As I write this, we are coming up on the biggest romantic holiday of the year: Valentine’s Day. It’s also one of the most emotional, and often intense occasions, as we’re forced to confront our romantic lives and relationships, directly. We also just passed engagement season and most of us are in the midst of a cold and snowy winter, which means that it’s officially the time of year when many singles desperately try to partner up to avoid dealing with their insecurities and pain amid a slew of "I love you!" Facebook posts and Instagram photos.
There’s statistical evidence to back up this notion, too — January is the month that the most people sign up for accounts on dating websites. It makes sense on another front as well, as January is the first month of the new year, which brings all of those well-meaning resolutions with it. We try to better ourselves and cultivate the things we perceive to be missing in our lives, whether that be personal health, fitness, money, or romantic love.
I totally get it. I know how frustrating it can be to see all of your friends partner up, while you are still #foreveralone. I have lived through the frustration of not understanding “what was wrong with me,” that I couldn’t seem to make any relationship work. I’ve been in the pain of spending Valentine’s Day alone on my couch while trying not to stalk my Instagram feed, filled with happy couples celebrating their love and commitment to one another.
I know how hard it is to look at that shit. I also know that there’s a better way and it has nothing to do with throwing pity-parties over social media induced relationship envy.
What if I told you that, no matter what your relationship status, you could find happiness?
That you could genuinely be content in your life and within yourself, without a significant other? You can — and this isn’t some gimmicky informational solution! We're talking about real, everlasting love here.
When we have conversations about dating, culturally speaking, we usually point to external factors for why we don’t have the love in our lives that we want. If you’ve ever looked at a women’s magazine cover, you know what I’m talking about; they tell you that the way to your soul mate is through losing weight, playing hard to get, or changing your style. Even more conventional wisdom gives us this message since when we strike out in the dating department, we’re told that we’re not looking in the right places, hanging out with the right people, or browsing the right websites.
This confuses the issue. The reason you’re single is that, on some level, you have chosen to be.
Without getting too deep into metaphysics, this comes down to the circumstances of your life being a mirror of your internal mindset (to learn more about this, I would recommend reading A Course in Miracles). What you attract are people, situations, and circumstances that are on the same wavelength as you are. So, if you think highly of yourself and have a good self-image, then you will attract people into your life that also think well of you. However, if you are insecure and struggle with self-esteem, then you will attract less-than-ideal people, who don’t appreciate who you are and may not like you the way you are (which isn’t cool!).
Essentially, to change your world, you have to change yourself.
Instead of focusing on the lack and the external factors, let’s concentrate on the internal. Coming from a place of self-love, anything is possible!
How To Gauge Your Internal Compass:
To start a practice of self-love, you just need to get in touch with yourself, without distractions. We constantly surround ourselves with social media, TV, books, magazines, people, parties, and food as ways to numb out of emotions. This is where the gold is.
When you feel the urge to turn to someone or something else, it’s a clue to turn inward.
In these moments, examine how you feel. What are you running from? What emotions are you trying to suppress? What triggers led you to these feeling?
This is where you start to learn what internal insecurities you have, where you need to do more work, as well as how much love you are giving to yourself.
Do This While You’re Engaged In Romantic Activities:
The next step is to start to do this same probing when you’re engaged in romantic activities, whether that be a date, texting with a crush, or sex.
See what thoughts come up and what fears arise, repeatedly. What areas do you tend to obsess over or worry about? What activities do you feel nervous to engage in? Start to get to know your patterns- but instead of judging them, or yourself, love yourself exactly as you are now.
Send Love And Compassion To Yourself:
This is probably the most important, and often most difficult, part of the self-love process: actually loving yourself! It’s easy to think of the idea of loving ourselves when we’re in a neutral state, but when we’re in the midst of our toxic BS, it’s very difficult to embrace what we’re trying to run from.
Instead of shutting down, instead of running away, run to yourself. Surrender to your pain. Forgive yourself for the patterns you’ve created and the ruts you’ve gotten yourself stuck in.
Some great ways to do this besides just internal reflection are through a loving-kindness meditation, yin yoga, or the Ho'oponopono prayer, which all involve going inward to receive empowerment and embrace loving yourself from within. The more often you do these types of self-care activities, the better!
Use This To Guide Your (New) Beliefs:
As you start to cultivate your self-love practice, I can promise you you’ll start to have major revelations, as you go along. The treasure you discover should guide you to your new beliefs, as well as the principals you use in place of the past junk you were operating with before.
It’s as the saying goes; you wouldn’t put regular gas in a Ferrari, would you?
So why put negative beliefs into the badass luxury car that is you?!
When you feel the old beliefs, and negative self-talk start to come up, replace it internally with your positive beliefs. Instead of thinking “I can’t believe this guy wants to go on a date with me, I’m not pretty enough for him,” replace it with “I know that I’m beautiful and I’m so glad to be going on a date with a man that recognizes it.” Stop yourself from getting into the old habits before you start.
Take This Work Out Into The World:
The final step of doing this internal work is to take it out into the world and create the relationships of your dreams! By just practicing self-love, you’ll increase your frequency and attract more high-vibe people into your world. But, there are also a lot of ways you can intentionally put yourself out there, with a halo of self-love glowing around you.
It doesn’t matter so much how you do it, but that you do it. If you love yourself, but you don’t change any of your actions, you won’t maximize your potential and will by default get a lot of the same results. Change it up — say “yes” to that invitation for a night out you’ve been hesitating over, go to a new cooking class, or simply practice being in the moment on your commute to work, instead of putting in your earbuds and blocking out the world. By making yourself available, you’re telling the universe that you’re ready for the unexpected opportunity to come your way.
How do you know you’re doing it right? You feel confident, yet uncomfortable. You’re secure within yourself, but approaching life in a way you wouldn’t normally.
This is where you find a great relationship — most importantly, with yourself.