by Bernice McDonald
Finding new love can be a daunting dream.
You want to fall in love but the way your last relationship ended hurt and the fear of that happening again haunts you. It feels much safer to stay alone or believe that love will find you if it’s meant to.
But the question is — would you be ready if the right opportunity suddenly stared you in the face? Ready to receive and to give and hold and accept the good with the bad?
Most of us are not, which causes us to run or make a bad choice because we are afraid we will be alone if we pass it up. So, start preparing your heart before Mr. or Ms. Wonderful show up. Here are 9 ways to do that.
1. Get serious by writing it down.
Find yourself a beautiful journal. Start by writing your favourite love poem into the front. When you are done, put your hand over your heart and feel it beating. Forget you are afraid. Forget you think it won’t happen. Go behind the beating and feel what your reaction to the poem is. Write down everything that your heart says it wants to hear from someone someday. You don’t have to tell anyone — it’s just for you alone.
2. Learn to listen with your heart.
Ask a friend to go out for dinner to a special restaurant you have been wanting to go to. While you are with her (or him), practice listening for their heart. This will begin to train you for how to listen on a date. Pretend there is a bridge running from your heart to hers or his. Walk across it, leaving your own thoughts behind and just be in their thoughts while you are with them.
Listen for phrases like, “I wish…”, “Sometimes it seems that…,” “I love it when….” Ask questions so that they share something that they might not talk about often. Smile at them and if you don’t know how to respond, just acknowledge how that must make them feel, such as, “That must have been really hard for you….” Do your best to keep the focus on them out of caring and interest. Talk about yourself a little less than usual.
3. Watch a romantic movie and observe what it is your heart longs for in love.
Yes, this can apply to guys too. Instead of feeling sad about being alone or not having the love you want, go into your heart by placing your hand gently over it to feel it beat. Go beneath the beating to the feelings inside it.
Ask yourself: What qualities do I want that the guy or girl in this movie had? What attracted me to the man or lady in this story? Or if not the qualities, what did they say or do that made my heart wish? Do I want those qualities in someone I would like to have love me? Do I want to hear those words, have that feeling, be able to open my heart like that?
Use the movie to teach you, to train your heart to know what it wants. Write your thoughts and your lists into your journal for safekeeping. This is just for you and your heart to know.
4. Tie your deepest dreams to something you see everyday.
Decide that this next year is going to be different, that you are going to find every reason you can to believe in yourself, if it takes you until 2016 or infinity and beyond… that you are going to find love again.
Find a symbol that represents that commitment — something that you can keep out all year where you will see it everyday for the next year — to remind yourself. I used to carry a rock in my pocket that said “Believe” on it. I also bought myself figurines that I placed all over my house representing strong qualities I wanted.
Don’t feel the need to tell anyone; it’s just yours to know, to believe in. Use it to convince yourself: “I am going to learn to love and appreciate who I am.”
5. Teach yourself to give without expecting anything in return.
There are so many ways to give. Did you know that, if you step outside yourself for a few moments, and give something to someone without expecting anything back, it will skyrocket your serotonin (the feel good hormone in your brain)? You will be left with a sense of fulfilment that creates a deep contentment.
Walk yourself to the store and buy several pairs of socks to donate to the local shelter, bake a batch of cookies and take it to someone lonely, volunteer at the soup kitchen… do something, no matter how small, to make someone else feel good.
Be a Secret Santa, even if it isn’t Christmas. And expect nothing — not a thank you, not a smile, not anything. Just give to give. This, too, is practice for loving someone special in your life. There are many times when true love is giving “just because” without expecting anything back. You will need that skill.
Giving without expectation builds your heart to meet a need that we all have, whether you know it or not Have fun and let your creativity flow!
6. Ramp up your attraction factor — do something to make you feel better about yourself.
Do you know what a man finds sexiest on a woman? It’s her smile. A sincere smile from a contented heart causes you glow without you even knowing. Do you know what the main qualities are that attract a woman to a man? Being strong and tender all at the same time. A woman’s smile and a man’s true strength radiate from a confident heart.
So what is something that would assist you in building your confidence? Picking up an old dream and signing up for a class? Learning something new? Planning to do something on your own that you had hoped to do with your partner?
Start with simple ways – for example, for most women, feeling pretty is part of that. Book yourself a manicure, a pedicure, go for a new hairstyle, buy yourself something colorful (great sales on this time of year) — do something that makes you feel just a little prettier. For a man, a haircut does help a lot. Perhaps renewing that gym membership and starting to work with a trainer to begin building up some of that great muscle would be the ticket. You know yourself, and your heart needs to know you are still alive. That you are not only alive, but gorgeous and gifted and lit up when your heart is invested in becoming all you can be. You are a long way from being knocked out of the game, baby!
So start moving forward — progress, not perfection, is happiness.
7. Transform your bedroom into an inviting boudoir.
Many of us don’t think about whether someone special would fit into our bedrooms. Take the time to consider how you would like to change some things in your “inner sanctum” that would remind you that love is welcome here: get rid of stuffed animals, dirty laundry spilling out everywhere, or anything that is cluttered and worn.
Right now it’s yours, yes, but someday it may be yours and his or hers. It’s fun to dream but it’s even more fun to take action. Pretty up your bedroom by adding some color, perhaps a new comforter, and complimentary curtains… maybe buy some candles.
8. Plan your focus: what will you think about, talk about, work for?
Time to make a plan. Remember, if you don’t write it down, chances are it won’t happen. Decide specifically how you are going to spend your time when you are not working or caring for family. You owe this to yourself. Your heart needs a break from its sadness. What will you think about? What will you focus on? It’s okay to give yourself a little time to grieve what was and how you wish it were. Sometime when you are alone, write those feelings down in your journal or express them in some other creative way original to you like writing a song, painting, or composing a poem. Then close your book or purposely set your project aside.
Go from there, determined to focus on one moment at a time today, every day.
If you are with family, observe what it is that you really do love about them. If you are with friends, do the same. Be there entirely in the present — not in the past, not in the future. Really look at what is bright and beautiful around you. Stare at a star. Squint your eyes to see how different they look when you do.
Listen to the music you are hearing — hear the instruments, the beauty of the voices, feel the feelings it brings. Find something warm to hold in your heart. Your child’s laughter. The kind feeling you have when you pay for the person’s coffee behind you in the drive through coffee shop. A casual thank you received.
9. Allow your heart to dream again. Put it out there by asking specifically for what you want in love.
Take some time to dream. Divorce may have broken your heart and you may think that it has left you as damaged goods. You may think that love is too scary to try again or that there are no more good men or women out there.
But you are wrong! Someone is searching for you, waiting to love and be loved by you. So find a picture that represents where you would like to be a year from now. Do you want to be in love? Do you want to live in a new place? Do you want to be smiling? Begin to write down what you want. Start to learn about what a good relationship truly looks like. Dream it!
2015 is your year – go for it!
Bernice McDonald, Relationship Expert, author and trainer, has found the secrets to true love after living through too many heartbreaks including divorce. She says no one should have be alone if they don’t want to be – tweak what you know about love to find magic. Now married to her Knight in Shining Armor, she teaches women to “Never Give Up on True Love”.