Dear Dating Coach,
As I held my machzor this Yom Kippur I was very inspired by the davening, and I felt strong and sure that my tefillos would be answered and I would find my bashert this year. Then as the time went by, more singles made their way into shul until there were 7 of us lined up in the women’s section. We were all dressed alike, with comparable backgrounds, and our resumes probably read very similarly. Suddenly, I felt despondent and less sure of my davening. Why would someone pick me when there are 6 others just like me to choose from? I’m merely a mirror image of so many singles just like me – a copy that really doesn’t stand out. I am ashamed of these thoughts, but can’t seem to shake them off. Please help.
When I was growing up, there were lots of students that I knew who did not appreciate the school uniform. They argued against the loss of their personal style, the lack of autonomy, and their inability to choose. As I got older, the rules only got stricter. Shoes were regulated to two colors and similar styles, hair was worn a certain way, and an accessory that made any sort of statement was not allowed. I absolutely loved the uniform. My bleary-eyed mornings were not compounded by clothing selections or shoes decisions. It was comfortable and easy to wear, and the chance to spend the extra time and thought on the myriad of Cheerio choices in our pantry was always more welcome. While I know there are a multitude of reasons for uniforms, for me it always forced you to project who you were as a person on the inside. If you were smart, talented, funny, quiet, outgoing, or creative – the uniform refused to announce your gifts. You had to present as an individual without relying on clothing clues or style choices. No one graduated with mystery because of the uniform we wore. On the contrary, we all stood out for who were really were; unique originals.
Today You are YOU, That Is Truer Than True;
You went to shul to daven and you poured your heart out to Hashem who most certainly heard your tefillos. Your optimism dampened upon seeing the stream of singles file into shul who you believe present as you do; a single from a frum background, who went to parallel schools, now works in a familiar career, and is looking for the same “type” of guy. You couldn’t help but compare your similarities and then worry how you would sound when stacked against them. First choice of mothers of said sons, or last choice? You believe you are all interchangeable at best and at worst the least shiny penny in a pocketful of change.
There Is No One Alive…
Sure, you may dress like the other single girls you know and you may have similar backgrounds, and careers. You may all be looking for the same kind of guy and related futures. Frankly, your resumes may read the same with carefully written paragraphs that hope for someone who is a “mentch, hardworking, and has good middos.” There may be some girls with last names that are better recognized, or jobs that hold greater mass appeal. There may even be mothers of sons who struggle to differentiate singles when presented with basic facts or pieces of paper meant to convey a girl’s attributes and history.
Who Is YOUER Than YOU.
Yet, you are not a resume, a job, or a last name. You are not the school you went to, the shul you attend, or a neighborhood. You are a complex, exceptional, distinctive person who is meant to marry a complex, exceptional, distinctive person. You have an individual personality, personal thoughts and ideas, and your own unique perception on the every day that you experience. To limit yourself to trappings, life’s building blocks, and the minutiae of your growth thus far, gives you permission to become lost in the crowd. Your knowledge however, that there is only one YOU will immediately separate you from the pack. Act like wallpaper and there maybe those who attempt to block you with more interesting pieces of furniture. Act like the masterpiece that you are and you will stand out. So, take a deep breath, smile under that mask, and engage the world. Let your light shine bright. You will be noticed – because YOU are an original.