Dating is like politics:
The whole system is seriously messed up.
It’s not like there are no great candidates out there. Lots of amazing people with amazing visions are looking for support.
But the system itself brings out the worst in us.
The things you do when you’re dating don’t always reflect your values. But you do them because everyone is doing them. You’d never get noticed if you didn’t play the game.
21st century dating is in dire need of reform. Dating apps let us shop for human connection like we shop for a pair of shoes. We can’t continue like this, reducing people to profile pics.
But how can we as individuals make a difference?
How can we change something over which we have no control?
We start by challenging the fundamental premise of dysfunctional dating:
This idea that you have to earn another person’s love.
If you have to earn someone’s love, then what you’re getting is NOT the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.
You’re getting conditional love, which is based on you proving your value to another person.
If that person doesn’t like something you said or did and withdraws his love, you don’t conclude that his love wasn’t worth much in the first place. You hustle even harder to get it back.
How messed up is that?
Hustling for love is like trying to get on Santa Claus’ Nice List. You’re doing nice things because you expect to get something good as a result. You don’t have faith that Santa will bring you a nice present simply because he loves you.
This notion that we have to earn love divides us into the have’s and the have-not’s.
We look down on those who have lost love. Clearly, they weren’t worthwhile enough to keep it.
Just think about your opinion of the girlfriends your guy used to date. Do you believe his exes must have been amazing women, since he chose them just as he chose you—and he obviously has good taste?
Or do you mock them, scoff at them, think less of them because they didn’t manage to hold onto his love?
Or ask yourself this:
Do you view a woman who’s been happily married for 2 years any differently to how you view a woman who finally ended her 20-year marriage?
The two phrases, “happily married” and “divorced,” contain a wealth of judgment. And yet…
A woman who managed to make a difficult relationship work for 20 years clearly knows something about unconditional love. She stuck in there for years, even though there were many times when she was unhappy.
On the other hand, it’s easy to hold onto happiness when your marriage is new. You haven’t disappointed each other yet. You haven’t yet seen how your marriage holds up to great tragedy or extreme stress.
When we believe that love is something we have to earn, we judge people who have love as better than people who don’t have it.
We feel ashamed of being single, because we assume we haven’t deserved a man’s love yet.
It’s time for that dysfunctional belief system to go in the trash bin, along with all those other old beliefs our culture has outgrown.
Here is a new belief, one that just might set you free:
Love is a gift, with no strings attached.
If you meet a man who sits across the table from you, sips his coffee, and listens carefully as you talk about everything under the sun, then he may or may not offer you the gift of his love.
We don’t give our gifts to everyone. Our hearts are generous, but we’re limited as human beings. We give to those closest to us, those we like best, or those most in need of what we have to offer. We give when giving makes us feel good, not when we feel used or pressured or unappreciated.
Hustling for love puts pressure on the other person to give you something he usually gives freely. It becomes a transaction. “I do this for you, and in exchange you love me for it.”
That feels yucky.
What if you just showed up instead?
What if you focused on putting yourself out there and deciding who you’re going to give your gift of love to?
Wouldn’t that make the dating scene easier?
You wouldn’t have to worry about whether he’s going to give his love to you, because that’s not why you’re in this game. You’re in this game to give your gifts.
And your gifts include your time, affection, attention, respect, and so forth.
No man can earn those things from you. But you can choose to give them to anyone you like.
In one fell swoop, dating transforms from an unending competition to win love…
…into Christmas every day.
You’re Santa Claus! You’ve got this bag full of gifts to give. It’s filled with your smiles, your laughter, your warmth, your encouragement, your appreciation … and, yes, your love.
Who are you going to give all these gifts to? So exciting!
One man is going to get very, very lucky someday.
P.S. What do you think: will love happen when it’s going to happen, or do you have to give it a big helping hand? Your Brilliance expert author James Bauer tackles that question, and his answer will help you bust through any doubts or hesitation holding you back.
Let us know what you think!