The other day, I was trying to get a spark going in our fire pit, when a friend of mine stopped me and said, “Here’s what you’re doing wrong…” I found myself stiffen a bit, a precursory defense, steadying myself for the blow. It turns out I wasn’t pulling the butane lighter’s saftey back while I was pressing the flame button. A simple fix. Too bad all of life isn’t that easy, right—especially in dating. Well, maybe it is.
I realized after fixing my butane button issue that hearing “Here’s what you’re doing wrong” is enough to make anyone stop in their tracks and pay attention. This isn’t easy for me to do that for you: I’m a dating optimist. My first book, Meeting Your Half-Orange, is all about loving who you are and being authentically, gloriously happy in your own skin while you focus all your energy on how you want to feel in your ideal relationship. Which is to say I believe every “single” person is uniquely awesome and that you’re not doing anything “wrong.”
But if you’re killing yourself trying to come up with the end-all reason for why you’re still frustratingly single, the fact is, you are doing something wrong. And to be all “meta” about it, here’s what it is:
What you’re doing wrong is that you’re focusing on what you’re doing wrong.
What you focus on, you see, is everything. And that’s because what you choose to focus on actually affects the neuronal pathways in your brain, which affects how you perceive the world and how the world perceives you. The scientific term in play is neuroplasticity, and I explain how it all works in relation to dating and love in Half-Orange. It is utterly fascinating stuff and it’s no joke!
If you’re single and focusing on “what you’re doing wrong,” then it’s all you’ll see, and it’s all your brain will store in its implicit memory. In other word, it’s time to stop the cycle. Today, focus on what’s right—and only what’s right. Just for today, at least, don’t think about how old you are, or how long you’ve been single, or what past boyfriends or girlfriends or spouses have said about you for a minute. That’s all irrelevant. All that matters is who you are right now, this minute. And if you can look at what’s right about your dating life, you can change what ensues from this minute on.
So do this for me: List three things that you’re doing right, right this minute:
Visualize what you’d write in those blank spots—the awesome things you’re doing that are spot-on. Maybe how you’re giving it a shot with dates you’re not 100% on, because you’re open to seeing what might happen. Maybe how you’ve come to love a physical aspect about yourself—a mole, a height, a curve—and will settle for nothing less than a partner who loves you for it. Maybe how you’ve mastered making tapenade and can’t wait to show it off.
Fill in those blanks your own way. If you don’t, well, that’s what you’re doing wrong. You owe it to yourself and to your love life to give yourself positive props every single day. The more right you see, the less wrong your life will feel, and the better the energy you’ll be putting out there for your wonderful other half to come find you. It’s an easy fix: Pull back the safety and push the right button, and you’ll light the spark you’re working on, too.
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Big love and happy listing,