Have you ever felt like everything would shift when you…
…fell in love?
…got the new job?
Only to find that life rolled forward and you… felt the same.
Or worse, that you felt more tired, more spent, and more lonely than before. Plus, a little broken that the shift you had been counting on resulted in… not much. And it is hard to feel sparkly when you aren’t able to get what you want or need, and then it’s hard to get what you want and need when you aren’t feeling sparkly.
You might long for a partner, but also feel like you’d love to be more at peace in your body by yourself. You might desperately want to heal from a painful past or an invasive assault, while also feeling exhausted by your pain and just ready to feel. good. again.
I get it.
And I have something for you.
Three tips for finding the love of your life: you.
#1: Spinning a new soundtrack
Our criticism of ourselves is wearing us out.
You are driven, smart, compassionate, and possibly too sensitive for your own good. (I’m talking to myself here, but maybe it resonates…?) This means it is probably all too easy to catalog a long list of every flaw, every fault, and every moment that feels like it was a mistake. I always say the wrong thing. I shouldn’t have worn this. Am I sounding crazy? Am I making this up? There are so many ways to tell ourselves that we are wrong. For women who are used to getting things done — getting promotions, getting As, getting out of bed each morning like goddamn superheroes — it sometimes feels like this critical voice is what motivates us. It can even feel scary to imagine letting it go. I’ve had clients, friends, and inner voices question, What if I just get lazy? What if I don’t do anything? Worrying that letting go of our criticism of ourselves will result in missed appointments, hungry children, getting way less done, mini disasters or full-on catastrophe.
But, what if it is just the opposite. And every day your heart and soul and brain and nervous system are showing up and doing all the work that you need them to do to get through your day to day tasks not because of your critical soundtrack, but in spite of it. Through the exhaustion of being told every day, “you’re not good enough.” Try spinning a new soundtrack.
One way is to try drowning out your doubts with a mantra that feels like a warm blanket wrapped around you. Maybe, “I am enough.” or “I am learning.” or “My hair looks great.”
Another is to bring into your mind someone (human or pet) who you know loves you for just who you are, every bit of you. Imagine telling yourself something in their voice, or through their eyes. Maybe, “You are perfect, you are a thoughtful friend who is always ready to come over when I need you.” or “You feed me every night and always scratch my belly, I love you.”
#2: Take yourself on a date
Whether you’ve done this a million times or it feels scary and new, put a date just for yourself on your calendar, and start planning now. What would feel delicious and dreamy, just for you? Your idea of romance may be completely different from mine, but on my solo dates I love to get myself flowers and light a candle. I also love going out to dinner alone, either with a book I’m loving or with a plan to just daydream about my next vacation, project, or dessert. You could also hop in a bubble bath, get dressed up and head to the movies, or get gelato and go for a long walk, taking in all the sights of your neighborhood. You are good company. And you deserve to have the evenings (and afternoons, and mornings) of your dreams. Ask yourself what you want, and then really listen. It may mean a new dress, a few squares of dark chocolate, or a reservation at a restaurant on your list. The more moments of your life that you fill with special plans, the more special your life will feel in general. It may seem obvious, but it also doesn’t happen without a little intention.
#3: Find a way to hear your heartbeat
A lot of women are holding the collective trauma that comes from living in a world that is governed by structures of power that trade on harm — it is exhausting to be up against patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, and so many other forms of social violence every day. Most of us are also dealing with the personal trauma of experiencing firsthand instances of sexual trauma or sexual harassment, as we’ve seen over and over as so many stories come to light (and as we know that there are so many more that won’t.)
Whether you share publicly or not, whether you identify as a survivor of these things or not, it is a heavy burden to hold. Your heart may need to rest. One way to ease the burden is to let some of the emotions come to the surface. It may feel counter-intuitive, because it may be overwhelming at first, but if you give yourself the space to listen to the anger, the sadness, the grief, the exhaustion, the frustration, the shame, or whatever else may be lining your heart, you’ll gradually start to soothe yourself.
I recommend lighting a candle and turning out the lights, sitting in a comfortable spot, maybe in a very cozy chair, and asking an inner part of yourself — your heart, your soul, your spirit, anything that feels good to you — to just say whatever it needs to say, and then just make space to listen. You may see an image or hear a full sentence, you may have a feeling, or just feel rocked by a sense like waves are crashing over you. For me it sometimes just feels like, “I’m so sad” or a feeling like I’m a little child, trying to figure things out.
And then see if you can simply hold that image or that feeling in you, and hear it, and know that feeling it will not destroy you.
If it feels good, you can also write down a sentence or create a drawing that represents it, and let it burn.
You are the love of your life, the one who will be with you until your very last breath. Your beautiful body, your strong heart, your bright soul. In your roundedness and in your bravery, in your to do lists and in your calm creations.
This is the work that I do with one-on-one clients, and I have room for two more people in my love coaching practice. If you feel like you want to explore any of these practices further, laying a foundation of healing, self-love, and deep compassion for loving others with a full and open heart, I’d love to be part of your journey.