I gave some unsolicited advice to someone very close to me the other day and ended up offending her very deeply. I sometimes do that. I think I can help and it just makes things worse. Sometimes I worry that I'll do that here. I've learned some lessons through my experiences, but by no means do I think I have all the answers or know more than others. Or, that my apparent solution to my problems will work for anyone else. But because I'm supposed to discuss my experiences, I'm going to go ahead and talk about an observation I've made about myself - and pray I don't offend anyone or come off as smug or self-righteous!
When I moved to my young adult ward after I graduated from college eons ago, I was a much different person than I am now. Although I was well liked by others and got along great with people, I was bitter. Bitter against dating and guys. I blamed everything on the other sex for all my lack of dating and made it the excuse as to why I wasn't married. It wasn't always coming out of my mouth, but looking back now, it was way too often. (And I wondered why guys never asked me out!)
The comments I made were often saying that guys didn't step up to the plate enough and ask girls out. Or, that they didn't want to get married and follow God's plan. Or, that they just loved being single too much and didn't want to grow up and be an adult by committing to someone. Basically, men were the problem I wasn't married and they were even the enemy in my eyes.
I'm sure I believed it to a point. But really I didn't think all guys were bad. But blaming someone else for my problems was just tons easier than having faith that there were good guys out there. Because if there really were good guys out there that were looking for a wife, that would mean I wasn't good enough to be a contenders! (talk about a "defense mechanism"!)
With this terrible attitude, I really think that gave me a very bad reputation in the ward and put off a horrible vibe. I never lacked guy friends, but real dating potentials were nowhere to be found. Because who wants to take out a girl that thinks you are the enemy and that you won't ever live up to her standard? It seems so clear now how I was sabotaging myself, but at the time I had no idea what I was doing wrong.
To overcome this thinking process I required a major attitude adjustment. It took a lot of time and honest effort to get over that negative thinking and in it's place give across an openness and welcoming attitude toward men.
I had to stop making generalizations about guys and stop being so negative and pessimistic. I had to pray to get help to change that! I had to start looking for the positive in the single men I knew and tried to give credit when it was due. And I had to get over my pride and admit I was wrong about my perceptions. This came after MANY humbling experiences. (Praying for humility usually hurts A LOT but it did get the ball rolling...)
Overcoming that bitterness changed my dating life completely. I've dated more in the last 4 years then I ever did between the ages 16 to 33. And I have had 2 significant relationships (out of the overall 3 I've had!) They say you attract what you put out to the world and I think that change of attitude was a direct result of that.
And although there are days I've gotten discouraged with my "dating pool," I've tried HARD not to focus on that. Having that bitterness hiding inside of you eventually spews out in conversation and attitude. I'm terrible at hiding my real emotions anyway, so trying to hide that doesn't work with me. So I have to physically stop myself and try to get back on track of showing true charity to the male population. Because really, isn't that why we have marriage? To bring the sexes together and exhibit unconditional love and charity?
Plus, people get married all the time! There has to be men committing and stepping up to the plate if there are people getting married! And if they can get married, so can I! And if I'm not married, maybe I'M the one holding ME back!