Four Ways To Stop Languishing In Your Dating Life
Do you ever have that "blah" feeling? That "meh" feeling? Not exactly depressed, not really thriving, but stuck somewhere in the middle?
It turns out that there is a name for this feeling in pop psychology -- Languishing -- and I know I have certainly experienced it in my own dating life. It is the blurry midpoint between dating despondency (everyone sucks! I’ll be alone forever!) and hope for the future (I know I’m going to find my person, I can feel it!).
If you tend to answer "eh, it’s going okay" or "yeah, I'm hanging in there, it’s whatever" when someone asks you how you're doing, chances are you're languishing. You have enough energy to put one foot in front of the other, yet you feel burnt out; certain things still give you hope, yet it just seems so hard.
And that is okay. At some point or another, we all fall into the languishing chasm. The trick is to acknowledge your languish and prevent it from becoming anguish.
So, how do we break the curse of eh-I'm-hanging-in-there? Here are four practical anti-languishing tools I teach my clients to keep them focused, hopeful, and productive:
(1) Catch your negative thoughts and replace them immediately.
When you notice a negative thought about yourself or your dating life running through your head, stop that thought dead in its tracks. Replace it with: something you are looking forward to; a dream you have; something you respect about yourself; or someone you are grateful for.
Our doubts, insecurities, and negative patterns are not the product of accurate thinking, but of habitual thinking.
When you continually improve the way you think and create more constructive thought patterns, your life-affirming thoughts become the rule and your self-deprecating thoughts become the exception. Needless to say, habitual positive thinking will not only help you find your right match, but also allow you to enjoy the process.
(2) Stop doing things you hate.
If you hate using dating apps, delete them. If you hate going on blind dates, don’t go on them. If you don't love dinner dates, find something else to do. If you hate it when your mom pushes you to go out with someone, don’t listen to her. It is important to keep an open mind, but don’t make your dating life harder than it needs to be by doing things that take the wind out of your sails.
(3) Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for yourself that have nothing to do with dating.
The purpose of this is twofold: 1) to remind you that, while dating might be a priority, it does not consume your entire life, and 2) to make you a better person, which will help you attract a better person.
Write your goals down on a piece of paper, share them with someone who will keep you accountable, and track your progress. When you have exciting goals that you are actively working on, you have neither the time nor the mental bandwidth to feel "blah," because you have more important things to focus on. Walking around feeling "meh" becomes a waste of energy that could be used on accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself.
(4) At least once a week, go out of your way to do something kind for another person.
Don't just open your phone and Postmates your friend a box of cookies. Go to a nice bakery, pick up the fresh cookies, and drop them off at your friend's house with a note that says “I love you.”
The point of this practice is to take you out of the center of your universe; this time, by making yourself useful, helpful, and meaningful to someone else. One of the most well-established principles of modern psychology is that people who perform regular acts of kindness for others experience a significant boost in their own feelings of happiness and wellbeing -- which will, again, translate directly into finding your match and actually enjoying the process.
Kindness makes you happy and happiness makes you kind.
It’s a positive feedback loop that will prove most useful in your dating life.
Each of these tools on its own is extraordinarily powerful, but taken together and practiced weekly, they are certain to help you thrive. Commit yourself to practicing these tools for at least 21 days and I can make you a personal guarantee that you will witness a material difference both in the way you feel and in the quality of the people you go out with. It takes a bit of discipline, but well worth it.