Dating. It’s supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to feel good. It’s supposed to be a great adventure. But somehow, that’s not always how it goes. Why? Why do women (and men) often find dating to be a stressful, confusing experience? There are many reasons, but today I want to focus on the lens. The lens, the way in which one sees their environment.

Let’s back up. Let’s start with what women are taught as young girls. Simply put, we are taught, ‘you aren’t good enough unless you have a partner or get married.’ This societal teaching leads women to be focused on securing a partner versus securing the right partner for her. In turn, we end up acting from a place of insecurity and low self-esteem, when we need someone else to validate our worth. The flipside, when we are secure and confident, teaches us to think ‘what do I actually need?’ and to focus on making choices that fulfill ourselves.

Let’s look at how the insecure and low self-esteem lens affects us in dating.

We have all been in this situation….girlfriends sitting around at brunch reading and rereading texts sent from an on again/off again boyfriend. Everyone is scrutinizing the texts to determine what they mean. Does he like me? Does he want to see me? Is he making up excuses? Is he REALLY that busy? This insecure lens is all about HIM. How does he view everything? What does he think? Now, let’s flip this on its head and try a different lens. The secure and confident lens asks ‘do I like HIM?’ It isn’t your job to take care of his feelings about you. It is your job and your responsibility to take care of yourself and your feelings about him.

Often times, because of what we are told from childhood, our lens is desperation. When we are insecure, we worry about what others think of us and quickly forget what truly matters. When this lens is shifted to a place of confidence and security, we no longer have to judge what is shared with us by a partner or anyone else, but rather value ourselves. The internal dialogue shifts from ‘do they desire me’ to ‘they are lucky to have me.’ The soundtrack in our mind is suddenly placed on our own value and worthiness!

This shift from external to internal can change the entire dating experience from stressful and unfulfilling to an engaging supply of personal growth. While simple on paper, in practice it is much harder because it is opposite of what we are taught from day one. But, we challenge you, try and stop for a moment and think is this about my needs and what I want or is this derived from my desire to feel worthy? You may be surprised at what you find and how much happier you will be when you shift your lens.

Joanna Hakimi is a proud entrepreneur and can often be found singing in the car with her two kids. Starting her first successful business when she was 17 and being president of the Young Entrepreneur’s Society at the University of Georgia, she never closed the door on opportunity. She then went on to Northwestern University and attained her Masters in Science, becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. After being a successful LMFT in the northern suburbs of Chicago for more than 15 years while simultaneously running a mindful goods boutique for 5 years and accomplishing a 200 hour yoga teaching certification, Joanna was itching for a new adventure. After a phone conversation with a friend in California discussing ways to grow her Life Coaching business, the idea came about that independent professionals, such as Life Coaches, Health and Wellness Coaches and other similar people in the life changing business, needed a resource to connect potential clients with the LifeChanger they were seeking. That’s how her newest venture, LifeChangers.Info was born. LifeChangers has a mission to connect professionals with a new client base using a simple and inclusive site. When she’s not seeing clients or working to grow LifeChangers.Info, you can find Joanna hiking, making terrariums or, well, singing in the car with her kids…likely to Billy Joel or Indigo Girls. You can follow Joanna on Instagram.


Image courtesy of cottonbro.