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Ladies, it’s time to become the star of your own love story. Here is how to take the lead in your own life just in time for Valentine’s Day. Join in the challenge and tag us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at @ESSENCE with every action using our tag #ESSENCExo. Our team has some surprises in store for our favorite posts! Upgrade your love life with the 14 actions below.
#1 Write The Epilogue
To uplevel the love in your life, we have to consider where your story is headed. Let’s take a trip to your 65th birthday party. Who are the characters? What action is happening in your lives? How did you spend the last few decades? Where did you get it on and who was it with? Write down where your story is headed to be clear on the choices that will get you there. If you’re having trouble envisioning the future, head over to myheartwants.com for a free custom report on what your heart wants.
#2 Announce You Are Available
This challenge is the perfect excuse to let the world and your circle know, you’re “open to meeting amazing people!” Letting those around you know you’re available creates an army of support. The majority of us still marry people we meet through our social circles. We send emails searching for housing and jobs, so why not approach the role of a hot date or potential partner in the same way? Bonus: send a personal text to five of the most connected people you know letting them know you are ready to meet the coolest people they know.
#3 Feed Your Feminine Energy
In our hustle society, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of work and deadlines, neglecting our womanhood. It’s critical to refuel our femininity to attract opportunity and quality singles. It may be time for new body butter, oils, and a signature scent to pamper yourself and fresh bras and panties as your foundation each day. Commit to feeling incredible before you leave the house.
#4 Add You to Your Calendar
What we put on the calendar gets done. Commit to at least two dates a month and put them on your schedule. Also add fun items to your calendar, like a weekly dance class, or beginners burlesque to connect with your body. Have a boudoir shoot to have a visual reminder of your sensual side. I keep one of my boudoir photos in my bedroom and am working on a new burlesque routine to Chaka Khan’s “I Love Myself.”
#5 Rinse Your Heart
Before attracting new love, you have to make peace with the past. Everything that has happened to you up to this point was building you for better, and you are strong enough to survive any curves ahead. Write a letter (you don’t need to send) to anyone and anything from past relationships that still makes you angry. Listen to my Heart Bathe (formerly Boy Bye) playlist to get it all out.
#6 Get Your Flirt On
Every friend or lover starts as a stranger. Get off your phone, slow up your daily stroll and be present and friendly while out and about. That person you hold the elevator for may be your future husband’s cousin. By regularly using your flirt muscle, you’ll be better prepared when someone catches your eye. And when he’s across the room hold eye contact while saying to yourself, one, two, green light in your head. Then smile on green light and look away. When he comes over, compliment his style or scent, or ask a fun question.
#7 Primp Your Profile
If you’re on dating sites, it’s time to upgrade your profiles. And if you’re not, then what are you waiting on? Tatyana Ali and MC Lyte both met their husbands online. The first thing is to make sure you have at least two great photos including a full body shot and leave breadcrumbs for conversation. Share your favorite activities, foods to eat or places to visit so singles can easily imagine themselves out and about with you.
#8 Work Your First Date
After letting the world know you are available, getting your flirt on and primping your profile, it’s time for some dates. When you feel beautiful, your confidence flows. Shop your closet for fun looks and try color and sleek cuts. Give yourself time to get ready. You have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there. Every date is one step closer to the person for you. Start the first date short with coffee or cocktails to see if there is a connection.
#9 Reroute Your Routine
I hear so many stories of couples who were in the same area and circle for years and never met. Show fate you are ready for somebody fine by mixing up your usual day. Walk a different way to the train or your building. Try somewhere new for lunch. Go inside that business or lounge you’ve walked past for years. Coming off of automatic rejuvenates your mind and energy.
#10 Tell the Truth: How Are You?
Love asks us to be our authentic self, to settle into our messy parts and be with our uncomfortable moments. It takes courage to take down our walls. For the rest of this challenge and (maybe even for the month) be completely honest when someone asks how you are doing. Being vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness. The best thing you do for your next chapter is to own your truth without judgment.
#11 Purge your Space
Whether a letter from an old lover or that skirt with the broken zipper, it’s time to let some things go. When we release expired items, we create space for more and let the universe know that we are ready for more. Also do a digital cleanse, deleting old numbers, expired friendships and photos of past relationships off of your devices. We can’t drag the old into our new.
#12 Identify Your Body’s Hot Spots
You are the great love of your life and will be with yourself every day of your life. That also means you can be a great lover to you. Put on your favorite sexy songs and explore your beautiful body. Discover the places you like to be touched and what turns you on.
#13 Make Your Move
There is nothing and no one out of your league. Don’t leave this challenge without making a bold move whether letting your crush know you are interested or sending a napkin note or a drink to that cutie at the bar. If they are interested, great! If they are not, great too, as you reclaim your time and energy, to attract your divine partner.
#14 Live Happily Ever NOW
Congrats! You’ve made it the 14th day, and that is worthy of a celebration. Take a moment to own where you are as you give yourself permission to pursue where you want to be. To star in your own love story means asking yourself, “What would make me happy?” every single day and being willing to shift anytime that answer changes.
In my upcoming book Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love & Success, I share that love is not a to-do item to check off, but a daily habit. Love is always on the menu.
Charreah K. Jackson is ESSENCE Senior Editor, Lifestyle & Relationships and author of Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love & Success. Get access to her free dating masterclass for powerful women at ignitemylovelife.com
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