In Conversation with Molly Godfrey, on Dating During a Pandemic (part II)

My most popular interview of 2020? That would be none other than Molly Godfrey, the go-to relationship coach for high-achieving women in their 30s and a viral content creator to boot. 

The funny thing about that interview?

It’s more about how you see and relate to yourself than the actual sharing of dating advice. But, as I so often find, that’s what it all circles back to and comes down to. Us. Our beliefs about ourselves. The stories we tell ourselves. The action that we take or do not take stemming from our belief system.

The core work that you do on yourself so that you can show up and feel worthy is absolutely everything. That’s why Molly is officially BACK for round two on my blog this week. 

We are delving even more deeply into concepts and actual, actionable practices that you can take with you to help, as she calls it, “keep your side of the street clean.” Whether you are single, in a relationship, want nothing to do with a relationship… there is something here for you. Enjoy 🙂

Something that I’ve observed so much in 2020 and heading into this new year is a lot of victim mode, a lot of feeling as though we are not in control but the victims of our circumstances – 

“I can’t make money”

“I can’t meet someone”

“I can’t do the things I want to do”

But in reality, anything is possible, always. I’d love to hear about how you are seeing that come up in the women that you coach, and how you are advising that we deal with it differently. 

Yes, a really great discussion. Combating the victim mindset is something I work with big-time with my coaching clients. You actually put it so well in your recent IG post… “If you don’t think you can meet someone in a pandemic, you’re right!” 

The problem with the victim mindset (I can’t do xyz because of xyz, I can’t have xyz because of xyz) is it can be really comfortable. I see some people camp out and stay there long term. In a lot of ways, a crappy mindset protects us. Excuses keep us safe. As you said, anything is possible – but if we’re used to never making a lot of money or consistently being let down or never meeting quality people, who would we have to become to have a different experience? What would we have to believe about ourselves instead? Sometimes that thought can feel overwhelming and many times the wiring and experiences simply don’t exist in our body for anything opposite. That’s why coaching is so valuable and being held in a container that helps you to consistently take opposite action and receive can help to create those new neural pathways in your nervous system. 

In a lot of ways, we get a payoff staying stuck. Otherwise, we wouldn’t remain there. The whining and commiserating feel good, indulgent almost. “Yeah! Pandemic dating sucks, we’re all in this together!” Ultimately, we get to play small. What are we *actually* avoiding when we’re choosing to ruminate in our negative thoughts, our suffering? Usually, our own power. To quote one of the greats Marianne Williamson “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure..” 

Negative thoughts and choosing a victim mindset (because it is a choice) are simply ways to check out, not have to try that hard, and watch life go by. 

The antidote: get curious. Self-awareness is key. Noticing when you’re in the loop is important but also don’t be afraid to lean in. Thank these thoughts for how they’ve protected you and kept you safe. Ask yourself what could be possible if you didn’t feel this way. Set a timer once a week to complain about all the terrible things in your life for 20-30 minutes and then move on. Your life is waiting for you to wake up and claim your power. 

This segues perfectly into pandemic dating. We saw the beginning of lockdown last year bring us virtual dating, and then the world seemed to open back up a bit, and now, in the thick of winter, we seem to be in a period of staying home once again. For someone who may be timid about getting out there (and by out there, I mean dating from their couch), what advice might you have for them around approaching virtual dating in a way that feels aligned? 

This one comes back to mindset again. I have numerous clients now who have all met their new partners ‘from their couch’, having virtually connected for a month or two before dating. If you’re really committed to meeting someone I believe you will find a way. I think virtual dating, if you choose to reframe it as such, is a great way to slow down, really get to know someone, and a great opportunity to practice expressing boundaries and desires early on. If you’re not into virtual dating, it might be a good time to explore why that is. Were you not really into dating and just going through the motions prior to the pandemic and now this gets to be a new excuse? Do you genuinely need some time to gather clarity and really figure out what it is and what you’re looking for next? Do other areas of your life need your attention and feel like a priority? There’s no problem with wanting to wait until there’s some more normalcy or stability, but it’s a bit conditional. That day may not come. It’s like coaching the entrepreneur to not wait until everything is perfect before launching. After a certain point, we just have to try and put one foot in front of the other – and if we’re avoiding that action it’s worth looking at what’s going on underneath. 

My clients have really impressed me this past year. Some of them have tried out virtual singles events, one of them spent a lot of time reconnecting with old friends and colleagues and is now in a new relationship with an old coworker she always admired but at the time didn’t have space in her life for a relationship. 

Find the spot and thread of most sensation for you. Maybe it’s an app, maybe it’s a virtual event, maybe it’s simply letting the people in your life know you’re dating and sharing with them the type of partner you’re looking to call in. The universe responds to action. What’s the next small step you can take in your dating life? Start there. 

Something I think and share a lot about is operating all things – your business, your love life – from a place of self-love. What are the key pieces of inner work that you recommend to get women to that place of self-love before they can invite a partner in?

One of the first things I have my clients do is a bit Marie Kondo-esque. We look at all the things that bring them joy and pleasure and their homework is to intentionally work on fulfilling 2-3 things on their list per week. Seems simple right? Ultimately we have to learn what makes us happy, what things we enjoy doing on our own and learning to fulfill those needs for ourselves. In this process, women often learn and quickly see… they don’t make their joy and pleasure a priority. They’re giving tons of their personal time and energy to coworkers, to family, taking on extra work. If we have the expectation someone is going to come in and ‘make our lives more exciting or ‘better’ or finally bring us the balance we’ve been searching for, we’re going to be waiting for a while. Personal magnetism comes from being aligned with our truth, our desire, and in touch with our essence. It’s so important to be discerning where our attention and energy is going. Are we filling up our own cup or are we depleted and resentful and being in our presence doesn’t feel all that good? Approaching our relationships from ‘already full’ is what actually allows people to feel us and it’s what makes us available for connection. It’s what creates space for connection and intimacy. 

For those of us that are in relationships, and in particularly close quarters this past year, I absolutely love your concept of “keeping your side of the street clean.” Can you expand on this idea, and how it serves both partners in a healthy relationship?

Yes, super important. Anyone that’s coached with me or that knows me well, knows I frame everything in life… especially relationships from a place of always taking personal responsibility. Meaning, examining all situations and asking ourselves.. “Ok, what is my part here?” The truth, we all have 50% responsibility in our relationships. It’s our job to show up to our relationships as adults – with the ability to communicate clearly, express our needs and desires openly, remain conscious in conflict and stay connected, and able to apologize quickly and change our behavior when we’ve made a mistake or when our partner expresses something that’s not working. It’s not a good look to make our partners (or anyone) chase us, come in to get us after we’ve withdrawn, or have to guess and mind read what it is we’re thinking.

It also means, if we’ve had adverse experiences in the past, that we’re taking responsibility for getting the help and support we need and not making our partners solely responsible for meeting previously unmet needs. 

“Keeping our side of the street clean” is really about being a self-aware human. During my coaching, I spend a lot of time with clients looking at what their ‘compensatory behaviors’ are in relationships and what patterns have played out in the past that did not serve them. Bringing compassion and understanding to the past can be very healing but is also the way to ensure we don’t keep repeating the same cycles or dating the same types of people that can’t meet our needs. We have to know and be aware of what our default, go-to coping mechanisms are. That way when we’re in a pattern we can bring more consciousness in and say “Hey babe I did that thing again and I’m sorry. Here’s what I need so that doesn’t happen again” and then actually examine what came up and get the support and tools so it doesn’t keep happening. 

I find the topic of space while in relationship to be particularly relevant given the past year, when that space has been for challenging than ever in lockdown. Why is space important in a relationship? Can you speak on why it’s important to not always be together 24/7 and how this fosters the long-term health of a relationship?

Yes! Relationships need a healthy dose of what’s referred to as ‘dynamic tension’ to continue to feel electric and connected. Think about eating cake. It’s so good.. And you’re eating and eating and eating.. And after a certain point, you start to get full but you really want another bite. Inside your head, that little voice knows if you eat one more bite you’re going to get too full and maybe regret that bite or possibly even be too full to actually taste it completely, and then you’re left feeling unsettled and uncomfortable.

That can happen in our relationships. I see it a lot in newer relationships but really any relationship can experience it. We love spending time with each other, the relationship is going really well and we want to keep the trend going and maximize the amount of ‘good’ we can feel and spend as much time together as possible. Except then… we get ‘full’, energetically. Maybe we’ll start to get irritated, annoyed, snippy. Now our partner is the problem and we’re annoyed with them and then boom you’re fighting and all that goodness fades and gets lost. 

It’s so, so important to be tuned into this experience and feel for the peak. See that you want to leave your time or experiences with each other on that last ‘great bite’ and ask yourself… will whatever we do next be more sensational or less sensational? Has this peaked and it’s time to go, time for us to do something else? Has this conversation peaked? Is it time to wrap it up? This concept of dynamic tension and peaking can be applied to all things. I’ll bet we’ve all been in a meeting that needed to end 15 minutes prior to when it actually did. We need dynamic tension in our relationships, the push/pull of having vs. wanting. Too much having makes us full and especially if we don’t ‘digest’ then we become resentful and the connection is in danger. Being tapped into your own sense of self, what you like to do, what makes you happy outside of your connection with your partner is vital. You need to have things to turn to after a peak. Sometimes we are quick to give up everything we loved prior to getting into a relationship and give too much of ourselves over and our purpose becomes the relationship. Maintaining independence is definitely key and learning and feeling when you’re full, what you need to do to ‘digest’, and when it’s time to change activities or take space after a peak will ensure a healthy flow of intimacy and connection through your relationship. 

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, do you have any spiritual and personal practices that you recommend we all do to become better individuals and better partners?

Yes! A fantastic question. I think having a morning routine is absolutely essential to clear thinking and healthier relationships and something I work with clients on to create in a way that feels good for them. It’s pure science… our brains are operating at a different wavelength right when we wake up, which has the power to completely shape our day either positively or negatively. I personally write down 50 desires every morning – big, small, long term, short term, and I teach my clients the practice of ‘desire pulling’ which is when you meet with a friend every few weeks and set a timer to each express desires for 15-20 mins. It’s important to intentionally make space in your life for the things you want… so they can actually come in. 

I’m a huge meditator and have had a few different meditation teachers over the years I’ve worked personally with. I try to meditate at least once a day and recommend everyone do the same. Being able to sit with all things – good/bad/uncomfortable/exciting expands the range of sensation in our body we’re able to feel and hold and allows us to experience more depth with a potential partner. You don’t have to sit forever – even 10-15 minutes will provide big shifts. 

I’m a big fan of journaling and writing. I instruct clients to get comfortable writing whenever they’re fearful or resentful, to give all the voices in their head air time, and to get them out on paper. They usually report feeling much more sane and clear. 

I also love EFT tapping. I was introduced to the practice almost exactly a year ago by my business coach and it’s a tool I personally use and am exploring professional training in as well. All in all, I trust people with practices. Practices require us to show up even when we don’t want to, even when we feel like crap, and even when things are good and we’d rather be celebrating and they teach us so much. We can witness our own transformation and see changes on the micro and macro level all from showing up consistently. I always recommend trying out a number of different things and finding what feels best for you. 

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