When I was 18, I thought I had met the man I was going to marry.
By the time I was 22, I was ready to move on and see what else the world had to offer me.
At 25, I started to question every decision with every man I'd ever dated.
I questioned my decision to break up with my first love. I questioned who I should be dating. I was unsure of how to heal my wounds and find true happiness in a relationship. I stumbled and faltered and fell down quite a bit.
At almost 29 years of age, I married my soul mate. It's not the end of the journey, but the beginning of one.
Getting to that point was a process, a learning experience and an adventure.
Sometimes I felt very lost along the way. However, in hindsight, there was a definite path.
Even when I first met my husband, I wasn't ready for him. There were steps I had to take for myself, by myself, to prepare for that really awesome love.
So, if you desire that big love you know you deserve and are feeling a little lost along the way, I hope these steps will help. They did for me.
1. Ditch the list.
If you're anything like I was, you may have written down or noted in the back of your head a list of superficial qualities your soul mate will have. Mine was something like "must be over six feet tall, have dark shaggy hair, light eyes, drive a nice car, funny, etc." I'm not sure if I was listing qualities I even really cared about or emulating a magazine ad. It's one thing to know what's important to you in a relationship or to meet someone with similar values, but do yourself a favor and ditch the laundry list of traits.
2. Know your core desired feelings.
This section will help clarify why I recommended you ditch the list. Rather than superficial qualities, decide how you want to feel in a relationship. Is it special? Safe? Admired? Intellectually stimulated? Sexy?
When I first met my husband, he didn't meet my whole list of traits I thought he must have. And at first, I used this to make every excuse as to why it wouldn't work. But then one day, we connected on a much deeper level and all of those excuses came crumbling down. He made me feel the way I wanted to feel. Decide on four to six core desired feelings that are a must for you in a relationship.
3. Be your own boyfriend (or girlfriend).
Once you are clear on the feelings you desire, be your own boyfriend or girlfriend. Meaning, if you want to feel sexy, think of ways that you can make yourself feel sexy now. If you want to feel cherished, think of ways to cherish yourself. Buy yourself flowers, take a long bath, hit the gym, play hooky and go to the beach. Do whatever it takes to feel really good about your life right now. When you're already feeling those feelings, you'll attract the right partner to you.
4. Get real.
Get real with yourself and the life you want to live. Be authentic. Stop living the life you thought you're supposed to live, or someone else's version of happiness for you. You are unique and you have unique talents, qualities and desires. Lead with your soul and explore where it's telling you to go.
5. Put your affairs in order.
What areas of your life could use a little spring cleaning? Rather than hoping someone will walk into your life and save you, start saving yourself. If your finances are a disaster, take steps or get help to put them in order. If your house is a mess, start cleaning and organizing. Simplify your life. Declutter wherever possible. Move on from toxic relationships that you know aren't serving you.
6. Take good care of yourself.
Self-care leads to a sense of well-being. This means treating your body well by eating foods that nourish it, getting a sweat on regularly, giving yourself enough sleep and drinking plenty of water. These are simple but powerful ways of practicing self-care and raising up your own magnetic qualities to attract awesome love. Plus, when you care for yourself, you'll be ready to also care for your partner when he or she arrives.
7. Take a time out.
In my mid-twenties I was in constant relationships with little time to myself. Each new partner brought some hope for great love, but inevitably ended up falling into a similar pattern as the last. It wasn't their fault; it was mine. I needed to take a time out and focus on myself and what I wanted for awhile. I took about six months to do just that. I learned to practice self-love, set goals for my life and move forward in a powerful way.
8. Tie up any loose ends.
Allow for your past to be in the past. Heal any heartbreaks and tend to any wounds that could use some attention. Release past love by forgiving yourself and others and deciding to use the experience as fuel for growth. We often carry around a lifetime worth of pain that leaves us feeling heavy and sad. Let it go. Turn yourself from a victim into a hero who overcame their obstacles.
9. Tell yourself a different story.
Research has shown that it's the stories we tell ourselves about our lives that actually shape our happiness and matter more than the actual events of our lives. Therefore, if you still feel anguish from a particularly rough breakup, change the story you tell yourself about it. For example, rather than being the poor girl (or guy) who got cheated on and will never heal, make yourself the heroine who got out of a terrible situation before you married and made a big mistake. Or if you were a child of divorced parents and worry that you're doomed to repeat the same pattern, change your story and turn yourself into the outlier of your family who will cultivate a lasting relationship.
10. Lead with your intuition.
Learn how to trust and lead with your intuition. We can tune into our intuition by getting in touch with our bodies. Think back to a time where you knew you were making a bad decision, but did it anyway. How does your body feel thinking about it? Perhaps you notice a constriction in your chest or a sickness in your stomach. On the other hand, think back to a time where you felt really good about a decision you were making. How does that feel in your body instead? Next time you're unsure of what your intuition is trying to tell you, remember to tune into those feelings in your body. This is especially true when meeting the right partner.
11. When you find that special person, notice if you're talking yourself into the relationship or out of it.
A girlfriend of mine recently entered into a relationship and although she feels rather happy, has found herself questioning it. This is her usual pattern and not a symptom of the relationship itself. I did the same thing when I first met my husband as fears surfaced in the initial phase. A trick I learned was to notice if you're talking yourself into the relationship or out of it.
If you have to talk yourself into the relationship, then chances are it's not right for you. This is when your gut is telling you it's wrong, but you're finding excuses to stay. However, if you're talking yourself out of the relationship, it may be a good fit for you, but your fears are getting in the way. This is when you are actually feeling really happy, but your ego is finding complications to give yourself an out.
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