Book Review: Seeking Soulmate
seeking Soulmate: Ditching the dating game and find real connection
Us 20-somethings have relationships issues. We have relationship goals, but do not want to work toward them and we love talking about relationships indirectly but are never fully accepting of the trials and tribulations that accompany dating. More importantly we don't ourselves accountable for the failures of our dating experiences. I often find myself in the self -improvement section at Barnes and Noble because I am constantly trying to find ways to better myself and be a better partner. With an expository, narrative style of writing Seeking Soulmate: Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection gives solutions for common dating crises that we find ourselves in that often hinders our growth in the dating realm and as a people.
Compared to other books I have read this book helps readers conduct a problem solving search within themselves as opposed to trying to figure out the thinking and actions of their potential partner(s).
Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection
Relationship Development and Maintenance
The book is broken into four parts;
Part I: What is Mindful Dating ?
Part II: The Principles of Mindful Dating
Part III: Preparing for Mindful Dating
Part IV: Practicing Mindful Dating
From Part I: The most important piece of information I want to share is the act of being aware of your mind, body reactions, feelings and behavior in relation to dating.
"Mindful dating can help make the process a lot less stressful and more enjoyable. It addresses the negative thoughts, self-destructive behaviors , and lack of awareness that we all find ourselves experiencing from time to time, and it provides you with useless tools to be able to manage these problems." (Ajjan, 15)
Ajjan says that all feelings are valid and have a purpose. Even the uncomfortable feelings.
I lied. The most important piece of information I learned what a "Dating Trap" that we fall into and the Dating Devices that are relationship killers that we need to be aware of. A Dating Trap is a hazardous act of engaging in similar behavioral patterns around dating or unhealthy relationships due to lack of awareness, unresolved issues, automatic thoughts and core beliefs. - (Ajjan, 32)
I cannot tell you how many times I landed in the same situation not understanding why. Thank you Chamin !
Part II: Dating in the Moment. I cannot put it any simpler than that. Learning to be flexible despite having seemingly immovable plans for the future. Along with the Dating Devices that you'll have to read to find about, were the Dating Distortions. I cannot tell you how often I have had thoughts that I have distorted that have ended up ruining the moment and driving me crazy, Ajjan provides the most common Dating Distortions and solutions to help ease busy minds.
Part III: As much as we don't want to admit, sometimes we date to fill a void. This chapter touched me. "Mindfulness also teaches us to focus on the present moment. When we are feeling worthless and down on ourselves, we tend to think about other negative experiences that can make our self-esteem take a dive. By focusing on the her and now and all that is present in this moment, we can gently focus on ourselves away from the habit of ruminating on old situations." - (Ajjan, 125)
I almost cried on the train. Highlighter in hand I marked this page because I has hit rock bottom and felt like I was un-dateable and allowed my negative experienceS in previous relationships and sitautionships define my worth. This chapter helped me to un-bookmark those negative thoughts and rather take note of the lesson learned in order to move forward rather than gather negative thoughts and drown in a pool of self-pity and defeat. Thank you Chamin.
Part IV: This part just helps make better, practice makes perfect, or close enough, because there is no such thing as perfect with dating. There are helpful tips in this part that help to put the learnings and principles of the other chapters in place.
What drew me to this book besides the yellow cover and learning that the author was a Californian turned Brooklynite, was the title, "Seeking Soulmate," at the time I was doing a lot of soul searching after I had broken up with my boyfriend and I was trying to understand what was it that I just was not grasping about the dating game. After reading other books trying to understand the male psyche I decided to try and take a different route and seek the answers from within. Additionally in regards to the graphics, I felt that the toothbrush was a clever touch. In relationships a simple household object like a toothbrush has grown to symbolize commitment.
J Cole agrees in the lyrics "No Role Modelz"
I want a real love, dark skinned Aunt Viv love/that Jada and that Will love/that leave a toothbrush at your crib love
Tooth brushes clearly are a forever thing, so simple yet so complex...I had to read.
How does the book affect me ?
Honestly, this book changed my entire thinking, and a real mind alteration for me only comes once every season. The most important concept that I took from reading this book was the art of being mindful and living and dating in the present. I am a planner and very future oriented person. Previously in relationships if I felt that I could not immediately see a future I felt that I was wasting my time and the guy's time so I would end things and continue my quest looking for perfection now so that I felt that my future would only get better and be secure in all aspects, romantically, physically, mentally and financially. I learned that everything is not a forever thing, but while it is a thing, let it be a good thing.
Has my opinions on the topic changed ?
Absolutely. I used to think dating was completely a game that I had to win by playing carefully to get others to make the moves that I wanted them to, but I now feel that dating is more of a collaged experience to create a greater image. A greater image of self. The people we date, teaches us more about ourselves and in trying to manipulate the moves of other we end up messing up our own naturally movements in reactions that supply crucial notes for life's lessons.
Links & Thinks
More about the author
Chamin Ajjan, Clinical/Social Work Therapist MS, LCSW, ACT