“Most people” have nothing to do with your love life

It often hits me how unusually I think about dating and attraction. When I get a question I often flip it, because I think the opposite question is more interesting.

It’s not about finding the right person but about being the right person.

It’s not about finding out if the other person likes you, but if they are a good fit for you and if you like them.

And its not about what all men or all women want, or what works to attract everyone, it’s about what is important for you.

Because you don’t want to be with everyone (ain’t nobody got time for that, so to speak)

Therefore it’s completely irrelevant what everyone is doing. You need to find out who you are, and who you want to meet, and then go find, and attract, that.

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Many I talk to are only looking to find one person to have a relationship with. Still, they find it very troubling when they feel that the majority doesn’t match what they are looking for, or doesn’t click with them.

I know it can feel discouraging, but the truth is you only need to find the right person once (at least at a time).

And here’s the really good news: you can try an infinite number of times. 

It’s not like you only have 3 chances and then you’re screwed. Nope.

You can go on a hundred bad dates, or be single for decades and then make it all work out for you beautifully.

Most people have nothing to do with your love life. You are at the core of it, and you invite whomever you like.

Do you know what you want?

How you feel about your looks is more about how you feel than how you look.

When talking about dating, attraction and flirting, one thing that comes up a lot is the topic of looks.

Will it help to look good? Well, this question is more complicated than it seems. Because “looking good” is a very abstract concept, and depends on who you ask. I’m not gonna talk about the eye of the beholder, rather, I want to point to the fact that looking good and thinking that you look good are two different things, and make a world of difference.

There are many objectively amazingly beautiful people who hate their looks and suffer immensely because they feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Even if other people adore their good looks, they still don’t like themselves, and that is a horrible feeling.

As I write in the title, how you feel about your looks has a lot more to do with how you feel than how you look. Liking the way you look has much more to do with how you look at, and think about, yourself, than your actual looks. It’s very strange that we seem to think that the best way to liking ourselves is through self-hatred, mistreatment and punishment. That that will somehow lead to a change that we will approve of. But what really needs to change is the disapproval. Self-hate cannot lead to self-love.

If you can’t appreciate your self, it doesn’t matter how you look.  And when you can, it doesn’t matter either. Appreciation is the key, not good looks.

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Start by looking yourself and others in the eyes! People are not chunks of meat, we are human beings and way too interesting and complex to be reduced to a pair of thighs or a butt. We have souls, dreams, hopes, fears, wounds, longings and deep emotions. But we can’t see that in ourselves, or in each other, when we are busy comparing or obsessing about body parts.

Start seeing yourself and other people as whole and complete persons. Explore who you and they really are, and see what happens. Your appreciation for others and yourself will grow.  The beauty you will see in people will affect how you perceive them physically, and the same is true for you. You will start to connect with people for real, beyond looks and appearances. You will start to see the real beauty, and feel your own.

The reason that you can see and feel all of this beauty is because you have a body. That is the purpose of your body. To experience life, beauty and connection from the inside of it, not to judge the outside of it. 

Is it mandatory to like you?

shutterstock_204097093 kopiaAre you navigating though the world by trying to figure out what everybody else think, like and want? It’s very common, but certainly not unproblematic. Here are a few reasons why:

1. It’s impossible. You can’t read minds, can you? Well, then you don’t know what they are thinking. All you have is your own, made up idea of what they think.

2. It’s unfair. Everybody else is a lot of people. They all think, like and want different things. And there is only one of you. It’s not a fair game to try and satisfy everybody else’s needs.

3. It’s counterproductive. The reason we so often try to adjust to other people is that we want them to like us. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but trying to be liked not the best way. Think for yourself; whom do you like and respect more? Someone who is ever-changing and trying to get everyones approval, or someone who is firmly themselves?

4. It doesn’t work. If you want people to like you, you have to be you. Otherwise there is no you there to like. Changing to be liked is therefore futile.

5. You’re looking in the wrong place. What we want from others is often what we are not giving to ourselves. Not because we can’t but because we don’t realize that we can. It is not someone else’s job to like you, it’s your job. Give to yourself what you are chasing from others.

6. It’s manipulative. By trying to make everyone like you, you are trying to control them and not letting them be who they are.

7. It’s selfish. Someone who is constantly adjusting to others may seem like they are doing it for the other person but they are doing it for themselves: “I want you to feel good around me because I can’t stand it if you don’t.”

8. It’s scary. Never knowing where you actually stand can make people uncomfortable. When you are constantly changing people can’t trust you.

9. It’s dishonest. Since it is impossible to be liked by everyone, if you try, you will be inauthentic to at least some of them. You will give them a false image of who you are, and simply not be genuine or truthful.

If you recognize yourself in the pattern of constantly changing and wanting to be liked I invite you to reflect on this question: What do I like?

Many of my clients go completely blank when I ask them this. They are so used to, and skilled at, trying to figure out what everyone else likes that they never thought about what they themselves like, want and think about things.

The first step before showing your real self to other people, is figuring out for yourself who you are.

Who are you dating?

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When you go on a date with someone, or just meet a new person that seems interesting, what do you think about?

Do you make an effort to stay present, be curious and get to know that person, or do you focus more on how you come across?

I’ve seen that the second alternative is very common. It’s understandable, because when we want to make an impression we tend to get more self conscious, but it’s also unfortunate, because it stops us from actually succeeding.

You cannot meet or connect with someone when you’re stuck in you own head, trying to figure out what is going on in their head.

Still, we try.

What would actually get you where you want to go, and make the connection and impression you want, is being present in the moment where the meeting is occurring, and being more curious about that person than about what they think about you.

Here is the bottom line: you don’t go on a date to think about yourself.

You are not dating yourself, you are there to get to know someone else!
For that to be possible you must:

1. Be in the present moment.
2. Put your awareness on the other person instead of on yourself.

As it happens, doing those two things will also make you less nervous and more calm, charming, confident and attractive.

Do you notice your progress?

Whenever I coach someone I am always amazed of their progress. They grow as persons, develop huge amounts of courage, hope and grit, adjust their self image and expand their horizons. It always impresses me.

But it’s not as common that it impresses them. Most of the time, they don’t even notice their growth an progress.

I often have to remind my clients that they just weeks prior were terrified of even looking at someone they liked and now without hesitation can carry on a full conversation with them. Or that things that were scary to even thing about when we started now seems like nothing.

Of course it’s part of my job to point out these steps and remind my clients of their growth, and it is an important part. Because it can actually be a pretty big disadvantage to not notice your successes. If you make an effort and create a result, but never look back to see how far you’ve come, you might feel like you’re not moving. But you are. But can you see it?
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One tricky thing is that we are extremely aware of things that feel bad. If your knee hurts you will think about it all the time that it hurts. But when the pain stops you will not be constantly thinking about not having a bad knee, right? It might be only when someone asks you about it that you remember: “right, I used to have a bad knee!”

This is kind of the same thing. Of course you shouldn’t spend your days thinking about lost pains and aches, but every now and then, it might be a good idea to think about some of the problems you don’t have anymore – to remind yourself of how far you’ve come.

Because you have. And you should give yourself some credit for that.

Advice from friends – is it valid?

Most of my clients talk to their friends about their dating lives, and usually their friends want to help, so they give their advice. I hear a lot of “my friend said” from my clients when I coach, and usually I ask them a little bit about said friends love life, and if that is something that feels inspiring or relatable to my client. Usually it is not.

So what I hear, if I exaggerate a little bit, are things like:

“My friend who only dates bad guys who don’t treat her well told me…”

“My friend who’s been with his partner for 10 years said…”

“My friend who’s never had a dating problem in her life said that…”

No matter how much you love these friends, is it wise to take their advice? Can they help you?

The friend who only dates bad guys is obviously an expert in how to get treated badly, is that something that you want to learn? The friend who hasn’t dated in 10 years, how relevant is his advice? And the friend who’s always dating with ease, can she even understand and appreciate your situation? Or is it like giving expert advice to a beginner? If you’re struggling with walking, advanced running techniques are probably not what you need.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk or listen to your friends, I’m just making you aware of the fact that you may have very different points of view, and you need to take that into account.

Having an opinion is very easy, but giving helpful advice is something completely different.

Are you afraid of missing out?

reachI coach and talk to a lot of people who try to keep their options open. At least that is what they tell me.

They can say that online dating is probably a good way to meet new people so they keep doing it – even when it seems to not give them anything close to what they want or even feel like they want to be there. But what if the love of their life were to suddenly appear there? You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you? Of course not.

The problem is that, in this case, the decision to do online dating is based on a logical “should”, and the fear of missing something, rather than getting an actual enjoyment out of dating in that way. And sure, theoretically you could miss out on someone interesting if you left, but your chances of meeting and connecting with someone are so much bigger if you meet new people in a way that feel comfortable and in a place that you actually want to be. If that’s online – go for it! If it’s in clubs and bars – go there and meed new people. If it’s in your choir, at the gym or a cooking class, that’s where you want to be.

You are so much more attractive and approachable when you feel relaxed and happy and are where you are because you want to be there, not because of a fear of missing out!

One thing that people who think like this have in common is usually a sharp mind. Their minds convince them that it’s a “good idea” to keep all doors open – even the doors they don’t like. The interesting thing is that when I ask them about how they feel about their options, more often than not, they have a very strong intuitive clarity around what they want and don’t want – they just don’t follow it!

I can’t tell you how often I am in coaching sessions with amazing people who tell me with astonishing clarity exactly what it is that they want/like and not, but since they tend to listen to their minds more than their intuition they feel confused.

If this resonates with you, please give yourself permission to try “the other way”. Don’t do “the smart thing” if it doesn’t also feel good. If you don’t like bars, or strangers or online dating, don’t go out, don’t go on blind dates and remove your online dating profile (at least for a while just to compare). Instead, go to places that intrigue and amaze you, meet your friends friends casually instead of on blind dates, and flirt more in your everyday life – and see what happens!

Follow your curiosity and joy! Because if you don’t, that’s when you’ll really miss out.