Special Episode: How to Find Joy While Dating

The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:

Jodi: Welcome! Thanks for tuning in to this special episode of the podcast. It’s a treat to have Sarika Jain as my guest on the show and to talk with her about finding joy while dating. What an important topic. After all, who doesn’t want joy in their lives?

In an ideal world, the entire dating experience would be fun, exciting and joy-filled. But that’s probably not how you, and how most people, would describe their dating lives at all times. It certainly wasn’t how I felt about mine 24/7. Instead, given all the time it can suck up when you’re doing online dating and dating apps, dating can feel like a second job.

And we all know that dating can be filled with emotional highs and lows that those lows can drag us down. Even so, dating doesn’t have to be approached as a chore and it doesn’t have to drag you down. It can be approached joyfully and Sarika is going to help us figure out how.

But first, a little about Sarika. Sarika Jain is a leader in love strategy and transformational coaching, and is the creator of the Sacred Soulmate System. She’s been called a “Relationship Sorceress”. Over the last 10 years, Sarika has dedicated her professional life to helping savvy and successful women heal their relationship with their inner selves so they can get on the path to finding love that lasts.

Her unique approach encompasses everything from uncovering relationship patterns, to practicing yoga, all with the goal of inspiring women to live the lives they’ve dreamed about – the lives they deserve! Sarika can reach women like no one else because she has been where they are – where you are. After experiencing the ups and downs of dating in NYC for years, and even a broken engagement, she began a journey of healing and self-love. She met her husband soon after.

I am honored that Sarika is a First Date Stories’ featured contributor. You can find Sarika’s articles on a wide range of meaningful topics at FirstDateStories.com. They cover such subjects as Four Reasons You Attract Unavailable Men and How to Deal with Negative Thinking When You’re Single. Welcome, Sarika! Thanks for coming on the show.

Sarika: Thank you so much for having me, Jodi. It is such a pleasure and an honor.

Jodi: Let’s just dive in. I’m always curious about the professional and personal course that people’s lives take that lead them to becoming either a relationship or a love coach. What’s your story?

Sarika: Well, I became a relationship coach because that was the area that I struggled the most in, and the one that I was the most interested in. Around 10 years ago, I started coaching women as a side hustle of my day job in the area of love. I just had this idea that if we have a positive mindset, if we’re very strategic, if we’re consistent in our actions, then we can create the relationship that we want. We can date in a healthy way and meet the man of our dreams.

I was single at that time, but I was also just very optimistic about finding love. But I will say that I had somewhat of a Type A framework, the way I was looking at it. I was like, “Okay, if I go on five dates a week, of which two turned out to be second dates, of which one turned out to be a third date….” I was just very like numbers-oriented. It did almost feel like a second job. Yeah, looking back, there was no joy in it. There was a lot of hope. But also, I realized that some of my dating patterns were fear-based.

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Jodi: I can understand. Fear creeps into the dating sphere for everybody who’s out in the dating world making themselves vulnerable in the way that dating requires you to be.

Sarika: Yeah, exactly. It’s vulnerable. I was in my late 20s, early 30s, and there was a lot of pressure for me to meet someone. My biological clock was ticking. Deep down – now I realize this but then I didn’t – but deep down I had shame. I had guilt. I had fear of being unworthy. I had some underlying issues that I hadn’t really resolved. So I was dating from a place of scarcity and also just being very ambitious and driven about it.

When I got engaged to a wonderful man and he broke up with me after our engagement, I had a wake-up call. It was almost as if I just wanted to end my life. I was just like, “I’m just done. I’m done with this whole dating thing. I’ve gone on a hundred first dates. I’ve dated so many men. I’ve had my heart broken so many times.”

I just seemed to be attracting the same patterns over and over and I was just sick of it. Just done. As I was crying in my sheets, a voice came from my heart that said I needed spiritual healing. Being in the corporate world, I had no idea what that meant. But the very next day, I encountered a spiritual coach. She told me that I was blocked, that my heart was blocked, that my sacral chakra was blocked, and that I was almost like a magnet for heartbreak because of my toxic thinking.

I had no idea that that was the case because I was always this happy-go-lucky go-getter optimistic girl. I didn’t realize that I was carrying a load inside of me and trying to meet other people’s expectations, trying to live a life based on the life that I saw my friends and peers having. I somehow just always wanted to meet expectations of others. I didn’t realize that. In doing that, I was settling in the process.

As I was kind of having this revelation, I went through a process of deep personal transformation. It was in that transformation, as I was facing my grief, my despair, my devastation after that breakup and watching my life kind of just fall apart, my expectations fall apart, that something started opening and lifting inside of me.

I began meditation. I began yoga. I began exploring self-love and healing practices and I began to have a deeper understanding of where my patterns were coming from. Just that awareness and learning about what love is, what joy is, what presence is, all of it instilled this level of joy in me that I’d never felt before.

It was in that process that I began to start going out and having fun, having a sense of freedom within me, going to events that I’ve never been to before, kind of like dating myself, learning like what turns me on, what gives me pleasure and sort of exploring other aspects of myself that I’d kind of hidden in a box because I was trying to be this perfect girl, this perfect woman.

In that process of self-discovery and healing, I began to attract men everywhere. I’d go to an event and a really awesome guy would ask me out. He was definitely much better than the guys I was attracting before. In that process I met my husband in a meditation circle. I do think he was very attracted to this joy that I was emanating. That was so pivotal for me in terms of how I wanted to live my life. That was a word that connected us both, the word “Joy”.

Jodi: Joy is such a powerful concept. What do you mean when you describe joy? What is your definition of joy?

Sarika: I think my definition of joy is being turned on, being turned on by myself, my life. Being grateful, finding joy in other people’s happiness. In Buddhism they call it “Sympathetic Joy,” where you’re truly happy for someone else and their happiness. It’s a state of being. It’s one of presence and a sort of a freedom; a freedom from heavy thoughts, heavy feelings. I would say joy is just this, it’s a state of being in which you feel connected.

Jodi: Were you cognizant of how you felt at this stage walking into those events, going into those rooms in comparison to how you felt before you had this self-healing experience?

Sarika: I was conscious of it. I did feel the sense of freedom within me. I’m like, “Oh, wow! Maybe I don’t need to meet a partner to be happy.” I mean, it would be lovely to meet my soul mate. But I didn’t have that sense of urgency anymore. I was willing to be more playful. So, I think having that playful attitude really did help me. I was cognizant that I wasn’t taking everything as seriously as I did before.

Jodi: Would you say that you, through this process, fell in love with the true you, the real you?

Sarika: Yeah, that’s exactly it. I was falling in love with the real me. I was falling in love with life. It was almost like an enchantment.

Jodi: You spoke about you and your husband meeting around joy, that it was at the center of what attracted the two of you. Can you speak a little bit more about that? And also why joy is so important while dating?

Sarika: Yeah. I don’t know what it is about that word, and the Sanskrit word is “Mudita.” We were both like, “Mudita, that’s it!” I think we’ve grown up in heavy cultures. We’re both Indian. There’s a lot of expectations on people, on young people, on men, on women. We just never thought that you could lead a life that was in the present moment, one that was about like holding space for each other and self-awareness and joy; that life could be enjoyed through the simple pleasures. And we both really loved exploring that while we were dating each other.

The irony is that we weren’t dating the first time we met. We got to know each other. We became friends and he started to let me know that he was interested. And of course, I was a little weary. I was dating other men. I was afraid of commitment, but I was still trying to be present and joyful with anyone that I was hanging out with.

It wasn’t even just about him. It was about how I wanted to approach life and the people that I interacted with. I think that sense of goodwill and generosity and presence and kindness, it became a basis in our relationship. Those core values are what resonated for both of us and joy was that for us. Joy was one of them for us.

After going through my own process of being a dating coach, finding love within my life, having my heart broken and then learning how to find love and joy within myself and then meeting my soulmate, I realized that I had something special to offer to women. It was about integrating all these experiences and creating a process for women to date and attract love in a conscious, joyful way. That’s what I currently offer as a love and relationship coach.

Jodi: When women are out in the dating world, they’re not always feeling joyful. There are roadblocks when you’re single and dating. Can you speak to what some of those roadblocks are and how women can take action to find that joy within and with the person they’re dating?

Sarika: Absolutely! That’s a great question. I mean, let’s be honest, right? When you’re single, there are fears of being unworthy, or fears of scarcity, or not having the love that you’ve always been dreaming about, because let’s face it all of us have dreamt about having romantic, lifelong partnerships. Most women I meet dream about that. When we don’t have it, we don’t have the experience of it, when we’ve gone through heartbreak after heartbreak, or the reality is the biological clock is ticking, it can create a sense of scarcity. It can create fears like, “What if I end up alone?” This is probably the number one fear that women have. And then the sense of guilt, the shame that dating can bring.

Many women that I coach are ethnic in background. Or even if they’re non-ethnic, they’re still concerned about the same things. “My parents want to see me find someone.” “My mom calls me all the time and asks “When are you going to meet someone?”

The expectations can feel really heavy for women. And finally, I think the big elephant in the room is, if a woman wants to have her own child, biological child, when she reaches the ages of 30s or 40s, she is looking for Mr. Right and the realization of that dream can seem further and further away. All of these create a lack of joy while dating. It can make dating feel like a chore, or something we have to do.

Jodi: Based on what you said about overcoming fear – the fear of being alone is one of the ways to find the joy within. It helps you find who you are, and be at peace with who you are. It helps you cultivate joy from within. Doesn’t it?

Sarika: So in my case, it was my fears becoming true that help me on that path. I was finally facing the reality that, even though my worst nightmare came true, which is I was single after a broken engagement, and I went through the process of grieving and sort of self-discovery, that is when I actually started to see joy glimmer, showing its light in my life.

In a way, you’re right; facing our fears can be the path to joy. But I would say it’s not easy to do that. If a woman is doing this alone without any support, the fears can become overwhelming.

Jodi: I understand. Yes.

Sarika: Yeah.

Jodi: This is not easy stuff.

Sarika: This is not easy stuff and it actually is all related to childhood wounds. Our wounds from past relationships that add up and just keep… it’s almost like a trauma that’s built up in the body. It’s not a conscious thing, or an analytical thing. It’s body-based trauma that gets stored up. That’s unfortunately what most of us have when we’re out there and dating.

Jodi: So what are the keys to finding joy while you’re dating, and to becoming a more joyful dater?

Sarika: Great question! Well, I have five keys to enjoying the dating process and to becoming a joyful dater. The first one is presence. Being in the present moment. It’s the hardest skill to cultivate, by the way. I remember I was always stuck between the past and the future and always thinking about my future. When I would go on a date, I would already be wondering, “Is he the one? Are we going to have like two kids together? Is he going to be successful enough?”

Jodi: Yes. I get that.

Sarika: That kills the energy and the potential of the date. And it’s a turnoff for the man. It’s a turnoff for you. It’s hard to feel turned on if you’re in your head thinking about the past or the future. So I really think that cultivating presence and learning to find that stillness and that joy within yourself is first and foremost.

Jodi: It makes sense. It also puts so much pressure on the person you’re out with, even subconsciously, as well as pressure on yourself when you’re not in the present.

Sarika: Absolutely. Yeah. And along with that, I would say view dating as a self-awareness and a self-discovery journey. So when you’re out dating guys, observe what patterns are coming up for you. Why do you react the way you do. What fears are arising. That takes the pressure off of how he’s behaving, whether he’s “the One.” And it’s more around, “Wow! How could I use this process to A, enjoy myself more?”

I still think about the dates I’ve gone on in the past, before I got married. I had so many fabulous ones. Maybe they weren’t with Mr. Right, but they were still fun and eye-opening. And then the second is, if you are working with a therapist or a coach, you can use the process of dating to bring awareness to your thought patterns, your behaviors. So each time you learn about your triggers and kind of become a better person, become the lover that you want to attract, then the chances of you meeting Mr. Right keep getting higher as well.

Jodi: Can you go into that a little more? Because I’m not entirely following you in terms of bringing awareness to your thought processes. What do you mean by that?

Sarika: Yeah. For example, I remember I used to be kind of controlling. I used to be very judgmental of men and I wasn’t even aware that I was and I also had a lot of self-critical thoughts. I’ve noticed that this is a pattern for so many women. Our thoughts are negative and self-critical. Just noticing what thoughts are rising while you’re dating is so important because then you’re able to kind of go back and diagnose, like, “What’s coming up for you? What patterns are you creating?”

Some of my thoughts had to do with unworthiness, which I didn’t realize was so prominent in my thinking. I was afraid that I was getting too old, that there weren’t any men out there left that were my age. So then, when I would go out on a date, I would feel critical of the men I was out on a date with. Those were all self-sabotaging behaviors that zap the joy out of the dating process and didn’t allow me to be present, open and curious.

Jodi: When your thought process went in that direction, what things did you do to shut it down?

Sarika: The most important thing is to cultivate presence outside of dating: meditation, mindfulness, being in nature, reducing your thoughts, becoming aware of your thoughts in the first place. All of these are important practices to start bringing yourself to the present moment.

Jodi: The first key is presence, being focused in the moment and aware of your thought process and the negative talk. What is the second key to bringing joy into your dating life?

Sarika: The second key is date more than one man.

Jodi: Aha!

Sarika: Yeah. Women have this misconception that once they find a good guy, or the guy that they think is Mr. Right, they can take their profiles down and they can just focus on this one guy, this one relationship. I think that’s a huge no-no. There are several reasons.

The first one is that you put a lot of pressure on yourself in the relationship when you do that and it starts creating all your fear-based patterns, like, “My God, why hasn’t he called me? Is he rejecting me? Is he seeing other women?” The thoughts start going haywire when you’re just focusing on this one person and I’m talking about early, like the early parts of dating someone. I would say, no matter what, make time to go out with multiple men. You don’t have to commit to anyone, I believe, for six months, but every woman is different. Some women I coach meet a guy and they’re sure. The moment that they meet the guy, they want to be with him and they take their profiles down. That’s fine. That’s totally up to you.

But I would say, in general, use this opportunity of being single to date multiple men and get to know yourself in the process, like what’s really important to you. It also allows you to feel joyful because you’re not feeling pressured, or the person isn’t feeling pressured in the process.

Jodi: Because you’re not banking everything on that one person.

Sarika: Exactly.

Jodi: It’s just hanging out with somebody, getting to know them. It’s a night out and it’s an afternoon out. It’s something along those lines.

Sarika: Absolutely. I remember when I first started dating Christian, I told him, “You know, I’m dating other guys and you should feel free to date other women too.” And he was surprised. But I know that he thought I was super hot and sexy for being so open and carefree about it, that I wasn’t just settling for him because he checked the boxes on my list, that I was actually exercising my right to enjoy getting to know different men.

Jodi: Yeah, you were being out and about and living your life and having fun and not waiting at home for him to call or text or stop by or something.

Sarika: Totally. So yeah, it makes you even more sexy to men when you are dating other men. Men know this.

Jodi: So what is the third key then to finding joy while you’re dating?

Sarika: Yeah. The third key is to be yourself. Many of us are conditioned to just talk a certain way, behave a certain way with men and not really share authentically what’s coming up for us. And I know that some of it requires skills, like how you communicate effectively. Most of us haven’t grown up in a household where our parents communicated effectively. We don’t know how to communicate and so a lot of times women don’t share their truth. They don’t share their vulnerabilities. They don’t share their needs or their feelings. And so that can zap the joy as well because you’re hiding, you’re repressing your different sides of yourself, and you’re not able to just be yourself.

When you’re yourself, another person can feel free to be themselves. It’s almost like you’re giving permission to another person to be themselves as well, which is very liberating, very freeing. I remember when I started dating more joyfully, I would invite guys to events that I thought were cool, but that the guy might not have thought was cool. But he came along because I wanted to do it.

I was trying to just be more of myself. Previously, I would expect a guy to wine and dine me on his terms, take me to a nice restaurant and have a glass of wine, have some food. It was very structured and kind of a boxed experience, an experience that wasn’t really truly me.

Jodi: To be authentically yourself can be very challenging for people. You’re asking listeners to take a big leap, to make themselves vulnerable.

Sarika: Yeah, finding ways of expressing your authentic self. It is a skill and it is a process, like you’re saying. So I agree that it shouldn’t be taken so lightly, that it is a process to be honored. How to find your authentic self, how share it with others.

Jodi: The way you described it speaks to self-confidence because you were asking men to do things with you that you wanted to do regardless of whether or not they were coming with you.

Sarika: Exactly! I think that’s an important point. So, 86 percent of girls – and this is a statistic I read, I don’t remember if it’s entirely accurate – but a large number of girls grow up with low self-esteem. That’s part of our culture right now. As women, we’re taught to be self-effacing. We’re taught to be critical of ourselves. Self-esteem is a challenge that’s so many women face, even the smart, beautiful, successful women that I meet. I found that building one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and really owning your sexy, authentic, true self, is the gateway to bringing more authenticity in to dates.

Jodi: And it helps you be yourself.

Sarika: Yeah, and helps you be yourself unapologetically.

Jodi: I love that, unapologetically!

Sarika: Yeah.

Jodi: That’s how we all should be living. Let’s move to the fourth ingredient, the fourth key to finding joy while you’re dating.

Sarika: The fourth key is to enjoy the dates and don’t take dating too personally.

Jodi: This is so important!

Sarika: Totally, right?

Jodi: It’s essential in order to be able to date for a long time. You can’t take it all personally. Please, share your thoughts about how one doesn’t take it personally, when it is such a personal thing to be doing.

Sarika: One thing we don’t realize is that rejection is part of the dating game, right? We’re going to keep experiencing rejection, either rejecting them or them rejecting us until we finally meet Mr. Right. Everyone faces rejection, men and women. It’s not personal. Dating isn’t personal. It’s just the process. It’s a very vulnerable process in which you are finally meeting the partner that is right and compatible for you.

In that vein, it’s important to create the mindset that, when a guy doesn’t call you back or if you feel like you want to end things with a man, it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. It’s something that’s an important part of the process. I once met a woman who refused to go on dates because she was so afraid of rejecting men and being rejected. I was like, “Listen, you have nothing to lose.” It’s part of the process. And if you can just go on a date without any expectations and just have a fun, a good time, then you’ll end up being able to show up on a date joyfully.

The other thing is that I talked about not writing off men for superficial reasons. As long as you don’t take each date to be so serious and so personal, then you can go on multiple dates with the guy. Who knows? Maybe on a third or fourth date you’ll find that you have some resonance with him.

Jodi: Be out there enjoying. Just being with someone, doing something together, is what you’re recommending.

Sarika: Yeah. Here’s the thing. If you aren’t interested in a man, it’s okay to let him know. I think women are afraid of saying “no” to a man. We’ve been kind of conditioned to not hurt men, or to not say no to men. In reality, I think a man will understand if you two don’t resonate, as long as you say it in a compassionate way.

Jodi: Do you have any tips on words to use?

Sarika: I think that’s really important. You can tell the guy, “Look, I really enjoyed meeting you.” Be honest about it. Maybe you did actually enjoy meeting someone going on a date with them, but you could say, “You know, I just don’t think our values resonate, or that we resonate right now.” And that’s it. I don’t think it has to be a longer explanation than that.

Jodi: Stay away from the “I just want to be friends” line.

Sarika: Yeah.

Jodi: Or do you recommend women use that line still?

Sarika: No. If you don’t want to be friends, you don’t have to be friends. If you do want to be, then sure, say that. And listen, maybe this guy that you’ve gone on a date with could be good for another friend of yours. You never know, right? So again, just treat each man as a human being. He’s not an object. You’re not an object. We’re each sentient beings who deserve compassion. He’s being vulnerable just like you. So having compassion for him, having compassion for yourself, and being honest is totally okay. And in that vein, you won’t take the whole process so seriously.

Jodi: That is great advice. Do you have another key to finding joy while dating?

Sarika: The fifth key is to clear your inner blocks. I think it’s so important. When I was dating before, I didn’t realize that I had so much built-up, heaviness in my heart and that I wasn’t really as open to men as I thought I was. I was kind of distrustful. Having that block within me made me create patterns with men that were very painful.

It’s really important that in the process of dating, you are aware of the patterns that you’re seeing and possibly if you can work with a therapist or a coach to help uncover these patterns and release those patterns, so that you can start to attract higher vibrational men and feel more free, more goddessy while you’re dating.

I think it’s law of attraction in the end. If you’re open, if your heart is open, if you really are true to yourself, if you’re joyful, you’re on the path to meeting Mr. Right.

Jodi: And that’s the path we want everybody listening to this conversation to be on.

Sarika: Listen, you’re a magnificent woman. Any woman who’s listening to this podcast needs to know that he is absolutely magnificent. You are worthy of beautiful, lifelong, soulmate love. When you really step into your radiance, when you really step into how to be joyful, you can begin to be on the path of attracting a man that you can practice joy together. I think that’s what we all want.

Jodi: That is what we all want; those of us who are looking for that lifelong partner and lifelong companionship. Let’s recap. You’ve covered five keys to finding joy while dating. Please quickly recap what those five are.

Sarika: The first one is to stay focused on the present moment. So, cultivating presence in your life. The second one is to date more than one man. So, date multiple men. And while dating multiple men, just enjoy that process. The third tip is to be free to be yourself. Be authentic, be honest, bring your whole self into the dating process. The fourth tip is to enjoy the dates and don’t take dating personally. And the fifth one is to clear your inner blocks around love.

Jodi: Thank you for sharing those five ingredients to finding joy. You’ve given us great detail on each of them. You’ve given us actions that we can take to bring those elements to life in our lives. Now I know you have a quiz. You created this quiz to help women learn about their goddess archetype. You spoke earlier about feeling more goddessy and this quiz helps women figure out what type of men they’re attracting. Could you tell us more about this quiz and where women can find it?

Sarika: I created this fun quiz where women can find out their Indian goddess archetype and get an understanding of what patterns they seem to be facing with men and how attractive and magnetic you are to men and sort of just tips for how to approach your love life. It’s almost like a little bit of a fun love assessment.

You can find the quiz on my website. If you just go to www.sarikajain.com. I have a link to my Love Magnet Quiz up top.

Jodi: Listeners will also be able to find that link on FirstDateStories.com, on the page where they will find this episode in the show notes section. For the women who are listening and want to learn more about you and your practice, and what else you have going on, what should they do?

Sarika: Well, I would say the number one thing is to go onto my website and take the quiz. I’m based out of New York, but I take clients across the country. I offer complimentary discovery sessions. You can apply for a discovery session through my website. You’ll see a link to that on my website.

Thank you so much Sarika for such thoughtful and such actionable advice. I really have enjoyed having you on the program with me today.

Sarika: I’m so glad that I could join this conversation today. Thank you so much Jodi for this opportunity.

Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

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