Date Gratefully

The festive holiday season has long been about appreciating and celebrating the blessings we have. Yet for many of us, gratitude is a concept we hear about all the time but rarely apply to our own lives. Instead, we think in terms of how to fix our problems and improve our less-than-ideal situations. There is nothing wrong with being driven to better ourselves and our lives, but gratitude should not be regarded as incompatible with high standards - not in life, and definitely not in dating.

Playing the dating game can be difficult and discouraging at times. Having a consistent mindset of gratitude is the best morale-booster you can give yourself - and giving off a positive vibe only makes you more attractive of a candidate for a serious relationship! But how exactly does one go about developing this mindset of gratitude? The team at SDA has whipped up some five fast tips for dating gratefully this holiday season!

1. Don't compare yourself to others.

Dating can bring out a lot of insecurities - which everyone has, by the way. But it is hard to feel grateful if you are constantly comparing yourself with friends, siblings, relatives, or celebrities. Stop stressing out over the fact that you are the "last one" not in a relationship, or that you "don't have game" compared to other people, etc.. Their lives are theirs, and you have your own track ahead of you to focus on. The wonderful thing is that you are uniquely you, and no one else can replicate the amazing combination of traits you are blessed with. More importantly, no one has control over the things you do to reach your goals, except for you. Focus on what you're looking for in life, take steps to achieve it, and don't obsess over where others are in their own personal journeys. You'll be surprised how much easier it is to be grateful when you quit the habit of constant comparing.

2. Positive words only.

You've probably heard of the saying, "Fake it 'til you make it." That's exactly what we're telling you to do. Everyone has their days where they feel utterly hopeless and discouraged, but don't let those down days ruin your long-term commitment to a grateful attitude. Even when you don't feel particularly thankful, talk to others about the things you should be grateful for. (It helps to make - and frequently update - a list of those things during times when you are in a better mood, so you can think back to it on the more difficult days!) Believe it or not, the more you express your gratitude loud and proud to others, the more you solidify your attitude.

3. Give yourself a visual reminder.

Immersing yourself in positive reminders can be helpful to nurturing a grateful spirit. Pin inspiring quotes and photos of happy times, people who better your life, and other things you are grateful for, all over your blank white walls. Don't want to ruin the plaster? Get a cork board. More of a private person and reluctant to let others see your thoughts? Do the same thing in a journal, but check it frequently!

4. Make everything a learning experience.

Not every person you date will be the right person for you. Every date that falls flat, every awkward situation, every embarrassing slip-up, and every relationship that fails because either you, your partner, or both of you were selfish about something, is a learning experience. If you analyze what each experience teaches you about yourself, what you need, and how you can change, everything that happens will be a positive driver for your future. Remind yourself to approach your experiences in this way, and you'll find yourself feeling profoundly grateful for the ever-accumulating opportunities for self-discovery and improvement in your life.

5. Help others.

Yes, we already talked about how comparing yourself with other people doesn't do you any good, but focusing too much on yourself can also be detrimental. There is very little room for gratefulness in selfishness. Be a positive, encouraging friend to those who are struggling with relationships and dating, even if you are dealing with your own up-and-down quest to find the One. You can learn a lot about your own problems from helping others through theirs - and seeing the battles others have to face will surely make you feel grateful for the blessings you didn't realize you had!