As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m thinking of those of you who are hoping for love to come into your life. This was always the time of year that my “screw this; I give up” voice started endlessly beating its drum. Sometimes the frustration and disappointment was just too much. Luckily, I never 100% convinced myself that I was better off without a life partner. I hope you fail at this like I did. The wait is worth it.
So here is a repost of something I published several months ago. I think it’s timely. Give it a read. Then leave a comment and let me know your feelings.
Fortitude: Strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.
What are your fears and frustrations around dating and looking for your mate? Contrast those to other challenges and disappointments in your life. Are you still so afraid that it’s worth giving up? Come on, you’re a grown-up; you’ve slain greater dragons than this.
Being rejected by a man is the least of your problems. The emotional intensity we feel around dating and mating can create such vulnerability and discomfort that it seems ominous, or at least like something we want to avoid.
Being rejected by a man is the least of your problems.
Wisdom is figuring out what you need before you give up. Fortitude is about not giving up before you figure out how to get what you need. The benefit of being in our 40s, 50s, and 60s is our clarity about what we want (our wisdom), and our ability to overcome obstacles to get it (our fortitude).
Here’s my advice to help you date happily and find love
1. Don’t talk yourself out of dating.
Not only do you want this and deserve it, you have the wherewithal to get it. Stick with it.
We all experience rejection, confusion, self-doubt, and fears of all kinds when we actively pursue love. If you’re going to use self-talk (which is something I’m expert at) use it to your advantage. Nix the “this is useless, I will never find anyone, I’m better off alone” talk. Replace it with the “I usually get what I want, I deserve a great man, I know how to do this, I will figure this out” talk.
2. If nothing else dating is about learning and growing.
There are very few experiences that warrant a decision to stop looking for love. Save those, every conversation, email, or date you have will be able to teach you something new about yourself or men. Like anything else you do, the more you learn the better you get. In the worst case, you may not find your lifetime partner, but you’ll have a lovely and fun time looking.
You have to actively look for these moments. If he responded positively to you, why do you think he did that? If you expected him to call but he didn’t, what does that teach you about him or about yourself? (Remember, if he doesn’t call it’s just about him; not about all men.) Did you make good decisions? Where you authentic? Did you practice kindness to him and yourself? Looking at it from this perspective will keep the focus on positive forward movement.
3. Perspective, perspective, perspective.
Being rejected by a man or feeling like you’ve somehow ruined an opportunity for connection with a great guy is a minor obstacle compared to what you’ve risen above in your life. You have an otherwise full and satisfying life that you’ve worked hard to achieve. Joyful dating and finding love is the icing on the cake.
If you have trouble remembering this, at least remember Commandment #2. There are no bad dates or wasted chances. Everything you do in your search for love brings you closer to finding it.
4. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Whether your goal is to find everlasting love, or to simply enjoy dating and find a companion, keep focused and try to shut out all the other noise. Like anything that is truly precious and meaningful in your life, you can do the work to get to the goal.
Part of fortitude is not giving up before you figure out how to get what you need. Part of wisdom is figuring out what you need before you give up. If you’ve been dating for some time and you haven’t been having fun or found your special man, my wish for you is that you find the strength of mind and courage not to give up before you figure it out.