THE BLOG
03/08/2013 01:03 pm ET Updated May 08, 2013

When Dating, Keep Your Eye On The Prize

If you are dating or new to the singles scene and thinking about dating, let me ask you this: What are your goals? Are you looking for a life partner? Companionship? A fun sexual relationship? Close your eyes and take a moment to focus on this. When an answer comes to you, read on.

If you've had difficult dating experiences, dating can feel like a hassle, and thus it's easy to lose sight of why you're doing it in the first place. Meeting new people and trying new things can be very satisfying and fun, especially when you're feeling the best about yourself, doing things you enjoy, and -- particularly when it feels like a hassle -- reminding yourself of your own unique goal. Feeling good about yourself while dating is not always easy. Most have found themselves -- sometimes even routinely -- in less than perfect dating situations. There's no need to put yourself down when you hit a few road bumps. Instead, reach within to access internal sources of strength to make your dating life the best it can be.

Dating works best for you when you are feeling good about yourself. One reason dating can sometimes be difficult might be because of the negative messages you tell yourself that interfere with your ability to feel your best when connecting with a new person. What are the negative messages you tell yourself that take away from feeling your best? These messages may be related to what you believe dating will be like ("I won't have fun" or "It will be a waste of time.") Other messages may be related to the singles scene ("there are no good women/men out there. Everyone good is already taken!") Negative self-talk also can be about fear of rejection ("I won't be able to handle rejection") or feeling not great about yourself ("I am not attractive enough"). Whatever flavor of negative self-talk you participate in, you no longer need to fall victim to the voices inside your head. For every negative message you hold there's a positive one you can access to make dating even more enjoyable!

It is natural to have collected some negative messages through bad dating experiences, and when these messages sound a little bit too loud, it is time to consider using some tools to turn those speakers down. Think about some of the beliefs or attitudes you have about yourself that get in your own way and make a commitment to attack them forcefully and head-on!

A very effective way to defeat that negative voice in your head is to write down a list of these self-defeating beliefs, words, or attitudes that affect your ability to feel good while dating. Include all of the ways that you put yourself down. Next, read each item to yourself one by one and come up with a positive affirmation that opposes the negative message about yourself. Challenge those negative beliefs by asking yourself, "Is this completely true?" For example, if you tell yourself "I am not attractive enough," write down all of the evidence against this statement. If you listed "there is no one good out there", remind yourself that you are out there dating, aren't you?! If your fear is about your ability to handle rejection, write down "nothing really consequential will happen to me if I am rejected and -- in fact by being rejected -- I may even prove to myself that I don't need to fear rejection in the future." If you are sure you won't have fun or will be wasting your time, you can add to your list "I may even meet someone I'd like to see again(!)."

After coming up with your positive affirmations, or pieces of positive self-talk, write them down on index cards to keep around your home, in your wallet or in your car. Don't only look at these before attempting to go out to meet someone or going on a date. Look at these affirmations regularly or at least on a daily basis so that they become your new thinking habits. As you practice internalizing these positive and factual messages, eventually you'll almost certainly find that the positive ones become automatic and triumphantly replace those obsolete negative ones -- permanently!

Remember -- you are dating for a reason! Have fun! And when dating isn't as fun as you'd like, remember to use this tool, or some of the others that I offer in my book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential.

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