It was only when we reacquainted that our “search” ended.
I don’t think we should overtly seek love as it’s not the direct result of finding it. Some people spend their entire lives searching for love but never get anywhere, while some attract love with ease without looking for it. Clearly, there are other factors involved. And I’m here to share them today.
In today’s guide, I share 10 crucial steps which have brought love into my life. I actually wrote and published this guide last May when I was still single (it was just 8 steps then). Following my advice brought love to me a year later.
I’ve rewritten this article and added 2 additional steps given the benefit of hindsight. At almost 5,000 words long (actually longer if you count the related articles that are linked for some steps), this is truly your one-stop guide to finding love.
Bookmark this piece and apply the steps. They have worked for me and they will help you attract to the love you deserve. Good luck.
1. Seek a relationship out of love (not fear)
Many people today seek a relationship out of fear. Reasons like not wanting to feel lonely, not wanting to be alone, not wanting to be left on the shelf, conforming to society’s expectations, appeasing parents’ concerns, wanting to be loved, wanting to feel “complete”, wanting to have a partner to “show off” to friends, and not wanting to be the only single left among coupled friends are fear-based motivations for a relationship.
However, in doing/thinking so, you attract fear-based people: partners who manipulate, partners who abuse you (not just physically but also emotionally), and/or partners to criticize you and take you for granted. After a while, you may feel you’re better off single than with these people.
My Example with Guy N
Before I reconnected with Ken, I was in an unhappy connection with toxic guy N.
With good reason too. A sliver of me was seeking love with fearful intentions: I was worried that I would never find someone (I love) and I didn’t want to live life never having been in a serious relationship. In short, I was seeking a relationship for the sake of it.
Hence, I hung on to that toxic connection even though N was one of the worst people I had ever met. Only when he pushed my limits again and again did I realize that he was cancer. I promptly released him and with that, my fear that I would never be attached.
I realized it didn’t matter if I were to remain single forever because my life happiness and fulfillment were not dependent on my relationship status. I didn’t want to live in anticipation of meeting someone anymore; it was exhausting.
As life would have it, Ken entered my life right after I dropped my fear-based intentions for a relationship and embraced it 100% with faith, purity, and love.
So what are love-based motivations then? When you want to be with someone because…
- … you love someone for him/her, for all his/her traits and oddities (vs. quelling your loneliness or for companionship).
- … you are happy and whole as yourself and you feel even happier with him/her. You recognize a relationship is about forming a union larger than its individual parts, not to complete someone.
- … you see a high level of compatibility between you and him/her. You want to form a conscious, positive connection with him/her and elevate in life together.
Notice these reasons are rooted in wholeness, betterment, authenticity, and abundance, unlike fear-based reasons which are rooted in scarcity, neediness, lack and fear. The former is what a relationship about, where the latter treats relationships as a tool to patch issues. Approach relationships with love- not fear-based intentions.
2. Be your best self (Change for yourself, not to get someone to like you)
Many of us are guilty of restraining, changing ourselves to appeal to the other gender. I used to do this as shared in Why I Used to Be Afraid of Intimidating Men and Why It Does Not Faze Me Anymore.
However, doing so left me drained and unhappy. I would always be sensitive about what I said/did because I didn’t want to “make a wrong move” and turn off the guy. Obviously, this approach was unsustainable.
It didn’t take me long to realize there has never anything wrong with me. If a guy is intimidated by my natural behavior without me trying to do so, that simply means we are not compatible, whether as friends or partners, I realized. It’s not about force fitting myself to such guys, but about getting out there to meet more compatible men who celebrate my personality and success.
And so I did, after which I realized there are tons of guys out there who celebrate strong, opinionated females with great careers. I just wasn’t seeing them before because I was trying to force fit myself around me rather than getting out there to meet new guys.
Attract Love by Being the Best You
When you have to alter or restrain yourself to get someone to like you, chances are the person was never compatible with your true self. You also enter a dilemma of whether to continue your fake persona to maintain the person’s interest (but live a lie) or reveal your real self to be true to yourself (but risk losing the person’s interest). Either way is a lose.
What you want is a partner who loves you as you and whom you can be your highest self with, not someone whom you have to project a fake persona around.
To have that, first be comfortable in your own skin. You can’t expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself first. As Ayn Rand once said, “To say ‘I love you’ one must first be able to say the ‘I’.”
Strive to be the best you. Lose weight, look good, be kind, excel in your career, and strive for personal achievements, but do them for yourself, not others.
Then, be yourself around others. Your true love can’t fall in love with the real you if you’re hiding behind a front! By wearing your real personality with pride, you filter away bad matches and attract people who resonate with the real you. Even if some don’t take a liking towards you, that’s fine: not everyone is going to like you and it would also mean they were never a match in the first place.
Remember, your aim isn’t to attract the world, but to attract the right one for you. This will only happen when you’re first embracing your true self.
3. Live your best life. Don’t put it on hold for love.
Throughout my love journey, I tried 2 different approaches: (a) overtly putting myself out there with countless dates and meetups, and (b) living my life, pursuing my goals, and being open to dating along the way.
What helped me to find love ultimately wasn’t (a) but (b).
Why Would Love “Find” You Without You Looking For It?
So this is where I want to clarify and say that (b) isn’t not thinking about dating/love and blocking them out of your life. Rather, (b) is about living your life as you would, pursuing your highest goals, and then dating as yourself. Not making dating the singular goal, but rather, an accent that complements.
So while it may seem counterintuitive that love will come to you when you aren’t actively seeking it out like in (a) scenario, it isn’t.
Firstly, when you live your life to the fullest and become your highest self, you shine your brightest. You radiate and magnetize peoplein a way you never would if you were not living your path. People, especially like-minded people, gravitate to you even if you aren’t seeking them. This naturally sets you up to meet right matches.
Secondly, when you follow your path, you emit an aura so strong that it’s projected to the entire universe. This aura attracts like-souls — people vibrating at the same level of consciousness and who are conscious, positive, and on their path — even if they are on the opposite side of the planet.
Galaxy of Molecules, All Vibrating at Different Levels
That may be hard to wrap your head around especially if you tend to see the world as purely a physical one, so I’ll try to explain with an analogy.
You know how there are different forms of energy in the world? Heat energy, light energy, kinetic energy, electric energy, etc.
Well, we’re no different: we are really energy with a physical form. Everything we see — from plants, to animals, to humans, to objects — are molecules vibrating at different energy levels at the empirical level. Our vibrations change depending on our consciousness.
This means that the universe is really made up of gazillions of energy molecules, all vibrating and moving in their own trajectories.
When we discuss soulmates, they are simply molecules like us out there — wherever they are — waiting to bump into us and reunite. Even if you don’t believe in soulmates, think of love as a process where 2 molecules (persons) with similar vibrations gravitate towards each other and form a whole. It’s the same thing.
Just like 2 magnets pull towards each other because of their magnetic properties, you and your soul’s match gravitate towards each other when both of you vibrate at the same consciousness level. Obviously your physical distance will affect how fast you meet: If you are already in the same room, it wouldn’t take long for you to gravitate towards each other. On the other hand, if you’re at opposite ends of the planet, it’s going to take a little while more.
Regardless, it wouldn’t change the eventual outcome, which is that both of you will meet at one point. But this can only happen if you are first living your path and being your highest self. Otherwise, you’ll never vibrate at your highest consciousness level to attract your soul’s match.
Reacquaintance of Me and Ken: A Match in Our Consciousness
That’s why it was no coincidence that Ken entered my life right after I decided to live my life over seeking love (in February 2013). He messaged me on Whatsapp one fine day when I was in South Africa, over 9,000 km away from sunny Singapore, because he had a “sudden thought to organize his phone contacts list” — something he rarely does.
The way I see it is this: we had self-actualized on our paths, were finally vibrating at the right consciousness level and were ready to receive each other in our lives.
On the other hand, nothing happened during the 2 times we physically met in the past — once in university 9 years ago, and another time on the streets 4.5 years ago. Because we had not come into our own yet, we were not ready to become lovers.
On hindsight, our earlier meetings were like my spirit guides’ way of winking at me and letting me know that love has always been in my path. It’s funny thinking back to all the times when I would wonder out loud with my girl friends as to whether there’s anyone out there for me. I was just not receiving love in those times because I was not ready for this soulmate connection. If I had gotten together with Ken at any point earlier, the potential of our relationship would have been greatly capped.
Would Ken have reappeared if I had not come to my realization to live my life over finding love in February? Maybe yes, maybe no. Even if he did reappear, I don’t think things would have taken off, just like they didn’t during our first 2 “hi-bye” encounters. Ken and I finally met and got together because I was 100% on my path and ready to receive love consciously and fully without fear-based intentions (as was he).
How to Live Your Best Life
So how does one start to live his/her best life? Some steps to get started:
- Discover your life purpose. Live in line with it every day. Read: How to Discover Your Life Purpose (7-part series)
- Design your ideal life. How would your life be? What would you be doing? How can you move towards this life today?
- Set your life goals. What are your biggest goals and ambitions? (They should correlate with your ideal life.) What do you want to accomplish in the next 1, 3, and 5 years?
- Create action plans to realize your top goals.
- Then, take action.
4. Seek love, but don’t treat it as a goal
Some of us might have intentions to marry or have kids by X age when we were young.
I remember friends who spoke of relationships this way when we were younger: “Okay, I want to get married by 28, so I should date when I’m 25 and have a stable career. I’ll have one year to date and choose a partner, one year to know him and determine if he’s the right one for me, and one year of engagement before we get married. Then after marrying, we can have some private space before starting a family when I’m 30 or 31.”
Some of you may laugh reading this, but that’s because it’s so true to life. Many people put a timeline to love (be it getting into a relationship or marriage) and quantify it into a binary goal to be achieved. “Have you gotten a boyfriend yet?” “When is it your turn to marry?” “I wish to have a boyfriend before my next birthday” are comments that proliferate conversations today.
When I was 13 or 14, I started to wonder if I would meet my special someone before my next birthday. Sailor Moon was my favorite anime and she met her love (Mamoru) in her high-school years, so I wondered if this would happen to me too.
Obviously it didn’t. This thought would continue to emerge every year though, usually near my birthday as it was a reminder that I was getting older but still barren in my love life. This mindset really did nothing but increase my anxiety and urge to get out there and look for someone.
As you have read from my love story, I didn’t meet anyone (whom I’d want to be with) when I was proactively seeking love. Ironically, it was when I stopped looking that love happened.
While it’s good to intend for love as energy goes where intention flows, love isn’t a goal to be achieved. You can’t control when you find love and who falls in love with you though you CAN be proactive about making it happen (see step #7). To treat love as a goal would be to confine and diminish it when it is grander and more pervasive than that.
Treat love as what it is — an all-encompassing, formless, timeless, and universal quality that defies time and space — and you will soon attract love in its highest form.
5. Realize that love is all around you
As you seek love, don’t miss the love that is around you and that has always been there.
From your parents loving and caring for you, to friends showing care and concern, to co-workers supporting you at work, to teachers/mentors coaching you, to strangers lending a helping hand when you need it, to your higher self and spirit guides looking out for you since before you were born, you are surrounded by love every second, every minute and every hour of every day.
While these aren’t romantic love, they are love all the same: love between the parent and child, love between friends, love between colleagues, love between the teacher and student, love between humans, love between your spirit guides and you, and self-love.
Even around you, love is happening all the time. From little kids playing on the field, to parents taking their kids to school, to the elderly couple strolling in the park, to the couple hanging out at the cafe, these are all love in action.
Don’t restrict your mind to just seeing romantic love. Recognize the love before you that’s in different forms. Embrace them all. And be thankful for them. If you don’t first recognize, accept, and appreciate the love around you, then how can you expect the universe to send more love your way? Only by doing so, will you show the world that you are ready to receive more love into your life.
6. Recognize that you are complete
When you were born, you were blessed with a physical body to experience life on earth. From working lungs, to a beating heart, to an intelligent mind, to a working body, you have everything it takes to thrive.
Yet, we are often led to believe that we are incomplete whether through books, television shows, or romance movies. We are told that love is necessary to complete us. Unfortunately, this is unhealthy thinking which leaves us feeling like we’re missing something and causes us to yearn for a relationship ever so often.
If you feel incomplete and you have this intense need to “get out there and find love”, ask yourself: What is it that I’m trying to find? Chances are, you aren’t trying to find love. You’re just trying to find yourself, or rather, the love, fulfillment, happiness, fun, or purpose that you’re missing on the inside. All you are trying to do is to use a relationship to fill your inner void(s).
Even if you get together with someone, these issues will never go away. They will merely be carried into the relationship, leading to future pain for you and your partner. Expect issues to arise later on, such as codependency, clinginess, possessiveness, imposing views, unhealthy expectations, and deep-seated disgruntlement with each other.
Rather, the sooner you solve your voids, the sooner you become whole, and the sooner you attract other complete beings to create your best relationship ever. A relationship that’s built by 2 complete individuals with independent thinking and personalities and that’s larger than the sum of its individual parts.
Yin and yang, 2 dualities combined to create a synergistic whole.
7. Play your part in making love happen
While you work on being your best self (step #2) and living your best life (step #3), play your part in making love happen. You can’t expect your partner to jump out of the television set (no The Ring, please) or pop of your dreams while you’re sleeping (no A Nightmare on Elm Street too).
Get out there and meet people. Attend social gatherings. Join interest groups. Date. Be open to being set up on dates. Try online dating. Dating agencies are worth a shot too if you’re up for it (I tried it before though it didn’t really work for me). Don’t close off opportunities to meet new people.
Then as you meet people you like, approach them. Initiate conversation. Foster a connection. And follow up. Build on the connections with those who reciprocate.
As for people who show interest, get to know them better. Reciprocate if you share the same feelings.
The point is, be proactive. Love is a 2-way effort, not a one-way process where the guy/girl finds and chases after you. Just as others put themselves out there to make love happen, you have to play your part too.
8. Don’t hold constricted views on how love should be
“I will only date someone outside of my workplace.”
“He must text me before and after each date to show his interest.”
“I will never go out on a date with someone who asks me out less than 3 days in advance.”
“If a guy doesn’t follow up after a week, he’s not within my consideration set anymore.”
Ever heard these statements before? I have, or at least a variation of them. Many people have expectations on how they want love to appear and develop, ala When Harry Met Sally….
Unfortunately, these expectations can also hinder you from receiving love.
I recommend you not to hold constricted views on how love should manifest, but leave yourself open to different manners and styles it can appear. It’s more important that you wear your heart on your sleeve and receive love as it appears.
9. Be clear of your top criteria in a partner
You know, if I had expected Ken to match up to my vision of an ideal partner at the start, I probably would have never gotten together with him.
That’s because my ideal partner should be 100% mental/intellectual compatible with me (on top of the other factors). I didn’t know if Ken was a mental/intellectual match prior to us getting together; it didn’t feel like he was.
Thankfully I internally clarified my top criteria — kindness and emotional sensitivity — and gave the relationship a go since Ken topped those 2 criteria (and more). It didn’t take long for me to realize that we were meant to be together all along. ♥
(Ironically Ken turned out to be my perfect mental/intellectual match and hence, everything I would ever want in my ideal partner. Even if he didn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered because I had already decided that this factor wasn’t 100% crucial.)
If you have a gazillion things you want in a partner, then you are… probably never going to anyone you will like. While you may have 10 to 20 criteria in a guy/girl, but only a couple really matter at the end of the day.
Here’s an example, and a question for you: If you are to spend the rest of your life with someone, what’s going to matter to you? Whether he/she will be there with you through life, in sickness and good health, or whether he/she is of X height and weight today? (The latter (weight) isn’t going to stay the same over time anyway.) Something to think about.
So, figure out what are your top criteria in a partner. Narrow down to 1–2 criteria. Then let go of the rest because they were never crucial in the first place. When assessing future prospects, do so against your top criteria: nothing more, nothing less.
10. Nurture rather than terminate
Throughout your love journey, adopt a nurturing mindset, not a terminalistic one.
A nurturing mindset is one where you focus on the things you like (about the person), the potential of your relationship, and growing the connection with the person. You celebrate what’s there and work on building the connection further.
A terminalistic mindset on the other hand is where you judge someone by what you see, make early (usually negative) conclusions, impose expectations on how the connection should evolve, and shut it off on the smallest of factors. Here, you evaluate the connection by a preset (usually ridiculous) standard and you are ready to close off anything that doesn’t match what you want.
Naturally, a nurturing mindset is the key to both finding love and building successful relationships.
Being Nurturing in My Relationship with Ken
After I found out that Ken was a heavy drinker (about a week after we reconnected) and a heavy smoker (another week later), I didn’t close him off as a prospect.
It wasn’t that these were acceptable to me; I most definitely prefer someone who doesn’t drink nor smoke. Ken wasn’t just a social drinker; he would drink as many as 8 pints a day, 3–4 times in a week (because that was how often he was partying). He also wasn’t just a smoker but a heavy one who smoked 12–15 cigarettes daily.
However, Ken had such a great character and big heart that I didn’t want to forgo this connection. He was definitely the most emotionally compatible person I had ever met in my entire life at that point (even today) and I was interested to see where this connection would lead to. I had also asked him if he planned to quit smoking at some point in the future to which he said, “Yes, but not now.”
To me, this represented the potential for things to change though I wasn’t hanging on to his one statement nor expecting him to quit smoking based on this comment.
Also, I used to like someone before whom I later realized was a heavy smoker. That experience taught me that just because someone smokes (or drinks heavily) doesn’t mean that the person won’t be a match. Habits can change but character traits are more permanent.
So with Ken, I was open to starting a relationship with him despite his drinking and smoking. While they might be issues in the long term, I didn’t see them as barriers to dating nor starting a relationship. I was focused on the present, my present feelings, and the positive upward potential of a relationship together.
As it turned out, Ken quit smoking one week after we got attached and he now drinks only 1–2 glasses a month. Did I ask him to do that? No I didn’t. Did I expect him to do that? I didn’t either.
All these were decisions he made and acted on himself; I merely supported him in my fullest capacity as his then-girlfriend (now fiancee). All I know is that his changes and our relationship today wouldn’t be possible if I had adopted a terminalistic mindset back then and shut him off because of his personal habits.
Be Nurturing in Your Love Journey
The lesson here isn’t to get attached to smokers and drinkers in hopes that they will stop smoking and drinking afterwards. It’s to celebrate what you see, focus on positive possibilities with someone, and focus on your role in making things happen.
So, don’t write off connections because you don’t think anything will come out of them. Keep an open mind and heart. Keep in touch, let the connections grow, and see what comes out of them. Do so with a sincere intent to know them better and build a connection/friendship, not to suss out romantic possibilities.
With romantic prospects, other than your top criteria being make-or-break factors (see step #9), other things shouldn’t stand in the way. Focus on how to make things work out rather than ending a connection just because it’s not going the way you want (not counting toxic connections).