Friday, June 24, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: Is Procrastination Holding You Back?

It is so easy to recognize the clear path for others to follow ... and even easier to tell them what to do! However, when it comes to ourselves, at times we get stuck in the daily demand required to keep moving towards our goal. We can also become frustrated or less hopeful, and this mindset can hamper our progress, too. Additionally, when something is hard or if it is something we perceive as not pleasurable, we tend to find a myriad of other things to do first.

Consider the following thoughts if, on one hand, you would like a new relationship but, on another level, you are consistently procrastinating about pursuing this goal. (And, yes, if you want a new relationship, YOU do have to be an active participant in finding it!)

Don't feel guilty if you are not joining Internet dating sites, going out in search of your soul mate every night or always on the prowl for prospective dates. Guilt is a useless emotion and many a minute is wasted on it. However, do evaluate WHY you are not pursuing these and other options. For example, is it due to shyness or a lack of confidence about the dating arena or is it because you have not fully processed your feelings about a prior loss or another life event? At times, we procrastinate as a self-protective mechanism so we don't place ourselves in situations for which we are neither ready nor prepared.

Procrastinating can sometimes be the best course of action. Rather than impulsively jumping into a situation, you allow yourself the time to gain perspective, learn about yourself, establish better balance in your life and heal completely from past wounds. 

If you are feeling stuck in your efforts on finding new love, try to identify the obstacles delaying your success. For example, do you become anxious every time you merely thing about dating or having intimate relations with a new partner? To combat these types of feelings, work on strategies to allay your anxiety. At times, "practice dating" (fun but knowing it is not long term) can help you to become more comfortable in your dating skin.

Listen to the type of self-talk in which you engage. Do you have ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) invading your being? For example, when you think about dating, is your subconscious always telling you that you can't, you are not good enough, or you should feel guilty because you are betraying a late partner? As you examine these thoughts, attempt to reframe them into positive (vs negative) statements. It's the same concept as looking at a situation and seeing the glass half full or half empty.

Most people lead busy lives filled with many tasks and responsibilities. Evaluate if your procrastination is due to busy-ness leading to a lack of time and energy or simply the unwillingness to put forth the necessary effort. Decide if you just like the "idea" of a new partner but not the reality of an everyday relationship vs the true desire to find a new partner and build a life with him or her. If the latter is your priority then attempt to organize and streamline your other responsibilities to make time to pursue this avenue.

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