I LOVE ONLINE DATING.
Not for the reasons you might think, though. I don't love online dating because it's an easy way to get laid. I love online dating because it's an extraordinary tool for exploring love, vulnerability, authenticity, desire and fear. In other words: it is overflowing with potential for us to challenge ourselves and grow.
And yet, almost everyone I speak to about online dating has a level of cynicism about it. It's often seen as a kind of compromise - part of the sad reality of modern life.
Recently an acquaintance was bemoaning her online dating experiences, complaining about how hard it is for her (an independent, self aware and highly sensitive woman) to find a true match. "There's just really not many people out there - and it's so hard to find them" she told me.
I couldn't disagree more.
I know why she thinks the way she does, and I know that her friends will validate this flawed perspective, but the truth of the matter is a very, very different story.
The truth is, we all have complete control over who we attract into our lives. If a true match isn't showing up for us, it's not because they don't exist, it's because we aren't in alignment with that possibility, plain and simple.
The stories we tell ourselves about lack and limitation have nothing to do with the bigger picture of how and why we do or don't attract suitable partners. When we blame online dating (or really anything outside of ourselves) for our lack of success in finding a true connection, we're missing the mark.
If we are going to consciously attract a true connection - a soul connection - then we are stepping out of the ordinary. We are occupying rarefied air, and in doing so we need to follow a different set of rules than mass consciousness does.
For the sake of brevity, today I will share just a couple of these rules - and how they apply to the experience of online dating:
YOU ONLY GET WHERE YOU'RE AT
I already hinted at this above, but it bears further emphasis, so I want to really break it down:
If you are seeking a true connection - someone that can meet you and match you intellectually, someone who brings emotional availability, who takes care of themselves physically and you are physically attracted to, who is willing to look at their own blind spots and point out yours, who can match your readiness for commitment, who is willing to own and work through their fears, who has a similar lifestyle and compatible tastes, who doesn't maintain toxic relationships (etc, etc, etc) - if you are wanting this kind of match to show up, you might have some work to do on yourself first. Because until you are in alignment with them - and embodying those very characteristics to some degree - they literally cannot show up for you. The universe is structured in such a way that you will only draw in people that reflect your current state of alignment (or lack thereof) with your soul.
Let me say it another way: Imagine a pure soul connection - the kind of relationship that has the level of depth, authenticity and chemistry that is barely even describable. Not just a shallow lay. Not just someone to live out those same patterns you've been repeating with different partners. If you want to draw in the kind of raw, soul shaking, deep connection I'm talking about, you might have to clean up your act. You might be slumming - whether it's working at a job you hate, spending time with friends you have nothing in common with, or shoving your truth and your power into the shadows for any number of reasons.
If you are constantly slumming - that is, living out of alignment with you true needs - expect the potential partners who show up in your world to reflect that misalignment.
Or, stated simply: You get where you're at. It's a beautiful thing.
I know that this rule isn't exclusive to the online dating experience, but it does completely determine how it unfolds.
YOU GET WHAT YOU LET IN
This sounds a lot like the last rule, and is really a branch of it - but its importance cannot be overstated.
Another way of saying it is that however low you hold your bar when looking for a potential partner - however much you are willing to compromise - usually determines the upper limits of who gets to show up. This is where the cynical acquaintance I mentioned above was guilty of negligence - her standards were incredibly low, and out of sync with her true needs. This is also an area where online dating can work miracles.
In order to draw in a true match, you need to have an extraordinary filter that you use to keep everyone BUT your match(es) out.
Let me illustrate this by sharing a couple of my filters: I would not consider being in a serious relationship with anyone who smokes, does drugs, or doesn't take care of their bodies with healthy food etc. Those are super basic filters. Then, a little more subtle than that, is that I wouldn't be with anyone who has a religious dogma they are attached to, who is not passionate about emotional processing and healing inner wounds. I wouldn't be with someone who isn't extremely attracted to me, and vice versa. I wouldn't be with someone who is incapable of owning their shadow (as it will certainly come up in an intimate relationship). I wouldn't be with someone who can't meet my heart's level of readiness for love and intimacy.
I could go on and on - you get the idea though. I have standards. And they exclude the overwhelming majority of otherwise potential partners - and that's a good thing! That means my energy is focused. I know what I don't want, so I can get into alignment with what I do want.
By now you might be wondering, what does this all have to do with online dating specifically?
Well, it's simple: Online dating gives you the ability to automate this process. You can narrow people down to those who are actually potential matches in a way that is incredibly efficient. A good dating website functions as an automatic filter.
SOME TOOLS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS
Of course the very basic dating apps like Tinder and Bumble do not enable really any filter beyond the superficial. Those apps should be left for what they were designed for: superficial connections.
If you are surprised that you can't find a serious match using a hook up app, don't be. Would you be surprised if you couldn't fix your laptop with a hammer? It's not what the tool was designed for. Sure, maybe every once in a while someone taps their laptop with a hammer just right and it is fixed (or someone gets into an extraordinary, conscious, soul-connection via Tinder), but it really is the exception.
You would be far better off using a platform that lets you cut through the mass of duds. To be able to do that with the effortlessness that the more in-depth online dating platforms allow is a truly amazing thing.
The question is: What are your standards? What are your needs? Where are you at, where are you choosing to go, and what kind of person aligns with that vision?
These are big questions that a lot of people don't give nearly enough time and thought to. But when you know clearly what you don't want and what you do, suddenly the wilderness of potential mates starts to look a little more ordered. You have a focus - a compass to guide you forward.
Your filter - and the willingness to validate your core needs by saying NO to whatever doesn't meet them - is sacred. Don't take it lightly. It is one of the most profound things about online dating - that we get to crystallize our needs in such a clear way, both for ourselves and the development of our personal boundaries, and for the fact that it helps us consciously find or draw in matches that actually reflect those needs.
ONLY A BEGINNING
I realize that I have only scratched the surface with this post - and didn't get into the nitty gritty practical aspects of optimizing your online dating experience for finding a conscious, deep connection - but in part two I will be getting to all those juicy details.
For now, to recap: If online dating has not been working for you - it's not online dating, it's you.
You're probably just not using it in a way that aligns with your true desires or needs. That's okay - but if the time has come to change your approach, start by letting in the simple ground rules I laid out here. And if you want to know more, stay tuned for part two, where we'll go deeper.
Until then, happy dating. And don't forget that it is a sacred act, and one of the most potent places for your soul's evolution.
About the Author:
Hi, my name is Miles. I am a writer & facilitator that helps people step into an aligned, beautiful and empowered life through conscious relationship work, emotional work, shadow integration and much more.
I am passionate about this work because when we step into alignment with our souls, pure magic happens - and I know of nothing more healing or sacred.