Valentines Day can be a challenging day for single people. But it can become a day of hope–if we resolve to ignore the bankrupt dating advice foisted upon us and finally align our search for love with the tools of real intimacy. The following three suggestions may fly in the face of most everything you’ve learned about dating–but they lead to real love.
Cultivating gratitude is a wonderful thing, but forced gratitude clouds our discrimination, and usually mutates into self-recrimination. We’re all exhorted to feel gratitude, but who teaches us to honor feelings of non-gratitude: emptiness, longing, or a gut-level sense that something’s wrong? These feelings hold half the key for achieving our most precious life-goals.
I’ve found that four conditions often forecast the advent of real and healthy love. Love’s arrival feels like magic; a gift of luck. Yet we can invite that luck by approaching our dating life differently. If these shifts are happening for you, be encouraged. You’re probably well on the way to finding the kind of love that can last.
A message for all single people: The way we search for love usually determines the kind of love we find. Our culture assails us with romanticized images of love, yet encourages us to play dehumanizing games in order to find it. The three steps I describe will lead you toward real love, but they will also enrich your life, because they are the skills of true intimacy.
In my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, this is the insight that has inspired me most: Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.
I’ve found that the very qualities we’re most ashamed of, the ones we keep trying to reshape or hide, are in fact the key to finding real love. I call them core gifts.