Dating can do a number on your self-confidence, because bbs, it’s tough out there. If your love life in 2018 was less than stellar, don’t you worry. We’re barely into the New Year. If finding love is what you want, it can happen. But it all starts with you.
“The past is done, so wipe that slate clean,” Tina Wilson, founder and CEO of Wingman, tells HelloGiggles. “There may have been some bad dates and total letdowns, but a new year means you get to push the reset button. Let 2018 be a bygone, and be open to allowing all of the great things that could very easily be ahead, happen.”
When you’ve been dating for a while and nothing seems to pan out, hitting the “reset button” at the start a new year is easier said than done. It’s hard to stay positive when the results of your efforts so far have been pretty discouraging. But it’s important to keep going. Don’t let the disappointments kill your self-confidence. It’s not worth it.
So here’s how you can regain your confidence in dating this year if last year was a total letdown.
1 Start the year by focusing on your goals
Forget about any New Year’s resolutions that involve your love life. At least for now. According to Wilson, taking some time to set your sights on what you want to achieve personally will set the tone for your year. So just do you for the earlier part of the year and you may be pleasantly surprised by how things in all aspects of your life start falling into place. That in itself is a confidence booster.
2 Take a moment to reflect on why you feel like dating has been a total letdown for you
“One of the most common mistakes people make in dating is that they don’t take any time in between letdowns to figure out the lesson they needed to learn before moving onto the next,” relationship coach Tiffany Toombs tells HelloGiggles.
When you don’t take the time to reflect, you’re more likely to make the same mistakes over and over again, which will only lead to more letdowns.
If you’re into journaling, make a list detailing all the things you feel went “wrong” last year. Then see if you can spot any patterns. For instance, do you keep dating people who aren’t ready for anything serious? If so, make it a point to figure out early on if someone’s actually ready for a serious relationship. Know the red flags. If they’re always busy or they just got out of a relationship, they may not be the one you’re looking for at this time.
Self-reflection isn’t always easy. But it’s a necessary step if you’re looking to reagin your confidence in dating.
3 Get rid of any emotional baggage you’re still holding onto
We all have emotional baggage. It’s what you do with it that determines how successful you’ll be in moving forward. For instance, when you’re still holding on to an ex’s cheating ways, you’re going to project those fears and insecurities onto the next person you date. It’s always going to be an issue unless you work on it.
“To stop doing this, write a letter to the person who hurt you,” Toombs says. “Dump all your emotions into that letter and tell them how they made you feel. End it by saying that when you think of them moving forward, you want to feel nothing at all. Then, using fire safety, burn the letter and let go.”
When you can learn to finally let go of the past, you can really give yourself the fresh start you deserve.
4 Be clear on what you actually want in a relationship
Once you’ve reflected and let go, it’s time to focus on what you actually want and need in a relationship. Focus on how you want your relationship to make you feel. Do you want to feel safe, secure, loved, and wanted? If so, don’t accept anything less than that.
When you want a relationship and you really like someone, it’s easy to compromise your needs in order to make things easier for the other person. But in doing so, you’re more likely to accept less than you deserve. When things don’t work out, it’s easy to beat yourself up over a person who gave you way less than what you actually wanted.
But as sex and relationship coach Kat Trimarco tells HelloGiggles, “Perspective determines your experience internally and externally.”
More often than not, things didn’t work out because they weren’t the right person for you. It’s your life. You have the power here. When you’re clear about what you want and need in a relationship, it’s easier for you to let go of the ones who fall short. There are a lot of people in this world. If you want a healthy relationship with someone who genuinely cares about you, it’s very possible that you will find that.
5 Embrace all the possibilities
“I’m a big proponent of multi-dating,” Corrie LoGiudice, coach and author, tells HelloGiggles. “It helps the person build their confidence and make better decisions about who they decide they want to commit to.”
Again, there are a lot of people in this world. You get to choose who you want to be with.
Just to be clear, this strategy doesn’t work if you’re using it in a manipulative way. It should never be used to push someone into a commitment. Rather, it’s something you can do to get a better perspective on dating. If the person you’re interested in isn’t giving you what you want, there are other people out there who will.
6 Stay present and take things day by day
Having goals is great. But having a timeline for when you “should” reach those goals will only kill your confidence, especially when it comes to love. The reality is, you can find love in your 20s, 30s, or way into your 60s. There’s no timeline for it. When you tell yourself that you need to find your life partner now so you can get married by the time you’re 30, dating becomes less fun and more like work. Every letdown is going to be much harder on you because you’ll always see it as just another failure.
In order to regain your confidence, it’s important to let go of any timelines you’ve set for yourself and instead focus on having fun, getting to know people, and living in the present.
This is easier to do when you get out there and try new things. Don’t make finding love the goal either. Just do things because you’re curious or because you love it.
“Constantly put yourself in new situations that require you to access new parts of your own personality,” Trimarco says. “It’s a great way to shift your own energy and meet potential partners you might not have met before.”
7 Be kind to yourself
Dating is always going to have its fair share of ups and downs—so be nice to yourself.
“Start practicing self-compassion and self-forgiveness,” social worker Katie Leikam tells HelloGiggles. “Not that there’s really anything to forgive yourself about a disappointing dating year, but your mindset really needs your forgiveness and love to start the New Year focusing on all the wonderful things about you. People want a partner who takes care of themselves and has self-confidence. That absolutely starts with being kind to yourself.”
If you can see all the wonderful things you have to offer, other people will take notice.
Dating can be tough. While it’s easier said than done, don’t let it shake your confidence. Just remember, there’s nobody else in the world like you, and you are just as deserving of love as anyone else.