Given up on love? It’s worth keeping the door open, even if romance seems to be passing you by

By CATHERINE EDEN

 

To love and be loved is the most basic of human requirements, so it’s not surprising that we expend so much energy searching for partnership, and panic when relationships don’t work out. We buy into the false belief that there are no suitable partners, or that we don’t have what it takes to attract them. Perhaps if we were younger, prettier or thinner we might have better luck, so off we go to the gym and the plastic surgeon in search of perfection. And when that doesn’t work, we say ‘that’s it, I’m giving up on love – it doesn’t exist.’ And we hammer a big ‘no entry’ sign over our painfully bleeding hearts.

The truth is that we don’t have to try so hard. To attract love, we have to radiate it; and to radiate it, we have to be at peace with ourselves. With all our quirks and imperfections, we are all worthy of love. We have to believe that, and if we don’t, the first step to romance recovery is a reprogramming relationship with the Self.

If you look to someone else to heal all your hurt places and hand you happiness on a plate, you are doomed to disappointment, because that work can only be done by you. Security is an inside job, and the odd thing about it is that once you realise that you don’t need a partner to feel good about yourself, the confidence that you radiate is the very quality that attracts romance like a magnet.

 

Do the inner work

Like most women, you would probably like a partner who is caring, honest, tender, funny and strong; someone financially stable, relatively successful, and nice looking too; someone who has healthy relationships and is confident in his own skin. Now why would such a wonderful person want to be with you?

If there isn’t anyone in your life right now, it doesn’t mean that there never will be – it might just mean that you have some work to do before you can attract the sort of partner you would like. Take a hard look at your health, your job, your friends and your interests. How do you fill your time? Can you be happy alone? Examine the beliefs you hold about yourself, and then think about past relationships. Can you identify recurring patterns in the dramas that play out? What can you learn from these? Perhaps you feel you can’t cope without a man – is this true? Perhaps you get your sense of validation from men – can you try validating yourself? Make a list of the things that you like about yourself, and the things you do well. Follow any project that arouses your enthusiasm, because enthusiasm sparks passion, and passion will make you bloom.

 

Be yourself

There is no point in trying to be what you are not. It is too stressful to maintain a charade, and besides, no romance is going to last if it is based on an illusion. If you hate running and hiking, don’t join a running or hiking club just because you want to meet men. You will land up meeting incompatible partners who will see through your plan in a heartbeat, and who will probably run away from you as fast as they can. Your best shot at a meaningful connection is to be as authentic and relaxed as possible. Pursue interests you enjoy, regardless of who else may be participating. Confidence and ease are hugely attractive, while neediness and desperation are instant turn-offs.

 

Decide what you want in a relationship

What are your expectations of love? Do you want a partner primarily for excitement, fun and sex, or are you looking for a long-term companion and soul mate? Be clear in your mind about the kind of person you would like to attract and why. What qualities appeal to you? What qualities should you avoid? Set your ground rules and don’t compromise on the things that are really important to you. But don’t be so rigid that you can’t give the unexpected a chance. The next man you meet may not be Mr Universe but he might be just the person to contribute something special to your life. Be alert to clues like body language and tone of voice, which transmit volumes of information. (And be very cautious about Internet romances. However good he ‘sounds’, you won’t be sure until you have checked him out with your own eyes.)

 

Learn from past mistakes

If you always attract the wrong man, ask yourself what appeals to you about these types. Spend some time identifying your archetypes – are you a rescuer, a martyr, a mother, a wounded child, or a queen? If you have a strong rescuer archetype, for example, you will be attracted to victims, but your romance will be doomed if you don’t recognise the energy that hooks you and the opportunity it presents for managing the relationship differently. We tend to be drawn to people who are going to assist our growth in some way (painfully or pleasantly), and need to be aware of the unspoken agreements that are the real reason we are together, rather than the reason we think we are together.

 

Accept divine timing

There is an element of fate about romance that says you will meet the right person at the right time, and not before. But you’ll never meet him if you refuse to allow the possibility, or if you deliberately cut yourself off from interacting with others. Get out and about and keep an open mind. If you believe that what is for you does not pass you by, then you just have to relax and allow the wheels of life to turn in their own unfathomable way.

Part of accepting love’s timing is to know when to give up an attachment to someone who doesn’t return the feeling. Are you holding out for him to change his mind, or are you focusing on the unavailable so that you don’t have to connect with someone who is available? Search your heart for the fears you have around relationships, and whether you are actually sabotaging your chances.

If you want love, attention and appreciation, you have to take a chance and give love, attention and appreciation. Romance is everywhere; you just have to invite it in.

 

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What do you want from love?

 

In The Path to Love (Rider), Deepak Chopra suggests the following: Believing that love can deliver peace, happiness, safety, healing, renewal and inspiration, write down exactly what you want from love on a piece of paper. For example, under ‘love can bring peace’ you may express a desire to use love to defuse conflict; under ‘love can heal’, you may list a wish to repair a damaged relationship; under ‘love can renew’, you may ask for your sexuality to be revived.

Once you have detailed everything that you want, put the piece of paper in a safe place. ‘Don’t dwell on your list or try to make it come true,’ says Chopra. ‘There is nothing you need to do except this: When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open. This is how you align yourself with love.’

After a few months, take out your list and read it over. ‘Ask yourself how much has come true. Actually asking for love is one of the most difficult things for anyone to risk, and by risking it first in your heart, you open a door that will never close again.’        

Good Living Magazine

Categories: Self-help

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