That little voice inside can guide us home again and again. Pay attention to these three simple signals to sharpen intuition and become a mindful dater.
If you are reading this, you are probably invested in knowing yourself more intimately than the average person.
You’ve probably done your fair share of work on resolving the past and creating new narratives in your life. You are committed to skipping “better-than-nothing” relationships in favor of the “better-than-anything” relationships you know you deserve to have in your life, including friends, family, and romantic partners. You know yourself intimately (or are actively working toward this) and want to see and know others in the same respect.
All of which is very good, but I have just one more question to ask you.
Have you taken the time to listen to what your gut or intuition is telling you—I mean, really listen, as you move through your dating experiences?
Dating as an Art Form
Relationships, just like the practice of psychotherapy, are part science and part art form.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I learned through training that I could spend all the time in the world—a lifetime of time—studying all the great theorists and modalities of therapy. Yet without knowing how to follow my intuition—that small yet powerful voice inside—I have nothing to offer a client turning to me in a state of distress and inner turmoil.
In relationships, it is helpful to know how to make a woman or man feel special, how to plan unique date ideas, and how to communicate and resolve conflict. This is the science of relationships. Though it is not an exact formula, there’s a science to knowing how to date or be in a relationship.
Then comes the art. This is where your gut, intuition, or what I like to call your internal compass comes into play. It’s the voice inside of you that gives you intangible information about someone, about who they are. More importantly, it provides information about who you are and how you feel with that person. This is key in dating mindfully.
Are You Listening to Your Internal Compass?
Listening to your gut, and using it as a compass, is an art form. I am often asked, “How do I know what my gut is telling me?” or “I thought I was following it, but then this happened; my gut must be wrong.” Not necessarily.
Often, when we review the facts, my clients’ guts were leading them in the right direction. For some, they just didn’t know how to decode the feeling. But in most cases, they were able to do this easily. The problem was, they didn’t really want to know what it was telling them. They wanted a different answer.
The reasons for not listening to one’s intuition are numerous. However, they usually boil down to something like, “I want to find love so badly, maybe he/she will change” or “He/she seemed so nice [despite bad date behaviors displayed], I didn’t see this coming.”
Listen up: people rarely change in profound ways. They show you who they are, even when they may be trying to present or act differently. This is the under-the-table information which your internal compass picks up on fairly easily.
Learning How to Read Your Internal Compass
This is the tricky part. Learning how to decode what your intuition is telling you takes time, patience, and tweaking. However, these three simple signals may help you refine your internal compass to improve your dating experience.
How do you feel inside, physically and emotionally? How you feel is a vital component to what your gut is trying to tell you. Do you feel unusually nervous or uneasy? Not in the excited butterflies-in-your-stomach kind of way, but in the way that you don’t feel quite right in your own skin.
Some people report a pang in their stomach, lump in their throat, or some other sensation in their bodies that feels like an internal alert going off. Others can’t seem to shake the thought of “something doesn’t feel right.” This is your body and mind (servants of your intuition) doing what they are designed to do—keep you safe from physical, or in most cases, emotional harm.
How do his/her words match their actions or behavior? Do they do what they say they will do? Can you confirm what they do and say with other information? For example, do you get that uncomfortable feeling in your stomach when he/she suggests going back to their place or other secluded location?
Even if you’re in no immediate physical danger, your intuition will still let you know (loud and clear, if you choose to listen) that you are not really okay with spending solo time with this beautiful stranger. Does it matter why? Not right now, it doesn’t.
How do you feel over time? Do the feelings you felt in your stomach on the first date dissipate as you get to know this person better and feel more relaxed? If your feelings remain the same or even become stronger, this is likely a sign of your gut telling you something is not quite right with him/her. Or is not right for you, which is all that matters.
Listening to you internal compass is hard. I mean, really hard. There are all sorts of reasons why you may not be able to or want to tune in to that little (yet loud) voice inside.
I often catch myself saying to clients when introducing techniques, “It’s simple, but not easy.” Listening to your gut is simple, and with these three internal compass tips, you should have an easier time listening to your very own internal dating coach—your intuition.