The Duchess Digest: Tough Love

tyraOkay, I admit it. I’ve been watching guilty pleasure bollocks television this week. I’ve had the flu for three solid days now, which has left me on the couch watching more then my fair share of (cringe) Tyra and the new VH-1 show Tough Love. It seems like lately between Tough Love and this new bestselling book called “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man there’s a lot of relationship advice out there for women. I don’t know if it’s the fallout from He’s Just Not that Into You or if it’s a reflection of a larger societal issue with women. All I know is there is a ton of advice out there for what women are supposed to be doing to attract a man, date a man and keep a man.

Don’t look at me to reprimand it. If women weren’t watching and reading all this advice these shows wouldn’t have the ratings to air and Steve Harvey’s book wouldn’t be flying off the shelves. I guarantee you it isn’t men buying the book. I’m just as guilty as the next woman. I’ve read The Rules. I have a copy of Why Men Love Bitches. I’ve seen He’s Just Not that Into You. I call them research material. That’s the beauty of being a writer; I can blame everything on research for the column. And I can honestly tell you they haven’t made a bit of difference in my dating or relationships because I read the advice, agree and then totally disregard it in real life.

So here is my two cents after watching these shows and reading these books about what does work in real life. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. And I do mean the hard way. I learned it from attending A.L.A.N.O.N. or over a year and seeing a therapist for even longer. The only person you can ever change is yourself. That’s it. The happiest relationship you will ever have is the one you build and forge with yourself.

I know it sounds hokey, believe me, I know. “Yah, yah, yah I have to love myself, I get it, yadda, yadda, yadda.” But it’s true. You can’t meet a man and fake having your own life, interests and self-worth. You need to actually have those things. I believe that if we women spent as much time trying to discover ourselves as we do trying to find “the one” we’d rule the world. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a campaign to swear off men. I love men. Or at least one man in particular. But I find that the more time and effort I spend developing myself and my own tastes, the more I develop an interdependence and respect for him, versus a dependence and need for his attention. It’s a beautiful thing to want. It’s a scary thing to need.

So ladies, the old saying is true, you can only be responsible for yourself! There’s nothing tough about that kind of self-respecting love!

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: