Most dating advice promises to lead us to lasting love, but erodes our chance of ever finding it; I find that many of these dos and don’ts do more harm than good. It relentlessly focuses on one thing — your attractiveness, your ability to tease a man’s ego and your ability to control a man’s emotions by playing mind games. In reality, the secret to success is less about your attractiveness and the rules but more about you.
The list is endless:
- Learn to be irresistible.
- Play hard to get.
- Be a damsel in distress.
- Act confident.
- Become an alpha female who doesn’t need a man.
- Attract an alpha man.
- Try to control him.
- Become a feminine goddess.
- Become a bitch.
These tips shine with the promise of self-transformation, but embedded within is an ugly Trojan Horse — the belief that, when it really comes down to it, you’re simply not attractive enough. One guy said to my flat mate, if more women would take off their weaves and go without makeup, at least let a man see a real person, maybe men would marry them.
Seductive and compelling as it may be, these facade paths are a decoy and a detour from intimacy. It subtly teaches us to be ashamed of our humanity (the real person that exists underneath that seven layers of foundation and thick concealer and 30 inches weaves), which is why it’s bound to fail. We can’t hold our stomachs in forever. Expecting to wake up before your man and put on makeup before he is up is utterly unrealistic. We’re not seamlessly confident. We are sometimes — maybe more than sometimes — needy. Becoming “irresistible” is not a sane goal. Nor does it work, because when our humanity feels like a shameful secret, we have no choice but to push love away.
That’s not to say that becoming more attractive isn’t a great thing; it is. It’s a gift to ourselves and to our future partner. Yet when it becomes our primary path to finding love, it’s like being slowly poisoned, without ever knowing the source.
I know, because I’ve been seen many women who are completely different beings around a man than they naturally are.
There is a much more fruitful path, which also happens to lead to a happier life. I was counseling with SIG’s Monica once and she said to me “you need to find out for yourself why you attract men who treat you this way, afterward figure out why you stay with them”.
I didn’t get it then, I was almost upset that she even said that to me because it felt like she was blaming me for how these men chose to act. It took me a while to figure my life out and what I really wanted; one day while I was doing something entirely non-engaging, a light bulb went off in my head and I got it.
What Monica was saying to me is that this “path” involves a focus not just on our attractiveness, but on our attractions in other words; self-awareness; things about you that often calls forth a certain kind of man to you. No it is not a spiritual problem, it is not the witches and wizards it is you, it is me.
Some psychologists call it “self-fulfilling prophesy” others call it “self-sabotage partners”. It is the same thing that Mary Jane Paul in Being Mary-Jane does. Always choosing men that are not good for her or chasing away the good ones so that she can fulfill the belief that she is too successful to find love and all men are trash.
There’s a deeper physics to the subject of attraction (what we attract and what is attracted to us) and most of us have never been given the tools to understand it. Talk to Monica people, she will sort you out.
Here are some concepts I’ve learned and found immensely helpful for anyone who desires both romantic love and a richer understanding of his/her own life:
1. While we can’t force our attractions, we can educate them.
We truly can change the nature and shape of our romantic and sexual attractions. It’s not a quick process; like turning a ship at sea, it takes time for our attractions to change, but I’ve seen it in my own life and in the lives of many of my friends. In the book Deeper Dating, Ken Page describes two categories of attractions which most of us experience: attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration.
In attractions of deprivation, our desire is fueled by the longing to get someone to finally, finally love or treat us in the way that is loving towards us, essentially stable, committed, and kind way. These attractions can be incredibly seductive. They can feel like real love, but in the end, they leave us depleted because we have wasted so much energy in making a grown up change their ways. Steve Harvey said something that resonated with me a long time ago about trying to make a man change he said “yes people change but it is not up to you to enforce that change, but a man will change not because a woman loves him but because he the man loves the woman and wants her in his life”
Happily, almost all of us can also experience attractions of inspiration, which are far more likely to lead to happiness. These relationships have a warmth and an ease to them. In these relationships, our challenge is to accept and return our partner’s caring, not to continuously try to win that caring. Attractions of inspiration are fueled by the sense of well-being these relationships create in us, not by the unrelenting itch for something that’s denied us. Longing for something a man cannot, will not or does not have the capacity to give is usually the first sign that we are with the wrong one for us.
When we learn to recognize the types of attractions of deprivation we repeatedly get drawn into, we can make the choice to avoid them. It’s not easy work, but it’s the key to a happier romantic future.
2. Our attractions can educate us.
After a while, as I thought about all the things Monica had to say, this is what I understand it to be as described perfectly in the words of the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega Y Gasset: “The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart.” Our attractions of deprivation reveal to us the parts of ourselves we haven’t yet learned to love, which is why we allow them to be trampled upon”.
And our attractions of inspiration teach us the path to life’s happiness. I’ve come to strongly believe that the parts of ourselves we think we need to hide, suppress, and tone down are often the most beautiful and important parts — the very parts that will draw people who will love us for who we are. I call these our “Core Gifts.”
3. Here is what I know to be true, the more we learn to cherish our own humanity and stop trying to force ourselves into more attractive packaging, we begin to find ourselves meeting (and being attracted to) people who are kinder, more generous, and more available.
This never ceases to amaze me and we find ourselves less likely to want to run for the hills when, amazingly, they like us back. Far better than attempting to become irresistible is the heroic act of becoming ourselves — and gaining the dignity to only choose people who value us for who we really are. That’s when our search for love stops being a painful game of chance and becomes a journey that’s truly worth our time. Ask anyone who has ever found love, it happened when they least expected it and were busy living their best lives!
Selah = pause and think about it ☺