Archive for February, 2010


If You Think You’re Happy…

Friday, February 26th, 2010

I was going through some of my books on my shelf yesterday, like I do photo albums every now and then. I’d pick one up, flip through a few pages, stop to read a paragraph, and look for pages I’d marked, lines I’d underlined.

From Paris, with love

From Paris, with love

One was We’ll To the Woods No More by Eduard Dujardin, which was written in Paris in the 1880’s and translated into English. I bought it in a bookstore two decades ago and have held onto ever since. When I opened it, this underlined sentence caught my eye:

He thinks he is happy, therefore he is happy.

It’s something I’ve questioned over the years: What is happiness, really? Is it a state of mind? Is it something that circumstances and friends can weigh in on?

People have even asked me throughout my life, “Are you really always this happy?” It made me wonder if I was fooling myself. Maybe I thought I was happy…but really wasn’t. Maybe if I was more realistic and faced the facts of life or the seriousness of a situation, I’d come back down to earth and realize that I wasn’t so happy after all.

Well, phooey to that. I know the answer now. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s relative. It’s all in how you look at your life and see your circumstances. Like the character in We’ll To the Woods No More, if you think you’re happy, therefore you are happy.

The same goes for dating: If you think you’re in a good place in your dating life, therefore you are in a good place. If you think you’re close to meeting the love of your life and ready to be in that relationship, therefore you are. Life isn’t a list of moments we compute and spit out our state of being. Life is what we make it, how we feel about it and how we choose to face it. So why not choose the route that makes you feel good about yourself? Like my post on Get Un-Lost: Nothing Is Irreversible, you have the power to change what you’re thinking.

It’s not always easy, I know that. Maybe you had a bad day. A bad phone call. A terribly painful loss. An breakup with someone you cared about. Will that derail your single experience? Will that affect your future relationships? Well…that’s up to you. You haven’t rolled the dice and picked up a Monopoly card that tells you what square to place your silver boot on. This is your call. If you think your life will improve on account of what’s happened to you, therefore it will.

Choose your state of mind. Today, even for an hour, decide to be happy with who you are and where you are in your life. Think you are happy and therefore you are happy.

You might also like:
Take it From a Yoga Guru
Daters: Here’s What You’re Doing “Wrong”
You’re Mad-About-Able

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Can You Be a Cynical Optimist?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

I’ve been asked by a few people who want to be optimistic about love who are worried becuase they feel they’re just not the positive, peppy, puppy-loving, rainbow-decorating type. What if you hope it rains? What if you prefer snarling about your co-workers to team-building with them?  What if you think romantic comedies are trite and calculated and The Bachelor is insulting?

Happy or snarky, everyone deserves a someone.

Happy or snarky, everyone deserves a someone. (Image: AS)

They want to know—and so might you—can you be cynical and still be a dating optimist?

The good news is…you can.

Our personalities are all different, and cynical, snarky types need their match as much as the bubbly, positive ones. And that’s because positivity and optimism are actually different, which is interesting. Positivity is a feeling, and optimism is a belief. Positivity is about all that smiling and feeling happy, while optimism means that whoever you are—positive or cynical—you simply believe that your life will work out well.

And love, really, is optimistic at its core: We go into a relationship hoping it will work out, not assuming that it won’t. And if you do try to go into a relationship assuming it won’t work out? Your attitude and energy will likely fulfill the prophecy. But this is why I suggest positivity to cynics, too. I know it hurts sometimes to smile for ten seconds, but smiling and feeling good creates a warm, welcoming feeling within and around you that makes the give-and-take and openness of a healthy relationship come more easily.

So if you’re a cynic—or you know one you want to pass this on to—I say, be your authentic self and embrace who you are and how you feel, but when it comes to dating, give yourself the gift of optimism—the simple belief that there is a partner who is perfectly right for you and who can make this terrible, awful world a little more bearable and, dare I say, a bit brighter.

You might also like:
The Don’ts of Liz Lemon’s Dealbreakers

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

The Bachelor “Say It” Myth

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

I must say, last night’s episode of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All was pretty juicy last night. I usually skim over that yawny episode, but with last night’s Rozlyn v. Chris Harrison battle and Jake seeming not very happy at all as he talked about how “very happy” he was, well, I was in gape-mouthed heaven.

But one thing I didn’t love was seeing my faaaaavorite girl on the show—Gia—falling for The Bachelor Myth. What is that, you ask?

The Bachelor “Say It” Myth: If you don’t open up and say you love and want to marry him, that it’s your fault you’re not getting a rose. No, no, no! It’s just not true. Don’t fall for the hype, Gia, it’s not your fault!

Gia thought to "say" meant to "stay."

Gia thought to "say" meant to "stay."

As Gia said last night:

“I never showed him how I felt, and I never was able to verbally get it out, and, you know, I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve had some really bad breakups and my heart’s been broken, and I was so scared the whole time to put it out there. And to tell him. And by the time I figured it out, and…he sent me home.”

That’s when Chris Harrison asked, “What was it that held you up?” Here’s what Gia said:

“There were so many nights I sat there and I said to myself, “Okay, this is gonna be the time, you’re gonna tell him how you feel, you’re gonna just get it out. And I just…I’d freeze up, so. . . At that moment, I knew that I had fell in love with him, and I thought maybe by some slim chance he knew who I really was and how I really felt without me saying? But, you forget, there’s two other girls who are telling him, “I love you,” telling him, “I want to marry you.” And there’s me who’s just saying nothing. I wish I had more confidence. I wish I’d had more confidence, that he would have chosen me.”

Now, her lack of confidence probably was an issue. But you know what definitely wasn’t an issue? Gia not saying, “I love you” or “I want to marry you.” We’re human beings; we can tell through body language, eye contact and energy if we like each other even without words. Yes, being verbally open is healthy, and as we grow and gain more confidence, we get better at doing that. But we all need to do it at our own pace! Gia, you wonder if there was a slim chance Jake knew how you felt? Of course there was—and it was fatter than slim! I mean, come on, we’ve seen plenty of bachelorettes say “I love you,” and end up crying under some glaring light on the front steps of a mansion the next day.

Take The Bachelor Open Up Myth to heart. Verbalizing how you feel to a guy before you’re ready isn’t the answer. You can play the shoulda woulda game your whole life. That women, you should have told a guy how you felt or said more in the email than you did. Or that guys, you should have called the next day, or kissed her when you had the chance. Yes, what you say and when you call matters. But it’s not all there is. What’s most important is the connection you feel as a couple, and if one half of that couple ain’t feelin it—i.e. Jake not feeling it for Gia—then so it goes.

I’m glad that Gia did learn a few things from the show. “I really learned how to express myself,” she said. “I really learned what I’m looking for, what I want, what I need. And next guy that I meet, I’m telling him how I feel.”

It’s a good way to go forward, but for those who relate, don’t blame yourself for what you wish you’d done or should have said in the past. If you feel it, say it. And if you’re like Gia and you require, you know, a little more than four dates with TV cameras all around you to declare your undying love to a guy you met a few weeks ago, then forgive yourself for that and go with what feels right in your heart! Open up when you’re ready. Use your words when you can mean them. And let the connection between your most real and natural selves guide you along the way until then.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Nick Cannon: “Speak It Into Existence!”

Friday, February 19th, 2010

I have to thank a Meeting Your Half-Orange reader for this one: Andrea sent me a note about how she’s started the book, and is hopeful about it working, though she does have to convince herself of it.

Nick got what HE wanted in can you (Image: Shore File Photo)

Nick got what HE wanted in can you (Image: Shore File Photo)

“Even though I believe in the power of positive thinking (I’ve seen it happen for my friends numerous times), I think I’m kind of a pessimist at heart, no matter how sunny my disposition is,” says Andrea. “Yes, I’m single, I have been for a year now, but I think that this positive thinking thing can work for my WHOLE life, not just my love life.”

And as a further push to believe in the positive, Andrea sent me this link she’d come across, to an msnbc article about Nick Cannon, the singer, performer, actor, TV judge, and CEO of Nickelodeon’s teen channel—and Mariah Carey’s husband. The piece says, essentially, that Nick feels he’s gotten everything he’s wanted in life so far by believing he could have it and saying that he’ll get it. Sounds just like how my book, Meeting Your Half-Orange begins. Believe, say you want it, and you’ve started yourself on the path to getting it.

Here is how Nick Cannon put it:

“I truly believe in speaking things into existence. Not to get all Tony Robbins, but you speak it, and it can definitely happen to you.”

And as the article pointed out, he didn’t just do this in business; he did this in his love life, too. “For years,” the article says, “Cannon would tell any interviewer who asked that his celebrity crush was Mariah Carey.” It led to presenting awards with her, and a business meeting in 2008.

“I put on my good cologne,” Cannon said, “did some push-ups. Tried to get my grown-man look on.”

It obviously worked. Nick and Mariah are now married. And he’s not stopping there:

“I wanna be a billionaire in five years,” says Nick. “It can happen. I’m speaking it into existence!”

Well, whatever it is you want in love, speak that into existence, too. Learn from Nick Cannon. He got the girl of his dreams. And he’s gotten the career he was after, too. If you want a healthy relationship, do as Nick does: Announce what you want with all the determination and hopefulness you can muster and watch the world bring it straight to you.

And as for Andrea, if she can discover strength like this in others, she can find it in herself—and so can you.

You might also like:
WWJS: What Would Joan Say?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

A Love Lesson From…the Olympic Halfpipe

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

I hold a special respect for Olympic skiers and snowboarders. Especially after watching skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Shaun White win their gold medals last night. Man, they rocked it, didn’t they? I could watch them smile and listen to Lindsey cry tears of joy for days, which Bob Costas so perfectly described by saying: “those emotions a combination of joy, pride, relief, thanks, appreciation, all rolled into one.” Which, to be honest, is what meeting your half-orange feels like—or will feel like—too.

I credit my personal awe of those guys to a skiing experience I had a few years ago during a trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Are you LIVING a good run? (Image: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Like Shaun White: Are you LIVING a good run? (Image: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

I was staying at a friends’ corporate-sponsored chalet that was nestled high on a mountain and accessible from the intermediate ski run. Me being a gal from New York, I’d grown up skiing some small mountains in New Jersey and just north of the city.

“Intermediate?” I said, “No problem.”

It turns out, however, the intermediate hill in New Jersey is the bunny hill in Utah. And the intermediate hill in Utah? Well, let’s just say that once I got off the lift, I felt like I was looking over the edge of a cliff. Egads, I was in trouble.

As with many things in life, it wasn’t the hill that was the problem as much my sheer lack of confidence that I could tackle it. And so after a few wobbly-legged attempts, completely pointless snowplowing and a few tumbles, I eventually took off my skis and clomped sideways down the hill in my boots, whimpering the whole time. It was, I’m sure, a hilarious sight to behold. God bless my friends who didn’t laugh at me until I was ready to laugh at myself. (And God bless you if you’ve already read about my surfing experience in my past post Get Blue Crush Brave and still hold any respect for my sportiness!)

Which is why I gaze in wonder when I see the Olympians tearing down the snowy mountain and doing flips in the halfpipe. But I’m not just impressed by Shaun White’s moves, but by his attitude. Shaun had these words to say just before he competed in the halfpipe qualifier on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver last night:

“I’m looking for, basically, some good runs. I just, uh, I don’t think it’s about one trick in the run, I think it’s the whole thing, so I’m just trying to put down solid runs all night and, uh, we’ll go from there, see what special stuff I got in store.”

You know what I liked about that? Shaun wasn’t bragging about the one specific move that was going to lead him to his goal—yes, of course he had some serious tricks up his sleeve that he’d invented just for this big international show. But he also knew that without a good first run overall, one big trick wouldn’t mean a thing.

And that’s how I see our lives, especially in love and dating: without a good run overall, you won’t get to show your big tricks. So often, when we want to be in love, we put aside everything else to get the relationship. But if you’re not living a good full life overall, if you’re not having a good run overall, then you may not get a chance to show your big tricks to the right person in the first place. Don’t let your fear freeze you like mine did on a Utah mountain. And don’t let your anxiousness about getting into a relationship take over the life you’re living now.

Look at dating the way Shaun White looks at that halfpipe: Aim to have a good run overall. Smile and enjoy the whole thing—the nights in, the nights out, the so-so dates, the funny set-ups, the time with friends, the ways you grow. If you’re having a good time with your life, then your dates will want to see what “special stuff” you have in store.

The tactic sure worked for Shaun White: After the first of two finals runs last night, he scored 46.8. He didn’t even have to take another run to get his gold, but Shaun knew that by putting down those good runs, he’d earned his chance to pull those tricks out of the bag. And so he took a second run—how very Mary Lou Retton of him—and showed off his special “Spiraling Double McTwist” that earned him a 48.4 and, of course, that gold.

It’s a medal that’s round and kind of orange-looking, come to think of it. Just like the half-orange you’re looking for.

You might also like:
Your Life’s Not in Ruins

Big love and good runs,

Amy Signature 4