This true love story in our Dating Advice for Women Series features an interview with one of our expert Love Mentors®, Susan Kalinowski, LCSW. We talk together about creating a Diamond Self Identity.
What do you mean by Finding Your Diamond Self?
Each of us has something wonderful in our make-up, something that makes us shine. We call that your Diamond Self. Start by finding that something in those around you, at work, at your health club, among your neighbors, even among your family members. It is often easier to see their great characteristics before you see your own. This one has a great sense of humor, this one is athletic, this one has a gift for conversation, that one is so smart. If you don’t see a sparkle of fabulous in others, their Diamond Self, then dig and find it because once you get proficient at that skill you can turn it on yourself.
How does creating a Diamond Self translate into your work as a Love Mentor?
If you see your own beauty you might give yourself a break and start to speak and act from your truth, from your core. I have found that once people find that level of self-appreciation, their Diamond Self, they can then find a partner.
Is that difficult for people, to find their sparkle and Diamond Self?
At first, I find many of those I mentor are afraid of that inner Diamond Self for a number of reasons. She has been given messages over the years that hiding is safer. It could be she was criticized or abandoned when she was outspoken and exuberant, maybe she was criticized and abandoned even for just being. Perhaps she was even abused. Somehow she got the message that she could not be who she truly was. Sometimes she even disappeared her own feelings altogether– becoming numb and unaware. Sometimes she became brassy or crusty, promiscuous or turned to addiction to protect the vulnerability. Sometimes she is the very good helpful girl who tries to please. Regardless, the notion that she was wonderful simply for having been born, for breathing, for existing was not internalized.
How can someone begin to value himself or herself after being molded or scarred?
I do an exercise I call “chocolate cake.” I have someone imagine their favorite dessert and describe it to me. There is a sensuous and adoring quality to what comes out of their mouths. You can feel the power of that crème brulee or Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream. Now I have the person imagine they are in a social situation and that they are that incredible desirable alluring satisfying dessert just sitting there on the counter. With their eyes closed on SKYPE I can see the transformation of the person imagining the dessert. There is a smile, a confidence, a self-prizing look, the cat that swallowed the canary. A place where you toss your head and raise your eyebrows as if to say…”Mmmmmm I am delicious…: A sensuality naturally exists in all of us that has a chance to emerge just thinking you are the dessert.
As you work on the Diamond self exercises in Dr Diana’s books or with a mentor you gradually get more conscious of how you stifle you. As you own the you you lost, great things happen.
What sorts of things do you see?
Boundaries improve. More and more often you say no to things that don’t work for you or say yes and reach for those things that do.
You learn that hiding less is strong, not weak. For example, telling someone you care, may feel at first like exposing yourself to potential rejection; however gradually it becomes a means to a deeper, more honest and fulfilling relationship with someone who is into you and a brave person as well.
Intimacy potential (and actuality) increases with others.
There is less need for drama because you are not holding things in trying to be who you are not. With less drama you can fight cleanly (and connect better with another) or walk away knowing why and move on swiftly because you know you did not contaminate things, you just said your piece in peace.
Your healing continues to accelerate once you find a partner who loves the real you. That person who does not leave and even delights in the you who you thought was hideous or flawed is a treasure of immeasurable worth.
Wow this sounds great! Is there more?
Yes ! Friendships and family relationships improve because you can express your happiness for someone even when you are feeling vulnerable ie. : “I am so glad you got that great job and your career is taking off and, though I must confess I worry that you will forget all about me when you move across country etc.”
There is less and less false advertising on the dating front. You are likely to end up with someone who is a “fit” much more quickly. What they see is what they get from the beginning, no surprises. You save time being your Diamond Self.
You have more fun. When you are more comfortable with you, so are other people. The positive energy loop becomes better and better. You are relaxed, lighter, more spontaneous and humorous, freer and in the moment. This way of being is attractive, drawing others to you (including men).
You become kinder and gentler because you don’t take yourself so seriously. The internal task-master has less power over you. You have less harsh judgments of yourself and others. This is attractive and attracting as well.
This is amazing; is it difficult for people to create their Diamond Self?
It takes courage in the beginning for sure. Let me share one of my mentee’s journeys with you: Sarah and I began speaking after she left her marriage of many years. She was lovely and didn’t think so. Her ex had been controlling and demanding sexual things with which she was not comfortable. Though she was successful in her career as a nurse she did not transfer the power (she was smart and respected and promoted) to her personal life. She had ended the marriage without telling her ex her truth. She began dating and gradually it became apparent that she was choosing guys who were not her equal and she was behaving seductively early on. Gradually she shared that she had always been praised for being “the Good child that I never worry about” by her overwhelmed mother and ineffective father. Her one sibling had MS and her other had considerable mental health issues. If Sarah was not good and functioning and getting good grades she received no rewards. She disappeared unless she was supergirl. Hence she never got to be just herself. She also put a lot of pressure on herself to please others both at work and in relationships. She did not give herself permission to say no, or to put herself first in a healthy way. She revealed she had poor body image issues and mild self-mutilation for her perceived lack of self worth. She did not think she was attractive and valued and desirable for just being.
Over time working on her Diamond self she stopped seeing Duds and allowed a relationship with a very nice man. She was plagued by doubt and sure he did not desire her. No matter how loving he was she would withdraw and be moody and wary of trust. With coaching and his steadfast love she slowly gained confidence. She finally told him many of the things she was ashamed of and those things she longed for. He loved her all the more. She began to experience herself as lovable at all times not just when she was trying to say or do what she thought would be acceptable and praiseworthy. They got married (she was 15 lbs heavier than when they had met and she was light-years lighter emotionally). She was blissfully happy and had found deeper love of her core self. When she had spoken up she had become her own champion and this set her free.
Tune into Susan as she is interviewed on our Love in 90 Days- Blogtalk radio show, live on February 21! (And archived thereafter!) To listen,Click Here!
“Finding Your Diamond Self: Confident & Empowered”
In this seminar you will discover . . .
- How to love yourself, just the way you are now.
- How to identify your Diamond Self.
- How to operate from your Diamond Self to attract men.
- Why men find women who operate from their Diamond Self irresistible.
Thank you again, Susan, for your wise words. You can get a free 40-minute session with an expert dating coach like Susan by phone or Skype.
Wishing you love,