Level Up For The Generations To Come
By: Michele Russo of The Dime Series
Have you ever been able to identify a limiting belief within someone else? Or maybe you’re able to spot the limiting belief within yourself if you’re really emotionally intelligent. For me, it’s easier to notice these patterns in others. For instance, I have a friend that has struggled in the dating world over and over again, always attracting the same types of emotionally unavailable men. Ever been there? In this situation, I’m always the outsider looking in and it’s easy for me to identify her hold up to finding a relationship that works. By her fourth failed attempt at love, I realized she was unknowingly projecting her Mom’s issues with men into her own life. Old negative patterns don’t always have to be something that you gathered along the way in your own journey. Sometimes, we can find ourselves harboring the feelings and patterns of our parents. Maybe some of the patterns go back even further and stem from our grandparents, who knows.
The fact is, it’s completely possible for your parent’s “stuff” to hinder your current reality. Maybe you come from a divorced family and you’ve only seen bad relationships play out through your childhood. Or maybe your parents stayed together, but it was a one income household and your mother did as she was told out of financial obligation. If any of the above scenarios are true for you, can you notice any bits of your past bleeding into your current reality? Believe me, I say this without judgement, its incredibly common. My intent is to open your eyes to a change that may need to be made. Sometimes these patterns are hard to spot unless take a minute to observe our situations.
The best part about seeing these patterns play out through the generations is stepping back to identify the person that put a stop to the madness. There’s almost always a turning point in every family line. After years of struggle and hardship, somebody finally stands up to draw the line in the sand. For me, I come from a great example of what a relationship should be, but that’s really only because my Mom drew the line in the sand for generations to come in her own life. Coming from divorced parents and a Mother that never worked outside of being a housewife, she grew up in a very different environment than the life she lives today. My Grandmother had a whole slew of issues when it came to men and the possibility of ever having a career outside of their home. Although she would never admit it, I think my Mom saw how her Mother lived in a fear based mentality and decided that wouldn’t be how she was going to live her life. The strong lesson here is that shit rolls downhill until someone stops it. I grew up in a family business, watching my Mother run one of our retail stores like a boss. She was a warrior on all fronts, so in turn I live my life in the same way I watched her live her own. I also witnessed my parents have a healthy relationship. If my Mother hadn’t decided to end the pattern of divorce and co-dependance in our family line, I wonder how differently that would have shaped who I am today.
Now, before you go sending me hate mail, I’m not shaming divorce. I’m shaming the idea that you can’t break free from a seemingly negative destiny and start fresh. I think its more important to set a healthy example of what a loving relationship looks like for your kids and if you’re not, maybe it’s time to take a deeper look into what’s going on in your life. Some relationships do come with an expiration date and I in no way have a right to judge that. The point is that somewhere through the generations, someone steps up and stops a negative pattern and in turn changes the course for generations to come. It doesn’t even have to be with a relationship, maybe it’s a financial change, or a change for education. Maybe you were the first person in your family to break the cycle and strive for a college education, in turn bettering yourself, your family and showing the importance of education to generations to come. Somewhere along the line, someone stands up and says “enough!” and just like a bad spell, the pattern is broken.
No matter where you are in your life, you hold the power to break a negative pattern for generations to come by unleveling your current reality. Only you can stop the madness. Maybe today is the day you push past your commitment issues and learn to take a chance at trusting someone with your whole heart. Maybe today’s the day that you make a commitment to your health and fitness to show those around you that a healthy life is possible despite what the scale says. Maybe today’s the day you follow the dream in your heart of becoming a writer and showing your family that any goal is attainable if you put your whole heart into it.
For me, my Mom broke through the relationship issues in our family so that I wouldn’t have to live through those same struggles. She did this unknowingly of course, but it’s important here to realize that your choices effect far more than just yourself. I repeat- your choices, no matter how big or small, matter. The world is always watching- your friends, your family, your peers. You have a much greater impact on the people around you than you could ever imagine. In my case, I set out with a dream of being a writer, even though I had no formal training. Just a few weeks ago my eleven year old cousin (pictured above) told me she started writing her first book. “I had no idea you were interested in writing?” I said. A smile from ear to ear formed as she told me her hopes of being the next author in the family. Her words sat me back in my chair and proved to me the power of breaking past a barrier. It only takes one progressive movement forward to pave the way for generations to come. You never know who’s watching and what sort of influence you may unknowingly be creating on their life. The choices you make matter.
It’s time to change the narrative. When you think of the ripple effect you can create, it gives an even bigger meaning behind cleaning up your life in all areas. Strive for the education you desire, demand a relationship that makes you feel valued, and reach for the dream that you’ve been trying to forget- there’s a reason for that little nagging voice inside that pushes you. When you make these changes and up level your life, you’ll create a new standard for generations to come. The way you live your life each day is far more important than you could ever realize. Make it count.
Who Are You Waiting For?
By Michele Russo
When I started my journey in the modern dating world, I found myself in a rut with each and every failed attempt at finding love. No matter how long I dated the person- two days, two months, etc., the hurt was all the same because at it’s core it was rejection. While dating exhaustion can be one of the most agonizing states of the game, it can also bring extreme clarity. And for me, clarity was the one thing I could use to pull myself out of the funk I had unknowingly created.
I began thinking about my situation. Maybe I was too picky? Maybe it was me? It seemed like I had a long list of attributes that my perfect partner was sure to have, but in reality I wasn’t holding myself to that same standard and there lied the problem. That thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I expected every person I encountered in the dating world to be at their personal best and I found myself disappointed when they didn’t meet my expectations, but I had forgotten to meet that same level for myself. How could I show up with 50% effort and expect some sort of fairytale? Somewhere along the way I got tired and stopped being my normal full hearted self. You see, when you’re out in the world looking for the perfect mate or the perfect job, the perfect anything for that matter- you have to match what you’re looking for. Sounds strange, but it’s true. We can’t expect for the best of anything to fall into our laps without effort if we aren't first stepping forward with our whole hearts. You have to do your part in order for the universe to show up for you.
The thought of showing up as my best seemed to be a good experiment. After all, I had nothing to lose. If you’re stumbling along the way, what harm could giving it your all actually cause? I first decided to start with my family. Sometimes when you’re in a relationship you forget to take that quality time out for your family because it’s so easy to instead be wrapped up in your relationship. I decided to be the best daughter and sister that I could possibly be. That meant planning family dinners, family parties just because and being 100% present in the moment. I truly enjoyed the time I was spending and didn’t have an expectation besides quality time with the ones I love most. And you know what? That quality time with my family made me better- it brought me back down to reality and allowed me to get out of my head. It’s true that you get what you focus on, so if all you can think about is dating, your future, or what lies ahead, there’s a good chance you’ll miss all the good that is surrounding you in the present moment. So often, we live our lives on autopilot while dreaming of the future. Stop and take a good look around now- where you are in this very moment is a part of your story. Appreciate it for what it is- good or bad.
Next I focused on being the best friend I could possibly be. I planned fun girls nights out with themes that were perfect for my friends. Going to bars gets old after a while and once again, my focus was on the quality time with those that I love. I planned a Strikes and Champagne bowling party, Bachelor watch parties and birthday parties for friends. Each party showed me that I was on the right path. I was showing up and giving full effort to enriching those around me which in turn, released the death grip of expectation I had on my future and allowed me to just live in the moment and enjoy what was in front of me. It was a win-win because all of this got my mind off my dating struggles and allowed me to focus on how great my current reality was.
The final phase was working on myself. In order for me to attract a person of a certain caliber, I had to match that same frequency. That meant getting in the gym and going on long runs that fueled my body and mind. I focused on my work and began being the best employee I could be during the day. At night, I spent my free time writing in an effort to grow a side hobby that I had always secretly hoped could blossom into a full career. When I had vacation time from work, I planned a few of my bucket list trips- one of which was seeing a concert at Red Rocks. I learned how to live my best life as a single person and in doing so, I paved the way to finding the person I was meant to be with. I truly believe it’s impossible to attract outside of who you are. If you want to best, you simply have to be your best. Amazing things happen along the way if you give yourself the grace to connect to exactly what you want out of life. Don’t wait for someone else to come along one day that is worthy of seeing your best. Be that person now.
Whether you want to attract the person of your dreams, the career path you’ve always wanted, or the lifestyle that calls to you, the beginning step must always be to go within. To attract the best, you have to be your personal best. You can only bring into your life the things that match where you are right now. If you’ve found yourself in a spot that doesn’t feel fulfilling, it’s time to start again. Start small. If you were living your life as the best version of you, what would your close relationships look like? How would you spend your free time? How would you show up to your job? All of these things matter when painting the picture of your ideal life.
The most important part in all of this is to start now. Start wherever you are and if you’ve already started and feel like it’s not working, start again! Don’t wait for the perfect person to come along before you begin to live as the best version of you. Start living that way now. Connect to where you are and decide where you want to be moving forward. Even if your life isn’t exactly where you want it at the moment, it’s still worth celebrating. Live to your full potential today, exactly where you are and watch the magic unfold. The life of your dreams is possible and it starts now. What are you waiting for?
It Should Be Easy
By: Michele Russo
What’s the best dating advice you’ve ever received? Ever stopped to think of it? I can recall the moment that changed the way I looked at dating forever and I find myself replaying those words quite often. A few years ago, while visiting my good friend and her now husband in Boston, I unknowingly received one of the best pieces of dating advice I could ask for. I’ve carried her words with me since then, never really understanding the true meaning until now. At the time, I was on my third year as a single girl, with more dating fail stories under my belt than I could even count. Dating exhaustion is real, and perhaps I had unknowingly fell victim to it. She on the other hand had found the man of her dreams. They truly make each other better and being able to witness that type of love guided my vision of what could be possible for my own relationship.
That evening, I was third wheeling it as we sat down to dinner. It didn’t take long before I began pouring my heart out about a new relationship that somewhat measured up to what I had in mind for my happily ever after. Have you ever been in that position before? Trying to justify bad behavior to your friends who without a doubt will see right through the pretty make-believe picture you’re trying to paint? Tucking away the red flags I knew should have been waving in the air, I rambled on and on about how great this new guy was, even though he wasn’t totally committing to me. We would have a few great dates and text constantly and then he would go radio silent for a week, leaving me in the dark wondering what I did wrong. All the back and forth in the relationship left me wondering what could come of this potential relationship. It was full of games and I was so deep in the mess of it all that I had turned a blind eye to the fact that I was getting sent nothing but mixed messages. The relationship felt more like a game of chess, like every move had to be calculated. I had to tiptoe around my feelings and pretend like I didn’t notice the back and forth games, all of which is way too common in the modern dating world, but that’s a whole other issue. It’s a real epidemic. About midway through my rambling, my friend cut me off and said, “It shouldn’t be like this, a good relationship should be easy and the beginning should be the easiest part.” I was taken aback by the comment- party because I knew she was right even though I didn’t fully grasp the concept. She was spot on, the beginning should be the time that you know the other person in the relationship is into you. If you have to question if someone is into you, the answer is probably no.
The games, the chase, the mess- all of this goes away when you’re with someone that wants you back 100%- and that’s what you and everyone else out there deserves. You don’t deserve a maybe relationship! If you’re in a situation now where this story is resonating with you on any level, don’t be too hard on yourself. In my case, I knew my friend’s advice was right, but I wasn’t at a place in my life where I could totally resonate with the message. So, I went back home, tried again with the relationship and as expected, I crashed and burned. At the time, I was heartbroken. Failure is failure no matter how small. It sucks to lose something that you thought could have been great whether you have it for two weeks, two months or two years.
The lesson behind the story is this, it should be easy. You shouldn’t have to make excuses for bad behavior or flighty communication. Those red flags will continue to show up no matter how hard you try to turn a blind eye. More often than not when you look back at a relationship that failed, the signs were there all along, we may have been refusing to take off our blinders and chosen to ignore what we knew existed all along.
If a relationship is complicated from the beginning, the chances of improvement over time are very rare. If you’re finding yourself stuck in a confusing state of chasing someone down or trying to “fix” a relationship from the start, it’s time to take a hard look at reality. Deep down, you know when something isn’t exactly as it should be. This is why people say when they finally find “the one” it’s common to experience a sense of clarity. We can all try to make shift an almost relationship into the union of our dreams, but the fact is you aren’t doing yourself any favors by accepting an almost relationship. Eventually, life will take over, you’ll experience some bumps in the road and you will most likely learn that this relationship doesn’t have what it takes to make it.
There’s no shame in learning this concept, it happens to the best of us. My point in sharing this story is to ensure you that no matter how much you think you like someone, when the right person comes along, you’ll see what I mean. You’ll know exactly where you stand from the start. If someone truly wants to be with you, they will make it completely clear- and it will be easy and effortless. You should never have to chase or alter who you truly are to try and attract someone. If you do, you’re only selling yourself short. When the right person comes around, they’ll give you the permission to live as authentically as possible.
Now that I’m engaged, I can completely understand my friend’s advice. My relationship was the easiest decision of my life. There’s not one side of my personality that I have to alter, I’m free to just be me and I know at the end of the day that’s exactly what my fiancé wants. It took years to get there, but I can say with full confidence now that I’m on the other side of things- it should be easy.
My Big Fat Italian Engagement
Where do I begin to tell this story? If you’ve followed along for the past four years, you knew my dating life was more like a disaster story than anything. Somewhere along the quest of finding what I truly wanted out of life, I finally failed enough to prove myself worthy of the relationship of my dreams. And you know what? It’s a hell of a lot different than you’d think. The funny thing about finally getting what you want is that you probably won’t get it until you’ve become completely unattached from the outcome. At least that’s how it worked out for me.
Rewind to about two years ago, a was still single and had enough dating fails under my belt to make me feel completely exhausted by the modern dating world. Dating exhaustion is real and it ironically can mimic your daily life if you by chance happen to work in sales. If you’ve ever been a sales rep like me, you probably started out with a bit of an ego. You know your product, you’re good at your job, you show up and you’re ready to slay the day until a prospective client tells you no. Sales rejection, just like any rejection, can feel like a kick to the ego. Whether you’re familiar with the dating rejection or sales rejection, the first few no’s that you get can send the average person into a tail spin. On the flip side, once you get some momentum going, you start to brush off the no’s. By the end of my sales career, I was so thankful to receive a “no” from prospective clients because that meant I didn’t have to chase them anymore- I knew where I stood. The same can be said for a person in the dating field that has come across rejection after rejection- you eventually build up an immunity to it. Suddenly the sting isn’t so bad and you kind of stop caring. In a way, you detach from the outcome enough that your ego will no longer be bruised if you learn someone isn’t into you. This is your ultimate point of power.
This is exactly the place I was in life when I reconnected with my now fiancé. We had known each other back in our grade school days, but never considered dating before. By the time I finally agreed to go on a date with him, I had reached my limit of trying to appeal to men. I was done pretending like I loved sports, or like I was way more successful than I actually was, or playing to the former NFL cheerleader thing- I was so tired of trying to be anything other than myself, so I decided to just be me. And what do you know, the old saying was true- when you’re 100% true to who you are at the core, your perfect person shows up and it’s always when you’re not expecting it to happen. The rest is history. From there, we were inseparable. We moved in together way sooner than I’d like to admit and within a year and a half we were engaged.
Now to the part you actually want to read about- THE ENGAGEMENT! Being an Italian girl, my dream has always been to be married in Italy. I dreamt of a very small wedding with only the closest friends and family in attendance. Something about a big wedding gives me extreme anxiety. The thought of all the people in the room looking at me in that moment of pure vulnerability makes my heart beat out of my chest. I know, I know, how could someone who has cheered for 60,000+ fans have a fear of being seen? Remember the key word here- vulnerable. I never ugly cried or made public vows at a Rams game, so it’s a little different ball game to have an entire crowd of people watching you have a tender moment with someone you love.
The funny thing about finding your person is what you’ll be willing to give up. Due to some logistics with getting family and friends with young kids over to Italy, my then boyfriend (soon to be fiancé, hold your horses) brought me down to reality by saying there was just no way to be married in Italy, but we could take a trip there together just the two of us and have an epic vacation. Obviously a little sour about it, I obliged. I agree that one day whenever we get engaged, I’ll have a wedding in our hometown so that all the people we love most can be there. So, he plans this perfect little vacation to Italy to try to makeup for telling me the wedding of my dreams is out of the question.
Of course I’m still beyond excited to be taking a trip to Italy with my boyfriend. The day comes and we show up to the airport bright eyed and ready to get there. Getting out of St. Louis was a little tough. A small storm rolled through and ended up delaying our flight to Newark which created a snowball of horrible luck. I’ll spare you all the travel details because that’s a story in itself. It ended up taking us three days to get to Italy. We had delayed flights, cancelled flights and missed connecting flights. There was a small thought in the back of my mind that maybe I would be getting engaged on this trip, but that all went out the window once we ran into all the travel troubles. We went in and out of security checkpoints multiple times and he never acted strange, so I knew there wasn’t a ring in his pocket. The airline also lost our luggage, which he wanted to leave- so again, you wouldn’t be willing to ditch your bags just to get to Italy if you had an engagement ring hidden in your bag. So, in my mind I was sure there was no engagement, this was strictly going to be a vacation.
Three days and a two hour car ride later, we finally make it to Italy. I’m sleep deprived, exhausted and crabby. But I’m quickly reminded that we have to get ready for a photoshoot I planned in Positano. You see, when I realized I couldn’t have my dream wedding in Italy, I requested that we take professional pictures there that I could use one day whenever he did pop the question. So the plan was to have these pictures blown up and decorating my venue one day for an Italian theme wedding. However, considering all the travel issues, I was pissed that I had to look somewhat presentable for this photoshoot.
I pull myself together as quickly as possible and we head out for the photoshoot. We’re taking pictures and my then boyfriend Joe says he has to go to the bathroom- totally typical for a guy, so I think nothing of it. He says he's going to run to a local shop to use the restroom and tells the photographers to take some solo pics of me while he’s gone that I could use for my website (yeah right). So he runs off. Ten minutes go by and I can finally see him running back to us. At that point, the photographer says he’s going to take some solo pics of Joe- so I stand over to the side and start taking in the scenery, completely unaware of what’s about to happen. Joe drops down on one knee and I froze. Genuinely surprised and happy as could be, I couldn’t even utter the word “yes”. All I could do was ugly cry.
After I pulled it together, the photographer suggested that we take some pictures walking through the streets of Positano as a newly engaged couple. As we rounded the street corner, I got the second biggest shock of my life. Joe had surprised me with my parents and sister, as well as his parents- they had been there the whole time. I’m a writer and I can’t even begin to put into words how happy I was and still am that they were all there to share in this moment. We’re both of Italian decent, so to have both Dad’s in the “homeland” experiencing Italy together was a memory I’ll never forget. I’ll share pictures below so you can see how stunning I am when I’m truly shocked. STUNNING.
As it turns out, our families had been in Italy for two days waiting on us to get there. Joe’s Mom traveled with the ring in her pocket, so there would be no chance of me finding it while going through security. So when Joe ran back to the bathroom, he was actually grabbing the ring from his Mom. I never knew he was such a smooth operator- the amount of effort that he put into this is amazing. It’s one of the many, many reasons that I love him.
I don’t want this post to be too long, I’m thinking I’ll do a video detailing more about how it all went down. What I do want to share with you are some of the most important takeaways from the experience. If you hadn’t noticed, my first book, Suddenly Single: Modern Tales of Fairy-Fails was published days before I left for Italy. In a ten day span I went from suddenly single to suddenly engaged and I know that has everything to do with finally being true to myself. When you stop pretending and let your walls down, life shows up and the things that you’ve always wanted can fall into place in the most amazing way possible. All the things you think will matter don’t. Like that small Italian wedding I wanted, I could care less now. My fiancé wants a big Italian wedding in St. Louis, so guess what- we’ve having a HUGE wedding just the way he wants it. I’ll just have to get over my fear of crying in public.
All of my fairy fails leading up to my ultimate fairytale made me who I am today and I wouldn’t trade even the worst of moments as a single girl. Without them, maybe I wouldn’t realize how lucky I am today. People change and evolve as years go by and I think 2019 was probably the biggest year of personal growth for me. I’ve learned that the world opens up when you take off the mask of who you think you should be and start living as your authentic self. Fairytales are real, but you may have to kiss a few frogs before you finally find that prince. But believe me, it’s worth the wait.
If You Want To Be Successful in Business, Look At What You've Learned From Dating (As seen on thought catalog.com)
Yes, you read the title of this article correctly. Being successful in love goes hand-in-hand with finding success in your career. Seems off-putting at first glance, huh? It’s a concept that took me years to fully understand. Within the past year or so, I’ve found myself in a relationship beyond my wildest expectations and landed a new position that is far above what I thought possible for myself in a new industry. Neither of the two opportunities fell from the sky, I had to first get in tune with my true self.
Who am I? It’s a question we all find ourselves asking at one point or another. To find true love, you must be able to answer that question genuinely. Truth be told, a lot of knowing who you are comes from knowing who you are not. Knowing what you don’t want most often comes from experiences that we like to call failures, but the truth is that we can choose to see these setbacks as opportunities to learn what it is that we don’t want out of life. So, if you find you’re “failing” time and time again in either dating or your career, please realize that as long as you learn a lesson that guides you in a better direction, it’s still a win.
Life is full of lessons, whether we admit it or not. Oftentimes, those lessons follow us wherever we go until we finally pass the test. For me, connection has been an issue in my life for years. I’ve come a long way with it this year, but I still have some room for improvement. I realized that the only way out was in. Yes, you read that right — the only way out of your current struggle is to go within. What I mean is that you have to take the time to sit with yourself and ask, “What is it that’s causing this discord in my life?” Well, for me, the process of self-correcting made me realize that the very grit it would take to find connection in my work life was also mirrored in my dating life. Finding a relationship that felt like home meant I had some real work to do. Here are the lessons I learned:
1. You have to be authentic to connect with people.
The only way to truly connect is to be your true self — that same self that you may have been hiding for years. Hiding who you are can only protect you for so long. Soon enough your authentic self will have your gut screaming to just be.Dating is about connection. In today’s world, men and women are pros at sniffing out a phony. So do yourself a favor and lean in to your true self. The goal is to align with the type of person that matches what you need, but if you’re not honest about who you are, you can only blame yourself when things go south.
You might not even realize that you’re playing to the other person. So many people, myself included, are chronic people pleasers. People pleasers have trouble deciphering what they want out of life and relationships because they always have the other person in mind. It’s time to worry about yourself for once. It’s time to be you. Being authentic no matter the cost is the very thing that will lead you to the love of your life and take you to that next level in your career. How much further would you be if you could truly connect with your coworkers or your customers? Take a look at the most magnetic people that you know — what does that look like?
At the root of it all, the most magnetic and well-respected people have mastered the art of connection. They wear their personality like a badge of honor because they recognize that it’s the very thing that sets them apart from the rest. Be that person. Be the you that you are meant to be and make no apologies about who you are.
2. Speak honestly, even if that means letting someone down.You have to learn to be truthful, no matter what reaction you may get. Ghosting would be eliminated if people found a way to just be honest about how they feel. You may have the best intentions by ghosting someone to spare their feelings, but if you were on the receiving end, wouldn’t you want to know why something didn’t work out?
It may not be the greatest news to hear, but there is real power in knowing exactly where you stand. It allows you to close one door and move to the next thing with all of your energy. No one wants to be stuck wondering if they still have a chance. Give people the courtesy of knowing exactly where they stand with you. Business is no different. There’s nothing worse than someone that over-promises and under-delivers.
Speaking honestly from the start is the most beneficial approach to being respected in the workplace and in the dating world. It may not be easy, it may not always be comfortable, but it will save you from internal warfare in the end.
3. Learn to work through it. Whether it be friendships, romantic relationships or work relationships, the fact is that you can’t go run and hide when things get rocky. Well, you could, but chances are the same type of issue will resurface again and again until you have learned the lesson once and for all.
I’ve always been one to run and hide. I thought that if I could just start over, I would press the reset button and never have to face the things that made me feel uncomfortable. What I learned is that life will test you until you can pass that test successfully, so you may as well buckle down and face what’s in front of you.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Wherever you go, there you are?” All that phrase means is that you cannot outrun your problems, because they will follow you wherever you go. Show up, sit with the obstacle at hand, and don’t allow it to take your power. You have what it takes to face your demons once and for all. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and the sooner you learn to work through what you’re facing, the better.
What kind of manager would you be if you always ran from conflict? Are you doing anyone a favor by avoiding the tough conversations you know must be had? What about in your relationships — will you ever have a meaningful relationship if you ignore the obvious issues at hand? Successful marriages are not made by both parties burying their heads in the sand.
Respect and communication are necessary for building the trust it takes for a lasting relationship. That means you can expect your fair share of uncomfortable conversations and situations. If you are searching for something long-term, whether it be a relationship or a career, you must learn to work through your obstacles. The alternative is being stuck on a treadmill going nowhere.
The bottom line with everything is to accept the challenges at hand and learn to adapt to them. Life is messy for all of us. Social media, movies and television all paint a picture of a nicely paved road to success, but that’s all bullshit. It’s time to stop pretending like we aren’t all facing real problems in our day-to-day lives.
Real success means real work. It means checking your pride at the door and being vulnerable. It means failing and falling and looking foolish when things don’t go as planned. Without this, you will only be going through the motions. To live is to fall down, but none of that matters as long as you get back up and begin again.
Choose to live a life that may have moments of uncertainty, but has the guarantee that you are living your full potential.
Have you ever found yourself overwhelmed by dating exhaustion? I have, and I know I’m not alone here. I know what it’s like to think, “What’s wrong with me, what is it about me that seems to repel every person I try to date?” and, “Am I not good enough for this person?” These thoughts can not only drive you crazy, but can be the very reason you’re struggling to find love.
When a relationship doesn’t work out, what we really need to do is turn inward. Not with thoughts of what we did wrong, but with thoughts of what we can learn from this. Consider it your chance to check in and evaluate where you are in life. The first question you need to ask yourself is: Were you really being your authentic self, or were you playing to what you think the other person wanted to see? Were you being the nice girl that never made a fuss even when situations came about that were worthy of questioning? Were you altering any side of your personality to make yourself more appealing to the other person? I bet the answer is yes. And believe me, I know from experience that this approach to dating will cause exhaustion faster than ever.
The lesson that took me the longest to learn in life was embracing who I truly am at the core. Every flaw, every personality quirk, both good and bad, served a greater purpose and ultimately made me uniquely myself. Whether we realize it or not, at the root of it all, what people are really searching for is authentic connection. We’re all looking for that person that’s just as weird as we are! We’re looking for love that just clicks, but we’re never going to find it by altering ourselves to fit into someone else’s life. Changing any side of your personality in an effort to find love will always fail. It may not fail at first, but keep in mind that people aren’t stupid. People can tell when we’re not real or when we’re holding back in some sort of way. That sort of mystery and lack of connection is what costs so many of us in the dating world. Being calculated and “pitching” yourself to best fit the other person’s life will undoubtedly bring about a messy dynamic in your relationship and most likely cause it to end in disaster.
The best advice I could possibly give you when looking for a relationship is to stop trying to avoid the mess. You aren’t going to get into the modern dating world without hitting some bumps in the road. It’s messy, it’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, but knowing what to expect is half the battle. I’ve always said that when it comes to dating, check your pride at the door. You will have to be vulnerable to find the relationship of your dreams, bar none. I didn’t find that relationship for myself until I overcame this, and to be honest, learning to be vulnerable will probably be something I struggle with to some degree for the rest of my life. You don’t have to be perfect at it, you just have to consistently make progress.
Recognize what it is in your life that’s holding you back—there’s a good chance this very thing has crossed over into your career as well without you realizing it. I’ve noticed there are many things that are mirrored in both business and relationships. A few of the biggest I see are confidence, vulnerability and finding connection. If you master connection in the dating world, imagine what kinds of changes that could make in a business setting. Wouldn’t you find benefit from connecting more with your co-workers or customers? I think so! So do the internal work that is necessary once and for all—you’ll forever reap the benefits. Be true to yourself and watch the doors open.
The funny thing is, once you know who you are, you stop caring about fitting into someone else’s life and you start being really picky about the type of people you allow into your world. That’s where the magic happens. It’s kinda like learning how to say no for the first time—it’s freeing! Love isn’t calculated, so do yourself a favor and spend your time and energy on becoming your best self, and more importantly, your true self. If you don’t know who you are, you will never know what you truly need from your partner. We all know what dating aimlessly looks like, but it’s time to get serious about what you need in life. What are your non-negotiables? Decide what qualities are an absolute must in a relationship and don’t settle until you get the relationship that best fits your needs.
Don’t waste time changing any side of your personality unless it’s a true character flaw that needs to be addressed. We’ve all got work to do, but that’s part of being human. We’re designed to grow and evolve! Don’t see internal work as a bad thing, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s necessary to become the person you are meant to be. When you focus on the outside world, you give away your power. Always go within to decide what you want, what needs work, and what it will take to live the life you deserve. We’re all worthy of love, but the ugly truth is that we’re not all ready for it just yet. And that’s okay!
If I were to be given my ideal relationship a few years ago, it would have failed simply because, despite what I thought, I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted out of life and in turn what I needed out of a partner. Looking back, that didn’t make me a failure or a person that was unworthy of love, it just meant I had more life to live first. I had more learning and growing to do before I would be ready to accept and appreciate a relationship like the one I have now. If I could go back to my younger self, I’d say, “Snap out of it!” It has nothing to do with self-worth and everything to do with timing. You will find what you want when it best fits your life—trust the process.
So wherever you are in the dating process, I hope you realize that you deserve a partner that loves you for who you are no matter what. And you will find that person when you stop playing games and start getting real. Tell the truth, be who you are and take the risk, even if it leads to rejection at first. Eventually the right fit will come along and everything will make sense.
Learn To Live As The Best Version Of You
By: Michele Russo of The Dime Series, As seen on Thought Catalog.
“I’m just out here trying to live my best life.”
Sound familiar? It’s a phrase so many of us have heard lately, but what does it mean? I think living your best life is much more than going on extravagant vacations or having the money it takes to afford such a trip. While those things are great, life is more than just living for that next Instagram picture that’s going to get the most likes because, in the end, it’s nothing more than empty attention. So, what does it mean to live your best life? To me, it’s more about developing the best version of yourself that causes you to truly live up to your full potential.
In college, I found myself trudging through a long day of classes on the first day of a new semester. I was uninterested in my university, my classes, and my teachers. It seemed that none of the professors had ever actually worked in the industry, they just taught by the books and expected the students to follow suit. I was not about to learn from someone with no life experience, so I dozed off, gave minimal effort, staring out the windows with no real interest until one teacher came along and changed my life forever.
Initially, I thought this guy was crazy. He showed up to class 15 minutes late and after introducing himself, immediately spoke of our first assignment. What he asked of our class sent shockwaves over the room: he wanted us to write our own eulogies. It seemed like the most ridiculous morbid assignment I had ever been given. I was disgusted by the assignment but nonetheless decided to put my head down and complete the task. During the second class, our professor asked that a few students read their eulogies aloud. He let about three people share before he stopped and said, “You guys have it all wrong, and here lies the lesson. So often, when we describe ourselves we start naming off the accomplishments in our lives, but you see, those things provide no value. Tell me who you are and the type of person you want to be remembered as in this world. I don’t care if you’re at the top of your class, tell me the story that brought you to that point, explain to me your grit.” It was at that moment that my life changed forever. Throughout the semester, he not only taught me how to tell a good story, but he taught me that every person has a story and each story is worth hearing. It was in his class that I realized it was possible to change people’s lives through storytelling because he changed mine and I will forever be grateful for that message.
As time went on, our class learned that our professor was a former Hollywood screenwriter, so telling stories was a skill he had mastered at the highest level. His tagline to his students when they felt any sense of doubt was, “Go with God.” Interesting advice to be given by a college professor, right? I think what he meant was choose love. Choose faith, choose to slow down and realize what really matters in life- I promise it’s not the amount of “likes” you get on an Instagram post. Choose to take the time to listen to the stories of others, because you never know when someone will stop you dead in your tracks and change your life forever with their story.
Judgment holds us back from a world full of adventure. If I would have allowed my initial judgment of the professor that I once thought was so morbid get in my way, I would have missed one of the greatest lessons of my life.
So, how does this story apply to the dating world? Well, for starters, I hope it teaches you to stop judging every book by its cover. We are all so quick to judge people, especially on dating apps. We’re out there swiping left and right mindlessly, maybe it’s time to take a second to read a few bios. Maybe it’s time to take a chance with someone new that normally would never catch your eye. Branch out and go on that date with the type of person that just “isn’t your type.” You never know who you could meet in the process of dating that will forever change your perspective or inspire you in some type of way. And when it comes to dating profiles, instead of listing all your wants and needs like a personal plea to the universe, try writing your story as the type of person you are at your core. Hell, at the very least, just remember who that person is when you’re dating. Hiding behind a resume or list of reasons why people should remember you is the last thing on earth that’s going to bring you the truly loving relationship of your dreams. In order to find that type of partner, you’re going to need to be authentic and open. You’ll have to take a chance and stop hiding your profile filled with things you think people want to hear. Be real.
If you don’t know who you are- and believe me, there’s no shame in that, but you’re going to have a hell of a time deciding what it is that you want. So, how do you start finding out who you are? Well, simply put, you stop saying no… No, I won’t date him. No, I won’t try that. No, I won’t take that chance, I know how it will end up anyway. That type of thinking won’t get you anywhere. Learn to jump, take a chance at love and most importantly let love in. You would be amazed at how much we block ourselves from out of fear. My advice to you is to allow yourself to become the person you were always meant to be, write your own story and don’t allow the negative experiences in your life to sit in your mind and hold you back from the life of your dreams. Use the negative past experiences as a way to help define the direction you want your life to go. It’s your story, so tell me…
Who do you want to be?
Learning to Pivot
By Michele Russo
At every stage of your life, no matter how successful you may be, you will undoubtedly be faced with a situation that calls you to show up in a big way. For me, one of the biggest struggles has been knowing where I fit in. I’m just not the norm and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will be. I guess I’ve never had a strong sense of who I am, but I did have a strong sense of knowing who I am not. The process of getting to know yourself is a long road, full of dips and turns. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something else happens that makes you question if you really know who you are and what you want for your life. Yes, we all know who we are on some level, but I’m talking about knowing enough about who you are and what you want out of your life to be able to drown out the noise of society. It’s taken me years to come to the conclusion that the majority of my issues came from conforming to the “shoulds” in life. You should be married by this age, you should have a job that wows your peers, you should be a certain weight- the list goes on and on. I’ve finally realized that true happiness comes from throwing those shoulds out the window and navigating my own life.
These shoulds are not a way of society attacking us, but rather a gauge of what has worked in the past for the masses. And you know what? It’s ok if you don’t fit in with the masses. This past week, I started a new job that has given me immense clarity in the road to finding my true calling. (And guess what? My calling is not just one thing.)
To say this week started out rough would be an understatement. I could paint you a pretty picture about how I started this glamorous new job at a magazine and how fabulous it was, but that would be mostly smoke and mirrors. And while it is a fabulous job, or could be, it initially shocked me into realizing that I’m not very good at sales. Which is ironic considering that I spent years in a family business selling products with ease. The difference is coming from a retail setting where customers came to me, to now having to find my own customers and approach them for a sale. I started the week with generic cold call style emails that fit the normal criteria of a business email. Cold, boring and impersonal. I reached out to people in this way because it felt like what I was supposed to do. I SHOULD follow suit and reach out to potential clients the same way my sales manager does. Well, it didn’t work. I got kicked in the gut over and over with responses of rejection. I learned that I am afraid of rejection, each time I got an email back respectfully declining to purchase advertising I felt a blow to my ego. You know why? Because I wasn’t being true to myself. My gut told me the whole time that my approach wasn’t going to work. Hell, I wouldn’t buy from that style of sales either. Here’s the part where I tell you I had an epiphany and suddenly things changed for the better. Well, yes and no. First I spent a few days bitching and moaning to my friends about how this was just not for me. Oh, and crying like a small child. Can’t forget that. I complained about how I’ll never fit into this office and how I don’t want to fit in- I’d rather quit. But, deep down I knew that wasn’t the answer either. The universe isn’t out to get you, but it is here to teach you and make sure that you’re growing.
Let me tell you something about growing- it sucks. And you don’t even realize that within your pain is a valuable lesson that can’t be taught by reading a book or listening to a podcast, you’ve just got to experience it to gain the valuable lesson. My lesson was learning to pivot. I decided after some good old ugly cries that I was going to take the lesson. I used what wasn't working as a guide to lead me to what ultimately did work, speaking from my heart. I threw the bullshit sales pitch out the window and started to reach out to potential clients with a mindset of how can I be of service? And just like that, things got better and I started to find my flow. It was something I would never have found if I kept navigating off the shoulds. I should sell like this, I should approach a client like this… no, I should do what feels right for me and let that guide me. So I chose to pivot. Pivoting is allowing, it’s not beating yourself up for something you experienced that didn’t work. It’s allowing those things to teach you, not taking it personal if it doesn’t work and moving towards what does work. I promise a really ugly process can actually paint a pretty picture.
Towards the end of the week, I started to talk more with a woman that sits across from me in the office. We started talking about what led me to the position in the first place. I told her I wanted to be in the environment of the magazine because I have a side gig of writing, starting a podcast, and joining The Great Love Debate on tour. I shared how just a few weeks ago I was interviewing Ben Higgins from The Bachelor for my podcast and before I could get too into describing my side hustle in full detail, she cut me off saying, “Wow, your life is so glamorous, why would you want to go get a job at a magazine?”
It was a valid question. Suddenly, I found myself dumbstruck by what she had asked me. As I drove home that night I started to reflect on what caused me to go out and get a “real” job. You know why I took the job? Because I felt like it was something I should do. I allowed fear to step in. The thought alone put me in a tailspin almost all week. I spent majority of my time feeling terrible, tears flowing, feeling like I had taken ten steps forward only to end up behind in the end. I felt like I let myself down and given up on the chance of one day building The Dime Series into a brand that made a difference in people’s lives? Thankfully, by Friday I was able to gain the clarity I needed with the help of my amazing friends and family. Yes, I made a choice that may have seemed like a step backwards, but the lessons I’m learning are going to be the very thing that propels me closer to the ultimate dream of building my brand. Without learning that authentic connection is the only way to build a relationship with people, I would be that much more behind in the process. But the most important part of the story is that I learned how to pivot. I made a choice that didn’t seem to fit in with this glamorous life I wanted to build, but every choice you make does serve a purpose- I can promise you that. Getting to know yourself takes a lot of time. Think about it, all our lives we’re influenced by others about what type of job is acceptable and honorable, what kind of person we should be attracted to, how we should dress and the proper way to act in society. It’s taken me my whole life up until this point to be able to finally decide for myself how I want to live my life for ME.
If you’re like me and struggled to dream for yourself about what type of career, relationship or life was right for you, I invite you to learn the power behind pivoting. When I think of the word pivot, all I hear is Ross Gellar from Friends screaming “PIVOT!” in my ear. What I mean by learning to pivot is I want you to learn to give yourself a break. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a kinesthetic learner. I have to experience something for myself to get the full effect. I can’t read about what types of things to avoid, I could listen to motivational stories all day, but the fact is, in order to truly grow, I need to experience it for myself. There really is no such thing as failure, it’s all how we choose to perceive it. I could see taking a day job as a failure, or use it as a gauge to my gut- telling me if I’m on the right path or not. And if not, I pivot. If a relationship you’ve entered isn’t serving you, PIVOT. If a job isn’t giving you what you need, ignore the fear and PIVOT. Don’t beat yourself up and label everything that doesn’t serve you as a failure of some sort. It’s not a failure if you learn from it or if it guides you in some way. One of the best ways to find clarity is to “fail” because when you fail, you gain a clear picture of what you don’t want and slowly begin to chip away at the picture of what you do want. Stop putting pressure on yourself to have it all figured out, because the truth is that none of us have everything figured out. Most people are just unwilling to ever show a vulnerable side and admit to having feelings of failure and regret. But that doesn’t mean those feelings don’t exist for all of us.
Having the woman at my office say to me, “You’re so lucky, you get to travel and write and create this dream life” got me thinking. I thought, I hope that’s not the image I’m giving to my readers. If it is, allow me to give you some truth juice. What you don’t see is that I feel like I’ve failed on some level nearly every day. This week was just one of those times where nothing was ever enough. Some days I question my writing career, question my amount of followers and feel like I’m not providing enough content to make a difference. But that’s just fear setting in and we all feel that at one point or another. I struggle, I fall and I fail and so does everyone else! They just might not be as honest about it. When the clouds settle in, I have no choice but to pick myself up and start again- I pivot. And so should you.
So, tomorrow starts a whole new week and if you allow it, a whole new perspective. This week, my question is this: Will you start again with me? Will you start seeing your past let downs as a chance to pivot in the direction that is closer to your dreams? Do something scary and take the leap. I hope this helps you in some way. It might not be the best thing I’ve ever written, but it is most certainly the realest thing I’ve written in a long time.
Until next week, Dimes.
It’s The Little Things
By: Michele Russo
Hi Dimes! After a short break, I’m back with a fresh outlook on relationships. The best/worst part about producing creative content is that you have no control over what comes to you. I’ve chosen to follow my own timeline when it comes to writing. If I don’t have a piece of content I feel strongly about sharing, I’d frankly rather not share. That being said, my time off has given me a lot to think about. I typically find myself writing about all the things that go wrong in relationships, but I’ve recently thought to myself- “What’s behind the magic of a successful relationship?
When I think about the strongest relationship I’ve seen, I instantly think of my parents. They’ve been together for nearly forty years. As some relationships do, theirs never struck me as anything forced out of convenience. Although I’m sure its no walk in the park, I do know that its built on a strong foundation of trust and respect. Their story has stood the test of time and left me wondering, what the hell made it so right? Each time I felt I failed in a personal relationship, a flash of the greatest union I’ve seen would enter my mind. It has taken my whole life, but I’ve finally figured it out… When it comes to relationships, it’s the little things that matter.
A little back story on me: I grew up behind the counters of my Dad’s outdoor power equipment dealership. Far from girly, I know, but the experience will forever be the greatest character building experience of my life. We sold everything from large to small mowers, for both homeowners as well as the large landscapers you would expect. Whenever I would come home boasting about selling a large $10,000.00 mower, my Dad’s response was the same. “That’s great, but always remember it’s just as important to sell a $2 spark plug.” Being young and not fully grasping the concept, I brushed his response off time after time. Now at the age of nearly thirty, I finally understand what my Dad meant all those years. It is this very understanding that led him to become a successful businessman, husband and father.
If you think back at some of your relationships that may have ended, consider the root of your problems. Deep down, at the very primitive level, there is some sort of unraveling that begins with a lack of effort. Even in the case of cheating, there is normally some sort of need thats not being met that influences a persons decision of looking outside of their relationship for the fix. On a very basic level, what if we went to the root of the problem? What if, like my father, we not only were present for the large aspects of a relationship- birthdays, anniversaries, or Valentine’s Day. What if we were present enough to make little efforts at all times? It’s important to develop a sense of presence in all of the relationships in your life, whether you want to be a great partner, great boss or a great friend, the formula is the same. Show up. Give a shit. Show with your whole heart that you give a shit.
It’s easy for a person to show up for the obvious times like a special occasion. However, the things that are necessary for a lasting marriage are far beyond the obvious. For my parents, love wasn’t built over a giant engagement ring or long trips to Greece. Love was built over the little things: bringing my Mom coffee every morning or planting her favorite rose bush outside, for example. It was sitting at the table talking until 3 a.m. until the issue thats been bothering her was resolved. It was finding a way to let your partner know they aren’t alone in whatever they’re battling. Those are the little things that add up to the big picture of a love that lasts. Remember that the next time you see a couple blasting their love over Instagram. Don't get me wrong, trips and material things are great, but if that’s all you have, it will eventually wear out. When the thrill of a fancy gift fades, you are left with the bare bones of the relationship. If you don’t have a way of showing the other person you care besides the obvious, you’re in trouble. At the end of the day, I think most women just want to know that they mattered. When you listen, we feel like what we had to say mattered. When you make a little effort, we know we matter to you. We’re all overcomplicating things when it comes to dating and marriage. Revert back to your childhood for a second, did your Mom ever write a little note in your lunch box wishing you luck for a test or soccer game later that day? Mine did, and while it was simple, it was the greatest surprise of my day. It took her five seconds, but it let me know she cared and was thinking about me. Let the other person know you care, build trust and show up for the small things as well as the big moments. What you’ll find is a relationship you can depend on.
Until next time, Xx.
9 For Sure Signs He’s Just Not That Into You
Written by: Michele Russo of The Dime Series
So, you've found yourself in the tangled web that is the modern dating world? Hello text messages with no reply, late night phone calls or the agonizing never ending game of cat and mouse. In an effort to reduce your desire to play in oncoming traffic, allow me to help you realize if you are in fact infatuated with yet another unavailable man. If you find that you relate to more than five of the following scenarios, it might be time to throw in the towel with the person putting you through this slow hell. I write this with love, because I have had no choice but to face the music in my own dating life. What you are about to read may seem harsh, but you know what they say: the truth hurts.
1. He has no real intent with you. When someone has no real intent of dating you, it will seem as though your questions are never really answered. If you dare to ask where things are going, chances are you will find yourself in a cloud of confusion fit for a modern dater. Keep in mind that an unavailable man will typically avoid coming out and saying he's just not that into you. He'll dodge the question, or tell you he isn't sure what he wants. Maybe he doesn't want to break your heart or maybe he isn't ready to lose you all together, but either way you are left with the mind numbing task of deciding if things could turn into something between the two of you. Good luck with that!
2. Communication only happens on the weekends. You only talk when it's time to make plans for the weekend... unless he throws you a "like" on social media. We've all been there, using social media as a gauge to measure just how interested someone actually is. An Instagram "like" is nothing more than a weak attempt at flirting. It's a click of a mouse, people. If social media activity is the only glimmer of hope you have with a person- snap out of it! I don't care if he likes every photo you post or watches your Snapchat story the second it hits his feed, these things are just false hope of a relationship to come. When someone cares, they will do whatever it takes to make sure you know that. If a guy doesn't care how your day went, chances are he has no plans of becoming your boyfriend.
3. He flat out tells you he's not ready for anything serious. Why do we always think we can change someone's mind? A guy is coming right out and saying he isn't ready to commit, yet we think we can somehow change his mind. Ask yourself this question: even if you could change his mind, do you really want to have to convince someone to care about you? It sounds harsh, and that's because it is harsh. The bottom line is you should never have to tell someone how great you are, the right person would have figured that out on their own. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, when someone shows you who they are (or in this case, how they feel) LISTEN!
4. He puts zero effort into seeing you. Do you find yourself only meeting up when it's convenient for him? A selfish person is often an unavailable person. If you launch like a crazy person every time you get a half ass invite to see this guy, you have no one to blame but yourself. Stop being so available! Like it or not, we are the ones setting the tone for what types of behavior is acceptable from others. If you allow someone to treat you like you're second fiddle, you will always be the back burner girl. The back burner girl is the girl left on hold, only to be contacted when better options fall through. You know you're his second option if you only get late night weekend texts. Don't kid yourself- there is absolutely nothing sweet about a late night text from the man of your dreams. It just means he wants something- and it's not your heart.
5. He teases you about you flaws. This one took me a little longer to learn: a polite bully is still a bully. You might think teasing is just playful flirting, but you could be wrong. There is a slim chance that the person cutting you down is somehow going to morph into your biggest fan. Sometimes when a guy points out your flaws (i.e. you're so high maintenance or you're bossy) he could be trying to tell you in a subtle way that he's just not that into you. Before you go changing who you are, remember that your flaws aren't always bad, they just don't appeal to everyone. I mean, Beyonce is high maintenance and bossy, but we still think she's a queen.
6. He only says what you want to hear when he's drunk. We all have high hopes of getting sweet nothings from our crush, but dating in this age often leaves us with drunk nothings. If alcohol is your only friend in the relationship, you've got problems. Attention and affection are things that should be present at all times, not just after six shots of tequila. They say the truth comes out when you're drunk. This may be true, but drunk affection doesn't make up for bad behavior. When a guy is truly interested, you will know it. Even the types of guys that never commit will make every last effort to show interest when they meet the girl that really attracts them. You may not be the girl of his dreams, and that's ok. That doesn't mean you aren't someone else's dream girl.
7. You always send the first text. Is it acceptable to send the first text? Yes. Is it acceptable to always text first? NO! Have you ever sat around with friends looking for their reassurance about an unavailable guy? I have more times than I'd like to admit. Girls have a way of rationalizing the most telling signs of an uninterested man. We can always come up with a reasonable explanation of why he isn't texting. Believe me, I've made excuses with the best of them. I hate to break it to you, pretty girl, but if you have to ask yourself if he's thinking about you- chances are he's not thinking about you.
8. He's never taken you on an actual date. Buying you drinks at a bar is not a date. Real dates require effort, picking up a tab at a bar does not. A simple way to ask yourself where you stand with someone is to question their intent. If a guy intends to get to know you, he will put forth the effort to plan a real date. If he is hoping to take you home, his intent will most likely be to impress you by buying your drinks at a scrubby bar. Actions and effort speak louder than words, my friends.
9. You feel like you're trying too hard. The single best piece of advice a friend has ever given me is that it should be easy. It seems so simple, and that's because it should be simple. The beginning phases of the relationship should be the easiest. Deciding if someone is worth committing to comes naturally without question when you're with the right one. As you progress and date long term, real issues will come about. So, if you are struggling in the beginning stages of a relationship, how can you expect things to go when your hit with a real problem? Deep down we all know the answers to our own questions, we just might not be ready to listen to our gut. The fact is, if someone is interested, you will know it. If someone is half-interested, you will also know it. The question is: will you take your blinders off and admit it?
Michele is a former St. Louis Rams Cheerleader living in St. Louis. Follow Michele from the sidelines of the NFL to the sidelines of the modern dating world.