Brene Brown Ted talk screen capture

The dating advice that could change your life

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Beth Cook is a dating coach and throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.

The best dating advice you're going to get on the Internet isn't at Cosmopolitan or MensHealth (shocker, right?)—though if it's time to add new sex positions to your bedroom routine, that's exactly where you should go.

The best dating advice online lives within a TED Talk, Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability. If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know about TED, it's (mostly) a conference series devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Brené Brown is an author, speaker, and research professor who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. You know, the stuff that makes us human.

Brené Brown’s video is worth watching. Seriously. And then I’ll tell you how what she’s saying can vastly improve your dating life.

Connection. What it all comes down to. “It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives,” says Brown.

That, of course, is exactly why we date. It’s why we seek romantic relationships. It’s why we get married and have children. When we fall in love with someone, we connect with that person on multiple levels: intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually. There isn’t a connection more rich than that.

Now, ready for this? The key to dating success lies within this video. Great connections are possible only when you believe that you deserve love (really, truly believe. No playing tricks with yourself by saying it and secretly not believing!), and are vulnerable—in letting someone see your true self, imperfections and all.

You know what happens then? Other people believe you are worthy of love too. They open themselves up and connect with you because you’re so awesomely vulnerable! And that’s hot.

This is the absolute truth—though I’m not saying it’s easy to turn that key. A lot of self-improvement goes on behind the dating scenes. A whole hell of a lot. You have to put every memory of feeling unworthy into a box and bury it. You’ve got to ignore the voice in your head that says “You’re not good enough.” And you’ve got to shower yourself with love, forgiveness, gratitude, pride, and compassion—regularly.

Give yourself a gift this holiday season. Start becoming “wholehearted.”

Thanks to Brené Brown for her great wisdom.

Screen capture via TED.com