If I created a reality show I might just call it the IT factor. What prompted me to write this post is that I received a DM on Twitter from a man I was trying in vain to speak with but who pretty much never communicated with me or established rapport so my level of engagement dropped off. Because I was out of pocket and did not respond to his messages, he wrote, “I wish you the best I’m sorry it didn’t work out by and be happy always”
English is not his first language so I’m quoting his statement verbatim, but I was left puzzled by the part of the message that read “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.” I was puzzled because I couldn’t figure out what “IT” he was talking about. There was no “IT. Not even a “THING!”
For a few weeks, I tried communicating, tried meeting up, and even tried talking on the phone. He approached me and asked if I was single or had a boyfriend. He even complimented me. I asked him what his story was and he apologized for offending me. I’m a pretty direct person so if I was offended I would say so, but I had to assure him I was not offended. Obviously communication is not his strong suit. I tried in vain to get a phone conversation with this guy and he stalled and basically told me he was a shy guy.
Since I am a communicator I knew right away this was not going to develop into anything except another message in my inbox with another set of “How are you messages.”
When the elements combine to create the right Chemistry
If you remember chemistry in school you know that certain elements when combined are safe for you to consume while others will blow up in your face. The previous person above was not a good match for me because he was too shy. There is nothing wrong with shy guys, but if you can’t have a conversation how am I going to know how great of a guy you may be? I’m not shy and while he may well have been a nice guy, the shyness was too much of a turn off for me.
Last week a friend of mine who is a food blogger and an amazing gal called me to invite me to an event that I was unable to attend. She asked how I met people and I said, just say Hi! I do quite a bit on my own and nothing will open up someone more than a simple hello, smile or acknowledgment. Many people will not acknowledge you back and that’s OK but just keep practicing and stay positive. She is an introvert but an incredible writer with a lot of talents. She’s just amazing but doesn’t approach people in conversation when live and in person. The key is to just say Hi! and ask people questions. I will go to a restaurant and ask people what they would recommend. I will go to an art museum and ask someone for their opinion and the key is to create an open and inviting self. What that means is your body language has to say that you are approachable. So get off the phone and the need to impress the people that you don’t see and impress those in your vicinity. It also means smiling, and being in tune with your Resting Face. Does your resting face say serious, bitch or mean? Instead study yourself and see if you show friendly and approachable. Add some of your great attributes to the mix.
The IT Factor is your own
You own your IT Factor. I have been reading the book The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World. The basic premise of this book is to teach us about how we determine our identity and what we attach to it. This is the IT Factor – our authentic self. Yet if you are suffering in love or other parts of your life, it is mainly because you have created an attachment to the knowledge you have gained about what you should be rather than what you are. This can cause a lot of suffering.
These five levels in the book are:
- Authentic Self
Take for instance someone who is a bodybuilder. Working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a great belief system. For a bodybuilder it takes that belief system to a totally different level. Not only do they believe in clean eating, meal planning and working out regularly but sometimes they will enter competitions and shows. I dated a bodybuilder and so I see firsthand the kind of mental and physical training they go through. This is not a slight on bodybuilders or that lifestyle because I know a few but this is an example of how you can take it to fanaticism. Some bodybuilders will forego all other activities in order to keep their strict regimen. You can see the selfies on social media, the peddling of fitness products (which many times they get for free after they already attained that body) and the propensity to only socialize with other bodybuilders. Some inspirational messages will actually criticize those that don’t workout regularly or those that complain about not having enough time to workout. As a bodybuilder you may reject those that don’t work out and only idolize those that do. You have effectively created an internalization the identity of the bodybuilder with yourself and others noticed this as well. The bodybuilder I was talking to could not get a date or have a relationship with people that were NOT bodybuilders. Effectively most of the time he was not happy and is evidenced by his social media posts. The point in this story was that he was still suffering emotionally even though he had a great body. He could not let go of the attachment he placed on his lifestyle. It created a smokescreen to the mirror of himself. Learn more from this book and get a great discount on the book this week through Facebook.
Your identity is nothing to panic about
Effectively we all go through an identity crisis. I am Dallas Single Mom on this blog and I introduce myself and my contributors this way but being Dallas Single Mom is not the only identity that I have. This blog can be both a blessing and a curse as this blog is online fodder and many will approach it with a certain set of preconceived ideas surrounding positive and negative knowledge of either A) Singles B) Single Moms C) Dallas, TX.
However, I have learned not to allow the blog to define me. I do many other things besides being a single mom in Dallas. I’m not perfect at any of those self identifying knowledge tags. I make mistakes, I get stressed and I worry. I’ve had the unique opportunity to witness in my own life what the stress of these internalization tags can do to your judgment. The knowledge you gain from family, friends, schools, relationships, media and society is a point of view in reality – predicated on the basis of that other party’s experiences. But quite often with reality it is often distorted. This knowledge we have should be used as a tool and not a crutch. Once you can remove your attachment to this knowledge the more you can follow your passions in life. It’s the IT Factor and you have it!
A Simple Exercise
Identify during the course of this week those times when you are feeling depressed, stressed or angry about something. Write them down and then write about what emotional triggers or details create that anxiety for you For instance as a small example, the other day I got upset with a friend of mine because he went to eat dim sum. I was short with him but I wasn’t angry, I was jealous. I didn’t want to be working, I wanted to eat out with my friend. to an extent I felt like I was missing out on something. I had created an identity about myself to being the social butterfly and in the know. While being a fun loving and supportive friend is great I can’t neglect my responsibilities to do it. Sometimes we are not just angry to be angry. We may be sad, jealous etc which then comes out as anger. Surmise in your head how your feelings on that situation could be changed.