I recently had an intervention from an obsession that crept up on me so fast, it hit me like a ton of bricks when I finally felt the reality of it.
Being single for a while, and frankly, just curious, I joined the online dating site, Match.com. I took my time, finding the “best” pictures I had of myself, which I hoped portrayed me as an ideal date for the right guy: Sporty Devon (wake boarding pic), Outdoorsy Devon (hiking pic), Glamorous Devon (in a dress pic), Animal Lover Devon (grooming a horse pic) and Family-Oriented Devon (holiday family pic). With the picture sections completed, I moved on and filled out my profile. After describing myself in 400 words or less, I had to answer questions such as “What do you do for fun?” “Do you want kids?” “What color eyes are you looking for in a man?” and more.
Once I filled in the blanks, I hit the “Confirm Profile” button and took a deep breath. My profile was now exposed to a ton of strangers, and although my name and contact info remained anonymous, I felt vulnerable and excited–like a nervous teenager waiting for a boy to call.
What started out as fun, however, soon became an obsession. I found myself checking the damn site every hour on the hour to see who had viewed me and if I had received any virtual winks (no joke) or emails from potential dates. My days became a highway of emotions with Match.com driving the bus. My heart would leap with excitement when I’d get winked out by skiCO4998 and then I’d feel grumpy and rejected if doglvr77 didn’t respond to my email.
I had completely allowed this external force to dictate my moods and how I felt about myself. For a woman who prides herself on being independent and grounded, with a healthy self-esteem, I almost didn’t recognize me once I’d become part of the Match.com community. Instead of being confident in who I am and what I have to offer, I questioned everything about myself. I wondered if I looked good enough, seemed smart enough, or appeared social enough (without looking too much like a party girl of course!)
ENOUGH! A close family member confronted me and declared an intervention. She had picked up on my fluctuating moods and called me out on what I had been feeling and denying to admit–that I’d become stressed out and neurotic. She encouraged me to only check my Match.com emails a few times a week.
Immediately after her comment, I balked and felt huge resistance rise up in my body. OMG, I was obsessed with this site! I felt like she was tearing candy away from me and I wasn’t eager to give up this “high.” That was it–my body told my everything I needed to know. My stomach felt tense, my head felt nauseous and my cheeks immediately flushed at the thought of giving this up. And that was my wakeup call! My body always tells me when I’m off–when I’m not paying attention to my intuition and what will serve me best.
With my family member on the phone, I took a deep breath and hit the “Deactivated Profile” button on the computer screen. I promptly closed my laptop, thanked my family member for her support and went outside to take my dog for a walk. Time to get back to my life and the truth of who I am! Being in the fresh air, I felt lighter and more clear-headed. I took deep breaths and smiled to myself at how goofy I had become in the past week over online dating. My inner strength returned as I walked away from the computer screen. Most importantly, I felt a wave of compassion for myself. I want to love, be loved and find a romantic partner, and I trust the universe will hook me up in a way that doesn’t involve neurosis.
With support, self-compassion and self-awareness (thanks to an intervention in this case) I took action on what no longer served me.
What external force controls your emotions and moods on a daily basis? What does your body have to say about it? I’d love to hear your comments and what helps you when external forces dictate how you feel.
Here’s to self-compassion,