You need to be whole as your individual self to be able to be in a healthy romantic relationship. Then, you and your partner can show up fully in your relationship as a couple. Listen to this episode to learn what it takes to be able to be full as an individual and in the duality of a partnership in this conversation with Dr. Jane Mims.
Dr. Jane Mims has more than 20 years experience in management and building teams. She is a PhD, professional coach and international speaker specializing in Executive Management Coaching and Life Success Coaching.
Jane’s passion for personal excellence in all areas of life drives her interest in life coaching. She wraps it all back around to the same basic models as executive management coaching time management, situation management, self-knowledge/realization, and self-discipline. Running a successful and low-stress life also demands management skills, and that is what inspired Jane’s devotion to coaching and helping others in this area.
Jane is an Emmy award-winning journalist who loves to stay fit, volunteer in her community, practice yoga and read. Mindfulness, awareness, and the practice of active gratitude are part of Jane’s daily life and mission. She brings all of them into her coaching style. She believes there are not two sides to every issue, but myriad ways to approach life.
She lives in Memphis, TN with her husband Bob, their five children, two spirited Goldendoodles, and two cats.
We recorded this episode on 26 May, 2022.
Contact and follow Jane by visiting her website https://gildcoaching.com.
When you make sure that your cup is full, the energy that you’re putting out is I am whole, I am complete. I’m happy. I’m content. I’m open to new forms of happiness and contentment, relationships, abundance, whatever. I’m open to new forms of happiness and contentment to flow into my realization, to flow into my existence. However, I’m also good right now.Tweet
Timeline of the Chat
[01:07] Preparing for a relationship
[06:54] Love languages
[07:57] Being your best self
[19:33] Take care of individual needs and that of the couple
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If you don’t love you enough to invest everything that you have in yourself to be your best self, why should anybody else love you ever.Tweet
Even if it’s only five minutes, even if it’s only one minute, if I can find one thing each day that I intentionally did to connect with my true self and pour love in, then I would consider that my highest success of that week.Tweet
Transcript of the Episode
[01:07] Preparing for a relationship
[01:07] Damianne President: For somebody who is single, are there things that they should be doing, could be doing to prepare for a relationship?
[01:15] Jane Mims: Yes. That’s such a great question. And usually, people who are single aren’t asking that; they’re just asking where is he, where is she, where are they? But yes, there are definitely things to do to prepare.
Number one, recognize that you have to really have yourself in order. It’s kind of like, what’s that saying? Don’t criticize someone else unless your own house is in order or something like that. Or he who’s without sin cast the first stone, you know, all of those types of ideas.
And I’m not saying, you know, hold off on relationships until you’re perfect. Please don’t. I wouldn’t be married if I was waiting to be perfect; I’d still be waiting to be perfect forever because I’m human. But if you’re focusing on creating your best self, then your focus and your attention, and your energy is pouring into you. And why is that important? Because if you don’t love you enough to invest everything that you have in yourself to be your best self, why should anybody else love you ever, at all. So practicing that and dedicating ourselves to our own excellence, whatever excellence means for you.
For me, I tend to if gone unchecked, which I’ve got my system of checks and balances to keep this in line, but if gone unchecked, I’m quite the workaholic. I run two businesses. I have international partnerships. I do Forex trading. I do crypto trade. I have like five kids, two dogs, two cats; there’s a lot going on here, you know, husband, home, lots of stuff. I will work and neglect self if I don’t have the system of checks and balances in. So my excellence doesn’t come from look at my balance sheet, look how much money I made, look how many clients I’m working with, look how many podcasts I’m on, look at…. It doesn’t come from all of that.
Work is very easy for me because I love it. I love my family too, and I love myself as well. However, I will put myself last without the checks and balances. I can get to the end of a week and look back and say, here’s how I invested in myself, my mind, my body, my wellbeing, separate from everybody else separate from being a wife, a mother, a dog mom, a step-mom, a homeowner, coach, whatever. Separate from any of that outside of me, if I can look back and every single day point out one thing that I did to pour into myself to help me find my personal calm, to shut the chatter down in the brain cause all that work is a lot of chatter. If I can find one thing each day, even if it’s only five minutes, even if it’s only one minute, if I can find one thing each day that I intentionally did to connect with my true self and pour love in, then I would consider that my highest success of that week, because I can accomplish just about anything else, but that’s my sticking point.
Another thing that people need to realize is when you get together if you’re looking for marriage or a partnership, something like that, two halves don’t make a whole. So if you are looking for someone to complete things in you that you want, you desire, then you’ll always be wanting because you’re frankly putting too much pressure on this person, whoever this person is. So you have to make sure that you have found things that you create, that you cultivate from within yourself that fill your own cup so that you have a full cup to bring to the relationship.
So you have two people with full cups wanting to serve each other. What happens when you have two people with full cups? I pour some in here. You pour some in there. The cups stay full. Maybe some spills every once in a while; that’s fine. Nobody’s perfect, no relationship’s perfect, no person is perfect. But when you make sure that your cup is full, the energy that you’re putting out is I am whole, I am complete. I’m happy. I’m content. I’m open to new forms of happiness and contentment, relationships, abundance, whatever. I’m open to new forms of happiness and contentment to flow into my realization, to flow into my existence. However, I’m also good right now. And when you put out that energy, that’s the type of person who’s going to be attracted back to you.
Other people are also going to be attracted back to you, people who are looking for someone else to complete them. They’re going to look at you and say that person has it all together. Maybe this is what will make me happy. So you’ve got to watch out for those folks, but just be open to accepting and exploring and seeing, because when you’re focused on yourself, you’re probably not going to be so likely to jump in too quickly before you have time to, you know, run your scans and figure out if this is a person with a full cup, or if this is a person with a half-full cup that wants me to keep going and keep filling. So yeah, number one is, be complete in yourself.
[06:40] Love languages
[06:40] Jane Mims: A lot of married couples who have become exhausted will say, well, I mean, I always do this for her and she just doesn’t appreciate it. And then she’ll say, well, I always do this for him or her and she doesn’t appreciate it either.
They’re each speaking their own love language. So like, if his love language is acts of service and he goes out and most the lawn and that’s serving her, and her love language is quality time and she plans these events for him but he wants acts of service, they’re going to be giving each other what they want instead of saying how can I twist quality time into an act of service so that he’ll pick it up and say, Ooh, look at this lovely thing. Or how can I twist this act of service into quality time or whatever so that she’ll understand? That’s really what we need to be doing. It sounds like a whole lot of work, but actually, when you know and understand the different languages that everyone speaks and understands when it comes to love, it’s not that complicated.
[07:42] Being your best self
[07:42] Damianne President: Yeah. I think a lot of it is having the intention to know that it’s not just about what I want or what I think I’m doing, but also how the other person is receiving it or are they even able to receive it so that’s something for people to think about.
I do want to go back and talk about having the self in order, and what does it mean to be your best self? One of my concerns is that if people think that they need to be their best self like you said, they’ll think that it needs to be some sort of perfection because we could always be aspiring for that best idea.
And so one thing that I’m wondering, would like to offer perhaps is if you have a commitment to being your best self that could indicate some sort of readiness for relationship, and not just commitment in a theoretical basis, but commitment in terms of you have some framework. You were talking about the checks and balances of how you’re going to show up, how you’re going to take care of yourself, how you’re going to keep that cup full for you to be able to be in relationship with another person.
[08:45] Jane Mims: Right. Okay. So two things. First, you said about the perfectionism. I don’t know where it came from, and it is not my quote, but there’s a statement that I heard years ago that it just stuck with me, and it was don’t let best get in the way of better.
So we’ll have this idea of best, which really is skirting perfection if not actually perfection, and then we won’t accept any of the steps toward it as I’m better, I’m better. I’m better. I’m improving here. Because we’re letting best get in the way. Oh, well, I’m not there yet. Well, guess what, you’re never really going to get there because best moves. It’s a moving target, everybody.
And so your perception of perfection will shift as you grow. And today I am grown. I’m no longer yesterday days old. I am now today days old. And so, my entire experience has shifted. So how to have that template. That’s a really great question. I mean, we could do like three hours on that question but we won’t.
I think honestly, can I kind of just give everybody a little exercise if you are a single person.
[09:51] Damianne President: Absolutely, please.
[09:53] Jane Mims: Okay, so if you are a single person, and you are wanting to create the best version of yourself, understanding that it’s a moving target and some days are going to be better than others cause we’re humans….
So being the best version of yourself means that no matter what I have to give today to me, to you, to anybody else, even when you’re having one of those days that’s not a hundred percent if you can commit to bring a hundred percent of whatever you have, then you’ll succeed. I can only get 50% today. Great. Can I have a hundred percent of your 50%? Can you have a hundred percent at your 50%? You know, figuring out how to give yourself a break. Just give yourself a break.
Yesterday, I wasn’t at a hundred percent; I was just kinda run down. I didn’t really sleep very well the night before. It’s just been one heck of a week with a lot of different things happening personally, relationally with parenting, all of that. And I developed a bit of a headache for the first time in gosh, I don’t even know how long, thank goodness. I just unplugged and relaxed. And did I give a hundred percent of what I had to give yesterday? Yeah. And then my body said, you need to chill out and put into yourself.
[11:07] Jane Mims: So the exercise that I want everyone to do, if you’re single, this is fantastic to do as a checks and balances. If you’re in a relationship, especially if you’re in a relationship with any sort of discontent, discord where you’re not really hearing each other, where you’re not connecting in some way, this will be very good for you to do.
So, I’d like you to just to get a blank sheet of paper, and I’d like you to write down just bullet points or whatever, every single area of life or thing that helps you to feel fulfilled. Just close your eyes. I like to say go get a hot cup of tea because it’s like my favorite just calm me down treat; I just love herbal tea or water or whatever.
Get into a place with no distractions and that you’re comfortable. Enjoy some deep breaths; deep breaths will always help you to calm and get to that good state of mind. And ask yourself the question, what speaks fulfillment to me? And then I just want you to write down everything that speaks fulfillment to you.
Me personally, I am tough with myself and workouts. When I finish a hard workout, especially one that I don’t really feel like I can give my a hundred percent, when I finish that, that feeling of accomplishment, knowing that I’ve pushed past my perceived barrier, really speaks fulfillment. Oh, okay. So I write that down. Fantastic. Move on to the next one.
What speaks fulfillment to me? When this week, my 14-year-old gave me a letter that said I’m her best friend and her role model. So emotional. It was just beautiful. She graduated from junior high school. The graduates were supposed to write letters to their parents, and they could write anything that they wanted. And she gave these specific examples of how through my positivity and my focus, I’ve inspired her to be her best self version. Not her exact words, but that was so fulfilling to me. Okay. All right. So I write that down.
So the first thing was me finishing my workouts. The second thing was words of affirmation. Of course, it means a lot; it’s my primary love language. Words of affirmation that came from my daughter. Let’s see something else.
Oh, I love cooking. And so when I create a meal and then I feed it to people and they give positive feedback, there’s more affirmation, just kind of little clues about love language. It feels really good to know that I’ve created something for someone I care about and that they’re enjoying it. I love giving gifts, even though gifts is not my primary love language. I love giving gifts because I like to help others feel special. So I’ll write that down. All right. So far I’ve worked out, I’ve gotten words of affirmation from my child, and I’ve done an act of service, and I’ve witnessed other people enjoying it.
Okay. So then you go through all these things that you have identified as things that provide fulfillment to you. And then I want you to get into kind of scientist mode. Now you’re going to be your own therapist for a minute. You’re going to write down where that fulfillment came from. Did it come from inside me or outside me?
So my first one, working out, where did that come from? Inside me. The second one words of affirmation received from my daughter, where did that come from? Outside me. The third one, that one’s difficult because where did it come from? I created this, I delivered it. I had the intention of doing so to create joy and express love. Where did my fulfillment come from? I would say that that’s both. One of it would be I love creating; whether it’s painting or cooking or whatever, I enjoy creating. So part of the fulfillment comes from the fact that I’m a creator. I like creating, I like creative expression. Food is definitely a way to have creative expression. So part of it is inside, but then part of it is outside. Would I have had as much fulfillment if everybody was like, this does not taste good? We do not like this; let’s order a pizza.
[15:23] Damianne President: Yes, probably not.
[15:27] Jane Mims: Probably not.
And so you’d go down your list and you figure out how much of your fulfillment you rely on others to deliver and how much of your fulfillment is self-generated. And then you figure out literally the pie chart. What percentage are you cultivating from within and what percentage are you relying on other people for? And then you look at all of the outside fulfillment elements and you ask yourself with every single one, how can you find ways to fill that part of your fulfillment cup if none of that ever happens to you? I’m not saying, don’t accept the letter from your child, I’m not saying don’t accept the praise or criticism for the meal.
I’m saying if my daughter never tells me that I’m her role model or her best friend or compliments anything that I do if nothing that ever comes out of my kitchen tastes good again, you know, find out ways for you to generate that same fulfillment while you also stay open to accepting the beauty and generosity of others, which will fulfill you in a different way, but in a way that you’re not relying on.
It’s like hybrid cars. Hybrid cars have batteries and gasoline or fuel, some sort of petrol. And they don’t rely completely on either. But if you don’t have any gasoline, it’s not going to work. If you’re just going on battery, that’s not the way that the car runs. So they don’t use as much gasoline cause it’s kind of a give and take, but which one is the one that’s absolutely imperative to have, it won’t work without? It’s the fuel, the liquid fuel. So, the liquid fuel is what you create for yourself. And the battery power is that little extra oomph that you get from the outside. You’ve got to focus on the fuel that is necessary, and then just accept the extra as icing on the cake.
[17:41] Damianne President: So, what I’m hearing you say is that this fulfillment coming from the internal is crucial for us to cultivate. And so this activity that you’ve just shared with everybody, the invitation you’ve just given everybody, will help us see where are we already having those sources of internal fulfillment and where could we generate more so that we’re not completely dependent on the external to feel that sense of fulfillment?
[18:10] Jane Mims: Absolutely. Also for people who are already in established couple relationships, it can help you realize where you are unfairly putting pressure on your significant other. So if I’m depending on my significant other to help boost my self-esteem, my sense of self, my sense of belonging. My husband’s name is Bob so I’ll just use Bob. If I’m relying on Bob for that, how unfair. How in the world is it fair for one person to put that amount of pressure on another? We’ve been together almost 13 years; we’ve been married 10.
[18:53] Damianne President: And Bob doesn’t get to have an off day.
[18:56] Jane Mims: Right. Bob, doesn’t get to have an off day if he has the job of completing me because come on, you’re going to be working all the time. Or I could be working to complete me and then accept his love, and kindness in ways that he does speak fulfillment to me as icing on the cake.
[19:15] Take care of individual needs and that of the couple
[19:15] Jane Mims: It’s so funny. I use our honeymoon as an example of a healthy relationship. I love sunshine, beach, summertime, swimming pool, lake; get me by water in a bathing suit with sun, lots of sunscreen, and a hat for my face. But you know, get me out there. I love it. I’m sun goddess, just bring me sun. He does not like that.
[19:41] Jane Mims: He doesn’t mind being out in the heat, but if he’s out in the heat, he’s going to be doing something. He’s going to be playing golf, playing pickleball, doing yard, work, doing something. Laying there on the beach with me is not something that appeals to him at all. He doesn’t like sand. He is afraid of getting sunburned, even though he has a great skin tone and doesn’t really burn; he doesn’t do that.
So for our honeymoon, we went to the Cayman Islands. He planned the trip. I didn’t even know where we were going, but I knew it was tropical. So that sounds like that is a Jane trip, right?
Well, we went to the Cayman Islands. We stayed at this phenomenal hotel right on the beach. You could just walk off the beach and then snorkel right there. You didn’t have to get on a boat to go snorkel, beautiful reefs. Oh my gosh. That’s like perfect. I can just live there. It was right next to this amazing five-star golf course that he got to play every day.
So our honeymoon, we wake up, we spend time together, we enjoy each other. He goes to play golf. I go out to the beach. I have my book. I do my snorkeling. I meet people from different places cause I just love meeting people from all over the world and that island is kind of a melting pot. And then when golf has finished, and I’m almost crisp, we come back together. We enjoy a beautiful meal together. We both really are big foodies.
And my friends were like, well, wait. He played golf every day? I’m like, Yeah, He was so happy. He played golf every day and I know how to play golf now, but I didn’t then. And they’re like, and then you went to the beach every day? I was like, yes, it’s not favorite thing. But it’s your honeymoon. You’re supposed to be together. And I’m like, there’s the problem?
We’re in a relationship; we’re supposed to be together. No, you’re in a relationship. You’re still supposed to be who you are. And you’re supposed to recognize who the other person is. And a lot of times that involves together. And a lot of times it doesn’t. A lot of times it involves him understanding Jane loves sitting in the sun at the beach and reading a book or laying there taking a nap with her hat over her face or whatever, out in the sun by the water. And me understanding Bob does not. But what he does love is these other things that aren’t really my jam.
[21:59] Damianne President: Some people would say that on a honeymoon, each of you should find things that both of you like and not doing the independent, individual pigs. And I think you have a response to that.
[22:11] Jane Mims: Yeah. I mean, if we hadn’t done either the things that both of us liked, first of all, we shouldn’t have been in the Cayman islands because I mean, like, come on, the beach is right there and you’re not gonna let me go on it. And the golf course is right there, but he can’t go on it. We have plenty of things that we enjoyed that we did together.
We got up and enjoyed coffee in the morning. I don’t drink coffee anymore but we had coffee together. We enjoyed wonderful, fresh fruits. We had fantastic meals together. We played cards. We did things that we don’t really do when it’s just he and I. We’ll play games with the kids but usually, Bob and Jane don’t like sit down and play a game together. We did things like that that were so fun. And we had space for each other to do that because we were able to be our individual selves as well. So I would say that your honeymoon needs to involve both. All of our trips involve both.
[23:02] Damianne President: So I think for listeners if at first you listen to this and you are a little bit resistant to the idea, then maybe this is a good point for investigation, for thinking where do these ideas come from and are they actually contributing to having a healthy, fulfilling relationship? And if they’re not, then maybe we need to rethink them.
[23:27] Jane Mims: There were some folks who asked us sometime in the last year, y’all are just such a loving couple. And they don’t see us together all the time. They’ll see us together sometime, but they also see us doing independent stuff; I think they’re trying to figure us out. They’re trying to pick us apart. And they’re like you’re so happy and you’d love each other so much, but you’re not really together that often. But when we are together, it’s super quality.
So they started a question us, you know, what are your favorite things to do? I’m like, oh, well I love my work. I absolutely adore my clients. I am honored that I get to teach and mentor and coach, love that. I love trading; it’s really challenging to me and it’s risky and I’m kind of a gutsy risk-taker, kind of an aggressive risk-taker, and and things like that. So that’s fun. I love spending time with the kids and like creating crafts and stuff with them. I love painting. I love exercise. And I’m saying all these things and other than, you know, saying I like spending time with the kids – that’s more about like gameplay and things like that cause I’m a big video game junkie like love playing video games with the kids. So I said all these things, and they’re like, okay, well, Bob, what about you?
And he’s like, oh, I love pickleball. And I love golf. And I like my work too. And he really loves the church that he belongs to; we don’t go to the same church anymore. Actually, I don’t belong to a church right now, but he really loves being active there. I go there with him sometime, but that’s more his thing than it is mine and that’s fine. So one of the people said, well, you didn’t really,
[25:00] Damianne President: Where’s your overlap.
[25:01] Jane Mims: you didn’t include each other. And our response was, well, you didn’t ask us what we like to do together. You asked Jane what she likes to do. And then you asked Bob what he likes to do. And now you’re super confused that I didn’t include Bob in that, like, do you want to know what we enjoy doing together? Here’s this game and that, and he is actually teaching me to play golf now, and you know, this and this and this. Well, why didn’t you include that? Well, you asked me about me. And you asked him about him. You didn’t say you two as a couple. You asked each individual so we answered.
I remember when my mother, in 2010, she passed away from cancer. It was a long battle of cancer. And my father who was quite a bit older than she was, we were extraordinarily just shocked, I guess, that she passed away first. But my dad, I remember one of my older sisters called, and my dad answered the phone, and she said, well, how are you today? And he said, well, I’m just great, how are you? And she does not have great boundaries, this particular sister of mine. Her response was horrific. She blew up at my father. How can you say that you’re having a fantastic day? Your wife is dying of cancer. He was alive. He was well. His wife was still alive, and they had a beautiful swimming pool in their backyard. He had just come in from like frittering around in the yard, doing some yard work, cleaning the pool a little bit. And he loved that kind of physical activity. And so he was having a good day. Was everything about his day joyful? No, his wife is sick. Is that his journey? His journey is being the spouse of someone who’s sick. His journey is not sickness. So he was answering for himself.
We do this to people with whom we share relationships. We put too much pressure on them. Is he supposed to be, oh, I just can’t function because my wife is sick? No, she needs you to function. She needs you to be you. It’s going to help give her energy to move on another day. I’ll just always remember that example of her just being inappropriately irate, the fact that he said that he was having a great day. You know what, that day I was actually there at their home with them. And I was having a pretty good day, too. I was with my dad. I was with my mom. My mom wasn’t doing well, but she was so alive and responsive. And I had the honor of helping to take care of her. Was everything joyful about the day? My mother was sick. Of course, I wasn’t like skipping in a field of daisies, I’m so happy that my mom has cancer, but I was okay. Was my mom having a good day? I mean, relatively. She had her husband and one of her kids around.
So I think we just need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and on other people. Like, I’m not my husband. I can’t control whether he has a good day. I’m not any of our five kids. I’m not even our dogs or our cats. I can’t control if they have a good day. And me having a good day doesn’t mean that they can or can’t. Me having a bad day doesn’t mean that they can or can’t. And it shouldn’t.
I should be able to be solitary and part of a couple at the same time. And that’s where a lot of people go wrong. They start to identify self as the couple, and that’s when the couple gets destroyed.
Number one is, be complete in yourself.Tweet