By: Linnea Molander
Dating Coach and founder of Happy Dating
Can you imagine if we gave people career advice in the same way that we give single people love advice? Single people get well intended, yet often completely delusional, words of encouragement all the time: “Just wait it out and you’ll find someone too someday.” “Don’t think so much about it, just let love come to you.” “You don’t need therapy/coaching/matchmaking, just be yourself and someone will love you for you.”
It all sounds great, doesn’t it? But let’s take a closer look at these comments.
What they all have in common is that they tell you to do nothing to improve your love life. Absolutely nothing at all! Just be yourself (whatever that means…) and wait it out. I don’t know about you, but I would call that a pretty crappy success strategy for any area of your life.
Comments like these keep people stuck and struggling because they actually encourage you to be completely passive, but I don’t think that’s how you handle challenges in other areas of your life.
Let’s put the same words of ‘encouragement’ into a career context and see how absolutely insane they sound:
“Just wait it out and you’ll have your own business too someday.”
“Don’t think so much about your finances, just let the money come to you.”
“You don’t need to practice any skills, just be yourself and someone will hire you for you.”
It makes absolutely no sense, right? So why do we think it will lead to a fulfilling love life when we literally don’t think like this in regards to anything else?
When it comes to health, education, money, travel, life goals and all other parts of life we are well aware that success requires knowledge, skill and practice. Somehow love, dating and intimate relationships has become the only exclusion from this obvious fact. Why?
It’s certainly not because intimate relationships are easier than everything else. Relationships are hard, require a lot of skill, compassion, self awareness and practice.
Nor are they less important.
Who you spend your life with is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, and the quality of your relationships has a huge impact on your happiness levels and life satisfaction. If relationships skills were at least taught in school and we didn’t get emotionally messed up by our hopefully loving, but most likely also emotionally clueless, parents, we might have had a chance to make it work with ease. But for most of us that’s not the case.
Instead, we have to do some inner work just to make up for all the misunderstandings, heartbreaks and disappointments we’ve already acquired from birth until now.
That inner work can’t be delegated to someone else, still many try by thinking that the right person is suddenly going to appear and solve everything just by existing. They won’t. And it’s not their job.
It also puts all the power over your love life in the hands of a stranger you haven’t even met!
Again, I don’t think this is how you run the rest of you life; hoping that some stranger will show up and solve your problems. Instead, you do what you got to do to get the results you want, right?
Results require skills
If you think about it: how much time, energy, effort and money have you put into exploring your inner emotional landscape, learning authentic communication skills and understanding intimate relationship dynamics?
If there is a difference in success level there is most likely also a difference in knowledge and skill level.
How much time, energy, effort and money have you put into succeeding in other areas of your life, like your career, fitness and lifestyle? If there is a difference in success level there is most likely also a difference in knowledge and skill level.
Simple as that.
I believe that everything in life is a learnable skill, which means that you can improve your love and relationships skills, just like every other skill you have (or don’t have).
But there’s a catch here as well!
If you want to learn you need to listen to someone who knows what they’re talking about — and when it comes to love everyone has an opinion and offers advice, but very few have actual knowledge.
If you wouldn’t take financial, career or health advice from just anyone with an opinion, then don’t use that strategy for your love life either!
If you’re struggling with your dating of love life, get help from someone who is an expert in their field and can teach you the skills you need!
Read a book, follow a blog on dating psychology, educate yourself on the latest research on what makes relationships work and most importantly make an effort to understand yourself and your relationships patterns.
Then you will, in fact, have a great chance to just find someone, let love come to you and have a partner who will love you for you.
But not because you waited long enough or were lucky, but because you applied the exact same success strategies to your love life that you already use in every other successful area of your life.