By Christel Price
I’m an excellent runner, and I wish that I meant running in the sense of pounding the pavement. Unfortunately, exercise is not my specialty; rather I’m a pro at running away from things that scare me.
It took a lot of soul-searching before I realized that I played the main role in ensuring that I kept my single status. We can look at our lives and come up with a massive list of reasons why we don’t have the things that we want. There was a time when I felt that a lot of the reasons that I was single were external.
I would tell myself:
“He’s not good enough”
“I can do better”
“I just haven’t met the right person”
“When I meet ‘the one’ everything will be easy”
“It’s his fault things didn’t work out”
Only in hindsight do I realize that he probably was good enough, that we make a choice as to whether or not the person is ‘right’ for us (because love at some point becomes a decision), that no relationship is easy all the time and it has often been my fault that things didn’t work out.
Often we are our biggest obstacle. We are in our own way. If you are single and you’d prefer to be a part of the Couple’s Club, it’s important to understand the fears that may be holding you back. There are many aspects to finding someone that we can’t control, but there are also many that we do.
Your single status may have nothing to do with you, but it’s important to look at the fears that could be holding you back in case you are in your own way.
1. Fear of not being good enough
It’s human nature to feel that you aren’t good enough, to believe that you have to hide all the aspects of yourself that you don’t like in order to be loved. If we had to be perfect to be loved then love would not exist on planet earth.
The fear of not being good enough may be holding you back from a loving relationship, but as humans we are all flawed and that’s ok. You are good enough to be loved simply because you were born. Worthiness is your birthright.
2. Fear of being vulnerable
Opening yourself up to another human being is scary. What if they don’t like what they see? What if they reject you? Being able to be vulnerable is a massive part of any successful relationship. You have to allow someone else to truly see you, to witness the beauty and the mess, and have faith that they will love you regardless. Being vulnerable is hard, but some of the best things in life come as a result of being able to be vulnerable, including love.
3. Fear of putting yourself out there
If you don’t open yourself to love, you can’t be disappointed, right? Wrong. You will just be disappointed at yourself, for not taking chances to find love. You can’t expect that love will just find you. You have to do some of the work to give yourself to greatest chance of meeting someone who is right for you.
4. Fear of failing
What if you put yourself out there and you fail? The path to finding love is not always straight-forward. Most people know what it’s like to be rejected, or to make mistakes in love. Failures don’t need to define you; it’s what you do next that makes all the difference. If you do fail you can always pick yourself up and try again. It won’t be easy, but your future self will thank you.
5. Fear of getting what you want
Are you afraid of getting what you want? You may think this is a stupid question but in fact many of us are afraid of succeeding. It’s easy to become comfortable in your current situation because it’s what you know. If you were to put yourself out there and actually find someone it would mean having to change. In relationships you have to compromise and make room in your life for someone else. You may be afraid of this but would you prefer the alternative, being alone forever? My guess to that your answer to this question is no.
Are you an excellent runner? Is fear holding you back from love? We’ve heard it said before, awareness is the first step, and it is. Only once we become aware can we begin to take the steps needed to change.
It doesn’t matter if fear has dominated your life up until this point, what matters is what you do from this moment. One of the most beautiful aspects of being a human being is that it’s never too late to change. To free yourself from your past and move away from fear, towards love.
Christel Price is a writer from New Zealand and author of All By Myself: A Humorous Guide to Navigating the World When You’re Single. Christel has created a free video series which features humorous tips for single women here. Gain access to this free gift here. *Photo credit
By Razwana Wahid
She’d tied me to a chair.
My hands were clasped together, pulled tight behind my back. A dirty rag stuffed into my mouth. A dimly lit lamp swinging slowly in the background.
“I’ll only untie you if you agree to marry him”, she hissed. “We’ve given his family our word. You can’t break it.”
I closed my eyes and imagined my life 5 years in the future.
If I went for Option A – agreeing to the arranged marriage – I saw a thug of a husband, 3 children I didn’t want to have with him, and a life comprised of cooking his meals and washing his clothes.
And Option B? Implied saying no to the marriage, running away from my family, and in constant hiding from the ruthless bounty hunter at my heels.
Neither was appealing. But a decision had to be made.
And so, with a heavy heart and pangs of guilt, I slowly nodded my head. My eyes filled to the brim with tears. I reluctantly prepared myself for the future.
What do you think? Is this really how my marriage was arranged?
Thankfully not (my life isn’t half as exciting as a scene from Homeland).
And yet? This is pretty much what the majority of the Western world assumes – that marriages in the Indian and Pakistani community are arranged because one party (or both) is forced into a decision.
That neither the guy, nor the girl, set eyes on each other before the wedding day.
And that every girl getting dressed in her bridal clothes hopes she looks like Deepika Padukone in the photos.
(OK, so the last one’s kinda true).
The arrangement of my marriage was pretty simple.
I knew who my husband-to-be was. So, we hadn’t dated for 2 years and I didn’t know his shoe size, but I did know his favourite cricket player – that was enough, right?
My mum sat me down and asked if I was happy to marry him. Her jaw dropped to the floor when I said yes. The shock was so profound that she asked me twice again, in complete disbelief, just to make sure I hadn’t completely lost my mind.
What I had lost, however, was my dad. Three days earlier.
And when my mum asked me if I’d marry this man, I couldn’t bring myself to say no.
She’d just become a widow. I could see the pressure she was under from her family to make a decision about the future of her children.
You have to marry your children soon, her relatives pressed. Your husband died and who knows how quickly you’ll go. You can’t leave them alone.
The principle of loss-aversion at work, folks.
My mum had become a widow too young. The last thing I wanted to do was break her heart further.
So I agreed to the marriage.
Not because I loved him, or even knew if I liked him … but because I realised that I was young, too. If the marriage worked, then I’d found my partner early and could finally stop agonising over whether my phone was broken because that cute guy who asked for my number three days ago? Still hasn’t called.
And if the marriage didn’t work, I was young enough to start over.
So I went into it. With my eyes fully open.
It was the moment that defined my transition from child to adult.
I realised truly how in control of my life I was. It hit me, square in the face, that my decisions were mine to make. The consequences were clear to me, and they were mine to live.
Even if, as some people later told me, I was being emotionally blackmailed. Even though my dad’s death was being exploited to force a decision from both me and my mum.
The decision, at the end of it, was still mine.
I see a lot of people in the Indian and Pakistani community talking about how they don’t want to bow to family pressure and marry someone they don’t love. And yet, this is what they feel they must do.
My advice to you? Is to stop whinging, and be brave.
Ok, so your parents won’t be impressed that instead of agreeing to marry Rahul, the sprightly, young pediatric surgeon from the finer part of town, you’re busy swapping doe-eyed dreams of beach holidays and white picket fences with Mark from college.
But if this is your decision? Have conviction in it.
If this is what you really want? Use this belief to fuel your next move.
But Razwana! I hear you cry from way over the Atlantic. How can I tell my parents that I’m shattering their dreams and defying their every wish for me? They’ve done so much for me! I can’t let them down like this!
What about all the shame I’ll bring on the family for choosing someone they don’t want me to marry?
What if they don’t let me see my siblings ever again? Or even step into the house? What then? And what if they disown me?
What if, indeed.
The thing with those pesky little what-if’s? Is that they rarely happen.
The decision you make isn’t about whether you marry this person or that:
It’s about the person you want to be
Do you want to be the person who takes action from what they feel in their gut to be true?
Or do you want to be the person who knows what they want, but decides to do what they’re told because it’s the easy route to take?
And that is the easy route.
The tough route? Is making a decision for you, despite what everyone around you will think.
It’s being aware of the consequences ( -> different to being happy with them) of your decision, and moving forward anyway.
It’s about being brave and standing up for your beliefs.
As for me – my arranged marriage went ahead. I didn’t look like Dipika Padukone in my bridal outfit, but I did feel like a million dollars.
But did my marriage last?
Well that, my friends, is a story for another day.
Razwana Wahid: Killer content copywriter and founder of Relentless Movement – A copywriting service for entrepreneurs who want to write bold and sell big. Lose the headache of writing your Home Page, About Page and Services page and get the no-brainer templates here.
To pick up Vishnu’s book, Arranged Marriage: Run to the Altar or Run for Your Life, click here. It’s available for free on July 20th and July 21st, 2015.
My punchy and insightful book on arranged marriage is here and there’s something in it for you.
If you’re considering an arranged marriage, join me on my personal journey in this book. See for yourself what I experienced, what I think about arranged marriages and what’s in my future!
If you’re on the fence about arranged marriage, learn its pros and cons. See if arranged marriage is right for you – is it total lunacy, or practical and efficient at making matches that last a lifetime?
If you’re in a love pickle or relationship dilemma, this book is also for you.
Here are some questions the book will help answer.
♥ Who should get an arranged marriage?
♥ Who should run for their lives from an arranged marriage?
♥ What should you do if you’ve fallen in love but your family wants you to get an arranged marriage?
♥ What should you do if you’ve fallen in love with someone who comes from an arranged marriage tradition?
♥ How do you resist an arranged marriage?
♥ What qualities do you need to make an arranged marriage work?
Even if you have no interest in an arranged marriage, this book will help you apply some of the wisdom of arranged marriages to your dating and love life.
Finally, if you’re simply curious about this unique tradition that millions around the world practice, buckle up your seatbelt and enjoy the ride.
To pick up this entertaining and insightful book on Amazon, click here. (Yes, it’s free from July 13 – July 15, 2015.)
Would you ever consider an arranged marriage?
You know, a situation in which your parents, close relatives and I, let’s say, reach out to folks we know and see if we can find a suitable partner for you.
He’ll share your values, have the same interests that you do, cook, clean, do the dishes and take care of the kids.
He’ll support you emotionally, share the housework, and baby-sit while you’re at the spa.
Don’t worry; he’s not a player and he plans to stay with you for the long-term.
He is a professional, earns six figures, is sensitive, loves his parents and loves yours more.
What the *#&@)@(*@? Where the &#@*!)%?
How do I get in on this?
“Tell me the time and place and I’ll be there pronto,” you say as you tear through your closet to figure out what you’ll be wearing for this potential arranged marriage introduction.
Sounds intriguing, exciting and like a great way to meet a partner, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, if you’re not Indian, Asian or Middle Eastern, or from another culture that practices arranged marriages, it’s difficult to get “in” on an arranged marriage.
It may sound like the best thing since all-you-can-eat Indian buffets, but unlike Indian buffets, arranged marriages aren’t available to everyone.
If you don’t come from a culture or tradition of arranged marriage, it’s unlikely you’ll find a family that will agree to marry its doctor-son to you.
But don’t fear; there’s hope for all of us here.
My experience with arranged marriage
My first marriage wasn’t arranged.
We met by ourselves thanks to the Internet, through nothing other than email.
A young lawyer and doctor from two entirely different parts of the world – me in California and she in Chennai, India.
Our email exchanges began with talk of philosophy and dreams, but quickly turned to romance and love.
It must have been only three months after we started talking when I got on a flight and flew around the world to visit her.
What happened after our meeting and marriage is a primary subject of this blog.
Our breakup and divorce were anticlimactic when one compares them to the romance and passion we initially shared.
We came from an arranged marriage culture, but our marriage wasn’t “arranged” in the traditional sense.
We were from the same community, or “caste” as people call it in India. We spoke the same language, were from similar social and religious backgrounds, and were a perfect match for each other.
The slight, or MAJOR, difference was that we met on our own, without a single family member involved.
Yes, our match satisfied all the requirements of our eventual marriage, but the fact that we had met on our own made our parents feel left out of the process.
Their whole lives, they had been looking forward to searching for, finding and interrogating the perfect match for each of us. They would have conducted background checks that rivaled Soviet intelligence – scoping out each candidate’s finances, education, health, compatibility and more.
Unfortunately, we deprived them of that excitement and instead created our own excitement by romancing each other!
Ultimately, our parents couldn’t say “no” because we were from the same community and shared the same traditional background.
We both felt like we had hit the lottery – we had cheated the system.
We had found love while satisfying our parents, grandparents, ancestors and all the divine Gods we worshipped.
Yes, it was love and marriage!
It wasn’t the traditional Indian marriage that I spoke of earlier, in which family and friends conduct a search, investigate the candidates’ families, introduce the potential spouses to each other, ensure the astrological signs align and make sure the couple is compatible.
In today’s modern world, cultures that still practice the tradition of arranged marriage will allow their marriage-age children to meet and say “yay” or “nay” to the proposed match. It’s not like it was in the olden days, when you showed up on your wedding day and married the person your family had chosen for you.
How can you apply arranged marriage principles to your own life so that you can attract a life partner?
Now let’s talk about you – a person who lives, dates and meets people in the more difficult world of a non-arranged marriage culture.
Maybe you don’t have the luxury of having a family searching for your king of hearts.
Or more than likely, you think it’s a batty idea to have your parents anywhere near your prospective spouse.
I once wrote a post about the benefits of arranged marriage, but I understand that if you’re not familiar with the tradition, you might not be able to see how it can work for you.
I’ve got you covered. I found a book that contains the many secrets of arranged marriages – secrets you can apply to your dating and love life.
It’s a book by former journalist and author, Reva Seth, aptly titled, First Comes Marriage: Modern Relationship Advice from the Wisdom of Arranged Marriages.
Seth interviewed hundreds of women from arranged marriage cultures who not only shared their experiences, but also their strategies and advice.
In addition to interviewing these women, Seth started applying their lessons, which led her to the man who would become her husband. She became engaged to him after the seventh time she met him in person!
“No, it wasn’t love (or lust) at first sight. It was actually the result of both of us having figured out what we were looking for in a partner, being at the same life stage, recognizing that the other person had the potential to have the qualities we wanted and then, as my husband describes it, exchanging over a hundred thousand words on e-mail” to confirm it, writes Seth.
Here are 5 arranged marriage secrets from the book, First Comes Marriage, that you can apply to meet the love of your life.
Secret # 1: Your man doesn’t have to be your best friend.
“Be realistic about the role of your life partner. Women in arranged marriages view their husbands not as their primary source of happiness or as a means of rescue, but instead, as life partners, friends, and people who will provide them with support, companionship, children, and a family life.”
The idea here is that your future partner and husband doesn’t have to be your everything. There is no “perfect guy” or “the one” who solves all your problems and fulfills your every need.
Seth accurately points out that women tend to have fairy-tale notions of a fantasy man in their lives. These unrealistic expectations make us think that we haven’t found the right person in our lives.
She suggests breaking up with the fantasy man in your life and getting more realistic about what you actually want.
You already have friends, colleagues, family and a support system. Continue letting them be a part of your life.
When you idealize a guy who you think will fulfill all your needs, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment because no one like that exists.
Instead, if you cease this stream of thought, the men you meet won’t continually disappoint you and you’re more likely to find someone who will be an ideal life partner!
Seth suggests thinking of your future life partner as someone who will enrich your life, but she advises against making him the center – the end all and be all of everything.
Secret #2: The “musts” are all that matter.
“These (marriage) musts aren’t something you find ‘out there’ or after lots of random dinners and movies out. They are values and lifestyle choices that you determine from ‘in here’ – that sometimes frightening place found deep within yourself.”
As you would with an arranged marriage, know what you’re looking for ahead of time.
There are certain “musts” that Indian parents look for before they introduce their son or daughter to another family. These “musts” include education, values, financial status, stability and a host of other factors.
Why not be more conscious about what your “musts” are?
As Seth remind us, “the men we date turn into the men we marry.”
So be more conscious about who you’re dating. Have a list, and write down the “musts” that you’re looking for. What must the guy you’re dating have? What are you looking for in terms of his values, role in the relationship, career plans and family background?
Think about your list, craft your list, write down your “musts” and look for men who meet those “musts.”
If you’re more conscious about your dating life, you’ll immediately strike out a bunch of guys who are nowhere close to what you’re looking for.
“Write down your marriage ‘musts’ and stick to them,” advises Seth, because once again, “the men you date become the men you marry.”
Secret #3: Be fully committed.
“Beware ‘one foot out the door’ and ‘something better’ syndromes. This type of thinking may feel practical, but it’s extremely damaging to a relationship. If you keep your options open and keep looking for a better situation, you’re likely to end up alone and empty-handed.”
In arranged marriage cultures, people date as though they’re looking for a partner for life. Not just for a few months or until someone better comes along.
Can you see how if you shift your mentality to full commitment you’ll stop hanging out with the deadbeats and players who pop into your life?
Commitment means assuming the person you’re going to be with is going to be there for the rest of your life. You’re not continually looking for something better to come along.
Like couples in arranged marriages, think of your relationship in the long-term perspective. Change your mindset toward total commitment with your partner and give up on the guys who stay around simply because you don’t want to feel lonely.
Change your mindset, your outlook and the words you use in reference to commitment. You must become commitment-ready (thoughts, mindset and words) to find a commitment-ready man.
Secret #4: Define romance on your own terms.
“Don’t believe the hype. Don’t let Hollywood, the media, or anyone else define what romance means. Romance comes in many forms and each person expresses it differently.”
Are you looking for a man who buys you chocolates and wines, who dines you and fulfills the Hollywood definition of romance?
Not only is this a bad way to find a partner, it’s extremely distracting from the real qualities and characteristics of your partner.
Marketing messages inundate us with stories of what romance is supposed to look like, but romance isn’t dinner dates, cruises, roses and fancy jewelry.
Romance, as described by the women Seth spoke to, can include a husband learning how to cook so that his wife can go back to school in the evenings. Romance can be baby-sitting the kids, or helping one of your siblings in need or doing the dishes every night.
If you judge a man by typical notions of romance, you’ll likely find that what you think matters in a relationship leaves you feeling disappointed or misled.
Don’t let romantic comedies and television serials dictate romance.
Choose to see romance differently – in how your partner cares for you and the sacrifices he makes for you. Value the everyday, small things – the gestures of romance that you easily overlook.
Don’t eliminate potential partners if they don’t fulfill the typical notions of “romance” that you have in your mind.
Secret #5: Family matters.
“A potential partner’s family should be a factor in your consideration of that person as a life partner. Whether we like it or not, all of us are affected by the circumstances and values of our relatives.”
It’s amazing how little people in the West care about their partners’ families.
This is one of the most important tips you can learn about arranged marriages.
See, in arranged marriages it’s all about the family because we believe that your family tells us a lot about you.
Your dynamics and relationship with your family will likely indicate how you show up in your romantic relationships.
Your family likely influenced your values, your beliefs and your view of the world.
Find a guy who shares the same values you do, but check out his relatives to see whether your families are compatible.
As much as you’d like to think you can make life choices independent of anyone else, you’ll soon realize that in a long-term relationship, families matter. You will spend a lot of time with his family and he’ll spend a lot of time with yours.
Doesn’t it make sense to see whether: 1) you’re compatible with his family and 2) he’s compatible and gets along well with his family?
His family and how he interacts with them will be telling in his relationship with you and the family you create together.
Well, you may not be able to get an arranged marriage, but these tips will help you win a man who will stick around for the long-term.
If you’d like to read more secrets from Reva Seth’s book, pick up a copy here.
Speaking of arranged marriages and books, guess what’s coming out next week? Yes, my own experience with love and arranged marriage.
Are you deciding whether you should have an arranged marriage? Or are you simply curious about arranged marriage culture? Either way, you’re going to love this entertaining and insightful read.
Photo Credit Jitbag