Are You Into Someone Who's Emotionally Unavailable? Here's What To Do.

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Do you keep finding yourself attracting emotionally unavailable partners? Maybe it’s a history of relationships in which you never really felt as though you would get out as much as you put in. Perhaps it’s one recent date where it just sort of clicked and you realized they weren’t into it the same way you were. And, dear friend, if you think you might, this very second, be into someone who seems emotionally unavailable, I urge you to consider my advice and read down to the very last sentence.

To be emotionally unavailable means to maintain a barrier, a distance, between your self and others. Sometimes this can be a physical barrier - they never let you get too close, hug too tightly or spend all that much time with others in a one-on-one settting. It can also be mental and emotional, and show in the way that someone avoids serious or meaningful conversation, speaks in non-committal language or appear to be evasive. This type of behaviour, particularly in a romantic relationship, can be incredibly frustrating and even detrimental.

First, I want to let you know that you are totally, 100%, absolutely not alone in this. Emotional unavailability is a growing cause of dating and relationship difficulties and can be seen in both male and female partners. In this post, we’ll refer to the partner as “he,” but trust me when I say that men often face this same difficulty and the “what to do” portion of today’s post easily speaks to both genders. Ready? Here we go.

1. Acknowledge the Unavailability

One of the hardest situations to deal with for many daters and partners is having to face the reality that the person you like (or even love) isn’t emotionally available. However, in order to live your most authentic, fulfilling life, it’s got to happen. Your first step, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is to fully and completely acknowledge the person you’re interested in is simply not emotionally available - and that it’s truly beyond your control.

No matter how invested a partner you may be, or want to be, it’s highly unlikely to have a new found effect on the other person’s ability to engage especially if they have been this way right from the beginning. People can go through the bulk of their lives avoiding emotional engagement, whether they realize it or not, and others can develop this unavailability over time and through past experiences. Know, my friend, that you deserve deep, engaged and full love in your life and that emotional unavailability will not offer any of those things.

2. Understand Why the Attraction is there

This may be your first experience with an emotionally unavailable person, but it may also be your second or third. If you’ve noticed a pattern in your love life like this, there isn’t a better time than now to step back, take a breath and allow your mind and heart to understand why it’s happening.

There are many reasons why you may find yourself attracted to someone who isn’t truly available, but the most common three reasons are these: you may not have fully healed from a past hurtful experience, you yourself may not truly be ready for a real relationship or you could even be carrying parent-child dynamics through to adulthood. Think back to your past - to how often you vied for your parents’ attention or affection, to your first love and your last breakup. Be real and be honest with yourself about these memories. Ask yourself, “What past experiences or feelings keep pushing me in this direction?” You are naturally going to be attracted to people who you think or hope will change and as ironic as it is, you may actually find comfort in re-creating your childhood experience even if it's not what you wanted. Once you have the answer, it’s time to take action.

3. Take an Active Approach to Avoiding Unavailability

A key approach to finding someone who can authentically return your feelings comes down to knowing how to recognize traits of unavailable partners. Luckily, there are key, easy-to-spot traits that you can begin watching for straight away. Whether you recognize these traits within an online dating profile, during a first date or early on into a relationship, knowing how to spot them and what they mean will allow you to take control over finding a worthy and fulfilling partner.

Look out for people who criticize the emotions of you and others. Perhaps they feel you often overreact or you can see that emotions make them uncomfortable. Another telling sign is when it’s clear someone isn’t interested in working on their own development in a meaningful, lasting way. They may have a very laissez-faire attitude towards life and may not put effort into developing meaningful connections throughout their world - romantic, professional, family and otherwise. At the same time, these same people may seek to surround themselves with people. They might not feel totally comfortable spending time alone. This can be a signal that someone wants to keep themselves occupied and avoid certain emotions, issues or areas of life.

The power to take control of your love life and your path to finding a meaningful, fulfilling partnership is in your hands. Emotional unavailability is something that must be worked on and overcome as an individual - it can be extremely difficult and even damaging (not only to the other person, but to your own self-esteem and expectations of love) to try and force it within a relationship.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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5 Easy Steps to Navigating Uncertainty in a New Relationship

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Entering into a new relationship is filled with excitement, fun and discovery. Something that many people often unexpectedly discover is that new relationships can also be filled with a whole lot of uncertainty. Whether you feel some anxiety about your new beau or simply need some guidance in navigating the uncertainty of your new relationship, I’ve got you covered my friend. Keep reading for five easy steps to kicking those feelings of uncertainty in a new relationship to the curb and getting back to the excitement and fun.

1. Know That You’re Not Alone

The thing with uncertainty in new relationships is that everybody goes through it. Chances are, even, that your new partner is experiencing the same feelings and thoughts as you.

Something you need to understand is that these feelings don’t come from a negative place. They’re a completely natural reaction to a new situation and the fact that you’re having them means that you care. Don’t let them trip you up!

With time, and with open communication, you’ll begin to feel more secure in your new partnership and the initial anxiety will fade

2. Embrace the Unknown

There’s something incredibly exciting about the unknown, and this is your chance to take any uncertainty you might be feeling and turn it into spontaneity. Take this opportunity of getting to know someone new to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and try things that you normally wouldn’t.

Allow your mind to wander and get away from your regular thought patterns and routine for a little while. Indoor skydiving for your next date? Maybe. A whirlwind weekend trip to the big city? Sure!

3. Find Your Pep Talk Pal

Everyone has that one person in his or her life who, no matter what the circumstances, can turn a crummy situation upside down. They recognize your best traits and forgive you for your faults. At the same time, they have a knack for holding you to a higher standard. Having this person in your life, especially during times when you might be feeling a little uncertain, is even more important.

Whether she’s your best friend from college, your sister, your co-worker or your mom, don’t hesitate to reach out to your go-to girlfriend when you need a pick me up. They know you’re amazing and just how to give you the pep talk that you need. Sometimes it is just a simple, "focus on what you do like about him, rather than all the things you are worried about", coming from a trusted friend.

Choose wisely who you go to for advice.

4. Keep Confident and Carry On

While you might find it tempting, you can’t accept your truth as the truth. If he takes a little while to text you back, don’t let your mind run wild about all the reasons you haven't heard from him right away. Distract yourself with activities that make you feel good.

There’s a saying that goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” and sometimes the idea really works. Even when you’re not feeling 100% confident, if you actively work to exude confidence you will likely actually find your confidence – and your confidence in your new relationship – starts to boost itself. You chose each other because you saw potential so don't be afraid to keep pursuing that potential in an active way to see where things go.

Be open minded, be aware of what makes you feel good and bad about yourself and carry on getting to know each other.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Process Betrayal and Come Away Stronger in Your Relationship

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  Discovering a betrayal, in any relationship, can be a profoundly painful and draining experience. A betrayal can lead to the breakdown of a relationship. However, it doesn’t need to. To learn how to process betrayal and look at ways to rebuild, keep on reading. I fully recognize betrayal is a deeply personal and touchy subject, and opinions are divided, but I felt the topic needed to be addressed for those looking to repair and rebuild.

Couples and partners who go through tough times, betrayal included, often come out the other end stronger. Yes, this may sound cliche but what I have found is it forced couples to talk about everything they avoided. Couples who chose to try and repair after betrayal, tended to follow the four steps shared below.

1. Stop Associating the Betrayal with Hurt

For a while after the betrayal, the events are sure to continue to cross your mind. Sometimes it may even feel as though this is beyond possible. The first step in healing, however, is to begin viewing the betrayal in another light. You must think of the situation as one that you’re actively, authentically and committed to working to repair. It’s an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship, understand what isn’t working and rebuild an even stronger foundation than before. While it may (and will) be difficult, it’s important to begin associating the betrayal with the opportunity to grow and see it in a different light. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, 'an opportunity to grow' will keep you much more open for processing.

2. Fully and Authentically Forgive

I recently read that the act of forgiving does not mean the acceptance of wrong behaviour. Instead, it means that you have detached yourself from the painful feelings that come with the wrong behaviour. It’s the commitment to see the best in the other person and pardon the transgression for not only their sake, but for your own. I really like this concept of forgiveness and feel it applies to this particular healing process really well. In order to move forward and heal with your partner, in a true partnership, you need to forgive the betrayal and release the negative feelings it has brought. I firmly believe, without forgiveness, there is zero room to start to rebuild trust.

3. Rebuild Trust, One Day at a Time

Building and maintaining trust, in any relationship, is something that requires work and effort every single day. When a relationship is recovering from a betrayal, it can feel as though the trust must be rebuilt from ground zero. When this feels true, I encourage you to take it one day at a time. Trust will not be rebuilt or repaired overnight, but any steps – even small ones – are positive progress. Whether it’s being home at the time you say you will or your partner sharing more authentically about his or her day, the trust will rebuild over time if both partners are committed. Find out how trust is built for each of you, remembering it may look different for each.

4. Leave the Past in the Past

While it may be tempting at times, it’s important to not use the past as ammunition against your partner. As your relationship is healing, and well into the future, it’s important to remember to leave the past in the past. Who you were five years ago does not define who you are today. What happened last week or last year does not define what will happen today or tomorrow. While it may sound like a simple concept in theory, I understand that it can be more difficult than that when it actually comes down to exercising in real life. So when you are trying to heal from betrayal and you find yourself wanting to 'throw it in their face', take a deep breath and walk away from the conversation. You can even say something like, "I feel like I want to say something really hurtful to you right now but I am committed to rebuilding our relationship so I'm going to go for a walk". You will find the language that works for you.

The key to overcoming betrayal is to be truly, authentically and deeply committed to the outcome. If you have both decided to work together to make it right, it is possible.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Soulmates vs. Twin flames: The Differences You Need To Know

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Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed to get so serious, so deep and so real so fast, that it was almost as if reality couldn’t keep up? Maybe you were planning how you’d decorate your shared home a week into your relationship. Perhaps you were thinking of excuses to call into work sick or skip out on plans with friends, all so you could spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with your newfound partner. If you have ever experienced anything like this in a new relationship, Matt Kahn shares that it was, and is, most likely a twin flame situation. Now, if you’ve never heard of the term “twin flame” you’re not alone. It’s a widely discussed, and often debated, term in the realm of spirituality but hasn’t quite made its way to the mainstream. At least, not to the same extent as its “soulmate” counterpart. That’s why I thought that it would make for an interesting blog and newsletter topic this month. So, keep on reading to learn the differences between what makes a soulmate relationship, or soul contract, and what makes one a twin flame. If, at the end, you’d like to learn even more, I highly recommend watching this video by spiritual thought leader, Matt Kahn.

First, let’s continue to talk about what exactly makes a relationship a twin flame relationship. Then we’ll move into soulmates.

Twin flame relationships can usually be described as fast burning, fast tracked and almost chaotic in the way that the relationship quickly becomes all encompassing. Almost right off the bat, you find yourself getting really deep and really serious with your partner – even if you’ve only seen each other a few times. You make plans for the future, even though your friends and family can’t believe you’re already getting so serious. The thing is, you’re making those plans because your own soul knows that this relationship can help you evolve. This relationship is happening because your soul (and likely your partner’s) isn’t truly ready for your soulmate just yet.

While twin flame relationships can be fiercely fun, incredibly romantic and life altering, they’re not entirely realistic. In fact, they are usually filled with volatility, hostility and drama. That same intense energy that you feel in the good times fuels the bad times tenfold. It’s this intensity that often, understandably, leads people to mistake twin flames for soulmates. However, the intensity is too great to be sustainable and will often, almost inevitably, lead to destruction.  Something to note, however, is that twin flames can become soulmates and sometimes do. I will seriously stress that “sometimes”, though, as more often than not these types of relationships go the other way.

Soulmate relationships, on the near opposite end of the spectrum to twin flame; can be looked at as both partners becoming the living embodiments of their highest potential. This, then, allows them to manifest an equal counterpart. You are with each other because you are at a level that you are ready for each other. It’s way more relaxed, easier, more balanced and everything falls into place. Sure, you still have arguments and disagreements but there is a fundamental difference in how you grow together. You grow in balance to one another and arguments, for the most part, really just solve themselves. You don’t hold onto things to use against one another, you know that your love is more important and more valuable than building a stockpile of comebacks for your next debate. The friction that sometimes rears its head in a soulmate relationship works itself our naturally – resolution is never forced.

In describing both types of relationships, something that I truly want to stress is something that Matt also speaks to near the end of his video talk. When it comes to mental, verbal, emotional, physical or any other form of abuse in a relationship, there is no such thing as working on it or accepting it for what it is. In a soul contract where there is toxicity, you owe it to yourself to put yourself anywhere but there. He urges his listeners to not get caught up in the feeling of there only being “one” soulmate for them. There are many soulmates and twin flames awaiting you in the world, and you will never deserve toxicity.

I encourage you to take some time to look at past relationships (or even current ones!) that were particularly intense. It's more than likely, it was a twin flame relationship. Reflect on what the lesson was for you. What did you learn from that twin flame? I have come to believe twin flame relationships are honestly your training ground for soulmate relationships.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why Some Men Step Up Their Game to Find Love, and Others Do Not

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We’ve all seen a romantic comedy in which the male lead had to take drastic measures to win the attention and affection of his female counterpart. And, while some examples are far more extreme than others, like pretending to be far more well off than you actually are or faking an exotic accent when you’re really just from down the street, there is some truth to the idea of some men needing to “step up” their game to gain the attention, and date, some women. When it comes to men seeking out relationships, men often look for relationships (and women) that match where they are in their life right now. Women, on the other hand, often look for relationships that will bring them to where they want to be – whether it be tomorrow, the next day or the year after that. Men tend to be more rooted in the present, whereas women tend to be more rooted in the future. Now of course, this is a generalization and doesn't apply to all, but does to most.

Men are very clear on what and who they are, where they’re at and what they are capable of or interested in taking on at this point in their lives. For better or worse, they are more closely tied to reality when it comes to their physical and emotional capabilities. They know that in order to date a woman who will enable his development and realization of his full potential he’ll need to step up his game. 

All men make a choice.

Some men take on the challenge of stepping up in full force because, deep in their heart, they know they are ready to take their love life – and life in general – to the next level. They clean up the proverbial cobwebs in their life, step it up and pursue a woman who will challenge him to be the best version of himself on a continual basis. He thrives in this environment and so does she. They fully and completely accept each other where they are at and also want to encourage each other to be all they can be.

Other men know they are truly not ready for this next level of love or life and, therefore, continue in their current pattern and choose to date women and begin (or not begin) relationships that will not challenge him to evolve – at least not right now. The thought of dating a woman who is on an accelerated personal growth path just fills him with anxiety and insecurity so he opts out. He knows he needs to be with a woman who is not very interested in personal growth so that he can firmly stay in his comfort zone.

And you know what? Both paths are entirely acceptable and normal, because in either case the man knows what he is and isn’t ready for and isn’t pushing himself to experience something he cannot currently handle and process. Entering into a relationship that one is truly not ready for on a mental or emotional level can either spur someone on to evolve and become ready – or it can be dangerous and thrust that person into a situation and level of intensity they are not equipped to handle at this point in life. Each man, upon self-reflection, will know exactly what he is ready for.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What Men Crave, Even When They Don’t Outright Ask For It

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Have you ever noticed how many articles, talks and books there are on the topic of what women want? If you do a quick search online you’ll find an endless number of results written by women, some relatable, some not, but many nonetheless. So, why is it that when you do the same search to answer the question, “What do men want?” there are so few results written by men?

A recent talk by John Wineland on the subject of “What Men Crave” takes a shot at answering the question behind the imbalance of clearly communicated needs.

John recognizes the abundance of discussion surrounding the needs and wants of women, which he celebrates and applauds, as well as the lack of bold requests for fulfillment from the male perspective. When thinking as to why this could be, he lands at the explanation that men, over the years, have possibly lost the capacity to powerfully ask for what they want.

And so, through an enlightening eleven-minute talk, John begins to share what thousands of men have shared with him – what it is they truly crave, want and desire. Without diving too deeply into each, let’s take a look, together, at some of the most notable results. I believe there are great learnings to be had and an opportunity to better understand the male energy and how his needs differ from our own.

1. Celebrate the Fact He’s Different From You

We often talk of how men and women are the same, and in many ways they are. But, at their fundamental cores and especially when it comes to relationship needs, there are striking differences. Often times, men want less whereas women want more. John asks that, before you give what you’re trying to give, take pause and feel into what your partner actually needs. This can take time as we naturally want to give what we think our partner wants without tuning into their actual desires.

2. He Craves Range

We already know that variety is key in a relationship, so why is it that we let ourselves forget this so often? Men crave variety not in the form of numbers but in the form of range – he wants vulnerability, playfulness, sexiness, nurturing and he wants it all from you.

3. Love Us With Equal Energy

Something John mentions in the talk is that men want to feel the same level and energy when being loved and celebrated as they do when you’re angry with them. When he’s present and loving you, he wants to experience your love at the same level as he experiences your anger or frustration when you’re in an argument. Be present and not passive.

4. Leave Business at the Door

Separating out the tools that you use to succeed in your career from the tools you use to succeed in your relationship is key to fostering a healthy, happy relationship at home. If a CEO walked in the door and treated her partner and family the same as her coworkers and subordinates at the office, you can see that things wouldn’t go well. He loves and admires your success, but he wants you to leave your day job at the door when you arrive home and he is more than happy to help in that transition.

5. Slow Down

One last point I want to share is how so many men said that they crave a slower pace. Whether you wake up a little bit slower on the weekend, get dressed a little slower, walk a little slower or simply take on the day in a more relaxed way – he has a desire to turn off the fast forward switch and just enjoy time with you. This one is probably the hardest of all to put into practice being that we live in a high speed world and, outside the home, are encouraged to pick up the pace and accomplish more and more in less and less time. But, if you’re able to at home, focus a little more on pace and how much time you are spending feeling connected to your body. Men thrive on feminine energy and as women, it rejuvenates us.

Check out John's video for yourself below. I'd love to hear what you think!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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What Men Crave

John Wineland

The Sexiest Words a Man Can Say… and Why They are So Powerful

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A few weeks back I was driving in my car and listened to the radio hosts as they discussed a survey in which women selected three short words as the sexiest words a man can say. To the surprise of the hosts, and many I’m sure, they weren’t “I love you,” “You are beautiful” or (probably) any of the others that spring to mind off the bat.

The three sexiest words a man can say to his partner were decided, instead, to be “I got this.”

I find this so incredibly interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that we often talk about how it’s the little things that really make a difference. Think of when your partner simply goes about doing the laundry or unloads the dishwasher without being asked, or when he remembers your favourite coffee and picks it up on the way home from work for you. These “small” things can truly mean a lot – much more, in fact, than singular grand gestures.

Your partner making the decision to take on something such as walking the dog, finding out which airport gate you should be headed to or hailing a taxi shows that he’s confident, capable and in control of the situation. We love this. And, in a world where women balance work, marriage, family and more, it’s so nice to know what you can count on to be taken care of by another.

Secondly, this short but powerful statement reminds us of our primal caveman/cavewoman roots where men were fundamentally the providers and women the caregivers or nurturers. While we’ve undoubtedly come a long way since the days of cavemen, we still have the exact same DNA as our early ancestors and having another 'take care of things' makes us feel good.

The power of "I got this" is the words are a statement of fact and allows for the man to shift into producing mode to deliver on his promise. These words allow the woman to fully let this task go and she genuinely finds it so attractive.

If you’re interested in reading more about the power of “I got this,” I would recommend you read this blog post over on The Good Men Project. It speaks to the effects of the three little words from a male perspective and is an interesting read!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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What You Can Learn by Traveling With Your Partner

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  Summer is finally here and that means vacation days, long weekends and (hopefully) a bit of travel. Whether you’re gearing up for a month-long adventure abroad or are looking ahead to a weekend escape to the cottage, travel can teach you a lot about yourself and your partner. Sometimes it tests you; many times it strengthens your bond and it near always reveals something new about your relationship. Here are some of my top reminders to pack along:

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outside comfort zone

1. Breaking from routine reveals true personality traits

Alarm clocks, commutes and hectic evenings can steal the spontaneity out of even the most adventurous souls. Breaking from routine and familiar surroundings can reveal true, at-rest personality traits that may otherwise be tucked away during everyday life. You may be reminded of how funny or caring your partner is, or you may remember how messy and disorganized they are. The same can be said for what your partner may re-recognize in you. For better or worse, you’ll get to see each other in a more natural, at rest state than you have in a long time and have the opportunity to learn and grow away from the hustle and bustle.

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compromise

2. How you travel reflects how you manage compromise

No matter where you go, it’s impossible to do absolutely everything you want to do in the time that you have. What you decide to do, and in what order, shows how you and your partner compromise and reflects the balance in your relationship. Do you put down your foot and insist on seeing your “must visit” attractions? Or, do you make a list of what you both would like to do and see where you can level out? Just as in a healthy relationship, travel requires a certain amount of give and take. You may be surprised at how well you manage compromise, or may realize you have a bit of work to do.

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curveballs

3. Life will throw you curveballs… and you can bet travel will too

Travel has its ups and downs just like life does. Missing a connection, delayed flights, overbooked hotels and misplacing keys or IDs can cause serious stress. Adjusting to different time zones and traveling through the night can also leave you feeling some major exhaustion. Watch to see how your partner, and how you, react to these situations. Try to exercise patience and understanding if and when things go awry. Feeling sluggish? Let your natural optimism shine and remind yourself that you are amazingly lucky to be able to travel with the one you love and that a little bit of jet lag now will be worth packing another day of memories into the trip. You can learn a lot about your partner by how they handle the same situations, too.

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cultures

4. New cultures and experiences can reveal untapped passions

Experiencing Latin America for the first time may help you realize that your partner loves dancing, or that you have a thirst for experiencing more to life. Walking through art galleries and museums may awaken a passion for painting or photography, possibly a hobby you can share with your partner. As you travel and experience new things together, you’ll see your individual and collective tastes and interests evolve. Seeing new parts of the world and challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zones keeps you both developing as people as well as a partnership. Do it as often as you can!

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friendship core

5. At the core of your relationship is a deep friendship

Nothing reminds couples of the fundamental friendship they share more than travel. Whether it’s making silly poses next to the British Guard or throwing back a cold one at a Munich beer hall, you’re there to enjoy each other’s company. And, most often, travel means that you’ll be out and about more than you’ll be at your hotel. So, while surely there will be some time for romance, there’s much more time to explore your intense friendship and just have fun.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Strike up a Conversation with That Attractive Stranger

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  I recently read an article on Mind Body Green that spoke about how there’s something about sitting across from an attractive stranger that makes us lose our minds. The author wrote about how someone can be the most confident, put-together person but as soon as it comes to talking to someone they find attractive they start to stumble over words, blush or just back out of the situation completely.

And, friend, it’s sort of true. I’ve seen it happen time after time and it’s something I regularly speak to my clients about. What is it about saying “hello” to that good looking guy at the coffee shop that’s really so terrifying?

In my experience, I’ve found that it comes down to two factors. The first is that you care about the outcome – the outcome that you don’t control. Striking up a chat with a gorgeous stranger is different than pitching a great idea to a client or presenting something to your boss. In those situations you sort of know what to expect and have had some time to prepare. In line waiting for your grande Americano is a whole other ball game.

The second is that you have no previous experience with this person to base your conversation off of. Are they single? Do they find youattractive? Are they funny? Easy to talk to? In a hurry? Who knows! It can be intimidating knowing where to start in a new conversation, with a new person, when it’s a total blank slate. BUT, it’s also pretty darn exciting and can potentially lead to an amazing connection. That’s why I’m challenging you to try it for yourself, even just once, so you can see how it could honestly change your dating life forever. Here’s how to do it:

1. Make Eye Contact

Yep, you’ve really just got to use your eyes and look at his for this one to work. Looking down at your phone or trying to check him out without him noticing isn’t going to get you anywhere. And, if I’m being totally honest, it could make you look a little creepy if you’re not especially skilled in covert surveillance. If you’re feeling him and want to chat, make eye contact and let him know!

2. Smile

Just like number one, this tip should be obvious but so often we forget that we have the power to make someone else smile just by doing it ourselves. A smile is warm, inviting and instantly puts the recipient at ease. Flash him a smile and open yourself up for one of you to say "hello". The worse that’ll happen is he says “hello” back and you both go on with your separate days. The best? Well, you could be swapping digits in a matter of moments and be all set up for a Thursday night date.

3. Compliment Him

Have you ever been out to dinner or at the mall when someone complimented something about you? It probably felt pretty good and made you instantly like the person even though you likely didn’t know each other. If you want the chance to speak with someone you’ve been admiring, go ahead and pay him a compliment. Something as simple as, “I really love your glasses. Do you mind me asking where they’re from?” can open the door to a great conversation. Be genuine and authentic in your compliment and deliver it with a smile.

4. Bond Over Something in Common

Again I’ll use the example of a coffee shop, but this tip works just about anywhere. Start a conversation about something you notice you have in common. Same backpack company? Same coffee? Is he holding a book you recently finished or have been dying to read? Talking about something that you have in common takes the pressure off a bit and makes the conversation about something other than him or you. Also, this is a good time to point out that you need to travel with your interests. Get those books out on the coffee table, wear that t-shirt from your favorite band or festival. Invite conversation about shared interests. Want more? Continue onto #5.

5. Try the 'ol, “Have I seen you here before?” Trick

There’s a reason why this pick up line is still one of the most popular today, and that’s because it works. Turn to him and ask, “I think I recognize you, have you been here before, your face is so familiar?” and away you go. Depending on the answer, you’ll have a few different ways to continue the conversation and things should flow naturally from there. At the very least, you will have helped yourself get past the "I don't talk to strangers and keep to myself" vibe. :)

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What it Means to Honestly, Truthfully and Deeply Trust

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If you’re a fan of Super Soul Sunday, Ted Talks and general self-development, chances are that you’ve heard of an amazing and wonderful woman named Brené Brown. She is one of the most engaging and authentic storytellers and lecturers I’ve ever seen and I strongly encourage you to enrol in her free course called “Anatomy of Trust” or give her Super Soul Sunday video a watch. After doing a lot of reflecting on the content Brené shares and speaks about, I wanted to share with you a sort of introduction, or crash course if you will, on the topic of trust. So, let’s talk about that. What does it mean to trust? And not just trust, but honestly, truthfully and deeply trust and foster trust in a relationship?

As Brené says, it’s about so much more than there not being lies in your relationship. Trust is something that you continuously work to build, protect and maintain. It’s about our everyday thoughts, intentions and actions.

Brené breaks it down with the acronym, “BRAVING.”

B is for Boundaries

Boundaries are super important in any relationship – the relationship you have with your self, with your significant other, your friends, family, coworkers, and the list goes on. They’re crucial in protecting all the good stuff inside your relationship and in keeping the “bad” stuff outside. A boundary could be a commitment to yourself, and your partner, that what you speak about stays with just the two of you. It could be a promise to leave work at work and enter the home, at the end of the day, with a positive mind.

R is for Reliability

Nobody likes to be flaked on. It’s not a good feeling to be told that someone’s going to be somewhere or do something and then they aren’t and don’t. Reliability is paramount in relationships and aids in building a deep level of trust. Practice reliability by doing what you say you’re going to do, keeping your promises and stopping yourself from over-promising. Knowing your limitations and what you can realistically be relied on for, is not a weakness. If anything, it’s a show of strength and also a show of consideration for others.

A is for Accountability

Own your behaviour and hold yourself accountable for mistakes. Nobody is perfect – far from it, really – but how you address and acknowledge your mistakes makes all the difference. Instead of pointing blame or arguing about why you’ve argued, take accountability for your part in the matter and face the issue head on.

V is for Vault

I think that “C is for Confidentiality” could be used here interchangeably, but the word “vault” introduces much more powerful imagery to the concept of trust. The idea of the vault is that exchanges that happen in confidence between you and your partner, or whomever is in the relationship with you, stay only between you two. You can trust, implicitly, that what you are sharing will stay in your partner’s vault. And, just the same, your partner can trust that you will treat his or her words with just as much respect.

I is for Integrity

Integrity calls for truly practicing your values. It’s not enough to believe that people should or shouldn’t behave a certain way; you need to truly and authentically practice what you preach. If you expect only the best from the people in your life and encourage them to live authentically and with good hearts, it’s your responsibility to do the same.

N is for Non-Judgment

Casting judgments is, unfortunately, human instinct. However, building trust requires you to push judgment to the side and to allow your partner a safe and open space to share with you whatever is on his or her mind. They should be able to come to you and express what they need or desire without fear of being judged, and you should be able to do the same.

G is for Generosity

Acting with a kind heart and generous spirit will do wonders for building trust. Regularly and routinely seeing the best in your partner and doing small, everyday things to make his or her life more joyful is the kind of generosity that has serious impact. There’s really no need for grand gestures or expensive gifts. Something as simple as packing a lunch for your partner for a busy Monday filled with meetings or folding and putting away the laundry could mean the world to them.

Again, I encourage you to give Brené Brown’s video a watch for yourself. Even if you’re not in a relationship right now, the principles of BRAVING can easily be applied to check in with yourself and deliver a measure of your self-trust. Like I said, thirty minutes now could have a major and positive impact on your life.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Signs of Divorce: How to Spot These 4 Indicators… and How to Overcome Them

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John Gottman, author and psychologist, is well known for conducting many studies surrounding the predictability of divorce. After a 15-minute conversation with a couple, followed by questions about satisfaction and relationship behaviours, Gottman and his team discovered they could predict whether or not a marriage would result in divorce with 93% accuracy. 93% accuracy. That’s both impressive and incredibly saddening. The reality, more in this modern day than ever before, is that nearly half of relationships end in a break up, separation or divorce. What I want to share with you, my friend, is how to equip you and your partner to beat the odds and live in a truly satisfying, successful partnership. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to train yourself to identify the three strongest indicators and work to overcome those behaviours.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Criticism

Have you ever found yourself picking up after your partner, only to wind up making a comment to them about so much more than leaving a towel on the floor or a dirty dish on the counter? Criticism without the genuine aim of being constructive and positive will only ever lead to hurt feelings and a moment in time you really can’t undo. Seemingly small things like calling your partner “stupid” or reminding them that you’re the smarter one in the duo can have irreparable effects on your relationship.

When you feel yourself about to criticize your partner (and especially in heated circumstances, as mentioned), take a deep breath and count to ten. The simple “calm down” trick that you likely learned as a child will honestly do wonders even in many adult situations. If you have to, leave the room until you calm down and know you won't say something you regret. Remind yourself that your partnership is more important and more valuable than this one moment, this one dirty dish, and this one unfolded towel. Once you are feeling much more calm, take a moment to think about the positives in your partner, even if you don't want to. When you work to replace your criticism habit with thoughts of praise, even in small bits, you will see the tension between the two of you lessen.

2. Defensiveness

I was reading an article recently and the author mentioned something about how allowing negativity into your mind and heart is like stepping into quicksand. It’s real easy to get sucked down inside of it and really, really hard to get back out. The saying reminded me of a time that a client was telling me about how she had accidentally broken a wine glass and it turned into a full on argument between her and her spouse – about just about everything except the wine glass.

Jumping to defend yourself by saying, “It was an accident!” or “It wasn’t my fault!” implies, before your partner even speaks, that you expect them to attack you. This, in turns, puts the both of you on the defensive and builds a big, fat, metaphorical wall between the two of you.

You have several options for combatting defensiveness, but the most powerful is practicing accountability and recognition. Are you late to your dinner reservation because you lost track of time? Own up to it and avoid turning things around and saying something like, "oh, you're late sometimes too!" Did your partner break a vase while cleaning? Brush it off, they didn't do it on purpose and focus on appreciating you have someone who’s willingly putting in effort to share household duties.

3. Checking Out

There are a couple of terms for this particular behaviour, such as “stonewalling,” but I prefer the term “checking out.” This is what happens when you’re in mid argument with your partner and one – or both – of you whips out your phone and goes dead silent. A partner can also “check out” by simply walking away from a conversation, leaving the space or even leaving the home for a walk or drive. (this is different then briefly leaving the room to calm yourself down before re-entering, as mentioned in the Criticism piece). The problem with this type of behaviour is that it demonstrates you are either not invested in reaching a resolution or healing your relationship, or that what you were arguing about doesn’t mean that much to you in the first place. Both, as you can probably see, are super problematic.

The next time you go to bring something up with your partner, don’t do it half way. If it truly means enough to you, and has affected you deeply enough, to bring up – then do it right. Ditch all distractions and truly talk it out with the intention of reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution. If your partner asks to speak with you, dedicate your full attention to them. This means that your phone is down, the TV’s off and you’re listening full on.

Friend, if you work to identify these behaviours on an ongoing basis and make conscious, intentional decisions to replace the behaviours with positive ones – you will substantially increase the odds of enjoying a successful partnership.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Avoid the Texting Trap & Replace Emojis with Offline Experience

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You meet someone new, exchange numbers and then the conversation strikes. This happens often – whether you first connect through an online dating site, over social media, through a friend or during a night out on the town. And, dear friend, don’t get me wrong – swapping numbers with someone you feel chemistry with is a great way to get the ball rolling. The problem really happens when that’s as far as things get. This is what a lot of people these days are referring to as the “texting trap.”

The texting trap is when text messages are exchanged, there’s some great conversation, but then things never move to the offline world. Days turn into weeks and weeks (sometimes) even turn into months – all without a real, offline face-to-face. The issue with this is that you begin to feel more and more attached to the person on the other end of the phone, but you really haven’t had any experiences with one another. So, if and when you do eventually meet, it can be difficult or even disappointing.

To help you avoid the texting trap and keep on moving in your quest for true, authentic love, I encourage you to follow this advice:

1. Use Texting for Quick Exchanges, Not Lengthy Conversation

I recently read an article in which it said, “texting is information, not conversation” and I think that point couldn’t be any truer, particularly in this context. Text messaging is a fast and efficient way to exchange information – like the address where you’ll be meeting or to confirm that you’re still on for tonight – but it’s not replacement for phone conversation or in person discussion. This is how I see it play out: either person will send a text with something like "how was your day?". This is a great way to connect if you have already met in person. However, I've seen this question/answer combo go on for weeks as a connection replacement to actually meeting in person. When he texts you asking how your day was, feel free to hit “reply” and offer a bit of info but also reference how it would be nice to meet in person or speak by phone. Continue doing this each time you hear from him/her but if weeks are going by, politely let them know you are glad you met but you'd prefer to meet in person.

2. Text as Your Authentic Self

Something I’ve noticed women doing lately is creating online (or, in this case, on the phone) alter egos. They text differently than they’d talk in real life. They often use different words, act much more playful and avoid expressing their real opinions or wants for fear of not coming across as laid back and fun.  There are two major problems with this practice. The first is that, when you do meet up offline, your authentic personality isn’t going to match up so well to the alternate persona you’ve been using in your text messages. The second is that you’re not showcasing your true, genuine self. So, the guy you’re meeting up with might end up feeling tricked or, worse, you might feel as though you have to continue the charade or even have anxiety about meeting offline because you realize you haven’t been acting yourself. And, my friend, sacrificing who you really are and what you really want is no way to kick off a new relationship.

3. Don’t Make Your Self Too Available

If you grab your phone and reply the moment you see a new text notification pop up on your screen, you’re making yourself very available. The guy on the other end (who you often haven't met in person!) is going to start expecting an immediate response from you every single time which not only sidetracks what your focus is (work, family, driving!) but I often see it lead to a bit of resentment. The problem with coming across as overly available is that the other person may begin to expect constant availability, accommodation and acceptance. You also can get addicted to the adrenaline rush that goes off every time you hear a "ping!" (did I mention this ping you are addicted to is from a guy you've never met? :)) Go ahead and answer straight away if it’s something like confirming your date for tomorrow night but be wary if he is continually trying to engage you in conversation without in-person plans.

4. Have a Deadline and Stick To It

When you meet an interesting new guy online and exchange numbers, give yourself a personal deadline. Ask yourself, “How long am I OK to stick to texting without actually speaking on the phone or setting a date to meet up?” I suggest no longer than a week and I strongly encourage you to stick with it. Avoid making excuses for him, don’t let yourself be OK with him if he should need to routinely cancel or postpone. Respect yourself and your time by holding him accountable. Does he cancel last minute or always need to “check his schedule,” and then you never wind up meeting? If so, it’s time to cut him loose and carry forward. I totally understand that life happens, people's schedules are busy and things come up but unless he is cancelling and then in the next breath suggesting a couple althernate times to meet, then just let him know he can be in touch once he knows his availability and wants to set a time. The person you truly deserve will want to make time to speak by phone and meet in person.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why It’s Time to Try a Dating App… And How to Choose Between Tinder, Hinge & Bumble

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Is it time to try a dating app? It’s funny to think that online dating has been around since the nineties and yet, it’s only the last few years that it really and truly became culturally “mainstream.” Just as it happened, a new wave of matchmaking apps have sprung up and started quickly outpacing desktop counterparts. You've likely heard these names popping up in conversation: Tinder, Hinge and Bumble. To think that there’s an entire directory of people on these apps, just like you, looking for a connection at your literal fingertips – why wouldn’t you want to give it a try?

There’s really never been a better time and each app offers its own unique features, benefits and (sometimes) pricing scheme. So, dear friend, I’m here to help.  Let’s talk about the most popular dating apps out there and what really makes them better (or worse) so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your unique wants and needs. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Tinder

If you’re not into the idea of professing your love (or like, in this case) for someone only to learn they don’t feel the same way, then Tinder is a great option for you. When you swipe to indicate your interest in somebody, they’ll only ever see that you did it if they also like you back. It works the same the other way around too, so it saves everyone involved the awkwardness of putting yourself out there only to wind up feeling shut down. Plus, Tinder requires that you have a Facebook profile in order to create an account and can even show you the Facebook friends that you have in common with a match, so it adds an extra level of comfort and security that you don’t always find with other dating apps.

Oh, and did I mention that Tinder has around 50 million monthly active users? The odds have never been more in your favour, friend! Tinder is often touted as the most popular mobile dating app. With its ever growing pools of singles in towns and cities all across the world, you’re sure to find several matches in your first day of use.

When getting started on Tinder, make sure you set yourself up for success. If your goal really is to find a great, offline date on the app, then make it happen. Spend some time on your opening line. It should feel natural and really speak to who you are as a person and what your view is on life. Choose a recent, smiling photo of yourself and limit the number of selfies you add to your profile. You want the guy you’re looking for to be able to get a quick understanding of who you are, what you’re into and your overall style without having to read through paragraphs or swipe his way through an entire album of photos. And when you do start browsing, make sure you really do read the profiles that attract you. It can be all too easy to get carried away and go a little “swipe” happy on Tinder, but not every great smile is going to be a great match. Opening lines and profile info are there to help you narrow down your search, so use them!

2. Hinge

Hinge takes the idea of being set up by friends and brings it into the mobile world. Their tagline is, “Meet someone through friends you trust,” and it’s pretty darn fitting. It relies on its users synching the app with their social media accounts to be connected through mutual friends. Something different, but very helpful, about Hinge is that it will only show you a limited number of matches each day. This helps you really focus in on each individual profile and not feel the “profile overwhelm” that can happen when you see pages and pages of matches.

How Hinge further fulfills its promise to help you “meet” someone is with its new time limit feature. Once you see that you have a match, you only have 24 hours to strike up a conversation. Then, once you begin chatting, you’re limited to 14 days to continue chatting with the mobile app. This is all designed to encourage people to use the app to find connections and then take them where they belong – into the offline world. If you’ve been looking for that extra push to meet someone new, Hinge might be the choice for you.

When using Hinge to find your next date, take advantage of the fact that you only have 24 hours after becoming a match to strike up a conversation. Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation going, and if you feel there’s a spark, suggest you take the conversation offline and meet up at a neutral coffee shop or wine bar. Texting can be great, but it can also lead to a state of limbo where you’re no longer on the app, but you also haven’t met in real life. Keep the momentum going and see where the spark takes you!

3. Bumble

It’s no wonder Bumble is doing so spectacularly well – a former co-founder of mega dating app Tinder launched it! One thing that Bumble does differently than many other dating apps, however, is focus on improving the dating experience for women specifically. How does it do this? Similarly to Tinder, you’re able to swipe through profiles and either show your interest or skip to the next. However, when you make a match with another profile, it’s up to the female user to initiate the conversation.

Yep, you read that right, only female users can send the first message. After that first message is sent, you can go back and forth with that user for as long as you like – but guys have got to wait for the lady to strike up the conversation that first time around. What this does is create a safer, less overwhelming space for genuinely interested people to connect with likeminded individuals. In its initial few months of existence, Bumble reported more mindful, responsible and thoughtful behaviour from both genders. It’s worth a try!

If you’re getting set up on Bumble, I’d recommend choosing a great profile picture that showcases your natural beauty and genuine smile just like on any other mobile app. What I’d also recommend you to do on Bumble, unlike what I’d recommend on Tinder, is to be a bit bolder when it comes to striking up conversations with matches. Since the app relies on females initiating conversation, you really can’t wait for him to make the first move. So, put yourself out there and get the conversations going – you never know who you’ll wind up hitting it off with!

All three apps are free, although Tinder does offer premium features for a small fee. No matter which you choose to try, signing up won’t take longer than a few minutes and, if you don’t like it, it’s as easy as uninstalling. Don’t forget, I’m always here if you need a confidence boost before your first date or need a bit of help crafting a profile that really showcases your authentic self.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Identify Synchronicity and Harness its Power to Guide Your Love Life

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Have you ever sat thinking about how great a recent date was, only to hear your phone buzz, look down and see that your date has texted you? Have you ever thought, “I’ll give my online dating profile one last shot, and then I’m deleting it,” only to strike up a conversation with a great match the very next day? These meaningful coincidences, or synchronistic events, can offer intense affirmation and encouragement. But, is there really such a thing as coincidence? Do you know how to identify synchronicity and really tell the difference? Many have studied the occurrences and impacts of synchronicity, and even more have surely experienced a synchronistic event in their lives at some point or another. Robert Perry is one example of a man who’s devoted much of his career to studying synchronicity and is celebrated for “A Course in Miracles.”  He believes there is immense value in learning to identify, and seek meaning from, powerful coincidences that can guide your life and love in a positive direction.

Like I mentioned, many have already experienced at least one of these events. You, my friend, will likely experience many more in your future. So, let’s talk about how you can identify the coincidences that are worth examining further and deciphering for meaningful guidance.

1. You Feel a New or Sudden Spark or Awareness of Desire, And Then Poof – It’s Fulfilled

I often hear from couples that met online about how they were this close to deleting their profile when they received a message from the other or saw their partner listed as a match. For one reason or another, they felt suddenly compelled to communicate and meet offline – even though, just hours before, they were ready to give up on online dating altogether.  This intense awareness, coupled with fulfillment coming shortly after, is something greater than your regular old coincidence.

When you feel compelled to say “yes” to a night out with your girlfriends or give speed dating a try, even though you’d typically much rather spend your night inside with pajamas and Netflix, it could very well be a sign that something truly meaningful is about to happen. This sort of synchronicity could happen in putting an offer in on a house you have a gut feeling about, applying for a new job or booking a spontaneous vacation. All I ask of you, friend, is to be open to what comes next!

2. You’ve Been Questioning A Decision and Receive Unexpected Affirmation

We’ve all been there. At some point, we make a decision and wind up feeling unsure as to whether or not it was the best move. Sometimes, particularly for those who have taught themselves to identify synchronicity, affirmation or validation follows. I was speaking to a friend who recently turned down a job that just didn’t feel right, even though on paper it looked fantastic. Not even three months later, the company pulled out of Canada and its existing employees were, sadly, laid off. Another friend of mine, who longed to explore more vegetarian restaurants and get to know fellow marketers in her new city, joined a book club on Meet Up – even though the idea was intimidating to her. When she arrived, she sat down at an empty seat and discovered the two women on either side of her were also vegetarians and both worked in marketing.

I firmly believe that we’re meant to be where we are, but that we have to be open to following our gut. When you long for chance, seek it out. If you had a great date, but didn’t feel a spark, don’t beat yourself up about moving onto someone new. Maybe the spark wasn’t there because it’s waiting for you in your next date. And, when you feel it, you’ll know you made the right choice.

3. You’ve Noticed Someone New and Continue to Run Into Them

When you notice the same person, be it at your local coffee shop or on the bus, across a number of days or weeks, it may be the universe guiding you towards one another. This can happen to reconnect you with an old friend, a new business contact, or even a soul mate. When your daily routines and actions bring you together to the same place at the same time, on multiple occasions, you owe it to yourself to take action. Go up and introduce yourself, or offer a smile and wave. While you feel like you’ve spotted this person so often recently, it could be some time before your paths intertwine again – if ever!

The next time you experience what you think is “just a coincidence,” take pause and consider the possibility of it being something more – more meaningful, more powerful and more guiding. Follow your intuition, open yourself up to signs and say hello to that charming stranger on the bus. You’ll be amazed at what synchronicity has in store for your life.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Use Everyday Colour Theory to Take Your Love Life From 0 to 60

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Everybody has a favourite colour. Whether you love how it looks on you, enjoy seeing it on the walls and furniture around your home, or simply feeldrawn to it for an inexplicable reason – you’re not alone! In fact, colour is incredibly powerful and has the ability to dramatically impact your mood, feelings, outlook and experiences. In today’s post, I’d like to chat with you about how you can even use colour theory to improve your love life. If you’re wondering, “How the heck can that be true?” I encourage you to keep reading! Step One: Identify Your Goal

The first step to applying colour theory to your love life, and life in general, is to realize what it is you’re looking to accomplish. Is your goal to boost your confidence on your next date? Is it to seem more approachable, more powerful or wiser? Or, are you looking for a way to create a more calming, love-inviting atmosphere in your home? Different goals call for different colours, and even different shades of colours, so identifying what it is you’re looking to accomplish is a hugely important step.

Step Two: Understand Which Colours Are For You

Like I mentioned, different objectives call for different colours. So, let’s talk about the colours you should consider for a few common goals. First up? Confidence! If you’re looking to not only make yourself feel more confident, but also to appear more confident to your date, then yellow might just be the hue for you. Yellow is a colour that we psychologically associate with optimism, high self-esteem, friendliness and confidence. While vibrant yellow may not “work” for everyone, chances are there’s a variation on yellow – say, mustard yellow or muted pastel – that will.

If you’d like to appear more feminine, nurturing or even sensual, then consider reaching for something in pink. Unlike its counterpart, red, pink tends to come across as a very approachable colour. While it may not be the best choice in a job interview or business meeting (blue would be a better choice there as it communicates intelligence and efficiency), it can work wonders on a date or even as an accent colour in a bedroom.

If the idea of dating feels slightly overwhelming and you’d like to create a calmer, more peaceful home environment for you – and potentially a future lover – then you may want to consider hues of green or orange. Green has calming, balancing and refreshing effects on a psychological level. Orange, similarly, has a calming and comforting effect. Like pink, it can also be associated with sensuality and passion!

Step Three: Inject These Colours Into Your Daily Life 

Feeling confident on a date is fantastic, but feeling confident on a daily basis? That’ll set you up for success time after time. Once you’ve established your goals and identified the colours that’ll help you achieve them, it’s time to inject these colours into your daily life.

I encourage you to do a little shopping to add more of the colour to your wardrobe. If you already have some of the shade in the mix, it’s time to bring those items to the front of your closet and be sure to wear those pieces more often! Also, consider bringing the colour – or colours – into your home for a more environmental and regular impact. Whether you choose to repaint your walls, add a few throw pillows or pick up a new piece of artwork for your favourite room – know that the change will almost immediately begin to impact your mindset in a positive way. Plus, when you’re at your home with a date or future partner, having what we’ll call your “power colour” around you will give you a fantastic boost of happiness and confidence. Your date is sure to take note!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Break Through Other People's Negativity

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Like many of you, I consider myself to be a pretty intuitive person who can quickly pick up the "vibe" of someone and know where they are at. After all, I’ve made it my life’s work to help others achieve fulfillment and happiness, find authenticity in all pursuits and build rewarding relationships. I truly feel for my clients, empathize with wherever they may be in their lives and look to empower them to evolve. If you, yourself pick up on the energy of other people, you may know by now that we tend to be extra susceptible to a little something called “transfer negativity.” The term “transfer negativity” is something I’ve began calling the down, blue or generally crummy feeling that pops up after spending time with any person, or in any environment, that is highly critical or negative. While, over the years, I’ve learned techniques and practices to maintain my, what some may call empathic abilities while also maintaining a positive mind and spirit, it truly is something that comes with practice. Otherwise, you may feel your positivity overshadowed by negativity created and transferred by outside environments.

You may have heard others referring to themselves as "empaths" and this is just a fancy term for "easily pick up on the energies of others".

Whether this all brings to mind a hostile work environment, toxic friendship or the memories of a failed relationship, I promise that there are steps you can take to combat transfer negativity and get back to positive, uplifting thoughts.

1. If You Can Remove Yourself From the Environment, Do So

We’ve all experienced, or at least heard of, a job that just wasn’t the right fit. Maybe nobody ever replied to your sunny, “Good morning!” Perhaps you simply never clicked with your coworkers or were left hungering for greater fulfillment and meaning. The reality, while unfortunate, is that not every job is suited to every person – and sometimes, you’ll be happiest and healthiest to recognize a bad fit and pursue something greater. I know for myself, I have had to get better at recognizing where a positive attitude is not considered an asset and just move on.

Leaving a job, especially a long-term, secure job, can be a scary thought. Many people are creatures of habit and the idea of willfully walking away from security, stability and a scheduled paycheck takes guts. But, as I’m confident you’ll find out, it’s also worthwhile because for your next opportunity, you will be much more in tune with the importance of positivity in the workplace. If you’ll feel more comfortable job hunting prior to giving your notice, then cash in a few vacation days and hit the pavement with your resume in hand. You can do it. You deserve the job of your dreams.

2. Know That Your Friendship History Doesn’t Obligate A Future

Have you ever been hurt or disappointed by a friend, only to convince yourself that you need to make up because you’ve, “been friends forever?” While all relationships, romantic and otherwise, do have their ups and downs – it’s so important to take pause to reflect and ensure you really do experience more ups than downs. If a friendship isn’t mutually rewarding or leaves you feeling anything other than happiness, it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship.

Who you were when you first became friends may be very different from who you are – who you both are – today. Time changes people, needs and desires. While you and your friend may have fulfilled each other back in the day, your individual goals and lifestyles may no longer be the same. Your mind, soul and future friendships will thank you for recognizing a toxic friendship and taking steps to recalibrate.

3. Recognize Your Power to Choose Positivity

While your environment and those around you can be two major drivers of negative thinking, it’s important to acknowledge and accept the power that you, yourself, have to block negativity out and practice positive thinking. Some find that reciting daily, positive affirmations helps to set the tone of the day and offers the opportunity for positive reinforcement throughout the day. Others regularly practice using positive language and uplifting words – not only when thinking to themselves, but also when in conversations with others.

A happy mindset and positive outlook are conscious choices that you are fully capable of making. When negativity starts to creep in, or when you feel drained at the end of listening to a negative rant or spending time in a gloomy situation, get yourself to a calming space and hit your internal “reset” button. Take some deep breaths and get yourself centered again.

4. Surround Yourself With Other Positive People

What do you do when you’ve removed yourself from a negative environment, stepped away from negative people and reset your outlook? You begin to actively seek out amazing environments and positive people. You’ll unknowingly begin to attract spectacular experiences and relationships into your life. Like attracts like, after all!

As you spend more time in better environments and with people who truly feed your soul, your protective negativity barrier will strengthen. You’ll most likely even end up inspiring and motivating others to live more positively – whether you realize it or not.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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The Problems Affecting Modern Relationships... And How to Fix Them

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I recently read an article written by the incredibly enlightened Esther Perel. In it she spoke of the problems with modern dating and modern relationships, specifically where excess access and choice are concerned. It really struck a chord for me, because it’s one of the recurring issues that I regularly encounter when working with clients. The good news, my friend, is that there are solutions. It’s just a matter of acknowledgement, acceptance and commitment. 1. The Pool’s Gotten Bigger… So Remember Why You’ve Chosen Your Partner

If you think back to when your parents or grandparents began dating, it’s likely that they had a far smaller social circle or “pool” of people from which to choose. Many years later, in burst the Internet in all of its connective glory. The Internet, and the mobile app, allow us to instantly connect with tons of people in our own city, within driving distance and from all over the world. Apps like Tinder, and sites like Match, allow you to instantly browse through thousands of profiles with the touch of a button.

Don’t get me wrong. I think having options is the only way to truly discover what it is you want and what it is that you don’t want. However, this constant access to unlimited options can really have an affect on the development of a new relationship.  Partners sometimes find themselves second-guessing their situation based on the tiniest flaws, daydreaming up “what if” scenarios and even find themselves tempted to “just have a look” elsewhere.  So, how do you stop it? Here are two suggestions:

Let's say you met someone online and you've mutually decided to be exclusive. Actually have a conversation around, "Are we taking our profiles down?" And, if you like, actually take them down together and then take yourselves out on a celebratory date. This communicates that you've both decided to be all in on developing the potential of this relationship.

Sometimes a year or even 10 years into a relationship, you can forget why you chose this person. Completely normal and common! If this happens I encourage you to sit down and even write out all the things you enjoy (or even love) about the person that you’re with. Place your focus there, really feel it within you rather than letting your thoughts constantly focus on the things that aren't currently working.

2. Empathy Has Become a Rarity… So Regularly Practice Compassion

In today’s society, as well as in relationships, empathy has become a more rare trait than ever before. Our fast paced culture of “always on” and personal satisfaction has left less room for compassion, understanding and even accountability. This fundamental change in human character and behaviour greatly impacts how couples interact with each other.

You can imagine how this decrease in compassion has resulted in an increase in selfishness. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and ensuring that you live the life you truly want and deserve. There is, however, a problem when your doing so comes at the expense of someone else. It’s so important that, in a partnership, you regularly exercise compassion and empathy. Moreover, that you help and support one another in your collective efforts to live a fulfilling, satisfying and mutually rewarding life.

To improve your empathetic abilities, I encourage you to ask yourself, “What can I do to better support my partner?”. If you are both asking yourself this, you are feeding the relationship what it needs. It works better than each of you asking yourself, "What can my partner do for me?" which has more of a "taking" mentality to it. Often times, you’ll find that even the smallest of things, like offering to pick up the kids when your partner is having an especially stressful or demanding day or making their favorite homemade treat, can truly make all the difference and if you are each doing things for each other, you get this real sense of having each other's back.

3. We Spend More Time Away from Home Than Ever Before… So Don’t Forget to Stay Connected

While work-life balance continues to be one of the most talked about subjects, and many companies tout optimal balance as one of the benefits of working for them, the reality is that people are working more hours per week than ever before. Whether it’s longer commutes into the office, longer hours or more time spent answering emails and taking phone calls from home – North American society is filled with workaholics.

The more time spent away from home most commonly means more time spent away from your partner. While you may not be able to completely change your work schedule, there are things you can do to help keep your relationship strong. At some point during the day, take a moment to check in with your partner. Whether it’s by phone, text or email, send your partner a quick message to let them know that they’re on your mind and that you’re thinking of them. I promise you that this small effort will have huge impact.

When you are both home in the evenings and on the weekend, use that time wisely and do your best to not only physically be together but mentally too. If you read between the lines here, sitting on the couch next to each other scrolling through social media feeds isn't what I classify as connecting and being together! :) While it’s completely fine (and very healthy) to fill up your calendar with book clubs, exercise classes and plans with friends, quality connection time with your partner keeps the relationship healthy. And isn't that what drove you to open yourself up to being in a relationship in the beginning? Honor that.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Truths, Topics and Break Ups

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Blame it on the millennial generation, or the technology that sometimes creates more space between people than it does bring them together, but there’s a problem with the way that people are breaking up. This one problem has led to a lot of cut and dry separations, unresolved relationship issues and even the new break up phenomenon, “ghosting.” Ghosting, for those of you who don’t already know, is the act of essentially disappearing from someone’s life. Instead of breaking up or discussing the reasons the relationship (or friendship) isn’t working, one or both people disappear out of the other’s life. The problem that I want to talk to you about today is how many people work to avoid certain truths, or entire topics, as a break up approaches – and even during the break up.

Recently I wrote about the idea of closure. More specifically, I wrote about how sometimes you’re forced to create your own closure because the other person isn’t willing, or sometimes able, to give it to you. Today’s blog post goes hand-in-hand with closure in a way. If more people felt more compelled to honour their relationship for what it was, even during a separation, I believe a whole lot more men and women would have a much easier time finding the closure they seek. Here are three critical steps to making that happen.

1. Know That There’s Power in Truth

People often avoid the truth to spare the feelings of the other person or themselves. Sometimes, it’s to avoid feelings of guilt. Other times, it’s simply to speed things up or keep things simple. For the most part, I understand why people fib, but, when this happens during very important times – such as a relationship argument or break up – it has major repercussions. Neither partner may truly get what they need to get out of the break up. Closure may become a lost cause. There could be ongoing hurt feelings. You get the idea.

I encourage you to acknowledge the power that exists in truth. Whether you seek it or share it, it’s a crucial element in closing one chapter of your life and beginning another. It can be difficult and trying, so I also encourage you to enter into all conversations with an open heart, empathy and a willingness to listen. Some opening words can be, "this is difficult for me to say (reveal truth)" or "It's not my intention to hurt you but (reveal truth)".

2. Keep all Topics on the Table

The specific topics people tend to avoid during break ups depend on the individual relationship. However, they all have one thing in common.That, my friend, is that the topic (or topics) of avoidance is usually the driving force behind the relationship’s failure. For some relationships, it’s the motivation – or lack thereof – that one or bother partners feels in life. Other times it’s fidelity, sex, money, family or a host of others.

While it can feel as though there’s no point in diving into the details as to why the relationship’s failing, since you intend on ending it anyways, it’s important to address the issue. If you don’t both understand why things are the way they are, or at least try to understand, you are more likely to wind up in the same situation again further down the road. It can be painful, difficult, uncomfortable and trying – but it’s absolutely worth it and necessary to truly process this major life decision. Keep all topics on the table.

3. Act With Your Future Self in Mind

We’re often told to live more in the moment, to seize the day and to not get so caught up in the “what will be” that we forget about the “what is.” While I absolutely agree with this way of thinking, often times the two versions of yourself intertwine themselves in life. A break up is a prime example of when this happens, because who you are now and the relationship you’re in will impact who you become and your future relationships – it’s up to you to decide if that impact will be positive or negative.

If you’re tempted to simply cut and run from your current relationship without seeking truth or discussing the driving issues, I urge you to think of your future self.  Ask yourself; will that version of you end up wishing you had talked it through? Allowing yourself to feel compassion for your soon-to-be former partner is another helpful tip I can offer you. Though at times, it can really be tough, the effect that compassion has on your mind and body is worth it. Even when it’s incredibly difficult, dig down and try to find empathy and compassion for the person you once loved. It’s an invaluable ability and strong way to move towards closure.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How Welcoming the New Year with Tidying Can Bring Love to Your Life

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So often around New Year's we become completely focused on feeling like the only single person in a world that seems filled with couples. The unsolicited advice on why we haven't found someone yet doesn't help either. So given all of this, wouldn't it be nice to encourage a totally different approach to our love life as we welcome in the New Year? I truly believe it’s the perfect time to go within, create quiet space on your own and wind down a year… and then welcome a brand new one. Often when I work with clients, we "clear the clutter" in order to invite love into our lives. It’s an excellent opportunity to take care of the things in your life that are causing you stress in your world. Annnnd, hint, hint, what I'm really getting at here is when your "to do" list doesn't seem so gigantic, you are more likely to create time to make your love life a priority. :) 1) Clothes & Laundry

I know, you might be thinking, "Christine, really? Laundry?" It's about cleansing, so the first step I encourage you to do is take everything out of your closet and drawers and really look at it. Which pieces make you happy? Are there some things you might wear after a good dry clean? You want to get your closet to a place where you love everything so if you don't love it, give it away or prep it for consignment. This brings me to laundry, the consignment pile can be washed and prepped. With items that you want to keep, divide them into categories so that you don't have lots of duplicates or to just double check that everything fits well and is in good shape.

2) The Kitchen

Something as simple as reorganizing the kitchen cupboards can make way for a strong sense of lightness in a person’s life.  Feeling as though you have less to do when you arrive home at the end of the day will keep your chore list from weighing you down and will allow you to say, "Yes!" more easily to new opportunities! When making your way through your kitchen cupboards, be sure to only keep the items that you regularly use. Have you never, ever used a mixing bowl but can't bear to part with it? Commit to using it at least once a month. If a month later you still haven't used it, then it's time to reconsider. Another tip I once read about is to make sure that every single ingredient, dish and appliance is within reach. Everything in your kitchen should be easily accessible. If it isn't, you're surely not going to use it - now or in the future. Group items in your fridge that you don't use very often and try to keep them separate from the items you use regularly. And, dear friend, don't forget to tackle the freezer - a great place to let go of things we haven't felt inspired to use. Create space!

3) Purge What Doesn’t Bring You Joy

Marie Kondo, famed Japanense organizing consultant, regularly emphasizes the importance of discarding belongings that do not “spark joy.” As you walk through your home or make your way room to room, place your hands on every single item and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If the answer is no, or if you can’t make up your mind, it’s time to say goodbye to that item. Wherever you live, there are donation centres that would jump at the chance to bring your items to someone in need. The items that no longer bring you joy or spark a true feeling of love will surely bring those feelings to someone else. Kondo advises to act quickly and swiftly and not let a friend or family member look through your “discard bags” as they’re likely to talk you out of cleansing all that you’ve chosen to. So many women have fallen in love with this method of choosing what stays and what goes, so why not you?

4) Make Getting Ready Exciting

You know that sense of excitement you get when you try on a new lipstick or get to wear a new dress or pair of jeans that make you look amazing? Bring that spectacular, “I look goooood” feeling to your every morning by creating a closet and “getting ready” space that works with you – instead of against you. A squished, messy and overfilled closet is much more likely to bring about feelings of anxiety than excitement. So, when you think about having to pick out an outfit for a date or find something to wear to grab a drink with friends, it’s no wonder you may be tempted to say “No, thanks.”

By cleansing your closet, drawers and “getting ready” area and allowing all of the items left to breathe and own their own space; you’ll make getting ready exciting again. You’ll rediscover your personal style and the clothing and beauty products that make you happiest.

5) Say Goodbye Without Guilt

Guilt is one of the strongest reasons we hold onto items from the past. Perhaps you bought a t-shirt or skirt that you’ve never worn. Does tossing it without having even worn it once make you feel guilty? Maybe your mother gave you a vase or dish that you know you’ll never use. But, does handing it over to someone else make you feel guilty for getting rid of something you received as a gift?

Guilt is not a reason to leave your home cluttered or to hold onto anything that doesn’t expressly bring you feelings of joy. Remind yourself that the things you no longer love (or perhaps never loved to begin with) will bring happiness and delight to someone else. And, dear friend, know that your happiness is so much more important than finding valuable storage space for something you neither love nor plan to use.

Doing these seemingly small but impactful things helps clear up space in your life, mind and heart so you won’t feel as bogged down as you start 2016. You’ll feel less inclined to decline a night out or weekend away because you took the time to focus your energy on you in order to set yourself up for success.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Get Closure… Without Getting Closure

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Closure is something we often seek out after a friendship, relationship or life chapter comes to an end. When it comes to relationships, closure is important in order to process the separation and prepare to move forward with one’s life. However, with that being said, it’s often times one of the most difficult things to tackle – especially when an ex has little or no interest in attaining closure. Many women, and men alike, find it incredibly difficult to move forward without getting closure. We convince ourselves that once we get closure on our terms in a way that lives up to the picture and feeling we have created in our mind, it is then and only then we can move on. I wish it worked that way but so often it doesn't. That isn't a bad thing though. If we can accept that closure doesn't always happen in the way we want it to, there is freedom in that. When we put our life on hold waiting for closure to happen in a specific way, we ultimately end up just holding ourselves back from moving forward and finding new joy in life. An article I recent read described this prolonged limbo as “sitting with the meter running.” There comes a point when you simply have to say, “I’ve tried” and build your own closure with the understanding you’re simply notgoing to get it from your ex.

So, for those of us who need some form of closure to move on, how exactly do you create your own? Here are five thoughts to think on:

1. Allow Yourself to Be Sad

Allowing yourself to be sad about the relationship, friendship and life chapter that has ended is an uncomfortable and often painful step but it is necessary. Life as you once knew it has changed and will continue to change. Let yourself really feel these feelings before you move forward because if you don't feel them now, I can guarantee they will come up again in the future even stronger. It is perfectly normal to be both glad a relationship ended and sad it ended all at the same time. When people jump from being in a relationship to instantly celebrating its end, they never allow themselves to reflect on what they learned and how they may do things differently in their next relationship. Without this reflection time, I often see how it causes issues in their personal development and future relationships.

2. Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Each relationship and breakup is unique and so are its issues. So, for some people, the concept of putting yourself in your ex’s shoes and truly allowing yourself to explore compassion for them may seem impossible. If you can do it, however, you may be surprised at this exercise’s effectiveness. Allowing yourself to see the situation from the other’s side may help answer some of the questions you’ve been juggling in your mind. Yes, again, it is hard to do but it can be a growth opportunity for you to see how anger and fear can be lessened by inviting compassion into your life. Compassion can set you free, I truly believe that.

3. Understand That You Won’t Understand Everything

You likely have many questions you feel have gone unanswered. They may include why, how and when. If you feel that you lack understanding of how you’ve got to where you are, but you can’t find answers in your ex, I encourage you to move forward without them. The reality is that, even if you have received some answers, you will always be able to think of new questions or question the integrity of the information that you dohave. This cycle of questioning, doubting and anger isn’t healthy or conducive to your healing process. I urge you to accept you may never understand absolutely everything and that is okay.

4. Encourage Yourself to Not Take it As an Attack

If you’ve actively sought closure from your ex and have been unsuccessful in getting it, it's likely not because your ex doesn’t want you to have it. Sometimes if an ex doesn’t feel that closure is necessary for them to move on, they assume it wouldn’t be necessary for you either. Other times, the ex feels as though talking through the problem will only perpetuate the issues and will lead to further, and prolonged, feelings of anger and hurt they are wanting to avoid. Exes refusing to cooperate in achieving closure could also be, in their own way, trying to avoid hurting you further. While your relationship styles may have been similar, the way you and your ex process the breakup could be wildly different. Don't take it personally, just recognize you are different.

5. Honour The Good

Instead of rereading every text message or scrolling through your ex’s social media trying to discern where things went wrong, take a breath and remember to honour the good that was in your relationship. Try to associate the relationship with positive things, such as your self-development or milestones you achieved while together. When you do move forward, it’s inevitable that you’ll think back to this time in your past. If you can think back to this relationship and recognize the good that came from it, you’ll be able to avoid reliving feelings of pain. The more you can separate yourself from the negative, the more easily you’ll be able to refocus on your life and living joyfully.

Recently I was reading a quote and the sentiment was, ironically we can use the seeking of closure to avoid closure. Sometimes there's a part of us that is holding us back from closure because that would mean it's really, truly over and we have to move on.

Yes, you should take time to mourn the loss. Yes, you should process the situation and, yes, you can achieve closure. But, don’t let yourself wait indefinitely for it. I recognize it can be scary to think that once you’ve processed everything the only step left is to move on. That is okay. Life is waiting for you to move on and is looking forward to you rejoining and finding new and different sources of happiness.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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