We live in such a wonderful age of possibilities, of new connections with like-minded others at the tips of our fingertips, one swipe away. I have downloaded an online dating app, and I have been exploring the world of virtually meeting others—before meeting them in “real life.”
It has been an illuminating experience. Tucked into the comfort of my favourite nook in front of the television, or picking up my phone on a break from projects through the day, I have been surprised to find how energetically affected I can be by coming into contact with just photos of others on a small screen.
Mindful online swiping has become nothing less than essential. Here are a few things I try to keep in mind before opening my app… I strongly encourage you to consider these points. They can make all the difference.
- Feeling happy and self-validated: It’s easy to turn to external sources of validation, and what is both immediate and “fulfilling” in that sense other than an online dating app? Yet seeking this type of validation can quickly become a drain on our inner source of strength and diminish our ability to self-validate and take stock of ourselves for who we truly are in the context of our alignments and experiences. It is for this reason that I make it a priority to only turn on my dating app when I feel good and happy within myself.
- Five swipe rule: With what seems like countless “options” all available in successive swipes, an online dating app can turn into a black hole. Yet, as the app user, that facet is completely in my control! I have made it a point to not “swipe” more than five people at any given time, and I usually don’t turn my dating app on more than once or twice a day. This keeps me from spending precious time during my day distracting myself, instead of focusing on what brings me joy, and it also stops me from treating other beautiful humans as commodities available for consumption at the touch of a button on my screen (more on this).
- Other people’s beauty: Online dating has brought me virtually face-to-face with people from all walks of life. I have been gifted with glimpses of some of these strangers’ best memories (photos) and bits of their lives, favourites lists, etc. It can be tempting to want to judge someone before pressing x (or swiping left for a no). But prodding into my mind, I’ve found that this need to justify comes from a sense of guilt… And yet, there is supposed to be no rhyme or reason for why we’re attracted to some people and not to others. Love is not a set of cold, emotionless mathematical equations, so don’t feel pressured to judge those who simply don’t inspire an aspect of you… This is just part of being human. There is still a 100% chance you are both looking for love, fulfillment, happiness, safety, and healing, and have more in common with each other than the minutes in a single lifetime would allow you to share. Forgive yourself for not wanting to love everyone romantically and never forget the humanity of the other people on the screen.
- Your own value: Just as you let yourself like who you will, let others like who they will, too, without judgment towards them or yourself. It’s very likely that the true reflection of who you are cannot be glimpsed in five pictures and twenty-five words in addition to your job title, but if it was, remember that not being someone’s cup of tea romantically is not a judgment towards you or your value as a person, or even as a partner. We are all ever-changing, magical beings in different stages of self-realization, some of us better at manifesting the pure truth that lies within all of us than others. None of that is a reflection of how good we are or who we are. If you find yourself delving into self-judgment, put your app to sleep and turn on your newest favourite song, turn to a creator that inspires you, close your eyes and breathe, do five minutes of yoga…whatever it is that puts the magic back into your heart.
This human experience is so temporary and there will literally never be a point where your outside experience matches all that you are and feel inside, for you will always be more than it is. And that is okay; it’s part of the deal! You are an infinite being on a blip of a beautiful human journey. Take the quirks but never let them suck a single ounce of joy from your beautiful heart.