"Dating should be less about matching outward circumstances than meeting your inner necessity." -Mark Amend
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Dating isn’t it fun? Yes, you can sense the sarcasm. I am currently in the dating pool I have been single for a little over a year now, so I thought it was time to get back out there and meet new people. Dating can be fun but it does take a lot of work, time and effort. It can be a grueling process. When you are dating you definitely have moments of self-doubt and anxiety. I was at an event with dating coach Matthew Hussey one of my favorite inspirational people. He did Q&A and one woman asked what I think a lot of people who are similar wanted to know, “What can I do if I am overweight and people don’t want to date me?” “How do I date as an overweight person?” I am termed overweight by the BMI standards and I am not in any way in shape. I to ask this question to myself many times while single when those moments of self-doubt creep in and years of diet culture that was embedded in me. “If I just lose that 10-20 lbs. I will be more attractive.” That is where I must STOP myself and remember some important things before I fall back into the superficial BS. I want to share with you some tips on how I stop myself from changing who I am and feeling good about myself while single and dating.
1) Are you ready to Date? This one is super important. Before you date you must be ready to date. If you are just out of a relationship going back into the dating world or looking for another exclusive relationship is not a good idea. Some people will tell that the only way to get over someone is to find someone new. This advice is terrible. What they are telling you is to go find a band-aid to cover the pain. You have to do a lot of soul-searching after a relationship has ended especially if it was a long-term or a more intense relationship. This is where you need to find yourself again and make sure you completely understand what went wrong in the relationship so that you can own your mistakes or habits so that you don’t take them to the next relationship.
We as humans are good at blaming other people and hardly look at ourselves for when things went wrong. For example, if you keep getting with people who cheat on you or treat you bad, yes they are wrong for doing that but maybe for some reason, you are attracting or looking for emotionally unavailable people again and again. You have to look at what your patterns are and make sure you understand why you are choosing certain types of people. I know for me I realized I was letting go of red flags and going after emotionally unavailable people. Now that I am aware of that and have worked on myself greatly I can now recognize when someone is not truly investing in me but rather looking for a short-term causal relationship without any real commitment. Definitely, make time to date yourself first before you date anyone else so you can be setting yourself up for better relationships and outcomes.
2) Know What You Want. Now that you’ve dated yourself and have forgiven yourself for the past hurts now you can figure out what you want in terms of dating and a relationship. Maybe you don’t want to go back into an exclusive relationship but want to casually date. That is ok you just need to make sure that is what you want. Also, you need to come up with boundaries and standards whether you are going to want a relationship or casually date. Many people think they don’t have to have boundaries or standards if they are going to just casually date but that is where they make the mistake of not protecting themselves. You have to be the person in control and not allow others to control how you feel or how something goes. For example, too many people will casually date but allow the other person to take it further because they selfishly want a relationship but without real commitment. Then someone always starts to fall for the other person and then someone gets hurt. Instead, if you know what your boundaries are like maybe you say you won’t go on actual dates but only make it a physical thing you know you won’t’ allow that person to cross that boundary. Same with standards write them out for what is important to you and number them by importance. Then no matter what you must not date someone who falls out of those standards no matter if they have the “potential” or not. That person needs to right now have those standards. One of my favorites quotes encompasses this “if you don’t’ stand for something you will fall for anything.” This is so true if you don’t know what you want or who you are then you will be willing to morph into what the other person tells you to be or you will chase someone and waste your time and hurt yourself.
3) Looks Are Not Everything. Now we can talk about appearance because how you look is minimal to the last to points. Why? Because if you know who you are what lifestyle you want and your standards how you look doesn’t matter. You will simply know that certain people are just not a match for you and that is it. Sometimes we put everything into how we look because it is the easiest and most superficial. How many people when they get out of a relationship head back to the gym or go harder in the gym? Yes, it is a great way to relieve stress, but most people are thinking they need to do this to attract “the one.” I’m sorry but if people think that relationships revolve around being “hot” and that is all they will only have a superficial relationship.
Some people may want that someone to call a trophy and to update their Facebook status. Again, that is what you have to know if that is something you want to have. If people are not finding you attractive, then you are simply just not a match for them it does not make you less valuable and loveable. Many people will try to tell you that you are not loveable or valuable and it is not true. What is true is there is a ton of superficial people out there who do judge people on the surface and by their looks. Would you really want to be with those people? I would rather be with someone who is trying to get to know me on a personal level. We all have certain things we are attracted to yes but if you are being so superficial than you are only limiting yourself. This is also where you should check your own stigmas. Are you swiping left or passing upon people who are also overweight, short etc.? Maybe you are being shallow as well.
4) Online Dating. Online dating is the norm and it can be so superficial because we are choosing people based on what they look like in their photos. I wonder if people even read the bios. Online dating cuts out going out into the world and actually mustering up the courage to talk to people, but it cuts out the chance of allowing to see your personality and charm in person. How many of you have a type in our mind but when you look back at who you have dated they look like nothing you had in mind what your type was. For me, the people I have dated won me over by their conversation or charm not really how they looked. This is where I think online dating is tough because you don’t get that in-person connection. Therefore, it is extremely important to get a date in person as quickly as possible. The great thing about online dating is that you can meet more people than you would going out to a bar or event. The challenge here is to capture someone’s attention. If you are overweight don’t try to hide that at all. Don’t do the high angled selfies show people who you really are because if you meet in person they will see you anyways. Confidence is sexy and for me always wind me over anytime. If you are hiding in your photos or have no full body pictures it will show people you are not confident or trying to hide something. I know if someone doesn’t have full body pics or always has a hat or sunglasses on I will swipe left. I don’t have time for people’s insecurities. You also need to have decent quality pictures of yourself and pictures of yourself doing activities to try to show people what you are about. I swipe left when people have dark poor-quality photos, less than three photos, or photos where I can’t tell who the person is because its always with a bunch of people. It is your time to shine in the photos and if you can’t be confident in photos I wrote a blog post of how you can feel confident in photos taken of yourself. The point is if you don’t feel confident in yourself how will others have confidence in you?
5) Remember You are The Prize. This is a mantra I have when dating “I am the prize.” I don’t have to change or hide anything about myself if people don’t’ find me attractive, thin, whatever else they don’t like I am just not a match for that person and they sure are not a match for me. The moment we feel like we are not good enough for someone is the moment we need to let it go. We weren’t born thinking we were ugly or unworthy. Someone or something like the media and diet culture told us weren’t enough and started to believe them. Maybe it was your ex who said: “you wouldn’t find anyone better because you are fat or ugly.” All of that is untrue we are all worthy of love. You must work hard to unlearn all that self-doubt and learn to hush your inner critic because it will only hold you back from being happy and finding a love that you deserve.
It is important to also not that dating will take time and it shouldn’t be rushed. Don’t settle for the first date you grab. You will more than likely have to date lots of people to find someone who is a great match for you. Do you think the love of your life that you will spend the rest of your life with will just fall in your lap ready to go? No, you have to find someone who matches all of your wants and understands your standards and earns their position in your life to be “the one.” Don’t think of dating as a Hollywood movie because you will be disappointed. Healthy adult relationships are real and need healthy adults to be in them. Relationships shouldn’t be a band-aid for your problems or fears. Relationships should compliment your life and bring you support and happiness while you work to understand your partner through the tough times. So take your time and forget about the looks as that is a small portion to finding someone. You really have to work on fulfilling your life and making yourself happy and someone who is great for you will see that and want you to be part of their life. You shouldn’t ever have to change who you are to impress someone. Remember you are the prize!