In matters of love - dating especially - pessimism is rife. Why?
Well - humans learn from experience, which, perhaps surprisingly, is often a bad thing. I love this old chestnut:
the past only predicts the future
only if you live in it
It means that if you do tomorrow what you did yesterday, then yes - you'll get the same stuff. But if you do different things, then you can get different outcomes.
This is especially true with dating.
really take You Here?
Experts agree that living in a good relationship will make you happier. Living in a bad one makes things worse, of course, but this article is not about fixing a bad one (which I can also help you with) - it's about finding a good one. Sharing your life with the right person can make everything better. You can learn from each other, grow together, have fun, raise families and all that good stuff. There's nothing like it and most people want it.
But how to find the right person?
You know the answer, but you hate it, right?
Accepting that you want something you haven't got can be difficult for some. The thought of hauling yourself back out there and pasting on a grin and trotting out the small talk is grim. Then there are all the weirdoes, the difficult silences, the immediate turn-offs (giving and receiving), the spectre of intimacy - the whole apparent desperation of it all. And of course, I know I'm, a weirdo myself - who'd want me? And so many frogs...
I've worked with a lot of clients on finding their perfect partner, and here in a nutshell is my short-list of top tips for dating successfully. These really work - enjoy!
Let all that stuff go. Wash your past out of your head. Set your attitude from the start to be positive and ready for success. "I want to be settled in a wonderful relationship with my perfect partner. That person is certainly out there, and there's every reason I can find them".
Use your memory carefully) and your intellect to think about what it is that you want from a partner. All the obvious things, but also the less obvious. Think about aspects of the partners you've which you could have done without, then flip them upside down, and turn them into positive attributes. By all means make a long list, but also make a short one of no more than five items, and rank them in order of importance. Make sure this list is right for you. Don't use someone else's list, don't list the things you feel you ought to want. Make it yours.
By they way, watch out for the persistent failure mechanisms in your past dating. Do you always go for bad boys who dump on you? Or intellectual recluses? Or substance abusers? Do you tend to get too clingy? Declare love too soon? Fear commitment? Have intimacy issues? If you do, you should address this, to understand the issue and to remove it from your future.
Date without Dating
This one's golden, because it avoids the stuff most people dread but still creates wonderful opportunities and builds self esteem.
Use your list to raise your awareness of your wish you find your partner. You must make a talisman - or several - to keep you on the alert. When you are in situations where your partner might be, create opportunities to interact with potentials. Be open about this. You may not think the man serving coffee is worthy of your special attention, but you really don't know and anyway - you'll enjoy life more if you assume they are.
Keep your shortlist in mind and your wits about you. Engage with many people. Eye contact is a start. Smile a lot. Say "hi". Open doors (literally and figuratively). Come out from behind your shell's net curtains and live on it's doorstep more. Shops, cafes, work, sport, libraries, planes, buses, wherever people are - that's the place to date without dating.
And do a great deal of it. Look for at least five new interactions per day of a kind you wouldn't normally have in week one. After that, at least ten, then twenty. Do it a great deal. If your life doesn't contain many opportunities then create new ones. It's your life - no-one else is going to do this for you. By the way, all this work will enrich your life regardless of finding a partner. Do whatever you can but push yourself a little. If you're entirely comfy, you're not trying hard enough!
This is what most people dread. The Dating Mill, the Meat Market. Online dating is one example of structured dating. Dating clubs, social clubs and speed dating events are others. My recommendation is online dating. The stigma is long gone and the technology is so obviously useful that it's a no-brainer. I recommend you avoid Dating Direct, however.
Go in with your eyes open. Expect a few odd experiences. Invest in your profile and in searching others. Accept that very little worth having in life is free, and pay up gladly.
Life seldom places in your lap that which you most desire. Quite often is sits on your lap and makes a rude noise. So resilience is an essential attribute. In all my years coaching, it has become crystal clear that those who succeed most do not win by being the best at their chosen field, they win by being the most tenacious. They don't see failure, they see feedback. They don't take the first hiccup as evidence that they should quit now. And they don't shy away from a great deal of hard work.
How do they get to be like that??
Well, naturally, they have a great coach on their team :o) But they also probably have a broader support structure. Generally, that will be made up of several components:
- They get regular aerobic exercise, to keep them physically and mentally healthy, stave off health issues, build self-esteem and help them sleep well.
- They have a healthy social network. They'll have friends they can speak honestly with, take support and advice from. They'll have things they do to have fun with others out there in the world.
- They will be free of crushing financial, health, or other crippling worries. People in fear are not generally strong resilient people - so if this is you, try to address these concerns first.
- They will have reasonable self esteem. This promotes a healthy sense of humour, an ability to shrug off difficulties and an openness to new ideas and personal change. If your self esteem is low, please address that separately.
So there's my nutshell. I hope you find it as helpful as my clients have.
Go forth and date!
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