It was in the classroom of my childhood that I received my first love lesson. I was raised with the belief that love was something to earn in the form of praise, approval, and permission, in return for being well behaved, smiley, charming, and “good”. Neediness was considered weak. Opinions were not welcomed. Mistakes were greeted with disappointment and retraction. And as a result, I entered adulthood, believing that love was a reward to be earned by pleasing, and serving the needs of others, but not myself. Self-Love was a memo I simply never received.
Getting What You Deserve
When it comes to love relationships, we attract the kind of partner we think we deserve. If the relationship we have with our self feels flawed, dishonored, or unworthy in some way, we project that self-belief out into the world, and we receive our mirror relationships. If we consider ourselves as a half, we attract another half. Always looking for someone else to complete us, and in return, we complete them. This particular type of relationship is founded in lack and neediness, and has a tendency to leave you depleted, resentful, disappointed, disempowered, and woefully unfulfilled.
Do the best you can, until you know better, then when you know better, do better – Maya Angelou
I intuitively knew that my childhood teachers were only doing the best that they knew how. My knowing better would arrive in the fallout of my failing marriage, and the heart breaking truth that once more, I had made my choices from a place of lack and fear, for the happiness of others, but not for myself. The suffering in living with the belief that love existed in another person, in a place, a situation, or a thing, felt anything but loving. It felt painful. Ultimately, the emotional price of not taking care of my own needs led to the ending of my marriage. But it would also mark the end of living in fear; and the beginning of waking up to the bliss of the love lesson I’d been missing all along.
Sometimes dating can be a challenge. But we’ve got some simple ideas that will transform you from emotionally drained to warrior of love, guaranteed!
Dating can be really hard on the emotional self-worth even when you’re in a good, healthy place. Why? Because meeting people is freaking hard, and connecting with people? Even harder.
In the same vein, there are 5 billion reasons why a date can go poorly, just like there are 5 billion reasons why a date can go well, and yet as humans we privilege the negative…clouding our brains with why she didn’t call, what did I do wrong, am I not attractive enough, etc.
It’s not up to you to try and “solve” rejection or confusion behavior; no, it’s up to you to keep on keeping on, the gorgeous emotional warrior of love that you are. The key is keeping that self-esteem high so you can enjoy dating, and not feel bogged down by it.
Know what you’re looking for. Write it down. Stick to it. So if someone is being shady, flaky or confusing and is acting or communicating against your dating goals, you will have the power and the boundaries to say no to the situation. Sure, I like tomatoes, but if my goal is to make a cake I won’t make excuses for adding tomatoes to the recipe.
Dating someone who doesn’t fit your goals is exactly the same! Also, it’s easier on our brains to be like “he didn’t fit in MY plan” and let somebody go, then wonder why they didn’t want to fit into ours. You’ll be well on the way to a delicious relationship cake, my friends.
Follow the feel good.
What feels good? What feels sexy? What makes you feel happy? When you’re dating, try to pile on as many feel-good elements as possible to make the whole process fun.
Have a power song to listen to while you Tinder? Listen. Like a certain top? Wear it a bunch. Like a bar? Go there for dates. Enjoy making name puns when you put dates into your iphone? Clark-scared-of-the-dark probably doesn’t but who cares, it makes YOU laugh. Everything that makes you feel good in the process is a great thing.
Try the four-man-plan.
I know this is tricky, but the more people in the mix the better, because the less you’ll care when someone acts poorly or against your dating goals. My pal calls this the “4 man plan,” and swears by it. You’ll be so used to juggling people- good and bad, that things won’t phase you at all. And when you’re above it, busy and enjoying yourself, you’re also at your most desirable!
Keep yourself busy.
This is simple but an idle brain can go bad places! Keep busy in your life, in dating (see 4 man plan) and in everything you enjoy, and time will pass quickly. You won’t even notice when a guy doesn’t text you…or does.
Try using the “sexy selfie strategy.”
I like dressing up for dates, and I do it well. I have a ritual: after I get done up and before the date, I take a couple sexy selfies to “Formation,” and channel my inner Beyonce. Sure, it’s basic, but it makes me feel good. Whatever happens on the date- now you have a pic looking hot, confident and can channel that (or post on Insta) any time you need!
Think about memorizing some key quotes
Although they might seem cheesy, the brain LOVES succinct phrases in repetition. I love the phrase “look at him and look at YOU” as a motivator before I go out on dates, after I go out, and everything in between. Pick a couple phrases that strike you as empowering and write them in a place you can see them every day. Let that sink in…and the rest will be fabulousness.
Remind yourself: “I’m going to have fun!”
Before every date- no matter how I feel- I say “I’m going to have fun” or “dating is fun” ten times, out loud. And LOUD, people. Reminding yourself that you are fun, dating is fun, and this whole wild n’ crazy experience should be fun is super, super important. No better way than out-loud repetition in that “fake it till you make it” school of thought to really drive the sentiment home!
Don’t forget to find the funny.
Much like follow the feel good, follow the funny is something that should also get privilege. Keeping in touch with how wild and silly dating is-and having a sense of humor about it- is so incredibly important to finding humanity in others and weathering the meet-ups strung together that become our dating life. Relax! Don’t take it too seriously! It isn’t life or death, just life or vodka sodas, people.
You can even bring a friend in on the fun.
This one’s my favorite. You see, if you keep your friends abreast of your dating life and cute people who might be a part of it, they’re invested. Which means you have an enthusiastic and hopefully fun sounding board for all the trials and travails of dating. Also, they probably know YOU and your preferences better than you do, which means a whole lot of opinions, levity and camaraderie.
Go work out.
Go work out. A lot. It releases serotonin and other various brain chemicals that will definitely make you feel fit, alive and relaxed. It’ll also boost your energy so you can run to more places to booze with attractive people. Seriously, it can only HELP! Now get out there and date, you beautiful people, you!