One of my coaching clients, Joe (not his real name), was dating and hoping to find someone for a long-term relationship.
He had written a list of what he was looking for and fine-tuned it. He’d done a lot work to heal after his first marriage ended.
There was some work we could do together around clarifying his values and how to screen, sort and test possible relationship partners.
Also, like many sex positive people, he had some mixed feelings about monogamy vs. an open or polyamorous relationship. During his coaching sessions, one of the things we talked about was how his lack of clarity about the relationship model he wanted was a potential minefield. It could bring unintended pain into his next relationship.
The biggest issue that was blocking Joe from finding a life partner to marry was that he simply could not imagine himself in a relationship.
Now, this problem was not apparent to Joe at all. Had anyone pointed that out to him early on he would have strongly denied it, left, right and center.
Although dating to find a life partner is a common concern of many of my coaching clients, the relevance of this issue was not clear to me at first either. This is one reason why a series of coaching conversations over time can be so helpful in uncovering the deeper awareness that can show you the way forward.
Every time Joe dated someone he quickly came up with all the reasons why it could not and would not work with that person.
On the surface this did not seem like a problem.
After all there needs to be some chemistry. It’s important to not settle for just anyone. This means it takes time.
It’s part of the dating process to meet lots of people who are not a good match.
Like many people over 40, Joe’s life was complicated. There was work, commitments to a church and social groups, hobbies, two homes along with two cars and a pool and garden to maintain.
In addition, there were regular vacations and ski trips. Joe also loved entertaining and cooking for a crowd.
In a lot of ways, Joe had a perfect life. So why wasn’t he finding that special someone?
As we talked over a series of coaching sessions, it became clear that in the midst of maintaining and enjoying his busy life, Joe had not really imagined how a life partner would fit in.
Yes, he had time for some dates. He knew a relationship would bring some adjustments. He was careful to talk in an evolved way about being open to the “growing pains” of that.
Still, it looked like he did not have space in his life for another person.
The deeper issue though was his imagination.
Joe had already thought of all the wonderful things – like great sex, hosting parties and going on ski trips together.
Sure, he could be more specific in his imagination in those areas. But the biggest issue was that he hadn’t paused to really imagine what a normal day would look like.
Joe also wasn’t very visual, so at first, he did not like my suggestion to visualize.
Visualization is about all five senses
While the word visualization is most commonly used, the word imagine would be much better.
You can imagine with any of your five senses, as well as that gut “feeling” that we might call a felt sense or some would call a sixth sense.
If you don’t visualize easily see if you can imagine. Think about all your senses.
In that ideal situation, what would be the sounds, the feeling on your skin or deep inside where you feel things, Notice and imagine even the smells and tastes of that desired situation. How would your morning coffee taste or feel differently after you found and married that special person,
Let yourself imagine and feel how good it will be
Most children have a vivid imagination. Often in our society, as we grow up, the rules and discipline of school, work and social expectations strongly influence us to disconnect from our imagination.
If imagination seems too far a stretch, see if you can gently increase your curiosity.
Look for things in your daily life to be curious about. It can be a doorway to imagination.
Then give yourself some space and time to thoroughly imagine. Call it meditation if that helps you feel freer to take the time to do so.
Imagine that thing you want – that relationship or sexual experience, the new home or better job. What would that feel like with all your senses, not just visually,
Be specific and detailed in your visualization
Make a point to imagine all aspects of what you want. If you’re looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend or someone to marry, then imagine everything.
Don’t stop with imagining the sex and the vacations.
Take some time to imagine the supportive and friendly way that disagreements and arguments play out. On a rushed, busy morning before work who will use the bathroom first, How will you be with each other if one of you is sick,
Be specific in your imagination. Don’t just think “nice beach vacation.” Where will this be, Will the beach be rocky or sandy, How long with it take to get there, What will the lodging look like, The meals, How big are the waves, How bright is the sun, What would you do if it rained or you got sunburned,
Why visualization and imagination are so powerful
Movie stars, politicians and Olympic athletes have all used visualization to bring their dreams to life, and you can too.
One of the reasons that visualization is so powerful is that the unconscious mind does not distinguish between something you are experiencing and something you’re only imagining.
By imagining (visualizing) you put yourself into a mental state that is more resonant or compatible with the reality. That more compatible mindset makes it easier for you to take the steps to make what you long for a reality in your life. It makes you more magnetic to the people who will help you experience the things you long for.
Invite your longings into reality through creative imagination
Visualization – or creative imagination in all its forms – can be an effective help for manifesting your longings in the arena of relationships, sexuality and intimacy. Take some time to be calm and relaxed. Focus your attention on the process.
Imagine with all your senses. Be specific and let yourself imagine and feel what it will be like. Make it a practice to do this regularly.