If you've ever been The Single Friend who complained about how everyone sucks and no one is worth dating, you've had at least one (if not, like, 400) coupled friends tell you, "Stop looking! That's when love finds you." And if you're like me, you've wanted to go over to that person's house and knock everything off their shelves for sport.
First of all, I know what they mean. They're trying to tell you to not focus on it like this goal you have to achieve or else your body will explode, and that's solid advice. But telling a human being who understandably wants to find love and happiness that they can only find those things if they erase them from their brain is fucking dumb for so many reasons.
One of those reasons is the most obvious one, which is the old, "Stop thinking about dinosaurs eating burritos" trick. You're now imagining dinosaurs eating at Chipotle, are you not? I know you are. It's a wonderful image. My point is that as soon as someone tells you to stop doing something, whether it's picturing dinosaurs or looking for love, your instinct is to go do that thing all-in. If someone tells you to stop looking for love, it's super unlikely you'll actually stop.
Telling yourself to not look for love is like telling yourself to not look for food or air or water or clothes that fit you perfectly. Sure, maybe those things will find you, but since they're all wonderful, you probably want to really put in the effort to find them. But here's the thing: implementing a strategy on how to find love, even if that strategy is to not look for it, IS STILL LOOKING FOR IT.
So now you're off on a quest to let the world know, "I am not looking for love (but by my saying that, I totally am, FYI)," which is just as much of a plan as making a vision board with photos of Pinterest weddings on it is.
Plus, telling someone who actively wants to find love that they should stop wanting to find love so they can find love is like telling a depressed person they can only be happy once they don't want to be happy. What the shit is that? It literally makes zero sense.
Again, I get it. In general, it's great if people can just focus on who they are and making themselves happy and learning to be happy alone. Those are all great pieces of advice, but they're also notoriously hard to implement.
Why is love the one thing that you're supposed to just happen upon with zero effort? If you wanted to get a great job, no one would tell you to end your job search and chill in Starbucks until someone tapped you on the shoulder and offered you one. They'd tell you to ask around and put in the time because that's how you get what you want. What about all of the people who found love because they were looking for it? There are tons of people who put out online dating profiles or agreed to a set-up or braved a singles mixer and found someone they loved.
I've had lots of great relationships and honestly, when I look back, I was always looking for them. Always. Even when I was super shut-down and feeling crappy about love, when I saw the opportunity, I went for it because I'm a human person with feelings.
We all want love. We do. It's what makes us people with hearts and feelings and access to so many romantic comedies. And sure, maybe some people found love by releasing their need to find it, and that's great. But let's stop telling people that they need to actively change who they are in order to find love. Because even if you do find love that way, changing yourself to find it means your partner may not have fallen for the real you anyway.
Keep your heart squishy and vulnerable. Look for love. Be proud to admit that you want to find someone incredible to share your life with. The worst that could happen is you go through life alone but still living every minute as the romantic weirdo you know you are deep down. And if it's any consolation, that makes two of us.