Dating and Spirituality: Keeping the Hope Alive

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Dating, to find love, is at the top of the list for everyone and anyone who’s not coupled.  And difficulty finding him or her is what causes the most people to end up in my (and most shrinks’) office. Now, I’m writing this from two different perspectives.  While I’ve had a lot of personal experience in the dating arena, I’ve also helped hundreds of people successfully go through the process of finding love.

If you’re someone who got married fairly early, or who hit the lottery of blueprints in that you’ve never had trouble finding a partner, you’re very lucky, and not in this category!  This is for the rest of us, who’ve had to figure out our patterns of love and work our butts off to shift this pattern, all while going through the (sometimes futile) exercise of dating!

Now, as mentioned, the psychological piece of our blueprints – meaning the subconscious reasons why we’re attracted to the ones we’re attracted to – cannot be ignored or by-passed.  As I talk about in my book, All the Good Ones Aren’t Taken (http://www.drdebbie.com/book), we all have patterns of falling in love that were embedded within us by the age of thirteen.  They come from our connections to our mothers and fathers, and their connection to each other.  And we all have these patterns.  It just depends on what they are and if they enable us to partner up easily, or to sabotage connections.  So these spiritual principles are to be used in conjunction with figuring out these deeper blocks.

To start, let’s just say it: dating is hard work.  It can often feel like a second job if you’re putting any energy into it.  And it can often be highly discouraging.  This is a universal fact!  So here is where I say to you that believing in something bigger than yourself – meaning, finding your spirituality—will be of the utmost importance.  It’s especially helpful when it comes to affairs of the heart, and keeping the momentum and hope you need to find love.

Follow some of these practices below and it will make this pursuit a little more palatable (or dare I say enjoyable?!):

Practice 1: Believe in the law of attraction.

This is the belief that what we think about, focus our attention on, and genuinely feel are all catalysts to what we have (or don’t have) in our lives.  In short, as my guru in this area, Dr. Wayne Dyer, says, “We attract what we believe, and we attract what we are.” So what does this mean for you and dating?  Well, if you’re consistently focused on how hard dating is, how it’s never worked out in the past, how sad you are that you’re alone, or if what you truly feel about yourself is that you’re inadequate and unworthy of love, then what you’ll get is yet another letdown, and you’ll be left feeling exactly what you already felt: unworthy.  While we don’t have control over anyone else, we have control over this, and changing how you think and feel – and putting that energy out into the world – truly changes your experience in it.

Practice 2: Believe in karma.

This is also called the law of cause and effect.  Simply stated, it’s a belief that the energy you put out will come back to you.  So in essence, you’re continuously creating the experience you’re having in the world.  This is happening in conjunction with the law of attraction.  So if we change how we think and feel, then we’ll be putting different energy out into the world.  And in turn, we’ll start to have a different outcome.  But this isn’t something you get to shift just once.  You have to be diligent about checking in with yourself about what you’re thinking and feeling all the time.

Practice 3: Trust in timing.

In our universe, there is an unfolding of life, and things actually happen as they should—not how we think they should!   Most people can’t recognize it because when things aren’t going their way, they can’t see beyond the moment.  It’s hard to grasp that things are happening for a reason. What does this mean for dating?  It’s a knowing you take with you that with every relationship that hasn’t lasted, there’s something to learn, and you’ve been brought one step closer to finding the better love for you. And even though you’ve done all of your work – changed your thoughts, released hidden feelings, become more self-aware– you may still have to wait for the opportunity for love. It will come when it’s supposed to, not one minute sooner. The difference is that when it comes knocking, you’ll finally be able to receive it in a whole new way.

Practice 4: Accept that life isn’t fair.

We’re all on this earth to learn something, and we’re not all learning the same lessons.  Too many people have the” poor me” syndrome, but it’s truly a waste of time and energy.   No one gets to go through this human experience without some hardships.  And we all have to learn the lessons we need to learn – grow where we need to grow.  For those of you who are having difficulty finding love, herein lies your lesson.  And there are reasons for it happening.  So shift your mindset, and instead of hating it so much, look at it as your opportunity to grow, change, and thrive!

Practice 5: Live in the moment.

What this means is being mindful of what’s happening in the present, instead of getting stuck in the past or yearning for the future.   But please don’t misunderstand.  Memories of your past are important; they have shaped you.  And having goals for the future is important as well.  The problem is, if you’re only living on memories, or of what will be one day, you’re truly missing out on your life now!

To put it into a dating perspective: Too many people are in their own way here.  They’re stuck in what they had in the past, or the fact that they haven’t had love yet.  And some are stuck in the future, and they don’t move forward in their lives because they’re waiting to meet someone first.  You must live today as if you have everything you’d ever want.  Stay in the moment, feel your life, and do everything you want to do – now.  And as a by-product of setting the above practices into motion, you’ll be attracting all that you desire into your life (yes, I’m talking about LOVE).

About Debbie Magids Ph.D.

Debbie Magids, Ph.D. is a counseling psychologist with a thriving private practice in New York City. Dr. Debbie is the therapist and host of the new Lifetime series "The Mother Daughter Experiment: Celebrity Edition ". Television appearances include Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Today, The Steve Harvey Show, The Insider, Good Day New York, Fox News with Ernie Anastos, Anderson Live, New York Live, Joy Behar: Say Anything! and The Joy Behar Show, The Nate Berkus Show, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, CNN Headline News, The Jane Velez-Mitchell Show, Your World with Neil Cavoto, The Tyra Show, and The Montel Williams Show. Dr. Debbie’s commentary has also been featured on The Howard Stern Show, where she’s offered her expertise on the mental health of Howard and the team. Dr. Debbie is the author of All the Good Ones Aren’t Taken: Change the Way You Date and Finding Lasting Love . In addition, she regularly contributes her advice to The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and has been quoted in Glamour, Self, and Time Out New York magazines. Before opening her private practice, Dr. Debbie was tenured at Kingsborough Community College as the Director of Counseling where she created the personal counseling center. She also trained future counselors during her time as a professor at Hunter College’s graduate counseling program. Dr. Debbie holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology and a Master of Education in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Fordham University. Since her parents were child survivors of the Holocaust, Dr. Debbie felt compelled to explore the effects that the Holocaust could have on the surviving children in her doctoral dissertation. Her article, “Personality Comparison Between Children of Hidden Holocaust Survivors and American Jewish Parents,” was published in the Journal of Psychology [1998, 132 (3), 245 -245].

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