On my podcast this week, I talked about going on my first date, in a long time. It actually felt good to get back out there. I've worked really hard to overcome a lot of fear and insecurity around romantic relationships and love over the past few years. More recently, I've been focused on releasing limiting beliefs when it comes to dating, an exercise that can help me stay motivated on a path that can, frankly, be an emotional rollercoaster.
I want to share this process with you because you can apply it to dating, job searching, entrepreneurship, making new friends, or whatever journey you're currently focused on.
The key is to get more mindful about the thoughts running through your head:
- Listen to what what your thoughts are saying to you - they drive your emotions
- Put a stop to the negative, unproductive thoughts
- Handwrite them on paper or a journal as "thoughts you will let go of"
- Replace them with something positive (and true) about yourself or a situation and write them on paper
- Write down other positive things about yourself that you get to embrace during this process
For instance, with dating, I can start out excited and motivated, and then if I get let down by someone I was excited about, I am inclined to turn to negative thinking. But through practice and mindfulness, I realized I have a choice as to how long the negative thinking lasts.
I had a great first date with "George" - we seemed to really connect and we mutually agree that we had a great time. He's quick to schedule a second date and suddenly cancels a day before we're supposed to see each other. He says he'll be in touch to reschedule. I don't hear from him within a week, so I text him to check in and he doesn't respond. This is a situation that can lead to negative self-talk but instead of letting the thoughts hang out for awhile, I follow this process:
- My thoughts are telling me: I shouldn't have texted him. Why would I reach out? I seem desperate. Am I desperate? Did I do or say something wrong over text? I really have no idea what happened, that's really rude, etc...
- I realize what's happening. I feel a bit insecure and disappointed, this is not the first time it's happened and it doesn't feel good. I let myself feel what I need to feel (no matter if it's anger, sadness, uncertainty, disappointment, etc...) because it's important to acknowledge that my feelings need to be felt, and observed, even if I'd prefer to experience happier feelings.
- I need to let go of the limiting beliefs that: a) I did something wrong, b) maybe guys are scared of my biological clock c) I'm never going to find the one d) dating is difficult and e) maybe I'm too career motivated, intimidate men and am therefore unlovable. We get to chose whether we believe these thoughts - if we think they're true, we operate in a mindset of thinking there's something wrong with us, like we're not enough and that we are therefore unlovable as our truest self. We then present ourselves with this mentality on dates, inadvertently hiding beautiful parts of ourselves, and attract like-minded partners. We're then more inclined to date a guy who never really feels good enough, or we say there are no good matches for us out there, therefore we choose to be single.
- Instead of embodying our limiting beliefs, we say "f them!" I imagine if a friend told me this story and how I would respond compassionately and give her a giant hug. I do the same for myself and replace the thoughts with: I am enough. I did nothing wrong; it truly felt like mutual interest and I listened to my gut. That's all I can do. Dating has been more fun and easy in the past (especially when I was in college), why can't it be now? Just because I'm older doesn't mean I have to put pressure on myself. I will keep at it!
- I will embrace myself just as I am. I have a lot to give in a relationship, and I look forward to finding a partner who is an equal. I am ready to be vulnerable and be my full self (all the good and what may be interpreted as bad, I'm well aware that no one is perfect)! It's natural human tendency to turn to the negativity and fear; it's a way of protecting ourselves from pain. But I won't let the negativity or fear win!
In summary, we attract what we are. Our thoughts drive our emotions and actions, so becoming mindful of your thoughts will empower you to show up differently in the world. In other words, you need to be (or embody the qualities and energy) of the person who will attract the kind of love (or job or friends) you're craving. If you want to chat more about what's preventing you from making change in your life, let's schedule a complimentary clarity session to figure out how to get you out of your own way!