I was watching something I taped a while back from the Lifetime channel and it went to commercial. Before I could grab the remote, a commercial played for a movie that had Ricki Lake in it. It was called Matters of Life and Dating and it is about a single woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the clips from the movie was quite poignant (yep, I used the word "poignant" in reference to a Lifetime movie!). Ricky Lake's character says, "Fear has been a waste of my precious time."
That really hit home. Because for MANY years, dating equaled fear for me. In essence, I have wasted much of my precious time. And it's something I've worked hard to change.
What where those fears? The unknown, the known, the potential loss, the potential gain, the heart broken, the heart not even being touched at all...oh! the list of fears goes on and on when it comes to dating!
And it doesn't get better when you are in a relationship. The risk gets deeper and the potential fallout can make you go numb if you dwell in that fear.
So why have I been so afraid? What's the worse that could happen from dating? Well, let's list them:
1. Heart broken
2. Feelings hurt
4. Loss of a loved one that doesn't love you back
5. Being vulnerable and having that person hurt you or exploit that vulnerability
6. Taking a risk and looking stupid
7. Saying something you regret
I could keep going, but that pretty much covers the gist of it. The fear is real. But it can keep you from something really important - and I don't mean a husband. I mean an experience. Because maybe that experience is necessary to go forward! Maybe that experience - and yes, you can get hurt when you take a risk - helps you make a better choice and carve out more room in your heart for the great man that is up ahead!! If we don't face that fear, we don't go anywhere!
We Mormons are always looking for the miracle (the man of your dreams comes from nowhere, you both suddenly realize you are perfect for each other and get married quickly). But alas, often life is about hard work and patience. As I've continued with my "50 Dates to a Mate" program, I'm finding that it's not just a date I'm getting, it's experiences and some of them aren't that fun. I would REALLY love to be that girl that sets that goal and meets "the one" at date #26. But as I've reached #39 with no good potentials on the horizon, I realize this could go on all the way to #100. That in itself sounds depressing but I at least can see now that each of these dates has taught me something I needed to know - how to improve a relationship skill, humble me, give me confidence, teach me what NOT to do in a certain situation, help me make better decisions about who I date and deal with confrontation. All those things will help me be a better catch and helps me make a better decision and see what I really want in a spouse. And I've been very fortunate to NOT have gotten what I prayed for in the past when it has come to the few relationships I've had. Those matches that seemed so great at the time really weren't and I can see now from these experiences it's good they ended.
So what about fear? Even though I know those experiences are important, I've let the fear creep in again and it's made me very discouraged with my dating situation this last little while (thus the reason I haven't posted anything for so long). I've thought, what is the point??? I have put my heart and soul into everything that I have control over to find more dates, meet more men and to try to find a guy that works for me. And what I've gotten has been disappointing. Mostly that I don't have much to show for it but some painful dates and some hurt feelings from taking a risk with some of those dates. And when you make a goal and seem SO far from it after what feels like you've put your whole heart, soul and faith in, it's very easy to succumb to the fear and just walk away.
But I can't. The reason I want to walk away is only because I'm scared my biggest fear of never finding someone will come true. But listening to that fear is the very reason it WILL come true! Thus, the dichotomy. (I think I used that word right?!)
So what am I going to do about it? Not give up. Not succumb to my fear. Get back out there and keep searching for dating experience #39 - even though it's scary for me.
Tonight I'm supposed to go to a singles dance - the scary kind. And all my friends have bailed out on me. What should I do? Stay at home on a Saturday night because going alone will make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable? It's scary! There will be times where I will feel out of place or even feel like a sitting duck with some less than great hunters taking aim. But it's better to take the fear head on and go. Face that fear! I've done it before! I can do it again!
And hopefully, this will help empower me, overcome that debilitating fear and stop wasting my precious time!