To Thine Own Self Be True
In some ways, midlife is a time of enlightenment. Sounds grand, even romantic, doesn’t it? But really, I have developed insight and wisdom over the past ten+ years in a number of ways, including dating. All thanks to my winding, crooked, detour-laden path. I once read experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want…
Dating is one of the areas where I’ve had my share of opportunities for growth (don’t you love my positive perspective). My trial and error through relationships has taught me the importance of mastering four key elements of self before taking another step forward in the dating arena.
According to Google Dictionary self-awareness is defined as a conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires. Because of my journey, I am much more cognizant of who I am, my wants and needs, and equally, what I won’t settle for. This includes self-validation of my likes, dislikes, interests, talents, strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and passions. Developing intrapersonal skills is a must when it comes to healthy relationships.
Being self-aware also encompasses interpersonal skills, including the ability to understand other people, how they in turn perceive you, and the best way to interact with one compared to another. Work on any areas you feel need improvement, and then own your stuff with no excuses or attempts to change for anyone. This leads to self-confidence.
We develop self-confidence when we are able to master different pursuits and skills, including the art of healthy relationships. Vulnerability comes into play here. I open my heart to the possibility of hurt and failure to have a chance at love. Read our post on vulnerability here.
My belief in myself has grown tremendously through trial and error, continuing to put one foot in front of the other. Managing to get back up when I stumble and fall. This eventually builds self-confidence and efficacy.
When it comes to dating, I no longer try to impress anyone or be someone other than who I am. Having confidence in ourselves leads to wisdom.
I am a fan of Deepak Chopra. In his book The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success he discusses the power of acceptance and letting go. Wisdom is accepting what is, even though we may want things to be different right this very moment. The next step is letting go of the desire to control the outcome. True abandonment comes when we allow the universal order to unfold and create whatever is meant to be. Wisdom is backing up, releasing, and practicing gratitude for what transpires, even if it isn’t what you hoped for.
At this point it is time to get focused. I read an article many years ago about how to manifest the love or your life. It recommended making a Love List—an inventory of 100 characteristics you expect and need in another person for them to be considered relationship material.
I agree–100 items is a bit daunting. I admit a few are a bit trivial, like eye color or the vehicle they drive. But focused it is!
I am seeking someone who is intelligent, kind, and respectful. He needs to be adventurous, fun and can easily make me laugh. He loves animals, nature, and deep conversation over a cup of hot coffee early in the morning. See, only 91 more to go!
Create your list and use it to rate a potential partner after spending a decent amount of time together. Determine the minimum score needed to earn a passing grade. Now, put this new person to the test. True or false– do they exhibit the trait or not? Overall do they pass the test? No? Move on if your quest is for a long-term relationship.
I decided to approach dating as an adventure–who knows, perhaps I will write a book on midlife dating some day.
Read out post Online Dating in Midlife: Help is Here!
I would love to hear your perspective on dating in midlife– please share in the comments below!
Till next time, Sandra