I’ve been on a dating site recently. Not with any significant expectations (I trust the universe to look after me), more just about “keeping the door open” and passing the time.
However, I noticed myself slipping into compulsive behaviour. Checking the site way more times than strictly necessary. And really, how often is “necessary” anyway? Once a year? Once a week? Once a day? Once an hour?
But I digress.
As with most forms of escapism, once I spotted it, I wanted to get to the root of it, and clear it out.
After I got quiet and focused in on what I was feeling and what my motivations were for constantly checking the site, I realised Dean Martin summed it up perfectly decades ago.
See, the real problem is, this concept is insidious. It’s everywhere.
How many films are there where a couple start out together, then breaks up and are happier being single at the end of the movie?
How many adverts involve someone being perfectly happy being by themselves?
Versus, of course, the exact opposite.
The media tells us, constantly, that we can only be happy if we’re in a relationship. That really, we only have value, that we’re only lovable if we’re in a relationship.
None of this is news to you, I’m sure. But holy crap, how twisted is that?
And of course, I realised this was exactly the rabbit hole I’d fallen into.
I had a whole raft of beliefs along these lines:
- I need the love of a good, beautiful woman
- I’m happiest when I’m loved – I feel I can kick ass and achieve anything
- I have no value unless someone else values me
- I’m not lovable unless someone else shows this by loving me
- I’m somehow failing unless I’m in a relationship
- I’m not important/don’t have value unless someone better than me loves me (whoa!)
- I’m not attractive unless someone attractive/amazing wants me
… and so on.
You can immediately see how these beliefs both set me up for instant failure (default mode: unhappy, unattractive, unloved), but also are self-defeating. Why would someone else want to love me if I don’t love myself?
Of course, the good news is – as always – the hardest bit is seeing these beliefs.
Once you see them, you can very easily drop them.
So, just to be thorough, how can we get all of these beliefs to the surface?
What worked for me was asking myself questions like:
- How would I feel if I never had another partner?
- How do I feel about being alone?
- How do I feel about being alone for the entire rest of my life?
- What if no-one attractive ever wanted me again? (ie, I had to compromise or settle not to be alone)
- What if I was never loved again?
- What if I never experienced love again? (slightly different phrasing often helps)
- What feeling will I have when I have this partner?
(then imagine, and feel these feelings as strongly as you can – to really dig everything up. Tapping 2″ down and across from the beginning of your collar bone (point 7) can also help you “tune in” to these feelings more strongly)
As well as these, there will always be the ever present feelings of “wanting or lacking love/approval.”
To some of these, you may feel a general, non-specific energy coming up. To some you may get specific phrases or beliefs bubbling to the surface.
To the non-specific energy, I’d recommend just letting the energy go – you don’t need to know what it is to get rid of it.
Specific beliefs or thoughts are pretty straightforward to dump too. Use whatever tools work for you. These days I tend to simply choose to let the belief/energy go, or let the picture go. You could also tap them out, etc etc.
Either way, once you can see/feel these things coming up you can easily drop them all.
Then, just go back to the questions, and keep going over them until you feel completely at peace. Completely at ease. Completely loving about being alone.
Take that, Dean Martin. You can be somebody, even if nobody loves you. Hello? Who should love us the most? US OF COURSE!
The paradox here is that when you’re in this state, you immediately become more attractive. Why? Because you’re dropping any sense of neediness or desperation. You become more loving. You become more centred and connected with yourself. Less pulled around by the vagaries of other people.
Which of course, makes you more attractive.
Hilariously ironic really, this life of ours.
Oh, and the dating site? Yeah. I’m now checking it 10x less, but more importantly, with a definite feel of “Well, this is very nice, but really, whatever.” Win.