How I met the love of my life. {A true story… about what happens when you say what is true.}

 
 
 

One year ago, at 1pm Pacific Standard Time, I met the love of my life.

(Side note: he’s even cuter in person. Side-side note: he’s a chef and he’s making me a pan-seared duck breast with a red wine reduction… right now. But I digress.)

 

On our first date, I wore a shirt with an owl on it. I was shaking, slightly. Too much caffeine. He was so nervous he could barely speak.

We got sandwiches and walked through the park. We talked about life. We talked about books. We talked about one of our mutual passions: cheese.

We fell in love and there was no effort involved.

It was simple and it keeps getting simpler.

It was good and it keeps getting better.

It was love. Still is.

Now, it’s deeper.

 

When people ask how we met, I tell them, “an online dating website”. People often seem surprised.

They ask, “How long did it take before you met each other?” The answer: “About two or three weeks”.

The next question is usually, “Whoa… What did you put in your profile?”

What did I put?

I put the truth.

I wrote:
 
I aspire to be the kind of person that Mister Rogers would be proud to call his “neighbor”. Some days, I succeed.

I like heart-shaped crystals, almond croissants, pumpkin spice lattes and smartphone-free dinner parties.

Professionally-speaking, I’m a writer. Of books & things.

I’ve been told I have a pretty epic smile.

I believe in love. The forever kind.

You should message me if…

: You are curious & thoughtful, but not cynical.

: You would describe yourself as a “world-class hugger”.

: You still believe in love. Even though. Even when. Even now.

 

I also expressed — by ticking the appropriate boxes in my profile setting — that I was interested in a long-term relationship.

Not short-term-and-let’s-see-where-this-goes. Not casual. Long. Term. Love.

That was the truth, so that’s what I put.

 

This is significant because “telling the truth” was not something I’d ever… really… done before.

At least, not when it came to romantic relationships.

Embarrassing, but true.

 

I spent my twenties meandering through a series of relationships with people who were wonderful, charming, smart and beautiful. People who were perfect for somebody. But not right for me.

I take responsibility for all of the not-rightness, because I never really told the truth.

Either with an outright lie, with vague language, or by omission, I would fail to express what I really wanted.

Instead, in a somewhat desperate (but totally understandable and very human) effort to feel loved, I would try to be… whatever they wanted.

 

“Oh, so you’re not into ‘relationships’ and just want to have casual sex? And never meet any of my friends? Sounds great! When do we start?”

“Oh, so you and your husband have an open relationship, and you’re looking for an occasional girlfriend-on-the-side? Dream come true! Where do I sign?”

“Oh, so you don’t like saying the words ‘I love you’ to anyone? I can roll with that. Who needs those kinds of words, anyway?”

 

Words are like magnets.

When you say something that isn’t true, you get something that isn’t right.

I learned this lesson slowly. But I learned it well.

And finally, a little over one year ago, when I crafted my profile and put the absolute truth about what I wanted – true love. deep love. big love. with one person. forever. – I magnetized someone who wanted the same kind of love.

I am sure that lots of people read my profile and thought, “Whoa. Chill out, lady. Forever-and-ever love? How about we do coffee and see where it goes?” Those people did not write to me.

But one man read my profile and thought, “You’re the one I’ve been dreaming about”. He wrote to me.

And that was that.

 

That’s how it happens, you know?

This is the power of language. This is the kind of miracle that can happen when you communicate with clarity and honesty.

This is, ultimately, what I am trying to teach when I lead workshops, when I write advice columns, when I coach people who struggle to express themselves clearly.

Just say what is true.

Say it with love. Say it as simply as you can.

Like you are speaking to a child. Like you are speaking to a friend.

Just say what is true.

And that which belongs with you… will be drawn to you.

xo.

PS. Brandon, my true love, approves this message.

 
 
 

Read More devotion // liberty

What are you devoted to creating… in the new year? [a worksheet to help you focus & find the right words]

 
 
 

It’s time, my friends.

Time for some planning.

Time to get your priorities on paper.

Here’s a worksheet to help you map out your most important projects and commitments for 2015.

(Want a Word doc version that you can type right into? Here you go.)

Take some time to write down what matters to you.

Because… you know what you are here to do.

And you are not confused.

 


 

DEVOTION: My commitment to myself — and the world — for 2015.

 

My name is ___________________.

 

Starting today, I am devoting myself to the following projects:



 

I am devoting myself to these projects because I care about ___________________.

 

These projects deserve my full focus, attention, discipline and love.

 

Starting today, I am releasing the following [commitments / habits / old projects] from my life:



 

I am releasing these things because I need to create time & energy for ___________________.

 

These things no longer have a place in my life.

 

I believe that the world needs more ___________________ and that’s what I am here to create.

I may not be able to ___________________, but I can do my part to help.

 

The very next step is to ___________________.

 

And then after that, to ___________________.

 

When things feel overwhelming, I will remind myself that my job is simply to: ___________________.

 

I have the power to leave the world, and the people around me, in better condition than I found them.

I don’t have to “reach” for that power. I have it, right now.

Anybody can serve.

 

I am devoted.

I am focused.

I am ready.

 

I know what I am here to do.

 

I am officially signing this agreement — with myself — on [date].

[your signature here]

Every word is true.

 


 

xo.

 
 

GOOD QUESTION: How can I tell if I am just “settling” in a relationship?

 
 
 

Dear Alex,

What are the signs and signals that let you know you’re just “settling” in a relationship?

As in, settling for less than what you really desire.

–M.

 
 

Dear M.,

I’m assuming, perhaps erroneously, that you’re talking about a romantic relationship.

If that’s the case, I have three questions for you:

 

1. Does this person make my life easier?

2. Does this person make my world bigger?

3. Does this person make my pussy wetter / dick harder?

 

If you answered “No” to any of those questions, then you’re probably settling for less than what you desire… and deserve.

If you still feel uncertain, one final question might be:

 

4. Do I feel like the best version of myself — or, like I am becoming the best version of myself — when I am with this person?

 

If you answered “No” to that final question, as well… then what is this relationship providing for you, exactly?

Probably not anything that will keep you satisfied for long. Especially if you are the kind of person who wants to keep growing and evolving into the best possible version of yourself. Which I’m guessing you are.

Those are my questions for you, M.

I hope that they guide you into clarity, connection and good lovin’.

With the person you’re currently with — or with somebody new.

 

“It’s not healthy to go into relationships as a needy person. Better to go in with a full deck.”
–Anjelica Huston

 

Love big, M.

Love with a full deck.

And try to find someone whose deck is just as full as yours.

xo.

 

PS. For those of you reading… have you met the love of your life? How did you know that they were your soulmate, your true love, your anam cara? What were the signs and signals?

PPS. Special thanks to my sweetheart, Brandon, for helping me to devise the questions in this post. And for feeding me homemade ice cream on the regular. You make my life so much sweeter.

 
 
 

Read More good question

GOOD QUESTION: How do I get through resistance and take action?

 
 
 

Dear Alex,

What is your favorite strategy for days when it’s just so hard to start… It.

“It” being the one thing you really, really want to accomplish, but can’t seem to start, work on, or finish?

–Natanya

 
 

Dear Natanya,

A very smart woman recently told me about a little “experiment” that she conducted, a few years ago.

This woman wanted to meet someone amazing and fall in love, but whenever she thought about flirting, dating or (heaven forbid!) putting together an online profile, she felt so much resistance.

After waffling for a while, she had an idea that intrigued her. An idea that felt just a little bit… wild.

 

“What if I go on 52 dates in 52 weeks?” she wondered.

 

No expectations. No pressure. No drama. Just 1 coffee date, once a week, with someone new… for one year.

 

“It will be an experiment!” she decided. “Best case scenario? I meet the love of my life. Worst case scenario? I have 52 interesting little adventures. What have I got to lose?”

 

She made the commitment, told a few friends about her plan, and then… began.

Once she set the intention — and started taking action — the experiment quickly took on a momentum of its own.

While she wasn’t “counting on it,” she did, in fact, meet her future husband. (He was date #5. She never made it to 52).

 

The moral of the story?

 

The best way to get through resistance is to give the situation a whole new description, title, label… or name.

A “name” that represents the essence of the experience.

The way you want the experience to feel.

 

You’re not dating. You’re in the midst of an amazing 52-week experiment.

You’re not marketing. You’re connecting with people who need you.

You’re not blogging. You’re creating little miracles for people.

You’re not paying taxes. You’re writing a big “THANK YOU” letter to the government — along with a nice, big check — to show your gratitude for the roads, the schools, the libraries, the parks, the infrastructure & amenities that you adore and enjoy, every day.

 

Whatever you’re resisting, Natanya?

Re-frame & re-name it.

 

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”
―Tom Stoppard

 

Your words can, as Tom says, “nudge the world a little.”

Or even provide a much-needed nudge… for yourself.

 

xo.

PS. What’s one thing you’ve been resisting — writing, exercising, dating, marketing, saving money — that needs a new name?

How will you describe it, from this moment forward?

 
 
 

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GOOD QUESTION: What should I say to a friend who is constantly flaking out?

 
 
 

Dear Alex,

I live by the idea that your word, your reputation and your personal integrity are not just ideals, but your currency in business, relationships and life. I can’t stomach flakiness.

That being said, I’m having an issue with one of my friends.

I feel she is flaking out in our relationship — not responding to texts or cancelling at the last moment, despite expressing that she wants to see me.

Any advice on how to broach this awkward topic?

–Stephanie

 
 

Dear Stephanie,

Ten years ago, I was a miserably flaky person. My cell phone was my personal “eject” button.

If I felt tired, insecure, shy or just plain lazy, all I needed to do was fire off a quick text — “Sorry, can’t make it tonight!” — and I was off the hook.

Or so I thought.

One day, the persistent flakiness came to an end… because of a friend who cared about me. A friend who was sick and tired of my nonsense.

It was the usual dealio. She invited me to dinner at her place. I enthusiastically said “Yes!” An hour or two before dinner, I sent a pathetic text — “Soooo tired and there’s so much traffic. Can we reschedule?”

She was not having it.

She called me and said:

 

“I am very disappointed. I went to a special grocery store to buy a special Cornish Game Hen and I have been cooking all afternoon. I love when we spend time together, but you are constantly flaking out. Do you want a relationship with me, or not?”

 

Her tone was loving, but firm. I could hear the disappointment percolating through every word.

I felt sick to my stomach. Panicked, even. Because I knew she was right. I was behaving like a dolt.

It was the High Holy Truth Smack that I needed.

I apologized profusely, got in my car, and got my ass to dinner.

I made a solemn vow to myself, in that moment, to eradicate flaky behavior from my life. Because it’s gross. Because it’s disrespectful. And because — with a modicum of self-awareness and thoughtful planning — it is unnecessary.

You asked, Stephanie, how to “broach the topic” with your friend.

How do you broach it? You pick up the phone and just… broach it.

Tell your friend exactly how you feel.

Don’t scream, shout or be cruel. Try to remain civil and calm.

Just say the truth:

 

“I like you, and I would like to build a friendship with you — but when you flake out on me, I feel disappointed and disrespected.

I understand that we only have 24 hours in every day. If your life is currently too busy to include me in your circle of friends — or spend time together on a regular basis — that is OK.

But if that’s the case, please just tell me, ‘I can’t make it’ or ‘I can’t commit to that’ or ‘I think you’re great, but my life is too full right now.’

I don’t want to keep getting my hopes up and then feel let down. I would rather know the truth. Honesty from now on, OK? Deal?”

 

If you keep your tone level and calm, your friend will be less likely to go on the defensive, and more likely to hear & feel the true intention behind your words: Love.

Try that, Stephanie. Hopefully, you’ll get the result that you want.

Nobody is perfect, and everybody — myself included — is bound to miss the mark and let people down, occasionally.

But we can all make an effort to do better.

It’s not complicated.

It’s just a choice.

Make the right call — and invite the people you love to do the same.

No blame. No shame.

Only love.

 

xo.

PS. Do you have certain friends or colleagues who are constantly letting you down? How do you handle this kind of situation?

 
 
 

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