Are you ready for Love?
WELL-BEING: PAUL SCADDING
Our new life and motivational coach Paul Scadding is on hand to help those of us overwhelmed with the challenges in life and work. First up are his wise words on navigating along the tricky road to finding true love.
2018 is a big year for me as on the 7th of July I will marry the man I love. We have shared four wonderful years together and want to mark our commitment to each other and declare our love witnessed by our nearest and dearest. This legal ceremony will be followed by a beautiful service presided over by one of our dear friends on the 4th August, this celebration will be attended by our friends and will have a Wizard of Oz / Wicked The Musical theme, but that's a whole other story. The story I want to share with you now is how I found love after almost a decade of flying solo and hopefully impart some wisdom as to how you can find love for yourself.
As 2014 dawned I had transformed every part of my life, I was feeling great but deep down something was still missing. I had spent the best part of the previous ten years battling depression and anxiety and I use the word "battling" on purpose as those years felt like a ten-year long conflict, that at times looked as if I would not win.
In that time I could barely handle myself, let alone consider being in a relationship so I remained single. Also for me finding a guy had always seemed rather elusive. I watched friends couple up and whilst I was pleased for them I would also get this sense of panic coupled with wondering, where was my guy, what is wrong with me? I never seemed to find "him," the one to share my life with and make memories together, isn't that what we all want?
Looking back I can tell you that there is one reason that in all those years I did not find love, it is the reason why most people struggle to find love, it was my mindset. When I decided it was time to come out of single seclusion and find love, I first had to untangle myself from all kinds of limiting thoughts and beliefs.
As I made the tentative decision to find a guy, the limiting part of my belief system kicked in and what I call our "Success Saboteur" came up with a million and one reasons why I would and could not be successful in love. Here are just a few, which you will likely recognise: "I'm not good looking enough"; "I don't deserve love"; "What if I get hurt again?"
These and a whole torrent of equally negative and limiting thoughts were blocking my way. To neutralise these thoughts I used some simple yet powerful affirmations that I learned from Louise Hay, author of the life-changing, international bestseller You Can Heal Your Life. For those of you who don't know, an affirmation is really anything you say or think, but mostly what we say and think is very limiting and negative particularly to and about ourselves. To create change the affirmation or new thought needs to be conscious and positive. The ones I used were as follows. "I am loving, I am loved and I am lovable. It is safe for me to love." I would repeat these statements anytime a negative, limiting or fearful thought crept in.
Now you may dismiss affirmations and self-development but I can tell you that in the months that lead up to meeting the man that I can wholeheartedly call the love of my life, I did not change my appearance, I did not get a makeover or go to the gym. I merely changed the way that I thought and the results were so much more than I could have imagined.
I also worked on feeling deserving of love, feeling safe in love and most of all loving myself. Again you may dismiss such ideas as corny or fanciful but as the sassy and sagely RuPaul says, "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?" These words are so true. If you are serious about finding love first ensure that you are not seeking someone to fill a void. It is too much to ask of someone to make up for a deficit you have inside of yourself. When you love yourself and value who you are, you will naturally make good choices and attract the right person. Valuing yourself means you will not allow yourself to settle for anyone but the person who will see you for all that you are and love you for all of it, warts and all.
As well as changes in mindset and attitude you also need to take action. My simple formulae is, attitude plus action equals results. In spring of 2014, I took the plunge and joined an online dating website which is where I met my soon to be Husband.
Believe me, online dating was far from the Hollywood love story ideal I had in mind. Finding a guy can be particularly difficult if you live in a small town or village so the internet really is your best option. The truth is until someone invents a sexy single gay farmers market and you lock eyes with the man of your dreams over some artisan goats cheese, you will need to invest some time and energy to find a guy.
I met my love through the Plenty of Fish dating website, I suggest you have a look at several sites and perhaps consider being on more than one. You may also consider sites like Meetup or Outdoor Lads to find events happening near you. Before you get going I've devised my five top tips for online dating.
Paul's top five online dating do's and don'ts
1. Make sure you have a profile photo. If you can see me I want to be able to see you. And by profile photo, I mean smiling head-shot and not a picture of you naked! You may have a Zac Efron bod, but a person with depth will question yours if you lead with body. There's more to you than looks, hopefully. People who are serious about finding love are seeking authentic connection, not an anatomy lesson.
2. Invest time and effort in your profile. You can very quickly identify who is seriously looking for love vs looking to hook-up by the detail they put in their profile. Let the world know who you are and what interests you, be truthful and open. Authenticity is very sexy people. Also, make it very clear what the intention of your profile is, state clearly what you are looking for as this will make it easier for like-minded people to find you.
This was how I was able to connect with my guy and he said the same of me, our profiles gave a sense of who we were which creates trust and allows for a connection to form. I have met many people in the past who set up a profile and given up after twenty-four hours because they did not get instant results. You need to be clear about what you are seeking so you will know when you find him.
3. Don't leave it too long to meet. If your relationship is lingering too long in the virtual world, question why this is. Are you holding back? Is he? If the person you are talking too is delaying meeting this would raise alarm bells for me. Meet and see how you match up in the light of day. If they hesitate for too long to meet I would suggest you move on.
4. Don't wait for him to message you. Be brave, be bold and take action, there are no perks to being a wallflower with online dating. Send a message that lets the person know that you have read their profile, point out overlapping interests and ask questions to start a dialogue. Show an interest and get to know him. If he does not reply don't take it as a snub or a rejection, you might not be his cup of tea but that does not mean there is anything wrong with you, other people will not be your cup of tea too.
5. Lastly don't lose hope. They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, don't they? Well, online dating is not always going to be plain sailing. I had my fair share of, let's call them, "interesting fellows", knock at my online door. In fact, I was just about to delete my account but as I logged on to do just that I saw a message that changed my life.
Wherever you are in your search for love right now remember that there is someone out there for everyone and everyone includes you.
To celebrate my first column for Queen & Country magazine I am offering five of you the opportunity to receive a free coaching consultation call with me where I can help you identify the limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from finding love. To request a consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your biggest stress right now in finding love. If you are selected I will contact you to arrange a consultation.
Here's to your success...
Find out more about Paul by visiting www.paulscadding.com