Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Dating Pitfalls: "If Only . . ." Trap

"If only I could win the lottery."
"If only I would've taken that job."
"If only I could meet a nice, job-stable man."
"If only there was a decent girl in Toronto to marry."

Oh, the list goes on. The allure of the "if only" is that we utter it when things aren't going the way we want or expected. It's our way of saying that "if only" this occurred, our lives would be better, fuller, etc.

"The phrase “if only” is the spandex of rationalization. It can stretch as far as we need it to in order to accommodate the list of considerations we want to include," according to an article on Psychology Today entitled "The Two Words You Have to Stop Using" by Peg O'Connor Ph.D.

Those two words can lead you to dwell on the past or ruminate on mistakes without moving forward. It has the power to displace responsibility or take ownership of upcoming events off your shoulders. "If only" takes the reins from you and doesn't allow you to lead yourself down a chosen path to fulfillment.

It can lead to bitterness, resentment and hopelessness in your dating situation. Dating is meant to be fun and full of hope, opportunities and (realistic) expectations.

The three keys from breaking out of the "if only" trap are simple, easy and well worth the effort:

1) Stop Measuring Yourself
Don't dwell on what others have, can do or are wearing. Appreciate what you have to offer in a relationship and know that the right person will recognize it in you. Tell yourself that you are great just the way you are rather than "if only . . .". Leaving a great impression in your mind will actually give you a positive outlook -- on you and dating.

2) Focus on What You Have
It's human nature to find what we are lacking and lament upon it. Instead, shift your perspective and look for what you have. Great friends, excellent job and a great curling draw. By looking for what is right in your world, you stop ruminating on what could be "if only."

3) Postivity Breeds Positivity
Surround yourself with people who treat you with the love and respect you deserve. If you find yourself surrounded by overly critical or negative people, perhaps it is time to do a bit of weeding in your relationships. Dating can be a very vulnerable time and having a supportive, positive network of friends will breed the same in you.