Almost all dating advice is BS. There’s no magic formula to finding a partner. If you’re following a set of rules or conforming to outdated gender roles to find a relationship, let it go. A rule-based approach to finding or keeping a relationship is a farce. Is that how you want to keep a partner?
Do you think that if you could change how you look, then dating would be different? Let’s bust that myth right now. People of all shapes, sizes and ages have loving partners. A new haircut or weight loss or any sort of makeover won’t work in the long run. (I’ve tried these options and the results were the same me, only more expensive jeans and saucy highlights.)
There’s only one thing you need to do — BE YOURSELF.
The foundation of a successful relationship is intimacy. To be intimate, you have to show yourself. You real self. That requires vulnerability, honesty and bravery. I’d wager that the most radical act we can commit is to show up as ourselves.
Take a second to think about someone you admire. Chances are you admire them for their bravery to follow their heart and the guts to say what they feel.
Our ultimate purpose? Revealing our true selves to others, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable.
When someone is authentic, it resonates. On a soul level, there’s nothing more satisfying than feeling seen and finding others who see the real you.
When it comes to finding lasting relationships, whether they are platonic or romantic, if we want someone else to see us and accept us for who we authentically are, flaws and all, then first we need to accept our own humanity.
Acceptance is not a synonym for approval. Acceptance in this case is acknowledgement. We must first acknowledge our own failures and flaws. We must know our likes and dislikes. It’s critical to the process of finding a partner.
Why is it critical? BECAUSE YOUR PARTNER WILL KNOW ALL OF THESE THINGS WHETHER YOU EXPLICITLY TELL THEM OR NOT.
The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that we can hide.
We may never acknowledge our fears or our dreams out loud, but we can’t hide who we are from others. Even if you think you are doing a great job pretending, people know it’s fake. Intuitively, we know when we’re being fed a lie.
So if you are hiding from yourself, ask yourself why. Are you afraid of what you might find?
I was. It took me until I was 27 to write the truth in my journal. I was afraid of my own judgment. I fell for an emotional abuser when I was 18. I had trusted someone who isolated me, stalked me and coerced me through threats of suicide. Who could ever love me if I’d already made such a stupid mistake?
For the better part of a decade I trapped myself in a shame spiral. I went to a therapist, but felt so self-conscious about being in therapy that I lied about being better. Wow, what a success. What’s that old adage about revenge? It’s like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die? This situation feels similar.
Instead of being vulnerable with a therapist, I let it eat me. Instead of being resilient, I hid in a shell to cover up. I tried to change myself externally and hoped the inside would change along with it. I changed my hair, bought new clothing, I found new friends. Any form of external validation that I could get my hands on was fair game.
If you’ve got a gaping physical wound, you don’t plop a bandaid over it — at least, I hope not. So don’t do that to emotional wounds. As much as we live in a world of constant distraction and instant gratification, we have to set aside time to heal.
If I could appear to have a normal life and a normal boyfriend, then no one would know about my shame and it would go away.
For this farce of normalcy, I drew people in only to push them away, or I sought out safety blankets who I knew wouldn’t hurt me. One day I was honest with someone about what happened to me. He said, “We all have trauma. You are not damaged.”
No one had ever said that before, or at least I hadn’t been able to hear it. I was able to see I wasn’t less than because of my experience, but I still wasn’t able to forgive myself.
I found healing through yoga and meditation, journaling, and the amazing book Conscious Loving. I realized I had one choice. I had to feel the feelings of shame and anger and sadness that I’d been trying to avoid. I had to forgive myself.
I think we all wish there was a shortcut, but despite what media tells us, there isn’t.
Healing comes from sitting with those feelings you’re trying to avoid. What are you unwilling to face? Sadness? Pain? Frustration? Anger? None of us get a pass from these feelings.
Understand that it’s going to haunt you in some shape or form until you address it. As much as it sucks, the only way out is through.
Once you actually let go you can move on to more fun things, like finding out who you are now that you aren’t afraid to know.
I allowed myself to explore beyond my usual bounds. I took kundalini yoga classes on a Friday night instead of going out to the bar. Since I was doing out what I liked, I found other people that were on the same path and I felt seen and understood. It was incredible.
How simple — do what you love and you’ll find others who also love it, too.
The more I openly addressed my fears and hopes, the more I found people who encouraged me to go for my dreams. I dreamed of leaving New York and moving to Austin to deepen my journey. It made no sense, but I told my friends and family anyway. I was okay if they didn’t understand; I was okay if they didn’t agree.
It was then I realized how much I’d grown. Where was the person crippled by fear of judgement? I was now someone brave enough to move cities based on intuition! During my second week in my new city of Austin, I met my now-husband.
Our relationship is beyond anything I’ve ever known. We’re able to be honest and open with each other because we’re not afraid. We’re honest and open because we know there isn’t any other way.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I know that life is only just beginning.
The thing is, anyone can do this. So my question for you is, what are you waiting for?