Falling in love can be hard — and falling in love again when you've been hurt before can be even harder
A lot of people find that the past has a hold on them. It might be that they experienced trauma or had their trust damaged one too many times. But what makes things even more complicated is that sometimes we're holding onto our past and letting it control our romantic life without even realizing it. We think that we're just bored of the dating scene or that things never go our way when actually it's that something else is holding us back. If you know that you're having trouble letting go of the past — or think you might be — here are the three essential steps for finding love, according to Winters.
1. Forgive yourself
Firstly you need to forgive yourself. "There is a lot of talk about forgiving others, but what about forgiving yourself?" Winters says. "In my practice, this is KEY. No matter what has happened to you in your past, it is up to you to let it go and find compassion for yourself for what occurred."
While this can sometimes be in the sexual sense, it's also true in a broader sense. "People who are doing this will often say, 'I’m just not meeting anyone interesting,'" Winters says. "They don’t realize they are CREATING boring relationship and dating dynamics by never really putting themselves out there. If you make it so no one can touch your deepest heart, no one will!"
3. Make the decision to love again
As much as people talk about "falling in love" like it's something that you magically slip into, there's actually very often a choice involved — you have to choose to be open to it. "Your past will only hold you back if you allow it to dim your love-light, if you allow it to harden your heart and shut down your sexuality, or if you allow it to make you paranoid and believe in the inevitability of pain and betrayal," Winters says. "Don’t let it. Make a decision to love like you’ve never been hurt. This doesn’t mean you go into relationships naive or blind. This means you let the past create the wisdom of discernment (you get the value of the lessons you have learned) but you are simultaneously willing to be vulnerable again, open again, and willing to love fully again." It's a crucial choice to make.
If you've been through trauma or been badly hurt before, it's difficult to open up to a relationship again. We carry those experiences with us, sometimes without even being aware of it, and they create distance between us and potential relationships. But going through something traumatic or difficult isn't your fault or a reflection on you — so forgive yourself and decide that you're ready to be in a relationship again.