THE WIDENING ROAD
With my 40th birthday on the horizon, I knew I needed to start dating again if I wanted to find a soulmate. I looked around at other women who were also dating. Many of them, especially the older ones, had suffered so many disappointments that they had become bitter and angry and closed off to men. To protect themselves, they created long lists of requirements for their next partner. These lists were so long that no one man could possibly fit the bill. For those women, the road ahead seemed to be getting narrower and narrower and so were their chances at finding love.
I didn’t want to be want to be like them. I didn’t want to become more closed off and difficult as I dated. I wanted to become kinder and more understanding. I wanted the road ahead of me to widen with each date.
So, I started dating, and I decided to see each date as a stepping-stone to love. Instead of focusing on the negatives, I looked for lessons and discovered that every date was teaching me something new about love, men relationships and myself. As I did this, instead of feeling like every date was a disappointment or a dead end, I felt like each date was bringing me closer and closer to The One.
I chose to see more possibilities, not less. As I did this, I felt myself become kinder, and softer, and sweeter, and more feminine, and gentler with men. I developed more compassion and understanding as I dated. Where other women became less open and more shut off to men, I became more open and playful.
I didn’t want my road to be narrow; I wanted to widen the road.
The Hurt Goes Both Ways
When dating, it’s easy to shut your hearts and close off a little more each time things don’t go your way. I know it’s not right for someone to ghost another person or to lie or cheat, but I’m not a saint… are you? I know that despite my best intentions, I have hurt other people in my search for love. I have let others down, broken other people’s hearts, I’ve been selfish and self-centered, and I’ve made some very poor choices that I regret. To date successfully and find a Guardian of Your Soul, you need to accept that we are all hurt each other while trying to figure out how to love and be loved.
Permission to Fail
Sometimes, we have to get it wrong before we get it right. In order to grow and learn, we need to have compassion and give others and ourselves permission to fail.
One of the hardest things for most of my clients is to ask for something from a man. They are afraid that they will sound needy, weak or insecure if they do. Have you ever felt that way?
Your Playfulness Is a Gift
When I first started dating, I was not the woman I was two years later when I met my husband, Benjamin. I know that he wouldn't have fallen in love with the woman I was at 39. It was the woman I became after two years of dating and 96 first dates; two of years of being open, understanding and playful with 96 different men, that made him realize on our very first date that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.
It was my openness, my joy, and my passion that were so attractive to him. And here's what’s truly fascinating. Many women think it is a man’s job to make them happy, but I love Benjamin so much that I feel he deserves to be with a woman who is happy, joyful, playful, and open-minded, and who isn't petty and doesn't hold onto things. A woman who doesn't take things personally. That is my gift to my husband. I realized when I met him, when we fell in love, I looked at him and I thought, "It is not your job to make me happy. It is my gift to you to be happy and whole."
Being Open and Joyful Makes Love Easy
I couldn't imagine a relationship that is more joyful, and more playful, and more silly and fun and safe, and compassionate than the one I have with Benjamin. We have so much compassion for each other, and we're both quick to forgive. Recently, we were talking about how easy it is to be in our relationship because we make it so safe for each other, and we can talk about anything without getting upset, and we let go quickly and easily. Benjamin has told me that he feels much of our playful dynamic comes from my end, because I am so forgiving and I don’t take things personally. But I know it’s because I didn't want to be that bitter woman with a laundry list of things that I was looking for in a partner, a list that nobody could ever measure up to because I had been jilted, and lied to, and cheated on, and God knows what.
Make the More Beautiful Choice
I could have carried that bitterness with me. My first husband, who I was with for thirteen years, was a pathological liar. But he didn't make me stay in the relationship. I chose to stay there. When I started dating again I had to look at my choices and take responsibility for what I was doing out there, and by doing that, by taking responsibility for my part and for the way I showed up and who I was being; by learning to forgive myself and my exes and learning to let things go, I was able to step into a world of possibility. The road got wider, and wider, and wider, and as I dated, I became more open-minded, kinder, more loving, more compassionate. I made the choice not to carry the bitterness, but to become more sweeter. I made the more beautiful choice.
When you make the more beautiful choice, you will attract a man who can do the same. This is what I want you to know. I am not talking about being permissive or a doormat and not having boundaries. You need to learn how to say no, and have boundaries, and be able to stand up for yourself, but you can do it with kindness, and compassion, and love in your heart. That’s how you make the road get wider, not narrower.
My greatest intention would be for you to say, "I want my road to get wider. I want to let go. I want to be joyful and playful because if I can do that, I can bring that to my relationship, and that will be the kind of relationship I will have."
And it will be.