Are you trying to find love? Are you looking for the special someone to fall onto your lap? Are you looking for someone to “sweep you off your feet”?
In today’s world, the notion of love has been very much romanticized, in part due to the media. Look at the number of ballads that flood the radio waves today. Every film and TV series always has some kind of romance story weaved into it as a hook, so as to keep viewers watching. Unrequited love and forbidden love stories are always big hits among the audience. There’s even a film genre specially catered for romance buffs - Rom-coms (otherwise known as Romantic comedy films), that highlights the typical story of how a girl meets a boy, falls in love, and overcomes difficulties to eventually be together.
Even good old fairy tales speak of love in a heavily dramatized fashion. We have the typical story of the princess and the prince who fall in love right away at first glance despite not knowing anything about each other, then get married a week later at a grand ball in the presence of the entire kingdom. We have the story of the princess who falls into an eternal slumber from a dark spell, only to wake up from true love’s first kiss (Sleeping Beauty). We have the story of the frog that transforms into a handsome prince upon receiving a kiss from his princess (The Frog Prince).
And then we have modern stories that continue to perpetuate such heavily dramatized tales of romance. There’s Twilight that speaks of love so grand that it trivializes the meaning of life and becomes the only thing which one should live for. There’s The Vampire Diaries, a supernatural drama on The CW that focuses on a love triangle between the female lead and 2 vampire brothers of over 160 years old. And who can forget Titantic, the 1997 epic romantic disaster film that took half the world by storm when it was released.
No wonder everyone in our society today is constantly obsessing about finding love and holding skewed expectations on what a relationship should be. Dating businesses have blossomed over the years. Online dating, dating services, and matchmaking agencies are increasingly prevalent. There are even PUA (pickup artist) communities created just to strategize how to meet, attract, and seduce women (and sometimes men).
Fear-Based Love vs. Authentic Love
I believe in love. I believe in love that’s grand, that’s unconditional, that’s selfless, that’s transcendental, that’s magnificent. I believe love can make someone a better person than who he/she is capable of becoming by him/herself. I believe that love is one of the best things one can experience in life. I also believe that love is the greatest force of humankind.
However, a lot of “love” we see today is prideful love that is based on fear, and not real love. This includes the love often depicted in the media, as well as the relationships that people get whirled into. Clear-cut examples are relationships that become physically abusive. Not-so-clear-cut examples are emotionally abusive relationships. Relationships where people try to be someone they are not just so their partners will love them. Dating situations where people engage in manipulative actions just to make the other party interested in them, rather than focusing on higher level connection factors. Relationships that people get into, despite not really liking the other party, so that they won’t end up being alone.
While there are cases where fear-based relationships blossom into real relationships based on love, fear-based motivations aren’t exactly the best reasons to get into a relationship. A lot of time, these relationships only serve as patches to the issues people are going through. Rather than work through their issues, they turn to their relationships as the holy grail that will solve everything. And they become surprised when they find out that’s not the case at all; when their relationships turn out to be a different deal from what they had imagined them to be.
Examples of Fear-Based Motivations for a Relationship
What are examples of fear-based motivations for “love” then? When someone looks for a relationship because he/she…
- …feels empty
- …feels lonely
- …is afraid to be alone / does not want to be alone
- …is afraid he/she is never able to find someone for him/herself
- …wants to conform to the society’s expectations
- …wants to conform to his/her parents‘ expectations
- …feels unhappy / miserable
- …feels unloved
- …wants to be loved… by someone
- …wants to feel worthy
- …wants to be protected
- …wants to be complete
- …wants to have a partner he/she can “show off” to his/her friends
- …just wants to be with someone (for the sake of being with someone / being in a relationship)
Unfortunately, the list above probably describes about 99.9% of people who are out there trying to find love today.
Why It Is Bad When You Seek a Relationship Out of Fear
Why is it bad when you seek out a relationship with fear-based intentions?
Firstly, when you seek out a relationship with fear-based intentions, that’s the exact vibe you send out to the universe – fear. You end up attracting fear-based people and ultimately, a fear-based relationship.
What are some examples of fear-based people? People who are unhappy with themselves. People who are insecure with who they are and seek relationships as a way to secure their worth. People with a lot of unprocessed emotional issues. People who manipulate. People who do things behind your back. People who worry about nothing all day long. People who do not treat you with the kind of respect you deserve.
You wonder why you are not meeting someone desirable, and the real reason is because you have been approaching the relationship area of your life with the wrong intentions – thereby missing the whole point of being with someone altogether.
Secondly, when you seek out a relationship out of fear, you carry your fears into the relationship. Not only do your original problems not get resolved, they surface as other problems during the course of a relationship.
I knew someone who had low esteem issues and he turned to relationships as his way of coping with feelings of loneliness. He thought being with someone was the answer to the problem. Not only did his relationships not solve his loneliness issues (which stemmed from lack of self-worth), he turned into a very clingy partner each time. He frequently got into arguments with each relationship partner over his insecurity of the person’s for him, even though his partner never did anything for him to be insecure about. As you can see, he sought out relationships to address his self-esteem issues and he still ended up feeling insecure even when he was with someone.
There are often people who end up in relationships with the same issues over and over (abusive partners, partners who don’t treat them with respect, emotionally unavailable partners, partners who are too needy, etc) and it’s the same reason, actually – these people have (a) unresolved emotional issues (b) turned to relationships as a way to fix those issues, which caused the problem to repeat over and over again. When these people break up with their partners and move on to another relationship, they aren’t moving on in reality - they are merely carrying over their issues from one relationship to the next. It’s like a never-ending cycle. They may think that there’s something wrong with the people they got together with, but it is really more to do with them than anyone else.
(Read How To Break Out Of Recurring Patterns In Life, exclusive article in Personal Excellence Book Volume 2.)
Thirdly, when you seek out a relationship out of fear, you impose a lot of expectations on your partner and the relationship – which have nothing to do with your partner nor the relationship at all.
The thing is, your partner is a real person whom you should be creating the relationship with, not some placeholder you just slot into your life to replace the missing gaps and fulfill everything you’ve ever wanted. In the end, you become majorly disappointed when things don’t progress the way you want. You may even drive away perfectly good potential relationship partners because of your fears and insecurities.
“Finding” Love: 8 Gentle Pointers For Those Seeking Love
What that means is if you want to attract the right kind of people and the healthy kind of relationships, you want to be approach “love” for right reasons, and not for fear-based ones. Here is a list of 8 important things to note when it comes to finding love in life. If you are seeking love, pay special attention to them.
1. Be motivated by love, not fear.
Firstly, you should enter a relationship based on love, and not fear.
Fear-based reasons are any of the factors I mentioned earlier in the article, like wanting a relationship out of emptiness, unhappiness, loneliness, peer pressure, societal pressure, and so on.
A love-based reason would be because you have genuine interest in the other party, you see areas of compatibility between both of you and you want to build a relationship with him/her and see where it leads to. That’s really what relationships should be all about to begin with – something you actively create with someone you love and respect – and not because you want to fix something in your life.
2. Set the intention to attract love, but don’t treat it as a goal.
Sure, many of us probably had intentions to be married or to have X kids by a certain age when we were young. And it’s good to set such intentions, because it’s part of being clear of what you want in life.
However, love isn’t a goal to be achieved. It’s the result of being the right person and meeting the right person. You don’t go out there and say “Okay, I want to get married by the time I’m 28, so I’m going to have to get out there and start dating when I’m 25. This will give me about 1 year to date different people, 1 year to get to know my partner and determine if he/she is the right person for me, and than 1 year of engagement before I finally get married.”. Some of you are probably laughing because it is probably a thought you had before. You aren’t alone; this was something my friends often talked about when we were younger. Sure you can and should do things that put you in the position to receive love when it comes along, but other than setting intentions, doing things that open yourself up to meeting different people and not shutting out opportunities, you can’t force love to happen as and when you want it.
I used to think of love as a goal to be achieved one day (i.e. it was something I put on my bucket list even), but I stopped doing that since a year ago. I know that I sometimes speak of setting relationship goals on PE, and that’s part of setting intentions on what you want in life. You can go out and meet as many people as you can, but if you don’t meet anyone compatible, then there’s just no one compatible (yet). You can’t try to bake something if the ingredients aren’t right to begin with. You also don’t want to put your life on hold and revolve it around trying to find the elusive special someone. (see point #4)
The same goes for any other goal that involves people (be it in friendships, family, work or businesses). You can go out there and meet a lot of new people, but you can’t force people to be your friends – they can only be your friends if they want to. You can shower your family members with love and treat them with patience and respect, but you can’t force them to respond in kindness if they don’t want to. You can ask your colleagues to help you out in your work, but if they don’t want to – they don’t want to.
3. Be yourself. Don’t change yourself to get people to like you.
Be yourself – Don’t change yourself just to attract someone else. There are billions of people in this world and everyone is looking for different things in his/her partner. For one thing that someone doesn’t like about you, someone else is going to like that.
And even if you do attract someone after changing yourself, you will be left second guessing yourself, because, hey – Who did that person fall in love with? You? Or your projected persona? Also, it will be a never ending cycle where you either have to keep maintaining that projected persona, or you keep trying to change yourself just to preserve the attraction. You will be left feeling empty and extremely unhappy.
Hence, it is more important that you focus on being yourself (or discovering yourself for some of us), rather than try to mold yourself into someone else just to attract love. When you do that, you will automatically attract the person who will like you for who you are and filter out the people who are incompatible with you. What’s more, there is nothing more attractive than someone who knows him/herself and someone who is self-confident (not arrogant).
- Finding Your Inner Self
- 101 Important Questions To Ask Yourself in Life
- How To Be The Most Confident Person In The World | Manifesto version
4. Live your life. Don’t put it on hold for someone/something else.
This means you should not put your life on hold for someone or something else. You should not put your goals on pause in your quest to find love or make love happen. You should not change your goals to entertain the possibility of being together with someone. You should not modify your agenda in life for someone else when there is no commitment between both of you to begin with.
What you should do, is to simply live your life, to the fullest. When you do that, the right love for you will come your way. You want to attract love that is compatible with the real you (see #3) and your ideal life, not love that requires you to stifle your true self and compromise on your dreams.
5. Realize that love is everywhere.
If you feel an intense need to “get out there and look for love”, and if you experience moments of sadness when you can’t seem to find a romantic partner, ask yourself: “What is it that I’m looking for?“. Is it really love? Or is it something else, such as self-assurance, self-love, or self-worth?
Because love, real love, is everywhere. You see parents loving their children. You see friends sharing their love for each other. At work, you have colleagues looking out for each other – another form of love. Around you are different people conveying their love for you in their own special ways. And last but not least, you yourself are a beacon of love. Your higher self loves you, and so do your spirit guides.
If you are driven by the incessant need to look for love or to have someone in your life, perhaps you are really trying to compensate for the lack of self-love. What you should do then is to work on loving yourself, rather than looking outwards for someone to love you. This is what I alluded to in my recent Ask Celes video: “How can I address feelings of emptiness in my life?”. As the quote by Ayn Rand goes, “To say ‘I love you’ one must first be able to say the ‘I’.”.
For those with Be a Better Me in 30 Days Program, Day 16 is about self-love, where you identify at least 30 things you love about yourself and write a letter of appreciation to yourself.
6. You are complete.
You are whole; you are complete. As I shared before in Are You Looking For A Relationship To Complete Yourself?, you don’t need a relationship to complete you, because you already are complete. All of us are. The only reason why one wouldn’t think so is because of all the projections by the society and the media that one must be in a relationship to complete him/herself.
You don’t get into a relationship to complete you; you get into a relationship because you truly like someone and you want to spend more time together (like I mentioned in point #1). The former is a fear-based reason that is no sooner a recipe for disaster when you project all kinds of expectations onto the relationship on how it should be and become disappointed when things don’t turn out the way you want them to.
7. See people for who they are vs. judging them.
When you meet someone, do you immediately start to evaluate the person and think about the things which you like and don’t like about him/her?
I think many of us do, at one point or another. Some of us probably even go one step further and measure the person against a mental checklist of whether he/she is fit to be a partner. When we do that, we are not being very fair to the other party, because we begin to pigeonhole the person into certain categories rather than see him/her for who he/she really is.
There are many people who have great personalities that may not be revealed when we first meet them. These people may very well be the ones who are truly compatible with us in the long haul.
So, be less judgmental and more accepting. See the goodness in each person. Who knows, perhaps you may well find love in someone who came across as the least possible candidate when you first met him/her!
8. Adopt a nurturing view vs. terminal view.
Last but not least, for every connection that you have (be it with friends, acquaintances, or colleagues), adopt a nurturing view rather than a terminal view.
This means, rather than write off your connections because you don’t think anything will ever come out of them, keep an open mind. Get out there and meet new people. Keep in touch with the people whom you found a connection with. Make an effort to meet up with them where you can – and that’s out of a sincere desire to connect and know them better, not to see if there is any romantic potential. You never know what’s going to happen in the future.
Know anyone who is currently seeking love? Send this guide to him/her – he/she may well find it useful in his/her ‘quest’ to find love.