I remember watching a movie where the main character, the girl in the movie, had what most people would consider an insignificant love life. She was working crazy hours at work and spending a lot of time at home. She didn’t get out of her comfort zone to meet new people. Instead, she played it safe and wasn’t putting herself out there. In the movie, one of the guys she meets, turns around and tells her this. Everyone has the love life they want.
I was furious! How dare he say that? That’s not true. I don’t want to be single. I want to be in love. So no, that’s not true. I don’t have the love life I want. But over the next couple of days, it sunk in. I realised I hadn’t really wanted it.
What I really wanted at the time was a great career, which I had. Work was my priority. I had made moving up the corporate ladder a priority. What was important to me at the time was to work hard and be recognised for it. And the second truth was that I was really scared of truly falling for someone. I wasn’t ready to ‘fall in love’ and be vulnerable. I was scared that someone might find out who I was. What if I turned out not to be enough? What if they didn’t find me exciting? I also felt that I’d grown up in so many different countries and had such a multicultural background that I’d always be bored and restless. I’d never find someone who would keep me on my toes. Someone who would allow me to just be me – that mix of countries. That was the story I liked to tell myself thought. The truth was that I wasn’t ready to be seen and that I was afraid. Afraid of letting someone in and feeling vulnerable.
This was such a breakthrough for me. As soon as it dawned on me, I had to stop and think. What were my current priorities? Was work really more important to me than love? How much time was I really spending meeting new people? It turns out very little. How much time was I spending trying to get myself a date? Almost zero. It just wasn’t on my radar. Why? Because I was spending every waking hour thinking about work. I wanted to achieve great things at work, which is why I was putting all of my energy and attention into that. I didn’t lack initiative in my job – that was for sure. So why did I lack it so much in my love life? I also had to get over this fear of letting someone in, romantically.
And it’s funny because when I made that conscious decision that I was ready: Ready to make my love life a priority. Ready to let someone in and risk getting hurt. And ready to take that leap of faith and be vulnerable. That’s when I really started creating things for myself.
All of a sudden I had a new date every week. How? I had started showing up. I said yes to invites from work friends. I said yes to trying out a dating site a friend was on. I said yes to going to music gigs I didn’t know much about. Then, I went even further. I no longer only said yes; I started creating those events. I started researching fun things to do in my area. I was inviting other people around me to come along. I’d found a great new day festival I was excited about and would send a text to a friend to join me. I found groups and clubs that inspired me, and I joined those. I went one step further; I went alone to those events. I met incredible people on my own. I was finally putting myself out there in every way possible. And in no way was I still in my comfort zone. It was exhilarating and scary at the same time – the perfect place to grow.
The difference when you have that sort of mind shift is that others see that you’re open to being spoken to. They can see it in your body language. They can see it from a look you give them. From the way you are at a party. You’re putting it out there that you’re ready.
An example of this during that time? I remember after three or four months of being proactive in my love life, the following scenario came up. I was leaving around 6.30am for a flight to Hamburg to see my parents (the usual expat routine), and I was waiting for the train to get to the airport. Whilst waiting, I saw a guy walk down the platform. He was really attractive. I looked at him. We locked eyes. And to him that was my way of saying I was available and not afraid for him to come over and chat. He walked right past me. My initial thought? That was embarrassing… Oh well, his loss. At least I gave it a shot and looked at him rather than just looking down at my feet. And then. Just a few seconds later. He took a couple steps back towards me and simply said hi. We ended up getting on that same train and exchanging numbers.
That breakthrough of creating my love life rather than waiting for it happened around 3 years ago. And thinking back, I now completely agree with that statement that had enraged me at first. You have the love life you want.