When It Comes to Success in Dating, Your Mental Health Matters—Here's How

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It’s that time of year again; the time for us to make a list of resolutions we probably will not keep, make starry-eyed promises that this will be our year, and for those in search of love—or just a good time—give dating apps a try. A leap so many of us inevitably decided to take because, let us not forget, 2020 was a year of cyber relationships and zero in-person meet cutes. But how do we stand out in a sea of equally eager and worthy candidates? Authenticity is the name of the game and Tinder has embraced this with its metaphorical arms wide open. 

The dating platform launched the Put Yourself Out There Challenge: An initiative in partnership with Megan Thee Stallion, where members can submit profiles to display their personality, creativity, and real self for an opportunity to win $10,000. But the fun doesn’t end there. As part of the #PYOT campaign, a crew of creators—who’ve made putting themselves out there a daily ritual—will join Megan to help select the most inspiring profiles and coach members on how to authentically display themselves. 

One of these individuals is licensed therapist Kati Morton. The mental health expert and YouTube favorite laments the important role our mental health plays in our love lives. From developing the self awareness required to find your match to keeping your confidence and positivity in the dating game, Kati spilled all the therapy tea—and is here to help singles just in time for Dating Sunday aka January 3, the unofficial holiday known as the most active day for singles on dating apps. Below, find her advice for dating successfully right now, keeping in mind your own needs, boundaries, and mental health.

Loving Yourself Comes First

When it comes to jumping into the dating pool there’s one cardinal rule we urge everyone to follow: We must first love ourselves before we can expect love from anyone else. Honoring this commandment is equally if not more important than remembering to unplug the curling iron before leaving the house. We’re talking real self-love here, like Beyoncé circa Lemonade self-love. If we cannot embrace ourselves for the badass people we are, how can we ask the same of a partner? “If you feel comfortable asserting your needs and boundaries and feel pretty good about yourself, then you’re in a great place,” Morton tells us of the telling qualities that alert us that we’re ready to date. 

Figure Out What You Actually Want from a Relationship

Successfully communicating what we require from a relationship starts with deep self-reflection. We attract what we put out, so it only makes sense when Morton points out that, “if we’re not coming at this from our best selves, we’re not only not going to find our best partner but we can end up in relationships that don’t serve us or the other person.” According to Morton, if we’re spending way too much time people-pleasing, hyper-focused on being perfect, often spewing negative self-talk, or (and this is a big one) looking to fill a void with a relationship, it’s a big flashing neon sign that we are not quite ready to date. And guess what? That’s okay. 

Make Use of "Bridge Statements" to Find Balance

Tending to our mental health should be at the top of our color coordinated to-do lists on the daily. So what does that look like if we’re trying to find love? First off, it’s vital to remember that relationships are just the cherry on top of an already delicious cake. They’re not there to distract us from something we’re choosing to ignore nor to add to our worth. Relationships rather enhance what we already have going on. Stepping into the dating game should come from a place of confidence and deep admiration for oneself. Understanding where we’re at in terms of our mental health comes from judgement-free honesty with ourselves and taking note of what our little voice inside our heads tells us.

Keeping in mind that our self-love journeys are ever-evolving, Morton recommends plenty of helpful and actionable steps we can take to keeping us as our number one priority. Take “bridge statements” for example. “When people simply say ‘be positive’ it’s bullshit,” she jokes, “you typically won’t believe it.” That’s why she often suggests “building a bridge between the positive and negative statements.” When your self esteem is at an all time low telling yourself you’re uniquely amazing can feel like a lie. Rather than force feeding ourselves statements we don’t believe, Morton urges us to find balanced phrases that land somewhere in the middle. Think: “It’s possible I’m being judgemental right now," or, "It’s possible I will find someone who loves me for me." Checking our self-talk coupled with actively putting positivity into the world can help lay the foundation for success. 

The Bottom Line

The more we tap into the love we have for ourselves the less pressure we’ll feel to seek outside validation and yes, that includes romantic relationships. Prioritize your self-worth, nurture the relationships you currently do have, circle back and address that icky feeling causing you to negatively speak to yourself, exert your energy on things you love, and focus on radiating positivity into the world. While all minor adjustments, these small shifts, Morton says, will keep us from falling into “the pit of despair." somewhere we do not want to be, especially come 2021. So, if you feel like you'd like to start looking for love (or just want to make some new memories), dust off your journal, do a little reflecting, and find some fab lighting for that self-timed (unedited) profile pic. Happy swiping!  

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