Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Sally B. Watkins


Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man

Learn to Love What’s Right Instead of Trying to Fix What’s Wrong(Adams Media 2009)

Many women are disappointed, frustrated, and despairing about their relationships with men. Growing up with Sleeping Beauty, Barbies and  romance novels, we don’t realize how the happily-ever-after myth contributes to our relationship misery and failures.  My book is the message I needed as a young woman-- that there is no substitute for growing a self and creating a full passionate life, that a man can’t possibly be your fulfillment.  It’s hard on the guys when we women want what they have not been socialized to provide.  They’re prepared to do the heavy lifting and make money but when we  ask them to be sensitive and attuned to our many emotional needs  it naturally makes them defensive and angry and they often conclude that there isn’t any way to please us.  The conflict comes from trying to get happiness, validation and love from your partner when the only one you can change is yourself!

My book spells out exactly what it takes to find contentment with your normally flawed and imperfect guy the way he is.  Complaining and even couples counseling can be disastrous if fixing him is the goal.  Your thoughts and stories may be helping or hurting you.  I show you what it takes to lead by example when you are the one with more relationship skills and needs and have been socialized for relating.  Everything from the best therapies, what I’ve gained from my own life, and what my courageous and beautiful clients have taught me is here.  Finding your authentic self and the power to accept the things you can’t change will make you a more confident person and a truly loving partner.



1.      He doesn’t have to change for you to be happy.
Expectations of romantic love since girlhood have fueled our disappointment with men.  We have been socialized to believe in and want a deep connection with a soul mate.  Many men were taught to be tough, ignore their feelings, and channel energy into work, so it’s not their fault that they aren’t as attuned to us and as affectionate as we want.  It’s natural for the rush of excitement and chemical attraction to wear off after the honeymoon. All relationships take work.  It’s not like the movies where finding the right one is the only requirement. Believing that your happiness depends on him and his behavior makes you a victim instead of an empowered woman.  

2.      All attempts to fix him can make it worse.
I suggest a reminder note “let him be as he is” to help you stop the tugging and pouting that we all do to get more attention since it’s likely to make things worse.  Men are highly sensitive to criticism and often tune out when they feel attacked.  Couples counseling works if both partners commit to change but too often it’s the woman enlisting the help of the therapist to make him be the way she wants.  If a man succumbs to his partner’s demands and lets her control him, she may lose respect for him, so it’s a good thing if he is able to maintain his sense of himself.

3.      What you believe and say is powerful.
It’s not a secret that how you think about your relationship and what stories you tell about your partner will affect your attitude and your feelings and emphasize those qualities you focus on.  We know that our beliefs influence our feelings and in turn our behavior.  Learning to recognize your thought patterns will help you have more choices rather than function automatically.  Testing your partner’s is something all of us have done.  For example, tell him it’s okay to go fishing with his buddies and leave us to handle the garage sale and then make him wrong for not choosing us. We think these test measure his love for us but they really don’t.  

4.       Star in your own happy life.
Men are more attracted to women when they are happy and fulfilled and seem to tune out when they are a rain cloud of negativity.  This explains why when women are blue and need something from their guy he may decide to work late or spend time in the garage. When women star in their own life and make their needs more important often men get a charge from the energy she is radiating. When you value yourself he may see you the same way and be more interested in pleasing you.  You will be less like a mother complaining and pointing out his problems and more like an exciting woman who gets what she wants.  

5.       Learn to rely on your own self support.
Men may become worn down by too much emotionally laden information coming at them on a regular basis.  Some men view problems as complaints about them or your life with them and tune out.  As mature women we must grow an internal resilient self to weather some of life’s stressors and not depend on our guy for everything.  Learning how to support and soothe yourself makes you less needy.  Not being super sensitive and  taking things personally is a great way to head off hurts.  Journaling, music, or exercise helps work through issues and feelings.  Being in nature or with pets or treating yourself to physical comforts are other ways to sustain yourself through troubling situations.

6.      Help him be more relational.
Accept that his being attuned to your feelings and needs does not come naturally to him.  It’s a mistake to insist that he must figure these things out on his own for them to mean something.  Prepare him for an emotional conversation by telling him what you need, e.g., I just want you to listen to me; I don’t need advice or a solution.  Remind him with posted notes, coupons, and pictures hinting for what you want in the way of gifts or special events.  Ask directly for things like a foot or neck rub, taking over for dinner or the kids’ homework when you need help. Avoid pouting and other drama as a way to get his attention.   



Sally B. Watkins M.S.W., LCSW

I grew up in a Pennsylvania household with violence and deprivation.  The happily-ever-after story was one I clung to in the unheated attic of my childhood room where sleep came fitfully to the sounds of my parent’s battles.  I was a writer even then and imagined in poetry my prince just like the one in Cinderella.  Like many women I went through much of my early adulthood searching for that perfect someone to love and care for me.

Self help books, therapy, and groups helped me find that person that I am today.  I graduated from the University of Maryland at Baltimore with a master’s degree in social work and before that with a bachelor’s degree in education from Carnegie Mellon University.  In addition to my twenty year psychotherapy practice I continued to be a writer-- grant writing, personal journals, short stories, essays and writing classes.  My published work includes magazine articles and a regular column for a local newspaper.  This is my first book, CHANGE YOUR MINDSET NOT YOUR MAN. 

I now live in El Dorado Hills, California with my husband Warren.  My two sons are grown.  I enjoy cooking healthy food, working out, hiking, playing tennis, reading, and sailing in the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man

Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man

Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man

By: Sally B. Watkins

Published by: Adams Media

ISBN: 1605501425 (isbn13: 9781605501420)

256 Pages

Genre: Non-Fiction/Self-Help/Relationships

Product Description (from the back cover): It’s time to acknowledge the obvious: You can’t change your man - but you can change your relationship for the better. In this groundbreaking new guide, author and psychotherapist Sally B. Watkins shows you how to regain control of your relationship, not by nagging, overanalyzing, and fighting, but by altering the way you view your partner. With specific strategies to help you accept and embrace his as he is, Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man will help you:

  • Explore how past relationships affect your current thinking
  • Decipher why your man’s behaviors bother you so much
  • Decide the best course of action for dealing with your partner
  • Reposition your thoughts in a positive way
  • Understand the reason he hasn’t changed despite your best efforts

Full of thought-provoking exercises and myriad case studies drawn from successes in her own private practice, Ms. Watkins helps you see your relationship in a brand new light. By putting her lessons into practice, you can finally arrive at a happy place in your relationship!

The General Review: Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man is a practical guide on how to stop picking at the flaws in your partner, trying to get him to change and how to focus on the good in the man you fell in love with. Filled with simple, effective wisdom and advise, Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man will not only change your mindset about relationships, but will also change the expectations you have for yourself.

Likes: Throughout every chapter, the author challenges the reader to examine their thought process and beliefs. Watkins gives practical applications on how to truly change deep rooted mindsets. She gives lists of questions to ask yourself and how to analyze your thoughts and motives.

Dislikes: There is honestly nothing about this book I didn’t like.

Closing Comments: I HIGHLY recommend this book for all women, even if you don’t think you nag or are trying to change your partner. The man in your life will truly appreciate it. Actually, I know a few men that could benefit from reading this book. Change Your Mindset, Not Your Man is an excellent resource, even if you’re not in a relationship right now.

Sally B. Watkins will be my first guest blogger!!! Look for her post in the next few days.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Author Feedback

I like to read and review independently published novels. I’ve gotten into many debates with people who think I’m wasting my time reading “substandard” material. To a point, I agree that some indie novels aren’t worth the paper the words are printed on, but in most cases I’ve found that indie novels are just as good, if not better than the polished, over-edited novels released by large publishers.

I will rarely turn down a request to review an indie novel. These authors are pursuing what they love, rarely without any monetary gain. I find this very admirable. In most cases, they don’t have the backing of a publisher, an agent or even a marketing strategy. I like to support their grassroots efforts and introduce their work to new people.

In my opinion as a book review blogger, there is no higher compliment than to have the author read and comment on a review you wrote about their book. Recently, I’ve received feedback on a few of the reviews I’ve posted on my blog directly from the author of an independent novel. To me, this is very exciting and a great honor.

I haven’t received any feedback or comments from any of the well-known authors I’ve reviewed that have book deals with large publishers. Maybe 2010 will be the year……

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year of Blogging!!!

I hope these first few days of 2010 are treating you well. I’ve made a few New Year’s Resolutions for my blog. After being called out on Rememorandom for not posting enough, I started to think about what I want my blog to look like. Here are my blog resolutions (in no particular order):

  • I will update my blog more often.
  • I’m considering having “guest bloggers”. A few authors and other bloggers have offered to post on my blog.
  • I’m going to review other books besides fiction. I’ve had a lot of requests lately to review non-fiction books. Though my genre of choice is still YA/Paranormal Romance, I want to enlighten myself and the readers of my blog with an array of literature.
  • I want to post more random stuff and different point of views and perspectives. This is, after all, The Crystal Perspective.

Now, of course, like most New Year’s Resolutions, these could be broken at any time.

In other news, I was playing around my Goodreads account and noticed I read over 170 books in 2009! And I started keeping track in February, so the number could be higher. I really should get out more often! I didn’t realize I read that much. I’m not sure if I’ll read that many books in 2010 because I’m going to be so busy updating my blog. My To-Read list currently has 265 books. I’m sure I will add to the list more than I will remove from the list.