Leah's last post got me thinking of things I've done in the past to change my vision of myself. Through high school, college and for some time after, I was never much of a dater. I would have random dates here and there but it was rare and they never seemed to go anywhere. I didn't know why but wanted to figure it out. After a good deal of self examination and prayer, I decided that there were some things I was holding onto that were keeping walls around my heart. I couldn't even tell you then what they were, but I felt there were small passing comments from random guys, men who dated all my roommates and not me, self-talk, probably lots of things I didn't remember that had made my heart hard.
The next question was what to do about it. I felt I needed to change to have a more forgiving heart and be able to let go of everything in my past, big or small, and be open to love. I did a number of things. I fasted every Sunday to have a forgiving heart and for the ability to open my heart to others. I worked on changing my self talk about myself and men. I made an effort to have gratitude for the men who were in my life, even if they weren't asking me out, or even be grateful for the men who asked me out that I didn't find particularly desirable. I focused on changing my energy and keeping my desire in the front of my mind, for instance, I wore a necklace that had a chinese character for love on it.
It took a few months, but it worked. I've dated more since then than I have my whole life (which isn't saying a lot since I've never been a huge dater). That was six or seven years ago. I admit I went into it thinking it would bring "Mr. Right" into my life immediately, which it didn't. But I've always tried to be grateful for whatever relationship- one date, a casual boyfriend, a serious boyfriend, or even a pretty rotten boyfriend- that came my way. That seemed to help keep my heart open through it all.
I realize some of what I did will seem silly, and I'm not saying my specific experience is what anyone else should do. However, I do think the idea of honest self reflection together with prayer and a willingness to change will lead us in whatever direction that will bring us the most happiness.