How to Cut Out the Stress that Steals Your Peace

By Diana Vaden

Photo by Skyla Design

Photo by Skyla Design

Sometimes the best way to find peace is to cut out the thing that’s stealing it.

I decided to kiss dating goodbye. It caused too much stress. I spent a disproportionate amount of time and mental energy on making a date happen. It was exhausting — trying to decide to use an app or to just let it happen spontaneously.

If I chose the app approach, then I dithered over which one would help me truly connect with quality men, instead of turning the whole thing into a swipey-swipe game of trivial pursuit (pun intended). Then once I figured out which app to use, the process of writing a profile and choosing a picture produced more anxiety. I spent an hour taking a selfie that was attractive but not intimidating, and highlighted my best features but still communicated a willingness to be vulnerable. Oh my goodness, I have a headache just thinking about it.

Deep insecurities began bubbling up to the surface as I waited with bated breath for match alerts: What if no one messages me? Why are the stakes so high? Do I even want a relationship? What if I’m not ready? Why is no one messaging me?! Why am I freaking out about this?!?!

Finally, I knew something had to give when “dating” started to erode the quality of my friendships. Every conversation I had with a female friend turned into a diatribe about why dating in New York felt impossible, a selfish interview on “how she met her man,” or an exasperated emotional monologue about what I needed to do to change my approach to meeting men. Trying to get a date was turning me into an exhausting friend.

DOING SOMETHING DRASTIC

So, I did something drastic.

For one full year, I kissed dating goodbye (again, pun intended). I deleted the app. I stopped listening to podcasts on dating. I discontinued reading articles and books on dating. I refrained from asking friends if they would set me up with one of their eligible guy friends. And although I didn’t do this perfectly, I tried my darnedest to stop talking at great lengths about dating.

MAKING SPACE FOR PEACE

For a year, I was the weird girl on a “dating fast.” But, it was what I needed to do to seek peace, and maintain it. As the year unfolded, I discovered how much time I had wasted by worrying about dating. When I took it off my list of priorities, I made room for many other life-giving thoughts and activities.

On a practical level, it was a productive year. I finished writing a play. I completed pilot episodes for a TV and web series, and I began brainstorming and developing Radiant NYC with my dear friend Judy.

On a relational level, when I spent time with friends we were able to cover many more topics of conversation. Instead of only talking about men, we talked about faith, dreams, creative projects, business ideas, fitness, health, family, and politics.

On a spiritual level, my prayers even changed. I spent less time talking to God about my loneliness and desire for a husband and began to discover more about his vision for my life. I began to ask him for deeper emotional healing.

And on an emotional level, without all the brain-chatter about dating, I spent time reflecting, journaling, and pondering the root of my anxiety. For me, success in dating was tied to my sense of worthiness. But once I took dating off my agenda, I had to come face-to-face with the question: do you believe you are worthy? I wrestled with this question for a whole year. Embracing our worth takes time, but it is necessary for the health of our hearts.

What started as a drastic act turned into a year-long journey of learning how to love myself and receiving love from the One who made me. He had already placed people and opportunities in my life to affirm my worth.

By cutting out the thing that stole my peace, I started the necessary journey of being at peace with myself.

Is there something in your life stealing your peace? Would you consider “kissing it goodbye” for awhile?