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Dear Dr. Rob: Should I Ghost People?

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To ghost or not to ghost, that is the question.

On the one hand, ghosting somebody (especially if they are being annoying or disrespectful) is an easy way to shut them out of your life. After all, it requires almost no effort on your part, avoids confrontation, and is mentally and emotionally soothing. 

But on the other hand, ghosting somebody (even if they are being annoying or disrespectful) can stunt your personal growth and negatively impact your communication with others in the long run. But why? Because if you ghost somebody once (for a major or minor offense) it makes it easier to ghost somebody else and then somebody else and then somebody else. In other words, ghosting one person can create a pattern where you easily give up on communicating with multiple other people even if those other people haven’t done harmful things to you (ie, you end up ghosting these others just because you don’t “feel” like talking to them not because they have wronged you). 

We see this phenomenon often in (online) dating. For example, two people can be talking and then out of the blue one person stops talking and never gives a reason why (leaving the other person scratching their head). 

But this phenomenon of ghosting is also going beyond dating and is increasingly being transferred to friendships, certain types of work relationships, and all types of online communication. And it’s happening because people simply don’t feel like talking.

Yes, removing yourself from toxic people (or toxic communications) is something you should do. And yes, making sure people understand and respect your communication boundaries is important. But for many of the people who are ghosting others today, they are ghosting them without ever having a meaningful conversation with them about how to possibly improve the communication  that they believe is worthy of ghosting. And as a consequence, all sorts of confusion, resentment, and misunderstandings are happening simply because many people who ghost others have not yet developed the maturity, respect or empathy for others, or communication skills they need to truly engage with others on an adult level.

So if you are considering ghosting somebody please think long and hard about whether you are considering it because they are being toxic to you or because you simply don’t feel like talking to them. If it is for the latter reason, I’d highly encourage you to keep the communication open with them for their sake (and your own).

Dr. Rob Carpenter - known simply as “Dr. Rob” - is a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO whose mission is to entertain, empower, and uplift people and humanity.

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Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Start To Love Myself?

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Dear. Dr. Rob: How Do I Start To Love Myself?

Self-care and self-love are two of the most important things you can do. And, in my ways, they are two sides of the same coin (although one is more about behaviors (self-care) and the other is more about identity (self-love)). 

I realize that self-love can be a difficult thing to grasp. It’s difficult because what does it mean “to love yourself?” After all, this is very abstract and no amount of pampering yourself can truly make you love yourself more. Sure, it can help you de-stress or do the things you enjoy, but it cannot change the underlying identity you ascribe to yourself (i.e., you can buy a Ferrari to make yourself feel better temporarily but if you still believe you aren’t good enough this Ferrari will do nothing to change your underlying beliefs about yourself over the long-run).

So how the heck do you start to love yourself if self-love is more than pampering yourself (which is really just self-care)? Here are just a few ways:

  1. To begin loving yourself, start by forgiving yourself for being an imperfect human being. Even though you know you’re not perfect, you still judge and criticize aspects of yourself so much that you often refuse to accept yourself as you are. If you simply accept that being authentic is better than being perfect you can begin having a healthier relationship with the person staring at you in the mirror.
  1. To begin loving yourself, refuse to let your pain, mistakes, past failures, or any negative labels define you. To love yourself, you should realize you are not defined by your lowest moments (or the worst things ever said or thought about you), but you are defined by the best of you. If you embrace this, your self-image will begin to change over time from being one that is negative to one that is positive because you will associate yourself with positivity, not negativity – which will make all the difference in your self-love journey. 
  1. To begin loving yourself, only hang around positive and uplifting people. The saying goes if you run with chickens you become a chicken, but if you fly with eagles you will soar like one. In other words, the more you are around people that love themselves, the more it will rub off on you so that you can begin loving yourself too. Self-love in one person breeds self-love in others, for example.
  1. To begin loving yourself, commit to loving yourself through every season of life. Because life is a collection of seasons (seasons of peace and seasons of battle, for example), your identity and self-love will be challenged because your circumstances will constantly be changing. As a consequence, you have to tie your self-love not to what you’re experiencing (i.e., whether you are having success or failure or whether others are treating you right or not) and instead tie your self-love to who you are. In other words, you have to tie loving yourself to the idea that you matter because you exist as an authentic human being, not because you are a successful or perfect one.

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Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Overcome My Insecurities?

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Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Overcome My Insecurities?

Taking on – and overcoming – insecurities is a very brave thing to do. It’s brave not only because most people don’t do it; it’s brave because it means that you’re a warrior who is willing to do whatever it takes so that no perceived flaw will hold you back.

The insecurities that you develop over time can be relatively minor or they can be major things that create significant negative consequences in your life. Regardless, the fact remains that you have them and want to get them out of your life. But the question is how? Although you might feel like you will have these insecurities all of your life, the reality is that you don’t have to. Here are 5 ways to overcome the perceived flaws and insecurities you have about yourself that you believe are holding you back from being your best:

  1. Admit that you have insecurities. Through simply acknowledging the truth you can remove much of the ego and fear you might have about your perceived flaws which could put up unnecessary barriers on your road to recovery. Being honest is always the first step in healing any kind of issue in your life.
  1. Don’t get defensive. When overcoming an insecurity (or insecurities), it can be hard not to try to rationalize or justify them (especially if other people have pointed them out to you or somehow added to the trauma you have experienced because of them). The key here is to be humble and embrace potential solutions from others even if it temporarily bruises your pride (because having “temporarily bruised pride” is better than having a “forever insecurity”).
  1. Change what you can and accept what you can’t. While it’s true that many of your insecurities can be changed through behavior modification, it’s also true that some of your insecurities will only be changed through “perception modification.” That is, you may have to change the way you think or feel about a perceived flaw instead of trying to change the perceived flaw itself. Either way you win, but just know you can use both strategies to overcome various insecurities. If you remember nothing else from this post remember this: your insecurity can be overcome with new behaviors or new perceptions.
  1. Reject your haters. Part of the reason you have insecurities is because you are afraid that other people will reject or embarrass you. But if you embrace the idea of rejecting those who only accept a “certain version of you” – and not the real you – you will remove half the battle you have with your insecurities because you won’t be trying to please or impress or win others’ favor. People will have to want you for you and, if they don’t, they don’t belong in your life. 
  1. Choose to live freely. By choosing to break out of the straight jacket that says you have to be perfect to be happy or confident, you can live with a freedom most others desperately crave. When you live freely, you reject perfectionism and instead pursue authenticity (the key ingredient that helps you overcome your insecurities).

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Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Know If They’re “The One”?

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Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Know If They’re “The One?”

Trying to discern if the person we’re interested in or dating is “the one” is one of the most important things we can do in our lives. Not only will “the one” impact our mental and emotional states, but they will have considerable influence on whether we pursue our dreams; how much money we make; and whether we live up to our potential and the destiny we have been called to fulfill.

Clearly, finding the one is more than just a romantic exercise; it is a soul and destiny-defining event that we must take very seriously.

But the key question is, how do you know if you’ve found the one if you’re currently dating or pursuing somebody? What are the signs you should be looking for? And when should you expect to see them? 

Although society tells you that you should look for physical attraction; a person that makes you feel good; and a host of very specific particularites conducive to your personality (ie, I know somebody who had such a thing for DJs and people who were a specific height and used these factors as “signs” somebody was the one), the reality is you need to be looking more deeply into the people you’re dating beyond the feelings they’re giving you and beyond them meeting an arbitrary list of (often superficial) qualifications. 

Here are a few “deeper signs” that the person you’re dating might be the one (beyond you being romantically attracted to them):

  1. If they’re “the one,” you won’t have a desire to change them. Ironically, many people feel like somebody will be “just perfect” if only they can change some aspect about the person they’re dating. But the reality is people rarely change- or they rarely change on your timetable- and wanting to change them is a sign they might not be ready or capable of being with you (or vice versa). “The one” is not a fixer-upper project; they will come “move-in” ready. 
  1. If they’re “the one,” you will make sure that their values and beliefs are in sync with yours. “The one” won’t hide who they are and they will let you know their beliefs about relationships, family, work, money, religion, politics, society, and beyond. And these values for the most part will line up with your values (maybe not 100%, but pretty close). 
  1. If they’re “the one,” they won’t use manipulation strategies or tactics to try to win you over or keep you. They won’t play you off against other people, they won’t try to make you jealous or insecure, and they won’t withhold communicating their feelings to you to try to draw you closer. 
  1. If they’re “the one,” they will be explicitly committed to your relationship and its growth. When somebody is meant to be, they will let you know they are there for you and will want to see you and your relationship continue growing to the next level. They won’t become complacent after the honeymoon phase ends; they will continue being there for you and making sure you two are becoming better and better as an item. 

Of course, you may not be able to discern these signs from somebody right away but over time they will become very apparent. So make sure you keep them in mind when you’re evaluating whether to make a lifelong commitment to somebody who will have more influence over your future than you may currently realize. 

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