We all want to find that perfect partner to spend our lives with who's not only our lover but our deepest, most intimate confidant. Lately, however, it seems that current trends in dating have made finding this kind of relationship difficult, leaving people frustrated and disappointed rather than happy and in love. Contemporary guidance in dating makes it feel like a rat race filled with a plethora of tips and tricks for snagging a keeper that usually requires each of us to come painfully close to (and sometimes over the edge of) compromising ourselves.
We may capture someone’s attention for all of a New York minute, yet these tactics often fail to produce a meaningful and lasting connection, rich in intimacy and connection. I was frustrated by these superficial connections when I was dating, and now I see my clients struggle to make sense of the constantly changing and sometimes dizzying dating landscape.
I believe it's time we change the way we approach our pursuit of conscious connections. Rather than partaking in the rat race, we need to evolve our perception of dating and become conscious daters. Conscious dating is a method that honors and respects us as individuals and offers an emotionally healthy way to find love. This process is about attracting people who are in alignment with our most authentic and strongest self. It’s not about creating superficial illusions or wearing a mask. Here are five ways that you can begin to embark on a more conscious form of dating.
1. Foster and practice depth in ourselves. Respecting ourselves means that we don’t put our desire for a relationship above listening to our own heart, body, mind, and spirit, and honoring the messages received. Do not demean yourself or put yourself down; see yourself as the divine and sensual being that you are. When we cut ourselves down we tend to choose partners who mirror the lack of respect that we have for ourselves. When we respect ourselves, we are then able to parlay that into attracting someone who respects us. Additionally, when we respect ourselves we do not tolerate disrespect. We make better and more-evolved choices about who we allow in our lives and hearts.
2. Always come from an authentic place. How many of us have kept what we felt to ourselves because we thought it was what we were supposed to do? How many of us claimed to enjoy something our dates were interested in because we wanted to seem more relatable? So many of us do it, but then we wonder why we feel like we have to wear a mask all the time, and why, when the mask inevitably breaks apart and our true self shows, the relationship wanes. It’s because we were not acting from a place that reflected our wants, needs, and ideals. We were so focused on attracting someone that we failed to realize we were presenting a figment; an illusion. Striving for total authenticity should be a priority! It makes the interaction honest and substantial. They will have a chance to get to know us for us.
3. Have a thirst for knowledge and expansion. It is important that we always express a deep curiosity about who we are, how we behave, and how we interact. To push ourselves out of both our emotional and physical comfort zones ensures we are evolving and learning about our achievements as well as our mistakes. When we desire to grow, we tend to change our perspective on things. Rather than seeing a bad date as a total disaster, we'll see where we perhaps could have gotten more information or used better discretion about who we spend our time with. We will begin to see every date or relationship as something that held meaning even if that purpose was not to become a lifelong relationship.
4. Cultivate and practice radical self-love.If we all could treat ourselves with the same loving kindness that we would a small child or a puppy, many of our relationships would change drastically. When we love ourselves fully it means we accept ourselves, warts and all. We must acknowledge that our bodies, minds, and hearts have gotten us to where we are and should be loved and respected. When we do this, we will begin to make choices that reflect this love. Instead of choosing just any old date just so we can be out on a Saturday night, we hold out for someone who is worth all that we have to offer. To receive healthy, true, and lasting love we must first show it to ourselves.
5. Make a commitment to feeling good. When we put our hands on a hot burner, it feels awful, right? It hurts and we know better than to do it again. Yet when it comes to dating, so many of us partake in patterns that offer us no pleasure at all—many hurt us deeply. When we make a commitment to seek out only those things that feel good and make us happy, we slowly weed out those people and types of behaviors that drag us down. If it no longer feels good, right, or makes us happy, it’s time we stop participating in it.
Though many of these steps may seem rather simple or obvious, their effects are profound to everyone who wants to foster a conscious relationship. These methods challenge us to put down the mask, to work on ourselves, and to understand the direct correlation between the love we have for ourselves and the love we receive from others. They certainly require a bit more effort than some of the “get love quick” gimmicks. But the work is well worth the chance to receive and experience a deeper, more conscious relationship.