Once upon a time, I used to date men who were "Prince Harmings," a name I coined in my book Prince Harming Syndrome to describe men who are either trouble or "troubled." I confess I've been there and dated them. So much so, I used to joke that for me, all dating should be renamed "blind dating" and instead of saying I'm "seeing someone," I should more honestly say, "I'm dimly viewing someone."
Thankfully, I'm now happily engaged to an incredible Prince Charming. A man who's loving, sexy, communicative, trustworthy, generous, open to growing, successful and funny—just to adjective-drop a little. How did I finally manage to break the Prince Harming curse of my past and snag some of that ever-elusive (and seemingly exclusive) happily-ever-after love that I wrote about? Well, an Apple™ product is exactly what led me to my man. Truly. You know how an apple created the downfall for Eve and Adam—the end to their world of bliss? My story is quite different. The downfall of my Apple™ iPod created the beginning of our couplehood world of bliss.
A few months before I even knew my Prince Charming existed, my iPod broke. I kept setting up appointments at the Genius Bar to get it replaced through the warranty. But each time I kept canceling my appointments because of my overbooked schedule. Finally one morning, after enduring yet another boring musicless work out, I decided to head to my Genius Bar appointment to get my ears on a new working iPod.
However, when I handed the Genius my broken iPod, he examined it and said: "Sorry, there's a scratch on the bottom so it's no longer covered under warranty."
"But that scratch has nothing to do with the iPod not working," I explained. "It went dead in my speaker system. That scratch is simply from carrying it around for months in my Mary Poppins-esque tote." (Note: I call my tote this because there's always so much stuff jumbling around within it.)
"Sorry," the Genius told me. "The scratch nixes your warranty."
"Can I speak to your manager?" I asked with a smile.
The Manager came over and I immediately experienced déjà frustration. I was told due to that tiny scratch, my plans to retrieve a shiny new iPod were now verboten.
"If you want to file a complaint," offered the manager, "just fill out these forms and I'll forward them onward."
I stared at the sheaths of paperwork he attempted to hand me and could feel myself entering into The Curmudgeon Zone. I was surprised. After all, I am a best-selling self-help author. I shouldn't be sweating this small stuff. I asked myself: "What would I coach a client to do?"
"You know what?" I said to the manager. "I intuit I'm not going to be getting a new iPod, and that's okay. I don't want to frustrate myself or you further. You're just doing your job as you've been instructed about that warranty. I'm not going to fill out that paperwork, because I don't want to think about this iPod thing anymore. I'm going to leave the store now and go on to have a happy day. And I wish you a happy day, too."
The manager and I exchanged warm smiles. I headed out the door.
But when I got outside, it seemed I not only left the store with my broken scratched iPod, but a broken scratched mood. I was still feeling curmudgeony. So I consciously decided to live up to my promise to the manager and choose to have a happy day.
How did I manage to change my energy state to "happy"?
1. I told myself that what I just experienced was a day segment which began and ended in the Apple store. If there'd been a film crew, they'd have packed up and left. I was now onto a new and better day segment.
2. I got quiet within. I asked myself: "What can I do and where can I go to pivot into a happier mood?" Out of nowhere the answer popped into my head: "Have breakfast at Pastis."
Weird, I thought. I hadn't been to Pastis for breakfast in more than five years. I started to walk toward Pastis. As I did, I passed The Soho House where I usually have breakfast when I'm in this New York City neighborhood. I was tempted to head into The Soho House—land of the familiar!
"No, no, no, go to Pastis!" I heard in my head. "You're meant to go to Pastis. Your iPod broke to get you down here today because you're meant to go to Pastis this morning."
I heard this thought so strongly, I had to laugh. I'm a rational woman, so it seemed silly. Although I'm spiritual—and believe in intuition—I'm also logical. I am what I've humorously coined as "spiritualogical." When intuitions come to me, I often rationally talk myself out of them. However on this morning, I heard this intuition so strongly not only did I decide to listen, I made a deal with myself: If something were to happen to me at Pastis, I would thereafter always listen to my intuition.
Off I jaunted to Pastis, my mood now changed to one of excitement and curiosity. So much so, I noticed how it was a beautiful day; so when I arrived to the restaurant, I asked to be seated outside. The maître d' took me to an especially sunny table right in front of a handsome stranger, who began a conversation with me within minutes. Eventually he asked to join my table. Then he asked me for my phone number. Then he asked me to dinner. Another dinner. Another dinner. A weekend away. My hand in marriage. This handsome stranger is now my fiancé with those fabulous adjective-dropping qualities.
I am still amazed by how my love story unfolded. When I coach people, I tell them that they shouldn't merely learn from their mistakes—but "non-mistakes." It's always empowering to figure out what you're doing right when things go right.
With this in mind, a combo of the following good habits helped me find the love of my life:
1. I followed my intuition's guidance which I've coined with the new word "Godance." I believe there's some Universal Intelligence—be it God or a higher consciousness energy source. When you're quiet within, it will guide you to make wiser choices. For me the word "Godance" can be explained best by referencing a favorite New Yorker cartoon. Two sock puppets are talking. One of them says to the other, "Sometimes I wonder if there is a hand." For me, this "inner hand" is what I mean by "Godance," and it's highly worthwhile to listen to it!
2. I was a proud prude. I delayed physical intimacy until I was certain my man was certain about me. In Prince Harming Syndrome, I recommend not simply counting dates to figure out when to sleep with a man, but counting until you've found five out of the five essential traits listed in my book. For this reason I also recommend not drinking alcohol so you can clearly see and hear who a man is and have the willpower not to be led solely by pheromones.
3. I recognized that if you use game-playing bait, you lure in game-playing fish. If you use open and honest communication bait, you lure in a guy who welcomes these high-integrity values. Plus, open and honest talk helps you determine up front if you share similar goals like marriage and children.
4. I renamed my ex-Prince Harming as "teacher," learned my lessons and moved on. I even put him in my cell phone under "teacher." In the same way I consciously pivoted out of the Apple Store into a good mood, I pivoted out of that relationship to face the positive lessons learned and grow into a better partner. Basically, you've got to be the change you want to date (and marry!).
5. I didn't merely focus on a wish list of things to seek in a man, like sexy, funny, smart, charismatic and rich. I created a "wish feeling" to seek—the feeling of being safe. I recognized that it doesn't matter if a guy is sexy, funny, smart, charismatic and rich if he doesn't make you feel safe to communicate openly, safe to trust his commitment and loyalty, or safe to be your fullest self. A relationship of shared virtue where each partner challenges and supports the other to bloom into their best possible selves. I recommend drawing up a visualization of what this kind of love feels like, sounds like, quacks like and imagine it for five minutes a day, three times a day—a habit I had for more than a year. You know that love song: "You don't know what you got till it's gone?" Well, I've coined a new and happier love song: "It's easier to know what you got when you clearly write it down and clearly prioritize holding out for it!"
Karen Salmansohn is a best-selling author known for creating self-help for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading self-help. Get more information on finding a loving happier-ever-after relationship in her book Prince Harming Syndrome.
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