Do you think you are ready to fall in love? If so, here are a few things you should know about yourself before you do.
Know Who You Are When You Are Happy
I don’t just mean the sort of happy you get from a great event or unusual high point in your life, I mean the sort of everyday background level of happiness you get from just enjoying where your life is at. The time in your life where you wake up with positive thoughts and good expectations of your day ahead, where you are thinking about what you are going to have for dinner without stressing about it, that sort of happy. Studies have shown we humans are really rather creatures of habit so no matter what happens to us, be it a lotto win or a devastating accident, we tend to settle back down into our previous happiness level by about a year later. Falling in love creates an enormous high that can last anywhere between 6 months to 1 year, but after that you will fall back to your previous level of happiness. So it makes sense to cultivate your own personal happiness level because that’s your base line for life. Something that no one can take away from you or affect over the long term, even if others and outside circumstances can change it in the short term.
Know Who You Are When You Are Sad
One of the biggest inhibitors for a lot of people when it comes to falling in love is the fear of being hurt- the fear of loss. For this reason it is important to know who you are when you are sad, to not just have a theory about how you would deal with a low point in your life, but to actually live through one. It is important to know that you will get through it, that you will survive, to know that things will get better. And the only way to know this is to live it. When you live to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you know that no matter what happens to you and your love, you will be ok. Eventually.
Know Who You Are When You Are Angry
What type of angry do you get? Peaceful most of the time, building up a huge head of steam to be let go at the strangest provocation, spewing forth weeks or months of built up resentment? Or maybe you are the rant and rage over every little thing type only to forget it all five minutes later. Maybe somewhere else on the spectrum. Where ever you fall, however it is you get angry, you really need to know who you are when you do. For one, you’ll need to be able to tell your new love what you are like when you are angry, and secondly, you’ll need to be able to recognise it in yourself as well. There are two types of angry- justified angry and unjustified. Being angry in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. We all get angry. We get angry when we are tired, stressed, upset, offended, and so on. This is not something you need to “fix” about yourself, just something you need to learn to deal with. The better you know your own temper and how to diffuse it, the easier you are to live with and fall in love with.
Know What Your Battles Are
You need to know what your battles are, where you draw the line over things worth worrying over. We simply can’t worry about everything or do everything so it’s important to choose your battles wisely. Just how important is it to you that your house is spotless with no dust bunnies colonising the underside of your bed? Maybe it’s important to you to have a fully stocked pantry and meals planned out in advance. Whatever it is that important to you- from making sure that the socks are properly paired because it drives you insane to have a draw full of mismatched socks- to drawing the line over swearing when arguing make sure you know what is and isn’t worth a fight. This isn’t to say that you have to have your own way all the time in relationships. When I was a kid, one of the best exercises I ever did at school was to put a list of values in ranked order. The list included such things as honesty, faith, bravery etc. I learnt a lot from that exercise, not the least of which was that some things are more important then others. If you need to, make your own list up, of both values and battles. Putting things in perspective, and really knowing what you can and can’t compromise on makes it much easier to negotiate a happy relationship.
Know What Your Own Faults Are And How To Make Peace With Them
Yep. We all have faults. Sometimes we are so super critical of ourselves all we can see are our own faults. But put it in perspective. Everyone else has them too. Before you fall in love, come to grips with your own faults and failings. I’m lazy and rather messy. If it’s a choice between hard work and a day on the couch watching my favourite shows, chances are I’ll probably take the shows. And you know what, every now and then I do, and I don’t beat myself up for it. It makes me happy to be a little bit naughty every now and then. My dust bunny colony annoyed hubby to be so much the other day that he vacuumed. I did feel bad about it for a little while because cleaning the inside of the house is my job as per our previous agreement. Then I forgave myself because you know, I’ve done a lot of other really good stuff the last few weeks too. And that’s the trick. Learn to forgive yourself for not being perfect.
Know What Truly Gives You Comfort
As I mentioned above, I love sitting on the couch watching my favourite shows. I’m too impatient to watch it on tv, so I have a pretty extensive dvd collection. In fact, if I had no responsibilities and endless amounts of money, I’d probably divide my time between watching great shows and reading great books. Food wise, give me a good spaghetti Bolognese or tomato and feta salad, maybe a few glasses of rum and coke, or if I’m feeling cashed up, some Long Island Iced Tea. All these things give me comfort. They did before I fell in love and they still do afterwards. All your comforts will come with you when you fall in love because they are a fundamental part of who you are. You may not get to indulge in them quite so often when you are loved up, so make the most of any single time you have to revel in your comforts. Trust me. After you fall in love you’ll have to divide your time between your own and your love’s comforts. After you have children you’ll have to divide that time again. Make the most of your comforts while you still can!
Know What You Really Want Out Of Life
By that I don’t just mean whether you want a rocking career, or a large family, I mean what kind of life do you want? A busy one? A famous one? Do you want to make your mark on history? Invent something that will change the lives of millions? Maybe you want to create something that will last beyond your lifetime? Maybe you want a quiet life, the sort of life that is filled to the brim with memorable meals and get-togethers with family and friends. Sometimes the only way to know what you really want is to try lots of different things and see how they fit. Maybe you thought being a lawyer would be for you, then discovered it wasn’t; maybe you thought you’d be happy staying at home and raising your kids, then discovered it wasn’t as fulfilling as you’d hoped. Whatever your life path, learning about what you want out of life is crucial to being able to be happily in love. You don’t want to discover after you’ve fallen in love with someone that doesn’t want kids that you have changed your mind and do really want them. Your base line on this journey is to imagine yourself at 80 or 90 and looking back on your life. Better to have regrets for what you did do then for what you didn’t.
Know What Your Priorities Are
This is a rather everyday and prosaic need. Is it more important to you to have no debt or to be able to buy whatever you like whenever you want? Is it important to you that you have time for yourself or you get all your housework done? If you don’t know what your priorities are how are you going to learn to mesh your needs with someone else’s? By knowing your priorities and living in a pattern that allows you to take care of them, you’ll find it much easier to attract and be attracted by someone who shares those priorities. So if you know that it is important to you not to have any debt, then you’ll be less likely to fall in love with someone who doesn’t have a problem with being in debt.
Know What You Consider To Be Success
We don’t all define success the same way. For me, I consider the day a success if I go to bed feeling like I have accomplished what I set out to do. Success to me is achieving my goals. For others, success may come in the form of validation or recognition from others- like a scientist who has their work peer reviewed and discussed. Others may consider success to be financial reward, emotional reward, intellectual reward- you name it. But to happily fall in love you need to know what your idea of success is. You need to have a base line, something to aim for and a measure of where you are at as you go along on life’s journey. Success can come in many different forms, but the only one that matters is the one that matters to you.
Know What You Consider Failure
Failure is not the end of the world. We all fail from time to time, the same as we all have faults. But not all of us have the same definition. Like success, the only failure that matters is the one that matters to you. I consider it a failure when I don’t live up to my promises, or when I don’t practice what I preach. Like knowing what it is like to be sad, knowing what you consider failure is important because over the course of your life you will inevitably fail at some things. But that doesn’t matter. How you pick yourself up and get on with things does matter.
So often when we are single we long to be in love. But there are some things you can only do while you are single- truly getting to know yourself so that you don’t lose who you are when you are in a relationship is something you can only do on your own. The more you know yourself, the more secure in who you are, the more likely you are to attract the love of your life- to attract someone who loves you for who you really are, not who you are trying to be.