I am a huge proponent of the belief that “less is more.”
This saying applies quite well to one’s dating life. In our modern world where we are constantly bombarded with new opportunities, activities, and mindless chatter, a simple and minimalistic approach to dating and romance can prove to be quite antidotal.
Romance is Dead
Society has placed too much of a burden on romance. Candle lit dinners, the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, and being swept off your feet are just a few of the luxuries that we feel entitled to when engaging in romantic ventures. This places a lot of pressure on dating partners to come up with new and exciting plans, which often comes with quite a price tag.
And recently, the pressure and price of romance have only escalated due to social media. More and more people feel the need to share their relationship on Instagram and Facebook, boiling down their bond to a few very contrived photos with a caption that is just as forced. More people also fall into the trap of comparison- they wonder why they aren’t laughing on some tropical island with their swim-suit model partner and eating fruit out of coconuts.
Romance has transformed into an ever-hungry monster that feeds off of illusion.
True Romance is Simple
If you truly love someone, you will enjoy the simplest of acts. Holding their hand is good enough. Laughing with them is good enough. Going grocery shopping with them is good enough. Watching them clean the dishes while they hum out of tune is good enough. Making them a cup of tea is a pleasure. Writing them a little note on a Post-It makes you giggle. Annoying them entertains you for hours.
Why is it so good?
Because the best currency is being exchanged in this situation.
That currency is APPRECIATION.
People are confused about appreciation. They mistake it for a few words of praise or another line in their gratitude journal that they will probably forget about in a few days.
True appreciation is positive focus; it is holding a space of peace, love, and gratitude and directing it towards someone. It is truly, truly paying attention to them and shutting off your own mindless mental chatter so that you can be present for them and with them. What arises are words and acts and thoughts and feelings of love and joy and thankfulness. The cycle continues and deepens. True love is meditation. It is pure being.
It sounds simple, but few people ever experience this, and fewer people experience it regularly. Modern life is too fast-paced. Everyone’s attention is being pulled apart constantly by their social media app or dozens of unexamined and subconscious desires. When attention is used in such a distorted manner, it becomes depleted. When someone is depleted of their ability to hold their attention and focus, their life becomes chaotic and unhappy. There is no peace. There is only ever past or future, there and them. Life is convoluted. This is not the way to happiness.
If you want to be happy in your dating life, you must commit to inner peace. How are you to share your inner peace if yours is so fragile? How are you to recognize someone else’s inner peace if you never practice it yourself?
With inner peace, your dating life will be much more enjoyable. Words will flow, nerves will calm, the subtle beauty of people and places will reveal themselves. You will be able to be simple again, like children. You will be able to connect with that pure and innocent and fun part of yourself that doesn’t need anything but a partner to engage and enjoy with. You will stop comparing yourself and your relationship to others and enjoy it for the unique bond that it is. You will know your true wants and needs and you will be able to communicate them articulately. You will be able to discern true relationship problems from ones that are created out of harmful expectations and a lack of groundedness.
Everything you do shows your hand. Do your best to steady yours, and it will do its best work.