Exciting New Book on How to Be Happy in Your Relationship and Love Life (Guest Post)
I adore Amy Spencer. The former Senior Editor of Glamour Magazine, Amy’s previous book “Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match” made my heart sing. The positive and passionate author’s new book is named “Bright Side Up: 100 Ways To Be Happier Right Now.”
That’s right. She’s a “Life Optimist” kind of goddess. I asked the Los Angeles based love expert to share her tips and advice on relationships and happiness. What else would we talk about with this lovely positiva?
Check it out.
“Love, Relationships & How to Be Happy” by Amy Spencer
I’ve been married 5 years to my half-orange—my husband, Gustavo—and we’re still mad happy together. But are there times we make up some dinner, cue up the TiVo, then curl up on the couch and zone out? Absolutely. It was the same way when I was dating, sometimes doing the same stuff with the same people in the same places, then kicking off my shoes in the same spot at the end of the night.
The good news? I know an easy way you can reboot your love life. You don’t have to change your love situation to get happier, you just have to change how you see it. Whether you’re single, married, divorced or dating, if you can start seeing your love life from a more positive angle—what I call “bright side up”—then you can feel happier today. Here are 7 ways to look at your love life bright side up and reboot a little zoom-a-zoom back into your relationship.
1. Enjoy the cusp!
Love happiness isn’t always about getting what you want. It’s also about the moments leading up to it—the cusp. What, after all, is a first kiss without the uncertain seconds just before your lips meet? And what is the moment most brides talk about before their wedding? Not the rings, the vows, or even the first kiss, but the moment of walking down the aisle toward those big moments. So enjoy the cusp now instead of peering ahead into the future. Ask yourself this: What’s great about your life today, a life that will change when you reach your destination? What can you smile about this minute? Because this moment is just as special as the one you’ll have when you get there.
2. Don’t salt it before you try it.
Just as we can’t assume a soup needs salt because we tried something similar 5 years ago, we can’t assume we know what a new person will be like because we were hurt by someone similar 5 years ago. And yet, if we’ve been hurt or lied to or played or betrayed in love, that negative programming leads us to look for those signs in every relationship. (We can thank our brain’s limbic system for holding onto those emotional memories for us.) This is meant to be for our benefit, but it can also inadvertently hold us back! So don’t salt your next date or relationship with the problems from your past. Open your heart, look for the positive, and give each person a new shot to knock your socks off.
3. Take the microphone.
Have you ever gotten a meal at a restaurant that was cooked wrong or missing something but you didn’t feel like bothering to mention it? “Eh,” you figure, “it’s fine.” But we often do the same thing with love! We keep our thoughts to ourselves then get mad that we didn’t get what we wanted. From now on, remember this: We humans are not mind readers, right? So if you want flowers, or a phone call, or time for yourself after you walk in the door from work, take the microphone and say so. If you want it, say you want it. If it’s not fine, say it’s not fine. If you’re looking for something serious, say, “I’m looking for something serious.” You can have what you want in love today if you simply start saying you do!
4. Do the “can-can.”
If you’re always focusing on what you can’t have in love, you’ll start to attract exactly that. So, instead of thinking about what you can’t do, start making a list of what you can. Life is an endless bounty of things to see, do, eat, experience, and love. So get on out there and experience them. Repeat after me: “I can and I will.”
5. Celebrate the life in loss.
As our soggy pillows can vouch for us, breakups and loss can be so painful, they hurt as much as real pain. In fact, a 2011 study found that the pain of heartbreak activates the same parts of the brain that true physical pain does—the “pain” of loss is real. But if there is any bright side to it, it’s that the grief we feel when we lose someone is in direct correlation to how much love we felt around them in the first place. So instead of focusing on the heartbreak or loss, try to look instead at what you received from it, too: Maybe a year full of laughs, a new appreciation for music, a lesson about trust that will last you a lifetime, or a reminder that your heart is capable of a big, full, generous love. Yes, you’ve lost…but look at what you’ve gained.
6. Be your own gift-with-purchase!
Sure, it’d be nice to marry someone with a sports season pass, sailing skills, and a boat to go with it, because we often look for qualities in people we date that we wish we had. You know, we want someone successful so we can feel like we are, someone creative because we wish we were more so, or someone adventurous because we wish we leapt without a net. It’s like a shortcut to getting everything we want in one easy package! But here’s a new idea: Don’t date for the good stuff, be the good stuff! Be successful and adventurous and loving on your own. Get your own season pass. Learn to sail your own boat. Be your own gift-with-purchase and see all the good stuff you have worth celebrating.
7. Tune into your “real-ometer.”
It hurts to be rejected in love because it’s so darn personal when they don’t like your look or laugh or take-charge personality. And it makes you wonder if you’re doing it all wrong. But you’re not! In fact, that rejection is just a sign that your “real-ometer” is working. That’s the tool you can use that will let others know it’s the real you or nuthin’. If the person you like doesn’t call, there are others who will; if one date groans at your funny stories, the right one will laugh. Use your real-ometer to see the bright side: the refreshing sign someone’s not meant to be in your life. And that—hello!—opens you up for the right one who is.
You don’t need an overhaul of your love life to be happier. Just be your best self, see the good stuff in front of you, and don’t let anyone give you less in love than you deserve. If you can keep seeing your relationships bright side up, you’ll feel happier by barely changing a thing.
For more ways to see life’s silver linings, get Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now, sign up for Amy’s weekly Vitamin Optimism email and visit her blog TheLifeOptimist.com. Follow Amy at twitter.com/datingoptimist.