This post is adapted from my recent appearance in the “Crushing Your Fears” podcast. To listen to the full episode, check it out here: “Episode # 20 – Attracting Mr. Right – Karen Stanley”. To listen to other podcast appearances, check out this comprehensive podcast list.
I’ve always been kind of an all-or-nothing gal. I went through a divorce, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and losing my car all in one year. I was in a rental house with sh*tty carpets, raising two kids alone, and I really had a hard time with a lot of things. The recession was a huge hit for me—which actually ended up turning into a huge blessing. Just burn the whole house down and start all over, right?
I love that we’re talking about fears today. In my experience, getting over the fear of failure, the fear of putting myself out there, the fear of divorce again, and the fear of just being myself has been extremely difficult. The fear of being vulnerable has been a theme throughout my whole life. My book is just my whole journey of how I overcame those fears and created strategies and systems to attract someone who is awesome.
I know some people don’t believe in the “law of attraction” and that’s fine. You could also believe that these are success principles that you can apply to any goal. I believe you can apply it to a relationship goal. And that’s what I did. I had a goal. I followed the success principles. Success always leaves clues. That’s what Ed Mylett always says. What are those clues? How about I just apply that to a relationship goal? It can’t be any different. So I decided to put that hypothesis to the test.
Be crystal clear about what you want.
The strategies I developed revolve around so many different things, but the number one thing is to be super crystal clear about what you want. A lot of us do not know what we want. We focus on the past. We focus on the breakups or heartbreak. We’ve gone through a major, major sh*t. Our hearts are broken. Our families are broken up. We’re single parenting. We’re co-parenting. We’re dealing with all kinds of stress. We’re a one-income household all of a sudden, and it’s terrifying. The fear of doing this all alone is so overwhelming sometimes, and we can feel really trapped or we can get really stuck. It freezes us. It froze me. All I could do is live from one minute to the next. Take care of my clients, take care of my kids. That’s it. I couldn’t deal with anything else.
However, my self-worth and self-confidence were so low that I literally used to look in the mirror and say, “Okay, so if I just got a boob job and liposuction then somebody would want to marry me.” And there’s nothing wrong with getting plastic surgery if that’s what you want to do, and you feel great about it. The problem is, if you believe that you have to do something else, be somebody else, or look like someone else in order to have an awesome husband, guess who you’re going to attract? You’re going to attract people that feel the same way about themselves; people with low self-worth and low self-confidence. It’s a never-ending cycle until you look in the mirror and start analyzing what you’re doing. What could I do? Who do I really want to be? Who do I really want to attract?
Be a student of dating.
I knew intellectually that I had to write down what I want to attract. Easy! Ok! Get that sh*t down on a piece of paper. Put it in your nightstand. You’re golden. But I wasn’t focused on how I could improve and how I could put systems in place to actually become the person that I had on my list. The other problem with having it on a piece of paper is that it’s in a drawer somewhere. How many times are you actually going to get it out and read it, look at it, edit it?
I decided I was going to be a student of dating. Everybody I date—it didn’t matter if I had to go on a hundred dates—had something to teach me, and I focused on what I was learning. I became a student of human nature, of men, and dating. I created a soul mate list on my phone. Creating it in the notes of your phone is a super important part of the strategy because it forces you to read it, edit it, read it, and edit it again every time you learn something that you want or don’t want.
So sometimes we think, “Oh, my God, he’s a nightmare. That was the worst date of my whole life. Holy sh*t, can you believe that he’s wearing that? Oh, my God, I can’t believe that he showed up and is a hundred pounds heavier than his profile picture.” That happened to me a lot. So, I shifted my focus. I kept asking myself, what am I learning from this?
Well, I want someone who’s extremely honest and puts a profile picture of himself that wasn’t from ten years ago. I want somebody who is healthy—I’m not talking about a perfect physique and three percent body fat. I don’t give a sh*t about that. I just wanted a healthy lifestyle to be a top priority because my health is very important to me. No one has to be perfect. It’s just what I really wanted to create. I really want to focus on my health and taking care of my body.
What else do I really need to do? I kept attracting so many liars. So what is that all about? Look in the mirror. What am I lying about? Lying has many different realms, but I think that withholding your true thoughts, opinions, and reactions is lying. If something really bothers or disturbs you, and you don’t say anything, well, then who are they falling in love with? Who do they like if you don’t ever tell the truth, speak up when you see something that really bothers you, or want to talk about something but you don’t? And so I started really trying to focus on those things.
And the process doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t get to decide on when or where exactly you’re going to meet the person that you’re meant to be with or the next best partner for you, however you want to look at it. I always got off course. I always derailed myself. When I was overwhelmed and I felt like all the burden was on me to take care of children and to be the mom and the dad and the breadwinner. Hyper-focusing on how stressful and overwhelming that was made me feel like I always needed an escape. Anytime I had a babysitter or if they went to their dad’s, I was ready to party.
Guess what happens when you’re ready to tear it up? Who are you going to attract? Someone who feels the same. So I didn’t meet the person that was perfect for me and now—what I believe to be—my soulmate in that state.
Check your beliefs.
Your fears are going to come up all the time throughout different instances, including healing from the divorce and healing from that pain of a big, huge, humiliating fail. I don’t think anybody goes into marriage thinking, “Oh this is going to be great. We’ll have five great years, then five terrible years, and then it’s going to be an all-out war. Divorce is going to be awesome.” Nobody goes into marriage like that. We feel like such a failure. So many emotions are wrapped around a dissolving relationship.
It was extremely difficult for me, to be honest. When you have low self-confidence like I did, it gets whacked and whacked over and over and over again—bankruptcies, foreclosures, relationship failure, financial failure, you failed your kids, all of those stories that we tell ourselves. They’re just stories, but they’re beliefs. Most of our beliefs are actually stemmed from the meaning we attached to events that happened to us, usually when we were young. That’s a widely known psychological fact. We carry these beliefs, and most of us don’t even realize we carry them.
We can find our beliefs in the things we say to ourselves and our friends. They are created and based on everything that’s happened to us in the past. Sometimes it’s accumulated. Sometimes it’s a traumatic event. A lot of us have traumatic events. I had a traumatic event. Being molested as a young, young girl led me to believe that men only wanted me for sex. I literally thought that they had no desire to have me in their life, except for one reason. I didn’t know it, but I carried that around. I didn’t have my own self-worth or self-confidence, so guess how I got the most amount of attention? I got it from men. They gave me the attention I craved. They wanted to be with me, and it created a never-ending, self-perpetuating cycle of creating exactly what you believe.
Our fears are based on our experiences. A divorce could be one experience, right? That might create the belief that all marriages are doomed, or that all men are crazy, or that all men are liars, or all women are gold diggers. And we have these blanket statements based on our experience, based on the past, right? We don’t even realize it most of the time. I used to say, “I’ll never meet anybody because I work from home, so how am I going to meet anybody?” Or, “I’ll never meet anybody because who wants to sign up for this sh*t show happening at my house, raising two kids by myself.”
So these beliefs are created. And I really worked hard to prove that they were wrong. I did that was just by paying particular attention to physical manifestations that existed around me that proved the opposite was true. If you believe that all women are gold diggers and they only want you for money, look around. You know amazing women who are not gold diggers. They’re artists and lovers, and they couldn’t care less about money. Their husbands don’t do things for the paycheck and have so many amazing careers that are never going to have seven figures attached to it. We know tons of people like that. And so that belief is false.
If you believe that men only want you for sex, well, all I had to do is think about all my gay friends. They wouldn’t touch me with a ten-foot pole. Not every man wanted me for sex. There’s a lot of men that are abhorred by me, right? That belief is false. It’s not a fact.
Surround yourself with people that have wonderful relationships.
Another thing I did to overcome my fears was to specifically surround myself with people that have really amazing, committed, loving, long term relationships. It’s easy to have that spark and that infatuation at the beginning. What was really astounding to me was when I see that in couples that have been together for thirty years. I want to know how they did that! I paid attention to them and I wrote down notes, especially if somebody is super strong-willed and powerful.
I’m a very type-A Capricorn. I try so hard not to be controlling. It’s very hard for me, especially being a single mom, doing it all myself all those years. I controlled everything. I didn’t actually have to co-parent. He worked out of the country most of the time. So I didn’t have to do all this co-parenting bullsh*t that everybody has to deal with, which is really hard. I made every single decision. So I had this belief that I was too controlling, too type A. I just had too much on my plate, and nobody’s going want me anyway, because I am very opinionated. People used to tell me that I was overwhelming. I don’t even know what that means. Like, am I supposed to be underwhelming? Is it because I’m tall? I have a loud voice? Overwhelming? I don’t know. I’m still confused by that.
But I know lots of exuberant, strong personality women who have incredible, happy relationships and amazing marriages after thirty or forty years. And I studied them, and I focused only on them because I have no interest in anybody who has a toxic relationship or anybody who got married two years ago. I have no interest in that. That’s easy. Anybody can just not get divorced and stay together.
Another thing people have a tendency to say when you ask them why they haven’t met anyone yet is, “I’m just not ready.” They might have divorced ten years ago. And to that I say, “Ready for what?” You do need some time to be alone and just work on yourself without any distractions. Please, take some time; however, you don’t know what the other side of the mountain is like.
But you can’t see the other side while you’re climbing up. Even though I love John more than anything, and he loves me more than anything in the whole wide world, our first couple of years of marriage had insane challenges I had never experienced. He was hospitalized twice for pneumonia. He had a stint put in. While we were hiking his chest started to tighten, and then he got f*cking prostate cancer. (And he kicked cancer and he’s great. He’s healthier than ever. Thank God.)
You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Nobody does. The way that we crush fear is to work through it as it comes up, because it’s a never-ending battle. You don’t ever “win.” You never arrive at “Yes! I have no more fears now!” No. We have a negative experience, we create a story from that experience, and then we can just work to disprove it. Find the facts that make it wrong. Then gradually, gradually, dissolve them. Just work towards becoming the person you want to be. I created some systems to do that.
These systems and strategies are universal, no matter if you’re a man or a woman, or if you have kids or don’t. The reason why I directed it to single moms is just that I only know what it’s like to be a single mom. I wasn’t in my thirties and dating alone, with no children. That’s a whole other life. I don’t even know what that’s like. So it’s really just my own experience and I really focused on how I can make small improvements.
Focus on small improvements.
A small improvement you can make is focusing on your environment. When you’re single and you don’t have children, I don’t think that creating an environment in your home that’s pleasing and peaceful is really that difficult. There’s no one to mess it all up. There’s no mess. But when you’re a single mom, it’s a different story.
When I went over to John’s house the first time, he had moved out of his marital home and into a rental house that was close to his work so he’d have his own place. He literally only took his clothes. There was almost nothing in his house. He bought a couch, tv, tv stand, and a bed. There was nothing there. But if you’re raising a couple of kids in elementary school, you need a lot of sh*t and they keep messing everything up. I really do believe that mess and disorder just attract more mess and disorder. It just attracts stress even though you don’t realize it. And it doesn’t create a really super peaceful situation for mom. But creating that peaceful situation in your home and in your life puts you on the path to becoming the person you want to be.
Remember that results come from small baby steps every day. Everything is a practice. “How can I take one little tiny baby step to become like the person I want to attract? What small goals can create and work on?” Keep practicing, because you get closer and closer to becoming that person with every step.
Let me be clear and offer this caveat: you’re not closer to your perfect spouse appearing because you don’t know what that other person needs to learn. You don’t know when it’s going to be. You don’t know what you need to accomplish first and how many steps you need to take. You couldn’t possibly know that. Let all of that go and just work on how you really want someone who’s compassionate, or whatever it is you want. That allows you to hyper-focus on being crystal clear with what you want to attract and what you really want to become. That’s what it’s all about.
I really believe that getting over that fear is about creating little teeny systems and little small improvements every day forever. You never “arrive.” You’re never “done.” You don’t stop trying to improve once you meet the husband of your dreams. The reason some people don’t want to put in the effort is because we don’t know what the ultimate reward itself feels like. Most of us have not experienced what it feels like to have someone have your back, someone who would drop everything to run to the ER when you’re sick, someone who takes care of everything (if you need that), and is completely loyal to a fault. I believe that the reward is really about giving. It’s really about loving someone. I believe that we’re here on this planet to love -to love everybody, but especially that one special person -your husband, your spouse, your partner. It’s one of our purposes. I believe that. That’s why I feel so strongly about helping people find those barriers and find those blocks and find those little resistances.
If you want someone with a lot of energy, you got to go for a walk, go do some cardio, grab a yoga class. If you want someone who’s calm you have to find things that help you stay calm. If you want someone who’s compassionate, then be compassionate. I read my list, edited it and updated it every single day and that was my system for becoming that person I wanted to attract. If you want to attract something that you’ve never had, you have to become a person that you’ve always wanted to be.
It’s possible for YOU.
I think half the battle is just believing that it’s actually possible. You can overcome your fears. If it’s possible for me, with two kids and being a stubborn type A Capricorn control freak, and $30,000 dollars in debt after divorce and foreclosure and bankruptcy—you name it—it’s possible for anyone, believe me. Please believe me.