Rewire your brain for romance!
True love… you say that you want it. In fact, you know you want it — but are you accidentally repelling it from your life without even realizing it?
The problem is that after years of hearing things like “all the good ones are taken” or thinking “I’m never going to find The One,” many experienced daters actually fall into a mental pattern that’s prone to blocking love rather than attracting it. “The surprising fact is that singles often unknowingly sabotage themselves,” says Bari Lyman, self-styled “Dating to Marry” expert and creator of the Meet to Marry method. “Their memories of negative relationships, fears of repeating the same patterns, and the defense mechanisms they’ve developed in order to protect themselves from doing so can actually repel true love.” These sneaky blind spots prevent singles from being confident, vulnerable and authentic with their dates while also causing them to continue attracting the wrong people — or divorcing and/or remarrying the same type of partner over and over again.
“Memories of past rejection, hurt and betrayal (or positive dreams, filled with hope that end up in disappointment) create a push-pull pattern in the brain that says, ‘I want love…I fear love…bring me love…wait, no, keep love away!’” explains transformational life coach Maria Danly, author of the forthcoming book, How to Meet Your Own Needs and Have All the Love You Want. “This emotional roller coaster can create confusion and ambivalence in the brain and send mixed messages while keeping you spinning in the pursuit of love.” All too often, singles get caught up by thinking the solution lies in making certain external changes — i.e., going out more, changing where they look for dates, or even getting a makeover. In reality, however, something’s going on inside of them that must be changed before they’ll make any progress. “The good news is that since the cause of their disappointing dating reality is not actually outside of themselves, it’s totally possible to have a breakthrough that can actually change that reality right now with just a quick reboot,” says Lyman. So, how can you rewire your brain to become a romance receptor instead of rejecting it every time? Read on, but beware — positive love vibes are ahead!
Rewire-for-romance tip #1: Become the person you’d like to meet
The first step in rewiring your brain for love is to start behaving like someone who both deserves and wants a life filled with love — and who’s also ready to give it equally in return. In other words, it’s not about you finding the right person; it’s about being the right person. “Someone who is busy ‘being the one’ knows that he or she has the power to change his/her dating reality and then takes powerful steps to do so,” says Lyman. “Write down how you want to feel in a relationship and then ask yourself: Am I treating myself the way that I want to feel? If not, you’ve got to first change the way you treat yourself.” For example: If you want to feel understood and accepted by a partner but don’t treat yourself with respect or accept who you really are, you’re sending out mixed messages… and that alone will attract people who don’t value you. “See what happens when you treat yourself the same way you want to be treated by your perfect match,” advises Lyman.
Rewire-for-romance tip #2: Stop telling yourself the same negative stories about love over and over again
If you’re one of those singles who constantly tells themselves things like: “I’ll never find love” or “all the good ones are taken” or “I’ve got to find love to be happy,” it’s time for you to stop. “When things don’t go as we would like them to, it’s easier to jump to a conclusion about the ‘way things are’ in response to the pain or confusion and to help temporarily soothe the hurt or disappointment we feel,” says Danly. The problem is that by keeping those stories alive and applying them to your own love life, it makes them part of a permanent belief system that you then reinforce with your thoughts and feelings until they literally become obstacles in your mental energy field, which in turn blocks out love. “The law of attraction in this case refers to attracting what we don’t want, because the fear and resulting protection devices we’ve created are stronger than the desire for love and receptivity from another,” explains Danly. “However, the real difficulty we create for ourselves is that, deep inside, we’re really hoping to be proven wrong. As in, ‘See, I did find love — I found a good partner who loves me.’”
Danly says that one way out of this quandary is to try and catch yourself whenever you’re reinforcing a belief you don’t want to carry around anymore and turn it into a question instead. Need an example? Take a statement like “I’ll never find love!” and transform it into something like this instead: “Is it really true that I’ll never find love? Let me think about that. What part of me wants to believe this is actually the truth, and what part of me is hurt and protecting itself from further pain?” Here’s another trick to try: Every time you start thinking unhappy thoughts about your love life, recognize that you’re actually confirming a negative story instead of squashing it. “You will be tested, since the voice in your head will try to repeat those old beliefs over and over again — but, in time, you will become more conscious of it,” advises Danly. “Eventually, you’ll be smiling because you know it’s your saboteur trying to catch you. Then you can reply with confidence: ‘I will find love!’ Reinforce that belief system instead — which, in turn, will attract true love.”
Rewire-for-romance tip #3: Forgive yourself and your exes for any relationship failures in the past
This one’s easier said than done — especially if you’re the person who was wronged. But if you’re still holding onto a grudge, it’s going to be much, much harder for you to send out positive “I’m open to new love” vibes going forward. “When we get hurt by others or even hurt ourselves, we often go into ‘judgment mode,’ which freezes our feelings,” says Danly. “But every time that we choose to stay in a state of judgment instead of forgiveness, we’re imprisoning ourselves by abandoning some of our freedom and making it more difficult to trust love — or that we’ll be loved by another person again.”
If you find that you don’t want to forgive an ex who’s moved on and all you have left is anger and resentment, it’s because giving up those feelings and making peace with what happened also means that the relationship will be truly gone from your life entirely — and you’ll finally have to let the other person go. “Some people hold on to those feelings and won’t forgive because they still love the other person…and that anger gives them a false sense that they are still intensely connected, which they are,” says Danly. “It’s just not the same connection it was back when they were still in a relationship together.”
To rewire your brain and deal with this particular problem, you don’t necessarily have to forgive the “who” — but you can at least try to forgive the “why” behind your breakup. If the damage inflicted by your ex was too great to be forgiven, focus on the traits that led him or her to hurt you instead (i.e., “I forgive the cowardice that led my ex to dump me via text message instead of in person like I deserved”). Hey, at least it’s a start!
Rewire-for-romance tip #4: Banish any negative “pack mentality” thinking from your mind
Remember: You are the company you keep. The people with whom you surround yourself affect how you think; it’s inevitable. And if you’re part of a “pack” of singles that are forever fretting about dating in general, the lack of good prospects and telling each other that “all men are jerks” or “all women are manipulative and moody,” well… just imagine how easily your brain absorbs those socially reinforced messages. Too often, singles trade horror stories with friends to release pent-up emotions like disappointment, anger, shock or judgment after a bad date. Unfortunately, in recounting those experiences over and over, you often end up dumping those feelings onto your friends (or vice versa), which then reinforces those negative feelings in your own mind, like an endless feedback loop of doom.
If you have friends who constantly complain about dating when finding true love is your goal, start spending more time around people in happy relationships or who feel more hopeful about dating in general than you usually do. Or try working towards changing the overall tone of your group by getting out in front of the issue and generating optimistic conversations about relationships and what you want from your own someday. Talk about the partners you’d like everyone to find; be sure to add plenty of details and encourage everyone to fantasize together about your happy romantic destinies. “You may love your friends, but it’s not healthy or productive to spend all your time complaining,” says Lyman. “Enroll your friends in the idea of supporting each other through purely positive thinking, visualizing each other’s futures, and dating with a whole new mindset.”
Rewire-for-romance tip #5: Reprogram your mind for love before bed and first thing in the morning
You’re probably already thinking about finding love morning, noon and night, so now it’s time for you to make sure those thoughts stay productive and specific. Whatever’s keeping love away is most often not in your conscious mind, anyway. Resistance is more likely trapped in the subconscious (or unconscious) mind, which is why working on it while you sleep can be helpful. Before bed, write out exactly how it will feel to wake up with someone you truly love lying next to you every morning. Focus on all the sensory aspects, like the smell of clean sheets or coffee brewing, the softness of your partner’s skin or the joy of feeling both safe and exhilarated each day. Whatever your dream of love happens to be, document every detail of it and read that paragraph to yourself each night before bed over the next 28 days (that’s the approximate amount of time most psychologists and scientists say it takes to rewire an old behavioral pattern in the brain and create a new one for replacing it).
Then, every night before you turn out the light, say: “I ask the universe to heal whatever stands in the way of my receiving this love while I sleep. Thank you.” Upon waking first thing in the morning, say: “Thank you for healing my resistance and for bringing me real love. Please help me to receive it.” By following this pattern, you’ll help transform your mindset into a more positive outlook. “When you affirm what you want and create one vivid picture — like the moment when you awaken with your love present in bed — you are giving your mind a very direct picture of what you want... filled with feelings, senses and imagination, it’s a holographic picture of what you want to manifest in your life,” says Danly. In other words, if you can dream it, you can attract it, so get started as soon as possible — and be ready for love!
Kimberly Dawn Neumann (www.KDNeumann.com) is a popular New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook, Maxim and frequently online. A certified dating/relationship coach, she’s published two books: The Real Reasons Men Commit and Sex Comes First and is the founder of www.DatingDivaDaily.com. She is currently rewiring her brain to attract Prince Charming.