Interview with Carolyn Tucker
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if happiness only required plugging in a partner? Unfortunately, we cannot look to externals to provide happiness for us, and frequently we miss out on life while we are waiting for that partner to come along and provide for our happiness. As John Lennon said in his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
Women who spend all of their time waiting to become happy are not putting their best foot forward towards getting what they want. According to the Law of Attraction, in order to attract a vital, exciting, fulfilling relationship, you need to be living a vibrant, exciting and fulfilling life. There is nothing more attractive to a man than a woman who is bursting with love for her life. On the flip side, no man is longing to be in a relationship with a woman who has no interests and who waits for him to make her happy. It is a lot of responsibility to be accountable for the happiness of another.
A woman who is willing to go out and seize the day, to grab life by the horns and to drink from it fully until that right partner comes along will find that the time passes much quicker, her friendships, work and hobbies are more gratifying and that she attracts fun and exciting opportunities to herself whether she has a partner or not.
2. Sometimes women are very successful professionally but feel the exact opposite when it comes to their personal life especially relationships. In other words, they have an entirely different vibe in their careers where they are appreciated, respected, considered smart and successful, but somehow cannot seem to translate that vibe into their personal relationships. Why does this happen and what can women do to overcome this problem?
Every day I see women who are smart and competent in their careers, who admit to feeling unappreciated and disrespected in their relationships. I believe this has several contributing factors. Often in our society women are raised to feel that they are not complete without a man, and that they must compromise themselves to have a successful relationship. Many women feel guilty being successful and compensate by accepting treatment and behavior that would otherwise be considered unacceptable, or by making themselves “smaller” at home.
In my practice I address this by helping women step into their power in relationships as well as their careers. I do this by helping them learn to value their contributions and to own their gifts and abilities without fear of rejection or repercussion. This does not mean creating women who are aggressive, abrasive or masculine in their energy, however. This means truly looking at the feminine archetypes of the maiden, the mother and the crone and grasping a full appreciation of the ages and stages of a woman’s life and the power and gifts that come with each. I encourage my clients to find role models of women living in their power to associate with and to develop a support network of strong, encouraging women to assist them on their journeys.
Stepping into their power can be a very exciting process for a woman and can be invigorating to their relationships if done in a manner that is gentle and respectful of the relationship. Many women report an increase in their partner’s interest in them physically when they begin the journey of infusing their lives with this energy.
3. Can you elaborate on what you mean by stepping into power in relationships and how can women go about doing it in a manner that doesn’t come across hostile, aggressive and defensive?
Certainly! I believe that women do not realize the power they have, and that this is the cause of many of the problems of creating the life and relationships they want. By stepping into their power, I mean acknowledging their feminine, creative potential, and having a respect and reverence for it. When a woman is able to take herself seriously, speak her truth without apologizing, to express herself authentically without making herself small and to expect to be treated by all people as equal by virtue of her status as feminine, intelligent and competent then she has stepped into her power.
What many women fail to recognize is that they can be both soft and powerful at the same time. The men that I work with want a woman who knows her worth. The very act of acknowledging her worth increases her “stock value” in her man’s eyes. This is true in the workplace and in the bedroom. Men express a desire for their women to feel confident in their bodies whether they are perfect or not. The mere act of self- confidence is an aphrodisiac. When women realize and embrace this then they will realize their power in their relationships.
4. Can you explain the difference between masculine and feminine energy? How can women know that they are projecting more masculine energy and what are some ways they can transform it to feminine energy?
We all have a combination of masculine and feminine energies, and the key is making sure that we are in balance and harmony in the expression of them. Masculine energy is linear, goal oriented and mental focused. It is about “doing” and “accomplishing”. Feminine energy is more centered on creativity, nurturing, concern with feelings and emotions and intuition. Many times growing up, feminine energy is pushed to the back burner in school, with focus on concrete concepts, goals and performance. A little girl may be made to feel that she is “difficult” or “demanding” when she expresses her feelings, especially if the feelings are about her needs not being met. This dynamic is present from playground to boardroom.
Many women learn to sublimate their feelings and needs, and to express themselves in more concrete, masculine terms. In doing so, they also learn to suppress one of their most valuable assets, their intuition. Intuition for a woman is a built in GPS system that is designed to help her navigate relationships of all kinds. When she loses touch with that ability, she loses knowledge of how she comes across to people, and may not even realize that she is displaying more of a masculine energy.
Displaying feminine energy does not mean that a woman needs to “dumb herself down,” it is simply plugging into a different kind of intelligence. Feminine energy is the slow and steady, designed to be receptive, instinctual and empathetic. Our society has traditionally not valued this kind of intelligence, though there is currently a swing back in the direction of respect for these traits.
If a woman is too heavily weighted towards her feminine energy she may have trouble setting boundaries and standing up for herself. She may have trouble initiating a project and completing it. If she is too heavily weighted towards her masculine energy she may not feel comfortable discussing emotions, being receptive (either emotionally or physically in intercourse). Achieving balance is in order.
I try to assist my women clients in slowing down if they are living too much in their masculine energy. I encourage them to stop looking at the goal and to start looking at the process. Sometimes finding a creative expression such as journaling, creating some kind of artwork or even yoga or meditation can help them get in tune with their creativity, their bodies and their emotions.
5. Some women repeatedly attract the wrong men in their relationships. Can you explain why this happens and what women can do to overcome this problem?
I frequently have women clients who report that they attract the wrong men. I believe that is because they hold thoughts and beliefs that keep them repeating the same patterns in their lives. These beliefs could stem from childhood messages or from past relationships. These women benefit from therapy that examines the thoughts and beliefs and looks at the patterns repeated in their lives. Once these women gain insight and are able to reframe and reprocess these thoughts they find that they attract and are attracted to men and relationships that are healthier.
6. Some of our women subscribers have expressed that they have this deep inner fear that they would be single and miserable all their life. In the process they feel that they settle for someone who they truly believe is not a good choice for them but still pursue the relationship because they are afraid of being alone. Can you talk about how women can overcome this problem?
I see many women who would rather settle than deal with the ambiguity of not knowing if a good relationship is going to come along. The fear of being alone is greater than the desire for a relationship in which they thrive. I think that helping these women learn to address the anxiety of being alone is the best way to address this issue. Creating a life that is full and rewarding helps lessen the anxiety of not having a relationship. It has the added benefit of creating a life that is attractive and that draws people into her orbit. I find that a woman who is living a life that includes self-care, a strong pro-social network, and who is growing and learning is less apt to settle for anything in life.
7. While every relationship has its challenges and share of conflicts, at what point is it better for women to leave the relationship than work on it?
What a great question! I think it is easy to give advice for a woman to leave a relationship that has challenges and conflict, and very difficult for a woman to do it. Once a woman has given of herself and invested emotionally in a relationship, it is difficult to walk away. I think that knowing when to place appropriate boundaries regarding how much conflict or challenge is healthy is important. A trusted friend or therapist who can view the relationship without his or her own agenda is helpful in getting feedback on when to walk away.
Frequently outsiders are quick to say it’s time to call it quits when they do not have a deep understanding of the investment in the relationship. I also think that there is an element of knowing when one has reached the end of the journey that comes into play. I think that healthy women know instinctively when they are “done.” It almost seems that until a woman reaches that point it is very difficult to call it quits without regrets or revisiting the relationship over and over. Again, a trusted friend or therapist can help a woman obtain perspective on what the relationship is costing her and help her weigh the “cost to benefit” ratio of whether she is getting the appropriate emotional return on the relationship or not. If she is paying for being in the relationship by losing self-esteem then it is time to revisit the situation.
8. Can you provide some practical strategies that can help women who have a tendency to constantly compare themselves with others with regards to height, weight and physical appearance? They may feel they are not beautiful enough or slim enough or worthy enough as they make these comparisons with their friends, peers and family members.
Women who constantly compare themselves with others usually suffer from poor self-esteem. I advise using positive affirmations to address the negative thoughts they believe about themselves. Positive affirmations can actually change how our brains work. Affirmations like “I am unique and beautiful in my own way” repeated many times throughout the day can change that negative self talk. I recommend my clients set alarms on their cell phones that will remind them to repeat certain affirmations throughout the day. Making lists of things they love about themselves is another way to begin to change the need to compare.
In the beginning some women find it hard to find even one thing that they value in themselves. I find that the more these women institute a good regime of self care the more they learn to find things they value in themselves. The mere time spent lovingly lavishing lotion on the body can help a woman come to love each body part. Affirmations of “I love my legs, they are strong and beautiful and carry me through the journey of life.” Self-care encourages self love.
Learning to sit with the anxiety of not “being enough” can allow a woman precious moments to gather inner resources and to remember the positive things about herself. Getting grounded and centered by using deep breathing and paying attention to bodily sensations can help. “I feel the floor under my feet. I feel the cool air in the room. I hear the drum beat in the music.” Getting grounded and then going over the list of her own positive attributes in her mind can help a woman get off the hamster wheel of rumination and comparing.
9. Another question we get asked is about taking control of the relationship. I think there is a misconception that being demanding or nagging or controlling are the ways to show you have the power and upper hand in the relationship. Can you explain in detail what being in control of the relationship means and what are some ways women can regain control in relationships where they feel they don’t have control?
Control is such an illusion. We women fool ourselves into thinking if we nag enough we will be able to control out partner. Exactly the opposite is true. From a behaviorist perspective it takes ten positive strokes to make up for one nag or criticism. Therefore, if we are not giving ten times more positive strokes we are demotivating our partner, and may be having exactly the opposite effect of what we wish for. Encouragement and praise, and catching our partner doing “right” can go far in helping our partner be the best they can be and also encourage connection and closeness in the relationship.
Women can have control of one thing only in a relationship, themselves. This is immensely powerful if they choose to remember it. Control of one’s own reactions and responses can affect the reaction and response of the partner. It can also serve to help the woman manage her own anxiety. Believing that we can control a situation or a person is a big responsibility and can be anxiety producing in itself. Being realistic about one’s own sphere of influence is a valuable tool in knowing what one can control.
10. Experts say that the best relationship you can have in your relationship with yourself. Sometimes in this fast paced mechanical world, it is easy to place everyone’s interests above ours and women are especially likely to do this. How can women consciously and continuously nourish themselves irrespective of whether they are single or in a relationship?
A friend shared an idea with me recently that has changed my life and the lives of many of my clients. She said to me one day, “I am going to treat myself like I would a man I was in love with.” So simple. So profound. I began to toy with the idea of what would happen if we turned that tender, loving energy that we would give a lover, inward, on ourselves.
What if we began to notice the little things that bring ourselves joy, and to do them as a gift to our lover-self? What if we made time to do the things that nurture our spirit as an act of pouring love on ourselves? How about speaking those little words of affirmation and support in an intimate whisper when we need to hear them most? Or looking deep into our own eyes and forgiving ourselves for not being perfect, embracing the broken pieces, just like we would the “other” in a relationship? Even the way we relate to our own bodies could change if we learned to accept and embrace them lovingly.
I began sharing this philosophy with my clients and they reported back with tears of fragile hope that poured down their faces when they looked themselves tenderly in the mirror and said, “I love you.” One client stated that he realized that he would never use the kind of talk or tone with a lover that he used with himself on a daily basis, and he began to change that negative internal dialogue. Another reported that her relationship was improving because she was displaying better boundaries with her spouse, spurred by her newly cultivated loving relationship with herself. Yet another reported that during his daily meditation time he focused that loving energy inward, and that it was a sacred experience for him to sit daily in the presence of that unconditional love.
About Carolyn Tucker
Carolyn is a National Board Certified psychotherapist, certified life coach and energy healer, is a graduate of Argosy University, and a former Harvard research assistant. She specializes in divorce issues, trauma and anxiety. Carolyn works with a broad spectrum of clients. Among her areas of expertise are relationship issues, pre and post divorce issues and custody communication, trauma, anxiety, and gay and lesbian relationship issues.
She uses a unique blend of mind/body interventions, coaching, energy medicine and extensive traditional therapy modalities. She is distance counseling certified and offers Skype, email and chat counseling and coaching for your ease and convenience.
Carolyn is a person-centered therapist. Her therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client.
With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing. Carolyn is known for her warmth and nurturing support as well as her extensive training.
To know more about Carolyn Tucker, visit her website, www.carolyntuckertherapist.com or call her at 770-789-0847.