8 ways to open yourself up to love

February is celebrated worldwide as the month of love. We’re inundated with glossy, perfect and happy Valentine’s couples in the media, leaving those of us who’re single wondering, “What about me”?

Now don’t get us wrong. Being single can certainly be a happy and healthy way to live, but many of us would like to have someone to share our lives with. Yet, we often struggle to start relationships and / or maintain them.

So, are we just unlucky in love and fated to be alone? Or are there hidden secrets to making love happen.

There is, of course, no magic potion, but there are a number of steps all of us can take to open ourselves up to the possibility of love and romance in our lives. Surprisingly, they have very little to do with how we look and how much money we have. Yes, a model face, a gym body and a bulging bank account can get us in the bedroom faster, but it’s who we are as human beings that really keeps people together.

1) Be who you are. Don’t try to change to satisfy others

One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is to be overly concerned about what others think of us. We end up changing who are, or not giving ourselves the opportunity to become who we are, in favour or being who we think others want us to be. How can someone love you if you are pretending to be someone else?

2) Be the best version of yourself. Then you’ll attract the same

We all want to meet someone who is loving, interesting, considerate and unselfish, right? So before you start looking for those qualities in others, make sure they are also your own qualities. Work at making yourself an amazing person, with goals, integrity and a full life.

3) Be confident. It’s attractive to others

One of the side-effects of being your own person is a growing sense of self-confidence (often described as the biggest aphrodisiac). Now, remember, confidence is not the same as arrogance (which is a big turn-off), it’s a sense of being comfortable in your own skin, which tends to project out into the world. Of course, no-one is confident all the time; we all have moments of self doubt – but it’s a great quality to work on.

4) Be open and honest

Being that mysterious stranger is only exciting for so long. At some point it gets boring and frustrating. To truly share intimacy with another human being you need to be able to be honest and real about your life, your experiences and who you are. In our books, being open and vulnerable is as sexy as being self-confident.

5) Be happy within yourself. Someone else can’t make you happy

One of the biggest myths about love is that a partner will make you complete and solve all your problems. Nope, that’s just not true. Yes, sometimes a lover can distract you from issues and insecurities (we’ve all been there), but they won’t fix them. Only you can do that.

6) To find true love, be true love. Get rid of anger, hatred and resentments

Love is not something that appears out of thin air and takes over who you are. You must be open to loving someone else before you can feel real love. If you have ongoing anger, resentment and bitterness you’ll simply make yourself and your partners angry, resentful and bitter. Get counselling, open up to friends and let go of unresolved issues and negativity so that they do not dominate your life.

7) There is no such thing as the perfect partner

Sorry to break it to you but there is not one particular perfect person out there who was born to be your soulmate. Are there people in the world who you are likely to be more compatible with than others? Absolutely, but love is not about finding “the one” who ticks all the boxes you’ve come up with in your fantasies. We are all imperfect, and that includes your potential partner. Accepting and forgiving imperfection and weakness is part and parcel of loving another human being.

8) Believe that you deserve to be happy and be loved

For various reason we may develop an underlying, often hidden belief that we are not worthy of being loved. When faced with someone who offers us that love, we unconsciously fulfil that belief by sabotaging the opportunity presented to us. That’s especially true for a lot of gay people; we’re taught (programmed) by society that we are “wrong”, sick or perverted. Not true. We all deserve the opportunity to be loved. Know it and believe it.

If you’d like gay/LGBT friendly support get FREE face-to-face counselling at OUT’s TEN81 centre in Pretoria (book by calling 012 430 2081) or get free telephonic counselling nationwide by phoning them on 0860 688 688 (office hours).


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