I recently bought Smitten and after reading the first part on self-realization, I recognize now is the time for me to go inward and cultivate more self-love. So I’ve stepped away from the dating scene. How long do you think it will take me to deepen my relationship with myself enough to feel good dating again?

by Simone Kornfeld

Dear Reader, we hear you girl and we absolutely understand your desire to withdraw and examine your relationship with yourself. Do it. Go within. However, we also encourage you to READ ON to the Flirtation Techniques! When you have realizations about how you are hurting, or how your behavioral habits are not 100% healthy, it is natural to want to step back and hibernate. It can feel much safer to cocoon yourself in your bedroom surrounded by vanilla scented candles consuming mug upon mug of herbal tea while scribbling your most private thoughts into your journal. But this can also be a method of avoidance that doesn’t serve you as well as you’d like to think. It might just keep you frozen where you last left off in the dating scene. We’ll let you in on a little secret: Smitten’s subtitle wasn’t always “The Way of the Brilliant Flirt”. Originally it was “A Flirtatious Philosophy on Blissful Existence”. You know why? Because for both of us, it was actually through going out and practicing being ourselves while interacting with others, that we freed ourselves, we found bliss, on a whole other level. Through the practice of brilliant flirtation, we were self-realizing. So Reader, also go out there and practice in the flesh and it will take your inner work to another level. Try saying what you really want or truly believe, even if you’re afraid he’ll walk away. Practice communicating the full breadth of your intelligence, even if you fear your expertise on the nuances between different Scotches could intimidate him. Then take that information home, light the candles, get out your favorite pen and take copious notes on what you learned about life, relationships and yourself. Then go out tomorrow and do it again.

Recommended musical inspiration: “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty.