We’re all searching for it, all have different ideas of what it looks like but can all agree that it’s what we want to feel, to be. Many of us spend our lives thinking that it’s something that happens to us. Certain that when we finally get that promotion, new car or lose weight we’ll find it. And when we find love, The One? Then we’ll be happy for sure.
If you’ve been dating awhile you might be starting to wonder if you’re ever going to get your happily ever after.
Starting to feel like dating is hard. That time is running out. That maybe love isn’t meant for you.
I get it. I’ve had bad dates too.
But I’ve also learned how to enjoy dating.
I’ve learned that happiness doesn’t depend on external circumstances or whether or not you’re with someone and it doesn’t start when you fall in love.
So what is the secret to being happier while dating?
Happiness is an inside job. There’s no short cut to it, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and try something new. Explore other ways of thinking and practice them on a daily basis.
So if dating is getting you down and you want to start feeling more hopeful about life and love I have 3 action steps that you can take starting today.
1. Self Care
Consider this: What’s your day to day mind set? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about love? Are you constantly thinking that you’re not worthy? That no one will ever love you? That you will never get the person you really want because you’re not good enough?
This type of negative thinking is the worst thing that you can do when you’re looking for love. And being negative about yourself is the most destructive thing you can do to the person that you’re having the longest relationship with – YOU. If you don’t love and respect yourself how can you expect anyone else to?
I get DEEP into Self Love and Self Care with the women I work with, but you can start now by treating yourself as you’d want a partner to. Become aware of thoughts that aren’t serving you, have compassion for yourself and practice self care by doing at least 3 things a day that are just for you. Just because they feel good and not because you have to or should. What do you enjoy? Fresh flowers, candles, getting a massage, creating art, a yoga class, taking a bath, buying a book or magazine, whatever it is that brings you simple pleasures and joy.
2. Change Expectations Into Appreciation
True happiness doesn’t come from what you think you’re going to have in the future but from appreciating what you have now. What you put your attention on grows. If you wake up in the morning and you’re thinking that your day is going to suck, how you hate your job or that you’re never going to find anyone that negativity takes over. Similarly, if you start a daily practice of gratitude and what you can appreciate, feelings of abundance will become your reality.
Start and end each day by expressing gratitude and appreciation. Get a journal and every night write down at least 5 things you’re grateful for and every morning when you first wake up think of at least 5 things you’re grateful for. Research has shown it’s most effective if you can find 5 new things every day, but I find it works even if you have repeats on your list.
These things can be big like a promotion at work but they don’t have to be, they can be as simple as someone gave you their seat on the bus, the smell of coffee in the morning, the sun shining or how you love the sound of rain. There is so much beauty in the little things when you look for them.
3. Experience Your Dates
Be on your date. Be present. Make interesting conversation, be curious about that person and listen for the answer. Instead of in your head thinking do they like you? Where is this going? Or looking for every reason possible why they aren’t a good fit for you. Date for the enjoyment of a new experience over dating for outcome.
Everyone has a story and something to offer even if they aren’t the right one for you. Every time you go on a date find at least 5 things that you can appreciate about that person. When you get home write it down in your journal. Soon you will begin to shift your patterns, shed negativity, judgment on yourself and the person and enjoy your dates for what they are.
When you start living your happiness now instead of waiting for it to start in some distant future the rest of your life including dating becomes much more enjoyable. I invite you to try these action steps for the next 21 days, and begin to experience more joy in your life.