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How Online Dating Taught Me Self-Approval

Online-datingWell, I’m probably about to break the rules again. Shocking, right? 🙂

I’m going to do what many of my colleagues would frown upon and talk about something personal again.

Online dating.

And how it has taught me self-approval.

I took the leap into online dating about 6 months ago – after having avoided it for a number of years. If I’m honest, the main reason I avoided it was because I knew it would mean having to deal with my “stuff.” Insecurities, body issues, loveability, blah blah blah.

I have to admit, the first few months of online dating, well, it sucked.

I felt pretty crappy every time I logged onto my account or thought about it. I felt crappy because my thoughts were crappy.

“No one’s going to be interested in me.”
“I’m too fat so no guy will give me a chance.”
“I don’t know how to do this.”
“Why would anyone want to spend their life with me?”

Those were just a few of the thoughts and beliefs racing through my head. I spent half my time looking at profiles of men with the view of “would he give me a chance?” or “would he be interested in me.”

I desperately wanted it to be easy. For some guy to magically find me, sweep in, and make it so I didn’t have to work through my insecurities and fears. I kept looking at these profiles with the hope that somehow I would find someone to approve of me and to “rescue me.”

I did not care much for the part of myself seeking approval and reassurance from another.

Fortunately, I have the support of an amazing coach. She helps kick my ass in situations such as these 🙂 and refuses to let me stay stuck in my stuff.

So, I have been doing my work.

I have questioned my thoughts and beliefs. I have taken action despite insecurities and fears and doubts. When I caught myself looking for approval or rescuing outside myself, I took a deeper look inside myself. I cried and kept going. I sent emails, got no response, and made myself send another. I made myself send emails when I felt too fat and ugly to be attractive to anyone. I challenged my thoughts again and again and again.

And it slowly began to shift.

It got easier to look at profiles, to send emails, to respond to emails and even to go on dates and not have so much of the emotional rollercoaster. I slowly stopped asking if “he” would be interested in me and started asking if I was interested in him. I got more relaxed on dates and started being more myself.

My profile description changed and I added more quirky tidbits in because I was no longer afraid of someone reading it and thinking “she’s weird.” I wanted them to do just that. Because I realized that I like who I am – and so would the guy who would love me. When I go on a date and someone isn’t a good fit for me, I don’t get upset anymore. A little disappointed perhaps, but I simply wish him well and move one. I stopped waiting and hoping for someone to “rescue me” from my insecurities and found security in myself.

I haven’t magically found my guy since this shift – not yet anyway. And that’s ok. It’ll happen when it happens and I’m actually starting to enjoy the process. Because whatever happens I’ve learned to love and approve of myself. I’ll continue to work through more of my stuff and to love and approve of myself even more.

My doubts and insecurities and body issues and loveability were never the problems. Only my thoughts about them were.

Who knew that online dating would be just the thing I needed to learn to love and approve of myself – exactly as I am.

Is there anything you’re avoiding because of the “stuff” it might bring up? What if that something was the path to what you want most?

Something to ponder 🙂

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