Do you ever feel that the way you are just doesn’t cut it and that you should work to be more like others?
Have you ever heard yourself saying: “If only I weren’t so ______, I’d meet the person I’m meant to marry”?
In our superficial society, where fitting in and being a popular, outgoing kind of person is made to seem so important, it’s not uncommon for people who don’t fit this mold to feel like there’s something wrong with them.
I spent years trying to “fix” myself—trying to be someone worthy of love while pretending I wasn’t doing that. I wasted precious years of my life trying to be someone who I’m not, and it didn’t help me find the love of my life. (Click here to read about how I did finally meet my amazing husband.)
The other day I watched Susan Cain’s TED talk on introversion, and I just loved it because her hypothesis supports the fact that happiness is tied to embracing who we are—how we are built and our own unique talents.
It also supports the fact that to find love, we need to love ourselves as we are.
Cain makes an important distinction. . . .
Introversion is not the same thing as shyness. Shyness is “about fear of social judgment,” whereas introversion is about how “you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation.” Extroverts “really crave large amounts of stimulation.” Introverts, on the other hand, “feel most alive and the most switched-on. . .when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments.” According to Cain, “the key to maximizing our talents is for us all to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us.”
If you want to succeed in dating and find your perfect match, you need to know yourself and the kind of person who will make you feel wonderful in your skin—as you are.
Cain describes how she got the message that the way she was—an introvert passionate about books, creation, and solitude—wasn’t the way to go, so she choose to become a Wall Street lawyer instead of the writer she dreamed of becoming.
During that time period, she wasn’t being true to herself. As she notes: “I needed to prove to myself that I could be bold and assertive, too. And I was always going off to crowded bars when I really would have preferred to just have a nice dinner with friends. And I made these self-negating choices so reflexively that I wasn’t even aware that I was making them.”
It’s this kind of unawareness that causes many singles so much pain and frustration when dating.
3 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE RIGHT NOW TO ACCEPT YOURSELF AND FIND LOVE
1. Honor your own uniqueness and stop trying to be something or someone you are not.
There’s a big difference between hacking away at your inherent value (i.e., needing to fix yourself to feel deserving of love) and the knowing that you are perfect as you are and there are ways you’d like to grow.
The fact is that you are on your own path and you definitely deserve love because you were born for it.
So if there is something you want to change about yourself, great! Set a goal. That’s healthy. For example, if you want to lose 5 lbs, create the action plan to do it, but don’t feel like you are not worthy until you lose the weight. You are worthy of love as you are.
2. Step out of your comfort zone.
There’s a difference between staying safe and having the willingness to grow. As the famous quote goes, “If you’re not growing you’re dying.”
We need to embrace who we are and step out of our comfort zones to live up to our true potential.
As Cain points out, some of the most well-known “transformative leaders” who were also introverts “took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to.” Their mission was greater than their personal preferences or comfort.
You’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway. When we step out and stretch, we grow.
If you are introverted, give yourself the time and space you need to nurture your soul but don’t hide out when it comes to dating. If you’ve been hiding out, you might need to find environments where you feel more comfortable. Maybe speed-dating and big singles events aren’t right for you. Try something different like enlisting your close friends to make personal introductions.
3. Love yourself as you want to be loved.
Imagine how you want to feel in your future relationship. Would you want to be a relationship where you feel less than amazing? Of course not!
Love yourself by engaging in self- loving and self-promoting behaviors. Have compassion for yourself and begin to treat yourself the way you want to be treated in your future marriage. If you want to be treated with warmth, understanding and respect, then treat yourself that way. Buy yourself flowers, allow yourself time to contemplate instead of always rushing, allow yourself to have fun. Make a list of ways you want to feel and do it for yourself.