~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Perhaps the simplest dating method of all is one that focuses on yourself. Specifically, it’s a method that focuses on the actions you take each day.
To understand this principle, consider the life of Jana Briggs.
Jana is in a relationship with a man she likes very much. It is a casual dating relationship, and her love interest is currently dividing his attention between two women.
Jana is frustrated with this situation. She wants the relationship to grow, and she feels like the other woman is holding her man back, preventing him from making a decision to move toward a more serious relationship with her.
Which of the following two approaches would you advise Jana to take?
(Option A) Each day, Jana contemplates whether her love interest (Frank) has shown signs of getting more serious about the relationship. She writes about it in her journal. She talks about it with her friends. If he goes more than three days without contacting her, she texts him to ask if something is wrong. When she spends time with Frank, she tries to get him to open up about his thoughts and feelings regarding the future they could have together. She makes comments to put down the other woman, acting like Frank is crazy for having an interest in her.
(Option B) Jana starts each day by contemplating one small action she could take to enrich Frank’s life and share her world with him. Then she puts him out of her mind and goes to the gym for fifteen minutes of interval cardio training. Though her heart is not in it, she makes herself reach out each day to at least one person who has shown interest on her online dating profile. Checking off exercise and online messaging from her daily goals checklist, she moves back to the first item, finding a way to share more of her world with Frank. She relaxes in the bath, thinking about the coming weekend. She remembers Frank’s comments about enjoying orchards and begins to formulate a plan to check if apples will be ripe for picking this weekend.
The difference here has to do with a focus on the harvest versus a focus on planting seeds. If you think like me, you’ll agree that Jana is more likely to succeed with option B. In the long run, persistent focus on the small things can lead to big results. In contrast, focusing only on results leaves us feeling powerless to change reality as we find it.
Have you identified specific actions you can take to move forward in your dating life? If not, you might be missing out on opportunities for taking back control in your dating life. It is frustrating to feel your romantic hopes are at the mercy of the whims of someone else.
Take back some control. Focus on planting seeds.
It may not seem like much, but one day you’ll have plenty of apples to pick.