Everyone can understand why it's a mistake to do your grocery shopping when you're starving. It's common sense: not only are you guaranteed to make poor and impulsive choices that don't serve you well, you'll also probably blow your budget and literally "pay the price later" for your indiscretions. Any time you combine foggy thinking and weakness with the strong pull of your baser instincts, you are setting yourself up for a painful "learning experience."
Sounds logical, but let's take it a step further. These are also the same reasons why you shouldn't be dating if you're not feeling nourished, satiated and grateful about yourself and your life. It's easy to have a snack before hitting the supermarket, but why do we find it so difficult to take a step back from the dating pool when we're feeling exhausted?
And how do you know when you're really ready? In order to help you confirm that you are indeed ready to date, I've created six simple check-in questions for you to ask yourself. If you check off the right answer to these six questions, you can feel confident that you're probably in a pretty good place mentally and emotionally — and that's likely to come across to your dates as far more attractive. This is what I call the "dating sweet spot", and it's a good indicator of when things are just about to line up for you. The following six questions will help give you clarity about were you are in the process:
1. Are you looking to get or are you ready to give?
People who show up in relationships with a primary goal of looking to "feel" a certain way have it backwards. That's a sure sign that you're in it for what you can get out of it rather than how you can contribute to and love another person. Only low-quality relationships are built on the premise that "as long as I get my needs met, we'll get along just fine. Otherwise, I'm out of here." A real, true, legendary and lifelong love is built on the notion of two people who care deeply, see the best in one another and serve each other's needs no matter what. Together, they find a way through any challenge. Can you see the difference?
2. Have you checked your baggage?
We've all had our share of drama, breakups, hurt feelings and blown opportunities. The critical question is: have you processed those events so there is no longer an emotional charge attached to them? Have you resolved the issues and, most importantly, learned from them? Can you think about the partner who cheated on you without getting angry all over again? Are you proud of how you've shown up in the past? Bottom line, if you still have unresolved issues from old experiences, it's important to take the time to process and heal before you bring someone else and their own possibly unresolved issues into the mix. That only complicates things even more.
3. Will you look for what's wrong or focus on what's right?
We always have a choice about how we view life, and the simple fact is we tend to find whatever we are looking for in a given situation. Angry people will tend to find a reason to be angry — no matter what is happening. Depressed people will find a reason to be depressed. Happy and grateful people tend to seek out and find "what's great" anywhere they look. Simply put, your normal outlook literally becomes a part of your identity. One of the strongest forces in the human personality is the need to stay aligned with our identity as we perceive it. In other words, when positivity is simply a part of who you are, your results will almost certainly improve in every context. Give it a try and see for yourself.
4. Do you know your value?
This is another area that sabotages people over and over again. Those who enter into relationships looking to be filled up by how their partner makes them feel will usually crash and burn, and sooner rather than later. Self worth doesn't come from the outside world. It's purely an inside job. Your partner, job, wealth, health or anything outside of you can disappear in an instant and while those things may be obtainable. They may not be sustainable. Over time, there will always be challenges of one sort or another in any relationship. They can either take you deeper or take you under. It's your job and yours alone to show up whole, complete and healthy.
5. Are you grateful for the past choices that got you to this point?
In life, gratitude is the great game-changer. Are you grateful for all the experiences in your past that brought you critical life lessons — even the painful ones? If you can't say yes to this, let me suggest strongly that it might be time to jump out of the dating pool for a while. Simply put, people who are still hurting (even if they don't necessarily know they're still hurting!) will continue to hurt others as well as themselves. Your journey is going to be one of healing or hurting, and it is primarily determined by your own emotional growth and consciousness. How conscious are you?
6. Are you ready to receive "The One?"
Are you ready to step up with everything you've got and hold nothing back? Are you willing to get beyond tit-for-tat games and horse-trading arrangements where everything is "fair" or even? Will you still find a way to love even when you are hurting, or disappointed, or maybe even angry? A true love that stands the test of time is about two people who both commit to doing what it takes to put the needs of their partner first and find a way to love no matter what. Now, that doesn't mean tolerating bad behavior but it does require a level of conviction, clarity and commitment. Are you up for that?
Okay, so what if you're not ready?
If your answers don't line up, it might be a good idea for you to take a break, get out of the dating pool and do some work on yourself to prepare more effectively. The fact is, results don't lie and you may not even even be aware you're self-sabotaging. Simply put, if you aren't prepared for a test, you will probably fail in dating and over time, the accompanying baggage and wounds get harder and harder to identify and clear out.
If you're in this place, I highly recommend you do some work with a coach or perhaps a counselor of some sort — ideally one who specializes in relationships and one who resonates with you. Of course, I also do this work and have an excellent track record of success with my clients. If you're ready to finally do what it takes and call in your love of a lifetime, I'd be honored and delighted to help you do that. Just contact me here to set up a a free, no obligation chat and when it feels right to you, we'll take it from there.
More dating advice from YourTango: