The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy created many heroes when this perfect storm devastated towns, cities, and beaches on the U.S. eastern seaboard in October, 2012. We witnessed on television rescues from rooftops and boats, and the generosity of others. Hotel owners offered their rooms as shelter, neighbors from other townships brought food and clothing, and families opened their hearts and homes to survivors. All these caring and brave people became heroes.
I am no stranger to hurricanes. I spent a great deal of my life on a barrier island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, and my family often had to evacuate Sullivans Island during hurricane season. I was always struck by both the kindness of the community, and the reactions of the island’s residents to the damage. Mrs. “Red” would throw a fit at the sight of her chewed up driveway, while Mrs. “Green” would react with calm and resourcefulness to her missing roof. Optimistic survivors like Mrs. Green also became heroes.
These heroes of Sullivans Island and Hurricane Sandy made me think about the similarities in the personal qualities that allow people to help others and to triumph over natural disasters and emotional hurts from love gone wrong. I also thought of what I learned from research about people who recover with strength and wisdom from disappointments and crises in their intimate relationships. My dating advice for women includes my quick recipe for recovering from love trauma.
Your Love Hero Recipe for Recovery and Triumph
1. Blend the following ingredients into a large bowl until smooth:
- Two cups of a sense of duty, empathy, and care for you and others
- Two cups of self-confidence that you have enough internal strength to help others and you
- One cup of success in overcoming hard times in the past
- One cup of risk-taking abilities
2. In a separate bowl mix the following items and then add them to the large bowl:
- One cup of optimism about life
One cup of solution-focused ability
One cup of learning from mistakes
3. Sprinkle with:
- Perspective on what’s important in life
Sense of humor and the absurd
Desire to be your best self to you and others.
This recipe grew from my research for my self-help book about the love missteps of today’s women who often are smart about work but not love. It’s been tested by many of the more than a thousand women who attended my workshops and focus groups and who took my survey.
Being your own love hero prevents you from giving up on love. My research taught me that the number one mistake women make in their intimate relationship history is swearing off men after experiencing disappointment in love. It’s tempting—but don’t do that. The attitude invites pessimism about your sense of self-worth, your ability to learn to read men, and your inner strength in recovering from hurt.
Optimism, humor, and an accurate gauge on the degree of your hurt give you the courage to risk betting on—and not against—your belief that you can recover and move on.
Think about your past disillusionments in love. Share your comments below as we heal together. How did you recover? What efforts and thoughts helped you triumph? Remember those successes, and recruit them whenever you forget how to be your own love hero.
I wish you bravery!