This last week was my birthday. I received a hundred or so messages from readers like you via my Facebook profile (to which I’d be delighted to add you should you wish to witness my miscellaneous ramblings), and another few hundred messages, texts and phone calls from friends and family. If you were one of them — thanks so much! By the end of the week, I was brimming with gratitude & joy from all of your kindness and support. This one below was one of the most heart-warming of all, and it wasn’t even sent for my birthday:
“Hi Dr. Binazir! I don’t have a question, just a testimonial for your book (and I’ll add one on Amazon, too)! I read it about a year and a half ago after some unfortunate online dating experiences (I admit, you were right).
I’m a psychologist, but at times even the principles of therapy you provide for others just don’t sink in with regard to yourself. Your book really helped me with that, and I was able to let go of my desperate search for a partner. I think the things that helped the most were starting to attend a guided meditation practice, and using much of that time to focus on the principle of abundance. I really began to see my life as complete, and also kept my eyes and heart open.
Almost the instant I reached and maintained a state of acceptance and peace, my friend happened to re-introduce me to her neighbor. I had actually briefly met him 9 months prior – when I wasn’t in that mindset. That time, I had instantly dismissed him as “not my type.” This time, I gave him a chance, and I discovered that he is a wonderful man. The advice you give in your book helped me find a truly incredible person who is an amazing partner (a true Victor)!
And the icing on the cake (see attached)… we just got married last month! :) [wedding cake photo appended]
Thanks again, Emily”
How much winning is there in this letter? Well, allow me count the three ways:
1) As a teacher, it just rocks my world that someone endeavored to change her life by implementing the principles I teach. Here’s the winning line:
“I think the things that helped the most were starting to attend a guided meditation practice, and using much of that time to focus on the principle of abundance. I really began to see my life as complete, and also kept my eyes and heart open.”
Ladies — I’m like a personal trainer for you. Reading one of my books or attending one of my talks is like getting a one-on-one personal training session with me. You will learn some new exercises, and you will probably be sore after the workout.
However, there is one thing that I can guarantee that will not happen: you will not become fit. No ma’am, not after one measly session. You’ve got to keep at it! Fitness, like showering, is a daily practice. You can’t just do it once a month, or once a year, and say, “Well! Done with that!” You’ll just smell funny, and people will notice.
The daily practice for getting your love life in shape is to get your mind in shape. And to do that, YOU MUST MEDITATE.
I cannot overemphasize this. Whatever you’re doing now is a product of habits you have established, experiences you’ve had, setbacks, betrayals, triumphs, trauma, joy, fulfillment, and pains you’ve had over the years. As a result, you have carved deep grooves into your brain architecture — habitual ways of doing things that are completely invisible to you, but totally obvious to the rest of the world.
Some of these habits move you towards your greater wholeness, health and happiness. Like brushing your teeth twice a day. However, many of them hold you back.
So if you’re not where you want to be right now in your love life, chances are that you have some of those counterproductive habits at work. And if you want to change those habits, you need to rewire your brain. Meditation is by far the cheapest and easiest way to rewire your brain.
“Yeah, doc, but where do I start?” Well, in my last post about Altruism, Matthieu Ricard’s new book, I gave you an 11min Loving-Kindness meditation to use. And please do not tell me you don’t have 11min a day to meditate. If you’re awake 16hrs a day, that’s 960min. That makes 11min a mere 1.1% of your waking hours. You spend more time per day noodling on social media, picking your nails and surfing cable channels. Don’t give me that “I don’t have time” excuse and come complaining about how your life sucks when you’re not willing to put in a measly 1% of your time towards your own continued well-being. Just do it!!! Geez. Here’s the audio file:
And here’s the downloadable version on SoundCloud:
2) “I’m a psychologist, but at times even the principles of therapy you provide for others just don’t sink in with regard to yourself.” On a note of pure ego-gratification, it thrills me that I’m able to help someone in the helping professions. But there’s a deeper message here beyond that, especially for all of you strong, smart, independent ladies:
Sometimes, you’ve just got to admit that you need help.
I mean, let’s say your tennis forehand sucks. You don’t actually expect it to improve just by putting a crystal under your pillow at night now, do you? You get a coach. You practice. You improve. Simple, if not necessarily easy.
Well, your love life is like that, too. And for better or for worse, most of us have received very little instruction or practice in this domain. So there’s really no reason for you to think you should be “naturally” good at this. It makes as much sense as expecting to be a natural born tennis champ. Go easy on yourself — even psychologists need help sometimes. Then get thee some resources. More on this later.
3) There’s a lot of vindication in this letter — in particular the one about online dating being a mess. This one’s particularly immense: “Almost the instant I reached and maintained a state of acceptance and peace, my friend happened to re-introduce me to her neighbor. I had actually briefly met him 9 months prior – when I wasn’t in that mindset. That time, I had instantly dismissed him as “not my type.” This time, I gave him a chance, and I discovered that he is a wonderful man.”
Ladies, guys, occasionally bipedal primates, unicorns, whoever is reading this who writes to me saying “Where do I find someone?!?”: you already know someone. But, with your current mindset and blinkered vision, you can’t even see him or her in your life. How many hundreds of people have you passed up for reasons that are potentially irrelevant to your long-term happiness with a mate? Too tall, too short, wrong job, wrong education, wrong pigmentation, wrong zip code, wrong family, wrong diet, wrong shoes, wrong sports team affiliation, etc.
Remember that fulfillment is a feeling, not a person. So if you were to open your eyes and actually notice what’s around you, you would find that you are completely surrounded by opportunities for loving all the time. Everyone and everything is an opportunity to practice being more loving, to elevate those around you, appreciate them and make them feel like a million bucks. What man ever said, “Oooh, that girl over there looks really guarded. I’m gonna go talk to her.”
Drop the guard, open the heart, quit being so damn picky, and start noticing all the opportunities for being more loving. You may surprise yourself with what you discover, just like Emily did.
Those were the three big wins in Emily’s letter. And if you happen to be in an appreciative mood and want to give me something at the conclusion of my birthweek, here are some suggestions:
1) If you feel I’ve ever been useful to you, then do a five-minute favor for someone else. Then ask them to pass it on. I got this idea from the phenomenal book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, by Adam Grant (paperback, ebook and audiobook) and did a Five-Minute Favor Friday in which I sat down for 4hrs and dispensed favors. It was fun.
2) Leave a comment on this blog post saying how something you learned from my work actually changed your life and got you results. As a writer, I spend most of my time alone in front of computer screens, so unless you actually pipe up and show signs of life, I’m just singing to the asteroid belt here. Also, those comments are useful to other readers, just like Emily’s above. If you’re in a really charitable mood, post your comment as a review to Amazon. Those are really, really helpful.
3) Sign up as one of the 40 early users for the online Project Irresistible course. I’ve been working on this for the past 2 months now, and it’s finally ready for release. Instead of being a 6-week lecture course, it’s self-paced. You do little bite-sized modules, one at a time, so it’s super-manageable whatever your schedule is. If you’re willing to be one of the early users who gives me feedback on it, you get a 61% discount (use coupon code “BETA”). If you’ve signed up for it before today, you get to attend the next live training for free. For direct sign-up, use this link.
Awright, that’s all for today. Thanks again for your support throughout the years — one decade! I enjoy what I do, and also remember that it’s you who provides the impetus and gives the whole endeavor meaning. So feel free be demanding in what you want me to create for you, and send some meaning in my general direction please :)
All the best
Dr Ali B