I was recently chatting with a friend about her dating habits or as she likes to call it, her “Ferris Wheel of Doom.” Let me explain, she gets really excited about meeting a guy, but as she begins the getting-to-know-you process, she sabotages it. Thoroughly. So thoroughly in fact, that it makes me wonder if she really wanted to meet someone in the first place. A few of her signature moves include:
- The Futurizer: Confused by chemistry’s deceptive nature, she future trips and cuts right to “Do you think our kids would be cute? Where would we go on our honeymoon?”... on the first date.
- The Nitpicker: In an effort to keep herself safe from potential heartbreak, she finds faults that she normally wouldn't care about, “His socks didn’t match his shoes. I could never marry that!”
- The Oversharer: Often disguised as “being honest and genuine” she unloads her baggage faster than…nothing. Airports take forever with bags, so that was a pointless attempt at a metaphor. The point is that she shares her sordid past as a “Take it or leave it. The ball’s in your court now” approach. While that may appear to be genuine vulnerability, it should probably wait until at least the appetizer is served.
Thus, the real question isn’t “how does she stop sabotaging herself?” Instead, I wonder is she really open to love in the first place? It’s one thing to want it, it’s another thing to receive it. Here's how:
How to Open Yourself To Love:
1. Don’t expect to get all your needs met in once place.
In my early 20s, I expected a boyfriend to be much more than that. I wanted him to be my best friend, sibling, parent, therapist, intern, gym buddy, and, on occasion, flamingly gay stylist. Not surprisingly, he sucked at most of those jobs. But who could blame him, it wasn’t what he signed up for! So why did I do that? I was codependent! The truth is that love doesn’t replace validation or self-worth. In it’s purest form, it serves to bring us joy, not as a band-aid for low self-esteem.
2. Redefine old meanings.
Someone hurt you and it sucked. I get it. The problem isn’t moving on, it’s letting go of the meaning we assigned to that hurt. Personally, I’ve gone through periods where I’ve asked “Am I even worthy of being loved?” Take a hard look not at old wounds, but at the takeaways you’ve created for yourself because of them. Until you think you’re loveable, you’ll never create the space for it.
3. Ask for what you want.
Communication is a two-way street with clusterfucks at each intersection. I remember being super stressed over a big opportunity. As I scrambled to get things together, I assumed that my boyfriend would graciously walk the dog instead of scratching his balls while watching football. This, however, did not cross his mind. Was he an ass? Yes, but not for that reason. Ultimately, being open to love means being open to communicating your needs. Nobody can read your mind. If you want the love you deserve, doesn’t it make sense to ask for it?
4. Own your shit.
Say you’re sorry. Want to be open to love? Don’t be a dick.
5. Define love on your own terms.
How much of what you want is really what you want and how much is because you think you should want it? What does a loving and happy relationship look like to you? I often thought I wanted a guy to treat me like a Disney princess. The truth is that I really like working, I don’t want to pop out an entire litter of kids, and I don’t trust mice to sew my clothing. It’s your job to challenge what you’ve been taught in order to embrace what you truly want. Otherwise, you’re left with two sets of expectations which leads to inner conflict. And that, is like a yellow brick road that leads straight to the city of self-sabotage.
If you want love, you need to practice love and create the space for it to thrive.
Are you open to love? Why or why not? Share your story in the Comments section below!