Feeling a little low in the hope department? One author offers five ideas to help you tune into your inner dating optimist.
By Amy Spencer
Every single person runs up against the occasional inner doubts when it comes to love. But having a few down days does not a pessimist make: With just a few tweaks to your attitude, you can get back your giddy sense of dating anticipation and attract your “half-orange” (a translation of the Spanish term media naranja, meaning your sweetly perfect other half) more easily. Here are five steps along the path to regaining dating optimism.
Step 1: Decide with conviction that you will find your other half.
The definition of optimism is a belief that things will work out for the best. So to be a dating optimist, you need simply believe your love life will work out for the best. Start expecting success! Then, whether you’re having a butterfly moment on a blind date, a lonely night with a Lost marathon, or a dry spell where you haven’t met a single cute soul in weeks, you’ll see your dating ups-and-downs for what they really are: making you wiser, warmer and more ready to meet your true match.
Step 2: Say out loud that you’re ready for a real relationship.
You can’t order a half-pound of ham at the deli counter without voicing your intentions; the same goes for love. Even if you know in your heart that you’re ready for the real thing, if you’re saying out loud that you’re “having a blast being single” then the energy you’re putting out there is all about numero uno. Create the duo energy you need by announcing you’re ready for a serious relationship to your friends and family, in your online dating profile and to the world around you in general.
Step 3: “Love-visualize” your happy ending.
One key to embracing dating optimism is basking in how you want to feel in your ideal relationship. Practice doing “love-visualizations”: Take a deep breath, make yourself smile, and then picture yourself — either through your future eyes or looking down at yourself from above — in a perfect moment with your other half. Try this one, for example: See yourself cuddling under a big duvet in bed on a Saturday morning with your future partner, laughing as you steal the covers and dive under them. Your partner pushes them back, looks you in the eye and says, “I can’t believe I found someone as amazing as you” — while you, of course, were thinking the exact same thing. Play around in that scene for two to three minutes, adding more details, focusing on the feelings, breathing deeply and smiling until you feel a warm, happy buzz in your belly. Remember this feeling, because this will be your life before you know it.
Step 4: Accentuate the positive on every date.
The happier and more positive you feel about your dating life, the more positive events and people you will attract. This isn’t magic; it’s a form of emotional regulation, which is rooted in neuroscience and psychology. Positive thoughts can develop neural pathways in the brain that, when used regularly, can actually change the structure of your brain. Your positively focused brain affects everything from your body language to your perception of the world — which, when it comes to dating, changes the decisions you make about relationships, how others perceive you and the kind of person you attract. So before you swing open the restaurant door to meet your next match, decide that instead of picking out what’s wrong with your date, you’re going to find three things that are right. If you seek the positive, you’ll find it — and be the better because of it.
Step 5: Tune into your “Wrong-Dar.”
That’s what I call your emotional radar about who’s right or wrong for you. In essence, it’s your love gut. Your goal is to find someone who makes you feel all the wonderful ways you’ve previously imagined, right? Well, if the person you’re seeing or flirting with isn’t making you feel as adored, funny, attractive, or fascinating as you want, then let your “Wrong-Dar” guide you so you can move on to better prospects. The more tuned in you are to yourself, the faster you can toss the mismatches to the curb and get back on track toward finding the person who will treat you as fabulously as you deserve.
Amy Spencer writes for Glamour, Real Simple, and New York magazine, among other publications, and is the author of Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match.