The power of mindset to change the course of your love life (by looking at online dating in a whole new way!)

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When I help women who are really stuck in their love lives, the first place I begin is by looking at their mindset and how they feel about their love life and about dating. Because your mindset is THE biggest predictor of success in your life and plays a massive role in determining the health and happiness of your love life.

Research from Carol Dweck, who is the queen of this topic (after studying it for over 20 years) shows that there are two basic mindsets that shape our lives - a fixed mindset (“where success is based on innate ability”) and a growth mindset (“where success is based on hard work, learning and training”).

Dweck’s work shows how someone with a fixed mindset evaluates the world through the binary notions of ‘success/failure’, ‘winner/loser’ and being ‘accepted/rejected’, however someone with a growth mindset sees failure as a temporary setback because their priority is all about learning and growing. And they embrace challenges and learn from their mistakes, which makes them more resilient than someone with a fixed mindset.

When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.
— Carol Dweck

So how does this relate to online dating?

Well someone with a fixed mindset would think that they’re not getting results from online dating because they’re just not cut out for it or that they’re unlucky in love. Or they might believe that finding love is down to fate and that ‘it will happen when it’s meant to happen’. Online dating feels hopeless and exhausting from this place, compounded by the fact that other people seem to find guys online no problem.

However, someone with a growth mindset would see online dating as a tool for self growth and an opportunity to get to know people you wouldn’t otherwise have met. Someone with a growth mindset would add the word ‘yet’ to challenges, so they might say “I haven’t met the right person… yet” (usually when well meaning family members ask them that age old question ‘why are you still single’?). They are hopeful about the future and they draw inspiration from the people who are really enjoying online dating and who have met their match online. Rather than feeling threatened by the success of others, they are encouraged by it, as it shows what’s possible for them. They are curious to learn from the success of others and how they work through challenges.

This is the difference between a woman who believes that it’s never going to happen for her when it comes to having a relationship and that all the good guys are gone (so wonders whether there’s any point in persisting with online dating) to the woman who believes that of course it will happen for her, she just hasn't met the right person YET. And it's not a matter of ‘IF’, it’s ‘when’ she's going to meet someone.

When I was coaching a client recently, she was telling me how she has a growth mindset about pretty much everything in her life, particularly in her career but when it comes to love and dating, she feels like she should just ‘know’ how to be really good at it and she puts so much pressure on herself to ‘find the one’. Every date that she goes on that doesn’t result in her finding this person feels like a waste of time and has her feeling like a failure in the love department. Carol Dweck speaks to this in her book Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential’:

In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful.
— Carol Dweck

You might think that this sounds very much like those quotes on Pinterest that encourage you to ‘focus on the journey and not the destination’ but Dweck’s work is grounded in rigorous research into the mind and the power that we have to change the course of our lives:

As you begin to understand the fixed and growth mindsets, you will see exactly how one thing leads to another—how a belief that your qualities are carved in stone leads to a host of thoughts and actions, and how a belief that your qualities can be cultivated leads to a host of different thoughts and actions, taking you down an entirely different road
— Carol Dweck

So taking inspiration from Dweck’s work, here are 5 ways that you can use the power of mindset to change the course of your love life, by looking at online dating in a whole new way:

1. Set yourself healthy intentions

Most of the online dating advice out there focuses on how to find a partner but that is a huge ask and puts so much pressure on those early interactions, not to mention the pressure it puts on you and your date. See online dating as a tool to meet like-minded people for a coffee, rather than a way to meet your future husband, which will help to take the pressure off those early interactions. And it means that the date is less likely to feel like a job interview and will be way more fun for you!

2. Get inspired

If you’re feeling disillusioned about online dating then time for a shot of inspiration to get you feeling optimistic again. Ask your friends if they know any couples who've met their partner online and go and speak to them and see what you can learn from them. And find examples of women who are really enjoying online dating (they are out there!) - let their optimism inspire you and get you excited about what’s possible for you.

3. Choose to see rejection as redirection

Dealing with rejection is one of the hardest parts of the online dating process because it brings up all of our fears and insecurities about not feeling good enough. Some people find rejection a lot harder to handle than others and it’s our ability to handle rejection that is key in developing resilience when it comes to online dating. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s a good thing (trust me) because it’s impossible to be all things to all people… not to mention exhausting. Rejection isn’t failure, it’s just feedback - maybe it’s feedback about the kind of person that you now know isn’t right for you or maybe there is an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. Choose to see every rejection as re-directing you to something better.

4. See dating as an adventure to try new things

Clients tell me that they worry about ‘wasting time’ if the date doesn’t go anywhere after the first or second date. So why not see dating as an adventure to try new things? Make a list of places that you’d love to visit or activities that you’d love to try and start ticking things off the list, then if it doesn't go anywhere beyond the first date, you’ve still had fun in the process.

5. Recruit a dating wing woman

You may encounter a whole spectrum of emotions on your dating journey so ask a friend (someone who is positive and optimistic about online dating) to be your dating wing woman to support you and keep your spirits up when you need a boost.

Online dating gets a bad rep but if you think about it, never before have we been more supported and empowered in our love lives. You get to choose how to make online dating work for you (and not the other way around). So if you haven’t been enjoying online dating recently then try approaching it in a different way and see how that helps you to enjoy it more.

The power to change the course of your love life is in your hands and yours alone. And that is an incredibly liberating place to be.

V x

PS Let’s talk more - I would love to hear from you! Drop me an email on <hello[@]loveprojectlove.com> if any of this resonated or if you have any questions or comments. And let me know how you get on with the tips - I really hope they make a difference to you.

PPS If you’re reading this and feeling like you could really do with some help and support in your love life then check out ‘Get Ready for Love’, our 30 day online course that has helped 500+ women learn how to approach dating in a loving way and how to get ready for a healthy and happy relationship. As well as having Selina and me as your co-pilots on your 30 day journey, bringing you videos and audio tutorials bursting with energy and love, you would also have access to our private FB group full of like-minded women who support and celebrate each other to grow - it’s gorgeous. We look forward to welcoming you in there!