There was a classic scene in one of my favorite television shows from the 90s called It’s a Different World. In it, the main character Whitley Gilbert (played by actress Jasmine Guy) was in a counseling session with a therapist played by actress Debbie Allen. Whitley was wound up over something and struggling for control. The therapist told her to repeat the following line over and over:
Relax, Relate, Release!
I used to be so particular and structured about how my relationship or dating experience would go. If the guy did one thing I didn’t like, I would just end contact immediately. For instance, if a guy didn’t respond to my texts right away I’d write him off immediately. Never mind that he might be tied up at work or otherwise distracted.
In my book Survive, Live or Thrive? I tell the story of a guy who jokingly mentioned that I had a “little mustache” on a date so I never called him again.
I was so sensitive to any minor slight! It was all about control (or fear of not having any).
I think that a lot of my control issues relating to men stemmed from bad experiences with guys in the past or fear of looking like a fool — I guess to the people around me; especially my friends and family.
Now I am so much more relaxed about dating. I don’t see the point in worrying or stressing about men and relationships, so it all just comes so easily and naturally to me. I no longer have a problem getting dates from quality men and having fun experiences with them. I only attract great men into my life.
I can relate to men better because I seek to understand them, just as I would expect from them, instead of judging them.
And I now fully subscribe to the idea that if it’s meant to be, IT WILL BE. There’s no need to force anything. I am willing to release a situation without getting upset or feeling slighted and I don’t drag my issues from one dating experience into another.
What Are You Holding Onto?
When we hold on tightly to resentments and past experiences, it holds us back from attracting the right people into our lives.
I finally learned that I had to relinquish the need to control every little thing and let things happen as they will. I learned that everything doesn’t always go according to a perfect rule book — sometimes you have to just relax and follow your intuition. This goes for romantic unions as well as relationships with friends and family members.
So stop stressing, stop fighting and stop holding onto stuff from the past.
Relax, relate, release instead. Relationships don’t have to be hard — it could all be so simple.
Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book Sing While You’re Single offers advice to women who want to remain single for the time being while still maintaining their belief in the power and possibility of love.