When You Think No One Likes You

As I’ve sat with clients this past year, I’m reflecting on how many of us are secretly insecure that no one likes us. This is a big hindrance to our happiness because we are so bent on appearing “chill” that we lose ourselves in the process. Beating to our own drum—as weird and quirky as that may be—is how we embrace what brings us joy in this life.

But what does make for a likeable person per say? I was recently asked about this. As I reflect on this, there are a few key takeaways that I’ve learned. Yes, we have to own our little idiosyncrasies but there are also general things we can do to connect more with others.

Here are a few key points:

1. People love a clutz: You wouldn’t expect it but we find perfection annoying. When someone is too scripted and put together, it appears insincere and phony. We love someone who can be a little goofy and isn’t afraid to self-deprecate a bit. Take Jennifer Lawrence for example, her Academy Awards fall made her that much more famous and lovable. People like a person who is relatable.


2. People prefer someone who is agreeable rather than confrontational: This doesn’t mean you should be a pansy and bend over backwards when you strongly disagree. However, people often feel uncomfortable when someone is argumentative and finds disagreement over whether there are two clouds in the sky or four. Point being, when it comes to menial matters, it’s not worth it to pick a bone with people.

 

3. Take the time to listen: While people love to talk about themselves, they also get frustrated if you ask a question that you asked five minutes ago. Have a few key questions in your back pocket when you run into that dead silence and be ready to engage in a conversation. The majority of people don’t enjoy awkward silence and while you don’t have to be the comedian of the group, you will be likeable if you can show interest in the person rather than your phone.

The reality is that not everyone is going to like us and we are not going to like everyone. The second we relieve ourselves of this burden, the more we can enjoy the genuine company of the people that we do feel comfortable with. When you have those awkward moments, just own them. Laugh about it. Life is only awkward if you make it often!

At the end of the day, I hope you know that you are more than likeable—you are lovable!

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Dating Someone with Depression or Anxiety

I’m often asked on the road how someone can cope with a partner that is experiencing anxiety or depression. 14 million Americans, or 6.8% of the population experiences depression while 40 million Americans, or 18.1% experience anxiety. This is clearly affecting many couples and I think it’s relevant to write about.

I work with couples who experience this on a daily basis and while challenging, I find that these couples ultimately have a stronger and more unified bond because they have learned to problem solve together. Here are my first five thoughts that come to mind:

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1. Don’t take it personally: We often assume that a partner’s down demeanor is because of us. It’s not. Depression and anxiety can be either situational or biological but we are never the sole cause of either symptomatology. It’s tough enough as it is to go through these experiences so do your best to not shame your spouse. Remind them that you are there to support them but also give them some space to breathe so that they don’t feel added guilt.

2. Seek help: It’s good to enter your own therapy to process how the relationship is affecting you. Entering couples therapy is also extremely helpful as it gives couples a space to process the dynamic between them and understand how to communicate effectively. More than anything, a therapist can normalize the experience, as many couples feel very much alone in this experience when in truth, millions of couples endure this on a regular basis.


3. Educate yourself: Learn about what the symptoms of anxiety and depression really are. We have so many myths about these diagnoses. Even reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM5) can help clarify symptomatology. The more you learn, the more empowered you will be and the less scared you will feel about the symptoms you are seeing.

4. Don’t enable: Spouses often want to ameliorate anxiety by giving into the demands. This is the worst thing you can do. If your spouse is wanting to check a locked door (for the third time) or is asking you to drive back a half hour to see if the stove is on, you cannot give in. This reinforces the anxious behavior. It can be difficult to do in the moment but you have to say no to your partner when they are asking you to take part in their anxious behavior. The best thing you can do is to be a calming presence that holds a boundary in their life. While counterintuitive at the start, this ultimately helps an anxious partner learn to trust himself or herself.

5. Be patient: Depression and anxiety can ebb and flow but a couple can learn how to manage the symptoms. There is hope! Even though it may feel like it’s going to last forever, this too shall pass. So long as you can be compassionate and patient with one another, a couple can endure the challenges that depression and anxiety brings into a relationship. Ultimately, a couple can connect to an even greater degree because they are learning to truly be vulnerable and open with one another through a trying time.

If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety or depression, either within yourself or with your partner, I invite you to seek help and support. You are not alone in this experience and with a concerted effort, your relationship can not only stabilize, but also improve.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Sunny Star: Shinjini Das

Hello friends!

As you may know, I am now partnering with CAMPUSPEAK and I am thrilled about this new adventure. Part of what I love about this organization is that I have the opportunity to be surrounded by incredible fellow speakers.

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One of them is the fantastic Shinjini Das, the ultimate “Go-Getter Girl.” At 24 years old she is taking the world by storm and I had to share her story with you. I hope you’re as inspired by her as I am!

Here’s our interview:

 

  1. You are known as the “Go Getter Girl.” What makes you a go-getter girl?

A go-getter girl truly believes that her story will be one of the greatest stories ever written. Her self-worth comes from a deep powerful reservoir of energy within, and she has an incredible amount of mental strength, which drives her to achieve the insurmountable. She is driven and extraordinarily empowered from within, and I am happy to share that I based my globally recognized Huffington Post article, “5 Secrets of a Go-Getter Girl” on my own life and journey as a go-getter girl who seeks to fulfill her own vision of herself first and foremost.

  1. Many girls are shy and afraid to approach others. How can girls overcome the fear to connect?

Great question! What I want all my girls to understand is that fear is an inbred emotion, meaning that it truly has zero basis and only has validity if we choose to validate its worth. I choose to not let fear or indecision dictate my life, and instead invest in ultra high self-confidence, happiness, and soaring levels of high self-worth in crafting my story. Focus on yourself and understand that in order for you to succeed, you must reach out to someone, so in essence, reaching out to someone is a means of serving yourself and your highest purpose. I am sure you respect yourself enough to want to achieve your own dreams, so what are you waiting for? Today is the day to network and overcome your fear to connect with others. You got this!

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  1. What do you want to see for the newest generation of girls?

My greatest dream is to envision the next generation of go-getter girls become fierce women poised to change the world. We desperately need more empowered women in our world, those who do not let life happen to them, but rather make life happen for them. There is nothing more attractive than a woman who recognizes her own self-worth, and understands the steps required to convert her dreams into a reality. Girls and women are powerful beacons of light, and I want to encourage more of us to own our own power in the quest to change the world.

  1. How can we empower women to reach their highest potential?

The greatest gift a woman can give to herself is acute self-awareness and acutely high levels of mental strength. She has to derive her entire self-worth from within her own inner reservoirs of overflowing positive energy, and seek solace in her mind of incredible mental strength during times of indescribable struggle and an insane number of lows. I would highly recommend that each woman develop an inner reservoir of positive energy by deriving inspiration from her favorite sources, and engaging in re-affirming self-talk to build up her unbreakable levels of mental strength.

  1. What do you wish you knew when you were starting college?

Crafting one’s own path, admittedly far more difficult, is infinitely more rewarding than adhering to someone’s notion of how life should be lived.

Want to know more about Shinjini? She’s a Keynote Speaker, trilingual Multi-Media Personality, Huffington Post Contributor, and Brand Spokesperson with a social media following of 41,000+. An empowering and globally recognized versatile talent, she has been featured on ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, Sirius XM, Forbes, is fluent in Spanish, and was invited to moderate a panel at The Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in recognition of her global advocacy efforts to empower women and youth. This past March, she was profiled in INC. Magazine as a Global Hero to share her thoughts on broadening international access to education for girls. Follow her journey @SpeakerShinjini and on http://www.shinjinidas.com.

  • Twitter @SpeakerShinjini
  • Facebook Public Page @SpeakerShinjini

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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