Looking for love is hard. You need to look in the right places with the right people to find who you’re looking for. Also, you must be authentic and true to yourself, otherwise, you will never find your true match in love.
Your True Protection
In nature, creatures are endowed with exoskeletons or endoskeletons. Creatures that have exoskeletons have an external armor. They hide their soft parts with hard armor. But creatures that have endoskeletons have bodies that have softness surrounding this essential structure inside, their skeleton, their spine, so their soft parts can be exposed because of the integrity of their inner framework.
When we embrace who we really are and begin to accept our limitations, our beauties, our passions, our sensitivities, we feel like we have a spine, and then we can meet the world skin to skin instead of armor to skin or armor to armor. When we’re ashamed of who we are, there’s only one option to protect ourselves: some kind of armor that keeps the world at a distance.
Our true protection, your true protection, is found in choosing the one, the friends, and the connections who are kind and giving and accepting of who you are. They’re your A-team. They’re your gold. They are the secret to the survival of you in a beautiful way in your world and your life. To someone who doesn’t appreciate you, that true self absolutely might be a turnoff, but for the right person, it really is the stuff that romance is made of.
The world is built in such a way that there are people who are going to be attracted to you for you. There’s someone for everyone or many people for everyone, but we don’t find that person when we stop emitting our essential self in our everyday life because we’ve blocked who we are. We don’t radiate out and draw and attract the right people. In fact, when we do that, as I said, we create a strange circuitry where we draw in relationships that end up making us feel like masochists.
Be Fiercely Discriminating
The third one is to become fiercely discriminating about the things that matter the most. If you make this decision that you’re going to be brave enough to show your true self, then you will need to know how to protect yourself. I do suggest that you become fiercely discriminating about the people with whom you choose to spend your time. Even sometimes extravagantly discriminating. Is the person you’re dating consistently kind? Is the person you’re dating emotionally generous, even if it’s a quiet generosity?
Are you inspired by the way this person lives his or her life? By his or her honesty in your relationship with them? By the kindness and acceptance that this person shows you? If so, you have found what I call an attraction of inspiration, and that is to be celebrated because it’s a rare and precious thing.
It’s exactly where you want to build your home in the world.
Or do you find, conversely, that your partner just continues to be almost available, almost honest, almost accepting, almost within reach, almost integrity-based?
If so, trust your gut. Talk to this person; share your feelings, and if things don’t change, it’s probably time to move on. If you really, really want a love that can last, it is doubtful that you’ll find it in a place like that. In fact, it’s profoundly unlikely, and the time in your life and your journey is precious. You have the right and even the obligation to yourself to just move on until you find what feels like the real thing. It will have a quality of goodness and sustainability, and that’s what you’re looking for.
Healthy Love in Disguise
Obviously, it’s not easy to leave because these other attractions, almost attractions, are tricky and confusing. They make us feel like there’s something wrong with us. They often feel more like real love than healthy love feels like real love because healthy love is slower. In many cases, it’s a little less pyrotechnical in the beginning.
When these kinds of attractions of deprivation let us down, we believe it’s because of a lack in us, not because of a fatal flaw that’s embedded in those attractions themselves. Most of us are wired to want people we really can’t have. People who devalue us make us want to convince them that they’re wrong. That’s human, but here’s the good news. Just as you can be seduced by unavailability, you are also capable of being seduced by goodness, decency, originality, and generosity.
You can cultivate your attraction to kindness and availability.
As you do this, your dating life will dramatically change for the better. Another thing that I want to briefly mention here that I’ll be speaking more about is to understand the importance of understanding what I call flight patterns. The way you flee the heat of true intimacy. I actually did a series of three episodes in my podcast about fear of intimacy.
The risk of love scares everybody. As I say, if you’re breathing, you’ve got fear of intimacy because intimacy is the greatest treasure. Of course, there will be the greatest charge around betrayal and loss. Watch out for the tendency you might have to devalue a new relationship with someone who’s consistent, kind, and accepting.
The Battle to Be Won
I call this phenomenon “The Wave.” Like a wave, it could just slam you off balance, but like a wave, it fades away. If you find that you are attracted to somebody who is all of these good qualities, they’re attracted to you, and all of a sudden, you just find them boring, you want to go back to the thrill of the hunt, or their laugh just starts irritating you or whatever; just take time and space to let the wave pass. In time, it almost definitely will, and your attraction will come back, your interest will come back, and you’ll see with clearer eyes if this person is right for you.
Try these three steps in your own life.
They will turn your dating life into an intimacy adventure, a journey that leads both to love and to deeper growth. Not that these things are easy. These are work. These are mountains to climb, but they’re gold, and they’re worlds better than the kind of soul-scarring battle of trying to turn yourself into a more marketable commodity on the dating scene.
There is a battle to be won, but it takes place in an entirely different stadium than the one we’ve been herded toward.
It’s the battle to embrace and navigate the wounded, wondrous beauty of your own humanity and your partner’s humanity.
That’s the place to be, and it’s the place where you’re most likely to find the person you’re dreaming of.
This is Part Two of a two-part series. You can find Part One here.
Transcript Notes: This article is essentially a direct transcription of my talk or interview. Subscribe and listen to the podcast here.