Relationship coach and professional speaker Laura Dewey spent years looking for the right guy. She perched herself with a glass of wine at countless restaurant bars with the hope that some man would scoop her up and make her his. Any man.
To her surprise, that didn't work.
It was when she stumbled down a spiritual path that Laura woke up to herself. She realized that she was the reason she was single, and committed to do the work required to get herself out of her own way. It worked! Laura found her soulmate where she least expected.
In these pages, Laura shares her formula for finding the light within, the joyful ray of self-acceptance that is a beacon for great friends and a loving husband. Using humor, depth, and twelve essential steps, this book teaches you to shine your own light brightly enough to illuminate your beauty and your beloved.
Are you ready to stop waiting? Then start reading.
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Read an Excerpt
Shine Your Light ... Illuminate Your Love12 Steps to Attracting the Relationship of Your Dreams
By Laura L. Dewey
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Laura L. Dewey
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSTEP 1: Reset Your Mindset
I had been sober for a year. It was in an AA Meeting that I first heard the term, "Grateful Alcoholic." I thought, "What the hell is that? They must have made a mistake. Those two words can't possibly go together." Well, I heard it again and again. After a time, I understood. You see, I am a grateful alcoholic. Getting sober was the best thing that ever happened to me, or I should say, the greatest thing I ever did. Not only did I stop my destructive drinking, but what I learned about myself and the world in those early months changed the trajectory of my life. I assure you, this growth would not have taken place had I not found my way to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I would still be in a downward spiral wondering why I couldn't find the man of my dreams.
It sounds funny, doesn't it? In a downward spiral, wondering why I couldn't find the man of my dreams. Why on earth would the man of my dreams want me in that state? A lot of us do that, though. We seek the ideal while we, ourselves, are less than ideal. I did this my whole life. I was shy and was sure I was funny looking. I held onto early shame, then compounded it with the shame of my drinking. I felt stupid at parties and had an awful time with eye contact. I was self-centered, cynical, and sarcastic. I was a real catch. Why in heaven's name couldn't I find my soulmate?
My relationship with my husband is my first long-term, quality, love relationship. The many years leading up to our meeting were filled with the push-pull of desperation. I wanted so much to find the one. I now realize that I was dating in the dark. I didn't have the foggiest idea what to do with him if he showed up. If a man showed genuine interest in me, I would work quickly to find fault with him and run away as fast as I could. Of course, it wasn't my fault—it was his fault. After all, all those things were wrong with him.
What was much more enjoyable for me was the chase. I would zero in on someone I found attractive and try to make myself into what I thought he wanted. Sometimes he would bite, other times he wouldn't. If he did, we would hook up, or have a fling, or have a friends-with-benefits kind of relationship. This was all quite safe for me—and fun. I could prove to myself that I was desirable, but really not have to show up in any meaningful way, which, at that time, I was not equipped to do anyway. Occasionally these relationships (I use that term loosely) would last up to six months. It wasn't until years into that pattern that I realized there was really no magic to being a woman and getting laid. It really had little or nothing to do with me. If you're willing ... they're able.
If I wasn't doing the chasing, I was getting dumped. Have you ever been dumped? Let's not mince words. It stinks. Oh, the rejection. If you're not careful, the voices could drive you into a deep depression. You know the voices: "What did I do?" "I knew it; I'm not pretty enough." "He likes that blonde chick more than me." "I've gotta buy new clothes." "My hair is stringy and I have a big nose, what was he doing with me anyway?" "He was too good for me." "If he doesn't want me, who will?"
This rejection can be so personal. If you've been dumped, you probably thought it must have been something you did or didn't do that drove him away. He kept you around for a while but then he found out the truth—you weren't good enough. You'd have to do better next time. You'd have to be better at being whatever he wanted you to be—if there was a next time. You might be done. The rejection is just too much. Maybe you should just hide out and forget it all; forget that you long to find the love of your life.
What's funny is that if you're honest with yourself, you probably find there were many things you genuinely didn't like about him, either. Honestly, it was probably good that you weren't together anymore. But in that moment of rejection, you forget all that. You forget that he was always late, didn't keep his promises and sometimes had stinky breath. You forget all the times you complained about him to your best friend. He dumped you. There was definitely something wrong with you.
We women are different. We tend to look at what we don't like in a man with a certain level of enthusiasm: "If he really loves me he'll change" or "Oh, I'm sure I can fix that about him." Ladies, you have to remember ... and this advice could change your life ... when you pick someone ... you buy him as is. You don't buy a fixer upper; you buy him as is. Keep this in mind—until you are married, there is also a liberal return policy.
Dating should be a time to explore, a time to find out what we like and don't like in a partner. All too often, dating becomes a time to be needed, a time to verify to yourself and to the world that you are desired—by someone.
In order to approach dating as an exploration, you have to approach it from a position of power. I don't mean power in a crushing, negative way. I'm speaking of your own personal power. Imagine being out shopping for shoes. There are so many shoes out there. You get the itch to shop and choose a store where there are aisles and aisles of shoes. Your eyes move quickly through the choices, when all of a sudden you stop. You've found the perfect black heels. They are so lovely that you have to pick them up and touch them. You keep them in mind as you continue to peruse the shelves, finding a few other pairs that strike your fancy. This is shopping from a position of power. You know what you like and you know what you don't like. Most importantly, you revel in all the choices at your disposal. If you're smart, you're open to new styles that you haven't considered before. You might as well try them on—there's nothing to lose.
Now, imagine you are one of the few post-apocalyptic survivors (dramatic, I know). You need shoes badly. Your feet are blistered and bleeding from the rough terrain. While on your depressing trek (you've seen the movies), you notice a small pile of shoes. "Shoes! It's my lucky day! At long last, my feet will be protected and these shoes will help me walk on the difficult path with ease." Since there is only a handful to choose from, you look through the pile desperate to find a pair that will fit. You couldn't care less about style, material, or color. Some are far too small and hurt while others are way too big and fall off when you walk. You end up settling for the big ones ... at least they won't hurt you that much. This, my friends, is shopping from a position of desperation.
That was my dating life for many, many years. Searching for that person who would make me feel better, safe and whole, who wouldn't hurt that much. I just waited for someone to show the slightest bit of interest in me, then I would throw myself at him, hoping he would like me for real. I wasn't even shopping from a position of desperation. I wasn't shopping at all—I was pathetically waiting to be picked up and touched, just like those heels. The confident shopper soon learned that the product he had picked out was not made with the quality workmanship that he desired, and there I was—dumped right back on the shelf.
So what's the goal? Confident shoppers and quality workmanship—shopping with the intention of finding a match for your tastes—that's the goal. You know, not all women like the same shoes. You see women on the street wearing shoes you wouldn't dare to wear. Admit it, sometimes they look pretty good, don't they? Different shoes for different tastes. The same is true with dating. The purpose of dating is to find a match for you. For the real you. Not the you that has been re-dyed, re-sized, re-sewn, and re-soled. We're looking to display the quality workmanship we were all brought to this earth with before it all got so ... complicated.
This is a new way to think about dating rejection. In a healthy dating world, each party has an idea of what kind of partner they want, what kind of relationship they wish to be in, and they date from a position of power. Knowing they're buying a finished product, they shop with great care. They take time to see if the person matches their likes and dislikes, their goals, values, dreams, and beliefs. Why on earth would you continue seeing someone who does not meet your quality requirements? You simply release him and put him back on the shelf because he's not a match for you. This new outlook on dating can be extraordinarily powerful. It makes what used to be thought of as rejection into something constructive and somewhat impersonal. Instead of being devastated, one should simply think, "Well, I guess I wasn't a match for him. I'm glad I found out now, so I didn't waste any more time. I know there's a match for me out there. I'll just keep shopping." This may sound foreign, but I assure you, this mindset can set you free.
Now, you no longer see yourself as bad or unworthy. You come from quality workmanship—he just prefers a different style. Welcome to Step 1 of our 12-Step Program: Reset Your Mindset. The mindset that dating is a time for you to find a match from a position of power can, in itself, transform your experience with the opposite sex.
The real question then becomes, how do we present ourselves authentically so we're certain to find the right match? How do we strip away all the alterations and get back the original design? The only way you will find a true match is if you are the real you—the original quality workmanship. This book is designed to help you do just that.
The key part of the intention I set when attracting my husband was the bit about "doing the work necessary to meet." This was critical. It implied that I was responsible for recognizing the opportunity for growth within myself, thereby making the decision to strip myself down to my original design. He was responsible to do the same. Only after we had done the work necessary to find ourselves, could we find each other. The question is not—how do I become the person I want to be in order to attract the mate I want? A more apt question would be—how do I become the person I am in order to attract the person who is a match for the real me?
Most of us represent ourselves to the world as something other than we are. My assertion is that when you embrace your Self (the big S is no accident), you will shine your own light. This light will attract the match that is right for you, the real you. Until you uncover your Authentic Self, you will continue to live a lie and attract partners based on that lie. This process is about self-acceptance. Accepting all that you are without judgment.
You can return to your Self. You can meet her again. And she will be, well ... is, just wonderful, with a light brighter than you can imagine.
Anchor Your Learning
Internal Exercise: Reflect on the following in your journal:
How does the concept of dating (shopping) from a position of power sit with you? Can you imagine this mindset working for you? Why or why not?
* * *
External Exercise: Take your new awareness out into the world using the activity below. Reflect on your experience in your journal.
Take the mindset of shopping from a position of power into the world with you. Does doing this change your experience with the opposite sex? If so, how?
* * *
Write a few paragraphs acknowledging yourself for your willingness to try on a new mindset.
Until you can shine your light, you are searching in the dark.
Chapter TwoSTEP 2: Sparkle!
Congratulations, you've just begun on the path of attracting the relationship of your dreams. You have tried on a new hat, the new hat of dating from a position of power, and gone on a shopping expedition for the right match. The last chapter serves as a foundation for you to build on. This foundation may seem shaky right now. That's all right. Be gentle with yourself. This is about baby steps. You've waited this long, a little extra time won't hurt. What's different is that now you have a plan.
The last chapter had you trying out a new attitude while out in the world. There is one thing we bring with us everywhere we go, and we can't escape it. We bring our bodies and our physical appearance. Step 2 of our 12-Step Program addresses this inescapable truth. I'm not sure I have ever met a human being who was born happy with every aspect of their appearance and I am no exception.
I have a funny nose. It's bigger than most, there's a bump at the top, it's a little crooked—you know the drill. In the past ten years or so I've made light of it saying, "I have the smallest nose in my family" (which is true). Prior to that time, my nose was not a laughing matter, nor was my thin, unruly hair, or my strange indented hips—I could go on and on. These odd features made me different and I was certain the whole world knew it.
I worried about what people thought of my nose. Averse to plastic surgery, I was low on options. My hair? That was another story. I could try to control that. I would wash it and style it every single day, sometimes more than once a day. I would obsess on straightening it, or try to make my un-uniform curls uniform, especially in the back. I had a hand mirror I used to check out all angles. If it wasn't just right, I would have to work a little harder. On and on it went—for decades.
There were a couple of events that forever altered the way I look at my physical appearance. One happened in the course of a fling. I was seeing a man who had a boat and lived a carefree lifestyle near the beach. One day we were frolicking, drinking, and having a blast on the ocean. We came back to shore and my guy wanted to go get something to eat. My hair was a windblown, beachy mess and I wasn't excited about going out that way. I went on and on about it. He eventually shouted, "For God's sake, will you just shut up about your hair, you look fine!" There was something about the way he said it. I wasn't hurt. I was startled. Startled into a new knowing. He was not just telling me to shut up about my hair—he was telling me that I had been to the beach, had a great time, and that I should just chill out. My hair was fine. Really? "You mean I could have hair stuck to my head on one side and curled beyond recognition on the other and still be fine?" Well, I tried it. I went with him to that restaurant all tan and windblown and just waited for people to stare at me in order to prove him wrong. The strangest thing happened. No one looked at me twice. "Hey, over here! Can't you see my hair is a hideous mess? This is Newport Beach. I can't possibly be fine." Nothing. Hmm, maybe I am not the center of the Universe after all.
The next life-changer came during one of my other quasi-relationships. I really liked this guy and he seemed to like me, too. We met online, actually. I didn't have a picture on my profile (this was before people routinely included photos and I was thrilled to not have to post one. You know ... the nose). He asked me to describe myself physically, which I did in great detail. I told him how I saw myself, including my oddities. It sounds strange to say now, but I've always had a healthy body image. Yes, I had things that were weird about me, but I had really good qualities as well (legs, breasts, feet, skin, eyes ...). It was almost like I saw my oddities and me as two separate entities. So when I described myself, I put the whole kit and caboodle in the mix. It went something like, "I'm about 5'7", not overweight, great legs, great boobs, sandy brown-blonde kinda wavy hair. I have a pretty big nose, even though it's the smallest nose in my family (told you). I didn't have a butt 'til I was 30 and instead of my hips going out in a pear shape, they sort of indent. My hips are kinda square."
He said he liked what he heard and was surprised I had described myself in such great detail. Long story short, we started dating and were considerably attracted to each other, both physically and mentally. He would sometimes compliment me on those characteristics I thought were weird. I would say, "thank you," then wonder incessantly if he really meant it or if he was just trying to make me feel good. At the same time, there was something about the way he said it. Maybe he really did mean it. This had me thinking, much like with my hair: "If he really meant it, what did that mean? Did it mean I've wasted all that time and energy over the years worrying and obsessing about _____________ (add insecurity here)? If he found that attractive about me, would that mean others could as well, or was he just some freak of nature? Am I an attractive woman? Am I funny looking? Which is it? Can I be both? Maybe I'm an attractive, odd-looking woman ... maybe I am uniquely attractive. Uniquely attractive—I like that." It was at that time I learned to accept myself in a whole new way.
Excerpted from Shine Your Light ... Illuminate Your Love by Laura L. Dewey Copyright © 2012 by Laura L. Dewey. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
My Love Story....................2
STEP 1: Reset Your Mindset....................4
STEP 2: Sparkle!....................12
STEP 3: Peel Away Your Masks....................22
STEP 4: Unpack Your Baggage....................32
STEP 5: Understand Your Power....................42
STEP 6: Surrender....................54
STEP 7: Beware of Your self....................68
STEP 8: Treat Your SELF as a Loved One....................86
STEP 9: Amp Up Your Personal Power....................98
STEP 10: Be Grateful and Awestruck....................110
STEP 11: Put Intention to Work for You....................128
STEP 12: Shine Your Light, Be Your SELF....................142
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book. Laura is smart, funny, compassionate and totally real. And she's walked the walk! if you are looking for a wonderful relationship, please read this book! Heck, even if you are not looking for a relationship, what she has to say has the power to transform your life. I have had the privilege of meeting and observing Laura and Alfred, and would definitely rank them up there as a couple who really like and love each other, while each brightly shining their own light. The brief exercises at the end of each chapter are great.
I loved this book . Different than the million and one books i have seen on finding relationships. I could really relate to all that i read