My whole life people have told me that love will come when I least expect it.
That makes sense in a way, and I know what they mean: real love comes when you’re in the middle of living life, making friends and finding your purpose.
But you do have some control over your journey to partnership, and most of it takes place on the inner level.
Here’s a look at what you have to do to be ready for love to arrive (and work).
1) Share responsibility
If you’ve ever lived with roommates or a large family then you know how exasperating it can get.
Certainly there are moments of fun and great times!
But there are also dishes that stack up and responsibilities that need to be shared.
In a relationship it’s similar except you share even more intimate ties with this person and many more complex layers of emotions.
That’s why being ready to share responsibility is a key component of being ready for love.
If you don’t want a lot of work and responsibility, don’t look for love, because that’s part of what it involves.
You’ve just got to make sure that all the work is worth it and that you really love this person, because otherwise what you thought was love can just become a big energy sink!
2) Avoid expectations
Expectations are hard to escape, especially when you like someone, but it’s important to talk about this.
Having a goal for how somebody else will fit into your life is bound to lead to disappointment and frustration.
That’s because instead of being inspiring and liberating, expectations can turn even the brightest fantasies into dull duties.
Have goals, hopes and dreams!
But never let these dreams turn into expectations, particularly expectations centered around the feelings or potential feelings of another person.
If you can do this then you’re absolutely ready for love.
3) Admit your mistakes
Are you willing to admit your mistakes and be upfront when you’ve messed up?
This can apply in your friendships, in your job and in every other area of your life.
If you tend to hide mistakes or try to downplay them, there’s work to do.
But if you’re willing to be upfront about the things you did wrong or could have done better then you’re ready for love.
This is ultimately about being willing to be seen.
In the same way that you can’t win a sports match until you get on the field and play, you can’t win somebody’s heart unless you’re willing to show your own heart with full honesty.
4) Engage in self-honesty
It’s crucial to be honest with yourself before you can really look forward to a meaningful connection with someone else.
Gold is separated out from baser metals in a refiner’s fire where it’s melted down and filtered out.
In the same way, love acts as a refiner’s fire:
Any inauthenticity, hiding from yourself or lies lead to one of two things:
- Bad love and heartbreak
- Frustration and rejection
This is not to say that only inauthentic people get rejected, but it is to say that only people who are seeking the approval or others take rejection as a mark of their personal value at a deeper level.
If you’re honest about who you are and you’re still rejected, so be it! The pain is real, but you can be sure that you haven’t sacrificed your integrity or value in any way.
This ties into the next point here…
5) Be vulnerable
If you’re willing to open up about what you feel and how you see the world, you’re ready for love.
If you’re willing to be disliked and aren’t seeking validation or external approval.
If you’re out with a group and they “oh my God, you believe that?” and you don’t change what you said, you’re ready for love.
If you meet a person you’re attracted to and are willing to admit how you feel whether or not it agrees with them, then you’re ready for love.
Him: “I love jazz!”
You (who despises jazz with your whole heart): “Yeah, I mean it has some good stuff…”
As you can see, many people (including many in relationships) are not at all ready for love.
Perhaps that’s why the breakup rate and divorce rate is so high!
6) Pursue your own passions
Being ready for love means you have your own life and your own passions.
You have hobbies, interests, career goals and other friendships and ties that mean the world to you.
You’re not looking for anyone to complete you, not in the sense that you’ve actively pursued this as a strategy but that it’s just a fact.
You’re just not.
You have a full life, you’re following your dreams:
You’re ready for somebody else to come along for the ride and share their dreams with you, too, but you’re certainly not dependent on that emotionally, financially or in any other way.
7) Sidestep pedestals and pessimism
The same goes for too much pessimism or putting somebody on a lower level as “not good enough” or fundamentally flawed.
We’re all complex human beings and being ready for love is about seeing that nobody belongs on a pedestal or in a vilified position.
There’s a catch, however:
When you love somebody it’s normal to idealize them somewhat on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.
And when you feel rejected or mistreated by someone you love it’s normal to think of them as evil or uniquely flawed.
The solution? Self-awareness and self-love.
When you love yourself and know yourself well then no matter how much you love somebody you’ll never feel they’re “above” you and no matter how much you’re hurt by somebody you’ll never feel they’re “below” you.
After all, you’re just as valuable and flawed as them…
8) Be willing and able to say no
When you’re truly ready for love, you’re ready to say “no” to the one you love.
This sounds like bad advice, but there’s really no way around it.
Many fall in love and engage in relationships without ever truly saying “no.”
They hope that by saying yes or nodding and smiling enough this love will last forever.
But it won’t.
You absolutely must stand up for yourself and define your boundaries even with the person you love most, in fact most of all with the person you love most.
Failure to state your limits and put your foot down will lead to toxic relationships, codependency and all sorts of communication issues that only worsen with time.
This ties into the last point about knowing when you’re ready for love…
9) Be willing to walk away
The ultimate irony of being ready for love is this:
Before you can truly be ready for love you need to be ready to walk away.
If you don’t value yourself enough to have strong boundaries which you’ll stick to enough to potentially end a relationship, you won’t have a meaningful or fulfilling relationship.
Until you’re strong enough to be alone by choice you will be alone by default.
This is the toughest thing to keep in mind about being ready for love.
It’s not just about being a good person or confident or knowledgeable about what you’re looking for:
It’s also about being willing to say no to toxic, codependent or unhealthy love if it comes right down to it.
It’s the song that’ll sail me back home
Love comes in many forms and is never predictable.
It challenges you more than anything else ever will, but it also grounds you and brings you back to yourself.
Love is the greatest homecoming to yourself that you’ll ever take part in.
If you’re ready to do the things above then you’re ready for love.
The greatest synchronicity that’s in your control when it comes to love is the following:
The more you find your footing on your own journey of life and personal development, the greater the chance that your path will intersect meaningfully with somebody else who’s also found their footing and is drawn to you as you are to them.
The result? It’s four letters long and rhymes with dove.