By Katherine Baldwin
It’s that time of the year – a time when we inevitably promise to do some things differently, even if we’re not a fan of New Year’s resolutions per se or we’ve realised crash diets backfire. For some, 2017 is the year to find love. As I write this, some of you will be signing up to dating websites or apps while others will be deleting your profiles and resolving to meet partners in more organic ways.
If you’re looking for love in 2017, can I make a loving suggestion?
Look no further.
I don’t necessarily mean stop looking, although I had to do that for a while. I was 40 and two-thirds when I declared I was calling off the search. I realised I’d spent much of my life trying to find my ideal partner and father to the kids I imagined I’d have. I’d dived into relationships, run away from them, pined over unavailable men or lived in a fantasyland in my head. Enough was enough. I needed some time out.
So it’s entirely possible you may also need a break.
But when I say look no further, I mean look closer to home.
Check out the bloke next door or that person who rides the same Tube?
Not exactly – although that may not be a bad idea either. I remember scouring dating websites for a good-looking, outdoorsy man who lived by the sea, until I realised I knew a handsome, sporty man who lived on the South Coast. I’d just dismissed him as not good enough. We’re together now and happy.
So don’t rule out those who are standing right in front of you. You never know. But what I really mean by look no further is spend some time looking at yourself, looking inside.
Do it now. Cast your eyes downwards and let them rest on that space where your heart is. Now, if you feel comfortable doing so and you’re not sat opposite your boss, place your hand there. Close your eyes. And breathe.
Can you feel it? Can you connect with it?
That’s your heart.
Your heart knows. Your heart always knows. Your heart knows how, when and where to find love.
I don’t mean the crazy, thumping, dramatic heart that finds a date instantly irresistible in a thrilling “got to have you now or I’ll die” kind of way.
Speaking from experience, I think we need to be wary of that fast-beating heart. We think we’ve found The One because the passion and intensity reminds us of a Hollywood movie. I’ve had plenty of fireworks in my time and after the explosion, the relationship has crashed and burned. There has to be some frisson, some excitement, but high drama can signal an unhealthy connection. I wouldn’t dismiss the slow burn.
When I say your heart knows, I mean your deep, deep heart. I believe you have everything within you, inside your heart, to find love this 2017. Why? Because if I can do it, so can you.
I’ve wondered where all the good guys have gone. I’ve felt despondent. I’ve despaired at the fact I was still making poor choices at 42. I’ve thought I was a hopeless case.
And then it happened. I looked inside, worked through my barriers, opened my heart and let love in. I made a choice. I committed. I bought a home with my partner and hosted Christmas, for the first time ever, at 45. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s real. There are challenges. But I feel settled, secure, loving and loved. I get to hold his hand, all the time.
So yes, if I can do it, so can you. You may, like me, just need to look inside first. You may need to understand how you ended up here and the root causes of the choices you’ve made. Like me, you may need to explore the beliefs you hold, change some behaviours and chip away at the blocks that stand between you and love. You may need to prepare your heart, soften it, care for it, heal it, plump it up and get it ready. If this sounds like hard work, it doesn’t have to be. It can be a magical journey of discovery. You may feel lighter afterwards, more hopeful, more optimistic. You may attract healthier relationships or find it easier to make choices that are in your best interests.
So as 2017 begins, I encourage you to look no further, just for a little while. Go inside. Take a gentle look around. You deserve it. And the sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll find your heart’s desire.
If this journey sounds appealing but you don’t want to go on it alone, I’d love you to join me and some other like-minded women on a six-week journey to the heart. My ‘How to Fall in Love’ programme begins January 16.
It’s a New Year. There’s no better time to look inside.