“We all just want to be loved!”
That phrase was hurled at me by a guy I was trying to break it off with during my messy, dark co-dependent times. He meant it as an insult, a way of putting me down and make it seem as if my feelings- and me- weren’t “enough.” I realized then that he didn’t love himself much, and would never be able to love me as I deserved. And then I applied that self-help trick of taking what I was pointing at in others and turned it around and pointed it at myself…maybe I needed to learn to better love myself, and from there I will find the guy who can love me as I deserve. It took creating a new mindset, what I call my Adventure attitude, to shift my life and find a new love. If you’re looking for love too, here’s my story to inspire you as well as some tips I learned along the way.
Adventure Learning Tools
Adventure Wednesdays was my tool for learning about myself. I told everyone it was to learn what I found fun (vs. whatever others did – doing what made others happy instead of me is a “people pleasing” trait I discovered I had.) What I really wanted to do was find a man who would love me for me. And I worked at Weight Watchers HQ…not a great place for meeting lots of men (and I wasn’t into dating someone at work, a mistake I had made before.) I decided the adage “you’ll meet people you like if you do it while doing things you like” was appropriate. I gave myself time. I got over my own obstacles that self-care is not selfish, self-centered nor narcissistic. I healed much of the fears and traumas in my life. I made great friends and sisters. We had lots of laughs and adventures.
Somewhere along the way I created a vision board. Later I went took a different way of visioning with writing a list of what I DO want in a mate. This is going with the ideology that the Universe doesn’t hear negatives. In other words, when I said I didn’t want a man like my ex-husband, the Universe heard “I did want” (dropping the not, and I had ended up with people similar to my ex). So this list was filled with positives. It was not specific, it was more about how I wanted the man to move in this world and how I would feel being with him (adored vs I had to take care of him!). As things go, these vision boards and lists were put away and mostly forgotten.
After a few years of all this inner work, I felt I was ready to date again. The online dating sites held men I had seen years earlier during my first bout with them. This was not to be my source for a good match. (Tinder wasn’t even a thing then, how fast technology changes life!) I tried going to some bars with girlfriends also looking. We had some laughs, but it was not the place I wanted to meet someone serious.
One night I went to a Reiki Circle held in a yoga studio my Reiki instructor had never used before. On their desk they had lots of flyers advertising different events being held in their studios. One was a speed date. It felt like a sign. The movie “Hitch” had given me a glimpse of speed dating, and a friend had bought a groupon for one. While not something I would normally consider, speed dating had moved into my realm for an adventure. I thought that one held at a yoga studio would bring a better class of people than a bar. The woman at the desk assured me I was in the right age range too. The clincher was…it was on a Wednesday!
The Speed Date
The evening came, and I had not been able to persuade any of my girlfriends to try this adventure with me. I took myself out to a nice dinner. I knew ahead of time that I had no expectations, except maybe a funny story or two to share. At the studio we had to wait in the lobby as the room was prepared. I evaluated the crowd. There was a group who seemed to know each other, or at least gathered to chat since they seemed to be closer in age. There were a few men older than me. Even more women that seemed to be in my age range (competition! Or would they be new friends, I wondered.) Only two men who seemed to be in my age range. I remember them meeting each other, one saying he was glad the other decided to show up.
We were brought into the room. There were even amounts of men and women (sixteen total). We were each given a folded piece of paper. You would be given a few minutes with each partner and different questions each time partners moved. You had to answer those questions, and not discuss your basics (I live here, work here, have kids, etc). If you liked the person, you wrote his/her name down. If you didn’t, you wrote your own name down. That way no one knew if you wrote down their name or not. The questions the speed date leader came up with were unusual. I think just uncomfortable enough to bring out honest reactions. Such as “what would you do if you won lotto?” “describe your first kiss” or “what are you passionate about?”.
While the questions were interesting, and some I felt glad to have sales skills and dodge my real answers, and the men were definitely not barflies, by the end of the evening I saw I had only written one man’s name down. The end of the event we were all sitting in a circle doing some kind of share, and he sat across next to attractive women, laughing with them. Again, I had no expectations of getting a date from this event, so I left satisfied I had an unusual adventure.
The Start of a New Adventure
The following Friday, to my surprise, the man I thought was handsome had also written my name – which meant we were “matched” and the event leader sent our email addresses to each other. Being in sales, my first reaction was to send him a note. The young woman in my office, being more in the dating scene than I had been, advised me to allow him to reach out to me first. Once again, I dropped my expectations. Got busy with my life and almost forgot about it. Monday morning I woke up to an email from him. That was June of 2013.
Here we are, Valentine’s Day in 2018. It will be five years this June that we met. We have had too many adventures together to count. It’s looking excellent for many more adventures to come, together. We call ourselves Adventure Partners. I am grateful to have learned the wonder that adventures open up for me without expectation of a controlled outcome. I appreciate that the Universe decided to send me someone who met my list of positives (which I came across recently, laughing at how he met them all and beyond). I am grateful my adventure attitude transformed me to be able to allow this deeper love come into my life. The ex who uttered a phrase in ugliness actually stated a truism. We do all want to be loved. And it starts with loving our self first, and letting that spill over to loving others just as much.
Adventure Love Tips
While I’m no expert, here are the Tips for finding your Adventure Partner (or deepening the relationship with the one you already have):
- Love yourself. If you don’t already, be assured you can learn this.
- Be your true self. If you pretend to be something you’re not, you aren’t allowing for the deep relationship you deserve.
- Take risks. Face your fears. Find adventures to address them. Don’t be afraid to “fail” because those can be the best learning experiences and stories.
- Stay in wonder. Let go of the outcome. This keeps the pressure off and the fun on.
- Practice gratitude. For the love and for the ugly.
- Find what you feel is fun. The emphasis on you. When you are enjoying your passions, everyone around you will enjoy your energy too. Whether you attract a partner or not, you’ll still have fun.
Do you have an Adventure Partner? What’s your story of meeting? Are you looking for love? What do you think of the tips? Will you use them, or have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!