There you were, walking through life, kind of bored, but minding your own business. Same sh*t, different day. Wake up, work, exercise, Netflix, bed. Repeat. You may even sprinkle in a series of dates looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, but they all seemed awful. Then, out of nowhere, someone shows up and everything changes. It’s that magical connection you’ve heard about, but maybe never experienced. It’s not always a love a first sight moment. Sometimes it grows over time, but regardless, you know things aren’t going to be the same and as much as you’d like to, you can’t ignore it.
One theme I’ve noticed with many of these is the situation tends to be highly inconvenient. Maybe you’re married, or they’re married, or you work with them, or they live in another country. Long story short it makes no sense and perfect sense all at the same time. So, what do you do and what does this mean?
As much as I’d like to brush this off with the science of pheromones or go overly-psychology to say it must be you're attracted to someone who represents your father (sometimes this does happen actually, but not in every case) I’ve seen enough people experience this to hold a different view. It’s exceptionally special, and my advice is pay attention, but try not to jump to conclusions. Here’s a few things to consider.
There’s Likely a Lesson Here
In my 10 years as a therapist, I’ve seen these cosmic meetings bring a huge amount of growth and change. For better or worse, chemistry makes us think, consider, reconsider, and view the possibility of our lives from a new angle. Pay close attention and it will likely come clear.
Strong Feeling Doesn’t Always Necessitate Action
One mistake I’ve seen people make is they jump to the conclusion it’s “meant to be” and therefore feel they need to act on it. Not always the case! Although sometimes it does lead to unbelievable new outcomes, remember you have conscious choice as to whether this is right for you. Try not to let the chemistry alone dictate this.
Chemistry is Sometimes Created by Crafty People
A tiny word of caution. Some people are better than others at creating connection with people. It’s not always malicious, but it can certainly confuse things. Some are good at mimicking what your’e looking for and some are just plain charming. Be on the lookout for this just in case. There may still be a lesson in it, but when you're heart is on the line, the last thing you want to do is give it to someone who isn’t responsible.
Enjoy the Ride
If you’re lucky, you might get a few of these in your lifetime. It’s completely scary to feel as out of control as overwhelming chemistry can lead you to feel, but that’s living. Even the sadness of losing it feels more alive than watching Netflix on your couch for the 100th day in a row. Be careful with yourself and all involved, but enjoy the feeling of being alive and take it one step at a time.
Why is it so hard to be patient and what can we do about it?
So often we are frustrated with the timing of things- job changes, marriage, weight loss, you name it. We want things to happen quickly (I know I do). So what’s the reasoning behind this great impatience and what can we do about it?
Some reasons it’s hard to be patient:
We are really uncomfortable!
The most typical reason people want quick movement in their life is because something is making them uncomfortable. It could be financial trouble, loneliness, insecurity in their relationship, or career concerns. The hope is that if something changes, our feelings will change and we will be more comfortable as a result. And seriously, the faster the better.
New information helps us plan
If you’re like me you love to have a life plan. As much as I’ve found the old adage about “the best laid plans” is completely true, my brain still searches for ways to organize my next steps. Without knowing if we are getting that big promotion, getting married, or even what a medical diagnosis is, we can’t mentally create the picture of what’s beyond it.
What can we do about it?
Become more comfortable with the discomfort
Use the time to examine the root of the discomfort and see if the change you are waiting for will actually fix the problem. Does a new relationship always make you feel less lonely, make you more financially secure, and increase happiness? Ahhh, “No”.
Meditation really does help- even 5 or 10 minutes per day
There are lots of apps to help you with this (www.headspace.com is a great one), but any kind of stillness and breathing will do the trick. Especially when I’m feeling impatient, I throw a mantra in there about letting the universe give me what it’s got for me.
If you are waiting to make a plan, feel free to plan
Sometimes having a sense of control in our lives is exactly what we are looking for. As much as we try to be ok “in the gray”, do what you can to exert a little control. Try to lay out several options for plans beyond what you’re waiting for. Diagrams, lists, and buying new pens and notebooks reduce my anxiety every time.
Be aware of your coping strategies
Make a list of how you usually cope with uncomfortable life events and strategize how to manage in a healthy way. Remember, you’re going to want to reduce discomfort. Drinking, emotional closeness (sometimes the unhealthy kind), and eating fatty/ carby foods will temporarily change how we feel. I’d recommend substituting or limiting your usage of unhealthy behaviors in order to reduce lasting negative impact in your life.
Take care of your basics
Sometimes while we are waiting for things to happen is the absolute best time to take care of stuff. Clean your home, get to the gym, organize your taxes. Nothing you probably want to do, but if a big change is coming, you might as well be ready. It will also give you that sense of control you’ve been looking for.
Remember, the best advice from the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need.”
Follow these tips while you’re waiting and know you can handle anything that comes your way!
Dr. Lynn Saladino
I am a New Yorker, clinical psychologist, fitness and food lover, and a woman on a quest to bring a REAL spin to finding balance in hectic lives. As my clients know, there isn't much I won't say whether it be about sex, relationships, crappy bosses, or "strange" eating habits. The goal of this blog is to share what I'm learning from my unique position as a helper of hundreds to bring you a greater sense of understanding and calm.