With every first date that leads to nowhere or every non-relationship that ends up being a waste of your time, finding love can seem far from possible. It can also be pretty rough on your self-esteem if you continually put a lot of effort into dating without getting much back in return. But you shouldn’t let dating drag you down. There are ways you can stay positive while dating.

The pressures of dating stem from the need to uphold a dating mask. We all fall into the game of dress-up, with social masks being one of the greatest blocks to establishing true intimacy.

It’s true. How many times have you been advised to be yourself, but only the best version of yourself, when you’re on a date? While it would be great for everyone to be their authentic selves its not typically the case. People usually showcase the highlights of themselves because it’s important to stand out in the best way possible. Pretending to be this perfect version of yourself can be exhausting, especially if none of your dates actually end up turning into something more.

That’s why, if you really want to stay empowered when you’re looking for love, stop dating and start connecting.

So here are the best ways to stay empowered while dating:

1. Start Saying “Yes” To The Things That Scare You

If dating has become an endless cycle of the same thing every time, start saying yes to things that will push you out of your comfort zone. For instance, if your co-workers invite you out on a weeknight, say yes. If someone asks you to come visit them in their city, don’t be afraid to go for it if you’re really connecting with the person and you will open yourself up to new experiences as well as your own empowerment.

2. Be Grateful For The Life You Already Have

You probably hear this a lot, but start a gratitude journal. Whether you like it or not, a gratitude journal will reshape your thinking fairly quickly. You can spend time once a day or once a week reflecting on what’s good in your life or what went well that day. Some people do it at night by writing in a journal or just thinking the ideas out loud. These positive ripples will slowly affect your week and your dating life.

It doesn’t have to be a difficult or long process, just spend one minute looking for three to five positive things that happened each day. Gratitude not only helps us feel more confident, but it’s scientifically-proven to help us win new relationships.

When you’re more grateful for the life you already have, you’re more likely to see dating as a fun way to meet new people and not a challenging task that isn’t going anywhere for you.

3. Don’t Approach Dating Like A Part-Time Job

A lot of people approach dating like a part time job, meaning they’ll shoot for a certain amount of dates per week and spend a good amount of time on various dating apps a day. When dating becomes something you have to do each week, it’s going to burn you out. It can also kill your confidence when you’re not hitting certain goals you’ve set for yourself each week.

While it’s true you need to make time for dating, make sure you’re also building in some “me” time. Take a yoga class or do something relaxing to help clear your mind and boost your sense of well-being. Adding in a few hours a week to focus on relaxation will improve your overall mood.

4. Remember That Dating Is About You Too

Many people tend to feel like dating is about whether or not they appeal to the other person. But it takes two to tango. You should approach dates with confidence instead of thinking, “I hope they like me or I hope I don’t act too nervous or weird,” or “Does this person have the kind personality that I deserve in a partner?” Self-defeating thoughts will only bring you down and affect your overall demeanour, always remember it’s all about loving yourself first.

5. Chart A Path To Forgiveness

If you have trouble believing that you are enough and the right person really is out there for you, you may need to dig into your past to heal some wounds you probably didn’t know you still had. How to know if you’re ready to date again. Think about what has hurt your heart in the past and be intentional about forgiveness, as forgiveness creates hope that the past could be different. Until you fully heal, your past dating wounds will fester, clouding your judgment and obstructing your growth.

6. Recognise That You Hold The Power

You don’t need to be empowered, you already have the power, don’t fall into that trap of thinking another person has the upper hand on your happiness. You get to choose who you spend time with and who you want to be intimate with.

7. Take It Slow

When you’re in a rush to just be in a relationship, it can cause you to settle for someone who might not be the best possible match for you. But relationships are tough and you have the rest of your life to get serious. So spend your time being single to explore your options. Give yourself the opportunity to meet new people as often as possible and create meaningful friendships, many of the best relationships begin with a solid foundation of friendship. Why? Because there’s no pressure in the beginning! Slow down and let love happen to you. There’s nothing more empowering than realising your patience really paid off. You didn’t let external factors influence your decision to get into a relationship. You took it slow and made the right decision for you.

8. Refuse To Give Up

Stay Positive! Dating isn’t about striving for perfection. It’s about showing up and giving it your all. When you bring that effort to every date, true love has the ability to fall into place. If you want to stay confident even if your dating life is less than ideal, recognise that you really are worthy of love. A good partner is on their way.

9. Don’t Be Attached To Any Specific Outcome

Do things that make you feel happy. Create goals you want to work towards, self-esteem is built by the things we achieve, not the number of romantic partners we’ve secured!

So focus on the positive things that you can bring to a relationship and the positives of being single. Make an effort to meet one new person a week, whether it be a friend, a date, or just anybody. Don’t be attached to a specific outcome and just be in-the-moment with people you meet, you will find that you’re attracting quality people who are naturally drawn to you.

When it comes to dating today, you can pretty much expect disappointments to happen. But stay positive and keep going. As long as you stay confident and true to yourself, you will attract the right partner for you.