In my 10+ years as an online dating coach my insight and perspectives have grown the most since having my two kids. It was because of them that I learned that we discover all we need to make us happy within the first 5 years of our lives. I have tried my hardest to employ an observational style of parenting and to let my children explore the world in their own way and become the person they want to be, independent of the identity I’d like for them to have. By observing their natural behaviors, I’ve learned 4 key lessons every “single” has to re-learn from childhood before they can fully be ready for love.
- You Must Be Comfortable Naked – Every person was born into the world naked. When they are born, children aren’t thinking about what size pants they wear or how people will laugh at their thunder thighs. However, from the minute they are born, our society begins to judge how they look: “She is all belly”, “Where did he get those skinny arms?”, “I love her chubby cheeks,” “Look how much hair she has.” At an age when a person has absolutely no control over how they look we immediately feel the need to comment and categorize them.
Every dater comes to me with years of labels slapped upon them. The more we hear these labels, the more we feel that we are defined by them and the more they shape the way we behave.
To be ready for real love you must take off this cloak of judgments and become unafraid to be naked as you were when you were first born.
- Be Driven By the Quest for Love & Safety – In our society, fulfillment in measured in the tangible – how much money you have, what your title is at work, what kind of car you drive, and how many Facebook friends you’ve amassed. Babies could not care less about any of this. They want only two things: love and safety. It’s amazing how many daters have put themselves in harms way and jeopardized their own safety to try to find love. I have clients who have let a stranger pick them up because they hoped he was as wonderful as he sounded on paper. It’s important not to let the desire for love trump the need for safety – especially in this digital dating world.
Ultimately, if you follow your innate need for unconditional love and safety rather than external societal pressures, it will steer you toward the right kind of partnership.
- Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Not to Dance – My 1-year-old son loves to dance. Every time a song comes on he can’t stop his body from moving. When I see him dance it makes me feel two conflicting emotions simultaneously: I’m filled with joy in seeing his pure excitement for movement and music but I also feel sad because I know that one day someone will tell him that it’s not cool for a dude to dance. Someone will make him believe that he should feel ashamed for being in the moment and doing what bring him bliss. He will spend years fighting the instinct to move to the beat until one day, he will be so divorced from his innate desires that a song will come on and not only will he not feel like dancing – he won’t even hear the music.
Finding love isn’t about fitting yourself into a box of assimilation. It’s about celebrating who you are, what makes you excited, what makes you scared, what makes you feel alive, what makes you unique, what makes you YOU.
- Go At Your Own Pace – My daughter didn’t walk until she was almost 15 months old but she talked like a professor when most babies were still babbling. Some people were confused and said, “Isn’t the old adage that they should walk at 1 year and talk at 2?” Parents often become anxious when their child doesn’t follow the traditional trajectory but I’ve rarely seen a baby be frustrated that they are falling off the usual developmental curve. I’ve had clients who were still virgins at 30. I have family members who were twice divorced by then. I’ve spoken to women who believe that they can’t find a man if they are over 40. I’ve talked to men who feel they must be married by 30 and others who couldn’t dream of settling down before 50. Everyone’s timeline is different.
Remember you have the power to write your own love story. Just because your parents are anxious for you to settle down or your friends have all coupled off doesn’t mean you should rush or that you should settle.
One of the most important factors of a happy, prosperous life is the person you couple off with. Take the time you need to choose wisely.
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