If you’ve been single for a long stretch despite your best efforts to find love, you’ve probably grown weary of seeing happy, romantic couples at every turn…among your friends and family, featured in internet accounts, described in magazine stories, and on and on.
The sense of feeling left out and left behind can be especially acute at certain holidays — Christmas and Valentine’s Day come to mind — when loved ones snuggle close and make new memories. It can leave a lovelorn single person feeling downright depressed.
If that describes you — well, take heart. Seeing other people in love validates the belief that it can happen to you too. Despite your sense of being “on the outside looking in,” the potential for genuine, lasting love in your life is as real today as it’s ever been.
Here are four things to remember as you anticipate the arrival of your magnificent man or wonderful woman:
1. Today is always packed with possibility. Here’s a bit of common sense we can all agree on: Just because you’ve waited a long time for love to arrive doesn’t mean you still have a long time left to wait. Yet many frustrated singles fall into a psychological trap that begins to pull them downward like quicksand. They behave as if yesterday was a just a preview of today, as if this couldn’t possibly be the day that everything changes.
The truth is, romantic potential has no shelf life. The odds against finding lasting love do not grow longer with time. That means in each moment of every new day, you are equally likely to turn a new corner and fall head over heels into the relationship you’ve dreamed of. Your age? Irrelevant. Number of previous strike-outs? Meaningless. The opinions of naysayers? Please! Move through your life like you expect a surprise party in your honor at any moment.
2. Attitude matters. Your romantic beliefs, intentions, and expectations have a dramatic effect on how your search for love turns out. This idea is far less rooted in wishful thinking and New Age mumbo jumbo than it may sound at first. The connection between what you think and the life you lead is actually quite clear and simple.
Think of it this way: Someone who believes she’s cursed with bad luck is unlikely to invest a few bucks in a lottery ticket, no matter how large the jackpot grows. A person who has given up on love will probably think it is pointless to go where he might meet someone new, or to put their best foot forward if he does. When you no longer have faith in the payoff, why bother placing a bet? That might sound like good reasoning — until you realize how self-defeating and self-fulfilling it is. Keep your romantic radar on.
3. “Failure” is progress. Learning what you don’t want in a partner, and how to recognize it when you see it, is every bit as valuable as knowing what you do want. In this way, romantic misfires serve an important purpose. Where many people see each dead-end as a step away from their goal, you can choose to see things the way Thomas Edison did when he said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Every rejected lover is one you no longer have to consider. Every lesson learned is one that makes you more ready to handle real love when it comes along.
4. Love — when it arrives — heals the wounds caused by its absence. Just as the poets, mystics, and songwriters have said for centuries, love really is a magical thing. Before you find it, time drags, your heart aches, and you begin to fear that the damage is permanent. But on the other side of meeting the one you’ve looked for, you quickly forget all that. The joy of fulfillment is a salve that soothes every hurt, scars and all. When you are still in the romantic doldrums, it may help to remember that the love you seek — and are sure to find — is far more than an end to loneliness; it is a brand new beginning that erases what came before.
Love is always at your fingertips. Be sure your hand is always open.