A Real Life Dater Talks About Shifting From Fear to Surrender – With Sabrina Kumar

Sabrina Kumar, a friend and former coaching client of Dr. Tari, talks about the shifts she’s made in her mindset and dating life which had led to more peace, joy, and fun.

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Episode Transcript

A Real Life Dater Talks About Shifting From Fear to Surrender - With Sabrina Kumar

Welcome to Dear Dater, the PodCast for people who want to change their disappointing relationship patterns and finally access the love they deserve. My name is Dr. Tari Mack, and I’m a psychologist and celebrity love coach. My journey has been one from disconnection and loneliness to love and miracles. And I want this podcast to give you the tools and awareness to help you create and access the love you want in your own life. What we yearn for is meant for us. So if you yearn for love, you’re meant to have it when we change; our relationships change. I’m so glad you’re here.

Dr. Tari: I am really excited today to have my friend and former coaching clients, Sabrina Kumar, on our episode. Sabrina is somebody that I’ve known now for a few years, and we met when she came, to a talk of mine, and we worked together for a little bit, and she stayed in my life. So I’m so happy to have you here, Sabrina.

Sabrina: I’m so happy to be here. I definitely consider you to be a dear friend and a mentor. And I am just so grateful to be here. You’ve been talking about your podcast for so long, and here we are doing it together; it feels magical. So thank you.

Dr. Tari: Thank you. It is magic. So the reason I know we talked about this, but the reason I wanted to have you on Dear Dater is because of the work that you’ve done and how you’ve shifted in your life from more of a fear-based mindset in dating to surrender and how that has totally shifted you and your dating life and your life in general. I guess let’s start at the beginning. When we first started working together, and we worked together briefly, I think we had one or two sessions, and you asked me basically, you did a relationship reading where you filled out, you know, the big survey that I created. And then I was supposed to give you a relationship reading. And you asked me, instead of doing that over the phone, could we meet for a drink and do it that way?

Sabrina: And here we are. Yep.

Dr. Tari: Yes. Two years later. But I remember in that first meeting we were talking and one of the things that I said too, do you remember what it was?

Sabrina: I do; I think this really began this transformative process and the shift, as you’re saying in my dating life and my love life and really just overall. So do you say the truth will set you free? So these two were really big for me, and they kind of became my mantra. So this reading that you did for me was also blind spots, and I loved the way that you frame that and blind spots are more an area of opportunity than like something is wrong with you, right? Or what am I doing wrong? This is what people do. They torment themselves with these. Thoughts and dating, and it really isn’t about doing something wrong. It’s just about bringing yourself to a different level of awareness. The two things that you shared with me were one, I treat men like they owe me something huge, and two, I don’t show up as vulnerable. I think it’s really easy because when you date a lot, it definitely starts to feel like a sport, something you can get good at. How do you flirt? What do you wear? How do you carry yourself? And it’s great to do that. You know, I think dating is an art, and I do think that you can be good at it and bad at it, but at the same time, I think sometimes we’re performing, and you know, this notion of just showing up, like with an open heart and allowing someone’s space in starts at the first date event. So those were the two big themes that really kind of helped me know myself that ultimately changed my approach and how I showed up.

Dr. Tari: And how did you do that? Like, so first you had the awareness, and then how did you put it into practice? Do you remember?

Sabrina: It’s a great question. In terms of, let’s start with the aspect of vulnerability. This is such a powerful word again, across every relationship, including business relationships and at work, I was never afraid to say, like, Oh man, I really fucked up when I mess something up, but we’re reluctant to do that in a romantic relationship in the beginning when everyone is on their best behavior, we’re wearing our best outfits for having our best hair days were doing all of the things. And, I think for me, like, going on dates. What vulnerability meant to me was how approachable, am I being in my creating space for a connection to feel romantic, it’s going to sound silly, but saying things like I’m really cold, or I had a bad day, or maybe even like holding onto someone’s arm as you’re crossing the street, you know, you have to give these signals to people that you are open and just there. And I think there’s just a tender. Creating a tenderness about that experience. It allowed me to get closer to people and create a connection quicker than, you know, just going on these dates where you’re having a lot of good conversation, but you’re not connecting.

Dr. Tari: It sounds like what you’re saying is letting the guy know that you are interested, right? Not doing all the work, but creating an opening for that, an invitation for him to hold your hand or listen to you when you talk about your bad day.

Sabrina: Yes. And this is going to sound somewhat terrible, but I practice this even with people that I wasn’t particularly interested in. It was just about letting your guard down; letting your hair down and dating can be really intimidating. And I think that everything that I’m saying also sounds a little old-fashioned like, People like to feel needed and that’s not a man thing. It’s a male-female thing. Likewise, when you. As a female around a date. And there’s someone across from you just opening up being like, you know, I had this really tough call, and here’s how I got through it. Or like, you know, I, I went running the other day, and I hurt my foot. All it does is just make us that much more human. And as a result, like some of the people that I went on dates with, I’ve actually gone on to be good friends with. But this is beyond just going on dates. It’s about carrying that vulnerability into the relationship. Even how you resolve conflict, it took me years to be able to say truly anger comes from her, right? That really hurt my feelings. Like I’m not okay. I care about you so much. That’s why this is hurting me this way. It was so much easier to just lead with impulsivity and being angry, but I became a lot more comfortable letting the other person know that I needed them and that they had an impact on how I felt. So that vulnerability piece is obviously something. It’s a moving target. I’m always working on it. But it’s about letting people in is what it comes down to. And I think a lot of people walk around this world guarded and you can see it in all areas of your life, not just dating, you know, how many friends are you making at work? Are you feeling really connected with your friend circle? How is this playing out in dating? And I think when you let your guard down, the whole world opens up to you. You’re going to feel so much more connection, and you’re gonna see it in every aspect of your life. And that is vulnerability. Awareness will only take you so far. We tend to operate under this mindset admitting you have a problem is the first step, or like, you know, I’ve admitted. I had a problem that there’s so much self-discovery to even getting to that point. And then I start to see this, like even with my family members where it’s like, I know I’m working on this. And I said, awareness is not enough. You’ve been working on this for a really long time, and it starts to taper off. And it comes back to being deliberate. And once you’re deliberate and intentional, it becomes a habit. I encourage anybody that’s come across a level of awareness to just say; I’m gonna take action. And my behavior changed as a result of taking these small, subtle actions that eventually went on to become habits. And so, in terms of how do you let your guard down? You just fucking knew it.

Dr. Tari: Even though you don’t want to, or even though it’s scary or uncomfortable,

Sabrina: Absolutely, there are so many good things on the other side of fear. And so, if it doesn’t scare you, it’s probably not indicative of what you have to work on. If it scares you, it’s very indicative that this is an area of opportunity for work.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. If you have a sense, it would be good for you, but you really, really don’t want to do it. It’s probably your work.

Sabrina: Yes. And then you gain something from it, right? Like there’s a lot of times where we get stuck doing something that we really don’t want to do. And that thing is actually not serving us, but doing the thing you don’t want to do and then reaping a benefit, a payoff is, you know, that’s when the stars started to align, I think.

Dr. Tari: Totally. So I know, at some point, you had a relationship where you could practice some of these skills on a deeper level. Tell us about that.

Sabrina: Yes. So what is interesting about all of this is posting my work with you; these became the main themes. That I would carry around and that I was really, you know, leaning into and a whole world opened up after that because of vulnerability and letting go of this notion of men treating me something, which stems from my relationship, my dad is most things do for women, the treatment, like they owe them something. My entire dating experience changed. I felt that I started calling in men that were better matches for me in a way that I had it. I was connecting with men better than I ever had. It really did open up the whole world, and it led me to a relationship that I, frankly, I had been praying for and manifesting. I had multiple friends telling me, like my gosh, she was spoken into existence, or you manifested your dream man. And I want to really say this. I’ll be it, that relationship did not work out. I did manifest my dream man; I still consider that relationship to be a great success because what started to shift for me in that relationship is I learned to finally look at relationships as experiences, as opposed to only looking at them as outcomes.

Dr. Tari: That is so huge. Wow. Say more about that.

Sabrina: This was a hard thing to let go of. I come from a very traditional culture where we are bred and raised to get married. Actually, the day that I was born, my dad cried not because I had come into the world. He cried because I was going to get married and leave him one day.

Dr. Tari: Oh my God.

Sabrina: Because, obviously, as women, we typically tend to change our last names, and in our culture, I’m Indian, and we’re Hindu, it’s almost like you give your daughter away, and she goes to live with her husband. Corrine laws. And then usually the son stays, and the parents live with the son. So there’s, obviously things have shifted quite a bit since then, but you know, you are really born and bred to be married and, I was. And, and, and sometimes it’s still this girl, but I have been planning my wedding since I was a little girl, you know, I have a binder. I like old bar and bat mitzvah invitations in it. I, you know, like I was pinning before Pinterest was a thing. Okay. You know, asked me about floral arrangements. Okay. We could have like a whole day on that, but, you know, but I also think that I spent a lot of time as, as many people do, regardless of. Cultural background, romanticizing marriage, and you know, the Christmas card and all of that. And I brought that desperation into my last relationship. I had been in a really bad relationship before that. I was getting older, you know, it was in my thirties, and I thought, okay, I’m going to right my wrongs. And it’s really interesting that we tend to treat our romantic lives like redemption in some way. There’s such ego to attach to that. Right? How am I going to look with this person? How does this person make me feel? Am I having the best this, but that’s that? And what about how, do you authentically just be. What about that? But not to get too off track here. So you asked me a little bit about, you know, the different shifts that happened and how I no longer started attaching things to an outcome, which was, you can imagine, undoing of 35 years of the way that I think, and psyche and culture and tradition and all of that, that goes with it. Society, you know, it’s interesting because. A lot of times in life, we seek out breakthroughs for guidance, for clarity. Right. We pray for it. We ask for signs, we go looking for it, but sometimes it comes to us. So this breakthrough, I did not go looking for it. I didn’t find it. It found me. And so basically what happened is this was the first relationship that I was in that I was certain, this was my person, and I was certain I was gonna marry him. And when it all started to fall apart and there were multiple reasons why, but to leave it simply put, it was just death by a million paper cuts. It started to fall apart, work stresses, COVID moving in all the things that happen in our relationship growing pains that you just couldn’t fight out of. So I’ll leave that to give context, but, you know, I was still in this very deep stage of denial that things weren’t working. I refuse to accept that, and I thought, we’ll fight it out of it, It’ll get better. I know it’s not working right now, but it’ll get better. And I remember being home. This is during the pandemic, by the way. So for a little bit of context, I had moved in with this person in March, and I left to go home in May just to spend some time with my family. And I remember feeling really anxious. So like now I’m out of my little bubble, right? Where we’re like four walls, 24 hours with someone and. I’m feeling anxious. And I hear this loud voice, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard this voice, this voice God’s voice? the universe, your intuition? whatever you want to call it this loud, ever in my life. And it was so clear. And again, I didn’t ask for it. I wasn’t seeking it. And the voice said, it’s not going to work out, but you’re going to be okay.

Dr. Tari: Wow, how did you feel when you heard that?

Sabrina: I think stunned in so many ways because again, I don’t think I’ve ever heard something so clear in my life and, and also slightly shocked, because I wasn’t. There. And like, we’ve all kind of gone through like, you know, the series of a breakup. Like there, there there’s, this there’s like a funnel. We kind of all go through, you know, I was not at the bottom of the funnel, swirling myself out. So this was like an epiphany. And like I said, I had just never had the symbol of certainty and relationships. So this felt. Grand big shock. Right. I imagine some people would question, like, is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? You’ve heard it. And then things potentially came undone, and that wasn’t it, but here’s the thing I think that was God’s way of preparing me or the universe’s way of preparing me because really what I took from that message was you’re going to be okay. And I think when the thing that you have wished and hoped for your whole life is not working, whatever it is in this context, obviously relationship, but like the dream job, the, the, the trip that you’ve always been wanting to go on, you get there, and it’s lackluster. Like this happens to us where what we picture is not really what it is. So all that to say, when you get the thing that you had always wanted. And it’s not that where something gets taken away from you, or there is a deep loss. You really have two places to go. Once you fall apart or two, you step into this notion that no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay. That is so freeing and powerful. And I remember saying to my best friend, she’ll probably listen to this, and she’ll remember this night very clearly after I heard that message. I ended up coming back to Chicago, stepped right back into my life, and I leaned in, and I was going to make things work. And that was that. But I remember talking to my friend because now I knew that there was an option, that things weren’t going to really work out. And I remember just saying to her, I said, I know for the first time in my life, in a way that I never have that, no matter what happens to me, I am always going to find a way to be okay. And I have stepped into my power in a way that I never have.

Dr. Tari: You have the talk about what life has been like since you ended that relationship.

Sabrina: Yeah. So naturally, there have been ups and downs, but I think being able to walk away from something that no longer serves us and still saying that was a success. I had an amazing experience. Had I not met this person and gone through whatever it was that we went through. I would not be carrying this confidence around now, knowing, but I’m going to be okay. You know, if a relationship doesn’t work out or if my life doesn’t pan out the way that I thought that it would, and the other big thing that has come of this life post, this epiphany, right? Because it’s bigger than the relationship. My whole life. I wanted to get married and have children get married and have children. I froze my eggs. You know, I’ve been obsessed with, will I even be able to have kids? Well, I’m turning 36. Still single and happy, by the way. Let me say that.

Dr. Tari: She really is.

Sabrina: Yes, truly. So in the spirit of knowing that you’re going to be okay, Here’s what I started to do with my power. I looked around, and I realized that people that were married and had children were not necessarily happier than me. It was just different. It was a different kind of happiness, but that happiness is available to all of us. It’s what we create with it. And so, in this spirit of knowing that I’m going to be okay, The dialogue that I started to have with myself is yes, of course. I want to have children and a family. Yes, of course. I want you to know a great marriage, a healthy relationship, a working relationship. But I also know that if I don’t, for some reason, go on to have children, I am going to be okay. I am always going to find a way to be happy. And my notion of marriage has changed quite a bit too. I have come to realize a lot of things about myself, which is like, you know, I don’t really love to compromise or whatever it is. And, is marriage a one size fits all solution for someone that wants love? No. So for me, that outcome again has completely changed. And it’s really about; I would love to be a part of a healthy working relationship that nourishes me. I want to experience that. And can I tell you, I think that’s what everyone seeks, and I don’t think that marriage defines that? And I don’t think being in a relationship defines that just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean that it’s working healthy; just because you’re married doesn’t mean that it’s working healthy. Obviously, these things ebb and flow, but. To change that dialogue to say like, I really want to experience a healthy nourishing relationship has felt so much more authentic than just saying I want to get married and I want to have kids, but it again, kind of comes back just to tie the bow back on it is once you give yourself the power to say, no matter what happens, I know I’m going to be okay. It will set you free.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, you are free. That’s so true. And I’ve seen that, and yeah. You know, you’ve made decisions. You moved to LA for a while because you just, you’re following what feels right, what feels good. You’re not chasing a relationship. You’re really connected with Sabrina and what feels good to you.

Sabrina: Absolutely. And here’s the thing. There’s no shortage, right? Like there might be some things I’m saying that might feel like I gave up or I no longer want these things. And it’s really not that you’re right. It is alignment full alignment with yourself, and guess what the show goes on. So since. That epiphany, yes. I’ve always wanted to be a snowbird. My whole life, it’s been my dream. I said I do it before 40, and I’ve spent the winter in LA, and I got to tell you waking up every day in the winter to 70-degree weather has been a game-changer for me. I’m in the best shape of my life. I am having so much fun and energized by the weather and exploring. So it was amazing to, like, make that happen. That experience would have never happened. Had I not gone through what I went through, there’s no way. And it be, you know, being by myself in the winter, in Chicago, in the pandemic, I got really, really fortunate that this happens. I remember a friend saying to me, cause I said, you know, am I running away from my life? I’m just living with a friend. I’m in my late thirties, renting this bedroom, like, yeah, there’s something about this that kind of feels a little off-brand. And she said, Sabrina, when the stars just aligned for you, the way that they did for this to happen, it’s because it’s meant to happen. So remember that, for anyone listening to this, when the stars start to align for you, it’s for a reason,

Dr. Tari: Right. Like when opportunities appear, and you feel pulled toward it or excited by it. That’s supposed to happen, right? And the conversations that you and I have now are not, they’re not about, you know, they’re not focused on like dating and men, they’re focused on you and how you’re feeling and, and your joy. And not that every day is amazing for anybody. But I think you said it’s the alignment, right? When we stay anywhere where we’re not aligned anymore, that is not aligned with us like, that a relationship that isn’t serving us or any situation that we’ve outgrown or isn’t fitting anymore. We block the path, right? Like you said, there’d be no way you would be an LA. I just think about life for you right now. It’s just so full. There’s just so much magic happening, and we don’t know where it’s heading, but it’s somewhere amazing because you already feel amazing.

Sabrina: Absolutely. And I have to say, you know, I continue to manifest, continue to make things happen. It doesn’t end. So in no way have I liked, settled, or become too practical, or, you know, all of it has just opened up a whole other world to me. So I continue to meet people that I think are incredible. And I have so much more joy in those experiences, whether they work out or not. Because they are, it all goes back to the enrichment of the experience. And we are sometimes so attached to an outcome that we miss the gifts that someone has come to bring us because one person can take us on this whole path of self-discovery. And I’ll be damned if I miss out on that. So I know we talked a lot, and I do have a closing thought I’d like to share.

Dr. Tari: Sure. Yeah. Go for it.

Sabrina: So, I highly recommend untamed. I know it’s all the craze, Glennon Doyle, talk about the Anthem of stepping into your power; this is untamed, and Terry did get me this book for Christmas, so thank you I appreciate it. But I read this line, and it stuck with me, it says. It is a blessing to know a free woman. Sometimes she will stop by and hold up a mirror for you. She will help you remember who you are.

Dr. Tari: I just got goosebumps.

Sabrina: I felt the same way when I read it.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, I think that’s exactly what we’re talking about is going from fear to freedom. And you are on that journey right now. And you’re just trusting that things are going to continue to unfold as long as you stay aligned. And the last thought that I’ll have about that is, you’ve shifted from, I think of the mindset that a lot of women have, which is, Oh God, I want to be chosen. I hope he chooses me. I hope he likes me too. I’m going to choose what feels right to me, what feels aligned for me. And you haven’t found that yet. And so it’s not meant to be yet. And this, this idea of no fear, right? A fearless woman. That’s where our power comes from. You’re such a role model, I think, for so many women. And I’m so excited to see where your path takes you.

Sabrina: Me too, and thank you for all of the guidance that you’ve always provided as a friend, as a mentor. I’m so excited to just continue on. I know you’re here for the ride. I’m here for you and very excited to see how it keeps them a full day.

Dr. Tari: Thanks for tuning into Dear Dater. This is Dr. Tari, reminding you that if you want love, that’s meant for you.