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Wanting romantic companionship is a normal human need and bringing awareness into it can transform it into a spiritual task. We long for completion of the soul and often expect to find it through another person. This always leads to disappointment, and dating (and even marriage) can have a compulsive quality in which we run to another person to not feel alone. The good news is conscious dating is a beautiful thing in which courtship becomes a vehicle for growth and expansion. Here are seven tips for deliberate dating:
1.Decide what you want.
This is the most fundamental step. Remember, our external experience is a direct reflection of the interior of our minds, and we have control over what comes our way. Before you start looking and putting yourself out there, it is best to take some time and decide what you are looking for. Do you want to get married, or are you looking for something less serious? What kind of person do you have in mind? Who is your ideal date? Make a list of what you want and include categories such as physical features, personality traits, age, desire for children, common interests, education level, occupation, etc. The more precise you are, the more likely you are to find someone who checks most of your boxes.
2. Find someone who will help you become a better person.
Just because we want something doesn’t mean it’s good for us. How many of us have turned down that salad for french fries? Conscious dating is not just about being aware, but it is about being wise. This means being in tune with your own values and life goals and finding someone compatible. In good relationships, it is a mutual, synergistic process in which both parties help the other grow. In these situations, each person sacrifices some individuality to something greater than themselves, the relationship. This is a spiritual thing and helps annihilate the ego.
3. Be aware of old, dysfunctional patterns.
Dating someone who perpetuates negative patterns (often recreating issues from the family of origin) is, unfortunately, very common. Codependents and addicts; abusive and abused; controlling and passive; givers and takers. All of these combinations are inherently unhealthy, and many people swear they will never go through it again. But often you find yourself dating the same kind of person over and over with the same dynamics. This happens when you don’t do the work on yourself to move onto someone new and more positive.
4. Be aware of what you are attracting.
It must be understood that you are the one responsible for attracting dates. It is not random, and potential partners do not magically fall from the sky. It all starts with your belief system, and seeing who comes your way is a reflection of your beliefs. For example, if you doubt your worth, you will attract dates who don’t value you. If you are skeptical of ever finding someone right, you will have a lack of dates or all the wrong ones. If you are willing to believe things will go well, chances are good that you’ll meet some great, like minded people.
5. Be positive and patient.
A lot of people dread dating. Putting yourself out there can be incredibly anxiety provoking and trigger fears related to self-worth and rejection, as well as concerns that hoping is futile. Most have stories of frustrations, disappointments, and outlandish things happening in the process. The best remedy is to be positive and patient, and not get fixated on the outcome. Like anything else, dating is a process and it’s best to try to enjoy it. Being patient and not being discouraged are also important. There’s no need to rush or panic if the perfect person doesn’t appear immediately. Many people say the right person manifested the moment they let go.
6. Do not let the past hold you hostage.
Most people enter the dating world with experiences- often scars- from previous relationships under their belts. The fear of the same thing happening again only makes it manifest, and the inability to trust that a new person could be different will eventually sabotage the relationship. If you are not proud of how you have acted in past situations, be diligent about not repeating that behavior. It is typical for humans to go through similar situations multiple times before they learn their lesson and change. Instead of passively allowing this happen, pay attention and make different choices.
7. Be playful.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is taking dating too seriously. There really is no reason to do so, and it will be a better experience if you have fun with it. Dating means meeting new people, often those you would not have met under usual circumstances. It can be seen as an adventure and open your eyes to different kinds of lives and experiences. There’s a lesson to learn from everyone. So enjoy yourself! Besides, even bad dates can make good stories.