3 Personal Growth Steps You Need To Take Before Your Next Relationship

Photo: Rob and Julia Campbell

If you’re single and looking for love, you might feel restless: restless in your longing to experience deep romantic chemistry with someone. I get it. No doubt it’s an incredible feeling, and frankly I believe it’s what we’re wired for. I believe we need it. But I also firmly believe that timing is everything. So if you’re single and feeling restless, this isn’t a plea to end your search—rather, it's to teach you how to quell that uneasiness by grabbing the golden opportunity that’s before you.

The opportunity here is growth. Proactively committing to your growth is the most important thing to do when you're single and looking for love.

You don’t want to enter your next relationship as the same person you were in your previous one. Let me explain: One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make (including myself) is to blame the other person for the demise of their relationship. Even more common is blaming the actual relationship, as if "the relationship" was this elusive entity separate from the two people involved. The moment you take responsibility for the choices you’ve made in your love life is the moment you change the game. This isn’t about shame—it’s the opposite. You must recognize the privilege it is to claim sovereignty over your life, which includes who you attract, but more importantly, who you’re attracted to. To be responsible for your life is self-love. And when you train yourself to look onto your inevitable failures as opportunities for growth and rebirth, well, that’s radical self-love.

Growth is an inside job. What this means? It's more of a feeling than something that can be measured by circumstance. There certainly may be symptoms of your growth, such as various achievements or successes, but the most obvious indication of your progress is that you feel more whole and thus more fulfilled. Even when life gets difficult, if we’re growing, our lives will feel meaningful.

Practice these three steps to catapult your growth and prepare you for your next relationship:

1. Define what's important to you.

Everyone has adopted beliefs that are influenced by family and cultural conditioning. Plus, as we age and experience the vicissitudes of life, our priorities will naturally shift. That’s why you must evaluate what is intrinsically important to you, right now. When you have clarity about what is deeply important to you and then live your life in alignment with that, you’ll cultivate a core confidence that will stand the test of disappointments in your love life.

And you won’t settle. It’s definitely a process, but begin by asking yourself these two questions (I’d suggest writing this down): "What do I want to feel as much as possible? If, for example, your answer is joy, then list the things that bring you joy, and you’ll start to uncover what is truly important to you. Then ask yourself, "What do I want others to feel when they're around me?" Then follow the same steps as above. Just keep asking yourself questions of this nature, and you’ll be amazed by what unfolds.

2. Know what inspires you.

We have habits that make us happy and ones that make us miserable. Consciously choose rituals that inspire you. If you’re not sure, start exploring in small ways. Three years ago I had never listened to a podcast. Today, it’s my daily habit to expand my thinking and creativity. Reading for just 20 minutes a day inspires me. Music, and moving my body to it, is hugely effective—in fact, anything that plants you in your body will enhance your life. Guaranteed. Spend time with people who motivate you. Simply put, get in touch with what lights you up and do it.

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3. Contribute.

Find something that moves you and dedicate yourself to it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how or what that looks like. Find your own way. Maybe it’s obvious, like donating your time to volunteering or your money to an important cause. Maybe it’s expanding your work to include a deeper purpose. The bottom line is that we’re meant to contribute to our ecosystem, and when we help others, we feel good. Why? Because when we give outside of ourselves in any capacity, we grow.

These steps are a process, so don’t pressure yourself to figure it all out overnight. There are many ways to grow: You could learn a new language, do something that scares you, face life’s challenges in a new way—the choice is yours. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that these three steps will guarantee your personal evolution, and the search for your next love will be filled with less longing and much more ease.

Want more personal growth exercises? These are the five stages of personal growth.

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