Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Integrity -- the missing ingredient in Internet dating

This article was written by my friend, Tonja Weimer, a dating coach. I am reprinting it here for you. Integrity is the character that is bereft in the world of online dating. The lying, double timing, misrepresentation, and hurtfulness experienced by so many Internet ad daters is epidemic and it's poisoning the potential of the Internet to help us sift through the millions of potential stars in the universe to find our one true partner.

Why are so many people in cyberspace just looking for a quick hook up, satisfaction of only our basest, lowest-chakra instincts instead of elevating their quest to a higher love?

Why are so many married people using the Internet to cheat on their partners?

Why are so many single people stringing on a series of seductions, dangling people with the tantalizing promise of a relathonship, only to flee and abandon them as soon as they click on to the next?

Is online dating to blame or is it simply a reflection of the sickness of the world at large? Are people who date only "in the real world" more ethical and honest than Internet daters?

Honesty and integrity isn't just something we bring to our love relationships -- it's something we need to expand in every aspect of our lives.

Tonja writes a column on dating published in more than one million newspapers. You can visit Tonja's website for more information.


Life coaches often quote one of my favorite poems, The Invitation, by Indian elder Oriah Mountain Dreamer. When people read it or hear it, you can see an instant response on their faces--an Aha! moment.

The poem calls each of us to examine the degree of integrity we bring to our lives:

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing..."

How closely we live our life in alignment with what we deeply desire brings us into our integrity. The greater our integrity, the more we are able to connect with others on a meaningful level. Some people are born into families that live and model integrity, and therefore, they carry integrity with them into every aspect of their lives.

Some people discover their values and what is most important to them after experiencing loss and resurrection. And others search for a substantive life in every conversation, sermon, class, or counseling session they find themselves in, looking for answers that will illuminate their way towards deeper meaning.

Whatever path one takes to arrive at the core of what matters to them, they bring that great richness to the relationship with their life partner.

"It doesn't interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive..."

Having integrity is a choice. Ask yourself:

1.. Where does my life lack integrity right now and how do I know this.? Am I guilty, judgmental, defensive, or incessantly distracted so I don't have to face what I am running away from?

2.. What five big or small changes could I make right now that would restore my integrity?

3.. What would it take for me to live a life of no tolerations? What energy drainers have I been putting up with?

If you know that you are doing things that are hurting you, holding you back, keeping you hidden behind people or places, and you are not implementing systems that would make your life work, you do not have enough integrity to sustain the quality of life you long for.

Visualize what your life would look and feel like if you lived in a state of calm and grace, doing work that you felt passionate about, surrounded by people who loved and supported you. Visualize this often because--this is what you deserve.

The last lines of the poem speak to the heart of integrity:

" It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments."

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