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9 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a New Love in 2015

9 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for a New Love in 2015

Finding new love can be a daunting dream.

You want to fall in love but the way your last relationship ended hurt and the fear of that happening again haunts you. It feels much safer to stay alone or believe that love will find you if it’s meant to. But the question is — would you be ready if the right opportunity suddenly stared you in the face? Ready to receive and to give and hold and accept the good with the bad?

Most of us are not, which causes us to run or make a bad choice because we are afraid we will be alone if we pass it up. So, start preparing your heart before Mr. or Ms. Wonderful show up. Here are 9 ways to do that.

1.  Get serious by writing it down.

Find yourself a beautiful journal. Start by writing your favourite love poem into the front. When you are done, put your hand over your heart and feel it beating. Forget you are afraid. Forget you think it won’t happen. Go behind the beating and feel what your reaction to the poem is.  Write down everything that your heart says it wants to hear from someone someday. You don’t have to tell anyone — it’s just for you alone.

2.  Learn to listen with your heart.

Ask a friend to go out for dinner to a special restaurant you have been wanting to go to. While you are with her (or him), practice listening for their heart. This will begin to train you for how to  listen on a date. Pretend there is a bridge running from your heart to hers or his. Walk across it, leaving your own thoughts behind and just be in their thoughts while you are with them.

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Listen for phrases like, “I wish…”,  “Sometimes it seems that…,” “I love it when….” Ask questions so that they share something that they might not talk about often. Smile at them and if you don’t know how to respond, just acknowledge how that must make them feel, such as, “That must have been really hard for you….” Do your best to keep the focus on them out of caring and interest. Talk about yourself a little less than usual.

3.  Watch a romantic movie and observe what it is your heart longs for in love.

Yes, this can apply to guys too.  Instead of feeling sad about being alone or not having the love you want, go into your heart by placing your hand gently over it to feel it beat. Go beneath the beating to the feelings inside it. Ask yourself: What qualities do I want that the guy or girl in this movie had? What attracted me to the man or lady in this story?  Or if not the qualities, what did they say or do that made my heart wish? Do I want those qualities in someone I would like to have love me?  Do I want to hear those words, have that feeling, be able to open my heart like that?

Use the movie to teach you, to train your heart to know what it wants. Write your thoughts and your lists into your journal for safekeeping.  This is just for you and your heart to know.

4. Tie your deepest dreams to something you see everyday.

Decide that this next year is going to be different, that you are going to find every reason you can to believe in yourself, if it takes you until 2016 or infinity and beyond… that you are going to find love again.

Find a symbol that represents that commitment — something that you can keep out all year where you will see it everyday for the next year — to remind yourself. I used to carry a rock in my pocket that said “Believe” on it. I also bought myself figurines that I placed all over my house representing strong qualities I wanted. Don’t feel the need to tell anyone; it’s just yours to know, to believe in. Use it to convince yourself: “I am going to learn to love and appreciate who I am.”

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5.  Teach yourself to give without expecting anything in return.

There are so many ways to give. Did you know that, if you step outside yourself for a few moments, and give something to someone without expecting anything back, it will skyrocket your serotonin (the feel good hormone in your brain)? You will be left with a sense of fulfilment that creates a deep contentment. Walk yourself to the store and buy several pairs of socks to donate to the local shelter, bake a batch of cookies and take it to someone lonely, volunteer at the soup kitchen… do something, no matter how small, to make someone else feel good.

Be a Secret Santa, even if it isn’t Christmas. And expect nothing — not a thank you, not a smile, not anything. Just give to give. This, too, is practice for loving someone special in your life. There are many times when true love is giving “just because” without expecting anything back. You will need that skill. Giving without expectation builds your heart to meet a need that we all have, whether you know it or not  Have fun and let your creativity flow!

6. Ramp up your attraction factor — do something to make you feel better about yourself.

Do you know what a man finds sexiest on a woman? It’s her smile. A sincere smile from a contented heart causes you glow without you even knowing. Do you know what the main qualities are that attract a woman to a man? Being strong and tender all at the same time. A woman’s smile and a man’s true strength radiate from a confident heart. So what is something that would assist you in building your confidence? Picking up an old dream and signing up for a class? Learning something new? Planning to do something on your own that you had hoped to do with your partner?

Start with simple ways – for example, for most women, feeling pretty is part of that. Book yourself a manicure, a pedicure, go for a new hairstyle, buy yourself something colorful (great sales on this time of year) — do something that makes you feel just a little prettier. For a man, a haircut does help a lot. Perhaps renewing that gym membership and starting to work with a trainer to begin building up some of that great muscle would be the ticket. You know yourself, and your heart needs to know you are still alive. That you are not only alive, but gorgeous and gifted and lit up when your heart is invested in becoming all you can be. You are a long way from being knocked out of the game, baby!

So start moving forward — progress, not perfection, is happiness.

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7. Transform your bedroom into an inviting boudoir.

Many of us don’t think about whether someone special would fit into our bedrooms. Take the time to consider how you would like to change some things in your “inner sanctum” that would remind you that love is welcome here: get rid of stuffed animals, dirty laundry spilling out everywhere, or anything that is cluttered and worn. Right now it’s yours, yes, but someday it may be yours and his or hers. It’s fun to dream but it’s even more fun to take action. Pretty up your bedroom by adding some color, perhaps a new comforter, and complimentary curtains… maybe buy some candles.

8. Plan your focus: what will you think about, talk about, work for?

Time to make a plan. Remember, if you don’t write it down, chances are it won’t happen. Decide specifically how you are going to spend your time when you are not working or caring for family. You owe this to yourself. Your heart needs a break from its sadness. What will you think about? What will you focus on? It’s okay to give yourself a little time to grieve what was and how you wish it were. Sometime when you are alone, write those feelings down in your journal or express them in some other creative way original to you like writing a song, painting, or composing a poem. Then close your book or purposely set your project aside.

Go from there, determined to focus on one moment at a time today, every day.

If you are with family, observe what it is that you really do love about them. If you are with friends, do the same. Be there entirely in the present — not in the past, not in the future. Really look at what is bright and beautiful around you. Stare at a star. Squint your eyes to see how different they look when you do. Listen to the music you are hearing — hear the instruments, the beauty of the voices, feel the feelings it brings. Find something warm to hold in your heart. Your child’s laughter. The kind feeling you have when you pay for the person’s coffee behind you in the drive through coffee shop. A casual thank you received.

9. Allow your heart to dream again. Put it out there by asking specifically for what you want in love.

Take some time to dream. Divorce may have broken your heart and you may think that it has left you as damaged goods. You may think that love is too scary to try again or that there are no more good men or women out there.

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But you are wrong! Someone is searching for you, waiting to love and be loved by you. So find a picture that represents where you would like to be a year from now. Do you want to be in love?  Do you want to live in a new place? Do you want to be smiling? Begin to write down what you want. Start to learn about what a good relationship truly looks like. Dream it!

2015 is your year – go for it!

Featured photo credit: Copyright: konradbak / 123RF Stock Photo via 123rf.com

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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