It’s no surprise that modern-day dating and anxiety are closely linked.
Let’s be honest: dating can be tough sometimes, even for the most doe-eyed optimists out there. The idea of vulnerability, emotional availability, and—gasp!—yes, rejection has the potential to send even those with the healthiest of mindsets into an anxiety rabbit hole.
We’ve all been there at some point: a pit in the stomach, a racing heart, an unnerving compulsion to check (and re-check) our phone for a new notification. It’s a familiar experience for many, but why exactly does it happen?
What is dating anxiety?
When you’re feeling physical anxiety in the body (like tightness in the chest when you think about your crush) and experiencing rampant anxious thoughts (“Are they ever going to respond to me?”), it’s a sign that there are deeper emotional needs to tend to.
One of the most common forms of dating anxiety is born from the fear of abandonment and our need for emotional security. In other words: we want to feel safe and secure while dating, but an unchecked fear of abandonment might leave us clinging to someone who isn’t able to meet our needs. This behavior often becomes a cycle of anxiety that feels nearly impossible to change.
If this is a pattern for you, don’t stress. It’s normal and entirely changeable. In fact, recognizing this as a pattern creates an amazing opportunity to start building a new, unshakeable sense of self-worth.
The truth is, the root of dating anxiety has little to do with the potential suitor and everything to do with how you view yourself. In other words: the more you can recognize and honor your worth first, the less fixated you’ll be on that pesky fear of rejection.
Time for self-empowerment
Not sure how to start building up your self-worth? Here are a few of my tried-and-true journal prompts for shifting that dating anxiety into dating empowerment:
- “Do I believe I’m worthy? Why or why not?”
- This is where you can start identifying and unpacking those toxic inner dialogue thoughts like “I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, etc.” (All lies, btw—let them out, then let them go.)
- “Am I giving my energy away to people who don’t deserve it? If so, why? How can I practice protecting my energy?”
- Oof—this is an honesty-check question. How much are you feeding into your own anxiety by giving your energy away to people who don’t deserve it?
- “What can I do daily to remind myself of how amazing and worthy I am?”
- This might seem cheesy, but it’s so important to connect back to daily reminders that you are an incredible person. Be your own hype girl.
Remind yourself that working on your dating anxiety is a process, so there’s no need to rush or judge your progress. Take lots of deep breaths, a heaping dose of honesty, and tons of self-compassion throughout it all—you’re already doing better than you give yourself credit for.