Secret #3: The one practice that can actually get you what you want this holiday season

Surprisingly, the holidays can be a wonderful time for self-reflection. As the stress and joy of family and the demands demands of daily life increase,  we can direct our attention to what’s important to us in our lives. It’s a good time to reflect on who we are in relationship, what our values are, and what we value in others. ‚ÄčSometimes we can pooh-pooh reflection in favor of more exciting , actionable steps. But, as a certified therapist, I can tell you that reflection is an important part of getting where we want to be. For example, when someone who is hyperventilating wants to calm down, the best thing they can do to get calm is not to try to calm down, but to actually focus on the outbreath.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, take some time to focus on the outbreath.  The rhythm of winter is actually much slower than the fast-pace of the holiday push. The seasonal rhythm with it’s shorter days and colder weather, is actually a good time for singles to take inventory of what’s important to them (this goes for people in relationships as well, but that’s for another column).  

That’s why the holidays are an ideal time to do for yourself what us matchmakers help our clients do - refine your priorities, and I’m not talking about making an extensive list of what you’re looking for, and making sure every potential match meets the whole list.

While list-making is a tempting, tempting thing to do, and at times, a useful thing to do, it’s too much information to keep in mind when you’re out there scanning all the dating sites and every club, bar, holiday party, or coffee shop. The goal of online dating is to have fun, be in your heart, and meet the person you want to be with. If you’re sitting across from them judging and evaluating each quality on your list on a 1 to 10 scale, you’re not leaving room to get to know them. Instead, take the holiday season to really mine your heart for your top three priorities and deal breakers.  This makes you really clarify what’s important to you.  When you’re out there scanning, or after you meet someone, look at whether they meet the general picture of who you can see yourself partnering with, and then ask yourself “Do they meet my top 3 priorities?” See if this helps you feel more confident in those priorities (maybe they were perfect, but chemistry was lacking), or less confident in them and indicative of you needing to revise these priorities.  If they don’t, move on. And, if they embody your dealbreakers -- say, you want kids, and they are pretty sure they don’t -- also, move on.  (More help on how to do this “moving on” part to come in next week’s column.) Remember, having someone in your life is great, but having the right person is long lasting.

Love Lesson: After reading this post, take some time to write out what you’re looking for. Then, closing your eyes with the piece of paper in front of you, ask yourself for your top three priorities, and write these down. Also write down a few deal breakers, and try the steps mentioned above as you’re out there in the dating world. As you are out there dating this month, keep your top 3 priorities and dealbreakers in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the benefits of self reflection?

 A. Self-reflection is a process of looking back on one’s own thoughts, feelings and actions. It is a way to understand oneself better. Self-reflection helps us to identify what we are doing well and what we need to improve on. It also helps us to understand how other people might be feeling or reacting to our words or actions.

Q. What is the purpose of a matchmaker?

A. One of the most popular reasons for a matchmaker to exist is to find potential partners for people who are looking for love. Matchmakers provide a service that is tailored to the needs and desires of their clients. They work with people who are looking for love, or those who want to find friends. 

Q. What is the difference between a dating app and a matchmaking service?

A. Matchmaking services are a lot more personal than dating apps. Matchmakers get to know their clients and try to understand what they are looking for in a partner. Dating apps, on the other hand, allow people to find potential partners based on their location and similar interests.

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