In our society we are told a lot of confusing things about relationship. If we don’t have a satisfying relationship it must be because we are doing something wrong. Women especially are told that they need to do certain things to attract a man (and most of these things are to make themselves “attractive”). Men on the other hand are told that they need to be good enough (which generally means owning the right stuff or having the right job). As with many other things in life the issue for women tends to boil down to messages about their person while with men it is more about their performance. With the liberalization of society we have managed to make this even more confusing so that both women and men now have to achieve both personal and performance perfection before they can hope the “catch” a good mate.
This is all silliness of course. How many highly successful and desirable people do we know that still can’t seem to find happiness? You have but to look at the magazines lining your grocery store checkout line to see the relationship failures of the most desirable of us.
For many, once they realize this they decide that attraction is random or that relationships are not for them. I think this is just the other side of the same mistake. Who you are does effect the relationships (or lack thereof) that you attract. The difference is that it is more complex than what dress or eyeshadow one wears, what schools you attended or what car or house you own. Attraction hinges upon deeper issues; issues that are often unconscious. For example, do you like yourself? Do you find yourself attractive? Do you trust others (especially others of the sex you are attracted to)? Do you feel worthy of the relationship of your desires?
There are many sabotaging beliefs that we all often secretly hold which act to limit our relationships, and because they are unconscious we often can’t find them ourselves. They are not impossible to find though. While they might be invisible to us, often our closest friends have little trouble spotting them. If you don’t have a good friend like this you are still in luck though, because there are still several ways of discovering your sabotaging beliefs.
One way is to ask your body. For example you can read the questions above as statements and notice if there is any reaction in your body. Make the statement “I am attractive” aloud, then sit and notice any reaction in your body. Is there a tightening in your chest? Is there a feeling of pulling away or anger? Are there thoughts or pictures in your head that don’t feel good? Now try another: “I trust men (or women)”, and notice how your body reacts.
Another way to start to figure out what your sabotaging beliefs might be is to look at the series of relationships you have had up to now and notice what went wrong. What did your partner do and what did you do that contributed to the break up? One person I know was in a series of relationships with men who were addicted to something. Another person I know felt that his girlfriends always demanded too much of him and never appreciated what he tried to do for them. If you can notice a pattern (or several patterns) in past relationships then assume that there is an important learning embedded there. Ask yourself: “What must I believe for this to happen in my life?”
For the woman who found herself in a series of addictive relationships, what she discovered was that she had sabotaging beliefs about not being good enough to be with a successful man. These beliefs not only led her to allow herself to become attracted to weak men, but to act as a powerful magnet pulling them to her in droves! For the man who found himself with women who didn’t appreciate him, what he found was that (because of early life events) he believed that he could never make someone happy and that no matter what he did they would leave. In fact, for him the events of his family of origin almost exactly matched his love life. After his parents divorced when he was six he tried to take care of his mother but continually failed. His belief that he was not capable of caring for someone combined with a judgment that women are never satisfied (beliefs that made sense of his experience at six) produced a series of unhealthy relationships.
The great thing about discovering your sabotaging beliefs is that you can do something about them. There are a range of trauma treatments such as Ask and Receive or Releasing Through Love that can rapidly transform them allowing you to attract something new.
We are all powerful attractors, pulling into our orbit experiences that match our expectations. If we believe that people only love us for our money (or whatever) then that is what we draw in. As we change these beliefs then our experience also changes. If we are in relationship and we release these beliefs then our partners seem to magically change. If we are not currently in a relationship then the people whom we attract to us seem to magically change.
Over and over my wife and I have worked with people who were able to pull in wonderful partners by just changing a few (or sometimes many) sabotaging beliefs. When a person starts this process they are often already frustrated. They may have been trying unsuccessfully to create a healthy relationship for years, and discovering that what was standing in their way was their own belief can be hard to swallow. Once someone does commit to the process though, change is often quite rapid and what they start to notice is that the quality of relationships that become available start to change. Instead of attracting an alcoholic, someone might attract someone without a job, and then someone with a job but who can’t commit, and then someone who can commit but with whom she doesn’t feel attracted, and then finally to someone who truly meets her desire.
We call this phenomenon “driftwood”. As your thinking becomes healthier regarding relationship, you start to attract relationships at that level. We have seen this process unfold over and over and while it makes sense when you read about it here, it is often emotionally difficult to navigate in the real world. Each of these driftwood relationships are with real people with whom you attach and even love. It is impossible, though, to leapfrog this process because it is through these relationships that you will discover at an ever deeper level what beliefs need to shift inside you.
I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences in the comment section below.