Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I was always picked last for every game, I have never been popular, and I am positive that all my friends are more beautiful than me. Coming in last is nothing new to me, so I don’t know why I am still surprised that almost everyone from my grade in high school is married and I am not. What can I do to increase my chances of finding Mr. Right?

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Bottom of the Barrel

 

Dear Barrel,

We’ve all had a moment, be it good or bad, when someone has said something to us that we know in that instant we will never forget. Just a statement, an observation that speaks to our hearts and leaves an everlasting impression. Sometimes it’s something lovely that we call upon when we are sad or down, and sometimes it’s something painful that we struggle to forget.

One summer, I worked in another country with girls who lived through instability and constant upheaval. The first day of the program, the staff lined up on stage as we prepared to introduce ourselves to the girls. After being matched up, one of the girls immediately hugged me and, in broken English, told me that from the entire staff she had hoped to be paired with me. “Why?” I asked, assuming that she would say it was because of my silly mismatched outfit or ridiculous singing motions. “Because you looked the happiest,” she said.

And that was it. I am sure that I am not always the happiest in every room I’m in, but the fact that she believed I was, even for those few moments, encourages me to feel and project joy every day.

 
Harvesting

Your question was painful to read, as I could hear in every word the sadness and dejection you must feel. In life, there are always those who are picked last, and it’s difficult to be popular with every crowd. Certainly, by societal standards, there are those deemed more beautiful than others, and we are often compared to the people around us.

However, finding Mr. Right is all about the work we put into ourselves – and a heavy dose of mazel – and nothing to do with whether you were good at kickball or not. Finding your bashert is not about who is the most beautiful or had the most friends in high school. It’s about being a person who realizes her self-worth, honors her personal achievements, and acknowledges her individual purpose. This is the person whom everyone wants to date – because this person reflects happiness and inner joy.

 
Crushing

Now is the time for you to focus on what you have to offer to this world, to your community, and to a spouse. Hone in on your strengths, your talents, and the good qualities that you have. Highlight those gifts and decide to use them in a positive way. If there are things that you believe impede your self-growth, change them. Eat healthy, exercise, find friends who bolster your self-confidence with their kindness, and commit to learning something new. Volunteer, so that you can remind yourself that there are people suffering while you neglect to count your blessings. Make sure that your priorities are in fact ones that are important to you, and concentrate on living a life of gratitude.

 

Fermentation

            Learn to love yourself. This does not mean that you accept the status quo. It means you acknowledge your strengths and push yourself to achieve more and better. A spouse will not teach you to love yourself. A future baby will not teach you to love yourself. You need to love who you are, what you are, and all you can be, so that you can be a healthy partner to your bashert.

Marriage is not about two incomplete people who struggle to fill each other’s inadequacies. It’s about two whole people – two full pieces who come together to complete a perfect puzzle. Everyone is attracted to self-confidence, everyone wants to date someone who is self-assured, and no one cares about who got picked last in “machanayim.”

Instead, love who you are and project positivity, and the dates will come. Mark my words.

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