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Lions Roar : May 2019
I asked our experts, “In online dating, we are put- ting our vulnerable hearts out there for people who may not treat them with respect. How do we not take their behavior personally? “The truth is, online dating provides a mirror in which we see the state of our own heart,” says Yael Shy. “If you believe you are loveable and worthy, like Alicia did, you will have the cour- age to keep going out there to find others who reflect that back to you. If you have doubts about yourself, you will continually ask others to answer them: ‘Am I worthy? Am I good looking? Am I loveable?’ “The trouble is, nobody out there can give you answers to these questions,” Shy says. “They are too busy seeking the answers for themselves. Try not to waste too much time on figuring out why someone didn’t like you, what you did wrong, whose fault it is, etc. If they let you go, they are not right for you. Just because the restaurant is closed doesn’t mean it’s shameful that you went there when you were hungry. It doesn’t mean you need to stand outside the door and figure out why it’s closed and what you might have done to close it. It just means, for whatever myriad reasons, the restaurant is closed. Time to find another place for dinner.” “Loving-kindness (metta) and self-compassion are essential for not taking people’s flakiness personally,” advises Melvin Escobar. “Make sure to watch out for the “near enemy” of metta, which is attached and conditional love. And, of course, notice when the “far enemy” of loving-kindness arises—hatred and aversion, which can be directed toward ourselves or those who flake on us.” ALICIA STOPPED SWIPING and decided to come face-to- face with her big realizations about herself. “I see my pattern,” she says. “I get triggered by something, a story I am telling myself. Then I kick that other person out of the castle, lock the door, bring up the drawbridge, and flood the moat. I act from fear. With Mark, I did something that I knew wasn’t going to end well and I couldn’t stop myself. I regret it, because I hurt someone else, and I hurt myself.” Alicia says what has hit her hard is awakening to how much love has been around her all along, and how she was unable to see it because of the stories she was telling herself. “I wish I hadn’t messed up with Mark,” she says. “I wonder how many opportunities I have missed out on? How many times could I have been in love or was loved? How many people are walking around missing out on love? “Strangely,” says Alicia, “even though that makes me sad, Lessons in Love for Alicia (andUs) LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 62