Allowing Others to Love You #RachelleAyala @mimisgang1 #mgtab

Or letting love happen this Valentine’s Day …

Photo by Анна Хазова

Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating romantic love, and that’s exactly what we romance writers do best. We are in love with love, and we want all our characters as well as friends and family and even strangers to find love.

Funny thing though, love is sometimes an elusive being when you go out to find it. Is it hiding underneath a rock? Or could it be lurking in the pages of a book? How about it’s gone on a long vacation with no itinerary of returning? Maybe it’s staring you in the face and you’re not seeing it!

This is exactly what happens to many of my heroes and heroines, as well as friends and even myself in real life. Most of my romances, especially the friends to lovers, or even the enemies to lovers stories have this theme. Two people may be insanely attracted to each other but they have all sorts of reasons why this person is absolutely the wrong person for them. My job as the writer is to go behind the character’s doubts and insecurities and figure out fun and exciting scenarios for my hero and heroine to get past their roadblocks to love.

In most cases, the issue isn’t that they’re not lovable. Or that they don’t want love, no matter how loudly they deny that’s the case, but that they’re afraid to be vulnerable. That they make it difficult to let others love them. There are barriers and walls that might be built from past traumas or simply distrust that others have their best interests in mind. Perhaps deep inside, they don’t feel they deserve love.

Our characters are a lot like us. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself. A common theme in my romances are characters who feel like they don’t belong or are hard on themselves and distrustful of people’s motives. They push those away who try to get close and struggle to accept love and affection, or even small favors that their friends want to do for them.

You know the type. If someone asks if they need anything, they’re always “fine.” They’re cheerful to help another but can fathom sitting back and letting others shower them with affection.

Here are some steps to help you start allowing others to love you:

  1. Acknowledge your fear.

Many of our issues stem from fear. We can start by acknowledging the fear that’s holding us back. This fear could stem from past hurt and disappointment, or it could be a general fear of vulnerability and intimacy. Take some time to reflect on what might be causing your fear and either write it down in a journal or talk about it with a friend. It might be hard to admit it but knowing yourself is the first step.

  1. Realize your worth.

Self-love is the foundation of all healthy relationships. If you don’t love yourself, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fully accept love from others. That’s because you don’t feel worthy of love. Realize that you are worthy and figure out the things that make you happy. Don’t worry so much about how you look to others. Surround yourself with positive people, do things you’re interested in, and speak kindly to yourself. Most of all, if you have faith in God, you know that you are so worthy that he gave the ultimate sacrifice to redeem your soul. He loves you unconditionally and entirely in perfect love.

  1. Learn to trust others.

If you’ve been hurt in the past, it can be difficult to trust others again. However, trust is an essential component of healthy relationships. Start small by opening up to people you already trust and gradually building up to those you’re less familiar with. Trusting isn’t blind, however, and therefore you need to always be discerning and prayerful about letting someone into your life. Give it time and go for the slow burn. As you become more discerning and yet open to new experiences you will trust your own judgment and intuition better and avoid being hurt.

  1. Be open and honest.

One of the biggest reasons why we struggle to accept love from others is because we’re not open and honest about our needs and feelings. When we keep our feelings bottled up, it can be difficult for others to understand what we need from them. We’re always telling our friends we’re fine and ignoring what’s bothering us. We want to go it alone and not ask for help. I’m not saying to be needy or clinging, but being honest about your feelings and needs goes a long way toward building a loving relationship with another human being.

  1. Be patient.

Allowing others to love you takes time and patience. It’s not something that happens overnight, and there will likely be bumps along the way. Be patient with yourself and others, and remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. It’s no wonder that 1 Corinthians 13 starts with: Love is patient, love is kind.

Did you find any of these steps helpful? My wish for you is that you are loved not only on Valentine’s Day but every day of the year. As a writer of over 80 romance novels and stories, I’m always conjuring up new ways for my characters to fall in love. Some are sweet and cute and others are out of this world. So have a Happy Valentine’s Day, and if you like, pick up Red Hexed: Ruby, on sale for 99c – an unlikely love story between a Viking sword-bearer bent on stopping Ragnarok and a modern-day beauty queen who was burned on half of her face.

Red Hexed: Ruby

7 ways to show someone they matter #RachelleAyala #mgtab @Mimisgang1

Photo by cottonbro:

These days it seems we’re busier than ever. I don’t know about you, but as soon as I wake up I have things to do. There’s running the household to running a business while trying to find time for exercise and writing. Many times, I’ll think about what I can do for a friend or a family member without actually doing it. However, thinking is not the same as doing, and while you can tell someone you love them or were thinking about them, they’ll feel like they really mattered to you if you do something to show them. It’s the same concept of “Show, don’t tell” in writing.

Here are seven simple ways you can show someone they matter to you.

  • Call them or drop by for a visit. Your most valuable possession is your time. Calling a friend or a relative to wish them a happy birthday or taking them out for lunch shows you value being with them. It’s not just the “thought” that counts, but your presence.
  • Invite them to an outing. It could be a walk in the park, or a trip to Chinatown to pick up spices, or the neighborhood repertory theater, or a church activity, or a meet-an-author book-signing. Experiencing something new together is a great way to discover more about another person.
  • Cook a meal together. One of the funnest activities I did with a friend back in college days was to shop and try out a new recipe every Friday evening. We both learned how to cook and endured burned dishes and lots of laughs. Two cooks are always more fun than one.
  • Offer to babysit or do a household/yard chore. Lending a helping hand is a great way to show someone you value them. Maybe they’re new parents or bought a fixer-upper. Many hands truly make short and cheerful work.
  • Listen while they speak and draw out the silent ones. Being interested in a person shows them they matter. Listening carefully and drawing them out shows that you respect their ideas and thoughts.
  • Give up your seat on the bus or your place in line. Putting another person ahead of you shows them they matter to you. You’ll likely be rewarded with a smile and friendly words, and even if it’s only a grunt, you gave someone else first place for that short moment.
  • Respect their opinions and wishes. Everyone has their opinion and wishes, whether you agree with them or not. Respecting another person’s thoughts and feelings shows how you esteem them as an individual with their own agency.

What are some of the ways you show someone they matter? Enter them in the comments.

One of the best ways to tell an author she matters is to email her your thoughts about her book and/or write a review. It shows that her story or nonfiction made a difference in your life, and that’s ultimately what we’re here for–touching other lives and making a positive difference in the world.

Photo by RODNAE Productions: