WHY IS IT HARD TO “OPEN UP”…
If you have been reading our previous three articles (Golden Rules before You “Get Out There” Rule 1, Rule 2 and Rule 3) you should be ready to make a graceful comeback to the dating scene. There is, however, one more important thing you should be aware of: you need to be mindful of how open you are.
“To open up” doesn’t only mean to have “a welcoming attitude”; it also means to actively work with your fears and learning to take risks. For those of us who have been in relationships, where we got hurt, cheated on or – to put it plainly – heartbroken, it can be (and most probably, will be) very difficult to let someone new into our lives.
Lately, I’ve been talking to my dear friend. Some years ago she went through THE breakup – “the really nasty” kind – called off engagement, depression and no silver lining on the horizon. After the first couple of months full of tears and despair, she slowly started to rebuild her life and today she is happier, more balanced and self-confident than ever before.
A couple of weeks ago she met a guy and quite unexpectedly fell for him. When I talked to her she sounded excited yet very reserved: “I was really happy on my own. Now I guess I’m just afraid that I fall for him, something will go wrong and I will be back in the same mess I was three years ago”.
… AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
The fear of opening up to another human and “giving in” is quite common. People who have been hurt in the past are building up mental and emotional walls to protect their hearts from being broken again. But there’s something we need to understand: guarding our hearts won’t work. It only results in making all of our decisions based on fear.
How to work with your fear of getting hurt? First of all, you need to realize that a risk of being hurt is, unfortunately, something that you need to accept. Not every date will end up great and not every relationship will have “a happily ever after” ending.
But what you need to remember is that even if things go sideways, you have your own back.
There is a reason why “5 Golder Rules for “Getting Back Out There” series has started with highlighting how important working on yourself first is. Changing your mindset and perceiving your past relationships as lessons, breaking out of a victim mentality and realizing your unhealthy patterns are necessary to make you feel balanced, confident and in control of your love life again. If you truly embrace those messages you will realize that everything has happened for a reason and from now on you get to chose how your story will unfold. And in case of a new heartbreak, you will go through it, because you always have a person to lean on – yourself.
I remember back in a day, I had a first date with a guy. We agreed to meet at my place and then to decide what to do next. It was a weekday and we were both after work, so I’ve decided to cook a dinner, assuming we will both be hungry. We ate, drink some wine then watched a movie. I thought it was a great first date…
…until I told my girlfriends about. Not only they were “not happy with my behaviour” but they also told me that I’ve probably “screwed up” all the chances of having something serious with the guy: “You should never cook for a guy you just started dating!”, “You scared him away!”, “You should have met for coffee first and he should be the one who’s paying!”
Holly F**k, that was a shit storm! Apparently, I broke dozens of “dating rules”simultaneously, by being exactly who I am and doing exactly what I felt like.
Many times we try to over-engineer our dating experience. We adhere to rules we found on the Internet or heard from our friends about “playing the game”: who should text first (hint – apparently never the girl), how many days to wait until arranging the next date, how to act to “drive her crazy” and when should you make him feel jealous for the first time. Bla bla bla…
Better you are at playing the game, bigger chances to win you have, they say. The question is, what is it exactly that you are trying to win?
ARE PLAYERS SMART… OR INSECURE?
If you feel that from the very beginning you need to engage yourself in some kind of “a game” in order to “win” a relationship, you should think twice.
First of all, ask yourself why do you feel the need to create “a dating persona” who acts according to some rules instead of being yourself?
Yes, there are “professional players” out there – guys who hit on many girls as a form of sport and means to get sex, or girls who lead on several men simultaneously in order to get some attention – so we play along with them, in order to protect ourselves. But are those the types of people that you want to get involved with, in a first place? No one wants to be played, but ironically, when we feel that “the other side” is pulling some tricks on us, we respond back with the same. While all we have to do is to simply disengage.
Another reason why we “play games” is that we are (many times subconsciously) insecure about ourselves. We are convinced that if we act naturally and stay authentic people won’t be interested in dating us: that we will “scare them off”, “come across as needy” or – god forbid – boring!
So we “play it cool and sexy” – with hundreds of smartly crafted text messages, hiding behind our perfect selfies and fabulous social media accounts. No judgment here, but I perceive one serious issue with that: more “staged” and inauthentic you are, harder it will be for you to find the right person – someone, who is totally turned on by the real, awesome you.
Remember, being open, straightforward and authentic is sexy. Showing kindness and generosity to someone you’ve started to date is sexy.
And catching feelings is not a disease so let’s stop perceiving it as such. Many of us see “liking someone” as a weakness; news flash people, there is nothing more natural than that! Owning your feelings and admitting them directly shows self-confidence and courage. And that, my dear friends, is the biggest turn on.
BE MINDFUL ABOUT THE WAY YOU (INTER)ACT
Last but not least, it’s good to be aware of the way you come across; surprisingly you may be giving people around you totally different impression that you intend.
When you give someone an advice like “you need to be more open to guys/girls around you” most of the people mistake it for an encouragement to be more flirty, more “slutty” or “aggressive” in your love pursuits. And although I see nothing wrong with any of those behaviours (unless they are forced and against your personality or general attitude towards life), here, I would like to focus on something entirely different.
In order to truly open up, you also need to be more observative about your surroundings and mindful of your encounters. Carry yourself with open-mindedness and a natural curiosity for another human being. And make sure that your sparkle of interest in people is always ignited.
Try to observe yourself a little (and if it’s difficult, ask your friends or colleagues) and figure out what kind of impression you give to people around you. You may be surprised by the answers!
For example, if you are one of those people who always walk around with a headset on, you may create an unintentional barrier for people to approach you. Same goes for excessive usage of mobile in public places, reading while commuting by a public transport, or whatever is that you are doing while surrounded by people. It doesn’t mean that from now you should drop everything you are normally doing and become a creep who stares at everyone with the intensity of a laser light; it simply means that from time to time you can take a meaningful look around and see who is around you. Believe it or not, there is quite some number of marriages that started with a smile or a simple question, somewhere at the train, plane or a bus station.
People who are open and friendly create a really great energy around them. If you have a welcoming attitude and curious mindset, you will automatically start to meet more people. Remember, you attract the energy you exude.
PREPARE FOR UNCONVENTIONAL
Last but not least, prepare yourself for unconventional. I have discussed this topic already in the previous article about re-inventing your dating self (please see 3rd Golden Rule: Make sure to re-invent your “dating self”) but there’s one more important aspect, connected with opening up from love. You need to be prepared that your future partner may not be someone you have imagined.
Better, it can be someone who you would NEVER imagine to get interested in!
I guess it’s ironic, but some of the best couples I know are with each other despite the fact that none of them is “the type” the other one prefers. In some cases, they even say: “I would never expect to fall for a person like him/her before I actually did”.
That’s why it is important to open up for the unconventional. Don’t forget, love works in mysterious ways. If you narrow down your radar’s reach to known places, preferred types, faces, and backgrounds you may miss a lot of opportunities for meeting the one that is truly meant for you. Sounds like such a cliche, but you know what they say… “It’s a cliche because it’s true”.
Read About The 5 Golden Rules:
Golden Rule 1:
Make sure you’re mentally ready
Golden Rule 2:
Make sure you ex-orcise your space
Golden Rule 3:
Make sure to re-invent your “dating self”
Golden Rule 4: (you are here)
Make sure you are truly open
Golden Rule 5:
Make sure to relax, let go and have fun!