Dating Sucked For Me Until I Did This One Important Thing

Dating used to seriously suck due to my cripplingly low self-esteem and my insistence on caring more about what other people think than my own happiness. I’ve since turned all of this around and it’s made dating so much more fun.

  1. Anyone is fair game. I used to be so judgmental of the guys who asked me out. If they didn’t fit my idea of the perfect man, the answer would be no. I realized that I was rejecting these guys because I was afraid of what people would think if I dated them. Whether they were too short, too nerdy, or too… whatever, I always found an excuse to not date them. These days, I’m a lot more open to dating different types of people and it’s made for some very cool experiences.
  2. I used to feel shame for attracting a guy. When a guy would express interest in me or ask me out, I would get all nervous because I didn’t want people to think I was leading him on or acting in a promiscuous way or whatever. I’ve had this problem ever since high school when boys started to pay attention to me. I didn’t like it and the root of it came from caring too much about what people thought of me. I’ve since gotten over that fear and can actually be excited when a guy approaches me instead of feeling shame about it.
  3. I finally feel OK being single. I never thought I would be able to feel ok with myself when I’m single, but here I am and it feels awesome. I used to feel “lesser than” or undesirable whenever I was single for too long, but these days, being single doesn’t feel that much different from being in a relationship.
  4. I have way more self-worth than I used to. I used to think I was a third-class citizen in almost every scenario, especially when it came to dating and relationships. I was so quick to assume that I didn’t deserve any attention from guys or deserve to have a boyfriend. The results of these feelings left me alone more often than not, but not anymore. I’ve started to ignore those mean thoughts in my head telling me I’m not good enough and now, I finally feel worthy of love.
  5. I realized that everyone is worried about what people think of them. One of the most freeing realizations that I’ve had recently is that I’m not the only person who cares what people think of them. Literally EVERYONE else experiences feelings of low-self worth. Everyone is struggling, so I might as well just relax and roll with the punches like the rest of the world.
  6. I’ve accepted that I can’t really control whether people like me or not. I used to do damage control before any damage was even done, especially when I started to date someone new. I would assume that he didn’t really like me from the get-go, so I would do everything I could to be the “ideal” person for him. I don’t bother with that anymore because I know that I’m good enough the way I am.
  7. I say yes to a date out of inspiration, not out of guilt or fear. I used to feel bad for saying no to dates. I was afraid that the guy would snap back and insult me, so I would always just say yes even if I didn’t want to. Recently, though, I’ve been trying to stay true to my feelings and say either yes or no because I sincerely felt like it’s the right thing to do, not because I don’t want to be insulted.
  8. I’m learning to trust my own judgment over anyone else’s. I used to put other people’s opinions above my own. Whenever there was a decision to be made or I wanted to break up with someone, I would always put their feelings and concerns first, which left me confused and permanently stuck in a purgatory. I’ve recently realized how important it is to listen to my own gut feelings about things. I always know what to do, I just need to learn to trust myself before anyone else.
  9. I don’t take first dates so seriously anymore. I used to spend hours getting ready for a first date. Now I just wear jeans and a t-shirt and call it a day. The guys who really matter are the ones who are interested in my personality and what’s inside. That’s the kinda guys I want to impress.
  10. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. I used to beat myself up for days when a date didn’t work out or a guy didn’t text me back, and even though I still get stressed over it, it doesn’t define who I am. I’m not unlovable just because one guy out of billions doesn’t call me back. I’m worth a lot more than I give myself credit for.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.