Random Thoughts on Online Dating

I was chatting with someone I met online recently, and I asked her why no one ever puts that they are looking for a loving and caring relationship in their profile. In fact, the word “love” never shows up among the constant quest for queso, partners in crime, or group pictures where you aren’t quite sure who you are actually swiping on.

She suggested that it’s something everyone takes for granted, and is the baseline, and I think for her it is certainly true.

However, I think it is more indicative of the sad state of online dating in modern times; which isn’t based on kindness and love, rather on social positioning and inauthenticity.

Love comes from a place of giving, a place of tenderness, and a place of vulnerability. The issue is that, the cycle of bad behavior of others online, pushes love to the background. It is divisive. How many times can we keep showing up, just to have someone take advantage of our openness. And in turn, we might do the same to others, who do the same to others. Eventually, we have the messy situation that we call online dating.

Frankly, these are things modern dating apps could change. They could reward users who don’t leave conversations hanging, with no plans on responding. Or reward users who connect with others via video dates or in person. The technology is there, but the incentives to the apps to implement them are not aligned, since their goal is to keep users coming back to their platform as much and for as long as possible.

I think that heart forward people should reclaim dating apps, by communicating that they are looking for love explicitly in their profiles. Perhaps, this in turn would impact others who see these messages; breaking the negative cycle and better focusing each of us instead on one of love and connection.

Alone vs Loneliness

I had an itch last night at 3:30AM, and realized that in this whole big world that I find myself, no one would have that particular experience but me. And as I continued thinking, I realized that this entire life I am living, well, it is solely my own, and distinct from everyone else.

Now before you say, this is obvious, which in some ways it is, perhaps I never fully realized it at this level before, so I wanted to put it in writing somewhere. I’m having this one experience of living that no one else in the world is having. And it is all I have, really.

As I found myself as having a distinct experience, I expected this would be a lonely place to end up, but in truth, it was the opposite. I had never felt more connected.

Thinking about things, perhaps this is because to see myself as truly separate is the only way to actually see myself. My existence in the moment is no longer intertwined with the world at large, and most importantly other people. When we can’t see ourselves as distinct, and rather intertwined with others, that is where loneliness creeps in. Because we feel disconnected from ourselves due to the missing other.

However, if I can see that I simply exist fully, as I am, alone in the moment, nothing is missing. It is not a lonely place, since instead of feeling disconnected from others and the world, I more clearly see myself as part of the greater world at large.

After all, I stand on the earth, and am not separate from it other than by some classification I made in my mind. And this holds true of anyone or everything else that I interact with. I am part of the fabric of the world, and in doing so supremely connected, all while standing alone.

Who am I writing for?

The internet is funny, in that someone somewhere could be posting the most interesting and ground breaking thoughts, but if no one knows to look for them, they would never be seen.

I think about this a lot when I write a blog post. Chances are it will never be seen by more than a few people, and the impact on the world no more than a fair breeze.

There was a time when I wrote for my kids. When I wasn’t really sure how they would turn out or what guidance they best needed, and wanted to give them a little guidebook for life. But as they have grown, I now see that they are each a world unto themselves, and have likely heard more from me than they really needed to set them on their individual paths.

There was also a time when I wrote to be seen, which was ironic since I didn’t really do much in terms of publicity, and no one noticed my thoughts, really. But I felt seen, so it served it core purpose.

I think both of these reasons remain today, but more and more it seems that the motivator is now just to be expressive. Expression simply for the sake of expression.

For isn’t that what life ultimately does? Look at things from a macro level and arrive at the nihilistic view, and all you’ll be left with, is the powerful expression from the world that it exists.

Perhaps this expression of the world is reflective in my own desires. For that is what the creative process allows for; being a link in the chain of the daily dance from time immemorial. To bring into the world something that didn’t exist before. To express. To be truly alive.

The Insidiousness of Shoulds

I was thinking about “Shoulds” a bit since it came up in conversation the other day with a friend, as well as in a different way earlier today.

As I was driving this morning, my mind went to a place of saying that life should be a certain way, or should not be a certain way. I noticed it, since one of my core beliefs is that life shouldn’t be this way or that, it just is. Meaning, that fundamentally, I don’t think that there is a intelligent life force that dictates what will or will not happen to me or you, rather, that things just happen due to the interconnectivity of everything.

So in my current life model, there is no should of what SHOULD be happening in my life or to me, and in turn, there is no place for me to be disappointed in the lack of these things. Rather, there is WHAT IS, and I can either choose to appreciate that or focus on the WHAT ISN’T.

What I came to realize is that if I am a person who has shoulds in his life; I should do this or I should do that, I’m basically saying that I should make life something other than it already is. And once I am open to doing that, I am also open to suggesting that life SHOULD otherwise be different than it already is. I don’t really think I can have one should without the other. It’s a uniform life perspective, either there are shoulds in the world, or there aren’t.

Curtailing shoulds in more about living with what is. In the case of an inner feeling of “I should do this” it’s about respecting where I actually am vs where I think I should be. So to the exterior feeling of “My life should be this way” is fiction that I’m not living my life as it is, rather waiting for life to be a different way.

The nice thing is that now I know that anytime I think about a SHOULD, it can be a trigger to think more about the disconnect between where I am, and where things actually are, so I can reflect and perhaps change myself or my situation in a more productive way – or perhaps just find peace with what is more quickly.

The Inner Voice and the Inner Motivating Voice

I realized today that there are really two inner voices. The louder voice is the one that rattles through my head with statements like:

Why did x happen?

What could I have done to prevent x from happening?

What can I do to achieve x?

Much of this thought content is focused on relationships, social reflections, or acheivement.

What I now realize is that behind each of these voices, there is another voice that is constantly at work. I always knew that this voice existed, since I could tap into it with exercises like Focusing or journaling, but what I am now realizing is that it is just as much a constant voice as my Inner Voice, it’s just not quite a loud.

I’ll call it my Inner Motivating Voice. This is the voice that is sitting there quietly, and motivating all of the planning and ruminating that my Inner Voice is doing. This Inner Motivating Voice is always there, and we can tap into it, but backwards engineering the Inner Voice, and asking why we are concerning ourselves with whatever we find ourselves thinking about.

Like I said earlier, what is new here to me is not that this Inner Motivating Voice exists, but a dawning realization that this is the backdrop behind all of my thinking overall – and it is a steady state of thoughts.

More importantly, while I thought that what tired me out about thinking was the Inner Voice, the reality is that I have been blaming the wrong voice the whole time. What tires me, is the Inner Motivating Voice, which is always calling for protection from this or that, or desires for this or that.

Alcohol seems to dull our ability to hear this Inner Motivating Voice, which in turn quiets the Inner Voice, I would expect. This is why we are less inhibited, or less anxious, when we drink. We can’t quite hear that warning from within.

But really the important thing I am learning is that this voice is constantly chattering away, weighing me down with it’s unrelenting noise. And I have spent a long time trying to quiet the wrong voice, and placing blame on the wrong voice, with limited results. Now I know why.

I think this is such an important discovery, because these Inner Motivating Voices can be better quieted/self-calmed by listening to them, and answering the question that they are asking us. It’s an exercise in fixing the source of the problem, rather than dealing with the impacts of the problem. Many of these underlying fears and protective needs are based on false assumptions, so once we can help ourselves recognize and see the truth for what it really is, the Inner Motivating Voice can step back and relax and let go of it’s tight grip on our psyche.

From a meditation perspective, I can also focus on sitting calmly with this Inner Motivating Voice. I find that breathing with it, allows it to calm down. And it is this aware voice that benefits most from being brought to presence.

Today is a big day for me.