Midsummer Dating

August 6th, 2008

Our precious MN summer is in full swing.  Chances are, even if you’re inundated with work, you’ll find some time to enjoy this beautiful weather.   There’s plenty of outdoor dining, the streets and parks are filled with people laughing, walking, having fun.  What have you been up to so far?

If you’re single, no doubt you’ve noticed the world is filled with happy couples.  Much as we all enjoy seeing happiness around us, there’s a hint of bittersweet in this picture for the uncoupled.  Thoughts may shift from “what a cute couple” to “they may look happy now…” all the way to the infamous “poor-me-I’m-so-unlucky.”

I know.  It’s easy to fall into this trap, and we all do it from time to time.  Just remember: viewing yourself as a victim is the single most detrimental attitude you can cultivate.  It suggests your reality is the product of other people, random forces and erratic events.  “I am the way I am because stuff happened to me.  I have been wronged, hurt, damaged.  I am a victim and I will remain that until other people choose to treat me with more respect.” 

This is problematic because we augment aspects of our lives which receive our attention.  When we cultivate a victim mindset, we accelerate the experience of powerlessness, pain and disappointment.   Here’s an example:

“Betty” declares: “I hate people. People are inconsiderate, sloppy, ill-mannered, bad-mouthed, loud and rude. “   Listening to her stories, you realize she’s absolutely right—Betty’s life is indeed filled with such people, giving her endless reason to feel hurt, slighted and left out. Her friend “Joe”, on the other hand, experiences the very same people differently.  He cultivates a mindset of “I like people.  People are interesting, kind, compassionate, and funny.” 

What Betty sees as “inconsiderate,” Joe interprets as “sometimes absent minded.”  When Betty thinks “loud,” he thinks “vivacious.”  What she considers “sloppy,” he sees as “relaxed,” what she thinks is “rude,” he sees as “irreverent,” and what she sees as “ill-mannered,” he considers “funny.”   Joe’s world is filled with people he likes.  People sense his care and respect for them.  They are drawn to him and treat him well.  Betty’s world is filled with trouble.  The people with whom she comes into contact sense her disdain for them and treat her accordingly.  Which world is yours?

If you’re serious about living happily, I suggest you start by paying attention to what’s right with people.  Notice what’s lovable about them, including the “Bettys” of this world.  Judge less, understand more.  If you can pull this off, I bet your life will begin to change.  You will attract new people, and you will like them.  You will also like yourself more.  You know that ideal partner you’re out to find?  Become that person first, the rest will follow.  Try it.

Entry Filed under: Relationships