Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PowerLife Love I: Steps to Success

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__________________________________________ This year started with me making the decision to open my life to the possibility of dating. I made my decision without having any particular person in mind; I simply knew it was time for me to get back into the social scene. Consequently, I have made the choice to date and to apply what I know from following the Living PowerLife approach to health, well-being, and happiness to my new adventure.

In retrospect, part of coming to the point in my life when I could make the conscious choice to date involved refraining from dating indefinitely. For several years after leaving my long-term relationship, I resisted the temptation to look for a replacement for what I thought I had lost. Not dating meant that I had to face and overcome my fears of abandonment and solitude. I had to become comfortable with my own company and be able to pursue my own interests without the companionship of others. Extrovert that I am, you have no idea how difficult this was. 

One of the benefits of becoming comfortable with solitude and my own company was realizing that I had never consciously defined the type of love relationship I wanted in my life. Instead, I had drifted from one relationship to another, making commitments that I wanted to keep but ultimately could not because we were wrongly matched from the start.

Years later and with the lessons learned from four breakups, I finally understood three major things. First, there is no such thing as love at first sight, only lust on initial impression. Second, there is no such thing as a soul mate, only people who are capable of love. Third, there is no such thing as a perfect partner, only companions in your life journey.

Determined to end the seemingly perennial cycle that began with me falling into wrongly matched courtships, which led to desperately made commitments, and then ended in failed relationships, I decided to apply the Living PowerLife approach while creating space for rightly matched people in my life. Thus, the Living PowerLife Love Interrogation was developed.  

The love interrogation is not unlike some of the exercises done when first starting the Living PowerLife approach. Consequently, reviewing the Constructing Your Living PowerLife Springboard post might be helpful at this point. Just as exploring particular questions for insight into your life in general helped to bring clarity about where to direct your focus for positive change, so does the love interrogation help to develop clarity which then leads to confidence as an adult open to love from another. 

My Living PowerLife Love Interrogation examines the social experience that I call dating. If you do not like this word, feel free to substitute another that best describes your affaires de l'amour.

  1. What do I mean by the word dating (or your word substitution)?
  2. What is the difference between dating and friendship?
  3. Why am I dating?
  4. Who do I want to date?
  5. What makes me a good date?
  6. What undermines my appeal?
  7. How can I enhance my appeal?
  8. How will I choose to date a particular person rather than another?
  9. Where would I be most likely to meet people I want to date?
  10. How will I process rejection?
My next few posts will explore at least one love question in more detail. Today we are  starting with the first.

What do I mean by dating?

As I thought, asked other people, and read I came to the conclusion that dating can mean anything from let's explore a common interest together to let's plan to get married, and everything between. A couple dating in their 20's might have a very different understanding of the word than a couple in their 60's.

The broad range of choices makes defining your own terms imperative.Taking the time in the beginning to clear your head and your heart about what you are doing and why will help you to avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings later. In addition, potential dates will appreciate your clarity and confidence.The following is how I responded to the first love question.

First, a date is an event that is specified. In other words, if I do not specifically ask someone out, and that person does not accept my invitation, whatever we are doing is not a date. Second, a date is how I hope to get to know someone. I see this as a time to have fun; maybe even try something new. This is when I share some of the things that I do for entertainment. This is also when I am interested in what is entertainment to my date. 

Third, I do not expect to get into deep conversations about personal history, feelings, or past relationships. In other words, while on a date, I am not going to bare my soul and I will not expect my date to either. Fourth, I believe that we have a common interest that will help keep a conversation going between us for a few hours. Fifth, when I ask someone out, I expect to pay the bill--my idea, my responsibility. This may seem old fashion today, but I prefer the word classy. It is classy to take care of the logistics for an evening that I want to experience. 

Since we are near the topic, a bit on what I mean by classy and why I am including the word here. Not too long ago, I saw a short video of Bill O'Riley's commentary on staying classy. I liked what he had to say, and the more I thought the more I remembered my father. Now, he was a classy man. 

I remembered how much I admired my dad and how secure I felt when he was around. I still miss his gracious manner and refined ways. Then I thought, there is no reason why I cannot increase the class in my life. No reason why I cannot increase my graciousness and refinement. So, in true Living PowerLife fashion, I started by defining what being classy meant to me. Here is what I have to date. My thoughts are framed in she/her language but the application is gender neutral. 

Someone is classy when she finds a way to be polite in almost every situation. Classy is respectful and calm. Classy is grateful and reserve. Classy is consistent and confident. Classy is loyal. Classy has nothing to do with money or social status. Classy is who a person is or is not.

Think about one word you would use to describe your social experience of pursuing potential (emphasis on potential) love relationships. Once you have your word, answer the questions and remain open for your answers.

From my PowerLife to yours,


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