This week I have been answering dating questions as one of a variety of experts for a relationship book that will be coming out soon. As I read through the questions, it became painfully obvious what answers people were wanting. I wasn’t surprised since I get that a lot in working with people in workshops and such. But there’s no way to soften the blow of truth—and I don’t want to. The sooner people face reality and deal with it, the sooner they’ll stop, well, to borrow and old line, looking for love in all the wrong places.
When someone asks, “What can I do to get him or her to like me?” I know the answer they want to hear is some variation of, “part your hair on the left, wear a blue shirt and click your heels together three times.”
I also know the very last thing they want to hear is the truth, which is what I tell them. And here it is: You have to like and be happy with yourself—you have to truly love and respect yourself—before you can expect anyone else to
If you just groaned or rolled your eyes, you’re probably in good company. The “you just have to love yourself” has become a bit of a cliché, not because it isn’t true, but because it is easier to dismiss it and look for an external magic bullet.
I watched The Ugly Truth the other night. It was panned by critics, but I enjoyed it. Yes, it was predictable, but since I’m always on the lookout for a good self improvement example, it worked for me.
When Katherine Heigl first met her neighbor the doctor, he wasn’t interested—not even a little. However, he fit the bill for what she was looking for so she went after him. And when she did what Gerard Butler told her to—hair extensions, particular clothes, act disinterested, say this, don’t say that—she got him. The tricks and the game worked.
The only teensy little problem was that she hadn’t gotten him honestly based on who she really was and therefore the relationship—if you can call it that—was doomed before it ever even started. She’d used superficial means to catch a superficial guy. He wasn’t looking for a deep relationship with deep conversations, he simply wanted a beautiful woman to parade around and have sex with that would hang on his every word. And there are plenty of women who would be happy with that scenario—she just wasn’t one of them. He didn’t need fixed so he’d be what she wanted, although that’s where it would have gone if the game had continued. They’d both be dissatisfied and have no clue why.
So, how do you not fall into that trap? When you start feeling anxious about a situation or don’t know what to do, here’s a simple question to ask yourself: Would a person with high self esteem and self respect do what I’m doing?
And here’s where the external comes in to play as well. Use these variations to keep yourself in check on the physical side: Would a person with high self esteem and self-respect wear what I’m wearing? Say what I’m saying? Take care of his self and his property in the way I do?
Clearly, if our movie heroine had used these questions, she’d have never gotten herself into the mess in the first place. She would have never considered turning herself inside out to try to attract someone who wasn’t interested in her. And in reality, it wasn’t really him she was attracted to it was his looks and his career.
The doctor’s instincts had been right from the beginning—she wasn’t his type—but with a little “this is what men want” coaching from Butler, she put on a mask and convinced him otherwise. Obviously, she figured all that out, and when she finally came clean and told him the truth about who she’d be pretending to be—the only time she’d ever been her true self with him—he was rightfully shocked and appalled.
If we could all just be our authentic selves from the beginning—which we would do automatically if we really liked ourselves—it would prevent a whole lot of relationship missteps and heartache.
And that’s the ugly truth.
Paula Renaye is a life transformation and empowerment speaker, certified professional life coach, regression hypnosis practitioner and multi-award-winning author. Her new release, The Hardline Self Help Handbook, is the winner of the Indie Excellence Finalist Award and the Readers Favorite Finalist Award. Visit www.hardlineselfhelp.com for more information about this author.