Sometimes, it feels like love is all around us — our friends have it, our favorite TV characters have it, that couple shamelessly licking each other’s tonsils at the bus stop are definitely feeling it… But even when love is in the air for everyone else, when we’re single, we feel like we’re missing out. Whether we’ve been burned too many times before or we’ve never really found that Special Someone to begin with, believing in love that’s honest and true can be a hopeless mission sometimes. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of this tunnel… we just need to take off our sunglasses and know which way to look.
Acknowledge what’s hurt you in the past.
Part of knowing how to heal is figuring out what hurt you to begin with. Whether that’s a string of liars, cheaters and certifiable d-bags or the fact that you’ve never really felt that spark with anyone, own it. Accept that there are reasons you don’t believe in this true love nonsense and know what they are — because naming your demons is the first step towards fighting them.
Flip your old disappointments the bird.
You’re not half as fragile as you think you are, so chuck on your most dangerous set of heels and prepare to raise your middle fingers in defiance to whatever has tried to break you in the past. If love exists, then dammit, you deserve it — and to hell with anyone who’s ever treated you otherwise.
Recognize that there’s more than one way to love.
The way you feel about your closest girlfriends as you’re tearing down the highway belting your favorite songs? That’s a type of love (the Greeks called it philia — deep friendship love). That burning passion you feel when Tom Hardy takes his shirt off? That’s a type of love, too (eros — dangerous, fiery sexual attraction). Even that moment of, “Damn, I look good!” you feel when you’re rocking a fresh cut and color is love (philautia — self-love!). Just because you’re not feeling those “true love” vibes (the Greeks would’ve called that pragma — mature love) doesn’t mean you don’t have a whole lot of love in your life nonetheless — you’ve just gotta know where to look.
Change your mind.
When your internal dialogue predominantly features the phrase, “No one is ever going to love me,” then like it or not, that’s what you’re projecting out into the world. You don’t need to turn into a hippy-dippy starchild constantly obsessing over your “vibes,” but you do need to accept that you’re not unlovable. You’re not undeserving of love. You are a vibrant, gorgeous, important human being, and it’s time you started feeling like one.
All those things that you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve been waiting for love to come around before you can have them? Screw waiting — get at them. Don’t wait for some man to buy flowers for your desk when you can buy them for yourself. Romantic bubble bath for two? Fly solo and you don’t have to share your chocolate dipped strawberries or champagne with anyone. Erase all that bitterness about the love you don’t have by tackling the single most radical thing you could ever do: loving yourself.
Open yourself up to the world.
There’s a world full of people out there just aching to love you, but if you never open yourself up to them, you’ll never even meet them. Scary as it might seem, putting yourself out there is the best way to find love again. Go on dates — even bad ones! Flirt with that cute guy at the bar — who cares? If true love doesn’t exist then you’ve got nothing to lose. If it does? Then you’ve got everything to gain.
Break your old habits.
When you’re slowly coming to the conclusion that he’s never going to text you back, that old familiar despair might set in and you can’t let it. Break all your old rules! Fearlessly double text him, say no to jealous thoughts or go wild and say yes on the first date. Your old habits in romance haven’t gotten you crap so far, so why not shatter them and try something new?
Give someone a chance.
Don’t sabotage this for yourself before it even gets going (even though you know you secretly want to). Shutting someone down early on to keep them from potentially hurting you in the future might seem like a safe bet now, but once they’re gone all you’ll have is a wistful what-could-have-been. If you never give anyone a chance, then you’ll never know what good could come of it — and you’ll always have to wonder if they could have been The One.
Let go of your fear.
Love is scary. Hell, love is downright terrifying. But like they say — no pain, no gain. In the face of all your fears, it’s time to be brave. Fear will hold you back from everything you’ve ever wanted, and you’re way too strong to let it.
Live for the little things.
True love isn’t always grand gestures, the man standing beneath your window holding a boombox over his head, or riding off into the sunset on a white horse. True love is when he buys an extra coffee in the hopes that he can see you before you head off to work. It’s a text just to say good morning. It’s giving you a bite of his sandwich when he really wants to eat the whole thing. You’ll find love in all the little moments — so open those eyes. They’re all around you if you’re only willing to look.
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