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SALT LAKE CITY — Life is a complicated and messy endeavor. In LIFEadvice, Life Coach Kim Giles is here to help you with simple, principle-based solutions to the challenges you face. Coach Kim will empower you to get along with others and become the best you.
I have been divorced for 21 years and I am not sure how to date anymore. I gave up dating to raise my kids. What do I do to put myself out there and start dating again? It’s a terrifying idea and I could use some advice. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.
Dating only feels scary because you lack confidence, but you can gain confidence through changing your mindset around the whole thing.
I know how to do this because I’ve been in your shoes. I was lost in the single’s scene only three years ago. The whole things was outside my comfort zone and I was leery about rejection, which is an unavoidable part of the experience. I wasn’t sure my self-esteem could handle it.
Almost everyone experiences these kinds of fears around dating. There is no other activity (except maybe looking for a job or selling something) that brings as many opportunities to experience your deepest darkest fear — that you might not be good enough.
The good news is, you can overcome this fear. Dating doesn’t have to be scary or painful at all. When you change the way you see yourself, the whole experience will change dramatically.
You probably have two inaccurate perceptions about yourself that must be corrected right now:
1.You think your value is on the line. You fear rejection because you think it means something relative to your value. It doesn’t.
Just because a few people aren’t interested in dating you doesn’t change your value. You are the same good person whether they like you or not. You can choose to experience rejection as a self-esteem crushing experience if you want to, but you don’t have to. You can choose to see yourself as bulletproof and trust that nothing can diminish you. You can choose to trust that your value isn’t on the line and, therefore, there is nothing to fear.
You fear rejection because you think it means something relative to your value. It doesn't.
2.You think what other people think of you matters. It doesn’t. You are the same you no matter what anyone else thinks. Their opinions can’t change you or diminish you in any way, unless you let them. You must not give this destructive fear any power over you anymore.When you can see these two things clearly you will have a healthier mindset for dating. Review the following points often (like, every day) to maintain a clear, accurate mindset:
Clarity mindset for dating
- I know who I am and where my value comes from. My value comes from the fact that I am a unique, irreplaceable, incomparable, one-of-a-kind, amazing soul. My value is, therefore, infinite and absolute. Nothing I do (or don’t do) can change it. Nothing anyone else thinks can change it. I am bulletproof, and no one can diminish me. Because my value isn't on the line, there is really nothing to fear.
- M**y life is a classroom, not a testing center.** I am here to learn and grow. Every experience is a lesson (not a test) and my value (as an irreplaceable, incomparable, unique human soul) never changes. This dating experience is serving me with perfect lessons which bless my life and teach me things. Every person I meet is there to show me something about myself and help me grow. Most of these teachers don't stay in my life long. I choose to be grateful for each lesson.
- What other people think doesn’t affect me. If this person likes me, then they are supposed to like me. If they don’t like me, they aren’t supposed to like me. I’m OK (the same good person) either way. I will choose to experience each situation in trust and love.
- If a person is the right one for me, they will like me no matter what I do. If they aren’t the right one (or are only meant to date me for a while, to facilitate a lesson) then it won’t work out, which will leave me open for the right one. Either way, I am fine.
- There is a right person (for me) out there. I will meet this person when I am supposed to meet them. This person will like the real, authentic me. I will not have to impress this person. I cannot mess this up. They will like me even if I do dumb things or make a fool of myself. I cannot mess this one up because it is meant to happen. If someone is the wrong person for me, then I can’t make it work no matter how perfect I am. It won’t work because it’s not supposed to work. Either way, I’m fine. I will attach no drama, emotion or fear to whether a person likes me or not.
- There is nothing to fear. I can go to dances, meet people and socialize without any fear whatsoever. I can do this because I understand (accurately) who I am and the nature of life. If my value isn’t on the line and the right person will find me when they are supposed to, then I can just relax, have fun and look for opportunities to be kind to other people. When I escape my fears I can start giving, loving and edifying others. In doing this, I will discover who I really am.
- Sometimes another person will like me more than I like them. I will kindly tell them that they just aren’t “the one” for me. I will do this honestly and kindly. I will not attach fear around this experience or feel guilty for it. The universe has brought this perfect experience to both of us. This person will process through their disappointment and learn something from it. I must let them experience this however they choose to. Going outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable, but it is the only way you can grow. I encourage you to work on a healthier mindset, then get ready to stretch. Wonderful experiences will come from it.
I asked my husband why he was attracted to me when we first met at a single adult activity. He said my confidence is what set me apart. Confidence (a lack of fear) is very attractive. If you show up this way you will experience less rejection.
When you choose to focus on edifying others and making friends (and you stop worrying about yourself and your fears), it will become a fun and uplifting experience.
You can do this.
*Kimberly Giles gives her advice in the "LIFEadvice" series every Monday on ksl.com. She is the president of Claritypoint Life Coaching and a sought-after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in repairing self-esteem. Listen to her Self Esteem CPR Workshop at www.claritypointcoaching.com. **