Over dumplings and noodles, I found myself deep in conversation with aerospace engineer-turned writer–turned startup founder, Jingjing Tian in Hell’s Kitchen. Jingjing is an endearing, incredibly warm woman, with a natural beauty and an enthusiasm to her movements. She is currently, individually taking on a major field of the entrepreneurial world: apps, most specifically the business of dating.
Jingjing believes that we’ve lost the human aspect of dating, that it’s become boiled down to statistical, impersonal profile pages, without room for the most lovable parts of an person: their idiosyncrasies. So her app, HeyU, uses videos as dating profile introductions, helping one’s true character comes across.
But we’re not talking business. This day, we questioning faith. Not the idea of faith itself, as in ‘what do you believe’…
But having faith in one’s self. The kind of faith in yourself that gets you to show up for a first date. If you have any friends on Tinder, than you surely know a few people who’ve backed out of a date out of fear or anxiety. So let’s dive head first:
How or why does person have faith in themselves? Where does it come from?
What gives us the confidence to go on a date? To follow our dreams?
Faith in myself is a conundrum I don’t often find myself doubting. Diagnosis was my first real test of personal faith, and I had to have total faith in my ability to beat it, even if my conviction wasn’t so convincing to others. Since a little voice in the back of my head said “fight, you can do it!” and I trusted it through to survival, I put a lot of weight in that voice, in myself, and in the idea of trusting my gut-level judgment.
But everyday situations are different. When the stakes aren’t life-and-death, they are typically more relevant to our reputation and or feelings of worth. So when Jingjing asked me, candidly, about how to have faith in yourself to go on a date, or to follow your dreams, here’s what I had to say:
First, that faith starts with taking an honest look at ourselves. That means looking back at your own life, really taking inventory of what obstacles have you over come up till now.
Does the story of your life actually reveal a woman who has been strong, willing, and determined when she needed to be?
Take a look at the people in your life. Do the people who love you – your family and friends – indicate that you are, in fact, very lovable? If you trust their judgment and you consider them to be great, the fact that they love you indicates that you are lovable, and by great people.
And lastly, if you’ve been telling yourself you’re unlovable or unworthy of dating someone great, (a toxic thought we discussed in this article) answer this:
What proof do you really have that your unworthy?
Second, that faith is driven by the trust we hold in ourselves. Trust is what gives us the confidence to move forward, because we trust ourselves to overcome whatever comes our way. Trust comes from using past experiences to be confident enough to take on new challenges. Trusting yourself doesn’t mean that you’ve acquired all the knowledge and skills necessary to do anything, anywhere. It comes from accepting where you are, and knowing you can handle what’s ahead. It comes from trusting yourself enough to move forward, knowing that no matter what catastrophes arise, you’ll be able to solve it. Not alone, mind you. Instead, that you’ll have the humility and compassion and wisdom to go seek answers where you need them, ask for help when you need it, and be open to building a solution, step by step.
This is as true for dating as it is for work and creativity, and even surviving cancer. Moving forward toward what you want requires faith in yourself, and faith only comes when you accept who you are and your ability to handle hardships. You can’t predict the future, you can only have faith that whatever it is, you can take it.
Being confident to go after what you want, such as showing up to a first date with someone you met on HeyU, doesn’t only come from knowledge. It comes from the faith that you are worthy of receiving love, and worthy of loving someone great. And it comes from trust that even if things go wrong, you spill or your wine or make a bad joke, you’ll survive and find a way to move past it.
Realize that you can trust yourself to handle hard situations, that you already have in life and will again, and you will survive and overcome just as you already did. Have faith in what makes you who you are, have faith in your ability to be engaging and interesting and fun. Have faith in your worthiness of receiving love, and you’ll feel the courage to go out and find it.
So though I’m not currently on the market, this week I’ll be creating a profile on HeyU as my love-letter to all the lovers out there. I hope get inspired to share who you really are with the world, and maybe even with someone romantically that you meet on the app.