Love may be a simple four-letter word but the journey it takes you through certainly isn’t. As with most people, love and relationships were never straight-forward for me. At a point in my life, I just wanted to be in a steady relationship with someone kind who I loved and who was totally in love with me too. Now that my love life is more stable, it’s natural for me to look back and try to imagine what my life would have been like if I knew then what I know now.
Being single in my 30s was quite bewildering for me so for anyone out there looking for a bit of guidance, here’s what I would tell my single self if I could:
1. Don’t date someone because they say they like you
First off, just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true. Yes, I’m more cynical now than I used to be but I’ve found that a little cynicism goes a long way in helping you keep your sanity. By the way, even if the person isn’t lying, even if they really, truly like you, it doesn’t mean you should date them. What matters is how YOU feel about them. If you date someone you don’t like, you’ll probably hurt them in the end leading to a horrible awkward situation. I believe in going through life causing as little pain as possible so please avoid this situation.
2. Don’t date someone recommended by someone else
When I was single, I found that people would set me up either with people they themselves would date (but couldn’t for one reason or the other) or people they felt I should date. For example, I like people who appreciate art but I was forever being match-made with people who had no respect for it which I didn’t like. Such matches were definitely not made in heaven.
3. Trust your gut
The happiest relationships I was in were with people I dated when I followed my instincts. But how do you tell the difference between your instinct and the voices in your head? I don’t have a definite answer for that but I find that the decisions I make when I follow what I think is the right decision for me are the ones that make me the happiest. To be happy while single, follow your instincts.
4. Get help
The sooner you get help the better. I had tried different ideas (e.g. dating someone because someone else thought they were a good person to date) when I was looking for a steady relationship but I only started making headway in my romantic life when I stopped caring what people thought and started reading self-help books on love and working with a coach. A lot of people turn up their noses at self-help and life coaching and to them, I say, “To each their own.” I am forever thankful I decided to follow the path that made sense to me and worked with someone knowledgeable in coaching. Yes, I had to pay for that help but it was worth it. Consider getting some coaching too.
5. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
I got that line from Oprah. If someone hurts you in a terrible way and they apologise, you should forgive them but that doesn’t mean you should go back to them. Forgiveness is good but we must learn from the situation that required forgiveness in the first place. Someone cannot hurt you over and over again and you’ll continue to take it especially if you don’t hurt people that way. Learn from the things that happen to you.
If you’re going through a hard time right now and would like some help in moving forward, try a coaching session with me. Find out my coaching rates by clicking here. To book a coaching session with me, send an email to lape(at)lapesoetan(dot)com