Don’t Hold Back

how to find your inner strengthMae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Are you doing it right? Are you spending your time, effort and energy on the things that are really worthwhile? Or are you holding back?

Don’t hold back. Spend all your life pursuing (all out) the things you believe to be worthy of your life.

The core message I want to communicate to anyone who looks to me for guidance is a simple one. Live your life to the fullest. Spend every moment you can pursuing what matters most.

It’s definitely one of those “easier said than done” type messages. There are always good reasons to hold back. Things like holding down a job, obligations to friends and family, and even the daily race just to tick off everything on your to-do list.

All of that stuff takes up time and energy. Sure, it’s noble to live life to the fullest, but many of us feel we simply don’t have the luxury of making that a reality.

The thing is, I believe in you. I believe if you look deeply within yourself, you will find there are things you believe in that are worthy of your time, energy, and full pursuit… even in the face of hardship.

Of course, the biggest reason we hold back is even more basic. We’re afraid of failure.

I’m with you on that one. I’ve spent my share of time dragging around the “Yeah, but what if I fail?” excuse. I call it an excuse because, in the end, the only failure is not trying.

But what I want you to know is that I believe in you. And you are most inspiring when you go after the things that give your life meaning and purpose.

I’m confident that if you look deep within yourself you’ll find there are things you truly want out of life, even if some of them are hard to go after. In fact, you’ll likely discover that the things you want to pursue are the very things that make you feel most alive…the things that energize and motivate you.

I want you to invest in those things, and here’s how.

I’m a dating coach. My guess is that a relationship is one of the things you’d like to pursue. But, like all of the things that matter most in life, there’s risk in going after the relationship you want. It feels a bit like a gamble. You’re sitting there, clutching your cards, worried that maybe you’ll lose if you play your hand.

But there’s a scarier possible outcome. What if you get to the end of the game only to discover that you played it too safe? What if you never play your cards? You may not lose, but you definitely won’t win.

Yes, it’s a gamble, and it can certainly be scary. But anything really worth having involves risk.

how to find your inner strengthFind your hidden strength. (Tip: You usually find it right after expending every ounce of courage you have). It’s there in all of us. If you tap into that strength, you can go after the things you really want, even when there are dozens of reasons why it might be hard.

Personally, I don’t think you should ever allow fear to keep you from going after what you want, including the kind of relationship you want. I believe you should pursue that with all your heart.

I also believe there’s a balance you can strike. You don’t have to go “all in” the first time you’re dealt a hand. Instead, there are things you can do to protect yourself and minimize some of that risk.

So here’s a perfect blend. Go for everything you want in a relationship. Don’t be afraid to really go after the man who’s going to make you the happiest! And at the same time, practice excellent boundaries and get serious about looking inside yourself to make sure you’re not carrying around junk that’s going to attract harmful people into your life.

Once you’ve established clear boundaries for what is cool and what isn’t cool, go after what you want. Don’t hold back.

Life is full of risks and rewards. You can’t claim the rewards without taking some of the risks. Even if you’ve had bad dating experiences in the past, don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t hold back.

After all, you only live once. Do it right. Live the life that reflects your deepest values.

Always on your side,


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34 thoughts on “Don’t Hold Back

  1. December said:

    James, I”m 46 and have been unlucky in love my adult life. When I first signed up and read “Be Irresistible” I had just started dating my boyfriend. Your advice and insight has changed my life with men. I’ve also done a ton of therapy in the past to understand myself hopefully better, all great, BUT nothing has helped me in love like you have. Thank you so so much. I’m happily in a committed loving relationship with a wonderful man. He has twins that are 4yrs old that I adore and love and they tell me they love me too! Not that it hasn’t been challenging, and of course will continue to have it’s challenges at times but being able to understand men better, and know HOW to talk to him is incredible!! To understand how to make him feel good and to know how to let him know that he can provide for me even though we are totally broke ( we have dates that cost nothing and emotionally are learning to give to each other.) As you just wrote about taking risks in relationships, we both are and I’m am 100% sure that’s only because I’ve followed your advice and it’s allowed the room for growth for him and I (little does he know, smiles ) I have been the perpetual girlfriend however with the men in my life and I do want to get married. For once I want a man to declare I am worthy to be a wife! We have only been dating a short time (7 months) and am not expecting a ring any time soon but I wanted to ask you, as the risks are high (when children are involved and as I said I love them so much too I would be crushed to not have them in my life ) how long do I wait to talk about that possibility? He was married before (15yrs ) and a ruff divorce, as often is the case, leads men to be leery of marriage. I do live with him already and we have the kids 3-4 days a week..

    • James Bauer said:

      Wow! You have embodied the principles of in your life and relationships. And you are reaping the fruits of that choice. You are attracting the kind of beautiful relationships that are only available to those who become the person they need to be in order to live the dream they desire.

      Thank you for sharing about your success. I find it personally inspiring, but I know there are many women who will also benefit from hearing an example like this. You have truly adopted the principles we teach and made them your own, applying them in real life for the best possible results.

      Now to your question. It sounds like things are moving along perfectly, though I certainly understand the deep desire you feel to have a public and social declaration of commitment through marriage. Here’s one thing to consider. This may be the perfect opportunity to give your man an opportunity to be your hero.
      The key is to find a natural and relaxed way of telling him how much you value marriage. Explain the emotional value of it. Some men fail to see the value of marriage because they are focused on the practical aspects of loving another person and sharing life with them. And once you’re living together, marriage can seem like some sort of frivolous idea rather than something of tremendous value.

      Once he sees how much it matters to you, it gives him the opportunity to once again rise to the challenge of being your hero.


      • December said:

        Thank you James, I will think on that. Again, I feel it’s too soon and I’m more than happy to wait for a time. I brought it up when I was a little tipsy one night, lol, actually he said he would talk about it when we aren’t drinking in a more appropriate time. I thought that was really positive actually. I just wish HE”D bring it up one day, am I so silly to want to need this action from a man? Is it something I just need to let go of? I didn’t think you would tell me to talk to him about it really. I do get that it would be an opportunity to allow him to be my hero.Lastly how soon do you think is too soon? Again, thank you for your insight, and helping me create the life I have so desired!

      • December said:

        Hi James, you didn’t respond to my last and I know you are very busy. I just wanted to update. He actually broke up with me this morning. I’m devastated- naturally. Basically he knows his pattern- his x wife use to tell him that he is not emotionally avail. I’ve tried to use your principles. We are both struggling financially, I just started a new job. His divorce has crippled him. I’ve suggested many times different things we can do for free ( to fulfill my needs too- attention ) as he can’t afford to wine and dine me, and I’ve been 100% ok with that. I suggested dressing up at home for dinner, etc and let him know in many ways that I am not needing monetary things. In his stress though he can’t live in the moment and I can’t be left to feel that I’m invisible- again. I thought recently with his anger management class he takes there was a break through. He told me that i’ve often said to him that he likes to be angry, he gets something from it, and while it may have worked to survive his childhood, it doesn’t work now. He looked at that and seem to actually be making a change. However last night when I simply explained that I needed a little tlc, snuggles in the morning or something, he’s decided it’s too much. With all that I bring to the table and how great I’ve been with his kids ( he has said this over and over ) This morning I asked him if he wanted me to move out and he said no. 20 mins later he texted me that he felt in fact it’s best! I can’t believe it. I love him but I don’t know how to win him back. I believe we really could have and amazing life together! He’s 41 and I’m 46. We have much in common and enjoy similar things. He’s told me he knows i’m not his x and that I won’t eventually be a burden financially on him ( I have’t been able to contribute much because my training was long and unpaid, flight attendant training is hard! He said he knows that and he knows I’m not like his x… Is there anything for me to do or do I let him go? I’m so heart broken. His kids, 4yr old twins, we have half the time tell me in the morning ” December I love you” I’m just beside myself.

  2. PatiO said:

    This article that impresses us to be selfless and go after what we want without giving everything away (so he keeps coming back) is a really hard balance to achieve. I’ve read much advice on how to snare a man by withholding what he wants (sex) until he’s emotionally connected to you. But this attitude of selflessly pursuing a man makes it sound like giving him everything is the way to go. Obviously, by Diana’s account, that’s not always successful either. I’m totally confused. I’m guessing my best strategy is to decide first my non-negotiables and the rest can be negotiated . . . the problem with that is, guys ALWAYS get exactly what they want . . . . UGGHHH!!!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Pati. Just to clarify, this article is not about giving guys what they want (physically or otherwise).

      This article is here to encourage you to live a full life, so you will be less likely to look back with regrets. Here’s a recap of my main point:

      “Don’t hold back. Spend all your life pursuing (all out) the things you believe to be worthy of your life.

      The core message I want to communicate to anyone who looks to me for guidance is a simple one. Live your life to the fullest. Spend every moment you can pursuing what matters most.”

  3. Deborah Ney said:

    Glad “always on your side ” is back. Adds to your warmth, James. Thanks. Read your advice religiously. Thanks to your respect principle I am in a wonderful beautiful relationship and want to do my part to keep it that way. You always remind me of things to keep us close and our relationship constantly vibrant and growing.

    Thanks again,

    • James Bauer said:

      That makes me VERY happy, Deb. Keep up the good work!


  4. Denise said:

    Hi Diana,
    I don’t know how long ago you posted this, so I’m not sure you will read this. My heart goes out to you. Many of us have been through the same thing. So, advice may be the last thing that would help you, because we want what we want, no matter what good advice we get. But here is some food for thought: if you really want to feel loved, appreciated and respected find a sure source of those things first. That way you will know the real deal when it comes along. What I mean by that is finding a source that gives you those feelings without the expectation of anything in return, like volunteer work (just an example). You said he told you that you’re “giving him everything sexually and emotionally everything a man could only dream” — of course he’s going to hang around for that! Unfortunately, if he still wants his freedom, he most likely has other sources that provide him the same “everything”, and he wants to be free to pursue that. If this is unacceptable to you, and it sounds like it is, this would have been the time to tell him that. Wish him well and let him be on his way. There are more loving men out there that are worthy of your everything that would not only love you, but cherish and adore you. In the meantime, doing a little charity work can help you get out of your head about this man. It may be a different kind of love and appreciation, but at least it will be real. It’s a great way to put things in perspective and see how our lives compare to others more unfortunate. His one saving grace is that he was honest with you. Most men who “want their freedom” will lie in order to keep it. At least he afforded you that little courtesy. Good luck, sweetie, with whatever you do. Just remember that you’re not alone.

  5. Diana said:

    Guys, you really helped me with your comments. I started to relax and to enjoy our time together, appreaciating his actions and not waiting for those magical words. I felt like a loved woman and this is what I actually want.
    But at the moment I feel devastated- he just admited to me that he is also seeing other women, because he still doesn’t feel committed to me and he doesn’t want to lie to me. He didn’t sleep with other women since he is with me, but this may happen soon if the situation will be right, so he can’t offer to me his faithfulness. He feels very sorry because he doesn’t want to loose me, but he just can’t give me what I actually deserve. He also said, if he sleeps with some other woman it has nothing to do with me, I’m wonderful and a very special woman, but he just needs to keep his freedom, our timing is unfortunately wrong, otherwise I could be his perfect woman. But he can’t expect from me to wait patently for him until he’s ready for a serious and committed relationship.
    Now I feel terrible jealousy all the time and I’m having heart ache. I didn’t believe he is seeing other women, I had a feeling I’m enough for him. He said, I’m giving him sexually and emotionally everything what a man could only dream, it’s his need to keep his sexual freedom which is standing between us.
    I so don’t know what to do- if I dump him, I will end broken hearted. If I continue like this, with the permanent poisoning thoughts of how he is seducing other women, my heart is bleeding too. Please, give me some advice!

  6. Diana said:

    Thank you James! I think, it’s my insecurity which makes me feeling the way I feel, because as long a man doesn’t say to me- “you are the one and I want to be only with you” I still think, well, maybe he is gonna dump me tomorrow, he didn’t commit to me, so officially he isn’t bound on me.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Diana, It seems to me that one year is not long at all to get to know each other and commit. Especially if he is on the road a lot and you’re not spending time together. HE SAYS HE IS IN LOVE WITH YOU. That is wonderful !!! Much better than just “loving” you. What more proof do you want – bells and whistles, violins, fireworks, shooting stars, lightening strikes? Be realistic Love is just a word, anyway. Actions speak better than words, as James says. You are right. You are insecure. Get rid of your insecurity, or that will be the one thing, ultimately, which will really p–s him off and push him away. In effect you are calling him a liar by not believing him. Just rejoice in your wonderful relationship – live one day at a time – and eventually they will all add up to a lifetime, hopefully. You lucky girl – what would most of us give to have what you have. Thank your lucky stars, relax and enjoy. With love, Lorna x

  7. Diana said:

    Hi James,

    I’m dating a guy for almost a year now. I’m 48 and he is 42. I’m divorced and his last commited relationship is ten years back, his job in the showbusiness isn’t allowing him to settle down, he is on the road for at least 6 months in the year. Beside that his last love broke his heart, so he is scared of new commitment.
    We fit very well together, having a lot of common interests, sex is just wow!, I’m 100% sure he isn’t cheating on me, he is very attentive and supportive and he is giving me the feeling I’m very special person in his life.
    But- since we started with casual dating which developed into a quite serious and intimate relationship, he never said that he wants to commit to me. Actually, we are acting like a couple, but he said few times he can’t afford a commited relationship, because of his unsteady job and because he don’t believe that it would work for us, so why should we change something between us, it’s everything great as it is. He said he is in love with me, but he didn’t say that he loves me, which is for me quite crucial.
    Still, I want more, I love him really and I would love to hear that I’m the one for him and that he wants to share his life with me. I’m not talking about marriage or living together, no- I mean only an “official statement” from him, that we are a couple.
    But I’m afraid I will spoil everything if I start making pressure on him or demanding to “say it”. My best friend told me, it’s obviously that he loves me and he wants to be with me, he just can’t say it with words and he is afraid to say I love you to me, so I should wait.
    I was waiting and was patient all the time, giving him his time, but I wonder how long should I wait? Isn’t one year enough time for a man to commit? Right now he is again on the road, for 2 months and I’m missing him so much. If I knew we are a real couple I would be able to wait for him without doubts and insecurity. So, should I take the risk or should I better hold back?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Diana. Based on your description, it seems the “don’t hold back” idea applies in this situation, but differently from how you are thinking about it. Really going for what you want in this situation means being patient so you can see if it is possible to have this man in your life long term. Since he is already treating you right and showing with his actions (rather than words) that he values what you share, I think you should continue enjoying the relationship instead of ending prematurely. If you were miserable my answer would be different.

    • Amy said:

      Turn that around
      Your go,den with him except for the distance
      I long for someone to say ” I’m in live with you”!!
      After all you can love a family member, your pet, your house, your job
      But he said he In Love!!!!!
      See that!

  8. Victoria Fabling said:

    Thank you James. This message was timely. I’m in my 50s but live in a place where the single men are much older and even though one insulted me by saying he’d like to f… me last week, I didn’t end the friendship. I was thinking of his frustration, and I should’ve said, “F… You, goodbye” or something which closed the door. Thanks again.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Well, perhaps you can take it as a kind of compliment that he did want to do that with you!! He obviously found you very attractive. I had the same experience with an on-line date. When I politely said I did not feel there was any point in us having another date, he asked me the same question. I found it quite amusing and, actually also flattering in a way. Men will always be men, and you have to give him credit for trying (I imagine most men are thinking that, anyway, even if they don’t say it). And who wants a wimp!!. Some women might have said yes. Sounds as though you still have a friend in him, though, and that is worth a lot – as long as you both know where you stand..

  9. Jennifer said:

    Oh Lorna, I agree with you a hundred percent, even though I don’t know what a New Moon Ceremony is ! James has been my angel over and over again. His level headed reminders has helped me with every aspect of my life. I am so grateful that I accidentally stumbled onto his website during a difficult time of my life. Thank you so much James and Happy Thanksgiving to all !!

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Thank you for that response, I really appreciate it.
      And this is just an update. I sang last night, as I said, at my local pub’s open musicians night and three professional musicians (guitarists) stood behind me and backed me. I sang the Beatles “Let it Be”, the words of which are also appropriate (look them up!!). I can’t tell you how that felt – like having a comfort blanket spread around me – I could feel the energy vibes from them lifting me up and supporting me. And I was not a bit nervous. As I said to them – they were the” Wind beneath my Wings”. I have always sung and loved singing, but it’s taken me til now to conquer the demon nerves. If we all support each other, anything is possible. We just have to find that inner strength and courage. We all have it in us – it just needs bringing out “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” – you will not be sorry. Then next time you will not be afraid. BUT there will always be something new to conquer. That is the Joy of Life – LIVE IT. Believe in yourself.
      Love and peace to you all. Lorna (LaLa) x

      • James Bauer said:

        Way to live life to the fullest, LaLa!

      • Amy said:

        ” there will be an answer”( sir Paul”)

  10. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    Oh – I get such a lot out of your articles. Once again it is timely, and you have given me the strength to look at things in a different way. I performed my New Moon ceremony last night for my “intentions” for the coming waxing phase of the moon. You have to meditate then write down on paper and burn three old things you want to be rid of in your life and then write down and keep three things you intend to happen in the waxing phase and the future. I wrote down that I want to move on with my life, be honest and talk things through with my partner and be happy. Then I read your aticle this morning, and you have reinforced that for me (syncronocity working for me again!! – or my Angels) You are a true Earth Angel. Thank you, once again, for giving me the courage to not be afraid and find my inner strength. I know that is the answer, but it is not always easy. It is so much easier just to stay in our comfortable rut. But, I am doing all I can to get out of it – I just have to keep focusing on that and how good the future will be. It is in my hands. I hope all this gives hope, strength and courage to other people, too. With love and peace to you all who read your articles. We are all in this together. Lorna (LaLa)
    PS – I have my singing debut at an open-mike night in our local pub this evening, so once again, I am having the courage to just do it!!
    PPS – I am 66, so it has taken me a long, long time, but as I am Gemini, I will be forever young!! Long may it last!

    • Amy said:

      Sing away angel
      U have pos vibes
      I’m tired but happy musican from three singing gigs this week!

  11. Lori said:

    Thankyou James you are awesome your advice is great for all areas of life

  12. Simone said:

    This was a great read and some good advice. Thank you.

  13. freedom said:

    WOW you are so right bout this , but sometimes like you said IT IS harder to do sometimes . I know what I want and the relationship I deserve , but I have been seeing a guy for bout 6 years now …… FWB ! and he does have a some what girlfriend , my heart fell for him and I have tried different things to get into his mind , heart …. but it seems to only work so far . I try to pull away but it seems my heart wants what it wants even though I know I deserve better . Was in a bad marriage for years and am divorced now for 2 years . times are hard and don’t do bar scenes and tried the on line date thing ….FLOPPED !!! So it is easier said then done !!

  14. Linda Williams said:

    I really like this article!
    Thank you….

  15. Lady L said:

    James, thank you for believing in me. I believe in you too. Thank you for your post. You are always the best *^-^*

  16. Judy said:

    Thank you….should this also be applied to a spouse that moved out ……even thou they need space?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Judy. I would apply this basic principle to all areas of life. But sometimes going for what you want requires patience (playing the long game rather than trying to rush success). I don’t know enough about your situation to give you an answer about whether or not you should pressure your spouse to make a decision quicker, or use other methods to increase the odds by really going for what you want. But I will say this, if you want to get back with him, don’t be afraid to spend time and energy working toward that desire even though we both know it may not work out in the end. The key to living life well is to go after what you want even though we don’t always get it.

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        I absolutely agree. If you still want him in your life – give him his space and freedom for now – and you get on with enjoying your hobbies, etc. Just be patient. Whatever you do, do not pressure him or nag him or beg and plead. Use the “Carrot and stick” method – let him know the door is still open and let him see what he is missing. Like a stray cat in the garden – give him little tit-bits and unconditional love, and perhaps he will come back (hopefully purring!!). But maybe there were things in your relationship that need looking at and changing. I have learnt that carrying on doing the same old same old will not work. Perhaps take this time-out to read lots of self help books and online forums and try to learn what changes you (both) need to make to make the marriage work. Arm yourself with knowledge. I wish you well and hope things turn out the way you would wish. Lorna x

      • Amy said:

        Tnx much Lorna for your tips
        Well said
        I’m being too aggressive w a new guy and now tryn to hold back & live My life!
        Hope he comes begging
        We’ll see

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Did he come begging? I hope so. It is very difficult to be patient when our hearts are breaking and we want to do all we can to put things right, but we are told that that is the way to treat men. Don’t put pressure on and create a lot of drama – they hate it. Just let him go inside his cave and leave him there to sort his mind out for a while. Don’t sit at the door waiting – you get on with your life – meeting friends, taking up new hobies, shopping, etc. Hopefully, when he has thought it all through, he will come back out – a happier person, and with the solution – give HIM the chance to find the answer, to be the dominant male – do not immasculate him. I wish you luck. Lorna

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