“Love can only be found through the act of loving.”
~ Paulo Coelho
It is possible that as much as you want to be in love, you are also kind of scared of it. Love is wonderful when it’s wonderful, but it can really be painful, too.
Nothing hurts quite like a broken heart or betrayal and broken promises. There are plenty of great reasons to be afraid of love even while you want it to happen.
Try these ideas:
1. Manage your expectations.
Pay attention to what you expect will happen, because this will make it difficult for you to see what actually is happening. If you expect to fall in love at first sight and everything is perfect, you’re probably in for a lot of surprises because it isn’t often that things work that way.
2. Look a little closer to home.
It’s possible you’re casting your net too far out, and not seeing what is right in front of you. Maybe take some time to not try so hard, as counter-intuitive as that might seem.
3. Take a time out.
If you really keep trying and failing, it might be a great idea to take a break and recalibrate. You may be carrying your past problems into a current situation, which is not where they belong. Start again when you’re rested and ready.
4. Get a coach.
Find a professional or a friend who can help you see what you might be missing. Do you need a new approach, a makeover, or a new philosophy on dating? Getting some ideas from someone else might just shake you up enough to get out of that rut.
5. Heal your past.
We’ve all been hurt and taken advantage of in the past. We have all suffered through heartaches. And sometimes, we haven’t done the best job of finishing them and truly moving forward. It could be your past that is holding you back.
6. Be a loving person.
Looking for love can sometimes make you feel bitter. Like attracts like, so get out there and spread some positive energy. Smile at random strangers. You never know what you’ll get back.
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.com
Ask almost anybody and they will tell you that to have a loving, meaningful relationship is one of their top priorities.
Most people spend considerable energy dreaming about love, seeking love and mourning love lost. Career goals are up there too, but love is usually at the top of the list.
I think we are made to spend most of our lives in loving, nurturing relationships.
They are the foundation that helps us feel the safety needed to venture out into the world and take the risks necessary to creating a fulfilling and meaningful life. The world can be a tough place.
No matter how lucky or talented we are, life presents everybody with huge challenges. Nobody gets through unscathed.
So why does it seem that some people create barriers to love?
Well, for one thing, love itself is dangerous. When you really love, you are deeply, emotionally vulnerable. When you love you can get hurt. While it’s painful to lose a job, money, status, friends, etc. nothing hurts like the loss of someone you have taken the risk to really love.
Most people don’t block out love completely.
But I think most people do try to mitigate the risk through defenses designed to provide just a little bit of safety.
We probably come out of our families of origin with some emotional bruises.
We learn to protect ourselves by taking on certain roles. We become caregivers, jokesters, perfectionists, rebels, all in an attempt to accommodate the various dynamics of our families.
These are defenses, not an actual reflection of our real selves.
These are our attempts to fit in and get through the best that we can. The healthier the family, the less we need to accommodate and the safer we feel to be ourselves. We feel less risk in loving because we felt reasonably safe in our family relationships.
If we learned that we needed to protect ourselves in our families of origin, we will probably feel the need to protect ourselves in our adult relationships too.
These are not conscious decisions. Our defenses have been there from an early age. I think the safer you felt growing up, the safer you will feel to let yourself be close to somebody as an adult.
The problem we run into is that as kids we don’t have choices.
We are dependent, so those defenses are adaptive. As adults we do have choices. We can learn from our early experiences and choose people who are safer for us. It’s not recognizing the defenses that get us into trouble.
Going on automatic usually means that you will repeat your family of origin experience. Automatic can mean not letting yourself get close enough to get hurt.
All of us who desire a meaningful and fulfilling relationship will benefit by understanding our context for relationships and learning how to make conscious rather than reactive choices.
It’s not an easy process, but it’s the best way I know to take that step of letting love into your life.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
You are probably looking for a long-term love partner and are wondering why you have not been successful.
There are several things to consider as you may be blocking your love energy.
1. You may need to unblock your thinking by being open and receptive to good fortune and success.
When you keep your thoughts on what you fear or don’t want to happen, you increase your chances of continuing the cycle. Negative chatter in your head only creates more of the same. Therefore, you need to shift your mind-set to something more supportive, positive, and forward-thinking.
It is sometimes helpful to first get rid of your negative thoughts by writing them down and then tearing them up. In this way, there is “space” for positive energy to create the future you really want.
2. The more positive energy you can create around you, the easier it will be to manifest your desired results.
Equally important, is to be ready for your perfect someone to come into your life. If you think you don’t deserve it, when it eventually comes, you may not even recognize it.
Therefore, say, “I am ready to receive all the good fortune, happiness and joy that comes my way and I will embrace it with gratitude and acceptance.” Then enjoy the bright outlook for your future.
3. According to Feng Shui, you probably need to unclog the south side of your house and bedroom.
If it is filled with clutter, the “energy” becomes muddled and therefore your life will remain blocked and stagnant. Instead, remove old magazines, laundry or anything that is untidy or in the way. Then add something red to your bedroom – perhaps a tall red candle or a red vase that can add vibrant energy to unblock the area.
4. Find supportive, like-minded people to encourage you and boost your spirits.
See them as often as you can. Avoid anyone who has the kind of energy that deflates or exhausts you, as they will be counterproductive to your success.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
As much as one may say how much she wants to find love, or find the right partner, often this is a bigger challenge than it seems.
There are online dating services, any many kinds of clubs and organizations to meet a potential partner, and some do. Yet I hear time and again that this person or that one didn’t work out even though they really liked the person or perhaps they blocked finding love and found all sorts of reasons not to be with this person.
What may be happening is that you have unconscious unworthiness to be with a partner and you don’t even know it.
This generally starts when one is young and had some sort of feelings of being unworthy for some reason. Perhaps it was from a parent or teacher or authority figure.
If this stayed with you through your developmental stages into your adulthood, it is likely you are not even aware, however this may be what is stopping you from finding love.
This can profoundly effect the type of partner you would choose and the likelihood of the success of the relationship. You see, we operate at the subconscious level at least 95% of the time!
The good news is that we can eliminate self-limiting beliefs and clear any feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.
It is helpful to talk with a professional about your family of origin and first become aware of what may be keeping you from finding and having the love you want and deserve in a partner.
Once you have that awareness, there are tools that you can use to help deprogram those self-limiting beliefs and reprogram a positive mind set.
For example, one beneficial tool is the use of hypnotherapy, where the therapist accesses the sub-conscious mind and guides the subject to healing any old wounds.
Once you can learn to reframe your thoughts through a variety of tools, you are clear and more open to giving and receiving love because your own sense of self is clear and open.
Constance Clancy, Ed.D. – www.drconstanceclancy.com
How can you tell if you are keeping out the people you should reject, or are unable to give the ones a chance that you should be considering?
Your first consideration should be whether or not you have always been afraid of letting love in, or whether you’ve had cumulative bad experiences that have soured your hopes.
It is a real challenge to maintain an optimistic outlook in the face of genuine disappointments. When people ask me what the most important relationship-successful quality of a person is, I always respond, “to be able to continue loving after loss.” I fully realize that is an ideal, but one well worth reaching for.
If you’ve had some good relationships and some not so good, look for the qualities similar in the people you’ve chosen where it hasn’t worked out, and those in the relationship partners that have.
Look at your own behaviors over time and ask yourself when you’ve been at your best and what was happening on the other end that helped you to stay that way.
If, on the other hand, most all of your relationships have disappointed you, check out if you’ve made sure you’re authentic up front about what you can give and what you’re looking for.
Many people are way too careful in the beginning hours of a relationship to say or do what they think the other person wants to hear.
They can lock themselves into a limited performance that will bring trouble later on when they have to emerge more honestly. (See my article on Psychology Today Blogs on “Touch and Go Relationships – Do They Have to be Superficial?”)
Make sure that you’re realistic about marketability in the options you do have.
It’s a difficult thing to look at how we measure up in the minds of others, especially in light of how the media trains us too often in superficial packages that don’t contain what long-lasting love really needs to thrive. Yet, there are realistic limitations for all of us and it’s important to go after what has a good chance of happening.
Several years ago, Lori Gottlieb wrote a funny and yet sweet book called “Marrying Mr. Good Enough.” It is beautifully written and very entertaining. She’s not telling relationship seekers to “settle;” only to reach for a more reachable moon.
The second most important thing to consider is what and why you are holding back in sharing your most inner being with someone you want to love and be loved by in return.
Childhood trauma of living on the other end of a caretaker who sometimes loves you deeply and, at other times, hurts or rejects you, is one of the most common and painful reasons why people are afraid to get close to someone.
The recent barrages of research on Disorganized Attachment Disorder clear demonstrate this phenomenon and is well worth reading about if you have had that kind of trauma in your life.
Other traumas that happen in childhood, or even in later life, can also have tremendous impact.
Major losses of any kind, especially when profound, can produce the fear of ever letting someone in again who might disappear someday. The challenge to that, though difficult to master, is to give up the illusion of security.
Often, in my work, I am part of tragedies that were unexpected.
It is natural for all of us to plan and to dream, but life exists in the moment where the past and future live together. If you are determined to live your life using your love relationships as lessons to become the best person you were meant to be, you will be ready to face what comes next better every time.
Sadly, most people do not want to inherit the traumas of a person’s past if they are expected to fix them by never hurting that person again.
The people who want to rescue you by being better than those who have caused you pain is too likely to sacrifice his or herself in that goal and you will end up having a relationship with yourself. That doesn’t mean that you should hide sorrows or past disillusionments from a potential partner, only that you don’t expect that person to compensate.
Thirdly, ask yourself what it feels like to the person on the other end of you to never be welcome in your sacred places, no matter what he or she does to gain entry.
So often, when we’re afraid of being hurt, we get caught up in our own world of “no-risk, no pain.” If you’ve ever been on the other end of someone that cannot let you in, you can identify with that kind of anguishing frustration and it puts the heartbreak between you. With the right person, you will stand a better chance of gaining an ally in healing.
Last, ask yourself what you believe the personality traits of the kind of person you could let in would be?
If you have spent too much time worrying about being trapped or hurt by sustained intimacy, you may not have really thought about what kind of person on the other end of you would help you to open back up to love.
Surprisingly, many of my patients have only thought of what they fear, not what they would actually need.
That doesn’t mean that you have a checklist for every person you date to make sure they fit perfectly, but, at least, you know what you’re looking for and that helps with the selection process.
The search for a relationship that continues to grow in depth and caring over time is not an easy task for anyone.
It takes commitment, persistence, and resilience. The people who are most successful see that journey as an adventure, with each process an opportunity for learning more about love and life.
It is a true fact that most everyone wants to be with those who continue to be in love with life.
It’s also true that too many sorrows and disappointments can cause understandable disillusionment. It’s an individual path and each person must find his or her own way.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
Attitude is everything. How we feel about ourselves can manifest in how we present ourselves and how others perceive us.
- Are you defeated when you approach a potential partner?
- What is your attitude about meeting new people and putting yourself out there?
- Do you think it is not going to work out before you even get there?
- What does your body language say?
- Are you relaxed and open to conversation or are you closed so that you shut others out?
It is important to be mindful about the attitude you have when you approach a new situation or in meeting someone new.
It is important not to self-sabotage and expect too much, yet be open to the possibilities.
- What topics do you choose to talk about when you meet a potential date or mate?
- Do you discuss your past relationships or criticize your ex on the first date?
Be careful not to set yourself up for failure by dressing uncomfortably or trying to present yourself as something you are not.
In other words be yourself and let your inner beauty shine through. Let him get to know you and who you are. Don’t try so hard that your anxiety gets the best of you. Do relax and have a good time.
If you are attached to the outcome and want something to work out desperately, you will likely try and make something happen with this person when it may not be the best fit.
Don’t try and force something that does not honor who you are. Be mindful not to impose your will on someone and pressure them so much that they cut you off.
Relax and be the best version of yourself that you can be.
If you focus on all your flaws and past mistakes, you are undermining your effort to start fresh and see all that you do have to offer.
Another way that to manifest negativity is to focus on your fear of rejection or being hurt.
You may have been hurt or rejected in the past, but that mean that it defines who you are or dictates what your future will be. Have a positive attitude when meeting new people and take opportunities to socialize when they come up.
Be mindful about what you are thinking and set your intentions when meeting new people.
Again, be open to opportunity but do not be locked into the outcome. Relax and go with the flow. Be mindful of your attitude and smile. You will be surprised how men will respond to you if you are relaxed, happy and comfortable in your own skin. Above all, have fun.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
You may not, except with express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.