Posts Tagged ‘Amy Spencer’

 

Are You Carrying Around An Old Piece of Guilt Candy?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

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.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 11.26.22 AMOne 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.

—Amy

 

Excuse Me, I Think You Dropped This

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

My friend Matt Christensen is really funny. And sweet. And creative. Which is why he started a little project called Excuse Me, I Think You Dropped This.

See, Matt doesn’t have the best “game” when it comes to flirting with girls he likes. But what he does have are some not-actually-that-bad drawing skills. So every time he saw a girl he thought was pretty, instead of getting up the nerve to talk to them, he got a pen and drew them a picture. On notebook paper, on napkins, whatever he had handy. Then he’d tap the girl he liked on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, I think you dropped this…” and see what happened.

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Bert and Ernie from: IThinkYouDroppedThis.tumblr.com

Over the years, Matt has handed out notes from Grand Central station in New York to bars in Downtown Cleveland. And he’s noted what’s come of each and every approach with the girls.

Unluckily for him, not much has ever come from this pickup trick. But luckily for us, he snapped photos of his funny drawings before he handed them off, which he’s been posting on his Excuse Me, I Think You Dropped This Tumblr.

And while it may not have earned him any dates to date, every time I see a new note he posts, it makes me smile. He’s an optimist of the sweetest kind, who is presenting a true picture (literally) of who he really is. I think you’ll get a kick out of it if you check it out, too.

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Bird and Pop Tart from: IThinkYouDroppedThis.tumblr.com

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Koala with a scarf from: IThinkYouDroppedThis.tumblr.com

Matt: Good luck. Girls who may potentially get one of these: He’s a great guy! My readers and friends: Enjoy it all in the meantime: ithinkyoudroppedthis.tumblr.com

Big love & happy living,

Amy

Is Your Date Into You? 6 Signs They Are

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Another post for the singles here.

Right now, I have quite a few friends firing up their Tinder apps and flirting on OK Cupid and meeting up for quickie cocktails, all in the name of love. And one of the main things they always walk away wondering after almost every date is: Does my date feels the same way about me that I feel about them?

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Dance Party. Image by Amy Spencer

Even if your date has been smiling up a storm or raptly listening to your opinion on the next season of True Detective, he or she could just be acting interested and secretly hoping the evening will end soon. But that’s not to say you need to be in the dark about your date’s true feelings. It turns out there are many signals your date may send that give away what’s really going on—and could mean there’s a real connection and raging chemistry between you two.

So…do you want to know if your date is into you? I pulled together a few signs for the dating site Chemistry.com and wanted to share them with you now. Do any of these seem familiar?

SIGN #1: Your date says your name more than usual. Maybe your date says your first and last name, like, “So, Michael Malone, you up for a night cap after dinner?” Or maybe your date says just your first name three times, like “Jenna, Jenna, Jenna.” Either way, it can be a sign that your date feels so much chemistry, he or she can’t help but connect with your closest possession: your name. But only if your name is said in an enthusiastic way—not in a flat tone like the person behind the counter at the DMV. “Saying someone’s name is like a sign that you’re testing the magic you’re feeling, because you almost can’t believe they’re real,” says body language expert Patti Wood. “It also subconsciously elicits immediate focus from the person whose name is said,” says Wood, which is more proof of the chemistry: If someone is into you, he or she wants your full attention.

It’s an unconscious bit of body language that shows the person is searching for more info about you.

SIGN #2: Your date squints at you. If you watch reality dating shows like The Bachelorette, when one party harbors a crush on the other, they’ll give each other a cute little squint, usually followed by a smile. (Hello, Andi, we’re lookin’ at you!) What gives? It’s an unconscious bit of body language that shows the person is searching for more info about you. “Squinting is typically a gesture of searching deeper into something or testing it,” says Wood. “The same way you’d squint at a diamond to see if it’s real, squinting shows you’re focusing harder to be sure it’s not just a mirage.” And that, she says, is a great sign. That coy little spy tactic shows that your date likes you so much, he or she is looking more closely to see if you could possibly be as great as you seem. (Obviously you are.)

SIGN #3: Your date asks the “why” and “how” questions. During dinner conversation, any polite date will ask you factual things about your family like, “So, do you have brothers and sisters?” But that’s not necessarily a sign they feel chemistry with you. It is a sign of chemistry, however, if they delve deeper and ask more probing questions. As in, “So, how did you get interested in accounting, anyway?” And “Why did you decide to move all the way across the country?” That’s one of the ways New York City dater Jennifer first noticed that she and her date were clicking. “He asked questions about my family — not just the same old questions, but things like, ‘What are your parents like?’ People on first dates don’t really ask these kinds of questions unless they have some intention of meeting them some day.” These challenging questions are a strong sign that the person you’re with is seriously interested in you and not just making polite chit-chat. And in Jennifer’s case? They’re married with a little girl now, so those signs sure were pointed in the right direction.

SIGN #4: Your date gets quiet midway through your time together. Rather than taking your date’s silence as a sign your he or she has lost interest, it could actually be the opposite: Your date may be feeling such a pull toward you that he or she is lost in thought about it. “Sometimes, a person feels such a strong attraction that instead of nodding and following the conversation, he or she is just contemplating you,” says Wood. So the next time your date seems to have missed the whole end of your story, don’t cast the person off too quickly. If you really can’t be sure whether the distraction is a bonus or a sign of boredom, go ahead and ask. “Say to your date, ‘Hey, where’d ya go?’” suggests Sharyn Wolf, CSW, a psychotherapist in New York City and author of Guerilla Dating. “If the person says, ‘What are you talking about?’ or acts defensive about paying attention, that’s not a good sign. But if you get a grin back and a, ‘Sorry, I guess I got distracted,’ that can be a great sign. It shows this new companion may have been imagining a future outing — or just a future — with you!”

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Good off. Image by Amy Spencer

SIGN #5: You hear “you’re” a lot. If your date says to you, “You’re awesome” or “You’re so funny” or “You’re a trip!” or “You’re something else…” then you’re very lucky! Personalizing your admiration or approval of a date means a lot; it’s a strong sign of attraction, while statements like, “That’s awesome” or “That’s funny” don’t mean as much. Using the word you means that the person feels chemistry with you, versus just grooving on your story-telling skills.

SIGN #6: Your date gives you a token of the evening. If your date gives you something you can hold onto and look at later, chances are he or she is feeling chemistry. Jennifer’s date once picked up a pack of matches from the restaurant they were in and said, “Here, for you.” He didn’t say, “Something to remember me by” or “So we’ll always remember this night,” but that, in fact, was the underlying message. It’s a sign that your date wants you to have something to remember him or her by… because clearly this person will be remembering your date as a great one.

Amy Spencer is the author of Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match, which Harper’s Bazaar magazine called “the ultimate pep talk.” And fitness coach Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser said, “If you’re single, drop everything and read this book. It will completely change dating for you as you know it.”

Happy Life Trick: Pick a New Year’s Theme Word

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Successful companies know a little something about branding. They decide how they want us to view their company, and they run with it. Looking to “save money” on your car insurance? You think Geico. Looking to “think different” about your technology? You might pick Apple. A company can’t be considered a master in comfort, price and innovation. It’s better to pick one element and aim right for it.

Beauty? Peace? Gratitude? Choose a word or phrase for the year that speaks to how you want to live. (Image: Ken Spencer, Hummingbird)

Beauty? Peace? Gratitude? Choose a word or phrase for the year that speaks to how you want to live. (Image: Ken Spencer, Hummingbird)

And the same goes with branding our own lives. To achieve our dreams, we have to know how we want to live, in order to make the choices that get us there.

That’s why, a few years ago, I started giving my life a theme word. One year it was “Authenticity” and another was all about “Passion.” This past year was about “Freedom and Abundance.” So for me this past year, I ran every opportunity past my theme to see if the choice was right for me. Hmm, some extra paying work that also fed my curiosity about a topic I wanted to research? That was an abundant yes.

For 2014, I’m playing around with the ideas of “Fortify” and “Family,” and I want to give you a chance to think about whatyou want from your next year, too.

Try this: Instead of making New Year’s resolutions about little goals in your health or habits, think bigger: Think about how you want to feel in your body, among your friends, as you walk through the world. The come up with an adjective or phrase that best describes that feeling. To make it easy, picture this: You run into an old friend on the street and talk for a bit. Then, she suddenly stops and says, “It’s funny. But looking at you, I see such ______________.” What do you want her to see? What feeling do you want oozing out of your pores? Strength? Contentment? Joy?

Here are some other ideas to get you thinking:

 Brave/Bravery. Perhaps you want to feel more bold with your work choices, your travels, your heart.

• Persistence. One of my friends has said she’s through being told “Maybe” by potential clients, and she’s determined to make her company a success by trying again and again and again until she makes it. And when she’s walked out of another maybe meeting, she’ll think, ‘Persistence, baby,” and throw her shoulders back and schedule another one.

• Love & Tenderness. Maybe you’ve been a bulldog go-getter all year, and you could use a reminder to soften up and make more loving choices in the months ahead.

 Light/Lightness. If this year has been particularly grave and serious, maybe your new year could be about lifting the weights, breathing, letting loose, and letting go.

Take your time. Think about how you want to feel strolling down the sidewalk of life this next year. Go deep. Brand your heart’s choices. And aim for a truly new year.

Big love,

Amy

If you want to receive inspiring posts like this, sign up for my happy email Vitamin Optimism at amyspencer.com.

What Do *You* Do When No One Is Watching?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

We’re all pretty good about what we do when people are watching. We might pick up a pen our boss has dropped. Say “Bless you” to a coworker who sneezes in a meeting. Or open the door to let our date walk into the restaurant first. But who we really are is us on our own—the one we think no one is paying attention to.

Who you are here—alone, out in public, in the world—is how you'll feel about yourself. Give it your best shot. (Image: Sea Cliff bench by Ken Spencer)

What we say and do in those moments affects how we feel and who we are. That’s why I love this quote: “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

On one beautiful day in Venice, it was warm and breezy and sunny, the day people imagine every day in California is like. I walked into the bank and  witnessed this interaction of woman in line speaking to the man behind her:

“What a beautiful day, right?” she said. “Wow.”

“Terrible,” he said.

The woman laughed. She assumed he was kidding. “I know, it’s perfect,” she replied. “I could be out there all day.”

“What, with this wind?” he said, shaking his head. “It’s drying everything up. Pulling the smog from the Valley. It’s awful.”

The poor woman stood there stunned. And it was a reminder to me how the smallest interactions throughout our day say a lot about how we’re feeling and who we choose to be. Sure, maybe this guy was having a terrible, awful no-good day for many reasons, and that “drying wind” was the straw that broke his camel’s back. But maybe if he knew—if we knew—the way we were coming off in the world, it might inspire us to try to do it differently.

Try this: Imagine for an afternoon that some kind soul upstairs is doing a Powerpoint presentation on how to be a happy person, and your live tape has been pulled up to illustrate it. What can you do this afternoon that feels in line with the positive, good person you want to be? aHere are some ideas:

• Hold a door for a stranger.
• Make friendly small talk with the shyest-looking person at the party.
• Compliment the jacket of the person next to you.
• Pet the dog.
• Offer a ride.
• Lend a quarter to the guy out of change at the coffee counter.
• Smile. Laugh. Clap. High-five.

Go on, give that Powerpoint guy a real show. And then, after you do a few of these things, tune into how you’re feeling. Pretty great, right? Probably proud of your actions, warm in your heart and perfectly happy to have someone say, “You’re on Candid Camera!” Because this is how you want to feel and appear all the time.

Choose a bumper sticker motto for life that helps you make the right decisions, put on the right expression and be the person you want to be. Even if no one is looking, you’re looking. Want to feel like the good guy character? Be the good guy. Amazing how that works.

The motivating messages we use in our lives affects what we do and how we feel. So try using that bumper sticker motto for life and see how you feel.

Big love,

Amy