If you want to meet the love of your life, here's how:
1. Work on FULLY discovering and loving yourself.
You don't have to earn love or put on a show. You already have within you unlimited amounts of love to give—and it starts with giving it to yourself. How? Read interesting books that will help you explore and better understand human behavior and emotion. Spend time pursuing interests that tug at your heart. Identify the moments in your life that have made you feel most alive. Look for the themes. Are you always filled with joy when you dance? Write? Spend time outside? Have conversations with interesting people? Code a cool new website?
Whatever you discover about yourself and what brings you joy, go create more of those kinds of moments.
More examples of self-love:
Stop hating your body—it works so perfectly for you almost every single day. Every part of you is beautiful—start seeing it, because you are who you believe you are. The relationship you have with it perfectly represents the relationship you have with your Self. And, the relationship you have with your Self perfectly reflects the relationships you have with others.
Instead of being critical about your flaws, be curious. "Why am I reacting this way? Where is this feeling stemming from? What can I do differently?" Ask the people closest to you for feedback on both your greatest strengths and your self-destructive behavior. You can't change anything until you fully understand who you are and exactly what needs to be changed. We can all be blind to some of our habits and characteristics—so don't be afraid to ask those closest to you for feedback.
Self-discovery and self-love are both ongoing processes. We are now, always have been, and always will be both being and becoming. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you grow. If you are conscious about who you are, and who you want to become—you will slowly but surely move in that direction.
2. Be vulnerable with the rest of the world about the Self you're finding and refining.
There's no sense in lying about who you are. Pretending to be anyone other than the full expression of yourself is exhausting and pointless. Those who are meant to love you will love all of you. Every single serious, playful, messy, neurotic, crazy, loving, heartfelt, honest part of you. ALL OF IT.
And, by the way? The people that have the capacity to love you wholeheartedly are precisely the ones who know how to love themselves wholeheartedly. Spend time around them. Learn from them. They will teach you a great deal about the ongoing process of loving yourself.
It is important to understand that being ready for love isn't about being your idea of perfect—it's about being authentic. Take ownership of the gap between who you are and who you want to be. Embrace your worst traits with grace, and don't be afraid to love your best traits. It's okay to be proud of all of who you are—even the messy parts.
Your imperfection doesn't make you broken; it makes you human.
3. Stop holding people at arm's length.
Even if opening yourself up means letting a few of the wrong people in too close, you have to know it'll be fully worth it to have your arms wide open to receive the one who will truly accept and love you completely for who you are—and who you're becoming.
Part of the reason we're afraid to let people in close is because our human instinct is to fiercely protect ourselves and avoid pain at all costs. Unfortunately, this is fruitless. We end up being completely numb to life, which in the end, makes us even more unhappy with the way we chose to live life: fearful, superficial, and relationship-less.
It's important to remember: you cannot numb pain without numbing joy. If you want to feel the best of life, you've got to be willing to go through the worst. It is impossible to feel the true weight of joy without a personal understanding of life's sorrow. We experience via contrast. If we don't have the context of contrast—in our emotions or otherwise—we won't see the joy that's right in front of us. We are constantly surrounded by joy, but we have to prepare our eyes and hearts for being open to experiencing it.
This is easier said than done, of course. So, where do you start?
Start with recalibrating your relationship with pain. Raw human emotions last for about 90 seconds—that's all. Pain, as a feeling, only has to last that long. Anything beyond that is needless suffering caused by the repetition of negative thoughts in our minds. Isn't that crazy? Something that only needs to last 90 seconds, we often drag out for months or years.
To get over your fear of letting people in close, you've got to get over your fear of pain. The truth is, you are more resilient than you know. All pain is surmountable. Moreover, all pain is essential for growing into the best, fullest version of yourself.
The more you soak that lesson up, the easier it is to become okay we pain. And eventually, you learn to become GRATEFUL for it. Experiencing pain means you're courageous enough to be fully alive.
That's the kind of life you'll be proud of having lived.
4. Be willing to love someone else for all of who THEY are.
Just like you, everyone else is trying to figure it all out, too. Falling in love is not about finding a perfect person—it's about being excited and willing to love an imperfect person perfectly.
Look. No matter who you meet and decide to commit to, they will be different in 5, 10, 15 years. And you know what? So will you. That's not scary, that's awesome. When you come into a committed relationship with someone who is so on your team and wants the very best for you, just like you want the very best for them, there is no telling how much you'll learn and grow together.
You truly can't change people. And why would you want to? People are beautiful. The way we all strive so are to be better, to dream, to live those dreams out and share them with others? It makes us all so human, so stunning.
Be on someone's team. Whenever you start to criticize others, look for the real reason why it bothers you.
Annoyed by how serious someone is? Maybe it's because you feel insecure when they don't laugh at your jokes.
Frustrated because you think someone is constantly pointing out your flaws? Maybe it's because they are right and you're too defensive to see how much they love you—enough to be completely honest and vulnerable with you.
Think someone is trying too hard to get attention at a party? Perhaps you're projecting some jealousy because you feel invalidated by the lack of attention you're getting.
See where I'm going with this?
When you learn to take full responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and behavior, that changes everything. You stop making other people wrong. You focus instead on improving yourself and becoming more of the person you want to be. That adds to the cycle of self-love. And when you love yourself, you have the capacity to love others. And when you have the capacity to love others, the most loving of them will be magnetically drawn to you.
You're not alive so you can learn how to be numb or avoid pain. Nor are you here to be perfect—or fake perfect.
You're here to become more and more yourself. You're here to have fun in the process of discovering yourself. And you're here to love other people fully, fearlessly.
That's it. That's all you've got to do to be in the most loving relationship of your life.
It starts with you.
You don't have to talk yourself into loving someone, nor do you have to try so hard to talk yourself out of loving someone.
Make your decisions about love out of trust—not fear. Trust your initial gut.
You'll know when you find it.
And more importantly, you'll know it when you're finding yourself.