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Online Dating Magazine > Self Improvement > Risk Taking

Taking Risks:
May You Have The Courage to Be Happy

by Dr. James Houran, Columnist/Spokesperson for Online Dating Magazine


What choices have you made this year to bring you closer to personal happiness? All too often I see people sabotage their own efforts at personal happiness. Oh, it’s not necessarily done on purpose – or even done knowingly – but the sabotage is there nonetheless. People are slaves to habit. Our habits are so comfortable, because they’re so familiar and predictable to us. Humans love and crave control over their environments, so naturally we’re attracted to attitudes and behaviors that structure our worlds and make us feel like we’re in the driver’s seat.

Yet, that sense of security and control is often illusory. And sometimes, habits are downright bad for or hazardous to our mental and physical health. Likewise, habits, however comfortable, can even interfere with our love lives. How many times have you found yourself dating someone exactly like your ex – that ex who wasn’t compatible with you? Rather than follow a path that never really worked before, I hope you take healthy and calculated risks this month and well into the summer and let go of habits in order to find and embrace what truly makes you happy. And not just any sort of risks; ones that push you out of your compatibility comfort zone. Compatibility Comfort Zone is my term for the mental picture we have of our ideal partner. Typically we look for someone that closely matches that ideal image, but, of course, that person doesn’t really exist outside of our fantasies. The truth is that often we’re compatible with many different types of people – we need only take a step outside of our compatibility comfort zone to find out.

Of course, taking that step is more like a leap for most of us. The thought of losing in love or making a mistake can be terrifying. For others, it’s paralyzing. But, I want you to think of risks this way: we don’t make mistakes, we make discoveries. And to make discoveries, we must venture into unfamiliar territory. You might not find “the one,” but chances are you’ll learn a great deal about yourself and your relationship wants and needs by taking a risk and getting to know people who don’t seem to be your type. Then again, you might well find that special someone. Go talk to happy couples you know, and ask them if their partner is the type of person they thought they’d end up with. Many times you’ll be surprised to hear, “no.”

Taking a risk and setting a course for discovery also means accepting personal responsibility for success. Traditionally, people meet their mates in three ways – at work, through introductions by friends or family, and by accidental meetings.

I challenge you to take more control of your relationship destiny.

Relationship success – however you define it – is also a personal choice to a great degree. You see, stepping out of your compatibility comfort zone is not really relinquishing control. To my way of thinking, stepping outside your comfort zone is one way to gain more control. How? – because in doing so you’re taking the initiative in creating more and varied opportunities to meet and learn about new romantic prospects. Online dating adds a powerful to dimension to this, since you can broaden your horizons and experiment with your compatibility comfort zone in the safety of your own home and at your own pace. So, instead of taking a leap without any precautions, this approach is akin to bungee jumping!

So, have you taken control of your love life this month and also taken a little risk here and there? If not, I urge you to do so right now. Below is a checklist of sorts to help get you started. Each person has the conscious choice and power to follow each attitude and behavior presented in this checklist:

_____ Have you chosen to take care of yourself by eating right, exercising to the best of your ability, and getting enough rest?

_____ Have you chosen to groom and dress yourself well everyday?

_____ Have you chosen to think of yourself as an attractive person?

_____ Have you chosen to leave the house everyday with a positive attitude about what the day holds?

_____ Have you chosen to open your mind and heart to the opportunities that are surrounding you?

_____ Have you been accepting and polite of people who show interest in you?

_____ Have you taken a chance to get to know someone who wasn’t necessarily “your type?”

_____ Have you allowed yourself to have fun and enjoy your lifestyle as a single?

_____ Have you allowed yourself to actually enjoy getting to know others?

_____ Have you taken time to invest in your love life by updating your personal profile, posting new and better pictures, and communicating with others online?

_____ Have you changed something about your daily routine – such as your bus route, where you shop, buy groceries, or take a walk – so you’ll be in a position to meet new people and be exposed to new experiences?

_____ Have you actually initiated a “hello” or other friendly conversation with those around you?

_____ Have you stopped and reflected on what you’ve learned from past relationships and recent dates – such as your own quirks and mental roadblocks, as well as your needs and what qualities would be good for you in a partner?

You also may or may not follow these leads. The choice is yours. My wish is for you to have the courage to be happy. If you take time to make that leap, please take time to write me and tell me where you personally landed!

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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