Updated: Aug 2
Sprinkling a little mindfulness everywhere you go will enhance your life like there's no tomorrow.
Applying mindfulness to your love life is certainly no exception...
I have personally witnessed too many people get royally screwed over by easily preventable relationship dilemmas.
Don't we all know someone who desperately wanted a relationship, but stuck around giving their all to someone who only gave them breadcrumbs, just to be left high and dry anyways?
Don't we all know someone who pretended they didn't dream of true love, in secret hopes of being chosen on the basis of being cool enough?
Haven't we all read the stories of long partnerships that were shattered when it became evident that one person cared more than the other?
Or seen the Teen Mom shows where not being mindful of one's sexuality ended in an unwanted pregnancy with the wrong person?
The list goes on and on.
There are countless ways that one can be screwed over by a bad love life.
But do you know what might have prevented all these horrible conundrums?
Being mindful from the get-go.
Of course there are other reasons one may find themselves in any of these painful situations. I am by no means denying that.
However, it is highly probable that dating mindfully would have prevented most of them from happening in the first place.
I think so many people are not serious enough when it comes to who they give their time, sex, and energy to, and it undeniably has consequences. Wasting valuable time is the result at the lower end of the consequence scale, and unwanted babies with the wrong person is the result at the more extreme end.
I think modern American media has largely corrupted the intimate lives of the many as we often unconsciously emulate the behaviour of the poor examples we see on screen. Plus, there is just so much important stuff no one ever tells us, so we end up learning the hard way. I'll cut this thought off here though, because I could write a whole essay on why I think the modern dating market is a mess, and that's just a different story for a different day.
So, if you haven't caught on yet, my dear reader, the purpose of this article is to get you to start dating mindfully so you can create a life that feels good.
First, let's make sure you and I have the same definition of mindful.
I define mindfulness as the deliberate use of intention that is followed by making appropriate decisions.
Consciousness, awareness, carefulness, and attentiveness are all similar, but not the same.
Therefore, to date mindfully means to make dating decisions based on clear knowledge of what you want from the experience, while remaining aware of how you feel moment by moment throughout the process.
Feel free to read that again.
The purpose of dating mindfully is to help you obtain what you want, and save yourself from unnecessary heartbreak, time wasted, and sticky situations.
No more pain caused by not admitting or thinking about what you truly want.
And no more pain caused by behaving in ways that are unconducive to getting what you truly want.
So why does mindful dating work so well?
It's quite simple.
If an athlete wants the best possible results, the first thing they do is get clear on their goal. Then they find which methods work best for them, make a plan, and say no to things that would hinder them from achieving their goal; your love life should be no different.
In even simpler terms:
Sloppy intentions= sloppy plan, or no plan at all= sloppy practice= sloppy results
Clear intentions= good plan= good practice =good results
Behaving in a way that is conducive to getting what you want will increase your chances of getting what you want. So, for example, if you want to meet someone you can be yourself with, and you're going on dates behaving in a way that is trying to convince the other person to like you, it would be good to become aware of that and change it to just being yourself and seeing if you even like them to begin with.
Ok, I think you get my drift by now, so let's examine how to actually put mindful dating into practice:
1. Get clear on what you want in and from a partner.
This doesn't have to be extremely specific, but the more specific the better.
How do you want them to look? What qualities do you want them to have? How do you want them to make you feel? And how do you expect to make them feel?
In order to make this list, you can think of all the qualities you've dealt with that did not make you happy, and then write down the opposite of those qualities on your list of desires.
This list is always subject to change, and it's crucial to be open to the idea that the universe can send us someone who is better than what we think we want.
Since our universe is governed by the law of attraction, the most important thing is to find the feeling place that emits the same frequency as our perfect lover, and the universe will take care of the details.
2. Get clear on why you are dating in the first place.
This is pretty similar to number one, but should be specifically addressed nonetheless.
The reason you are dating will dictate how you behave, and what you expect and tolerate from others.
If you're just dating cuz you're bored, which I never recommend, you'll probably tolerate way less shenanigans than someone who is serious about finding a dependable partner.
Is marriage your ultimate goal? Is a serious relationship where you do not know if you will get married or not your end goal? Or is filling your time because you're bored your end goal?
Do you see how the questions above will dictate what you tolerate, and what questions you will ask your partner?
Getting clear on what you want and why you want it facilitates communicating your dating intentions to the other person.
The wrong person will make you feel bad about your standards or leave, and the right person will want the same thing.
*It should be noted that sometimes people lie to manipulate you into getting something else they're after, but that's where your mindfulness will protect you. If you pay attention to the person's actions and how they make you feel over time, you will know if they are worth investing any time, money, sex, or energy into.
Alright, that's that for number two.
And getting clear on what you want and why you want it perfectly spills into number three, which is getting clear on your boundaries;
3. Establish your boundaries before dating.
I think that this is the most important step of all, and the least talked about.
It seems that there's a lot of confusion about when to kiss or sleep with someone, when it's appropriate to go to their home, and how much lateness or disrespect is to be tolerated before walking away.
Not being clear on my boundaries is how I ended up in some uncomfortable situations that could have quickly become dangerous.
It's also the reason why I spent too much time dating some people I did not like at all.
Unfortunately, especially for women, there's a lot of shit many men try to get away with. And although I do believe it's up to families to educate and regulate the behaviour of their sons, it is beneficial for women to clarify what they will absolutely not tolerate, and how they will walk away from it.
Furthermore, if you've followed step one, it makes it easier to clarify your boundaries.
Once I admitted to myself that I don't believe in casual dating, and that my intention was to have a meaningful relationship with a reliable man, I acted accordingly.
If you're curious about how that turned out, I saved myself from getting used many times.
I went out with a guy who came on very strong on the first date, but disappeared quickly when he realized I wasn't going to sleep with someone I did not love.
I also found a boyfriend who treats me really well, has financially and emotionally proven his commitment to me, and can't wait to have a marriage and family if we work out.
Are you seeing how a little mindfulness can go a long way?
And here's one more step I recommend:
4. Evaluate the environment you choose to put yourself in.
In other words, pay attention to where you are spending time, and if it's conducive to meeting people who would probably align with your goals.
I spent many years trying to fit in with a crowd I didn't like too much, and consistently hoped to find love at all those places I didn't want to be.
It eventually dawned on me that I was searching for a needle in a haystack, and I would have higher chances of meeting people I fit in with by going places I actually love to be.
I love healthy, nature-filled living, and occasionally going out to clubs and fancy restaurants. Not the other way around.
But I spent most of my time in crowds that wanted to drink and party, so I ended up at a lot of nightclubs filled with, you guessed it, people who love to drink and party.
I spent so long hoping to run into someone like me, when it would have been far likelier to find a match in a hiking club or on a retreat.
I could equate my situation to searching for a faithful husband at a strip club, or a dog lover in a cats club.
See how being mindful of your environment affects the outcome of your love life?
If you want to find your truest lover, you have to find your truest self. And your truest self doesn't pretend to enjoy hanging out in places she doesn't want to be.
Ok, and now for the last, short but sweet point:
5. Pay attention to how you feel.
This one's pretty straightforward.
If the person you're with makes you feel good, stay.
If the person you're with makes you feel bad, walk away.
Finally, the last thing I must address is what mindful dating is not:
Mindful dating doesn't have to hinder your ability to enter the flow state.
The point is to get clear on what you want to help you obtain it, NOT to start obsessing about what you don't want.
If attempting to date mindfully takes you out of the present, and leads to fearfully focusing on disappointment prevention, you're doing it wrong.
It should feel good.
You should feel secure, empowered, calm, or excited, because your mindfulness is helping you create a life that feels good.
It should not feel like you are on edge, strenuously dodging bullets.
And if you have a good understanding of the law of attraction, you surely understand how the former would do you no good.
(Negative feelings and attention to what you don't want would create manifestations that match the low vibration of that feeling place.)
Alright, I'll stop here for now.
I sincerely hope this compilation of my epiphanies ameliorates your life.
Cheers to creating the life you desire.