One simple three-letter word could be creating a speed bump on your road to dating success.
But . . .
"I'm excited about my first date, but . . . "
"I'm ready to start meeting new people, but . . ."
That one word means your mind has shifted gears and the excitement for the first date is now being funneled into reasons not to take a risk or put much value on the event. It is anxiety about what may happen, and your mind has started broadcasting the "All Negative Scenario" station at high-frequency.
In short, you are now putting the brakes on what could be before you even get to the restaurant. You are sabataging your chances of a great first date -- of a great relationship.
According to an article on Psychology Today.com, "[t]he word but allows you to take fewer risks, delay making vital changes, avoid intimacy, resist suggestions, rationalize the status quo, numb your brain with chemicals or mindless entertainment, and decrease your capacity to see opportunities and different points of view."
So, before you can move forward with new experiences and meeting new people, you have to tackle what it is you fear. Failure? Embarrassment? That the other person won't like you? That your ex-boyfriend is right and that you are just too difficult to live with? Jot it all down. Even if it is unrealistic. By getting it out of your head and onto the paper, you take away a small amount of its mental hold on you.
Next, after you have acknowledged your fears, turn it around and inject a positive thought. Do this by stating the fear but infusing a dose of hope. For example, you may be afraid that the guy you are set to have lunch with won't dig you. Say to yourself, "I am a bit nervous about the upcoming date, but I'm going to put my best foot forward and have a good time."
Then, ask yourself:
* What can I control at this moment?
* What if no buts existed?
* Am I really willing to get stuck at this hurdle in dating?
* What do I really have to fear?
Being mindful of what you can control (hint: emotions, thoughts and actions in this moment) is the first step toward your goals. Choose how to direct your thoughts, especially when you are embracing a new experience or meeting someone for the first time. Let go of the buts and you will notice how much you open up to the possibilities.
Happy Dating . . . no buts.
This post originally appeared on It's Just Lunch Vancouver's blog.