In my last post I talked about the Zen of Dating and the benefits of dating with non-attachment. There isn’t a certain outcome that can be expected after a date, and it’s best (and most loving) to not expect anything at all. Even though it’s not always easy to see, the time you spent together was enough.
But, soon afterwards you may find yourself thinking thoughts like:
“Why isn’t he contacting me? He should.”
“Is he dating someone else? He shouldn’t.”
These thoughts are not helpful and can even be the source of self sabotage for the relationship. The best place for them is to be released into the ether.
But how exactly do you do that?
I agree, it’s easier said than done. It’s easy to say, “just stop thinking about him, just keep busy and you’ll forget.” But if you are a woman like me, no matter what else you have going on it’s entirely possible to continue thinking about him. And it’s impossible to simply stop. Can you tell a drug addict to just stop doing drugs? No, of course not. And that’s about how it sounds to someone who’s going through attachment in dating.
It’s a drug. You can be addicted to your thoughts about him. Recalling past encounters gives you a sense of euphoria. Moments remembered become fantasies and before you know it, you’ve already married and divorced him before you’ve even had the second date.
So what tool can you use to undo this thinking? How do you actually release the stressful thoughts that come up in a budding relationship?
I use The Work of Byron Katie. It has absolutely transformed all areas of my life—completely. But there’s no need for complete life transformation—unless that’s what you want of course. I think dating is a good place to begin with The Work because issues around romance tend to be more immediate. If you are a woman falling in love, there is nothing more immediate than that.
So what is The Work?
The website describes it as:
A simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, and to address the cause of your problems with clarity.
I’ll walk you through The Work using an example from my own dating life. Before I begin I think of a stressful thought. Something that is currently bugging me the most about him. This is a common one for me:
“He never texts me.”
Ask the Four Questions
The Work contains four questions which are used investigate the thought.
The first question is: Is it true? “He never texts me.”
Okay, the answer is no—it isn’t true. I’ll admit, I can be a little dramatic sometimes. It’s not true that he never texts me. I can feel the stress loosening a little.
(The Work contains three more questions. But for the sake of blog brevity, we will skip to the turnarounds.)
Find the Turnarounds
After you’ve asked the four questions (and released a little anxiety), then turn the thought around: to the self, to the opposite, and to the other. What you’ll find is that the turned around thought is as true or truer than the original. For example:
To the self:
“I should text me.”
In what way is this true? Yes, I should text me. Because what I am searching for in his texts is what I lack in self love and contentment with myself. And I am capable of giving this to myself. Wow, I am starting to feel better.
To the opposite:
“He shouldn’t text me.”
How is this true?
Well, I know he shouldn’t be texting me simply because he isn’t. And it could mean a whole host of things that I’ll never know. He could be busy, he could have a project, and yes he could be dating other girls. If he is dating other girls, then he should be. Yes, he should date them. It will allow him to see how amazing I am in comparison. It’s that simple.
To the other:
“I should text him.”
This one makes me laugh because it sounds ridiculous—the thought of me texting him. Then I realize how stubborn that sounds. If I am this headstrong about not texting him, why should I expect him to do otherwise?
It’s amazing how something that started out as such a serious inquiry into a stressful thought just makes me laugh in the end, and that is why I love The Work.