When single, have you ever found yourself saying “I’ll date when I lose those last 10 pounds”, or “I’ll date once I’m in better shape” or “…once I’m finished getting my Ph.D.”?
Today we are going to talk about the three top lies that you might be telling yourself that are keeping you single – or getting in the way of you finding your soulmate.
The first one is: “It’s too late for me.”
Have you ever said that (if you’re past the age of 25 or 30)? What I find in my practice is that particularly high-functioning women have a timeline of how life is supposed to be playing out – when they’re going to finish Grad school; when they’re going to have children; when they’re going to get married etc.
I recently had a client who came to me because she had shingles (which is an autoimmune response to massive amounts of stress.) In the midst of talking about this stress – which she associated with her work and undertaking a second graduate degree, it came out that she was the oldest in a family of four sisters and was really stressed out because her baby sister was getting married. Certain that this was not an issue, she declared that she was fine with never getting married because “that ship has sailed”. But before we finish her story, let’s look at the psychology of WHY we have the persistent common lies that we tell ourselves.
In psychology, there is a thing called “secondary gain”, which means non-obvious benefits to staying stuck or to not changing your situation. So in my example above, I could have (if I wanted to be confrontational) asked my client what she was getting out of declaring that she didn’t need to get married. Because I knew that there must be something. As her story started unfolding in our sessions together, I realized that she is the Type A, super high-functioning perfectionist. So what happened for her is that when she couldn’t master the whole love thing – and then to add insult to injury, her baby sister is getting married before her – she just decided that it would be easier for her to just say she didn’t want it. So what is the secondary gain in that situation? Well, she was able to not feel vulnerable and to not feel like she didn’t know what to do.
For someone who is very masterful – especially high-functioning women – it’s really hard to say “I need help. I don’t know how to do this. It’s not working the way that I’m doing it.”
In my client’s case, over time as we worked together she was able to see that she clearly wasn’t fine with the idea of never getting married and it didn’t make her feel good that her long-term love “ship had sailed” – to use her terminology. She was 30 years old and said she felt like a loser, which is a horrible thing to feel about yourself. When I asked her if she thought I was a loser because I only married at 35 years old, she, of course, said she did not – but I wanted to just give her context – because so many of those beliefs are creations of your own self-imposed expectations.
So I asked her if she would be willing to throw out her timeline – the one that she had already missed, the one that she had already “failed on” in her mind – and we could focus on having a more organic experience. Becoming more aware of the unconscious thoughts and language that was holding her back allowed her to step out of this very polarized position with herself and become more comfortable with not declaring what would (or would not) definitely happen in her future and the healthier she got with being vulnerable and basically not knowing.
Once you get into this space of more self-awareness and self-knowledge, you can start having self-compassion and stop being so hard on yourself. When you move into a place of self-love you start feeling good about yourself, not just about your achievements.
Just in case you wondered – that client actually met the person that she married in her dental office waiting room, and she is pregnant with her first child right now and she is super happy. #LoveWins
So that is the first lie that we tell ourselves – that the ship has sailed. If this resonates with you, I want you to think about the story that I just told you and about the things that you could do to reframe this black and white thinking that you might have going on in your mind.
The second lie that we tell ourselves is that “all the good ones are gone.”
Women in New York, especially, tend to believe that even though there are a million people here. They think that there are no good guys left – they’re all taken or they’re all gay. Now, have you ever uttered these words? Have you ever said: “All the good ones are taken?” It’s a very common lie that we tell ourselves. And again, if we were to look at what is the secondary gain of telling yourself that all the good ones are taken, we would find that it means you don’t have to put yourself out there. If you’ve already determined that your person isn’t out there (because of all the zillions of people out there, all the good ones are already taken or married, etc), then that doesn’t require you to take the action that maybe you feel uncomfortable taking. But this is pretty much guaranteed to result in you ending up sitting on your couch watching Netflix with your cat.
If this is true, if you’ve ever said “all the good ones are taken”, think about what your gain is from that. Do you get to just not be vulnerable? Do you get to tell people you’re not dating right now because you’re doing something else? What is the gain for you emotionally and again, remember, secondary gain is not obvious. You don’t want to feel like that’s true, but it’s a way of throwing in the towel around the dating scene and letting yourself off the hook from having to deal with it.
How can you reframe this very black and white thinking around relationships and change it to the fact that the truth is you only need one right person for you? You actually don’t need 2,000,000 single amazing evolved men – you just need one who’s your right and perfect fit. Personally, I believe that all of us could have more than one soulmate. I really don’t think that we’re destined just for one person, but for the sake of changing our mindset lets reframe this thinking to: “I only need one. I only need to meet my one right and perfect person.” (Personal aside: I never say that Vic is perfect. I only say he’s perfect for me because it’s true. :o) )
So if the second big fat lie you tell yourself is that all the good ones are taken, that is a load of crap and we now know how to reframe that. But it is still really important to understand what your emotional secondary gain is – what do you get to avoid by telling yourself these lies? What do you get to not feel, not think or not experience? We’re all incredibly unique individuals, so what is one person’s secondary gain is not someone else’s.
And the third and last big fat lie that might be keeping you single is: “I’ll date when….”
Be honest, have you ever said: “I’ll start dating again when I lose the last 10 pounds/finish Grad school/when I move/when I get a better apartment/when I’m in better shape/when I have more money/when I feel more accomplished?“
This is a super common one that I see in my practice. And the bottom line is, first of all, the only moment that any of us are guaranteed is this one that’s happening right now. Right. Now. So everything that we push off to the future and say “I’m going to do that later”, we don’t even know that later is coming. So it’s not about perfection in the dating scene. But again, let’s go to what your secondary gain is for saying that you will get back in the dating saddle only when that ‘something’ or ‘sometime’ comes along. Your first gain is – you don’t have to be vulnerable again. That is a common gain throughout these three top lies that we tell ourselves.
But yours is probably very personal. So think about it. What is it? Maybe you get to stay comfortable – this is often a way of fooling ourselves that we’re really going to achieve something…but at the same time delaying having to ACTUALLY do it. I used to future promise myself I would lose those last 10 pounds when…
Truth is – I always had a stress-based reason (a launch, too much travel, family traumas, etc) for not doing it NOW. I was appeasing the healthy part of my brain that knew I wasn’t doing the right thing. Smoking is a great example – how many of us have said “I’m gonna quit when finals are over/this stressful thing is done/this particular date…etc” Smoking is less common these days, but you understand what I’m saying about the mindset – we’re giving ourselves a pass even though the thing that we want is on the other side of not giving that pass.
Bottom line is that you’re doing yourself a disservice by believing the self-spun BS. We think it buys us time but really, time waits for no one. It just keeps going. I know people who have said this for years and years and years – and not just about dating. They always had a reason. They just needed to “get through this.” And in the case of staying single, you have to decide and honestly look at what lies you might be telling yourself about when you’ll start dating, or why you haven’t found the right relationship yet.
Right now is the perfect time to raise your awareness because right now is Real Love Revolution season and we are starting our Raise Your Love Vibe 5-Day Challenge TODAY! (Just for the ladies – sorry gentlemen.) and then I’m following that up with Free Masterclasses for you – free training on how to uplevel the love in your life and how to attract the love that you want.
Everything I shared with you in this video today is based on the fact that we’re all energy, energy that radiates from and attracts like experiences and like feelings. So if you’re putting out there this ambivalent and avoidant energy, you get that back – so please join me and #raiseyourlovevibe.
Click HERE to watch the original video and if you liked that Real Love Revolution video and this post, please share it on all your social media channels.
Have an amazing week and as always, take care of you.
Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.