Everyone knows that dating sucks.
- You can’t just BE yourself. You’ve got to SELL yourself.
- Selling yourself is HARD when you compare yourself to all the other women out there.
- You end up feeling WORSE about yourself than if you’d never put yourself out there in the first place.
- Your self-esteem rises and falls based on how much interest you’re getting, even though you know you should NEVER give men power over you.
- You waste SO MUCH TIME on those online dating sites, time that you could be spending on things you actually enjoy.
- And the result? You get all these messages from creeps, you never hear from the guys you want to hear from, and the occasional nice guy turns out to be a dud.
- It’s this roller coaster of getting excited, being disappointed, getting excited again, being disappointed, until finally you just can’t take it anymore.
Am I right?
So dating sucks, but what can we do to change it?
You can use THIS tool that makes finding love fun.
This mindset shift will help you get off that disappointment roller coaster, give you bulletproof self-esteem, and make those first dates actually feel enjoyable!
Good Motivation and Bad Motivation
Researchers have discovered that there are two types of motivation:
Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.
Take exercise as an example.
You want to exercise more, but it’s going to mean finding the time and the energy. You like the IDEA of exercising—getting toned, getting fitter, being able to brag that you go to the gym daily—but the REALITY of it isn’t as appealing.
How do you motivate yourself to give up an hour of relaxation time just so you can sweat and suffer?
Some people motivate themselves by imagining how good they’ll look in short shorts, or how much weight will drop off, or how their friends will envy them as they post workout shots on social media.
Or they motivate themselves by thinking about how bad their health will get if they don’t do it, or how much they hate their body, or how bad they feel sitting at home when they know they should be exercising.
Those are extrinsic forms of motivation.
You’re making yourself work out because you want the reward at the end, or you want to avoid the punishment you’ll experience if you don’t do it.
This is the most common way we motivate ourselves to do stuff we don’t want to do.
We say things like, “If I work out every day for a week, I’m going to splurge on a pair of new shoes.”
Or we post our fitness goals on social media, so that it will be really embarrassing if we fail to meet them.
This type of motivation is actually recommended by fitness experts, which upsets me, because what they’re doing is using shame and reward to temporarily change behavior.
You can’t keep that up for forever. Once you get your reward, you’ll have to think of a different reward, and then a different reward. The fear of embarrassment or putting on weight will only motivate you for so long.
There’s ample research out there showing that extrinsic motivation can’t create lasting change.
So what can?
Motivation from the Inside
If there is something you want to do—some new habit you want to form, a long-term goal that’s going to take you years—then intrinsic motivation is the very best way to do it.
Intrinsic motivation is when you’re motivated from the inside.
You’re doing this thing because of the personal satisfaction it brings. You don’t need to get anything out of it. You’re doing it for its own sake.
Think about your favorite hobby. For example, I enjoy baking, but baking takes a lot of time, and it messes up the kitchen, and sometimes I spend all this time making something that doesn’t taste very good at the end.
But I do it because I like it. It’s interesting. It’s challenging. And I really like eating what I make!
Intrinsic motivation is what drives people to become experts at something. It’s the only thing that can sustain them when times get hard, when things don’t turn out as expected, and when it doesn’t seem like there’s any hope of success.
Kind of like dating!
If you are dating because you want the reward of a relationship, or the reward of male attention, or the reward of feeling good about yourself, you will run out of steam pretty fast.
If you are dating because you don’t want to be alone forever, you don’t want to be the only single one in your group of friends, and you don’t want people to hassling you about when you’re going to get married, you are going to run out of steam pretty fast.
But if you are dating because you enjoy meeting people, you enjoy discovering who they are, you find the whole dance of attraction to be amusing, then you can keep it up forever.
Not that you’ll need to, because people who are intrinsically motivated to date get snapped up pretty fast!
When you show up on a date expecting to enjoy the process, and not really caring whether you end up with this guy, your whole demeanor changes.
You’re not putting any pressure on him to be what you want to be.
You’re not putting any pressure on yourself to say the right thing or act the right way.
You’re just enjoying the fact that you’re not at home on a Friday night, you’re having a nice drink with someone you don’t know yet, and you’re getting to have an experience that will give you some good stories to tell tomorrow.
Those of you who’ve read my book know exactly what I’m talking about.
This is the Pleasure Principle in action, and it’s why it’s so effective in life and love.
When something brings you pleasure, you can keep it up forever.
It’s Just What You Do
Going back to the exercise example for a moment, I’ve wondered why I’ve kept up my daily running habit for two decades. I don’t like going out when the weather is bad. Sometimes I find myself lacing up my shoes and dreading every moment of it.
But I do it because it’s part of me. It’s just what I do. It’s built into my schedule, and afterwards I get a hot shower and I’m done and I can relax.
There’s no stress with intrinsic motivation. There’s nothing to achieve; there’s no pressure. You just show up, you do it, and you’re glad you did.
What would happen if you treated dating the same way?
It’s just what you do. You show up, you do it, and at the end you’re always glad you did, because what’s the alternative? You don’t meet anyone.
So find a reason to date that makes it personally satisfying to you.
Maybe each date is an opportunity to get better at small talk. Maybe it’s an opportunity to see inside someone else’s world. Maybe it’s an opportunity to get to try out different coffee shops and restaurants.
Just don’t pin your hopes on getting a reward at the end. A very small percentage of first dates turn into lasting relationships. There has to be another reason to do it, a reason that makes it meaningful.
What else would make dating meaningful to you, if it wasn’t about getting a relationship at the end? Let me know in the comments!