Common client complaint: Rachel, it’s hard to stay excited about dating and the prospect of having a relationship when the process is so disappointing. One guy comes along, I get kind of excited about him, then it unravels for some reason. And then I’m supposed to get excited about the next guy…over and over again.
AND I STILL DON’T HAVE THE RELATIONSHIP I WANT!
Yeah, if this is your attitude, you’re pretty much doomed forever.
Why focusing on the not-having is a problem
What you put your attention on, grows. If you’re dating and all you see are guys that want to hook up, and you start saying things like, “men only want to hook up,” you’re going to start seeing more and more of that. (And then you end up in a spiral of despair, thinking you’ll never have the relationship you want, and why bother. C’mon, it doesn’t have to be this way!)
Have you ever bought a new car, and then the only car you see on the road everywhere you look for weeks to come is the one you have?
It’s a little something called selective attention. You can’t pay attention to everything, obviously, so your brain selects for something that it’s been focused on – and you see more of that.
When you’re focused on wanting a relationship and it isn’t showing up, you are putting your attention on the not-having of the thing you want. And then the not-having gets a whole lot bigger.
Back to that relationship that you want
The good news is, I’m going to show you how to flip it.
Let’s say for a moment that you want a relationship because you want to feel fun, connection, and shared experiences.
Experiencing those feelings does not require a relationship, by any means. You can have all those feelings on any given date, or on any given day, for that matter. All you have to do is look through the lens of “How can I create those things right here and now?”
If you’re dating, and you want to feel fun, the question is how can you create interactions with men that feel fun? (Hint: it’s probably not proposing coffee for the first date.)
If you’re not dating and you want to feel connection, the question is something like, “What can I do in this situation – with this person – to create more connection?”
This completely flips being open to a relationship from something you’re waiting for, looking for, something that’s going to happen to you (at some undetermined moment in time), to something you are in charge of right here and now.
You get to decide (and create) how you want to feel every single moment. This skill is not only empowering, it also teaches you to love the process. If you can love every moment of it (because you’re feeling exactly the way you want to), you can love the process of seeking relationship as much you as can love having it.
And even though it’s cliche, it’s true. When you spend the whole journey (of anything) waiting to get to the destination, you don’t get to enjoy the scenery, the people, and the experiences along the way.
Tell me in the comments, what’s one thing you want to feel in relationship that you can empower yourself to feel right now. Tell me an idea or two you have about how you’re going to do it.