It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just begun to date or your dating life is an ugly wreck, there’s hope for you. You don’t have to be an accident waiting to happen. By putting yourself in the driver’s seat you can avoid crashing into losers. To maneuver safely through the hazards of dating, it’s important to acquire the following qualities, much like a driver becomes adept at scanning the road and using peripheral vision to know what’s nearby.
Be willing to learn.
You don’t need a college degree to be successful at meeting nice men or women, but you may need to learn new things and shed self-defeating behaviors. Choose to learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them. Work on gaining tools and strategies that will help you make real changes in your dating life.
The first step is to work on making yourself better. I know, I know. It sounds simplistic, but the truth is that the healthier you are, the less likely you will be to settle for anything less than the best. If you’re reading this book, you’ve demonstrated you are willing to learn and grow. That’s a great start.
Be willing to stay connected.
Caring, committed friendships, separate from any dating interests, are essential if we’re going to make wise choices. Our relationships, beginning with our connection with God, provide the environment in which we can change and grow. Too often we ignore these close relationships to focus on that one special relationship-many times with disastrous results.
Be willing to accept help.
Sometimes the very thing we say will never happen to us does. When Sara started to date Todd, she was aware of his history of jealousy and rage. “I can promise you—he’ll never treat me that way,” Sara said. As a capable, strong-willed woman, she had no problems stating what she wanted or needed. As her relationship with Todd developed, however, her self-confidence gradually diminished.
Be willing to be yourself.
This book isn’t about how to fix or save losers. It’s about you accepting yourself…and focusing on being the best you can be so you can avoid the pain and destructive behavior of unhealthy relationships. Too many of us pour vast amounts of time, energy, and money into trying to change or rehabilitate someone. Admittedly losers are usually people who have been deeply hurt or wounded and we want to help them, but, as the saying goes, “Hurting people hurt others.”
Be willing to commit to making one adjustment or change at a time.
Many times when we commit to something new, we attempt to transform everything about ourselves overnight. Guaranteed failure! While everyone can use improvement in many areas, we need to be patient with the process. If we change too many things at once, we’ll soon feel overwhelmed and hopeless and begin to believe the negative voice that tells us to give up because nothing will ever really change.
Be willing to take a dating inventory.
What is your dating history? Are you dating at all? If you have dated, think back on your past dating relationships. Go through your old diaries, address books, Palm Pilot, Rolodex, or Blackberry, and list all the people you’ve gone out with more than three times. On your computer or on a piece of a lined paper draw four columns and label them with the following headers: name, attractive qualities, areas of concern noticed in the beginning [but discounted or ignored], and negative qualities that showed up over time.
Adapted from How Now To Date a Loser
Copyright © 2008 by Georgia Shaffer, Used with Permission, Published by Harvest House.