10 Easy Steps to Finding Love


We are all looking for that easy fix, the solution to all of our problems summed up in a nice easy ‘How to’ list.  ‘10 tell-tale signs he is into you’, ‘25 ways to know if he is player’, ‘16 ways to make sure your relationship lasts’... We are bombarded with them daily. While I cringe at a lot of them, as I am sure do most of you, our guilty pleasure is that we do actually read them - perhaps this list will shed light on something I have missed all of these years... We are forever trying to take shortcuts in life, whether it is ‘how to shed weight in 2weeks without exercising’ to ‘6 easy steps to finding the man of your dreams’... But if experience has taught me anything about shortcuts, it’s that there is NO such thing as a shortcut in life, eventually they backfire. So why would we want to take a shortcut to love??

While forever looking to outside sources to answer our questions on love and life, a lot of the time we forget to look inwards, and reflect on our own past experiences. If there was a shortcut to love surely we would all be taught it as soon as we could grasp the concept, along with learning to tie our shoes, ride our bikes, make our own school lunches, we would be told exactly how to recognize and fall in love. But... as far as I know, there is no such lesson in this. So it is something we have to figure out along the way, and by fuck it can hurt sometimes!

There was a period when I lived in London, when it seemed me and my girlfriends were destined to get royally screwed over by love and guys. One night I received a phone call in the middle of the night from one of my nearest and dearest. She was in hysterics and I was absolutely terrified, I had no idea what was wrong. Thankfully it was soon established that it wasn’t anything as terrible as a death; so what is the only other possible answer that could cause such a strong, incredible woman to cry so uncontrollably? A boy of course. This is by no means a statement meant to undermine my friend or the situation; it is merely a fact, that outside of the unthinkable things in life that can cause us great grief, love and boys are the next on the list which have the power to drop the ground out from beneath our feet.

Through sobs my friend explained what had happened. Without going in to too many details, she had basically found herself in a very similar situation to two years earlier, a guy that she had absolutely fallen for, left her for someone else – ready to give the other girl, everything he had promised my friend. “How is this happening again, she cried, it’s just not fair!” My heart cried for her. She was right, it wasn’t fair. Why is it that some of us have to endure so much more grief and heartache than the average Joe? She is one of the most amazing, beautiful, strong, intelligent and wonderful human beings that I am lucky enough to call one of my best friends, and the fact that not just ONE boy, but TWO had managed to do this to her killed me. I don’t think there are enough ‘HOW TOs’ in the world to prepare us for this.

Another of my friends at the time found herself falling for a guy she worked with. He seemed to do and say all of the right things. That is until she found out that he had a girlfriend, a girlfriend of 5years nonetheless. Her let her get to the point where her feelings were already invested and heart open, before she found out. Seriously WTF?? WTF is wrong with people?? It is easy enough to say “screw him, he’s the idiot, he’s missing out, you’re better off without him...”  But none of this actually does anything to console us at the time. We either still want the guy that we had let ourselves fall for, OR we casually want someone to smash him over the head with a baseball bat... Again, any kind of ‘HOW TO get over him in 10 days’ just isn’t gonna cut it.

And me? Well while living in London I went through my fair share of dramas; from breaking up with my fiancée, to re-entering the game, and getting played for a fool. I have said before that I cannot deny that I went on dates with some amazing guys; but for some reason the ones I really wanted were either emotionally unavailable or I got taken for a ride. One in particular blind-sided me. Having not long been single, I was not really ready to get into anything with anyone – I tried with a couple of (nice) guys, but my natural reaction was to panic, freak out and back away; so I kind of took this as a very clear sign that I just wasn’t ready. So life decides to have a bit of a giggle and test this. I started seeing a guy, and told him quite upright that I just wasn’t ready for anything, that I just didn’t think I could let myself like someone again. We kept going out, hooking up, and he kept insisting that I open up for him, give it a go, that he really liked me... so, finally I decided that maybe I should just open up, I convinced myself that I really liked him. So the second I let my walls down, his went up. He backed away and that was that.

Here you have it, three similar scenarios and outcomes – for lack of better words; we were all shat on by love and left absolute wrecks. Then of course we are left in the company of our ever-present ego, who is always ready to strike while the iron is hot to really bring us down another notch, the usual string of thoughts ensuing: Am I not good enough, why can everyone else find love, do I not deserve love, what is wrong with me??

There are two conclusions that can be drawn from the above. The first one is something I had already considered; the second however only really came to me while I was consoling my above friends – it is generally easier to find the right words and be a wise counsel for others rather than ourselves.

  1. Picture me with a psychologist. While lying down on that big red sofa, spilling my heart out, he is busy scrawling away and uttering the odd “mmm, ahmm, mmm, very interesting…” before he finally says… “my dear, it is very clear to see: that you are indeed attracting all of these situations into your life. The very eclectic line-up of guys all of have one thing in common – and it definitely isn’t their shoe size – it is YOU!”

“I knew it all along” screams the mind – it is entirely your fault, you are attracting this all into your life!!

  1. 2.     
    Perhaps we are placed in similar scenarios in life (whether it is work, family or love) as markers. Points in time, experiences that act as markers that show exactly how far we have come. One thing I left out about the above stories was that while we were all devastated and floored from these experiences - we all got up a lot faster. It was a subtle change, perhaps it was only milliseconds, regardless – we got up faster, recovered quicker and gained new strength where there was none before. If you don’t use a muscle, you lose its strength. If we never went through these experiences, we would never really know exactly what we were capable of, what we are willing to go through and what we truly believe we deserve in life and love. Mediocrity is not an option. So for those of us who choose to strive above and beyond the realms of mediocrity, we may have to suffer more, but there are no short-cuts here. In the long run, the love we find will be well worth the scars.

For me, I believe that there is truth in both of these conclusions; and I think one needs to have a balance between the two. If you keep finding yourself in the same scenario, over and over – my man Einstein was right - it is insanity, and something needs to change. That something usually starts with awareness.

Chapter I 

I walk down the street. 
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk 
I fall in. 
I am lost ... I am helpless. 
It isn't my fault. 
It takes forever to find a way out. 

Chapter II 

I walk down the same street. 
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 
I pretend I don't see it. 
I fall in again. 
I can't believe I am in the same place. 
But, it isn't my fault. 
It still takes a long time to get out. 

Chapter III 

I walk down the same street. 
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 
I see it is there. 
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, 
my eyes are open. 
I know where I am. 
It is my fault. 
I get out immediately. 

Chapter IV 

I walk down the same street. 
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. 
I walk around it. 

Chapter V 

I walk down another street.

For so long I never recognized the second part to these conclusions and learning. That some scenarios are put before us (sometimes time and time again) to test us, that we are strong in our convictions of who we are and what we want out of this life. Just like my friends; looking out over all of my markers, I can see how far I have come - I am stronger (most of us don't say statements like this out loud because we are normally taught or society has trained us that it is narcissistic to say such things, but acknowledgement is important...)

One question still remains, WHY are some of us put through more than our fair share of heartache? As I said above, I have long since come to the conclusion that I will not accept mediocrity when it comes to myself and love. Nothing great was ever achieved without sacrifice. And there is another thought I have had: that I am an old soul, and part of this life needs to be spent recollecting pieces of myself; whether through my travels, or relationships. Every relationship I have ever had, has taught me something, I have collected another piece of myself, and am also putting together exactly all that it is that I want in my partner. So for better or worse, these scenarios are helping me create my perfect (just like beauty, perfection is in the eye of the beholder) partner.

As you have probably gathered by here, I am not actually giving you 10 EASY STEPS TO FINDING LOVE (if I had this answer it would be published and I would be rich by now!). I merely wanted to get your attention, because annoyingly so, these are the headings that capture our attention, but hopefully you have gained something from this. We all know that experience is the greatest teacher of all. So stop looking for the quick fix; if life and love were meant to come with a manual, it would. But what kind of a story would that make? So let’s go forth and get the shit kicked out of us by love, because each beating surely leads us to the greatest victory of all right?!

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