Now that the spotlight on our love relationships (or their absence) has passed for another year, it seems a good time to think about ways in which we can spend the next 365 days so that our relationship satisfaction is improved by the time Cupid next comes around, wielding his lethal crossbow.
Apply the practices and attract more love into your life!
GRATITUDE: Be grateful and express gratitude, real time
Appreciation helps focus attention on the positive. By focussing on the positive, we are able to see more of it. Turning our attention away from our problems, we begin to feel happier. Happy people are not always grateful, grateful people are both happy and able to maintain that happiness in tough times. Happy people are magnetic.
Being appreciated feels good. People tend to gravitate to those who make them feel good about themselves. Being appreciative, and happy is one of the simplest ways to attract people into one’s life.
Already in a relationship? Appreciation, as we know, is one of the long term predictors of relationship success. A couple that regularly appreciates one another is more likely to survive the knocks and twists of life.
Begin with a gratitude journal. Start noticing all the things that people in your life do to enrich your world. Appreciate them. Be as specific as possible about what it is that enriches your life and why it matters to you. Do this also with new people and strangers. Begin to see if, instead of waiting to journal your appreciation, you can notice and appreciate strangers in the moment.
And once you are able to appreciate strangers in real time, take a risk. Write a letter to someone dear, reflecting not only on what they have done for you today, but throughout your relationship and what it meant to you to be on the receiving end of their kindness. Read them the letter, face to face and give it some space to sink in. It is likely that afterwards, there will be a shift in the relationship and it will be easier to feel and express appreciation, in real time, for the small things as well as the big moments in life.
JOY: Spend Time Doing Things You Love
We know that happy people are magnetic. Doing what we love makes us happy. If you love windsurfing, take lessons. If music is your passion, go to concerts, sing in a choir or take a course at the community college. Set aside some time every week to take yourself on a journey into what makes your heart sing. It may be browsing in the bookstore, or listening to an author read from a new book. Whatever it is that floats your boat, do it!
And, while you are becoming a fabulous love magnet, you just might meet some new people who share your passions. Every new person you bring into your life brings a network with them. You never know who you might meet!
ONENESS (1): Make Connection
Loneliness is not only the result feeling disconnected and unloved, it is also the result of feeling there is nobody to love. Making connections and building a community provides a sense of belonging, which is an essential ingredient for happiness. (And happiness is a love magnet, remember!) By becoming involved and engaged with a group of people provides us with a group with whom we can develop bonds of caring, affection and love. The greatest feelings of love are not experienced second hand by being loved by another, but by having a heart full to bursting, for others.
Join a club, a class, a spiritual group. Engage with activists in the community on issues that matter to you. Listen to friends, rather than waiting to talk. Ask questions of others and be curious. Whether in a relationship or single, keeping connections strong and creating new ones is an important part of building support networks and resource for bad times, as well as the good.
ONENESS (2): Spend Time Alone
The most attractive person in a room is the one who does not need the company, but chooses to be there. Unless we are good company for ourselves, how can we hope to be good company for others? If you find yourself feeling bored, alone, it may be because your life is boring. Spice it up! Become a more interesting person: read books, travel to a new part of the city, learn a new skill, watch Ted Talks, do yoga, meditate, draw, take photographs or walk in nature and try to identify the different plant varieties you see. Do something fun, but most of all, get acquainted with yourself, and become the interesting person with whom you’d like to spend time.
If already in a relationship, time alone is essential to keeping separate identities and keeping the relationship fresh, as well as growing as an individual.
SERVICE: Do Things For Others
Aside from the confidence of being not only comfortable but delighted with one’s own company, the only thing sexier and more attractive to others is kindness. Kindness and altruism make others feel better, and by acting from a sense of kindness and purpose, we feel good as well. Through the phenomena of emotional contagion, the whole community becomes a happier place. Being the source of good vibes makes one charismatically attractive.
Volunteer with an organisation or organise the community towards a goal. Aside from doing good and feeling good, more connections with like minded people will be made. If you’re single, your future partner may be in that crowd, and if you are in a relationship, taking on a volunteer role outside of the relationship helps maintain individuality and take the pressure off of the relationship. We know that nobody can meet all of our needs. Working together for a cause can be a bonding experience, but it can also provide the space for the two partners to pursue their own passions, independently.
MEANING: Make Peace With The Past
We all have a past. Some of it was wonderful and some was not. We all had hurt, betrayal and abandonment at some point in our history. This is the hand we were dealt. It is up to us now to determine how we play it. There is little that is more unattractive in a person than bitterness and resentment. The choice is ours: get better or grow bitter. The latter is a recipe for a life of loneliness or a miserable match with an equally bitter person.
We must be vulnerable enough to go into those hurt places and heal them. We must admit what hurts, why it hurts, and accept any responsibility we may have had, while forgiving others for hurting us. Only then, having processed and healed our hurt, can we be free.
A word on forgiveness: to exercise compassion and understand that everyone is susceptible to hurt and trauma which can lead to bad behaviour or to understand that a mental illness caused bad behaviour does not mean that the bad behaviour is acceptable. We can understand the other person, understand how they came to a place where they could hurt us so badly and we can even forgive them for their behaviour. But the behaviour can remain wrong and punishable.
Holding on to our anger, bitterness and resentment does not give us justice. It robs us of our joy. Justice may or may not be served upon the person who wronged us, but what an injustice we do ourselves to let the past rob us of any more of our present or our future.
This can be a difficult – perhaps Herculean task – to undertake alone. Seek out spiritual counsellors, friends, uplifting texts on forgiveness, a doctor or a therapist. Making peace with the past, and finding the transcendent meaning in our suffering, empowers us to move forward.
To attract more love into our lives, it really is that simple: First we must be willing to demonstrate love to others. Making peace with our past, we can be vulnerable enough to admit how much our loved ones mean to us. They are not our all and our everything, for we have a full life filled with purpose, connection, self assuredness and passion.
We attract love by being love.