment = awesome.
If you could use a push to find your own small little moments throughout the day, you can always watch the video I made, too. In fact…I’ll imagine that you do watch it. And that you will smile at some point while you do. And that it will inspire you in just the right way, so that today or tomorrow, you will see or hear something that makes you feel sweet as jam for even a minute. And the thought that this will happen? Me, picturing that moment for you? It’s awesome.
When I was looking for love years ago, a lot of people told me: “Love yourself. Because you have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” All true of course. But I found that hard to gauge in the same way that, say, “Stop eating when you’re starting to feel full” is. Me, I don’t feel full until my plate is empty, and with no way to measure self-contentment, how do I know if I love myself enough?
What was easier to do, I realized, was to start loving my life. Because that was something I could do in an active, measurable way. For example:
Instead of going for drinks in desperation with any stranger I met (I mean, how many glasses of rosé can one girl drink?), I began to spend more time with my friends and my family who I loved. I went for lingering brunches and inhaled my freedom. I walked for hours around the city appreciating my health, my home, my apartment, my job and everything else I had going for me.
And because I didn’t have a husband and kids (though I wanted both), I traveled more than ever, and felt even better about my life when I was out exploring the world. And the more I appreciated my life, the happier and more fulfilled I felt. And the happier and more fulfilled I felt, the more I glowed. And the more I glowed, the more confident I was. And the more confident I was, well…that’s when the men came flocking. Yes, I had plenty of down days (my God!) But I had far more happy ones, and I’m grateful now that I made sure to have them.
So I suggest the same to someone looking for love this summer: Love every single second you have—and I mean that literally. Think about it: If all goes according to hope and plan and you do meet someone and fall in love, won’t you wish you didn’t waste these weeks or months of singleness you had left? If a crystal ball could tell you that you are going to meet someone in three months, aren’t there a few things you might want to do with the commitment-free single nights you have left? (Like, I don’t know, make out with a hot bartender you see absolutely no future with, just because you can?)
While you search for a partner, try not to bog yourself down with must-do dating rules or depressing thoughts or too many dates that you forget who you are and what you’re looking for in the first place. Look for love, of course, but while you’re doing it, live and love the life you have now. The more you do, the more likely it is that love will come flocking to you to find out your secret.