Posts Tagged ‘what you’re doing right’


Singles, Here’s What You’re Doing Wrong!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

The other day, I was trying to get a spark going in our fire pit, when a friend of mine stopped me and said, “Here’s what you’re doing wrong…” I found myself stiffen a bit, a precursory defense, steadying myself for the blow. It turns out I wasn’t pulling the butane lighter’s saftey back while I was pressing the flame button. A simple fix. Too bad all of life isn’t that easy, right—especially in dating. Well, maybe it is.

Are you tying yourself up in knots with the negatives?

Are you tying yourself up in knots with the negatives?

I realized after fixing my butane button issue that hearing “Here’s what you’re doing wrong” is enough to make anyone stop in their tracks and pay attention. This isn’t easy for me to do that for you: I’m a dating optimist. My first book, Meeting Your Half-Orange, is all about loving who you are and being authentically, gloriously happy in your own skin while you focus all your energy on how you want to feel in your ideal relationship. Which is to say I believe every “single” person is uniquely awesome and that you’re not doing anything “wrong.”

But if you’re killing yourself trying to come up with the end-all reason for why you’re still frustratingly single, the fact is, you are doing something wrong. And to be all “meta” about it, here’s what it is:

What you’re doing wrong is that you’re focusing on what you’re doing wrong.

What you focus on, you see, is everything. And that’s because what you choose to focus on actually affects the neuronal pathways in your brain, which affects how you perceive the world and how the world perceives you. The scientific term in play is neuroplasticity, and I explain how it all works in relation to dating and love in Half-Orange. It is utterly fascinating stuff and it’s no joke!

If you’re single and focusing on “what you’re doing wrong,” then it’s all you’ll see, and it’s all your brain will store in its implicit memory. In other word, it’s time to stop the cycle. Today, focus on what’s right—and only what’s right. Just for today, at least, don’t think about how old you are, or how long you’ve been single, or what past boyfriends or girlfriends or spouses have said about you for a minute. That’s all irrelevant. All that matters is who you are right now, this minute. And if you can look at what’s right about your dating life, you can change what ensues from this minute on.

So do this for me: List three things that you’re doing right, right this minute:




Visualize what you’d write in those blank spots—the awesome things you’re doing that are spot-on. Maybe how you’re giving it a shot with dates you’re not 100% on, because you’re open to seeing what might happen. Maybe how you’ve come to love a physical aspect about yourself—a mole, a height, a curve—and will settle for nothing less than a partner who loves you for it. Maybe how you’ve mastered making tapenade and can’t wait to show it off.

Fill in those blanks your own way. If you don’t, well, that’s what you’re doing wrong. You owe it to yourself and to your love life to give yourself positive props every single day. The more right you see, the less wrong your life will feel, and the better the energy you’ll be putting out there for your wonderful other half to come find you. It’s an easy fix: Pull back the safety and push the right button, and you’ll light the spark you’re working on, too.

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Whaddaya Doin’ New Year’s Eve?

Big love and happy listing,

Amy Signature 4




9 Ways to Like Yourself More

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

People say you have to love yourself, right? But sometimes, life with ourselves is a little like dating: Not only are we not feelin’ the love, we don’t even like ourselves. Well, here are ten ideas that can help set off that spark and get you crushing on the best person in the room: you.

Get out there and celebrate what you love about you! (Image: Amy Spencer)

To help you start liking yourself a little more…

1. Show off your best feature. Yep, we’re good at groaning about the worst ones, but what’s the best? Your calves? Your eyebrows? Your hips? Your hair? Whatever you know you’ve got going on, show it the heck off.

2. Decide what battle you would win. I wouldn’t win Jeopardy. Or a marathon. But put me head to head in a who-can-eat-the-most-popcorn battle, and I’ll win. Me and popcorn, we’re a sure thing! Now, I don’t think anyone’s hosting this competition, but I like to picture my trophy in it anyway. Do the same thing. What battle would you win? Smoothest moonwalk? Loudest laugh? Best scrambled eggs? Who-can-lip-sync-to-every-song-on-Men-at-Work’s-Business-as-Usual album? Put your imaginary trophy on your imaginary mantle and shine it up every now and then.

3. Talk back to yourself like a crazy person. By which I mean, have an out loud conversation with yourself about what you don’t like about yourself and why those reasons are ridiculous. If you get down on yourself thinking, “I hate myself for my extra twenty pounds,” that reason might rear itself every time you get dressed. But hearing yourself say that out loud, you can hear why it’s a stupid reason not to like yourself. So tell yourself that out loud. “Self, you are awesome and people like you.” Talk yourself out of your own nonsense. It’s the most non-crazy thing you can do.

4. Give yourself a fair mirror glance. Mirrors are funny things. Yes, they reflect an image of you in that moment, in that light, from that angle. But they’re not a true reflection of what everyone else in life sees when they see you. So give yourself the benefit of seeing yourself the way others do—usually just a quick glance on the sidewalk or sitting a couple of feet away over coffee. I mean, think about it: Those moments you lean into the mirror to analyze your wrinkles or pluck gray hairs from an inch away…who do you see during the day who looks at you that closely? No one. Not even a spouse or partner looks at you as closely as you look at yourself! (Well, my cat Guinness does, but she’s just hoping a piece of tuna drops on my forehead, so that doesn’t count.) So give yourself a realistic reflection in the next mirror you pass: Walk up to it, smile your truest smile for two or three seconds, then turn and go. There. Didn’t you look nice? Admit it: You’d like you. You’re just the kind of person you’d want to run into a sunny afternoon.

5. Have one good hair day. One day, wake up early and really do your hair. If your hair is hopeless in your own hands, pay to get a blow-out for a day for fun. Or, get your hair cut into a style that will give you more good hair days more often. For whatever reason, we are undeniably happier with ourselves when our hair looks good. Give yourself a great hair day and get back in touch with those “Hey, I like me!” feelings.

6. Do something that will make you proud of yourself. My husband and I spend most nights before we go to sleep reading side-by-side in bed. Recently, he’s been picking up the classics like Old Man and the SeaThe Great Gatsby, and Huckleberry Finn, so I’ve been reading them again, too. And you know what? I feel like a million bucks every time I finish one. There’s something about closing the back cover of a book that’s stood the test of time for five decades (and still holds up!) that makes me swell up inside with pride. Mostly because it balances out the time I spend scrolling through Facebook and watching episodes of Bait Car or The Dog Whisperer as if life didn’t have more to offer than this. In between the silly stuff, do something that will make you feel proud of yourself and accomplished. Sew on a button. Paint your bedroom. Plant some rosemary. Learn two chords on the guitar. Give yourself an easy reason to like yourself today.

7. See how your “flaws” can be your strengths. Often, we don’t like some aspect of our personality because we think it’s holding us back. But maybe, in reality, this aspect can also move us forward. If you don’t like that you’re quiet or shy, remember that you’re probably listening and taking in more than the talkers are, and that can be an even more valuable position than someone yapping away. Like your “flaws” for the awesome stuff they can actually give you.

8. Make a list of what you’re good at. And that list can include anything. I’m not talking about skills you get paid for, I’m talking about kitchen accomplishments and party tricks. You know what’s on my list? I’m a superfast reader. I make a delicious gumbo. I can eat a small Dominoes pizza all by myself. I can do a lot of sit-ups. (Mind you, I can’t do a single “boy” push-up, but sit-ups? I’m your girl.) And let’s not forget this one: I can find the positive in absolutely anything. Make this list for yourself. Number a page from one to twenty—heck, from one to fifty, and then start filling it in. Then, look at that list! It’s a reminder that your life isn’t for nothing. You’ve been learning something every single day and you’ve become good at a lot of things—both physically and emotionally—that you should be darn proud of. Just remind yourself.

9. See yourself through your loved ones eyes. Think about the person who loves you more than anyone. Maybe that’s your mom or dad or sibling. Maybe it’s your dog or cat. Maybe it’s your best friend you text with two dozen times daily. Well, for one minute, see yourself the way they do. What do they love about you most? You should be liking yourself for that very same reason.

Those are just nine ways I thought of to start with. Have any of them worked for you? And what else works? Do you have any tricks or mantras or moments when you fall “in like” with yourself all over again? What makes you like you?

Before anyone else can like you—in work, in friendships, in love—you must like you. You have to think you’re the bomb-diggity, good, kind, awesome, proud owner of yourself. Hopefully, some of these ideas will nudge you back there when you need it.

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Big love,

How Awesome Are You? Try the “Auction” Trick

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

You ever have one of those “Damn, I’m awesome” kind of days? You know, you’re looking cute, you’re feeling smart, and if someone doesn’t seem interested in dating you, you blow it off with a “tsk” and a “They just don’t know what they’re missing” kind of line.

And then there are those other days… You know, when you wake up, dwell on your downsides, and wonder: “Who in the world is going to want to be with someone like me?” If you’re ever feeling a little down on you, here’s how to build yourself the heck back up through a trick I like to call “You: The Auction.”

Do you make an mouthwatering linguine with clam sauce? Put it on the list! (Image: AS)

Do you make an mouthwatering Linguine with Clam Sauce? PUT IT ON THE LIST! (Image: AS)

Here’s how it works: The charity of your choice is doing an auction to raise money for their organization. Maybe it’s for animal rights or cancer research or a children’s school you’d do anything to help. It turns out, they need your help to put their funding over the top…by auctioning you off on a date to the highest bidder! All they need is a list of your 10 Best Qualities to list on the auction lot.

The more unique, the better. I mean, sure, being “nice” and “funny” are fine, but the more “you” you make your list, the more someone will want to bid for you, and the more money you’ll bring in for your charity. So let’s hear ’em:

Maybe you…

…know how to make delicious Chinese dumplings or Chicken Pot Pie.

…look especially hot as hell in that one pair of jeans.

…are a super-fast reader.

…can create a mean dance track on GarageBand.

do have pretty gorgeous eyes, actually.

…can handle a stick shift like an Indy driver.

…know all the lyrics to The Golden Girls theme song.

Make your own list, of course. Think about it now, or come up with a few the next time you’re stuck at a traffic light. Be bold and big about your great qualities. This is no time for modesty—this is for a good cause! Then, whenever you’re having a down day, just remind yourself of the gifts that helped you make yourself a bestseller.

Remember, as odd or inconsequential things about you may seem sometimes, these are the things that make you stand out from the pack. It would bring in bank for a charity auction, and it’ll help you know when a match is right for you because this time they’ll be the ones saying, “Damn, you’re awesome.”

You might also like:
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Big love and happy listing,

Amy Signature 4

Embrace Your Embarrassments!

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Last week, I got a Thai massage at a new place in town and had an embarrassing episode trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with the pink sheet the woman handed me before disappearing behind a curtain. The sheet turned out to be pants…big enough for an elephant leg…which I ripped trying to cinch up. I finally just bunched up the pants around my waist and laid down, feeling foolish for the first five minutes of the massage. But that’s when I realized: These moments—the hilariously uncomfortable ones—are what life is all about. And they happen to all of us.

Blush like a peach more often!

Blush like a peach more often!

You know, when you’re stuck in a stall with no toilet paper. The bathroom door doesn’t lock. The bathroom locks so well you get stuck inside and and have to knock from the inside for help. The restaurant’s front door won’t open when you pull it, and all the patrons on the other side of the glass get to watch you struggle with it. Inside the restaurant, you don’t know whether to wash your fingers in the bowl of water or drink it. Or your date (like mine once did), mistakes the wasabi for a split-pea hummus and eats a tablespoon of it in one nasal-burning gulp.

I will never forget the day I got trapped in a dress inside a dressing room stall. (more…)

Love Doesn’t Need to be Quite So Tough…

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I have to say, I’m loving VH1’s Tough Love. At first, I was wary of it—I knew that if a guy walked into my life and started telling me all the things I was doing wrong, I’d stiffen up and tell him (in my mind) to screw off, the way I can tell these women are. (I mean, I’m far too fearful of confrontation to actually tell someone to “Screw off” using real life words.)

Sometimes tougher than it has to be?

Sometimes tougher than it has to be?

The more I watch the show, though, the more I can see that Steve Ward seems to be a good-hearted guy who’s really trying to bring about a positive change for single women. It definitely makes good TV to see Steven lay the “tough love” on the girls by telling them what all their problems and missteps and issues and mistakes are, but I also can’t help but notice that the warm fuzzy moments of the show when the women seem happiest are when he’s actually telling them they’re doing something right.

As far as I can tell, that’s when the women relax and settle into themselves. That’s when the women come out of their hard-dipped shells and soften up. That’s when the women become the kind of girls that men want to settle down with. And that’s what I wish more single women focused on more often! Though one single girl always seemed to have her spirits up: Abiola Abrams, an awesomely wise and funny woman who was a guest on my Sirius radio show last year—and a pure joy in the studio. Good job on the show, “Goddess” Abiola!

But here’s what I say about tough love speeches: I say, stop listening to people who are telling you all the things you’re doing wrong, and start thinking about all the things you’re doing right. Love isn’t a contest. It’s not about being first or perfect or number 1. It’s simply a journey of two people zig-zagging their way toward each other. It sometimes gets messy and it sometimes feels bad that it’s taking so long. But instead of thinking about all the wrong turns you’ve made, think about all the great stuff you’ve seen along the way! And remember this: By just being yourself and hoping for the best, you’re doing the right thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4