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Would You Date Yourself?


 

Finding the person you’ll spend the rest of your life with is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Most dating advice boils down to one subject: self-improvement. One of the only ways to meet an incredible person is to become one yourself. This article can help you become just that.

 

Would you date or marry yourself? If you wouldn’t, that’s a problem. Luckily, it’s also a solvable one, but I’m getting ahead of myself. More on that later. First things first.

 

Start Here

 

The bulk of counseling I do can be thought of as “relational rehabilitation". In other words, some relationship in my client’s life has gone off the rails and they want to get it back on track. Sometimes these counseling sessions are about dating/marriage ideals. In which case I often ask, “Is a meaningful, committed relationship something you really want?”.

 

Sounds like a simple question. It’s not. But it’s a great place to start.

 

If you’re honest with yourself, you might realize that you want a meaningful, committed relationship but you aren’t living out those values. Many single people want to be in a loving relationship in the same way someone might want to be a millionaire: great if it happened, but they’re not actively doing anything to become one.

 

Down deep, some people only like the idea of being in love, not the reality. If you aren’t willing to put the work into becoming an incredible person[1] don’t be surprised if you never find anyone incredible. Please don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that you don’t want a relationship, you do, it’s just that you value something else more.

 

If that sounds like your life, take some time to explore what exactly you’re valuing more. What’s top on the list? Be brutally honest with yourself.[2] Painting your situation prettier than it really is will only make things worse.

 

Dissecting A Bad Idea

 

There’s this idea floating around. It goes like this:

 

*Cue the romantic music*

 

“I just want to find someone that will love me for me. I just want someone that I can be real with and won’t judge me. Why can’t I find someone like that? Are all the good people taken?”[3]

 

Have you ever heard anything like that? There’s a couple of problems with this idea:

 

First, if you’re in your late 20’s or older, yeah, a lot of the good ones are taken, but not all of them. There’s still plenty o’ fish in the sea, but you have to know where to catch them, what type of fish you’re trying to catch, and what type of bait to use.[4] If you throw out stink bait, you’ll probably catch a bottom feeder. But if you take the time to become a good fisherman yourself, you might land the fish of your dreams.[5] Have you ever identified what that dream catch would look like?

 

Take some time to outline that, if you don’t know – again, be brutally honest.

 

Second, the idea that you can easily separate facts from values is naïve, to some extent. It’s naïve because your wish to be free of another’s dating expectations is childish. You can no more rid yourself of expectations in dating and marriage than you can shake off the shackles of time. You don’t want to tolerate anyone else’s dating expectations, but you expect everyone to tolerate yours. The irrational emphasis on tolerance is so dominant for many people that they think one of the worst character flaws a potential spouse can have is to be “judgmental”.

 

And since they don’t have an accurate understanding of the concept of judgment, they don’t know what constitutes a good or bad potential spouse in the dating world. Well-meaning mentors in these people’s lives have tried to impart this wisdom, but with a casual wave of the millennial hand all the time-proven advice offered has been deemed “out-of-touch” or “oppressive.” And, they have been so successful at dismissing 10 generations of practical dating advice that the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” have been discarded in favor of the more up-to-date gender-neutral, milquetoast, “partner”.

 

What Now?

 

No, people don’t like expectations. That’s because it reminds them of the R-word.

 

Rules.

 

We have rules for literally everything. The problem is that most people don’t know what their rules are. There’s a powerful question I’ve walked dozens and dozens of clients through to help them discover their unwritten rules. I’m going to show you how. Ask yourself:

 

“What has to happen in order for me to feel love and connection?”

 

Write down everything that comes to mind as you think of answers. Be brutally honest (this is the third time I’ve said this. Are you noticing the theme?). Don’t “soften” your answers. Be specific. When? How often? Where? Most people have between 6-10 rules that govern these types of questions so keep writing until you get at least that many answers. If you get stuck, ask yourself the question again.

 

Once you get your list, read it back to yourself. Some of it will sound crazy and unrealistic. That’s okay. You’re not trying to judge your list right now; you’re just trying to discover it.

 

Alright. You have your list. Read each rule one by one. Modify each rule to be more realistic, while keeping the essence of the original rule. Here’s a real-life example of a 38-yr old female client. She was having communication problems with her then boyfriend:

 

Q: What has to happen in order for you to feel frustrated in your relationship?

 

Rules:

  1. When people make excuses.

  2. When people don’t read my mind.

  3. When people don’t show up on time.

  4. When I don’t get it right the first time.

  5. If things don’t turn out how I anticipated.

  6. When other people don’t get it right the first time.

  7. When people don’t do what they say they’re going to do.

  8. If I casually mention something I want and someone doesn’t do it.

 

Selected modified rules:

1.   Sometimes excuses are excuses, but sometimes they’re legitimate reasons.

2.   I like it when people get me, but I understand that won’t happen every time.

5.   Sometimes situations don’t turn out how I want them to, but that doesn’t mean people are intentionally being inconsiderate.

8.   It’s okay for me to be more direct and state my needs openly.

 

See how it’s done? Good. Now you can walk yourself through any aspect of any relationship, figure out what rules are governing it, and then modify them to be more realistic. Voilà!

 

Now let’s look at the important role judgment plays in relationships, why we secretly want to be judged, and how rules facilitate that role.

 

Rules & Judgment

 

People don’t like expectations, but they really don’t like rules.

 

We didn’t like them in The Garden and we don’t like them now, even though we know they’re good for us. We don’t like them in any flavor – general or specific. But like them or not, they aren’t going anywhere, so you’d better wrap your mind around the fact that there are rules to every game in life – including dating. Especially dating.

 

So, there are rules. And we say, “As many as is necessary but as few as possible, please". We cherish our freedom, and we think rules threaten that freedom. We pride ourselves on our uniqueness and individuality. We are free, and we take pride in living by our own rules. Why should we be judged by another?

 

But jump into the dating pool and judged we are.

 

And when we are judged to have fallen short, it is precisely because we didn’t live up to someone else’s rules. That’s one of the reasons break-ups are so hurtful. They remind us that we weren’t enough in someone else’s eyes. Instead of experiencing that rejection and hurt again, people stay single. They comfort themselves by having their friends tell them they don’t need to change. That they’re fine the way they are. The other person was a jerk.[6] They feel better, and the ever-present sense of loneliness is held at bay by several 3-hour coffee dates with nonjudgmental friends. The trade-off for their loneliness is freedom. Like I said, people really hate rules.

 

Maybe that’s why God didn’t give Moses the Ten Suggestions.

 

Maybe that’s why the Israelites created the golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain getting the Ten Commandments. Because in the absence of a perfect set of rules, we’re hardwired to create our own defective set. And maybe the story of the golden calf is recorded, at least in part, to remind us that without good rules we quickly become slaves to our own destructive ones. Free? There’s nothing freeing about that.

 

No, we’re rule generators. We hate them, but we can’t seem to live without them.[7] And with the generation of rules, the inescapable also comes: judgment. I’m not alone in coming to this conclusion. The preeminent psychiatrist, Dr. Norman Doidge, writes:[8]



The dating world is not immune.

 

Sometimes these rules seem demanding. We rebel against them. They require you to embark on a sort of journey; a process of change that over time will challenge you and stretch you to your limits. Stretching yourself beyond your current boundaries will require you to thoughtfully consider the pursuit of new ideals, new values. Cultivating a sense of judgment about the differences between good and bad is the beginning of wisdom. When did that go out of style? These new ideals and values are beyond where you are now. Working toward them is scary. You could fail. The possibility that you will not reach them is real.

 

But if it’s uncertain that these lofty ideals and values are attainable, why bother working to become better in the first place? Because if you don’t work toward them, toward becoming a catch, it’s certain that you’ll continue to feel exactly as you do now – adrift in a sea of meaningless dates with total bottom feeders.

 

Maybe that’s why striving to become a better version of yourself is filled with meaning.[9] Think about it: there isn’t anything worse than discovering your best doesn’t measure up to the ideals of the person you’re dating. You’re hurt, crushed even. You didn’t see it coming. That makes you susceptible to becoming resentful about the past and skeptical about the future.

 

But you want to love someone and have someone love you. So you tentatively try again.

 

This time is different. You’ve done a lot of work on yourself and replaced many childish viewpoints with biblical ones. You’re selective about who you date. You meet “the one". You quickly realize that meeting the ideals of another is the most fulfilling and meaningful experience you can have with another person. It’s quite literally, amazing.

 

As unfamiliar and strange as it may sound, in the deepest parts of our heart and mind, we all desperately want to be judged.

 

Judged and found worthy.


 

[1] Stop telling yourself that you can’t become a better person. You can. You just don’t want to. There’s a big difference between “can’t” and “won’t”. That difference is your pride.


[2] It never ceases to amaze me how many people lie to themselves. Here’s why they do it: Usually they want to portray themselves a certain way or protect themselves from something. What better way to do this than to convince yourself of it? In these cases, the lie has what I call “positive intent”. In other words, what the lie is trying to accomplish might be something worthwhile, but it’s going about it in a very unhealthy, destructive way. It would be fair to classify virtue-signaling as this type of lie; they’re trying to portray themselves a certain way, expecting the unearned respect and admiration associated with said virtue, without having done anything to earn it.


[3] If the person you’re dating says that, run. MAJOR RED FLAG. Seriously.


[4] Jon, did you just compare single people to fish? Well, yes. But in my defense Jesus compared all of humanity to fish. So, there’s that.


[5] Good fishermen are good fishermen precisely because they’re interested in the fish they’re trying to catch. On the next date you go on remember: it’s better to be interested than interesting.


[6] In this current cultural moment, anything deemed “not nice” is instantly condemned as “toxic”.


[7] Maybe the entire human race is bipolar. I mean, a strong case could be made.


[8] Doidge, N. 2007. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph for the Frontiers of Brain Science. Penguin Random House LLC. New York, NY.


[9] Becoming a better person is hard work. It feels like pieces of you are being burned away. It feels that way because it is that way. You’ve willingly subjected yourself to the refiner’s fire. There are pieces of the old you that aren’t worthy to be a part of the new you. They have to go. It will hurt, but don’t stop. Dedicate yourself to becoming 1% better per day. Just 1%. You can do that. Meaning is found in suffering. In a year you won’t recognize yourself.

 



🏌️‍♂️🏌️‍♀️ Join Us for our 8th Annual Golf Classic - September 26th! 🏌️‍♂️🏌️‍♀️ 


Mark your calendars and dust off your clubs because our 8th Annual Golf Classic is back and better than ever! Hosted once again at the amazing Adams Pointe Golf Club, this year's event promises a day filled with camaraderie, competition, and community support.


📅 Date: Thursday, September 26

📍 Location: Adams Pointe Golf Club, Blue Springs, MO 

⏰ Tee-off Time: 8:30 AM


Registration and Sponsorships Now Available!

Whether you're an avid golfer looking for a challenge or a business seeking an opportunity to make a positive impact, we invite you to be a part of this exciting event. Registration for individual golfers and teams is now open, and sponsorships are available at various levels, providing businesses with an excellent platform to showcase their support for our cause while gaining valuable exposure.


Benefits of Sponsorship Include:

  1. Brand Visibility: Your company's logo prominently displayed at the event, reaching a diverse audience of participants and supporters.

  2. Networking Opportunities: Connect with like-minded businesses and individuals passionate about giving back to the community.

  3. Positive PR: Demonstrate your corporate social responsibility and commitment to supporting mental health initiatives in our community.


Golfers, Get Ready for a Day of Fun and Giving Back!

Not only will you enjoy a fantastic day on the greens, but you'll also have the satisfaction of knowing that your participation directly supports our nonprofit counseling office. By joining us on the course, you're helping to provide vital mental health services to those in need, making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and families within our community.


Highlights of the Day Include:

  • Scramble Format: Suitable for golfers of all skill levels, ensuring a experience for everyone.

  • On-Course Contests: Put your skills to the test with exciting challenges and prizes up for grabs.

  • Awards Ceremony: Celebrate the day's accomplishments and honor top performers with recognition and prizes.


Register Today and Secure Your Spot! Don't miss out on this opportunity to support a worthy cause while enjoying a memorable day of golf and community spirit. Spaces fill up fast, so reserve your spot today by clicking the button below or contact Naomi (naomi@peacecounseling.org) for sponsorship inquiries.




 


Our sincere thanks to everyone who continues to support our mission to offer free & affordable counseling to the children, individuals, and couples in our community. You make our work possible, and we are continuously encouraged to have you walk alongside us. Our gratitude and thanks to our February partners:


  • Thank you, Jondy & Heather Britton, for your generous gift to start our year. We appreciate your friendship and support.

  • We are so grateful to Chris & Kim Thiele for your continued support and belief in our mission. You are a joy to have on our team of partners. Thank you!

  • Aaron & Erin Dunn, thank you for giving to enable us to help others. We are so thankful for your partnership.


To all of our faithful monthly and recurring supporters — THANK YOU from our Peace Partnership team! – Stone AMP SEO, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Mark McDonald, Jondy & Heather Britton, Matt & Kristy Newton, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Mark & Cathy McGaughey, Greg & Jennifer Spears, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, Mike & Jan McGraw, Midwest Accident Reconstruction Services, Stan & Deb Oglesby, Willie & Adia Valdes, Shelly Schuman, Linda Hartman, Dave & Rosie Bourland, Clean Heart Maids, Rudy & Stacy Blahnik, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Mike & Sandra King, Diane Smith, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Kevin Quinn, Genesis Counseling, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Jon & Naomi Thompson, John Otradovec, Larry Curtis, Tamara Stroud, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Joel & Ruthie Morris, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Vicki Hefner, Jenny Glasgow, Teddy Koehler, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Summit Springs Church, and Rick & Jan Britton.


We appreciate each and every one of you!


Interested in hearing more about our mission? Contact our Director of Development, Naomi Thompson, at: 816.272.0653 or naomi@peacecounseling.org to find out how you can join our team of Partners. To make a donation through our website, please click on the link below.




 



Have you or someone you know been helped by Peace Partnership or Genesis Counseling? If so, would you please consider paying it forward to help another find healing along their journey? We are asking anyone who is not currently partnering with us financially to consider donating $100/year for the next 3 years to help make a difference in someone else’s life. Collectively, we can help SO MANY PEOPLE! Please consider a gift today. Call the office for help getting your gift set up or choose a recurring donation on our website here. We are so grateful for your help changing lives!


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