Recently, I went through an intentional shift in my mindset around dating. Mindset is a hot topic these days, we often talk in generalities, so I wanted to talk about my specific shift. I also think many people find dating difficult so I thought it would be great to combine the two topics.
For most of us we have been working within our current mindset for such a long time that changing it can be difficult. Or perhaps you may have been able to make a shift in a certain area, but having difficulty in another. While others may not even realize that a shift is needed. Sometimes we have to take a hard look at ourselves and realize that our current mindset is no longer serving us and figure out a way to shift it, because at the end of the day we are the ones that have control over it. No one else. The thing to remember is that we are all on this journey together, there may be some mindset shifts that may be easier to change than others depending on where we are within your life’s journey.
For me, realizing I need to change my mindset is the easy part (usually), actually changing it is more difficult (obviously). However, with dating, it took me awhile to realize that I was the one that needed to change my mindset, my issues were holding me back and causing me angst. My attitude around dating had been one of dread, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and avoidance - I mean the list could go on and on. I think you get the point that it was all NEGATIVE. The thought of dating just seemed like another fulltime job, and honestly, it can be, but it can also be exciting and fun, or in the least produce funny stories.
I would classify my experience with dating men as mostly just hanging out. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have been on proper dates, but those were not the norm. Even if I did have 1 or 2 “proper dates”, it would quickly turn into just hanging out with no commitment. Some of these lasted for over a year, but went nowhere. During the times I was “hanging out” with these guys I wouldn’t pursue anyone else. And to be honest, I was holding out hope that it would turn into something more.
I had just gotten out of one of those “hangout” situations when I moved back to Las Vegas. This prompted me to take a real hiatus from the opposite sex. I thought my hiatus might last a couple months -- it turned into a 2-½ year break. At that point I am not sure you can actually call it a break... maybe I should call it a dry spell? But I literally put no effort into going out and meeting anyone. There may have been a couple texts here and there, but nothing of any substance and it did not lead to any dates.
I realize now that a lot of this has to do with how I felt about myself. I was unhappy in my job, I was unhappy with my appearance, and just gave up on the whole dating scene. I had friends and family, so I decided that was enough. It was the mindset that I chose to be in at the time.
When I moved to Denver I finally realized that I needed to change my outlook, especially if I ever wanted to meet anyone, changing it was easier said than done. When I first arrived, I got back on the horse, and signed up for online dating...which I had done before with no luck. I gave it another try since I was new to the city. I went out on some lovely 1st dates but no 2nd ones. There was nothing there, and I wasn’t enjoying the process, it felt like work and was frustrated by the prospects. So, I gave up... again.
3 months ago something changed inside of me. I had done the work to shift my mindset and it was paying off. I had invested time into getting honest about what I wanted and what I needed to do to make it happen. I figured out what I was looking for when it came to dating and finding a partner, as well as knowing what I brought to the table. I mediated, did affirmations, was taking care of myself by feeding my body what it needed and my mind with books that helped and inspired me, and just got honest with myself. And it paid off. I was feeling better about myself, not just with the way I looked, but how I felt emotionally. I was happier and enjoying life more, and realized that I was ready to meet someone, or a couple of someone's. I wanted to explore Denver and I wanted see it through someone else’s eyes. So I signed up on some dating sites yet again, because where else do you meet people these days?
With my new found confidence, I went out into the online world of dating with a different mindset. The mindset of having fun, the mindset to explore Denver, the mindset to make new friends, and if something more came from it, then that was just the icing on the cake! And it worked. I have been enjoying the process of dating so much more. I made the choice to change my attitude and reaped the benefits of doing so.
Now that does not mean every date has gone well nor have I met the man of my dreams, but I have met some very nice gentlemen, and some boys who I decided were not worth a rose (had to throw in a Bachelorette reference, we are talking about dating of course!). But each experience has taught me something. I am learning my boundaries, and what I will and will not accept from these men’s social behavior. I no longer settle just because it is easier than putting myself out there. I am clear when communicating my needs. I also realize where my own faults lie in the dating process, and have found ways to give myself the grace needed to overcome them. For example, I am a planner and like to know where I stand. Funny how that doesn’t fly, especially within the first couple of dates. You can’t ask or expect someone to want to plan your next couple of dates right away. So I started dating multiple people. It allows me to not be focused on one person and constantly wonder what is going on, and gives me the freedom to enjoy my journey with them so much more. I am super honest about this, if asked, and don’t apologize for it. Afterall, I assume the men are doing the same.
Your mindset dictates how you react to situations. And your mindset is a choice. Our experiences, positive and negative, certainly impact our mindset, but ultimately it is our choice to let them have the effect that they do. I have let past experiences (mostly negative) have an effect on my mindset. I was insecure, anxious, and looked at it as a chore. When I made the decision to shift my mindset, I now look at it as fun (at least most of the time), I don’t take myself so seriously. I have more confidence and realize that if someone is not into me that is quite alright, because there are people that I am not into as well...and there are always more people to meet. I made the choice to change my mindset so that I can meet the person I will share my life with, because I am not going to meet them sitting on my couch watching The Real Housewives of Orange County. I have to put myself out there to see results.
What mindset shift are you needing to make to create a better life for yourself? You must first realize where your mindset is and where you want it to be. Only then can you take the action needed to change it.
If you need help changing your mindset, I would love to chat with you. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org!