In my experience, love is found when it's not being sought out. Each time I've found myself in a relationship, it's been unanticipated. In fact, the times when I had been searching for love, I failed catastrophically!
Looking for love depends on your view of it, really. I believe that it comes to you when you're ready. It's important to distinguish whether you're open to love because you feel you need it, or because you're ready in life and want it. The difference here is, if your relationship with your own life and view of yourself is lacking love, you might be looking for it in other places - a new relationship.
Ask yourself, is your life pretty awesome and you want to share that joy with someone with whom you share mutual love? Or is your life lacking something (happiness, self-belief, direction, purpose etc) and you feel a new relationship will give you those things? Are you looking for love to do something for you which actually, you can provide for yourself?
You shine your brightest when most aspects of your life are at a stable and pleasing stage. When you feel confident, beautiful, successful, secure, happy, it shows! You're automatically more attractive to everybody around you, in the romantic and platonic sense. You will be more attractive as a friend, as an employee, as a family member and as a partner.
I don't have any relationship advice because I honestly believe every relationship is so unique and distinctive to the two (or more!?) people in it. I can't tell you how to be more attractive, but from my own journey I can tell you that when you are happy with you and the life you have, the vibe you give off is guaranteed to be far more attractive to others!
Don't you love being around happy and positive people? I'm not sure about you, but it just lifts me up when I come into contact with someone who smiles lots and is genuinely cheerful. So much of opening up to love is dictated by how much love you've got for yourself; how happy you are with life right now, just as it is.
Take it from someone who really knows... if you aren't completely happy with how things are, being in a relationship won't make you truly happier. It might solve some surface stuff, temporarily make you happier. But your prior insecurities will begin to sneak through.
Please don't think so little of yourself that you need someone else to make you worthy or important. You are both of those things and more, just as you are.
A bit of a story...
So, I couldn't write this post without adding in some pretty relevant and special words about my partner, Fiona.
Having had a truly horrible end to my last relationship, I was convinced that I'd be single forever (yes, I was only 25 and yes, I was having a rough time, I was allowed to be dramatic...) I genuinely thought for some time that there was no point in ever being in love again because evidently even after 5 years together, someone can still act like a total stranger and break your heart.
Fiona and I met working at summer camp, and became besties immediately. I planned to go back to NZ with her, just because England was filled with so many rough memories. In between booking that flight and touching down in Christchurch, we accidentally fell in love. Apart from being unexpected, and inducing a small identity crisis (lol), it was revolutionary.
It was a love like I'd never known; reciprocal, full, magical.
I wholeheartedly believe that had I not been living my best life at camp, independent and confident, me and Fiona wouldn't have become such amazing friends. And look what happened after that! When you live without expectation but with an open heart, amazing things can happen. I'm the proof, people!
Love comes when your vibe shows you're ready.
So you are ready? You're loving life and you're ready to share that with someone? Awesome, how exciting! I'm no dating guru, but there are some things that can help you with finding love...
Make yourself visible, whether it be on dating apps, social media, at social occasions or at a new job. I believe people come into our lives at the right time, so be patient. It doesn't mean you can encourage the perfect time though, right? Put yourself out there, let that positive vibe show!
Get out of your own way! Anxiety about socialising and dating is so normal, but don't let it get the best of you. Do some inner work; figure out what exactly about opening up to love makes you nervous. Is it rejection, perhaps abandonment? Maybe you're scared to let go and make a fool of yourself? These are issues that you can work through and begin to make progress on, whereas general anxiety is far harder to solve!
Be willing to get hurt. You can't love fully when you're closed off and guarded. My own experience has taught me that if you aren't prepared to risk heartbreak for who could be that special person, you're not fully ready (which is totally cool, it's scary)! By all means, be aware. After all, your heart is precious! But don't let doubt or fear stop what could be. Be vulnerable, willing to make mistakes and take risks!