When Love Is A Gamble, Bet On Yourself First 💗

There’s something about the entertainment industry that really excites me. Even when I was a kid, music and performing held a special place in my heart because it felt promising. I used to tell everyone I wanted to be a singer when I grew up and on some days, even as an adult, that’s still true. I ran around my best friend’s yard singing Jonas Brothers songs and I used to point to every passing plane wondering if Joe Jonas was on it while we swam in her pool. I’m not kidding. I was a Disney Channel loser but I loved every second of it.

As you can probably tell, my “heroes” were all popular performers when I was a kid. Some got their start on Disney Channel, others in Nashville. But the idea was the same: they made it. I practiced saying “Hi, my name is Shawna and you’re watching Disney Channel” more times than I’d like to admit and spent many summers watching Hannah Montana on my grandma’s floor.

I’m not sure if this ran nationally but I remember sitting by the radio ALL DAY one summer to hear a 30-second ad about Disney Channel auditions. Part of me was beyond excited but the skeptical part of me figured it was a scam. You can probably tell which part of me won that war. Hi, my name is Shawna and you are DEFINITELY NOT watching Disney Channel. You are watching me grow up to get a college education and work in an office for a living. Cheers!

Anyway, I’m telling you this because I wanted to write about something Demi Lovato mentions in her documentary called Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated that has shaped how I view love. If you’re unfamiliar, this Youtube Originals documentary first aired in 2017 and gives a raw look at Demi’s experience with fame. When I watched early last year, I was wowed by Demi’s story and her resilience. Despite her struggle, it renewed my love for music and performing. Her personal triumph reminded me that we are not alone with our challenges, even when our lives look different, and we are also stronger than what we give ourselves credit for.

Watching it again to write this, brought back all those feelings of promise and excitement so I knew this was the right direction to take the post in.

You can watch Demi’s documentary here:

At 37:18, Demi talks about her break-up with Wilmer Valderrama and she says: “I do have moments where it’s late at night and I’m lonely and I wonder if I made the right decision because love is a gamble.” I’ve been thinking about those words ever since I first watched this documentary and that’s what I’m going to talk about today. When love is a gamble who do you bet on?

I think we all reach the question of “should I stay or should I go” at one point or another in our relationships. I guess there’s a couple out there who “just knows” and “always knows” but I think it’s more common to have doubts crop up from time to time, especially as we go through major life changes. The way we handle these doubts, I believe, is what sets a strong relationship apart from one built on an unsteady foundation. Let me dig into that a little more.

When we ask ourselves “should I stay or should I go,” what we are really getting at is “will leaving produce better results than staying” or “is it worth the gamble?” In my experience, answering that question is less cut and dry than asking it because there are SO MANY variables. Every relationship leaves us with pros and cons lists but not every list we create helps us relieve the tension we feel when faced with these questions. When “should I stay or should I go” remains unanswered and the tension within us continues, we seek advisors.

Advisors come in several forms. We can find them on the internet, in our families, and among our friends. In my experience, when we seek out advisors, we hope that the information they provide will ease the conflict within. I think it’s safe to say, we have all experienced a run in with both positive and negative advisors when it comes to relationships. What sets good advice apart from bad advice is less about what is said but more about how relaxed it makes us feel and I think we could all work on giving suggestions that support rather than confuse.

So when love’s a gamble what type of advice can you expect to receive? In my experience, a negative advisor might say something like “well, if you have to ask, that’s good enough reason to leave.” And while this might be the silver bullet of wisdom one person is looking for, it’s not the best piece of advice one can give. Here’s why:

  • It places too much emphasis on the other person in the relationship and what they are doing.
  • It makes one party right and the other wrong.
  • It fosters more doubt where love, support, and a new perspective may be more effective.
  • It assumes you’re in the right mindset to use your intuition.
  • It nullifies the pros from your pros and cons list.
  • And finally, it doesn’t usually decrease inner turmoil. It just magnifies it.

For me, love should exist even in the presence of doubts. Relationships can’t be perfect all the time and at some point all couples will experience difficulties. It’s those moments where we wonder if it’s worth the gamble to stay or leave. I believe love is about seeing those doubts clearly and determining what course of action you can take that benefits both parties. Sometimes that means walking away, sometimes that means giving it time. In a relationship that is not abusive or toxic, coming to that conclusion should be intentional, not just a strategy for escape.

When someone’s only advice to us is to just throw it away, we become more, rather than less, conflicted. It reduces the relationship down to just the cons and keeps your focus planted on the other person and what they are doing wrong. I think what people are really getting at is: “what does your intuition say?” And while I think this is great in itself, I don’t believe your intuition is very effective if you’re not in touch with who you are.

So with that said, I think the best advice you can give someone questioning their relationship, someone who has recognized that there is a risk associated with staying AND leaving, is this: when love is a gamble, bet on yourself first. Everyday we have the opportunity to work on ourselves, to give ourselves the same love we have been giving others. When we are experiencing turmoil is when we need this reminder the most.

We need someone to show us the value in coming home to who we are and what we want out of our lives, regardless of what the outcome of the relationship is. We need someone to take the emphasis off of that other person, not add more confusion, conflict, and enemy making into the mix. Show the person in turmoil that regardless of what happens in that relationship, they ARE special and deserving of their own attention. Remind them that if they bet on their partner to come through and they don’t, they’ve lost not only the relationship, but also themselves.

Love IS a gamble but you’re more equipped to make the right decisions when you give to yourself first. Everything else will fall into place if your cup is full, trust me. So go out there feeling supported, in control, and faithful that everything will be okay. We deserve it!

xoxo, 

shawna.

For more, find me on Instagram (@shawna__robertson) and follow this blog via email by clicking the subscribe button in the side bar.

💕

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Full Circle

In November of 2016, I returned home from 5 months abroad in South Africa. This Thanksgiving, it will be two full years of giving thanks to such an incredible and transformational experience. It’s funny how two years had to pass for this to happen but I think it’s all finally come full circle. Let me explain what I mean…

South Africa was an experience that truly challenged who I was. I learned real empathy, discovered the true value of gratitude, and developed compassion for others. I finally realized my own worth, put myself first, and celebrated with new friends. I lived more, worried less, and loved everyone I met. After spending years previous stuck in negativity and immaturity, I finally found true happiness. The meaning of life (as crazy as that seems) was clear to me. It was a great party, an incredible celebration of life, and a true test of presence. I strived for nothing but gained everything. I loved every minute of it (Click here to read more and see pictures: WORTH IT). Continue reading “Full Circle”

Self-Care

A huge focus of mine right now is self-care. I try to spend as much time as I can after work caring for myself and making life a little easier on me. It has been such a relief to have at least a little more free time again, after 4+ years of go, go go in college. Although the demands and frustrations of everyday life still overwhelm me, I finally feel like I have the time and energy to take care of myself and focus on what’s truly important to me (hint, hint: music 😊).

This month, I found out that I have celiac disease which, for those of you who don’t know, is an autoimmune disorder primarily affecting the intestines and digestive system. When a person with celiac ingests gluten, their body signals an immune response that damages the small intestine leading to a menagerie of digestive complications and other reactions. After almost two years of struggling silently with, what I thought at the time were perplexing symptoms, I finally found the answers and relief I was looking for. For several months, I was hiding pain that I continued fueling unknowingly with the food I ate. I was pretty shocked to find out that celiac was the problem, as I never had problems with gluten in my childhood. But by the end of it, I was more relieved to come out with a game plan to resolve the issue and hope in the forecast. Needless to say, self-care has taken on a whole new meaning for me, casting great emphasis on my diet and eating pain free food as my life progresses. Continue reading “Self-Care”

Progress

I was thinking about writing a heavier piece on progress tonight. More specifically, about how progress is so hard to appreciate when you can’t see the process of accomplishing a goal for what it is. I wanted to explore how setbacks and mistakes make us feel when we are so focused on the finish line that we forget what makes us human. Thinking about the topic just made me feel sad and anxious, looking back on all the times I’ve let lack of appreciation for the process sabotage my results and cause me to quit.

I was inspired to write after realizing that minor setbacks look more like mountains when you are closer to the start than the finish. It’s harder to see how setbacks can help you when you’re just starting out. I constantly have to remind myself that those setbacks are part of the process and there to help me learn, not a reason to quit. Part of what makes life so exciting is our ability to learn and make progress, right? Because if I could just wake up tomorrow and fulfill every one of my dreams so easily, what would it be worth? Not much. And would it be truly half as fulfilling? Probably not. Continue reading “Progress”

Overwhelm

Perfectionism has been a struggle of mine for quite some time. It’s what makes me edit as I write, baby new clothes, and stress over the smallest flaws and imperfections. On a good day, I call it having great attention to detail; on a bad day, I find it nearly paralyzing. I beat myself up over the smallest mistakes. Wear and tear to my favorite boots haunts me every time I put them on my feet. Even though the moments of “damage” are behind me, the stress from it never really ends. It’s a mess.

I think the worst part of being a perfectionist is the near constant feeling of overwhelm. I’m always thinking… and overthinking which I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. If I’m not worrying about all that I haven’t accomplished yet and how “perfect” I need to be to get there, I’m stressing over stupid things I’ve said and scolding myself for it. I’m imagining the houses I’d like to the live in and the goals I have but instead of being excited, I’m worried that it won’t be as perfect as I’ve imagined or that I’m not capable of getting there. Or that there’s too many details for one person to handle on their own so I should just give up. That’s overwhelm. Everything all at once, all the time. Continue reading “Overwhelm”

Doubts

Doubt is beyond fear. It’s declaring defeat before there is even any proof of demise. It is giving up before there is a reason to. It’s what settles in after the fearlessness has worn off and the jets of ambition cool down. It’s the voice in your head that says “you aren’t good enough and even though you’re willing to take the risk and face your fears, it won’t be worth it.” Fear can be a great motivator, or so a voice teacher once told me while I crammed for a performance of “I’ll Stand By You” by the Pretenders one week before. Looking back, I was fearful then, not doubtful. I knew I could do it but I was scared of being underprepared so I practiced a little extra. It’s doubt, not fear, that stops you. This was one of my first and last solo performances of that nature.

Doubt is what kept me in the clutches of security, following a cleanly trimmed path of plain old Americana practicality. I went to college, got a degree, and graduated like you’re supposed. And don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy I did. I loved college and I’m pleased with the career path I’m currently on. College was the experience I needed to understand more about myself and the world around me. But doubt made sure there was always something missing: the college experience I wanted in NYC, gigs in bars and coffee shops, music classes I wanted to take, and dreams I stowed away doubting they could ever come true, among many other omissions. Continue reading “Doubts”

Pink “What A Melon” Beginnings

Hey there!

My name is Shawna and I am a singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania, finally taking that leap of faith into the music industry. Welcome to my website. It’s so good to have you here!

To give you some background about me: I started writing songs shortly after the Jonas Brothers covered “Year 3000″… so I had to be about 12. I had this pink Blow Pop “What A Melon” notebook that I “hacked” into a songwriting journal by flipping the cover around and fishing it back through the spirals. I wrote “Shawna’s Songs” down the front in capital letters and autographed it in red pen a few times. I still have it; it’s a relic.

My “What A Melon” notebook was the beginning of my love for writing. As elementary (and embarrassing) as those lyrics may be looking back, they taught me the value of expression. They captured the sheer joy of experiencing inspiration that I have learned to long for well into my adult years. That “What A Melon” notebook, although overlooked and misunderstood at the time, set the foundation for a passion I cannot escape although life has tried to rip it out of me. Continue reading “Pink “What A Melon” Beginnings”