When marketing campaigns tell us we are flawed, relationship and romance coach Barry Selby tells us to embrace the features that make us unique.
Each of us is unique and perfectly imperfect. It’s part of the human experience. When it comes to romantic relationships, I believe no matter what you look like or who you are, there is a match for you. You are perfect for that special someone who is also searching for you.
The marketing of match-making websites can be denigrating. In their campaign #LoveYourImperfections, Match.com captioned separate images of people with their supposed imperfections:
One man with two different colored eyes, a woman with the inability to arrive on time, one guy labeled as always forgetting his travel pass, and another that pushed the campaign over the edge.
The closely-cropped photo showed the freckled face of a young red-headed woman with the caption, “If you don’t like your imperfections, someone else will.” As a relationship and romance coach, I found this disturbing. The advert felt like an attack on all freckled redheads. It implied that someone who has red hair and freckles doesn’t like those features on themselves. Beyond bullying this one group of people, what the phrase translates to is potentially harmful: “Find someone who loves you if you don’t love yourself.” It is co-dependent programming and insulting to the audience.
The idea of looking for someone else to love you because you don’t love yourself is a recipe for frustration. If you don’t love yourself and you find someone who loves you more than you love yourself, you become dependent on their loving to feel good. You think they are so special and wonderful, but when they move away or change how they love you, you are more likely to react as a victim. If you are looking for someone else to make you feel better, you’ll never be satisfied because they will disappoint you. Every time.
When you are looking for a relationship, whether on one of the match-making sites, smartphone dating apps, or in person, you are basically going shopping. When you meet someone and you like them, you show them the outside of your home. Once you get close in your relationship, you pull back the drapes and show them how messy and cluttered your house is. They may well run for the hills!
Like housework, many of our personal outer challenges can be overcome. If you don’t like something about your appearance that can be changed, do something about it while you are single. Go to the gym, eat healthier, change your hairstyle. It’s up to you to take care of yourself; it’s not a future partner’s duty.
When you enter into an intimate relationship, you pull back the drapes on your emotional history, also. The loving and opening in your budding romance are going to reveal all your unresolved stuff. Learn to love and care for yourself, and heal your unresolved stuff first. Then, when you are in a relationship, you aren’t looking for someone to fix you. You are not dependent on them providing that.
Part of my work with my clients is helping them transform their inner history, so when they are looking out in the world for a relationship, they are not looking through the lens of past pain, historical wounds or bad breakups. I coach them to come from positive abundance. This paradigm shift means my clients are committed to taking care of themselves because they know they are stronger that way, and they are more attractive when they love and care about themselves; they no longer settle for less than they deserve
Here are three important steps toward attracting a perfect match, even if you feel imperfect:
1) Begin with self-love. You can only really be loved by another person, to the level that you love yourself. Accept your magnificence, and stop listening to, reading or believing in adverts and others who tell you lies, as Match.com did with their imperfections campaign. Self-love first will pave the way for you to attract healthy love from a sweetheart.
2) If you can’t change a feature, it is perfect as it is. To the degree that you are imperfect, you are perfect! If your eyes are each a different color, if you have freckles, a big nose, little feet, you are different and perfect as you are. Everyone is imperfect in the sense that none of us is a perfect human specimen, but we are all perfect in our own unique way. Own that. Remember that. Then you can attract a healthy relationship.
3) Work on clearing, resolving, and healing what you can change. You have to clean up the stuff that is cluttering your house. It doesn’t matter how nice your profile picture and your car look, or how nice the outside of the house appears, if the interior is gutted, rotting, and covered in mold, it isn’t very attractive. The same is true when you carry all your old emotional baggage while looking for a partner to make you feel better; you are choosing an unhealthy, codependent relationship.
Whether your home is a mess, you have emotional baggage cluttering your life, or you haven’t been taking good care of your overall health, changing that kind of imperfection will feel self-empowering. Taking care of yourself is your own responsibility. Doing so will attract a partner who does the same, allowing you two to enjoy a healthy, interdependent relationship. Any dating site, app, or matchmaker who tells you that you are not good enough, deserves nothing from you. Quit the site, delete the app, get a refund from the matchmaker, and find guidance that is inspiring and supportive. This is my specialty. You can find more help in this area and reach out to me at BarrySelby.com.
Hey, Good Men Project readers! Looking for love? Check out our partner, MeetMindful. The dating site for conscious men and women.
photo credit: Deveion Acker/Flickr