Dating can be painful. You put your heart out there on the line, get your hopes up, and it doesn’t work out. Or your coworker sets you up with a relative who turns out to be “nice”, but something feels really off about him or her.
Often it seems that the climate of our times is such that people simply resist the commitment necessary for building and maintaining a healthy relationship. Whether it’s due to “commitment issues” (real or imagined), doesn’t really matter.
The bottom line is — we’re burned out from dating. “I’d be better off single,” you say to yourself, to your friends, to your therapist, and to your mother who desperately wants grandchildren.
Stop. We have an alternative:
1. Figure out who you are.
You might say, “There is no one in this entire city for me.” Fine, but who are you? Are you sure you know who you are and what you stand for? Maybe your vision of yourself is cloudy; maybe you can’t find your match because you’re not aware of — and not expressing — your inner identity, who you are in the deepest part of your psyche.
Ask yourself: are you being honest with yourself, or are you being who you think people want to date? Find your voice. When you are living out your life’s purpose, being the most you that you can be, you’re 100% more likely to attract the right person into your life. After all, can we find our soul mate if we haven’t yet found our own soul?
2. Take dating slowly
When you meet someone who you kind of like, why not get to know the person?Y ou don’t need to protect yourself by ceasing to date altogether; you could just change how you are dating. Don’t allow yourself to get pressured to move faster than necessary. Build positive experiences together; talk about your values; see how the person behaves.
Taking it slow protects you from getting burned. If you are meant to be a couple, getting to know each other well before introducing the powerful and often unwieldy force of romance will strengthen your relationship. If you’re not meant to be a couple, you haven’t put your heart on the chopping block, and maybe you’ve made a friend.
3. Respect yourself
Your heart and soul — as well as the heart and soul of the person you’re dating — are sacred. A relationship is not a frivolous interaction; it is the way two special people connect and build something together. A relationship ought to filled with fun and spirit, but it is not a game.
Respect your own dignity and the dignity of your dating partner — respect the dignity of your relationship; higher the standard of your expectations — and the relationship will take on a new dimension, providing you with the clarity to pursue it or not.
4. Set your intentions and communicate them
If you’re looking to get married one day and the person you are dating isn’t the person you want them to be, don’t trick yourself into thinking that you are so wonderful that you will slyly win his or her heart and change him or her.
If you’re commitment-minded, only date other people who are commitment-minded. Set your intentions: You want to meet your soulmate. Communicate them: If you scare the person away by being clear that you are trying to date seriously and are not interested in vying for somebody’s affections, at least you won’t get hurt.
5. Define what you are seeking
List the three most important qualities you are looking for in a soul mate. When you are focused and persistent, you have the ability to ensure that the feeling of being burned out will pass. The best thing that you can do with it is to use it as a springboard for growth.
Beyond figuring out why the last person you dated was wrong, what did you learn about yourself from the relationship? What did it teach you about who you are really looking for? Did the person have qualities that you do want to find in your soul mate? If you use dating as a learning experience leading you toward your soul mate, each date that doesn’t work out can help clarify who you are, and who you’re looking for.
This article is based on the teachings of Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Dean of the Meaningful Life Center. To receive the daily Soul Workout, subscribe here.