We find love when we stop looking for it. It’s been said a million times, the echo of a field of broken-hearts aching to find the one person who will move mountains to be with them. It’s hard to stand tall and be confident that the right one will come along, to feel that you are enough when you see examples of happy couples all around you reminding you that love is real, it does exist—it just hasn’t found you lately. However, when all you want is to find love, how do you stop looking for it and let it come to you? You work on loving yourself, living the life that you want to live as unencumbered by outside expectations as possible.
A great way to stop looking for love is to focus your efforts on self-love, pushing your own boundaries, and stepping out of your comfort zone. It is through loving yourself that you open yourself up to attracting someone into your life who truly deserves to be there, after all. You might just discover a facet of self-love tucked away in a surprising place. Here are six challenges to step out of the comfortable habits to which most of us women find ourselves drawn. Try one, try them all—you’ll inevitably learn something valuable about yourself in the process.
1. Stop wearing makeup on a daily basis.
Most of us women wear some type of makeup on a regular basis. Your weapon of choice might be foundation, or mascara and a neutral lip gloss. Just try not wearing a lick of makeup for two weeks and see how you feel, see how you feel different when you go out into the world. Go on a night out with your friends, to the office, to a friend’s birthday party all while fresh-faced and armed with only your smile.
As an added benefit, your pores will thank you for letting them breathe, your night-time routine will be infinitely easier, and no need to worry if you’ve got lipstick in your teeth or if you smudged your eyeliner when you absent-mindedly wiped your eye. You might just find that a part of your morning habit isn’t really serving you. If you want to go back to wearing your makeup after this experiment, feel free with the confidence that you’re wearing makeup out of choice, not purely out of habit.
2. Get a drastic haircut.
It blows my mind how many women who are smart, confident, and risk-taking in most arenas of their life who are terrified of chopping their hair. Getting that crazy haircut you’ve always wanted (or even going from chest length to shoulder length) might seem like risk, but it’s hair. It grows back. Getting a big haircut even when you’re scared of the results is a great way to face your fears in a low-risk way. Again, pay attention to the thoughts that are going through your head when you consider the worst-case scenario. In what are your fears and insecurities rooted? Take it from someone who has gotten her fair share of insane haircuts, some of which prompted insta-regret—it’s one of the best ways to force you to live with those beauty-related insecurities head-on (literally).
The worst case scenario means you’ll wait for it to grow out, teaching you invaluable lessons in patience and practicing the perfect reply to your friends always telling you that “Your hair has gotten so much longer since the last time I saw you!” And best case? You realize you were always meant to rock that fierce new haircut, which feels like an extension of your very essence of being. No exaggeration: successful hair transformations are crazy-empowering. Bonus is that it is much cheaper to get one incredible haircut than to get a brand new wardrobe but they often have the same effect. It’s a pretty shiny silver lining, all things considered.
3. Take off the high heels.
Face it—no matter how much cushion they have, despite the patented arch formation technology, there is no pair of heels in the world that is truly comfortable. So why wear them? I stopped wearing heels two years ago and it has blown me away how great and easy it’s been to say goodbye. They always hurt, I would worry that plans would change and I’d have to find a way to limp along with it, nursing the blisters for days to come. I have high arches and could never find heels that would make my feet feel comfortable. Why do we put up with this pain? It’s something that I’ve never fully understood but went along with anyway for quite a while. Finally, I realized that there was no reason to. They were an armor, they fed my self confidence with each clack as heel struck floor. When I stripped away the heels it forced me to build that self-confidence internally, which showed me how much more satisfying it can be to say goodbye to the easy, temporary boost.
4. Say thanks but no thanks when you would rather stay home.
Women naturally fall into the role of caretaker, putting others needs ahead of our own. We get some satisfaction out of doing something that we know someone else will appreciate, even if it’s sometimes at the cost of what we really want to be doing. Sound familiar? Recognizing the difference been taking care of yourself and being selfish is a constant struggle, but it’s important to recognize that chronic people pleasers are constantly letting themselves down.
When you’re putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, it’s almost like sending a message to yourself that your needs and boundaries aren’t worthy of your time. This in turn projects this image into the world—not what you want. Start putting thought into what you say yes to and it’s like sending a message to yourself and those around you that you command respect. It will mean that you have more time to consciously dedicate to the things and people in your life which you truly care about, improving your presence and mood immensely.
5. Open up in a vulnerable way with a new friend.
Being vulnerable is terrifying. Telling someone how you really feel, especially when those feelings are dark or negative or you’re worried about how telling them might change their view of you. Chances are, they’ll see the act as brave and it will help you realize how the grip your fears have over you can be easily dissolved upon realizing that you’re not the only one dealing with them. We have this desire to be seen as perfect, thinking that this is our route to creating new friendships and deepening existing ones when in fact it is what is holding us back from true connection.
True connection stems from sharing a vulnerability and realizing it is shared, common ground. True connection is leaning into that fear and falling, hoping someone will be there to catch you. If your vulnerability is met with anything less than open arms, it’s a great way to realize someone isn’t able to love you wholeheartedly in the way in which you deserve and gives you a chance to spend more time with those in your life who do.
6. Share your creativity and open yourself up to critiques.
Creative work is highly subjective, open to interpretation and—at it’s core—stands as an expression of who you are. It makes sense that sharing creative work is something which makes many people queasy. Whether it’s writing, singing, artwork, dance or even just pitching an idea to your boss at work, think of a way you can challenge yourself to put your ideas out into the world. Recognize the anxiety and acknowledge it.
Think again about where it’s coming from and practice realizing that people’s critiques of your work and ideas are not their critiques of you as a person. If you get a negative response to your work, or (perhaps worse) no response at all, practice dusting yourself off and trying again. Everyone is creative, whether their channel is traditionally artistic, words on a page, numbers on a chart—discover how to communicate your unique view of the world with others.
At the end of the day, finding love is not easy. It’s all about timing, about realizing who you want to be and finding someone who holds you to that, while forgiving yourself when you slip and fall. But the best way to attract the right person into your life is about being the most authentic, true version of yourself every day. Because if someone falls for you being truly you, well…that’s a love that’s worthy of your time.