Breaking free from outcomes
I think of partner search like a marathon, one of the many we run in our lives. It is a long race to the finish. We are not competing with anyone, we are only running to take ourselves past the finish line. We need patience, endurance and lots of preparation. It’s not something you can just wing it, although it may appear as if many others did. They may have taken a different path from yours, but everyone goes on a journey.
In the beginning, you’ve just begun running so you are enjoying the air, the freshness around you, the crowd cheering you on and what not. You are just exploring the field, but you are not thinking about how you’ll run the last mile.
Quarter way in, you aren’t thinking of anything, but you are feeling happy being in motion and to still have the energy to run.
Half way in, you realise that you’ve been running a long time. You suddenly start feeling tired and it is taking you some effort to keep going. You start fantasising about finishing the race. Your head begins to alternate between regretting entering the race and pushing yourself to finish it. You are no longer living in the moment.
This is the precise moment when running starts to become less fun. It becomes a pain. Every mile you run must take you a step closer to the finish. Failing is no longer an option once you’ve crossed the halfway mark. Enjoying the race feels like a luxury.
Does this sound familiar?
Depending on where you are in the race, you may find yourself being more obsessed with the outcome than the process.
When you break free from a future outcome, you start living in the moment. Every date becomes more enjoyable in its own way. When it’s not enjoyable, you’ll have lesser trouble cutting your losses and moving on to the next one. When you finish the race, you want to look back and remember interesting sights and turns. It shouldn’t all feel like a blur because you were constantly focussed on the end result.
Dating by definition is an exploratory process, and precedes the stage of commitment. So you want to put your explorer hat on, and enjoy the journey one mile or one date at a time. When our enjoyment of a date is very closely tied to how close we are inching towards an outcome – positive or negative, we lose out on making each date the greatest ever.
If there’s a mantra that’s worked a lot on a date, it is to focus on creating great memories for YOURSELF, where the outcome is just incidental.