It took me almost 20 years to realize I had been unconsciously dating.
No seriously, when I was in high school all I wanted was “the guy” but all I knew was what friends and movies told me about “the guy.” That he would be cute and have a car and a job and play the guitar. I didn’t actually know what I wanted.
Then I had my first heartbreaks and I had no idea how to come back from them. Do you sit and listen to angsty music forever or do I put myself back out there believing in true love?
Then college hits and you’re hit with so many options you don’t know which way to go.
Before you know it you’re in “the real world” with fears, assumptions, bruises and hurts from your variety of dating experiences.
Maybe it’s fear around not being enough because you never seem to find anyone to date.
Maybe it’s fear of being heartbroken and led astray again after being with someone who was a wrong fit.
Maybe it’s unhealed pain from a heartache that you’ve never really been able to get over.
Maybe it’s walls guarding your heart that are as tall as the Empire State Building because you’ve been mistreated in the past and don’t want to fall for that again.
Maybe it’s simply just not feeling your worth enough to believe that someone is out there who will love you and care for you, as much as you want to believe that’s true.
When you start to consciously date you’re able to overcome these maybes.
You can see that there is so much more for you, that you get to create and own as you’re moving through your dating experience.
The first part of consciously dating is setting up your mindset to be in a place of openness and healing. Because if one thing is for certain as you continue to date you’ll be continuing on your healing journey as well.
What does this mindset work consist of though?
It’s about learning what you deserve and setting yourself up to receive that.
It’s getting crystal clear on what you want your life to look like and how a relationship will play into that.
It’s getting crystal clear on how you need to be supported in your life and learning how to ask for it.
It’s learning to set boundaries and hold yourself accountable.
It’s dropping the black and white thinking and learning to move with the flow of gray as you grow and are challenged through each passing relationship and experience as you date.
It’s moving past the negative wired patterns and habits you have in relationships and learning to support yourself to change them.
Then consciously dating is all about showing up for yourself. It’s about allowing yourself to be a work in progress while you’re dating, and allowing yourself to grow while dating too. You may start dating a person so they can teach you a lesson or allow you to express a newly found part of yourself and then they may leave once that’s fulfilled - and that’s ok!
Consciously dating is made up of three aspects.
Learning what mindsets you need to shift
Getting clear on what you Need, Want, and Desires for yourself in relationships
Learning how to date and be the true you as a work in progress.
The mindset shifts are so important and the first two aspects of Consciously dating really happen simultaneously.
First, you’ll take a look at the current mindsets you have around dating, think through what beliefs you have that may not be serving you “all guys are jerks” “there’s no one good left out there” etc. Outline all of these beliefs you have.
Then switch gears, what is it you want out of a relationship? What are you looking to create for yourself? You need to be crystal clear on the following:
What you need/want/desire out of a relationship in general (what does it feel like in that couple’ness)
What do you need/want/desire to be supported in a relationship?
What do you need/want/desire in the other person?
This takes some work to get clear on, and I highly recommend you do this work when you’re clear-minded and not in reaction to someone else. You of course will have some past experiences that have taught you what you need, want, and desire but if you’re in the throes of heartbreak or anger over a person now probably is a better time to get centered and heal on that before you start writing a long list of all the opposite attributes of the person that broke your heart.
Then I want you to do mindset work applying these things you’re now crystal clear on to your life and reverse the negative beliefs you’ve established for yourself. This is where coaching can really support you, or a meditative or therapy practice. Meditating on the change you want to see, building affirmations for yourself, and learning to rewire your thinking moment-to-moment are all huge to doing this work.
Finally, you are ready to start dating and doing the work while being with other people. This is where it turns into a bit of a science experiment: you're bringing new parts of yourself forward and allowing yourself to see what happens. Sure you may be fearful and fall back into old patterns - but don’t get too down on yourself. Try again and see what happens.
Flowing through these three aspects of consciously dating will be able to tear you away from old patterns of dating the same kind of people with the same outcome, of being too scared to even go out on a date, and more.
Take a look at where you are and ask yourself how you can start doing this work now.
If you want a deeper dive, I have a Consciously Dating Email Series starting on November 2nd that I am sharing with those who sign up. It’s an in-depth dive to this work with prompts and tools each week to help you along this journey.
You can sign up by emailing me at email@example.com - put “Consciously Dating” in the subject line and I’ll make sure you’re on the list!