DatingAt the last dating workshop I taught, several people expressed the thought that they couldn’t bear to date again.

“I just can’t take any more hurt,” lamented one woman. While one man complained, “Putting myself out there only to get shot down another time is too much heartache.” Letting yourself be vulnerable is risky. Yet, it is the only path to love. If you don’t open your heart and allow yourself to be vulnerable, you close yourself off to love. There are ways to make vulnerability easier in dating. Here are some tips how.

1. Understand that guarding your heart doesn’t work

As people date, they can experience heartache and vow not to be vulnerable again. Some put up walls to try and protect their hearts. This sets them up for failure. When Mary picked Jack to marry, because he loved her more than she loved him, not only did she “settle” but she falsely assumed that this was a guarantee against heartbreak.

Unfortunately, this assumption didn’t hold up. Jack divorced her after three years of marriage, and Mary was devastated. Those with guarded hearts get hurt worse than those with open hearts. In an attempt to avoid pain, they’ve chosen the wrong person, not their soulmate. Making a decision based on fear, in this case the fear of getting hurt, is not supported by the Universe.

2. Quit getting hurt by changing your beliefs

If you can alter your thoughts about rejection, you can save yourself a truckload of grief. The truth is that there is no rejection, only the wrong fit. So when your boyfriend breaks up with you saying he’s not feeling it, instead of being devastated and assuming something is wrong with you, understand that you simply weren’t right together.

A door was being closed for you, so that you can be available when your soulmate comes along. No need to examine ad nauseam what you did wrong or dwell on what you are lacking.

You did nothing wrong, and you are not lacking. It would never have worked out, because he is not your soulmate. Trust that you get a soulmate who can’t see past you and in whose eyes you can do no wrong.

3. Give each date a chance

It is not honoring of another to drag old wounds or insecurities into a date. Just because every woman you’ve dated has cheated on you doesn’t mean that this woman before you will behave in the same way. You owe it to her to go in with no assumptions and see her for who she is.

Clean the screen of your vision from past dirt so that you can give each date a proper, unbiased chance. Also, leave behind stereotypes when you date. I have heard many men written off as “womanizers.” In the past year, I have been to the weddings of at least three womanizers, who are now faithful and settled down.

Labels are not valid – no one can be reduced to a one word judgment. No matter what you’ve heard about a person or what your initial perception is, be open to what you could be to each other. If you are his soulmate, he will leave his womanizing ways behind.

4. Trust the Universe to guard your heart

One compelling reason not to guard your heart (which as discussed, anyway fails) is that you can trust the Universe to guard your heart. How? Every time fear about dating comes up, take the time to find faith within you, the part of you that knows you are protected. Envision yourself putting your heart right into the hands of the Universe for safekeeping. Then, look for the signs of support that happen. You will see them, and feel reassured.

5. Don’t make anyone your source

One mistake we make, a mistake that will never be rewarded, is making another our “source”.

When someone becomes your life and you lose a sense of yourself in a relationship (and you give away your power), you are making them your source.

Love is powerful and can sweep us away. This is fine, as long as you continue to have good self-esteem and a life outside of your love. There is only one source – and that is yourself. While this person may mirror part of you by opening you up to love, don’t mistake them as being your source.

6. Let hope spring eternally

Go into dating knowing that you can get over anything if necessary. If you have ever been in love, and have then experienced heartbreak and have got over it, you know that you can recover again.

Be willing to go through any grieving necessary if things don’t work out. As long as you know you can release, you know it’s okay to love freely. Yes, you must go through the pain of release if it doesn’t work out, but don’t lose the faith that you ultimately get love. We all get love, and you are no exception.

The soulmate that you long for is out there somewhere right now. By being willing to stay open and vulnerable, you expedite the process of calling forth your love.

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Kathryn Alice, author of the bestseller Love Will Find You, is a well-known expert on soulmates and spiritual dating. She has helped tens of thousands of people successfully connect to their soulmates. Her work has appeared in Psychology Today, USA Today and The New York Times. Kathryn directed Agape’s Crisis Support Team for six years and teaches in the U.S., Australia and South Africa.