A couple of friends recommended watching First Dates, a television series that films real first dates in a London restaurant. I’ve since watched the entire first season and it’s totally addictive.
As I binge on this hilarious reality TV show, I laugh a lot. But I also shed a few tears.
I can see the beauty in every single singleton. The daters differ in appearance, creed, age, personality and life experiences. But they’re so similar too.
They’re all self-conscious. They all have fears and insecurities. They’ve all lived through hardship, be it heartbreak, illness, loss or rejection.
And they’re all holding on to hope. Hope that they’ll finally find connection, affection, partnership and love. They all want to share their lives with that special someone.
One man, who’s been single since his diagnosis with HIV five years ago, admits: “I just want to be loved.”
This heartwarming show highlights how quick we are to judge our potential partners. I don’t like his receding hairline. I prefer women with smaller bums.
Interestingly, we’re also quick to judge ourselves. I’ll lie about my job because I don’t want to put him off. She’ll never agree to a date because of my height. I’m punching above my weight with her. I’m not as skinny as the other girls.
I believe that when we stop judging ourselves, we cease judging everybody else. When we love and accept ourselves, we become free to love and accept others.
I also believe that we get what we give. So when we give love, we receive it.
I have a friend who loves her dogs more than anything. Recently, I spent an evening at her home. One of her dogs burrowed his way into my arms. Later, he lay on my friend’s lap, his body splayed open, as my friend hugged and kissed him.
It struck me that this dog is full of love. He’s open and trusting and loving. And it’s such a good feeling to have him in your arms.
And my dog-loving friend is perfectly at ease with herself. She’s open and happy and loving. And when I’m around her, I am too.
It’s so easy to give love to a person who’s open to receiving it. And when someone gives love with unconditional abundance, being a recipient of that love feels effortless and unselfconscious.
It’s when the fear takes hold and the thinking starts and the barriers come up, that we block the love. We’re afraid to give love in case it’s thrown back in our faces.
But my advice now is to give love. Give love to yourself. To your friends and family. To your pets and your plants. To everyone you encounter.
Be yourself. Be open. Be present.
Laugh. Flirt. Have fun.
Give love. Accept love. Be love. And I guarantee that you’ll experience love.
So I’ve rejoined Tinder. Again.
P.S. When searching for an image for this article, I browsed the internet. Suddenly, I realised that I’d forgotten to type “Love” in the search bar. “Have I put love in?” I asked aloud.
Have I put love in indeed.