Almost two years ago, I began to reach out to local dating experts to pick their brains on what it’s like to date in our modern era. Little did I know, those two conversations would be recorded, videotaped, and become one of the most popular dating podcasts in Denver.
I also had no idea that this journey would introduce me to some of the most knowledgeable and authentic people from across the world. From Greece, to Spain, to Brazil, and across America, I have met and interviewed over 100 authors, coaches, counselors, and relationship experts willing to share their tips and tools to help our audience grow in their romantic relationships.
I am sure that none of our amazing experts imagined that they would lead me down a path to discovering my authentic self after countless failed relationships in the past 30 years of dating. I started the podcasts with questions just like you. Why is it so hard to genuinely connect with others? Why do people ghost one another? What is a Catfish? What does it mean when my ex watches everything I do on social media, six months after we stopped dating?
So I sought out the answers because I was getting frustrated about being alone, without a partner in this life, but certainly not lonely. I sought out local experts first and then began to expand our reach when the podcast grew. I felt a pull toward a new mission in life after seven years as a self-employed personal trainer. Little did I know that I would connect the dots between my personal mission in life and my professional life. Where am I going in this world? How can I impact more lives?
These were two questions I kept asking myself as I entered into one of the longest periods of personal growth and development I had ever experienced. It felt as if there was no end to the tunnel of darkness that I was in after the two most recent breakups in 2017. You see, I hadn’t been single in about eight years and to be honest, it was so different out there now than it was back then while dating my college sweetheart.
I found out that my personal life wasn’t independent of my professional purpose and mission. I sought to uncover why it was that single, professional, heartbroken women gravitated to my personal training business. How’s that for a big question to ask yourself?
Well, I finally found my answer in The Enneagram. This self-assessment tool has unlocked the deepest expanse of my being to shed light onto the big questions I was asking myself nightly as I lay awake “manifesting” my true love to replace the last one. Discovering my personality type as The Challenger through The Enneagram gave me the answers to why I showed up like a Mack Truck full of Marshmallows.
As a type 8, I turn to anger first above all other emotions. I have a tendency to take things very personally and am ultimately hurt more than other personality types by betrayal, dishonesty, manipulation, and possessiveness in a partner, friend, or family member. If you haven’t take your own Enneagram test, please take ten minutes to do that now at 9types.com and then screen shot your results to me by email, text, or Instagram @believeberealbebold
How does that tie into my personal mission to share the benefits of fitness and nutrition for improving mental health? In so many ways that are too many to list off here but I’ll let you in on a well known secret (if you’ve read my memoir Aspire Higher, you’ve heard the full story) that I have combatted anxiety and depression with consistent weightlifting, nutrition, boxing, and now jiu-jitsu. For the past 20 plus years, managing my mental health has largely been successful through these avenues and without prescriptions.
That is, until I went through those two break ups in 2017! I felt my own identity had disappeared and while interviewing experts from across the world, I have discovered that if you and I both feel that way, then we are not alone! It happens to the best of us. We are strongly affirmed of our individuality when single, but as soon as we enter a new relationship, situationship, or crush, we totally lose ourselves again!
That’s where I was in December of 2017. Single again and wondering what the hell just happened to cause my partner to seek out a coworker for validation and attention. I began to look inward for the first time in 20 years and found the darkest places of my heart were unhealed from trauma in my teens. That’s when I looked up Cognitive Behavioral Therapists in the Denver are and found Rocky Mountain Counseling Collective and began to see Hannah weekly to unravel some repressed memories that had resurfaced from a decade before.
Looking back on that breakup, I have a lot of gratitude for it ending because it became a catalyst moment in my life that launched me forward to exponential personal growth. I began with counseling, further deepened my relationship with God at Flatirons Church, wrote my memoir, started the BBR Podcast, and became an expert in myself through The Enneagram.
So who was I after all that?
Still single and a whole lot more confused when meeting new women to date in Denver. But I kept trying and trying and trying, only occasionally taking a break to regroup and rebuild a strong foundation of self independent of a partner. I’ve met some amazing women in the past two years and each of them taught me something new about myself. If you’ve been listening to the podcast recently, you will hear a common theme pop up in our authentic conversations that shares my belief that we learn more about ourselves in a relationship than when we are alone.
I’ve read countless books on the subject but it wasn’t until I experienced another catalyst moment that helped me become clearer on my personal mission in life that I have the blessing to share with you each week on the podcast.
The truth is. I fell in love last year. For the first time in two years, I had met and fallen in love with two people. First, I fell in love with myself. And second, a woman entered my life when I wasn’t expecting it while taking a break from dating altogether. I mentioned or alluded to the fact that I was dating someone in the fall of ’19 on the podcast a few times, but as a commitment to honor my partners, I don’t self disclose often unless in is situationally appropriate.
Again, this was an opportunity God was placing in front of me to learn even more about myself IN a relationship that I wouldn’t have been able to uncover alone.
By this relationship ending I was able to discover the following missing pieces in my romantic and personal life.
Just because I have needs, doesn’t make me “needy”. The night we ended it, she asked me a question that has helped me discover this fact since then, for that I am grateful. The question was this, “What do you need?”. My response in the moment was that “I needed to have this conversation” which after many hours of thought, journaling, and self-discovery I came to understand my needs when in relationship. They are…
- I need safety and security and that presents itself as a commitment and a choice to love one another
- I need effective communication with my partner to build trust and honor “Us” first and foremost
I am sure that I will discover more needs in the future but what I’d like to highlight is that when your partner (or I) am coming across as “needy”, it is a sign that we are experiencing an unmet need subconsciously or from our attachment style.
I am further grateful that this experience has taught me the real meaning of value. I love this quote, “Know the value of knowing your value”. When in a relationship, we want to have safety and security as a core need, but we also have an innate desire to be valued.
I’ve learned over the past two years that validation must come from within but we have a tendency to lose ourselves in a relationship and seek validation from our partners. Because of this person, I was able to completely understand what it means to know my value. I had not projected my internal value to someone I loved dearly and that is what I choose to take ownership of before I meet the woman I am meant to be with long term.
The values that I have learned are important to me are on my mirror in my bathroom at home… they are as follow plus a picture to go along with it!
That’s a long list but it’s really fucking important that you know this about yourself before you meet your ideal long term partner!
Now, here’s how you and I are going to go about tying in all of the intricate details of your purpose WITH your needs AND your values so that you can find lasting love this year!
It comes down to this.
To BE your sovereign, autonomous, and aligned self, you must stand up for your purpose without wavering even the slightest bit. You must stand firm on your pillars of optimal health with boundaries that include your mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial health.
You cannot be afraid of making your partner mad or upset because if I have learned anything about my own worth is that you would much rather HAVE YOUR PARTNER MAD at you than indifferent.
The opposite of love is not hate, but rather indifference.
Your partner will ultimately respect your firm boundaries that guide you toward your life’s mission and that will keep the fire and attraction going in your relationship for the long haul.
If you’re in the Denver area, join us for a night of authentic dating with We Talk Real Talk, hosted by Alyse Opatowski and Dave Glaser. Special guests include Jessica Smith, Suzanne Muller, and Rachel Overvoll, published authors and dating gurus in the Denver area attending to give you tools to show up as your most authentic selves! Click below to sign up now!https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lets-talk-about-authentic-dating-tickets-92958359957