It's Sunday morning and you're dying inside a little as you remember the carnage that was last night's date. You can feel your thoughts spiralling out of control as you start mentally beating yourself up for messing up another online dating relationship. OK, maybe I'm being a little melodramatic, but I'm sure you've all experienced that sinking feeling as yet another short online dating relationship draws to an untimely (or indeed timely) close. I want to help you shake it off and learn to be your own kick-ass cheerleader. That way, when the next relationship goes south, you're ready to pick yourself off, dust yourself down and carry on dating with an upbeat mind and heart.
Shut down your inner critic
Whenever I feel my self-love taking a battering, it's usually because I've let that inner critic in my head run riot unsupervised up there. So the very first thing to do is to shut that voice down. You know the voice I mean, it's the one that tells you all the things that are wrong about you or goes on about all the things you can't do or can't have. How depressing, no one can summon up the will to have an awesome date with that negative voice chipping away at you inside. To shut it down, take the time to tune into it. You need your conscious mind to step in and recognise how it is tricking you into holding yourself back and putting yourself down. Recognise the inner critic for what it is, your fears, and make the decision that your fears aren't going to be in control anymore.
Remind yourself why you're so cool / lovely / awesome
Once the inner critic is back under control, take some time out to remind yourself why you're so cool (or lovely or awesome). Write down all the things you can think of that you love about yourself. And then force yourself to write down another ten. If you get stuck, send a quick text to your best mate or your mum and ask them to help. It's important to fill your head with all the great stuff about you. What you think is your reality, so make sure whatever you're thinking about yourself is 100% positive.
Build in time for a daily pep talk
Daily pep talks are like the soothing voice of the anti inner critic so it's really important to make time for this. Your pep talk doesn't need to be long or complicated, it just needs to be from the heart - you need to believe it - and it needs to be repeated as often as possible. One of the easiest and most effective pep talks I use is borrowed from the amazing author, blogger and influencer, Kamal Ravikant, who wrote Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. His pep talk (although he doesn't call it that), is this, as he explains to James Altucher:
I love myself. I love myself. I love myself. I would repeat it all day.
If you do it often enough, it totally drowns out the inner critic all on its own. Find your own pep talk that works for you. Keep it short and sweet. Repeat. Repeat and repeat.
Dare yourself to do something that scares you once a week
At the start of every week, I make sure there is something in my calendar that is going to scare me. I do this because I work for myself and with no boss breathing down my neck, it'd be easy to stay within my comfort zone, but to the detriment of my business, of course. The amazing stuff doesn't happen inside your comfort zone. Well, it's pretty much the same with dating. If you always date within your comfort zone...well do I need to go on? Lets just say, there's probably a good reason why you're not a happy dater. When you do something that challenges you and scares you, as horrible as it feels when you set out to do it, it feels absolutely brilliant when you've done it. Believe me. Even if it doesn't go to plan, you still feel pretty pleased with yourself because you know you put yourself out there and gave it a shot. Imagine how it'll feel when it goes really well? It'll feel amazing. You'll be literally buzzing with pleasure. You'll feel great about yourself. And you may even end up on the greatest adventure of your love life.
Help others, don't compare yourself to others
With our social media obsession on the up, many of us live our lives online following lots of cool people, friends and friends of friends on blogs, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And it's so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to them...and then finding ourselves falling short. This leads us straight back into the downward cycle where the inner critic takes over again. It's not easy to stop doing this, I should know, I'm always tempted to compare myself with others every time I log on to Facebook. But one thing that helps, is to shift the focus from comparing yourself to others, to offering to help others. Helping others is a tried and tested way of feeling good about yourself. It really works. Plus other people will love you and respect you for it. Recognise your worth, offer to share it with others and I promise you'll up your self-love quota massively.
Finally, it's really important to reward yourself for all your successes (big and small). It shows that you value yourself and you recognise that you deserve to be treated well. Of course, this is a great excuse to go out and buy that those killer new shoes but if you've been challenging and scaring yourself on a weekly basis, then you definitely deserve it.