I can’t tell you how many times a week someone online says to me: “Matthew, I’ve had enough. I’m just going to give up on dating altogether.”
You’re not weak or crazy for feeling the way you do, so give yourself a break. But before you give up, just do me one favor – watch this video today.
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Are you finding that you’re losing the motivation to date?
There’s a lot of contradictory feelings that we have in our love lives. On one hand, there’s a part of us, deep down, that knows, “I would love to meet someone. I want to meet the love of my life.” But many of us hate dating. We hate the process and that’s understandable. It’s kind of like saying, “I want to find the one I love, but I don’t want to go on dates with people that aren’t them.”
And the list gets longer of things that we don’t want to do in our love lives. We don’t, most of us, want to spend hours and hours scrolling mindlessly on dating apps. We don’t want to do activities that we’re not interested in simply for the purposes of maybe meeting someone, which is a small chance anyway. And, of course, many introverts really feel this acutely, because the things that they fantasize about doing with the love of their life – whether it’s going on a vacation together, whether it’s going on a road trip, camping, being chill at home and watching movies, or going on candle-lit dinners – these are all very intimate things, and the opposite of many of the things that we’re told we need to do in order to meet someone, which is be around lots of people and play the numbers game.
In some ways, it could be argued, that this is like many things in life. Many people want to be wealthy, but they don’t want to go through the hassle of starting a business. Many people want to have that action-hero body, but they hate the gym. But I suppose the difference is that when we go to the gym, even though we don’t get our ideal body that day, that week, or even that month necessarily, we still feel like we made a little progress, that that session counted. And the same is true of running a company. You may not feel like you’re getting the results you want yet, but you do feel like you’re on the way to building something. That effort counted.
In our love lives, we can have this horrible feeling that none of the effort we’re putting in actually counts. That we just had another conversation or another date with someone we clearly have no future with. And all we’re left with is the disappointment and the resentment that that was time we could have spent with someone we actually love from our friends and family, or doing something we actually love. Everyone has had that experience of going home from a date and thinking, “I am done. I don’t care anymore. I’m not looking anymore. I don’t want to do this ever again.”
So, what is the solution to all of this?
First, don’t see everything that you need to do in your love life as only being for your love life. I think a lot of our resentment and frustration, and even depression, comes from thinking that the things we have to do to find love have no utility outside of finding the person we want. I think some of them it’s hard to justify outside of finding a person. Scrolling away on a dating app: It’s hard to figure out what the good reason for doing that would be if it wasn’t to find somebody. And it’s hard to see it as not a waste of time if we don’t find somebody. But there are other things I think are worth it for their own sake: Enriching our lives; going out there and doing new things, even if they’re things that we don’t always want to do or they’re not things that we would normally choose to do – I think those experiences do add color and flavor to our lives. At the very least, they give us more things to have a conversation about, more things to have an opinion on.
One of the things that I used to love about Anthony Bourdain in the series Parts Unknown is that it always felt to me like he was dating the world. It felt like he was somehow dating life. Dating the planet. That he was going around and having all of these adventures. Sometimes, he traveled to places that he wouldn’t normally go to, and maybe would never go back. Sometimes, he did activities that maybe he would never try again, but at least he did them. He had an opinion on them. He would sit down to dinner with all sorts of different people. And based on how many people were deeply saddened by Bourdain’s death, I clearly wasn’t the only one who was inspired by that. So, if Bourdain can date the world, why can’t we? And I think the richer life that that will create for us will be worth it, even if it doesn’t result in someone who becomes a permanent fixture in our lives.
Number two, give energy simply to give it. Part of, I think, what creates resentment in our love lives is that we give energy in a certain situation because we like someone or we’re attracted, and we want it back. And then when we don’t get it back, we feel like a failure, and we decide not to give that energy again. I think that it’s better to start by saying, “What energy do I want to represent in life? What energy do I want to bring into a room?”
I think of the movie Elf. Buddy the Elf is a human, but he comes to New York and he’s almost looked at like an alien, not just because he’s wearing an elf suit, but because he has this almost naive kindness about him that he just spreads joy wherever he goes. He walks into a stuffy office and compliments people and says sweet things and notices things and has a curiosity about him. That brings other people to life.
That’s not only going to be a more generous spirit than being frustrated and upset until we meet someone we love, or could love, and then switching all of that on, it’s also a way of attracting people that we wouldn’t normally attract, because I do believe that’s like a beam of light that we shine out. When we give that energy, people notice us differently. And that’s part of being the person that other people see from across the room. By the way, that’s not why we’re going to do it. We’re not going to do it because if we give this energy, someone’s going to come over. We’re going to do it because that’s simply the energy that we want to represent in the world, one of kindness, and magic, and possibility.
Number three, we will conserve more energy in our love lives if we get better at saying “no” to the wrong people faster. Always remember this: We cannot control when we meet the one, but we can control how many people we meet, and how quickly we let go of someone who is the wrong one.
Number four, pit stops are okay. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from dating, if you need it. Or slowing down, taking more time for yourself or other activities so that you can refuel and bring more energy to your love life a little bit later on. Just don’t allow a pit stop to become a dead end, because that will be doing your life a disservice. Even if you reintroduce things that you want to do for your love life slowly, at some point, get the car moving again.
And number five, focus on the person who is going to thank you in the future for not giving up today. Because that person is going to be so lucky to have someone as loving as you in their life. That person is out there right now, as you’re hearing my voice, doing something out there in the world, hoping that they get to meet someone like you.
What probably wouldn’t be apparent, if it weren’t for the change in my hair, is that that video was made pre-COVID. We released it now because we finally felt it was relevant. At the time, we shelved it because we said, “This isn’t where people are at. Let’s not release this.” And we were forced to make all these new videos we didn’t know we were going to have to make, as a result of the changing times. That, I think, is kind of a metaphor for so many of our situations this year, right? It’s been the story of adaptation. Our year radically changed, and we’ve all had to adapt, whether it’s adapting our lifestyles, our relationships, or just adapting our emotions. We’ve had to adapt internally to all of these unexpected challenges.
And the thing about adaptation is that it can either be unconscious, right? It can either happen to us, which has happened for an awful lot of us this year, it’s just, we’ve been forced to normalize certain parts of it, we haven’t had a choice. But there’s also conscious adaptation, where we decide how we want to grow, how we want to change, what we want to create out of this.
One of the ways that we as a company have chosen to consciously adapt is, well, firstly, we had to postpone both of our live Retreats this year. But one of the things that we’ve done that I am so, so excited about, because we’ve never done it before, is to create a virtual Retreat that is going to be happening live in October. I’m so pumped about this because, for so many years, we have had people who couldn’t attend the retreat – for financial reasons; we’ve had people who couldn’t come for logistical reasons, because they couldn’t get a visa to come to the States; we’ve had people that couldn’t come because they were a teacher and the dates don’t line up for their schedule; we’ve had people not be able to come because they’re parents and they couldn’t get their kids looked after. Whoever you are, for the first time ever, you are going to have the opportunity to attend my Retreat.
Look, two things are true. One, life didn’t stop happening because COVID happened. We’re still dealing with our own demons, our own insecurities, our confidence issues, our self-worth issues, the problems with our lives, regardless of what’s happening this year. But we also now have the added challenge that this year has made massive changes to our lives that we didn’t expect. The virtual Retreat is going to be about conquering the challenges we already had. It’s also going to be about adapting powerfully to everything that’s happened this year, so that we can go on to create our masterpiece, not just in spite of what’s happened this year, but as a result of what’s happened this year. We can turn all of this into something beautiful together.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a process, a process that I’m going to be using to hit reset on my life this year, and one that you can come and join me in learning about in real-time with me, as we apply it together. So, come to MHVirtualRetreat.com. I will see you there. You can learn more information about it. Thank you.