It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the idea of creative dating.
This is the supplemental material for our Dating Workshop in Rego Park. During our Sunday meetings there is not enough time to introduce all of the ideas about dating, so I will introduce some of those ideas here, instead. Our curriculum at “Creative dating” will be different from our group meetings, so you will be exposed to the issue of dating from different angles.
Whenever we deal with subjects as complex as love and dating, it’s useful to draw on the wisdom of those who have gone before us. Thus, I have relied on a great range of contributions from the fields of art, history, psychiatry, mindfulness, sports, and the social sciences. All these contributions have helped me to develop a strong understanding of love, relationships, and dating. I’ve included some of them on our supplemental reading list, in the hopes that they’ll enrich our discussions.
At the core of our conversation will be an idea: “First deserve; then desire”. What I mean by this is that even before we begin dating, we need to build up a healthy personality, develop good coping skills, and create an ethical framework that can help us navigate successfully through life. The concept of “first deserve” is based on the need for ambitious, far-reaching self-improvement and personal growth before we get into a relationship. That effort is what will, over time, transform us into loving, kind, and compassionate human beings, capable of loving and being loved on the deepest possible level.
Now, you may be thinking: “Hey, why not accept myself the way I am and jump into a relationship right now? My partner and I will surely find a way to live together happily!”
The question, although interesting, however has a weak point. What if your shortcomings create more relational problems than you expect? What if the relationship comes to a painful end? This could have lasting repercussions for you. The loss of any relationship is painful, since it spells the end of an opportunity for connection. But the end of a relationship can also leave you shaken, with your confidence crushed and an overwhelming sense of being rejected and unworthy of love.
This is my interpretation of the idea, but it’s only one of millions of ideas about dating. And that, of course, is exactly the point of what we’re all doing here. There are so many ideas available to us, mine and others. We look at all those ideas together, review some interesting concepts, and choose those which are the most fruitful for your particular place in life.
The second part of the proverb “first deserve; then desire” is about the reward that comes when, after hard, creative work, you finally have the chance to put your passion into practice. As you already know, there are no shortcuts in real life. As the saying goes: “The elevator to success is out of order, but the stairs are always open”. In other words, the more work you do, and the more sacrifices you make, the stronger the foundation will be for your desire.
Of course, the word desire evokes some questions. Who should be the object of our deepest desires? In our media-driven environment, superficial attributes such as beauty, financial freedom, and athletic abilities are often overvalued. In fact, it may be dangerous to choose your partner based on such unreliable, even accidental attributes. Other qualities such as hard work, intelligence, and the ability to learn are more long-lasting. After all, we are looking for successful, fulfilling relationships. We cannot overlook the deep and steady traits that are so crucial for meaningful life: compassion, kindness, generosity, and the ability to succeed.
Simply said, our conversation here is about the sacrifice that we need to undergo in order to find a long-lasting connection with the right person – with someone who will become a source of inspiration to us and contribute to our emotional and ethical growth. We want to find the person who will bring out the best in us and accept who we truly are.
How we can achieve the goal of “first deserve; then desire?” For now, you just need to remember that life is not a restaurant where you sit comfortably in candlelight and order wonderful French dishes and cold bottles of champagne. In such a restaurant, you enjoy an exquisite meal and a luxurious desert — and then you pay with a credit card. This is not how real-life works. Life is not a restaurant where you get what you want and pay later. Life is like a Chinese buffet where a huge array of fantastic dishes are spread out before you in an amazing variety of possibilities. All those choices are here and they are available right now. But you need to pay first – then, and only then, can you enjoy the meal.
What is the lesson to take away from this? Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.