For FHE a few weeks ago, we had a marriage and family therapist come and speak to us in a little workshop about dating and relationships and the like. It's not a single's ward unless you are bringing these topics up on a daily basis.
Jonathan D. Sherman was the therapist. He travels around doing presentations and stuff like this all the time, and does a really good job. I was more than impressed. He titled his presentation "ATTRACT THE BEST".
The first part of the seminar covered a few myths about dating and relationships. A lot of them, I knew were false, but a few of them were received as great reminders. For instance, did you know that the divorce statistic within the church is really not different than the rest of the US? I didn't know that. I had always been told that because the church emphasizes eternal marriages, that divorce was less prevalent in the church than out. It's not. It's about the same. Other myths included: There aren't any good ones left out there. Good chemistry is essential. Love is all you need - if you love someone enough, everything will work out.
When talking about the last one, Sherman used the example of a person applying for a job. In the interview, if it was found out that the person was completely unqualified and had no experience for the position, the employer would never say, "Oh, well, we'll take you on anyway because you love the job enough."
After we went through the myths, we were told that there is a "Secret Dating Pool" where all the great candidates for dating are located, and it's a trick to discover where they are. For one thing, people in the Secret Dating Pool don't do unhealthy. Unhealthy repels these people. Which means that you have to do a lot of self-work before you can discover where this magic pool of dating potential hangs out. And if you aren't looking for the pool, then you are just looking for the "best of the worst - the least idiot of the idiots."
I keep wanting to call Mr. Sherman, Dr. Sherman.... I'm not sure if he has that title or not. But from henceforth in this post, I will call him that. Even though, I am pretty sure his credentials don't include a doctorate. I just don't know what else to call him.
To begin your self-work, Dr. Sherman recommends that you ask, "Do you enjoy the company of you?" If there is any self-loathing or negative thoughts rattling around, that's not attractive. And you will never be admitted in to the Secret Pool. There are no "have tos" in life, which means that you aren't going to change because you have to. You change because you want to and you are ready to and you are working to change. "Most people don't change because they are shoulding all over themselves." You change by choice, not because you should change.
I really liked the way he explained the change process. As you go through the process, you are bound to mess up, but that's OK. The drawing on the left shows that as you put time into changing, it takes a lot of work. And then you end up reverting to your old self, and you bounce off the wall, going back to your original position. But then you don't give up. And you begin again and take the time and work to change and you fall victim to your old habits and bounce back. But as you continue to put the time and effort into changing, the amount of time between reverting back and making progress lessens, and eventually you make the realization and your transformation is complete, leaving you more time to think about other things. A lot of people will give up when they feel as though they will inevitably and always be whatever it is that you are trying to change. But if we realize that this is just part of the process, and that more work and time is needed, we can eventually become the person we want to be -- eventually becoming a more well-rounded, healthy person.
In order to decide what things we want to work on, we need to sit down and decide, "What is the truth vs. what is the lie." Meaning, we need to sit and look at all the things that we think about ourselves, and determine whether or not those things are lies we tell ourselves or if they are true, we can start to begin the change process. Furthermore, we should be looking at this list and listing out the truths that are good, too. We should be telling ourselves, "I'm good enough for God, and that's good enough for anyone." I think I'm guilty of selling myself short more often than not. Dr. Sherman says that the statement: I AM A CHILD OF GOD should blow our minds everyday.