There is one person out there that you probably never thought you’d date. It’s a person who often gets neglected, and in fact, many times get’s ignored…but it’s a person who you have to get to know for any hope of finding love.
I was curled up in a ball, in the corner of my floor, with tears streaming down my face. My stomach hurt, my mind raced, and my heart felt like it was being pulled in a thousand different directions.
You see, I had been dating this guy for a year and a half. Things were getting serious. We’d talked about getting married. Our parents were coming in from out of town to meet each other that day. And the decisions I had made were culminating before my eyes. My life was happening. But the only problem was- it was a story that I didn’t want to be living.
I felt no sense of peace. In fact, I was filled with doubts. Could this be right? If so, then why did it feel so wrong? Why was my heart so confused? Why did I have so many reservations? Why was my stomach in knots?
I wanted so bad to be in love…but this isn’t what I had imagined.
So, with tears streaming down my face, I picked up the phone and called the whole thing off. It was time to face my fears- my fear of failure, my fear of disappointment, my fear of starting over, my fear of being alone, my fear of hurting people- and finally do what I knew all along was right.
Deep down inside of us, we’re all aching to find someone to love.
But sometimes, we spend so much time trying to find the one, that we lose ourselves.
I was so confused. I had no idea what I wanted or who fit into my life. But the real problem was me.
I didn’t really know who I was. I knew who I thought I was….who I wanted to be…and I knew what everyone else told me. But I had never really taken the time to get to know ME.
And if you don’t know who you are…you’ll never recognize the kind of person who fits into your story.
It’s a simple truth- but it’s really not so simple, because getting to know yourself can be even harder than finding the one.
It’s so much easier to look out than it is to look in.
It’s much easier to focus on the hope of finding the right person than actually becoming the right person.
But becoming the right person is exactly what it takes to find true love.
The most successful relationships I’ve ever witnessed are made up of two people who know who they are, and who’ve become the best they can be by God’s help. People who understood that in order to really find love, you have to date a person you never thought you’d date: YOURSELF.
How do you date yourself? “Do I take myself out to a restaurant, or to a movie?” asked a girl on Twitter in response to that question. I had to laugh a little, because that’s not exactly what I mean by dating yourself.
Dating inward is a process. It’s an experience of delving into the places where only you could ever go. It’s a process of insight, awareness, acknowledgement, and wisdom…as you peel back the layers of who you are, one step at a time. I tackle this subject in my book, True Love Dates.
One year ago, my book hit shelves….and out of the three important steps (Dating Inward, Dating Outward, Dating Upward) I cover in the guide to finding love, Dating Inward is the one I hear about the most from people. It’s a concept that is changing lives…and in turn, revolutionizing relationships. But dating yourself requires you to know 3 important things…
1. Know who you are today: There’s a huge difference between who you want to be, or who you’ve been told you are—and who you actually are. It’s easy to lose yourself in the relationships that you are in- or to become what they want you to become. But you’ll never be able to know what you really want in a relationship- until you know who you are. Use this time in your life to become the best version of yourself by dealing with the habits, thoughts, and behaviors that hold you back from living your best life. Uncover your true identity in Christ- and remove the labels that have been placed on you to reveal the truth about who you are. Invest in yourself, love yourself, and believe in yourself. Because you will always attract the kind of person who you believe you deserve (More on this in Chapter 3)
2. Know where you come from: We all have our baggage. And whether we want to or not- we bring that baggage into our relationships. Dating Inward means taking the time to understand and heal the hurts of our past to the best of our ability. It means understanding our past, and coming to terms with the impact it may have had on our life. But most of all, it means learning to accept those things and move past them as we step into our future (More on this in Chapter 2)
3. Know where you’re going: When you’re walking toward something, you’ll be able to recognize those who are walking in your direction. Becoming the one means that you stay true to yourself by living out the unique and meaningful calling that God has placed on your life. Your story has far more to do with finding your purpose in life than it does with finding the love of your life. Dream big and run hard in the direction that God has called you to–and if you find someone who can keep up with you–marry them (More on this in Chapter 4).
I learned it the hard way….but the search for love is so much more about becoming the person God has called you to be than it is about simply finding the person God has called you to be with. No matter what your relationship status – married, dating, single, or searching- you are always invited to move in the direction of healing and to chase after God’s big picture.
You’re always invited to date yourself.
October 5-11th is #True Love Dates Week!! Want to win a FREE copy of #TrueLoveDates? We’re giving away 2 ebooks in honor of #TrueLoveDates Week! Just share this article via Social Media, and leave a comment below. Winner will be announced October 11th!
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 50+ articles at Relevant Magazine! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!