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 the love of my life. 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.
1. Ditch the list.
If you’re anything like I was, you may have written down 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 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 how you wish to feel.
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 three core desired feelings that are a must for you in a relationship.
If you need more help with this one, I put together three free videos to help you boost your confidence in love.
3. 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.
4. Press the pause button.
In my mid-20s 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 a while.
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. De-clutter wherever possible. Move on from toxic relationships that you know aren’t serving you. Heal past heartbreak that is holding you hostage.
6. Be your own partner.
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.
7. 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 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.
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. 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.