As Jews Tu B’Av is our day of romance, a Jewish Valentine’s Day. The first mention of Tu B’Av is in the Mishna Taanit, where we read the story about women dressed in white dancing in the vineyards and suggesting to men that they consider them as a potential partner.

While we are a long way away from this custom, love and marriage are still very much in vogue…and as love is a fairly basic human need that not many are happy to forgo, it will hopefully to be around forever!

So, if you are looking for love this Tu B’Av, and not sure where to start, consider how your life might look  if you had already found the love of your life.

Consider some of the following that may be holding you back. The more you are aware of what may be getting in your way, the better able you will be to overcome these barriers.

1) Make room for love: If you haven’t yet found love, it may be the case that you haven’t been making enough time and space for the search. Many people want love, but actually have no room for it. For those who are in loving relationships, ask yourself whether you are creating enough time and space for your partner. Do either of you feel taken for granted? Are you drowning yourself in work and other hobbies, because your current relationship feels like too much hard work, or you feel bored? Just because you’re in a relationship, this doesn’t mean your job for finding and creating love is over. Just like exercise training, the more you work out, the more effortless it becomes. The more we create an intimate space with our partners, the more it becomes a part of our life.

2) Being open to receiving love: For some people receiving love feels strange. They believe in their heart they want love, but when it comes down to feeling loved, it feels strange or awkward. People who have had challenging relationships with parents, or who have witnessed challenging relationship role models will often feel subconsciously ambivalent about being open to love. The important thing is to acknowledge that this is a possibility. Without being aware that you have a fear of receiving love, clearing a path to love may be a challenge. So awareness is key!

3) Being capable of offering love: This is the other side of the coin of having difficulty with receiving. People who struggle to give love often feel that for some reason there isn’t enough love to go around. Either they fear that if they give to someone else they may not receive love in return, or they fear the deep emotional connection that may actually result if they do offer love, because emotional depth is an unknown that they fear. Either way, fear of giving is an important thing to become aware of as well.

4) Taking risks: Taking risks can feel scary. Going out of your comfort zone to meet someone new, flirting with someone you don’t really know or with someone you do but haven’t flirted with before, and even sharing your feelings with your already committed partner can feel scary. Weigh up the pros and cons of sharing your feelings. Most people find that taking the risk is always worthwhile. Staying in no mans land means things will stay the same…Boring!

If fear of change or doing anything that feels slightly uncomfortable for the sake of pursuing love is holding you back, the first step is to become aware that this is what’s really happening. The more aware you are of what’s holding you back, the greater the likelihood that you will be able to push through and make the change to invite love in.

What is the greatest risk you have taken for love? I’d love to hear about it…shoot me an e-mail: mlavinpell@gmail.com