How to get over yourself + tap into your secret power

In my search for a place to call home here in this new city, I’ve spent a fair amount of time scanning Craigslist for future roommates. Though I’d prefer to live on my own, halving the monthly rent with another person may be worthwhile if it means a nicer place in a more central location. The part of this search that can feel uncomfortable is meeting the potential roommate for the first time. Whether it’s at a coffee shop or at their actual home, something about it feels like a blind date. If you really love the place and want to win them over, an innocent conversation can soon turn into a game of selling yourself.

To make these meet ups less awkward, I do something very simple. From the moment I meet them, I try to identify what I like about them. I start picking up on their mannerisms. I notice what makes them laugh, what makes them smile. It’s pretty easy to find something to like, and in turn I am in tune with them and naturally letting a connection happen. Instead of thinking about how I’m going to prove that I’m a super awesome person to live with, I focus on how cool they are. Every single time I’ve done this, I’ve heard back and been asked if I want to be their roommate. Every single time.

What differentiates this from past experiences when I haven’t heard back? Where my focus lies. Is it on me, or on them? That makes all the difference.

One of my girlfriend’s is beautiful, witty, smart, has a good job and a nice apartment right in the heart of San Francisco. She reached out to me recently for advice about a guy she’s just started seeing. Everything about him sounds promising: He tells her how he feels, he makes plans with her consistently, he treats her well and pays her all kinds of compliments. My friend is surprised by how much she likes him, after only a month or two of dating. What, then, is she worried about?

“I just don’t want to mess this up, K. I’ve had such bad luck with men in the past. Part of me feels jaded and scared that he’s going to drop the ball.”

Scarred by the disappearing acts guys have played for her in the past, my friend feels like this ‘bad luck’ is attached to her. Like it is part of her. We girls tend to do this a lot. Blame ourselves for relationships gone sour, for men behaving like boys, for guys not calling. In reality, sometimes we date guys who just plain aren’t right for us. That’s all it really is. Those guys move on, move away, fall off, and this is a blessing. This clears the path between us and our better match(es).

Unfortunately, when we get burned enough times, our vision can become fogged. We can start seeing people not for who they actually are, but for who we think they are. Who we expect them to be. Where we could hear a genuine compliment, we instead hear an empty promise. Where we could feel affection, we instead feel nothing. It’s as if we are wearing a protective lens, keeping ourselves at a distance that feels safe enough that we won’t get burned again.

“Next time you are with him, try to really see him,” I offered.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, see him for who he is, not for who you are making him out to be. When you talk with him, focus on what you like about him. It could be as simple as appreciating how sexy his voice is, or how he smiles when he talks about his family. Focus on what you really enjoy about him. This will take the focus off you.”

We get so overwhelmed with our own inner conflicts, our insecurities, our assumptions. When all we are tuning into is ourselves, we create a wall between us and whoever we are with. It’s an invisible wall, but make no mistake that other people can feel it. We can tell when the person who we are with is ‘in their head,’ working through something, instead of being there with us.

So, what’s that one secret power we all have, but don’t always know how to use effectively? Our ability to love. To feel love, to hold someone else in a loving view, to express love.

When you talk with someone, focus on what you like about them. What you appreciate about them, no matter who it is. This will make for a more powerful connection and rewarding conversation because people can feel that kind of energy from you.

Even though I was excited by the invitations to share a living space with the people I’ve met, I turned them down based on my own gut instincts and criteria. I’ve moved several times and lived with all kinds of people over the past decade, and with this experience comes an understanding of what I want. Often times the people I’ve met seem perfectly great, but the location, the rent, or the actual layout of the house don’t feel right. I’m at a place in my search where I don’t want to jump onto just any opportunity, and I don’t want to settle. It’s a great feeling to make that decision for myself, instead of having another person decide for me. It all starts with getting over myself, tapping into my secret power, and trusting the process. 

With courage, love, and intensity,


Photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

18 thoughts on “How to get over yourself + tap into your secret power

  1. Kristen. This piece is is sage. So sage.

    And though I have much more praise, I’d like to hone in on this: “When you talk with someone, focus on what you like about them. What you appreciate about them, no matter who it is. This will make for a more powerful connection and rewarding conversation because people can feel that kind of energy from you.”

    What I’d like to add is that this focus is also important when we are thinking about another person, especially someone with whom we might be in conflict.

    I’ve spent the past seven years trying to reconcile my conflicts, to heal myself after my husband had a second affair. It is a long story, but I’ve believed that he is truly remorseful and that he’s doing everything within his power to understand why he is choosing self-destructive behaviors. That said, I am still faced with the hurtful reality of his choices.

    In yet another heated discussion weeks before our 24th wedding anniversary, I realized something, that I’d been focusing on the negative and on my hurt. I never gave a true thought to his own pain…

    To honor him and to shift my own thinking, I did just what you’ve descirbed above, focused on what I appreciate about him. I’d like to share this with you, and with any other readers who might be coping with distress in any of their relationships:

    Thank you for your courage to heal yourself and then to share what you’ve learned.

    Hugs and healing, Journeyer!


    • Big hugs right back at you, Annah. Your post is gorgeous — leaves me with such a warm feeling throughout my entire body. Lovely metaphor with the tree leaves and roots. Everyone should be appreciated in the way you appreciate Warren <3.

      • Thank you for reading, Kristen, for appreciating that piece and for your kind words. 🙂

        If you aren’t already following The Five Facets on FB, Twitter, or Pinterest, might I convince you to pop on over and click those little “Like” and “Follow” buttons? I’m looking for representation for my book and those people want to see numbers…lol I swear sometimes I feel as if I’m pimping myself… 😉

        Keep writing, Kristen! xoxo

  2. Pingback: Blog Carnival V6 - The Indie Chicks

  3. I wrote an article at The Indie Chicks, and a couple more at my blog about “falling in love with potential”. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in who you hope a person is instead of who they really are. It takes effort, awareness, and practice to truly see somebody but life is so much easier when those around you aren’t trying to live up to an ideal in your head. Well said.

  4. I love this line “When all we are tuning into is ourselves, we create a wall between us and whoever we are with.” This is truly something everyone, and at least every woman, should read. Bravo once again.Your pieces are continuously honest, intellectual, reflective and thought-provoking. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure of reading them.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s