In the United States today, the adult single population is at an all-time high. Statistics show that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce, with figures increasing with second and third marriages. Somehow, as a society, we are clearly not mindful going into our first marriages, and seemingly not learning enough from our divorces.
But I believe that for those of you awaiting your beloved, you can experience the dating phase leading to the mating phase in a way that is reflective of your heart's deepest desires.
Here are a few tips I've learned, informed by both my personal and professional experience, about how to ensure that you set yourself up for success on and off the dating field. Here we go!
1) "Know Thyself"
This aphorism has been traced back to the wisdom of at least six ancient Greek sages, the most noted being Socrates. The collective emphasis provides more evidence as to its eternal significance. To truly see, celebrate, and remain "in love" with someone, we must first be able to recognize the divine in ourselves. Do you know who you are? Do you know what is unique and special about you? What are your gifts and character traits you are clear about and proud of?
2) What Do You Want?
This is perhaps the most fundamental question and warrants serious thought and consideration. To "Know Thyself" means knowing not only who you are but also what you want. For the purpose of discovering and keeping the love you find, laser focus on the qualities that you seek in a life partner. What are your negotiables and what are your non-negotiables? This deserves your time to go inward and contemplate. You will get what you expect.
3) "To Thine Own Self Be True"
This is the famous line from William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," No truer words have been written or uttered, as they hold universal relevance. After gaining clarity around what your heart desires... it is time to trust it completely and follow it fully. The truth does set us free, and is the only path to living a truly authentic and fulfilling life. On the journey to finding your lasting love, hear, trust, express and embrace the voice of your heart. From this place, you become self-directed versus other-directed, following your our own compass, which will illuminate and navigate your path.
4) Secure Your Launch Pad
Life is full of curious and mysterious twists and turns. Even when we have done all of this personal development prep, it is so easy to temporarily forget, neglect and disconnect from ourselves. It's important to check in -- consistently -- to make sure you are on sturdy and steady ground. Here are some tips:
- Make sure your "baggage" is "carry on."
The romantic field elicits our deepest longings for love. It can and will bring up any unfinished business we have with attachment and loss, from our family of origin and/or previous relationships.
- Make sure your thoughts, feelings and actions are in alignment with what you say you want.
There is a vibrational quality to every thought and feeling you possess and express, which does impact what you do or not receive. Your thoughts must support the belief that love is possible and that you are deserving. Your feelings need to convey an open heart, in order to invite intimacy into your life. Finally, be proactive, making yourself receptive and available to seek and pursue opportunities for connection.
- Let go.
Declare your dreams, full out and in technicolor... while letting go of the outcome completely. This does not mean abandoning your desire. It's about having faith that your life will be extraordinary with or without a husband, wife and children. It's about releasing the dependency on any external circumstances or persons to determine your sense of worth, overall joy or well-being.Your foundational launch pad is now secure and ready. You know who you are, what you want, are fully present and in joy. The dating field awaits you!
5) Look, Listen, Feel and Tune In
In order to determine if the person you are dating has partnership potential, you listen carefully and tune in to how you feel. The data is there. Here are some guidelines for what to look and listen for:
- Are you attracted? This is what separates friends from lovers.
- Be who you are... fully and completely. Express your truth and let the rest unfold and reveal itself.
- What does this person across the table from you say about what he/she wants?
- Is that in harmony with your vision? No matter how hot the chemistry might be, your goals and desires must be compatible "enough" to go the distance.
- Does he/she possess all that is on your non-negotiable list? When we are flattered by attention and comfy with connection, it's easy to betray ourselves and let a few things slide. Stay strong and remain committed to you.
- Does his/her behavior match his/her words? Verbal expression is important, but actions really do speak louder.
- How does he/she treat others: Family, friends, co-workers and the waitress? We are talking character here.
I recommend dating for at least a year before making long-term commitments. This offers more time to inform a clear and right decision for you.
If you feel yourself riding on hope, and a leap of faith, remember, sometimes potential is only potential. You'll know when and if it turns into "reality" or when to move on. If it's the latter, know that you possess the courage to face the unknown and reach higher ground. Just listen carefully with your ears, hear with your intuitive heart, and leap in the direction of your dreams.
And when you do feel those butterflies, that deep sense of well-being, and that intuitive hit that says "this is the one"... celebrate and cherish it now, and forevermore.
Follow Marcy Cole, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CMoMaCommunity