Love is everywhere. It is one of the greatest feelings in the human experience. If we have it, we are trying to find ways to keep it, if we don't we are working to get it. But what happens if you feel as though you are doing everything to attain love but it is still not happening? I had to ponder the question recently for myself. Not only am I on my own path of discovering love but I have seen many of my closest friends on the same journey. The one thing we all have in common is the feeling of doing everything right to get love but just not seeing it occur. One of my favorite books on the subject is Why You're Not Married...Yet, written by relationship author Tracy Mcmillan. She brings up the point that women don't ask the right questions. Instead of Where are all the good men? a better question is Are you ready for a great love relationship?
And because most of my friends (and myself included) believe that we are, we must be missing something in the equation. So what are some ways that are holding you back from the love of your life?
1. You are not truly putting yourself out there. I have said it a million times, "I'm putting myself out there." But the real truth is that I hate dating apps, have not join any new groups, and somehow surround myself with activities that only include women. (I love Barre I really do! But unless something changes I won't be finding a man there any time soon.) Mr. Right probably isn't going to come to you. Instead it takes getting out of your comfort zone to meet him. Some of the best ways to get out there is to join groups, take a class (not majority women), meet new people, and get involved in charity outreach programs in the community. The more you live your best life the higher chance you have of meeting someone who wants to share it with you.
2. You are not clear about what you want. This is by no means saying that you need a long checklist of "perfect" characteristics. If perfect is hard for you to live up to, it's even more difficult for someone else. Having a realistic view of what a partner is will allow you more opportunity to find them. Perfect is boring, leaving some of your items off the list opens up your dating pool. You might find someone who have amazing qualities that you never even considered. It's important to know what you want and will not compromise on. Being open will allow you the chance to find it.
3. You believe the grass is always greener... In the world we live in, we have many choices. There is a ton of options for cereal at the grocery store, cars you can drive, apps to download on your phone, and jobs you can do. Sometimes having too many options is paralyzing, and even worse is feeling that none of those choices will leave you satisfied. If you are constantly thinking the grass is always greener on the other side, then you will never have a side. Being willing to stop and focus on the person in front of you is the only way you can move into a successful relationship.
4. Your fantasy love is better than reality. A love relationship may not be happening because you are more caught up on the idea of someone rather than really trying to have a relationship. It's easy to be preoccupied with the adjectives you think will be good for you. But you really won't know until you bring someone in your life. The image and fantasy of someone becomes less important when you are looking for a true relationship.
5. Your confidence is really low. It's true, in order to be loved, you first have to love yourself. Loving yourself allows you to build the confidence to find someone who will truly love and appreciate you. You can not only identify it in someone else's actions, but you can also articulate it. How can you tell someone how you like to be loved, if you do not know the answer. Christina Steinorth, psychotherapist, relationship expert and author of Cue Cards for Life: Thoughtful Tips for Better Relationships, suggests that "When we feel good about ourselves, it shows in our self-esteem and also in the type of people we attract," she explains. "When you feel good and look good, you'll be more open to love."
6. You don't have a positive self-image or body image. We all have days when we are unhappy with our bodies. But if you are too self-critical, you maybe so obsessed with your image, that you never even notice when someone likes you. You could end up missing your chance because you are so unsatisfied with your looks. Confidence is sexy. The person who loves you should get to love you just as you are.
7. Fear of being hurt. Many of us have been hurt before. It's a horrible feeling. So we develop a wall of protection. The more you are single, the chances of you building up a barrier are greater. Love requires constantly taking a chance. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it ends horribly. But each time you put your fear aside, you develop tougher skin, you learn more about yourself, and you grow.
But nothing that can be said can begin to take away the anguish and the pain of these moments. Grief is the price we pay for love.
8. You have not created space for someone in your life. This is actually way more common than I realized. Single women are so independent that they don't know how to invite a man into their life. Sometimes men have to be shown how to help you. It's like having an apartment and asking someone to move in but your furniture is everywhere. They have no space to go. This does not mean you become a helpless damsel in distress. It simply means that you are open to a partner coming in and helping you in areas that you need. Limit your emotional furniture into one room so that your man can move in.
9. You are not nice to men. If you are constantly complaining (really about anything), nobody wants to be around you. Yes, there are times that you see a great man with a super "bitchy" woman. It makes no sense. However, most men just want to be with someone who is nice to them. If you are spending all your time with a negative attitude either the people you attract have some serious self-esteem issues or you will genuinely be alone. Let go of your ego and be open to accommodate the needs of someone else.
10. You are not ready for a relationship despite saying that you are. Relationships are hard work. They involve taking time to learn about someone else and catering to their needs. Some of us really don't want a relationship. We may be focused on our careers, discovering ourselves, traveling all around the world, or are just happy with being single. Because culturally women are encouraged to get married more so than men, you feel as though you need to accomplish that life goal. Marriage is not something you just check off your list. It is a partnership you decide to enter in, in order to create a better life for yourself. If you want to keep going solo, then do it and stop pretending. You don't have to be married to have a fulfilling life.
The ancient Greeks called love "the madness of the gods." They are absolutely right. Love is a force of nature. It is bigger than us, free to experience, and will not be going anywhere anytime soon. It is natural to want a romantic relationship. Be open to the possibilities that life will bring you. For God can always dream a bigger dream than you can. Letting go might just bring you the love you deserve.