I’ve Really Been Struggling Lately


In the past week I’ve had two “suspicious” moles removed and biopsied, am scheduled for a medical procedure to rule out all the crazy things I think are lurking and just waiting to kill me, and I’m soon making a big move to live in the Chicago “burbs”, happily to be near my younger son and his family which includes the world’s little “Joy Machine” of a grandson. And, moves are no small potatoes! I’ve been busy, but there’s been plenty of time left over to systematically wonder what’s wrong with me for not being able to handle the stress better? There must be something wrong because I can conjure up any number of people that I just know would not be feeling so afraid. They would be handling it better than me. You see the problem here?


Why are we so hard on ourselves at times when our day or even days aren’t perfect, and WE aren’t perfect? When we feel sad or anxious, angry or like we’ve failed at something? Why can’t we be better at handling it we ask ourselves? We try harder and harder to manage the feelings. We do more yoga, meditate longer,  walk until we have blisters…all good things to do by the way, however what works to make us truly feel better when life hands us big challenges is always compassion. It’s a word used a lot by Oprah and the Dalai Lama. Easy for them to say. Maybe if I had millions of dollars, I’d be able to cope better too. If I were celibate, being alone would give me more time to meditate. As Oprah would say, “One thing I know for sure is_______”. Well, one thing I know for certain is that it’s really hard to stop those voices that tell me I should do this all “better”.


Years ago when I went to my first therapist, she listened to me as I revealed my endless lists of “shouldas and couldas”. She looked sad when I finally stopped. Looking right into my eyes, softly and firmly she told me something that changed my life. “Donna, you have to treat yourself better and not constantly beat up on yourself. You set impossible standards to meet. Nobody could possibly live up to those.” But no matter how hard I tried to rewire that brain of mine, I couldn’t seem to do it. Then she showed me the way. I hope this will work for you too.


When I am in stressful times and feel afraid, I spin off into those old behaviors, expectations and self-criticism that sometimes can lead to self-loathing.  There’s no way out when you’re in that dark place of the soul, except this…

Imagine this part of you that is frightened, anxious, sad, and frozen is a 2 year old child and you are their parent or caregiver. This sweet little one is very small and can’t soothe herself. She needs an adult now. What would you do? Yell at her? Tell her she needs to stop feeling that way? Of course not! You’d pick her up or take her sweet little hand and bend down, hug her, pick her up in your arms and rock her. That’s what you need for yourself now. When we are frightened, it’s the “little person” in us that needs to be heard and cared for. She needs compassion, not criticism. Lots and lots of compassion.


So today if you’re having a “bad one” or you’re in the midst of a big change, struggling with the flu that never ends, dealing with the loneliness of being single yet another Valentine’s Day…whatever your challenge, catch yourself when you try to shut yourself up or down and remember, there’s a little one who needs your attention and love. Stop and give that to him/her…Your sweet self. That’s what I’m gonna do. It’s worked the best of anything I’ve ever known and hope it will for you.

Tired of watching sunsets alone? Looking for someone to hold you too? I can show you the way to find a special someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life. All you need to do is be open and ready to do any and everything it takes to make loving again a reality.

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

510-817-4242      donna@donnasbigredchair.love

What “Rules of Dating” Really Matter?

rules photo



Boy, do we have rules when it comes to dating and relationships! Most of us have no awareness of them until we stop long enough to see them.

And, truth be known, about 90% of these rules only get us into trouble.


A good friend introduces you to someone, saying “You two would really like each other. You should get together!” Well, since personal introductions are as rare as hen’s teeth, you’d be a fool to ignore it. Who makes the first contact? Rule 1: Assuming this is a heterosexual match-making effort, this rule says that the man “should” take the first step.  But Why?? Remember going to the junior high dance with your girlfriends and waiting for one of those cute, sweet guys to cross the gym’s Arabian Desert with the confidence of  the Fonz? Pretty much didn’t happen, right? Well, why are we still believing that is their job when it was too scary for them way back then?


Try on this one…Rule 2: Men don’t like women who are aggressive, bossy, dominant, “forward”, or… wait for it…powerful. True or False? Who knows, but many women have this belief in the marrow of our bones, so to be the first to say, “Let’s meet for coffee” feels scary and risky. My question is WHO IN THE HELL WRITES THESE RULES?


How many dates until you sleep with her? Who pays the dinner bill? How long after the date should you wait to send a text saying “I had a good time” or “Want to do this on Friday night?”  How long do you date before you expect someone to be monogamous? How do you ask them if they are still online?


And after you have been seeing each other _______ months, is it time she/he introduced you to friends and family? He/she hasn’t said “I love you” and it has been ________ months. He wants to go to Peru for two months. How can he do that? He must not care.


You get the gist of it and if you pay attention to your own thoughts, there are many many more of these RULES by which we live for some ungodly reason that is beyond me. And yet, I am drawn to live by them too until I realize (and I have realized big time lately) how utterly random and destructive these kinds of benchmarks are in our love lives.


Me… I am working hard at developing a new paradigm of dating and relationships. In this new world, I will let go of artificial timetables, useless stereotypes, and random measuring sticks as much as is humanly possible. Then, I plan on spending some time surveying what “rules” might need to remain because the remaining 10% are healthy guideposts and boundaries and those are a necessary part of loving someone and building a life together.

Confusion often leads us to make mistakes that can cost us an opportunity to find the love we so want.

If you’re not having success in your search for love, perhaps it’s time to learn the truth about what men and women are all about and discover just how to find a special someone with whom to share this amazing chapter of your life!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair

510-817-4242   donna@donnasbigredchair.love

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