(If you’re behind, here is Part I and Part II)
#6: Take a risk.
Sometimes doing what’s best for you is scary. People fear what they don’t know. We don’t know what our future holds and sometimes we’d prefer what we do know even if it sucks because we fear the unknown will bring our worst nightmares.
Instead of thinking about what can go wrong, how about thinking about what can go right? If you break up with someone who can’t give you what you need, how about telling yourself that you’re free to find Mr. Right? That you are going to meet someone wonderful. That you are going to find happiness and someone to share your life with? Well, it’s not going to happen until you take a risk and honestly, it’s not even a high one! It’s a low risk, high reward! Let me break it down for you.
You fear that you’ll never find Mr. Right. Given the number of people on this planet, that’s not likely to happen unless you make it so. If you don’t bother trying, emotionally close yourself off or judge someone prematurely, then you’re absolutely setting yourself up to fail. Such behavior is self-sabotaging and you should ask yourself why you’re doing it. Just get out there and start meeting people!
The reward for taking a risk is that you do find exactly what you’ve been looking for and end up being the happiest pig in a blanket! It’s just nonsensical not to take a risk. It’s your life, your happiness and your goals at stake, and they’re all in your hands.
#7: Don’t be too selfish.
As much as we’d want it so, it’s not all about you all the time. I have one girlfriend who is often very critical of the men she dates. Usually, her issues revolve around financial concerns which are really her parents’ anxieties that she absorbs. Sometimes it’s been because she demands that the men she dates make her happy, but the truth is that our happiness is our own responsibility. Her unrealistic expectations and standards cause her to lose sight of what ultimately matters in a relationship: that you both care for each other deeply and can support each other through the good and the bad that life has to offer.
While it’s important to exercise a healthy level of selfishness (and it exists!), it’s just as important to remember that relationships are as much about meeting your partner’s needs, too. What do you bring to the table? Can you hold back your criticisms and be supportive toward your partner when he’s feeling low? Can you let yourself be emotionally vulnerable and open up your heart to him so you might have a fulfilling relationship? Can you give him the time, attention and effort that he gives you? If you can’t or you won’t, then you’re setting up your relationship to fail because your bond won’t be based on anything meaningful and will be missing the strong foundation necessary to survive.
#8: Date casually.
If single, I urge women to do this at any age but start early. Dating is a great journey toward self-discovery. The more you date, the more you learn about what you can or can’t have in a partner. This helps you learn boundaries which are crucial to developing your personal identity. The more you know who you are, the better your chances of attracting to you the type of partner you want.
The converse is also true. I know far too many people, both men and women, who are now in their thirties and have dated less than a handful of people in their lives. I believe they don’t know what they want because they barely know who they are themselves. This makes them fearful of ending up with the wrong person, which would not be the case if they had a very clear picture of what they wanted in a partner. The best way to form a clear picture is by dating earlier and often, making mistakes and learning from them.