Dating success starts with a self-acceptance reality check

Dating success starts with a self-acceptance reality check

Many singles complain that the people they want as dating partners don’t necessarily want them. The most enlightened singles recognize that they have imperfections and limitations, but still want to be accepted in spite of them.

Unfortunately, many singles will make their lists of personal preferences the sole criteria for choosing a life partner. As I often point out, the psychological literature shows that people usually say what they mean, and that the best way to predict someone’s behavior is by listening to what they say (and, by extension, what they write on their profiles for online dating). In light of this reality, I make sure to tell singles that they need to take people at face value.

While you may not agree with a 60-year-old man who wants a wife in her 20s, or a 5’1″ woman who only wants to date men 5’8″ and taller, you have to accept the reality that neither will change. Even if you believe you could be their perfect match, ultimately you have to take them at face value (trust that they said what they meant) and move on.

Looking at the bigger picture, however, I believe today’s singles have the great challenge of constantly comparing their dates and themselves to media-created stereotypes of who is considered desirable and acceptable and who is not.

So singles will ask, “Why am I so short? Why am I not younger? Why am I not richer? THEN I will surely find a wife/husband!” Those who ask these questions have unfortunately succumbed to the dictates of today’s society as to what is considered a desirable partner. Because they recognize that they do not fit into this media-created image, they have essentially labeled themselves as “disabled.” And because they consider themselves disabled, they conclude that they are thus “challenged to date.”

What it really boils down to, however, is an inability to accept ourselves as a complete, whole, unique, divinely created human being with various strengths and limitations. But instead, many singles still try to make themselves desirable to someone who has made it clear that you will never be acceptable, and then blame them for being so rigid and stubborn in their criteria.

A lack of self-acceptance will help explain why, for example, some singles will lie on their online dating profiles: because they are not accepted for who they are and are perceived as
dating disabilities and refuse to believe that not everyone in the world will like them, they compensate by working harder to fit into what they think is acceptable and desirable. So they shave off a few (or many) pounds, or add a few inches of height, or embellish their professional status.

What I’m talking about can be a big challenge for relationship-oriented singles. Some are so upset by their perceived disabilities that they refuse to date. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a guarantee that you’ll like everyone. If that’s your expectation, then I’d say you’re creating your own dating challenge. But the most important thing is this – if you are aware that someone does not like you or does not want you, you should not blame them for it. The onus is on you to continue to accept yourself as you are, regardless.

I have a saying that I use often: “Persistence pays off. You just don’t know how long you’ll have to persevere.’ to want to quit. But because I believe so strongly in the power of human tenacity, if you can unequivocally say “this is important to me” and persevere, then you give yourself more opportunities to succeed.

Coupled with the knowledge that your goal is worth your efforts, the journey begins with self-acceptance. Without it, otherwise you will unfortunately be “challenged for meetings”.

© Copyright 2006 Janice D. Bennett, Ph.D.

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