Why Your Energy is Keeping you Single: Lessons Learned for Self-Care

Why Your Energy is Keeping you Single: Lessons Learned for Self-Care

There is a lot of blaming and finger pointing that goes around our culture.  It is probably most evident during that transition from everyone is single to everyone is married.  Somehow as the last single person you receive the brunt of unsolicited advice about your dating life as if getting married made your friends experts in relationships.  You don’t tell them that you secretly wonder how long it will be before they are divorced.   All of this negative energy is not good for your personal journey.

All these unspoken judgments between our friends and people in our lives is simply a manifestation of our own journey.  Some of us are meant to marry at a young age and have a mid-life crisis.  Others of us, myself included, are meant to have wonderful relationships but not get married until later in life.  Some of us are not meant to get married and others of us are meant to get married three or four times.  The judgment we pass on each other is not only harmful but a complete waste of time.

What Does Energy Have to Do With It?

We are actually more alike than we would ever care to think we are.  Singles and couples are really human beings trying to find an energetic match in our vast universe.  Some of us do the personal growth work and are rewarded with a life partner who is our soulmate while others of us must learn valuable life lessons through the failures of our relationships.

As a relationship expert and a single, happily dating woman, I have come to realize that the energy that we put out in the Universe is more important that any dating skill set that could be learned from a book or a coach.  So many of us have had so much trauma that our energetic frequency is a lot lower than we care to realize.  It is the reason why we attract narcissists, people with substance abuse problems or other issues.  When we mistakenly think we have done our work but do not like who has been showing up in our lives, it is a sign that more work needs to be done.  Margaret Paul reports some of her clients, “…got together wanting to get love, rather than knowing how to love themselves and share their love.”

I often hear complaints from both my male and female clients that the “good ones” are already married, that women do not like nice guys, that men don’t act like men, and that all women just want to marry for money. When I was younger, I also thought some of these things during my times of frustration. Now that I have taken time to learn more about myself, become happy with who I am and have an awesome self-care routine to take care of my own energy, I realize that the people who show up in my life now are happier and way healthier than some of the people in my past.  I have also realized that letting go of what I think it is that I want, need or deserve has created space for wonderful new experiences.

But most of all, the final part of your healing journey is to find ways to GIVE love.  Love is not meant to “fix” you without you committing to it.

Quick Fixes Don’t Always Solve the Energy Issue

We live in a quick fix culture where people just want to fix an issue and move on.  Unfortunately, cultivating a healthy sense of well-being and magnetic energy requires healing over a long period of time.  It may require stepping out of your normal routine, your typical comfort zone and taking a hard look at your life and deciding if you are on the right track or not.  Clients often get angry with me when I suggest that they are either highly exploratory or creative and are squashing their potential by trying to live up to the expectations of New York.  It may take a year but most of these clients come back to share their personal journeys.

One such client did that 18 months after her initial consultation.  She is by far one of the most exploratory personalities I have had in my office but was stuck on grieving the loss of a “perfect” relationship with a man with a traditional job who made a ton of money.  In her grief she was unable to see the blessing in disguise.  She came back to share that since she has traveled and moved to Alaska, she is finally enjoying her life again and dating people that make her happy but look like a mess on paper.  Our work has turned to helping her cultivate gratitude for the people who will now be showing up to teach her something new and help her heal.  She has never looked more healthy and happy than during this check in when she reported she was dating a creative soul.

Why Self-Care Matters

Getting on YOUR right path is the key to a happy and healthy life.  Choosing the RIGHT partner, not the one you think is right, will make the difference in your well-being and your future financial success.  We think that finding the love of our life should be easy but, in reality, it’s the most important decision we will ever make.  Shouldn’t you put forth more time and effort into getting that decision right by taking care of yourself and making sure you are attracting only people who will help you rise?  Doesn’t it sound less stressful to simply walk the streets feeling phenomenal and allow the right person to appear?

I encourage you to take time now to think about your own well-being and self care.  I encourage you to think less with you mind and to use your mind-body connection to guide your decision making.  I encourage you to think about what does your BEST life look like and what makes your heart sing.  Knowing these answers and taking small steps to implement change can change your entire energy and bring in so many new opportunities.  It will also give you the strength to know that once you are on your right path, you will have added valuable tools to your toolkit to help tackle whatever life throws at you.

Verbal Abuse, Aggression, and Trauma:  What We Can Learn from US Open 2018

Verbal Abuse, Aggression, and Trauma: What We Can Learn from US Open 2018

Serena Williams and the US Open Verbal Abuse Incident

Like so many people, I got side tracked from work this week following Facebook comments pertaining to the 2018 US Open.  Except to my surprise, comments on my Facebook wall took a negative turn in ways that I did not anticipate.  Rather than have a conversation of opinions among adults, it was very clear that there are very strong opinions about what transpired in the women’s final between Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

If you missed it (not sure how that is possible), Serena Williams was penalized in an allegedly harsh way for negative behavior pertaining to her frustration of receiving a loss of point for unauthorized coaching.  While on the surface this doesn’t seem like a big deal, if one watches the video, I think it is a big deal and was a situation that escalated out of control.   In my opinion, her choice of words and the way they were delivered was professionally inappropriate and does constitute verbal abuse.

So, my mind went to other places and wanted to know if there were scientific reasons to consider when evaluating whether Serena William’s behavior constituted verbal abuse and whether the umpire’s behavior was indeed unfair.

Aggression and Neuroscience

In my research, I quickly stumbled across an article by Micai, Kavussanu, and Ring (2016) that compared the executive functioning of both male and female athletes as it pertained to outcomes of antisocial and aggressive behavior.  Executive functioning are the skills needed to monitor, plan, and control our behaviors/emotions and are located in our frontal lobes (the front part of your head). The results suggested that poor self-reported executive functioning was related to higher levels of antisocial and aggressive sports behavior by male athletes but not female athletes.  This suggests that the male athletes may have less impulse control and, therefore, poor self-monitoring skills.  They did find that female athletes who argued, criticized, swore at or abused their team mates had poorer working memory and spatial planning skills but the correlations were weaker than found in male athletes.

In other words, scientific research shows that we probably need to be stricter with male athletes about their antisocial and aggressive behavior.  

The scale that was used to measure the antisocial behavior is called the Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior in Sport Scale.  It is a 43-item scale created by Kavussanu in 2009. Since that time, it has been used in numerous research studies to help add to the literature on prosocial and antisocial behavior of team sports.  Prosocial items include, “Asked to stop play when an opponent was injured,” “Gave positive feedback to a teammate,” or “Encouraged a teammate.”  The antisocial items include, “Verbally abused a teammate,” “Intentionally distracted an opponent,” or “Retaliated after a bad foul.”

Aggression was measured by the Reactive and Proactive Aggression Questionnaire, a 23 item self-report checklist.  It specifically is designed to measure aggression in relation to another person who has annoyed or angered the other person.  It asks the rater if, “they yelled at others who have annoyed” them or, “had fights with others to show who is on top.”

This post is not meant to be a research paper but to only highlight what may be an underlying issue none of us are paying attention to as it pertains to the Serena Williams incident. Namely, that we are excusing aggressive behavior because we do not punish men for similar behavior.

In my opinion, this is not just sexism, its stupidity.  Men are much more likely to act aggressively and have poor impulse control. This, however, does not mean that men should NOT be penalized for their behavior – it means that what happened in this match should happen when EVERYONE acts in ways that would be classified as aggressive or antisocial.  We should not be trying to give Serena Williams a break so much as to equalize the system so that everyone receives the same penalties for such transgressions.  It should be clear what constitutes verbal abuse and penalties should be instituted in an uniform manner.

She Lost her Cool.  Why is it a Big Deal?

Almost half of this country has experienced childhood maltreatment and multiple forms of abuse before the age of eighteen.  We are a traumatized nation who is living in a world of fear and anger on an everyday basis.  Children and adults with trauma histories need to see that abusive behavior can be dealt with in professional ways and that yelling, screaming or threatening in any way is simply not okay.

We all deserve to feel safe and treated with respect. While I understand that Serena Williams does not feel she was treated with respect (and I do understand why), it does not give a free pass to abuse someone in retaliation.  Most children would identify this as bullying.  We as a nation cannot tolerate minimizing aggressive behavior if we truly want to help everyone rise and make this nation a happy and healthy place we all call home.  Standing your ground in an assertive manner does not need to tip over into verbal abuse.

My Experience with Serious Abuse Cases

While in California, I worked on a particularly difficult child custody case.   It was a battered woman’s case and the allegations were the worst I had ever heard.  Yet, the one thing that stuck with me all these years is that when asked why he beat his wife, he simply said she spoke to him in the wrong way and deserved to have her head beaten so hard into the floor that she sustained permanent brain damage.  He yelled this at me and when I asked for him to lower his voice, he told me I was being biased.  He was given a warning but as he continued to escalate his tone with me, I was left with no choice but to end the interview and record it as incomplete.  The issue of bias was discussed for weeks before a judge made the decision that the children were not safe with an abusive father. Many years later, they are still in court arguing over what exactly constitutes abuse and whether abuse affects your parenting skills.

If there needed to be discussion in a case that was as clear cut as this as to what constitutes abuse, I think it is safe to say that our tolerance as a country for abusive behavior is way too high.

I don’t think any of us means to minimize aggressive behavior or make light of the seriousness of sexism.  We do, however, need to stop and think about the larger message of what it really meant when Naomi Osaka took the responsibility of apologizing for her win when a grownup lost her cool at work and took it out on another human being.  We are not talking about just etiquette here. We are talking about human rights and being able to take responsibility for one’s actions (because only antisocial people blame others without seeing their own contribution to the issue).  Professionals all do the best they can.  I certainly did with the case above and know I could have handled some things differently.  I hope this umpire learns what he could have done better to deescalate situations like this in the future.  His behavior is certainly not best practices for dealing with highly charged emotional situations and I’m sure he will have some professional repercussions from it and hopefully have some training.  Yet,  I’m still waiting for Serena William’s statement where she eloquently takes responsibility for her portion of the incident and then discusses why we need to stop giving free passes to male athletes for poor behavior.

Only time will tell how Serena Williams chooses to deal with this situation.  Speaking out shouldn’t result in a blurry line as to whether the words used are abusive. For me, the words used in this situation simply are just too close to what the above research article would code as aggression and I think we all should stop and think about what that really means for us all and what we value as a country and the messages it is sending to everyone.  I think we need to stop and think about whether we equate having a voice at all with aggression because that would mean we are constantly missing amazing examples of leadership. Naomi Osaka deserves credit for the way she handled herself during this difficult situation and perhaps its time to focus on those athletes who exhibit exemplary sportsmanship.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.

What I Learned About Love from Two Different Yoga Retreats

What I Learned About Love from Two Different Yoga Retreats

I was royally burnt out in August 2018.  My interns were witnessing me act like a crazy person and I was just feeling exhausted.  I knew that I needed to get away and just write but the timing did not allow me to take more time to travel outside of the country.  So while speaking with a colleague and a friend, she told me that I needed to find something close by that combined my two favorite things: Yoga and Wine.

I didn’t think I would be able to find anything but I gave it a try.

I sat up late on a Wednesday and googled “yoga and wine retreats.”  Next thing you know, I found the link to Yoga Wine Party with a retreat in the Catskills starting in two days.  I was floored.  It was like the weekend was designed for me! I emailed them hoping that I would hear quickly that they still had room.  Sure enough, I got two emails from Yoga Wine Party and Dina Ivas, the amazing yoga teacher running the retreat.  There was room and all I had to do was pay.  The process was so easy and I went to work completely excited Thursday morning that I was going to do something both fun and healthy (well at least partly).  It was another experience of the Universe providing the perfect opportunity for growth.

I had no idea what to expect and quite frankly I was so exhausted that I simply threw some clothes in a bag and left NYC Thursday afternoon to relax before showing up for a retreat.  I’m glad I took a day of self-care before arriving but even with a massage and some sleep, I quickly realized I was exhausted and forgetful. Part of the last minute disorganization was forgetting to bring my vitamins and some wine.

yoga wine party dr. jennifer rhodesFear not, I found the best wine store I’ve ever been in on my drive to Heathen Hill Yoga. I literally made a wrong turn and there it was – a super cute small boutique in the middle of a small town in the Catskills.  Wild Common Wine was opened in December 2017 by a creative formerly in the film industry who used to live in Brooklyn.  Not only was the owner warm and welcoming, she was highly knowledgeable and helpful in the bottle selection process.  She and her husband live in their vacation home full time and opening Wild Common was a return to her original roots in the wine industry.  Like so many of us, she didn’t imagine that she would be living in the Mountains but is glad to call the Catskills her home.

Armed with some wine (mostly so I didn’t feel like an idiot), I arrived at Heathen Hill Yoga and was immediately greeted with warmth and lots of hospitality by both Dina and her partner Liz Howng.  Wine tasting commenced before dinner and I immediately knew that I was in front of a real wine educator – I actually learned more in that one tasting than I’ve ever have hanging out with a sommelier friend of mine.   Liz is a Level 3 WSET wine educator and a phenomenal teacher.  It was so much fun to actually get a real wine education – an added bonus I did not anticipate.

The real magic of the weekend was not just three amazing yoga classes or three different proper wine tastings, it was in the community that Dina, Liz, and the owners of Heathen Hill cultivated without trying.  Meals were set at a long communal dining table that encouraged connection, the blossoming of friendships, and real intimacy. Around the dining room table we learned more of how we were alike than different.  We learned that some of us were happily married, divorced or single.  We learned that some of us were parents and some of us never wanted children.  We learned some of us were in our twenties and some of us had children in their 40s.  We learned that we all loved good food and wine.   Yet, the biggest lesson for me was to watch how incredibly generous, caring, and loving everyone was toward each other.  People shared their gifts of massage, listened with a compassionate ear, and told heartfelt stories.  They bought bottles of wine for everyone and truly connected. This was a group of 12 strangers and it was a privilege and an honor to be a part of such an amazing experience.  It fueled the beginning of my recovery and I am grateful to each and every one of the people who I had the pleasure of interacting with. I left the weekend on a high and wished it had been one more night longer.

Following this weekend, I went to visit my family and to sit and work on my book.  While it is always a good time to see them, I felt that I needed to take some time for myself over the labor day weekend to really focus.  I knew I needed complete quiet in natue.  Still on my high from Yoga Wine Party, I found another yoga retreat center and booked a yoga vacation. Well actually, it was more of an ashram and I figured the structure and focus on just yoga would be good for me.  I arrived and immediately felt like something was off with the energy of the people, not necessarily the center itself.  Little did I know, I arrived on the day of a major Hindu holiday and the evening meditation sessions were scheduled to be four hours of chanting. I’m not opposed to kirtan or spirituality but I realized that this would not be a yoga vacation – it was going to be me avoiding a cult-like atmosphere just to find some peace to do my work.

Despite my initial judgments, I encouraged myself to ride things out for a couple of days just to explore.  I made a deal with myself that if I could do work and write, I would stay.  During the days, that is exactly what I did but during the meals, the negativity of the people working at this ashram seeped into the experience.  Rather than being warm, welcoming and open, they were judgmental and closed off.  They fostered an “us” versus “them” climate and made several attempts to guilt trip people into helping them in the kitchen as “karma yoga”  when most of us were quietly doing karma yoga on our own.  For a center whose purpose is to promote love, kindness, and compassion, I found it completely devoid of all three. Connections need to be mindfully cultivated and they were not – a detriment to the entire community.

Yoga is as much fitness as it is a spiritual practice with a very long history.  Experiencing both of these retreats in such close proximity highlighted an immense learning lesson:  It will never just be the yoga that makes for an amazing experience alone.  It will be in the people your heart connects to during yoga that makes the difference.

I believe the founders of Yoga Wine Party have found a winning formula for making that possible for all of us.  They are amazing teachers and I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with them.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.

Why you Attract Toxic People

Why you Attract Toxic People

You’ve heard it before – you attract what you are.  Yet, sometimes you have been working so hard on yourself that you believe there is something wrong with someone else!

Many women attract narcissistic men for a reason (and vice versa).  These individuals have charming persistence, drive, ambition, and can be a lot of fun in the beginning.  We are often attracted to them because they make us feel whole.  Their “confidence” makes us feel stronger and safe.  As the process of disillusionment starts, however, the tables turn and you find yourself in front of a man who blames you for waking up in the morning.

Yes, these people lack empathy and are challenging.  Yes, they have their own work to do.  The problem is that if we simply judge and blame the narcissist or the toxic person, we miss the bigger picture.

The Universe has sent them to you as an opportunity for you to learn to say no, set proper boundaries or to stop giving too much of yourself.

But we often don’t see it that way.  Instead, we blame ourselves, call ourselves a failure, believe the abuse and can’t see how messed up the other person may be.  Yet, the toxic person knows, perhaps unconciously, that if you ever figure out what was really going on, you would leave and demand more for yourself.

So in the meantime, they will feed off of your energy.  They start showing up at work, in your personal life, and even walking down the street.  You try to get rid of them one at a time but a new one finds you!

WTF is going on?!  It’s a sign to dig deeper and do some serious self-growth work.  At our core, those of us who attract these types of personalities may feel empty, lonely, and abandoned.  We may have childhood wounds that were never fully healed or we are simply looking for distractions to keep going.

In these moments, it is best to take a step back and commit to your own self-care.  It may mean you need to go to therapy, find an energy healer, or make some lifestyle changes.  Whatever it is, there is probably things from your past that are making you vulnerable.

Doing your healing work is not easy.  The journey may be a long one but warriors never had it easy.  A journey means over-coming adversary to be stronger.  If we start thinking about these toxic personalities as simply opportunities for growth, their behavior is less personal.  We can let go of judgment of our self and surrender to the lessons that need to be learned.

And yes, narcissists love empathic people.  Empaths often run away from anger but anger on their part is often a sign to you that you are not being controlled by them.  Let them be angry and you step away to heal.

You are not alone.  So many of us have worked through these challenges.  If you need support, reach out!

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.

Why you Should Care about Core Values

Why you Should Care about Core Values

Healing is not an easy or inexpensive process.  It is the process of undoing one’s cultural conditioning and trusting that what is left, is worth the time and effort.  It truly is a leap of faith.  I believe that we are all here for a reason but we often don’t get to discover that reason without having our a$* handed to us and choosing to be brave enough to go through the pain and the darkness.  It is not a journey everyone wishes to embark.

How do you define your self-worth?

For the longest time, my self-worth was attached to academic achievements and the title of Doctor.   Or it was attached to my physical appearance or sexuality.  It took me years to discover who I really am, love who I am and own who I am.

My hope and dreams for the future are to either prevent the development of the false self through education and preventive interventions and in helping young adults step into a more mindful process of self-discovery at a younger age.  I don’t think we need to wait to 35 before we realize that we may be on the wrong path or a path that is not truly aligned with our true purpose.

What are core values?  What are yours?

Every experience we have creates our life story.  Our thoughts about those experiences make the difference between co-creating with the Universe and living in fear.

Years ago when I started my healing journey, my therapist asked me what my values were.  I was 31 and realized I wasn’t sure how to answer the question.  Our personal values are the guiding principles behind who we really are.  Knowing them and understanding we all have them will not only guide your life and decision making, it will clue you in to why people piss you off.

Fear of narcissists

Now more than ever we live in fear of being taken advantage of by narcissistic people.  Many women have had the experience of not being believed when the “amazing” man in front of them treats them like crap behind closed doors.  Like these women, it would take me a long time to realize that the man I thought I was going to marry at age 28 was indeed one of these dreaded narcissists.

What helped me through the beginning part of my healing process was to discover that one of my top values is love.  It has guided my career and helped with my decision making in my personal life.  When I look back on that relationship, I realized I could either blame him for not meeting my needs or come to terms that my core value of love was not something shared.  He was looking for a socialite and interested in his own status more than in being himself and creating a truly happy life.

Core values as life lessons and empowerment

I also have learned to not blame him.  We met at a time when I was deeply hurt and grieving the loss of my grandfather, moving across the country and facing an impending lawsuit related to my grandfather’s estate.  Everything was falling apart around me and my last memory of my grandfather was when he told me to marry a Jewish doctor. Six months after his death, that’s exactly who I found and boy would it be the wrong fit for me but I also was living my false self, trying to fit in and be what I was not born to be.

FInd out your core values

Today I live by my own values.  I learn from the lessons the Universe provides and I am happier than ever (even if I am single).  I encourage you to take the time to care about your values, learn about your core strengths, and sign up for a free mini consultation with me so we can help you figure out a path to your happiness.

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Rapport Relationships

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes is a relationship expert and licensed psychologist.  She provides dating strategy, consultation, and date coaching services to clients all over the world.  Dr. Rhodes is a frequently sought media expert on the topics of seduction, sensuality,  dating, divorce, and relationships.  In addition to Rapport Relationships, Dr. Rhodes is the founder of Visual Arts Reimagined (VAR) where she provides services to visual artists interested in entrepreneurship and leadership.