As a dating mentor, I often hear from singles about the painful side of dating; the fears, the insecurities and the nagging voice inside each one of us that says, “You’re not good enough.” There are external fears that may have developed over the years. Maybe your mother, friend, matchmaker or random neighbor kept trying to set you up unsuccessfully and then blaming you when it didn’t work out. Your greatest fears may also come from within - your inner critic. “You aren’t doing what you should be doing, trying hard enough, or praying with enough intent. Otherwise, obviously, you would be married by now.”
Dating fears are normal and so are you! Let’s talk about some of the most common dating fears, and what you can do about them – starting now.
1. I’m never going to get married.
This fear hurts. It is the core of all the other fears. It has crossed the mind of virtually every person who has ever been hurt in the dating process. If you are like most singles, you aren’t married because you haven’t yet identified the right one. I’m confident you’ve been keeping your eyes open. While you may have had an expectation of when you wanted to get married, God has the master timeline. I don’t pretend to have an answer as to why you are not married yet. I can’t predict the future. What I do know is that God specifically prepares a match for each soul.
If you have the fear that you’ll never get married you’re in good company. Having not yet met the right one is pretty common these days. However, just because you haven’t met the right one doesn’t mean you won’t meet him or her and get married. Being single is your current situation, not your destiny. Now is the time to work on loving yourself. You are getting married, and you’ll need self-love and love-of-other to keep you married.
2. What if I have to settle?
Let’s define “settle.” Many singles think of settling as defeat or a concession to mediocrity. But settling can also mean adjusting your list of “absolute musts” that Mr. or Mrs. Right requires in order to merit consideration. Look at your list. Is it time to update or reprioritize? Certain qualities, like kindness, respect and loyalty, should never be considered unimportant. I am talking about the other bullet points, such as “well-traveled,” “has a PhD,” “wealthy,” “6’2” or “snappy dresser”… Just take a look. Settling may not mean what you think it means.
3. I’m not attractive/thin/wealthy/young/(insert your favorite self-criticism) enough.
God did not make you the way you were by accident. We know that God has an Ultimate Plan and that it is for the good. You were born at exactly the right moment, to precisely the right parents and unique circumstances to allow you to become the inimitable person reading this article. You are not only enough; you are just the way you are supposed to be in this moment. This doesn’t release you from the obligation to continue becoming who you need to be. Growth is good, but so is self-acceptance!
4. No one wants me.
Sit down in a quiet place and make a list of all the positive qualities, talents and skills that you have. Leave nothing out, big or small. Read this list twice daily, morning and evening, for a week. (Trust me and do this. It really makes a difference!) I hope you will realize that just as you have family and friends who love you and want to be around you, so too you will have a spouse who wants and loves you.
5. There must be something wrong with me.
Maybe there is something wrong, maybe not. Now is the time for some honest soul searching. Is there a negative character trait or two that you have always wanted to get rid of? If so, this may be the right time to do some spiritual housecleaning to make you into a better version of yourself.
We will never be perfect beings; we were created imperfect intentionally. So yes, there is something wrong with you, and with me too! You don’t have to be perfect to be married; you just need to be working on perfecting yourself. Those who are faced with a physical handicap, an emotional disorder or are a carrier of genetic disease face another hurdle: Realizing that what you have doesn’t define you. You are every bit as worthy!
Pay attention and notice what tales your inner storyteller is spinning. This is the same voice that tells you not to bother asking for that promotion because you won’t get it anyway, the same one that instructs you not to even try to reach your dreams. It is unlikely you would ever say these things to anyone else, yet you speak to yourself this way!
Where there is darkness, insert light. Fear and depression come to fill a hole inside us. Instead of fears, fill that hole with kindness and laughter. Fear overwhelms us when we neglect to appreciate the beauty in our lives. It’s true, you cannot control where, when and how you will meet the right one. You can, however, control how you spend your time until you meet your soul mate.
Live now. Be present. Be joyous. Be nice to yourself. Be the best version of yourself.
What have you found works to banish your fears? Comment below.
Originally published here, on aish.com.