Scenario: You’ve been hurt and are caught in this headspace where you don’t trust people…you’re convinced they have ulterior motives. You know it’s not healthy, but how can you get it out of your head so you can feel free to date again.
It's very natural to feel this way. You're still healing from your experience. Look at it this way -- your experience has flipped the security camera switch to ON in regards to your awareness. You are on alert for suspects. Maybe before you didn't see the signs – things that were obvious – or others obstructed your view somehow.
Your mind is telling you "don't trust, it's not safe," but your heart is saying you want to move forward. Your awareness – that security camera – is really your intuition, and like the popular Katy Perry song, now you’re “Wide Awake.”
The good part is you've noticed this about yourself. Many people choose to ignore this truth opting to just take it out on others....turning their deep hurt and fears to hurting and using innocent people as some sort of pay back. And in doing so, they’re staying stuck in an icky place ultimately hurting themselves and delaying their happiness.
This shakiness in your trust of others won't last forever. Nor do you have to wait until you’re “completely healed" from it before you can proceed.
Moving forward can feel scary, but it’s easier when it happens in small, steady steps.
You've got this new awareness which will help serve you when it comes to meeting new people. This awareness can also help you take things slow so you’re not blind to those things you missed in your previous experience(s).
Want to know how? Great, let’s do this!
The below 8 Step Exercise is an opportunity for you to become more laser focused so you can move forward.
Step 1: Think about what qualities you are looking for in a potential partner. Like really think about this. What qualities do you admire in others? What healthy behaviors and dynamics have you witnessed in other relationships?
Step 2: Make a list of everything you've ever dreamed of having in a relationship......from the superficial to the deepest emotional connection level; include education and career, family of origin/type of childhood this person had; financial status/responsibility; whether they have children (or not) and their ideal ages; their hobbies and types of friends; etc, etc, etc. Write, write, write it all down!
Step 3: Now take a step back and look at your list. Is your list filled with your WANTS and DREAMS or did it somehow morph into a list of what you don’t want? For any of the “don’t wants,” simply re-write those things using opposite language (e.g., “I don’t want a cheater,” to “Faithful and Committed”).
Step 4: When you have it all down (written or printed), fold up your list and seal it in an envelope.
Step 5: Go to a trusted friend or family member – someone you know well and who isn’t afraid to be completely honest with you, and who has your best interests in mind. Give them the envelope explaining that is contains everything you think you want in a future partner, from fantasy to ideal. Ask them to circle ALL the qualities you listed that match with who they think YOU are, and what they know to be true about you. Tell them to be completely honest. And if there are things you did not list, have them write them at the bottom of the list.
Step 6: Look at what they selected/wrote down and talk about it. Ask for additional feedback on anything needing clarification. Feel free to do this activity with a few people (using a copy of your original list) to see how their responses compare.
Step 7: Taking their feedback into consideration, go through the list again and indicate anything YOU know in your heart of hearts you want in a potential partner (this could be things your family/friends did not state). Then cross off everything else. NOTE: Please do NOT do this step before speaking to your trusted friend or family member first and getting their feedback. It’s important to hear their opinion as this helps create shifts in our thinking.
Step 8: Now re-write your “Wants and Dreams” list and use this as a guide when you’re looking to meet potential dates.
THIS list encompasses your ideal partner. Now you can narrow your search to potential partners with similar qualities.
With online dating sites, read their profile and filter out those who don't fit the bill. If friends or family have been recruited to help, tell them what you're looking for so they can be on the lookout.
When you go on dates, don't be afraid to ask questions (not in an interrogating type of way) to learn more and see how that person fits with what you're looking for. If there are common interests, GREAT, keep talking and get to know them better. And if they don't.....that's totally OK! Just be respectful and move on.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!