When Jess and Becky asked me to guest blog about the ever-elusive mysteries of love and dating, I wasn’t sure what to say. On one hand, it’s a complete honor to be asked by such close friends (and roommates past and present) to share in their budding project. On the other hand, I kept tripping over two serious issues: 1) what the hell do I know about anything, and 2) do I really want to dive into more e-theories on matters of the heart, more labels, more love-me-love-me-not petals strewn all over my mind’s all-too-cluttered floor? I’m too old to learn another language. Why add more to my emotional lexicon at this point? (Note to self: if someone hasn’t already coined the term “sexicon,” do so immediately and cash out.)
Besides, what does one convey to we over-choiced, attention span-less brats who can’t say ‘commitment’ without shifting uneasily in our bar stools? And what does it matter anyway? We’ve all been through the same heartbreaks and swoons, the same circular thoughts with which the best songs rock us to sleep. But that collective confusion ultimately cleared up my own as I realized that the rocky road to love is not only age old; it’s also why forums such as WTF?! are both apropos and necessary. We are ALL asking the same questions. We all want to find that great love and keep it. Shakespeare did, Cusack does best, even Destiny’s Child went from “Independent Women” to “Cater 2 U” in just a few years’ time. The question remains, and will: HOW DOES ONE FIND GREAT LOVE REQUITED, WHILE A REALLY BITCHIN’ BALLAD PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND?
Here’s the thing, my dear Neos. Like the spoon, there is no answer. Which sucks, right?
Or does it?Once we move past the fact that we can’t control who loves us and how, we might find some powerful positives in taking that taxing load off. Heck, not even the genie in Aladdin could make someone fall for another (and if a Disney character can’t do it, I promise it can’t be done). So what if we focused on what we CAN control? Like that image in the mirror, physical and figurative, that you can neither escape nor should.
What worries me most about so many women (and men?) searching for that perfect relationship is their obsessive focus on whom they lack versus what they can create. No, I’m not hyping that Secret crap – after all, the power of positive thinking only gets you so far (if it got me all the way, I’d cancel my gym membership yesterday). Only when combined with the power of positive doing does a sound mind offer life renewed, and, I think, some paradigm-shifting results in the realm of relationships to boot.
My love for sports knows no bounds, but as someone who generally dislikes baseball, I gotta say Field of Dreams was onto something with that “If You Build It They Will Come” sass. Personally I like to call it the “Get Your House in Order” approach, because gospel songs are way better than watching 9 innings of paint dry on TV. But the messages are the same. Essentially, get your head out of their ass (“they” being the guys who aren’t your boyfriend for whatever reason) and get it back into your, well, head. You have a head, it’s in a body. Together, they can do cool things like keep you alive and make you get wherever you’d like to go next. But if your head’s pining away about situations you can’t control, there’s not much else you’re doing except rehashing self-deprecating, unproductive thoughts. Obsessing over the not-quites in your life, WON’T, I’m sorry to say, get you anywhere far or inspiring. If anything, it’ll just keep you from endeavors that you can control, like becoming more kickass.
In the pursuit of becoming your most superlative self, I dare you to shut off the Garden State soundtrack and realign for a second. Stop focusing on the phone that isn’t ringing (after you cry it out for a hot minute); it’ll ring when it’s good and ready. Go do something interesting in the meantime. Devote yourself to a better home and garden inside and out, and watch what happens as you do. The key here isn’t just about the power of positive doing either. It’s about shutting off the negativity of “WHY doesn’t he WANT me?!” for long enough to focus on things you can change and fully committing yourself to them.
You know what makes you most attractive? Your joy. Your originality. Your edible art. Your fashion line. Your spoken word abilities. Your karaoke inabilities. Your community garden. Whatever’s truly yours. Obsess over things you love instead of who’s not loving you. Because if we put as much effort into self-improvement as we do snagging a mixed signaler, we’d probably be that much more attractive as well. It won’t matter anyway…you’d be having too much fun meeting new people through new experiences to care all that much.
The second I timed out on the dating game(s) and focused on my own personal projects (career, guitar, workouts, my penchant for all things kickball, my beloved friends), my life grew more fulfilling than it had ever been before. I had turned away from lack and toward what was within reach. Away from pleasing a non-caller all the time to pleasing myself full-time, for once. Paradoxically, the more home improvement I did, the more I attracted entirely better relationships in all forms. Those life-changing patterns didn’t start with a date; they started with focusing on me before giving in to the all powerful ‘them’.
So I say take a month – if not a lifetime – of interior decorating in accordance with the colors (although I’d be wary of patterns) that make YOU happiest. Join a club. Start a club! CHANGE IT UP. Tone it down (less really is more in the chatter department). Hibernate. Celebrate. Meditate. It doesn’t matter; just make you the priority. Do it long enough to stop thinking about the relationships you’re not in and enjoy yourself, literally. Rumor has it the best people come to you when you most certainly, and I mean really and truly, aren’t looking for them. There’s a reason for that. And I have to say, though it wasn’t easy on the climb up, I couldn’t agree more.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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