How to be Less Nervous When Dating

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Here’s my theory: The third date feels harder than the first. While on the first date, you don’t have a whole lot invested in the person (you don’t even really like him yet), by the third date, you’ve already reached a point of hope, of expectancy. You’ve felt a spark after the first kiss, and you let your mind play the what-if game. What if he’s the one? He says he likes dogs. What if we move in together in the future and adopt a bunch of shi-poos? The more you get to know someone, the more future-oriented you become, and as a result, the more nervous you begin to feel. 

Whether you feel queasy because your’e about to ask out that cute girl at your local coffee shop, or if you’re considering joining a monastery because you’re going on date #8 with your dream man, nerves are nerves, and dating can make even the bravest of persons want to vomit. That being said, there are shifts you can make and a particular mindset you can adopt in order to allay your nerves, feel peace, and regain your sense of order in the world. Here’s how you do it:

#1.Understand that you’re nervous for the relationship, not the date.

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The first few months that I started dating my partner, Tim, I suffered from serious stomach pain for hours before we would meet. My stomach was in knots, and not because I thought I would say something stupid, or out of fear that he wouldn’t reciprocate my feelings; on the contrary, Tim made it clear that he was very interested in pursuing a relationship with me, and this frightened me to the core. On a conscious level, I told myself that I was ready for an emotionally healthy relationship, but I was unaware of my deeper fears about falling in love. Relationships require vulnerability, authenticity, and showing up for someone even when you feel exhausted, grumpy, or incapable of getting out of bed. When you meet your perfect match,  you will have to show up as the best version of yourself, meaning, you will have the option of choosing fear over love in every moment, and each time that you choose love, your relationship will thrive, whereas when you choose fear (anger, judgement, an unwillingness to communicate), the distance between you and your partner will grow. Because of this, falling in love is one of the scariest things you can do. It requires a willingness to be intimate, to express your deepest fears, and to uncover your less-than-lovable parts. 

It’s easy to forget these things while dating. It’s easy to focus on the new and shiny parts of a potential partner, such as his gorgeous eyes and neat apartment. It’s easy to focus on the tingly sensations your body feels when his arm brushes against yours, and because of this, you lose sight of what’s surely to come: a real relationship. Some part of you knows that it is going to require more maturity, openness, and willingness to compromise than you can even fathom, and that part of you is nervous; not about the kiss at the end of the night, or how it’s going to go when you meet his friends, but for what will inevitably be left when the glitz of the first few dates have past, and you’re shopping for a can opener at Walmart together, feeling tired and stressed from work that week. That’s when you’ll have to be brave enough to experience the fullness of love: when you’re so tired you could cry, and still, you have the patience and kindness to not respond to his passive aggressive comment, to wait on the long line, and to kiss his cheek when part of you wants to punch him in the face.

It’s not date #4 that’s the hardest, it’s date #44, because some part of you knows that as your relationship deepens, you will have to show up as the most loving version of yourself for the sake of the relationship, and that’s the most terrifying part of dating: not the dating, the relationship.

#2.Learn how to be a badass.

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You feel nervous because you’re close to manifesting something wonderful - your perfect relationship, or partner. You are psychically aware that it’s on the way, and you’re not sure if you’re ready. You’re not sure if you’re worthy. You have no model for healthy love, because your parents’ relationship was dysfunctional. You’ve had some drama with partners in the past, and part of you doesn’t really want to trust someone. You feel a little chubby, slightly unsuccessful, and you haven’t seen as much of the world as you think a cultured person of your age would have.

Here’s the key: You are a badass, even when your thighs are jiggly, even if you haven’t launched your dream career, and even if your only real talent is that you know how to make fried eggs when you’re slightly hung over. Feel confident because there’s only one you, and your perfect match is going to love all of the imperfect messy parts of you. He’s going to love your body, your future goals, and the fact that you don’t look like the people you see in magazines. 

You don’t have to be perfect to deserve love. You don’t have to be thin, neat, funny, talented, or  have the coolest apartment ever. Your inner-critic will tell you that you need to dress better, work out more, and make more money. Don’t listen! Step into your badass-ness. Wake up and affirm: I am a badass, and my partner is going to love all of me. When you feel nervous, be willing to embody the badass version of yourself. She might be a future version of you that you hold in your imagination and energetically feel. Future me is confident, expresses herself, and is not afraid to say no; I’m going to be her tonight. Imagine that you’re a badass, even if you don’t believe it. Act as if you’re confident even when you’re shaking in your boots.

#3.Love yourself like your life depends on it.

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Self-love offers the greatest rewards you will ever receive. The kinder you are to yourself, the kinder other people will be to you. If you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you need to lose weight, others will mirror back that criticism. If you feel unworthy on an unconscious level, because people didn’t love you unconditionally as a child, or you experienced trauma, you’re going to manifest people who will not love you fully so that you can reenact your childhood experience for the purpose of healing them as an adult.

Be willing to compliment yourself all the time. Tell yourself how awesome you are when you fold your laundry and pay the bills. If you gain weight, tell yourself that you’re juicy, delicious, and your body is perfect. When you make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself. How you treat yourself is how others will treat you.

If you don’t love yourself, your nerves will flare up, because you’ll seek validation from others. You’ll go out of your way to please them, like a child striving for straight A’s in order to receive praise from her parents. You’ll settle for people who don’t treat you as well as you deserve. You’ll manifest jerks who are selfish and emotionally reticent. When you love yourself, you will attract people who treat you with kindness, and you won’t be nervous about making a mistake. You’ll know that you don’t have to be perfect.

4.Step into who you are fully.

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Once, I had a conservative, straight-laced boyfriend who said that I was “out of his box,” meaning, I had tattoos, talked openly about the Universe, energy, and God, and refused to care (or complain) about real-world things, like politics, the weather, or the news. Some fearful part of me wanted to make him happy, wanted to fit more into his box so that we could be together, however, the wiser part of me knew that if he couldn’t love me for the high-vibrating, new ager that I was, we weren’t meant to be together. A year after we broke up, I met my partner, Tim, who shares a love of metaphysics and has the same free-spirited attitude that I do. If I would have tried to dull parts of myself in order to stay with my ex, I never would have met Tim, who loves me exactly as I am.

Whatever you feel makes you weird, or unique, embrace it fully. If you’re socially awkward and drop plates at party, love that about yourself, because your perfect match will think it’s cute. If you have four cats and a collection of 300 teacups, embrace it. If you only wear pink on Tuesdays, and you like to be quiet before 10 a.m., celebrate that about yourself. If you’re pursuing dreams, if you fail to live by the rules of others, and if you don’t want to shave your legs, or go on the paleo diet, then good for you! Step fully into who you are and dare to show up as your authentic self. You don’t need to look like everyone else, or behave in a way that’s socially acceptable in order to receive love. Your perfect match will love you because you are willing to be yourself; it will give him permission to express himself authentically.

It’s okay to feel nervous. Let your nerves come and go, and don’t punish yourself for feeling jittery before a date. Instead, work on tuning into your badass self (even if it’s a future version of you), and let your nerves fuel you to become even more authentic and appreciative who you are: an authentic, unique expression of the divine. You don’t need to change anything about yourself to please others. You don’t need to lose weight, dye your hair, or clean your redecorate your apartment in order to attract your soulmate. You have a date with destiny, a contract that is set to be fulfilled when you least expect it, and it is going to be more beautiful than you could have imagined, so instead of feeling nervous, get excited, because it’s going to be better than anything you could imagine (and also, different in the best possible way).