4. Then make a list of positive characteristics in someone with whom you’d like to be in a relationship. This can be an ongoing and growing list that will guide you in re-setting your radar, and then in making a better choice.
5. Finally, here’s a quick self-esteem raising exercise. Rate your self-esteem on a scale of 1 to 10, (with 1 the worst and 10 the best) in the following four areas:
where it is now
the worst it’s ever been
the best it’s ever been
how you would like it to be
Now it’s time for some higher math: take the number of where you would like your self-esteem to be (let’s say 10) and subtract the number of where it is now (3 for example). Where I went to school, ten minus three is seven. (I’m such a show-off!) This means you have 7 levels of self-esteem to reach your goal. While that’s too big a chunk to handle all at once, you can break it down into manageable pieces by asking this question: “What will it take for me to go from a 3 to a 4, then a 4 to a 5, and so on?”
Follow this path, and watch your self-esteem grow, and your relationship radar change.
Here are five key strategies for correcting, or re-setting, your relationship radar:
1. As you think back on the parental model you had for relationships, make two lists:
the first is a list of characteristics from your parents relationship that you would like to keep
the second is a list of characteristics that you would like to discard and leave behind. Then get to work on eliminating the negative characteristics from your life.
2. Pay attention to your relationship history and patterns. Do you find yourself attracted to the same kind of person who winds up hurting you? Do your relationships follow a similar pattern and end in the same way? Do you find yourself getting hurt in the same way over and over? These are signs that reveal that your relationship radar needs some radical readjusting.
3. Based on the exercise above, make a list of danger signals to watch for in people you are getting to know. As one client of mine put it: “I keep picking scum, so I’m going to call my list “Scum Signals.” If you start picking up these familiar signals, an alarm should go off in your brain, sort of like the robot on “Lost in Space”: “warning! warning! - danger Will Robinson.”
Think back to the last time you watched The Weather Channel or the local weather on the news. Remember how the radar was able to pick up the storms and lock onto them? Well, each of us has an internal radar that picks up and locks in on certain kinds of people.
I call this process our “relationship radar.” If we are lucky, and/or if we have worked at it, our radar picks out people who are potentially good for us, and things work out.
Unfortunately some folks have faulty relationship radar that predictably chooses people who will eventually cause them pain. Here’s what I mean: if you were to go to a party with 100 men/women and there were two of them that were her “type”, your faulty relationship radar would pick them out in about five minutes tops. You might even find the other ones “boring” or just “too nice.”
Now let’s look at how faulty relationship radar gets set and then more importantly, how to change it.
How Relationship Radar Gets Set
1. The model for relationships we saw in our parents
2. Our self-esteem
3. Our relationship experience and history
If you’ll notice, two of these factors, the model we had and our relationship experience are things in the past that we cannot change. That’s the bad news. The good news is that
1) we can be aware of and begin to change past patterns, and
2) we can rather quickly and effectively change our self-esteem.
So let's take a look at how to change your relationship radar.
The Conscious Dating Atlanta Blog is now officially launched!
One of the main goals of this blog is to build a communuty of singles online in the Atlanta area. I'll be posting here often, and we invite you to make comments about each post as well as start your own thoughts and writing in the comments.
Part of my vision is this blog being a place where you can interact with me and each other, and grow into living the life you love with the love of your life.
So you are invited to come back and visit often, and we can make this a thriving community online.
Yours for living the life you love with the love of your life,