Dating, being single, and searching for love is a Heroe’s Journey. Your journey is your story. Stories tell others who you are; they help you reconstruct what has happened in the past; and they help you make sense of your experiences. If you are not aware of your stories, however, and how you weave your attitude into your life’s events, your stories may be telling a lot more about you than you realize.
To be single and to date requires you to share about yourself. If you hear yourself saying, “There’s no one out there,” and, “I’ll never find anyone I really want,” these statements reveal that you have listened to your doubts and have become stuck, thinking love is hopeless. However, we have the power to change our story. In fact, each of us has the potential to live a unique and even inspirational story.
Joseph Campbell articulated the heroe’s journey in his book of mythology,
, in 1949. When George Lucas wrote Star Wars, he relied on Campbell’s blueprint, which he had read when he was in college, and which he used to craft his epic movie.
Here is an abbreviated version of
and how it applies to singles, dating, and finding your love. Everyone of us lives out this journey in one way or another.
Single, dating, and looking for love, every hero (you) hears the call. At first, you may resist it, but you are forced to deal with it. You are pulled from the known (life as you’ve known it) and you set out on a compelling quest (to find your true love). This call could have come from any number of events: the death of a loved one, a birthday, a job transfer, a divorce, an interesting speaker, an article, or a realization that your life doesn’t work for you anymore. Something shifts in your world and you know you have to change.
As a courageous single, you cross a threshold where you leap or fall into a different universe. You set out on your way to find what your soul knows it must have. At times this search feels dangerous (getting your heart broken), rambling (there are no exact road maps), lost (the territory is bewildering), and confusing (there are SO many different messages).
Along the way, the hero (you) encounters mentors, friends, and teachers. You also have to pay attention to the tempters (who tempt you to settle for less), and to the people who distract you (who do not want you to change), and the people who dismiss your sincere search (“Do you REALLY think you are going to find true love?”).
Being single, you are committed to your search. You meet people, put yourself out there, and start to date. Soon, you come upon trials and tests, which you pass, and which gives you the confidence to continue. (You start to be social and successful.) Your journey inevitably comes to an enormous obstacle.
You do everything in your power to conquer what happens next, (fear of losing your new romantic interest) and are sure that you will be triumphant…but alas…
(You thought you had found THE ONE only to discover that this person wasn’t “it”.)
This is where many people give up and head back to square one. (“See! I told you! Someone hurt me again.”) But as the hero, you rest, heal your wounds, AND, get up and try again. And again. And again. Until you succeed.
As a brave single, you learn that great lessons never come easy, that you had to do it yourself, and yet you couldn’t do it alone. In the process of this growth and change, you are scarred. In time, you find the object of your search–which may or may not look like what you thought you were looking for originally. If you persevere, your journey gives you character and depth and love deeper than you could have imagined.
This comes after you have been transformed. You find a certain peace and incorporate the lessons and wisdom learned into your life. You no longer feel the imbalance that caused you to start out alone in the first place. Your compelling longing has been met.
However, there will be another CALL someday (work challenges, family, community) and the lessons learned in this journey will support you.
Eventually, you return to those in your life and share your story. This is your gift. Your journey helps others accomplish theirs.
If you are single and dating, is it time for you to claim the hero within? Love is waiting for you.