A few days ago, a Facebook friend reached out and agreed with a blog I had written about taking responsibility for ourselves and more specifically, our dating decisions.
She went on to say “We are not finding the person we want to be with because we have walls up from years of trying to protect our hearts in this crazy online dating world.
So, my question to you is how do we recognize this in ourselves and how to begin to repair the damage that we’ve done so we can give someone a fair shot in getting to know us?”
Here is what I shared with her.
“Each brick in the walls we build represent a hurt or pain we associate with a past relationship.
One way to start tearing down the wall is to examine each brick (representing a past relationship or a time when you were hurt) and determine how it affected you.
What went right? What didn’t? How did you handle it or internalize it? Could you have done something differently or better? What leftover emotions can you now let go of?
It’s important to recognize that the person you’re dating today (or next) is not your Ex. When they do a say something that upsets you, step back and ask yourself why you’re upset.
By doing this one simple step, you’re starting to learn to discover your emotional triggers.
These are the emotions triggered by words, phrases, tone of voice, or any number of things that bring up a negative reaction. When you start to feel these negative emotions coming on, acknowledge them and then start to trace them back to their roots.
Ask yourself: Where did they come from? Why am I hanging on to them? Are they helpful or are they hurting me or the people I date?
This process can help you break certain emotional patterns and help you tear down your emotional walls.”
Do you look at every possible date with a super critical eye and just know nothing good will come of it?
Do you generally have a negative opinion about the opposite sex? Are you suspicious of anyone that flirts with you or tries to ask you out? Do you ever wonder why anyone in their right mind would want to date you?
If you can say yes to any one or more of these questions, you have some pretty serious walls built up to protect your heart and you’re chasing potential dates away.
The walls you build to protect your heart are the same walls that will keep out the love that you seek. – Jim Rohn
How did it get so out of control?
Let’s start from the beginning. Many of your fundamental beliefs about relationships came from your parents and your siblings.
Most of us grew up in dysfunctional families. They didn’t have to be significantly dysfunctional to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of wall building, just dysfunctional enough.
At the time, you didn’t even know your family was dysfunctional. To you, it was normal. At least that’s the way I looked at my verbally abusive father. (He had a loving and caring side. It was just rarely visible until very late in his life.)
Odds are you learned about dating and relationships from trial and error. Even if you got advice or guidance from your parents, it was based on their experience which was probably misguided at best. Add a brick to the wall.
Most of you started dating in high school. This was a time of great emotion turmoil. Your body was changing. You were experiencing new emotions for the first time and not all of there were good. Add a brick to the wall.
Love and infatuation were easily confused and for some, they still are. Every boyfriend or girlfriend was the one you expected to spend the rest of your life with.
When the inevitable breakup came, it was devastating! Your life was over. There would never be another Tommy, Bobby, Jill or Mary. But life did go on. Add another brick to the wall.
There would be new boyfriends and girlfriends. Each one of them would take a piece of you (emotionally speaking) and before you know it, you started to become more and more guarded as life progressed. Add another brick to the wall for each of those failed relationships.
You probably had a couple of hard ending relationships after college, then a marriage or three that didn’t end well. Add several more bricks to your wall.
All of these plus all the dates that didn’t go well contributed to you building up your wall higher and thicker. Now here you are with maybe 30 or 40 years of relationship experience and you’re single and struggling.
What do you have to change to make your dating life more fulfilling? It starts with tearing down your protective wall one brick at a time.
It takes acquiring a new mindset and some clarity about what you’re really looking for in your ideal relationship.
If you haven’t read it yet, my book Dating Backward will help you with the focus and clarity you need to successfully find your extraordinary mate. Click on this link to order your copy today or you can get it on Amazon in either the paperback or Kindle version.
I hope you’ll think about what I’ve shared with you today and use this information to help you be more proactive and successful in your dating life.
Until next week, have a great and blessed day.