What Makes You ‘Ready to Date’?

Be Proud of What You’re Selling!

Dating has turned into a 12-step program. We think in order to make ourselves dateable we need to detox bad qualities from our personality. Eventually it becomes so invasive that our greatest excuse from putting ourselves out there is that we’re not ready.

But what does “ready” even mean?

To a gay guy new to dating it seems like a job, something we need to add to the package of our lives. No one teaches us how to do it. We learn through trial and error,  but it seems like more and more of us convince ourselves we’re not “ready” when the truth of the matter is we’re just afraid.

Embracing the edge of our comfort zone is how we grow — dating is no different. It requires us to step into a bubble of vulnerability we often try to avoid. Entering that headspace in spite of our fear provides a level of confidence that sticks.

There is power in telling yourself you’re ready (even if you have doubts). Doubts are fear. They’re voices in our head that weigh us down and disregard our heart’s natural pull towards love. We doubt, we second guess, and ultimately we give up hoping.

The truth is no is ever “ready” for anything.

Hours of asking ourselves if we’re “ready” will keep us from going out there and making things happen. We never grow from staying locked in a bedroom daydreaming about fairytales. We grow experiencing the pokes of life.

We need to dare ourselves to challenge — not to know, but to feel that we’re just as valuable, just as wonderful, just as amazing, just as worthy of love as the couple we envy most. This was a lesson I learned the hard way.

I have a friend who’s been with his boyfriend for five years. To me, they’re a perfect couple: they have the same goals, lifestyle, taste in music, everything. I used to be so green with envy, but when I investigated it further I realized it wasn’t envy at all — it was sadness at the thought that I might not ever be good enough to have that kind of love.

I was bitter for no reason. I’d given up hope and I made an unconscious decision that I wasn’t as good as them, otherwise why would I be single and they in a loving relationship But one day it hit me. Countless hours of self-deprecation weren’t based on substantial truths, but rather the love I was keeping myself from having.

If we aren’t able to love ourselves, how can we expect someone else to do it?

I never put myself out there because, deep down, I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t believe in the man I could be because I was constantly comparing myself to others. The second I convinced myself I was just as valuable as anyone else, I realized it was I who kept the world from seeing it.

In order to put ourselves out there in the dating scene, we need to be proud of what we’re selling.

There’s something to be said about owning yourself in a way that no one else can. Ownership is something that is seldom taught in our culture. We think in order to be valuable, we need to be better than someone else.

All it takes is being proud of the person we are. Everything else becomes a reflection of that.

David Artavia


David is an award-winning journalist and editor at The Advocate, Plus, and Chill magazines. His work also appears at Pride.com and OutTraveler. He lives in Los Angeles where he lives vicariously through his friends.

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