Are you tired of waiting for love to come your way? Are you over going to engagement parties or weddings on your own? Are you wondering why it’s taking you so long? If so, I know how you feel.
This past weekend, I attended my first ever wedding as a married woman. I’m 48 and I’ve been married just three months. It was wonderful, and weird, to go to a wedding as a wife, after attending many weddings as a single woman or as the girlfriend of someone I was unsure about.
I remember all the times I surveyed the sea of couples at weddings, wondering how on earth all these men and women had managed to find each other and fall in love. I recall staring at the rings on the fingers of male and female guests and marveling at the miracle of it all – a miracle that evaded me well into my forties. Now I get to marvel at my own rings.
So why do some of us have to wait longer than others to find love?
Well, I don’t have your answers but I do have mine and I’d like to share some thoughts and suggestions to help to ease the pain of not having what you want just yet and to help to move you in the direction of love.
Firstly, I’d like to suggest that you forgive yourself.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be adept at giving yourself a hard time and at blaming yourself, and not so good at forgiving yourself. Maybe you think you made some poor choices along the way. Maybe you feel you took the wrong path. Maybe you think you could have done more, tried harder.
Forgive yourself. Show yourself compassion. Speak to yourself in the kind, empathetic and understanding tones that you would use with a small child you love dearly. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket of self-love and self-acceptance.
Do it now. Take your arms and wrap them around your chest. Close your eyes. And give yourself a hug and a squeeze. Do it again. Do this often.
You are doing really well. You are loved.
Next, I’d like to suggest that you understand yourself – that you grow in self-awareness.
How did you get here? What decisions and choices did you make and why did you make them? Remember, this is about self-knowledge, not self-blame. What patterns did you repeat in your relationships and where did those patterns come from?
Are you scared to love because of early life or later life relationship experiences? Have you been hurt before, as a child or as an adult? Do you carry shame and are you therefore afraid to be seen by someone else?
There is nothing nonsense about you. In fact, you make perfect sense. The path you have taken is directly linked to the life experiences you enjoyed or endured.
In my case, the losses and hurts I experienced as a child, none of which were my fault, set me up to avoid loving relationships as an adult, meaning I kept falling for people who were emotionally unavailable. My patterns made sense.
It’s sad that I had to experience those losses and it’s sad that I’ve had to experience their consequences (not having children being the biggest repercussion). But this has been my journey – my unique journey.
And in my bravest moments, I can embrace it and give thanks for it, because it’s made me who I am today – an emotionally intelligent, empathetic woman, friend and coach. I’ve found purpose and passion in my pain and there is purpose in your pain too. If you haven’t found it already, you will if you keep allowing yourself to feel.
Thirdly, I’d like to suggest that you heal yourself and that you allow God to heal you.
This is easier said than done, of course. It takes huge courage to open ourselves up to healing because we first have to accept and acknowledge our pain – bring it out of the darkness into the light. We might also have to acknowledge the ways we cope with or hide from our pain (in my case, binge eating, binge drinking and over-working – I have healed from the first two but the third still remains).
Healing takes time. It occurred to me in recent days that I have done huge amounts of healing. I have healed from self-harm and disordered eating and from dysfunctional relationship patterns. I have healed enough to fall in love and get married. But there’s so much more healing to do – around my fear of others, around intimacy and sex, around the ways in which I still abandon myself.
Healing also requires the support of others. We can ask God for healing but I’m not sure we can heal alone, without our fellow humans. I believe we need to become vulnerable with people we can trust, ask for help and open up our hearts and our souls.
This is the foundational work that I had to do and, I believe, many of us deserve to do in order to create the best conditions in our lives and in our hearts for love.
Finally, we need to find a way to trust. Again, this is easier said than done. If we’ve been let down in the past, especially by parents or authority figures, we might struggle to trust anyone but ourselves. In fact, we might even struggle to trust ourselves. But we can commit to being a little bit more trusting – and a little less controlling – on a daily basis.
Every morning, when you wake up, declare that you’re going to trust today – trust that you’ll be OK, trust that God has got your back, trust that it’s all working out exactly as it’s supposed to, and trust that love will come your way, in time.