This is the second week in my ten-week Fit4Love coaching program and if you recall from last week, my assignment was to practice flirting. That sounded kind of a big jump, to go from nothing to flirting but then my Fit4Love coach, Sheila Paxton explained all she wanted me to do was to make eye contact and smile. I didn’t even have to say a word.
I knew I could smile. At some point in my practice I remembered that way back when, when I was in college and when I started working, one of my nicknames was “Smiley.” Remembering that was shocking – when did I stop smiling? Why did I stop smiling? When did I close myself off? And this was one of the things Sheila and I covered in this week’s coaching session.
There are several reasons, all defensive. I do believe that as my marriage became less and less satisfying and fulfilling, I closed myself off more and more to avoid discussions about what was really going on. Opening myself up to questions would have meant admitting, confronting what was really go on and as long I didn’t have to face it, I could keep the facade going because divorce was not going to happen to me.
Growing up, my mother told me that what happens in a marriage stays between husband and wife, that private issues in a marriage don’t get discussed outside and that was the principle I took into my marriage. My husband was not a good listener and I know at some point along the way, I just gave up even trying to talk to him. Put this together with my conflict avoidance and it really is not surprising, I shut down.
So this past week has been about breaking out of my little cocoon and it was fun! I didn’t feel uncomfortable smiling … I’m even smiling as I write this. A couple of guys I smiled at in the supermarket immediately looked down at their feet. A few people gave me fake smiles in return, you know the ones where you keep your lips together but still smile. I chuckled as I wondered why and if that’s what I’d been doing.
I wasn’t very selective about who I smiled at – young or old, men or women, it didn’t really matter. I just needed the practice. One young man came into my office at work and asked about posting a sign on our noticeboard. He was very straight-faced until I gave him a big smile. He positively beamed back.
I told Sheila the odd thing was that when I smiled and got a smile back, it was really easy to get into a casual conversation that didn’t feel awkward. Sheila said that was excellent because guess what? One of my assignments this week is to keep smiling and making eye contact and in addition, to choose one person to initiate a few words with.
I think I’m ahead of my assignments here … but I am still nervous of what’s to come .. a date. I mean that’s the whole point of this isn’t it? I’d love to hear if you’re following along with me .. have you been practicing smiling? What difference does it make to you? Do you think you’re open to possibilities? Do you have any other suggestions, tips for me?
And I do want to add that I truly believe that writing this blog and talking to all the women I’ve interviewed for this blog have helped me to a much better understanding of me. Without that, I think this program would be so much harder for me. I so appreciate you all. You probably don’t even realize how helpful you’ve been.
This week I’m running a giveaway for a copy of Love for Grown-Ups: The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying for Life When You’ve Already Got a Life by the Garter Brides. They promise to show you how to take a fresh approach to dating, stay open to the promise of grown-up love and have fun – whether the next date is Mr. Right or Mr. What-Was-I-Thinking?
To enter, leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. The more comments you leave, the more entries you get but no spam, please. The giveaway ends at midnight (Mountain Time) on Friday September 23, 2011. The winner must respond to my email notification within 48 hours and must have a U.S. mailing address.
Disclosure: Fit4Love has waived the fee for my participation in the Fit4Love program but Fit4Love has no editorial influence or rights over the posts I’m writing.
Photo credit: alancleaver_2000