We’ve pretty much all heard about ‘The Secret’, right? Well, the Law of Attraction couldn’t be truer when it comes to our relationships with other people.
As a therapist, I was encouraged by a therapist friend of mine to write about what comes up most in therapy. She asked me ‘What do you find yourself saying a lot in session?’ The answer was immediately clear to me –‘the healthier you are, the healthier the person you attract’.
Working with individuals who struggle with low self-esteem, self-doubt, and those overcoming addictions has led me to many conversations around their experiences with unhealthy relationships. People want to be loved and accepted but often feel less than lovable. How can we attract healthy people who accept themselves and live authentically when we’re not living that way ourselves?
The Path to Self-Acceptance
When we don’t like ourselves, we choose people who don’t, as well. The quality of our relationships is influenced, in part, by the depth and quality of our self-esteem. Relationships are especially important as an influence on our self-esteem. How others treat us—and how we are willing to be treated—can either help or hurt our self-esteem.
Who we think we are, or our self-perception, is also important. Think about it–if you feel ashamed or embarrassed of where you are in your life right now, and if you constantly compare yourself to others, who might you be attracting? More likely than not someone who is also caught in a little bit of negative self-talk and feeling ‘less-than’.
We can attract healthier people into our lives when we become healthier ourselves. Of course, this looks different for everyone. If you’re that insecure, lonely girl who wants a go-getter guy, it may mean getting involved in something that inspires you. Do you want someone ambitious, but lack ambition yourself? How can you shift that? What needs to change within your world to support you in gaining the confidence to achieve larger goals?
If we want to get better at being loved, we need to get better at loving ourselves. Many of us have been programmed to think that finding a partner will solve all of our problems. This partner will make us feel more confident, more excited and more passionate about life. We tell ourselves that it’s our loneliness that’s preventing us from being happy. Why do we think we are attracted to people who are living their lives? We want to, as well.
The Recovery Question
For someone in early recovery, you may need to consider if you are, at this moment, your best self, or if you think there is more transformation to be had. When you’re new to recovery, you’re typically working through some very foreign—and often very intense—self-realizations. Imagine where you could be one year from now, or even in six months. Is it worth waiting until you’re further along on the road to healing? Getting involved in relationships with an open wound can prolong your recovery. When you focus on self-growth, you’ll find you feel more confident that you will bring a better self to your relationships.
Starting at the Beginning
How do we begin to become the person we want to attract in our own life? First of all, we should do some work around knowing who we are. This process is not about becoming someone we are not in an effort to attract someone. We should be exploring questions like ‘What is it that we love about ourselves? What do we truly enjoy? What gets us excited?’ The last thing you want is to play the part of someone inauthentic to your true self, because ultimately, you’ll end up disappointed.
So, it’s perfectly okay to hate football and love the arts. Set yourself up for a future of meaningful relationships where you are totally and wholeheartedly invested as yourself. Maybe you don’t quite know who you are yet, and you need to get into a little deeper self-discovery. Maybe that involves reigniting old passions, or starting a new hobby.
Becoming a person who attracts healthy relationships may also involve some discomfort, like going to therapy, or admitting to your less-than-attractive character traits. Are you the best—perfect? No. Nobody is. So, be honest with yourself. What can you bring to a relationship right now? What needs to change? What can you take ownership of in previous failed relationships that will push you into healthier future ones?
Most importantly, know that you are enough. You are worthy. Yes, we can all work on ourselves—it an ongoing part of life—but we are also worthy of acceptance when we come just as we are. We can learn to befriend our inner critic, and use him or her to our benefit. Start your transformation by developing the habit of being compassionate with yourself. Once you begin being more self-compassionate, you can honestly ask yourself how you are contributing to your current challenges.
Have you heard the expression ‘you teach people how to treat you’? When we put up with behaviors and actions in others that we find unacceptable, we are telling people it’s OK for them to treat us that way. If we practice self-respect and value ourselves, we are more careful about who and what we allow into our lives.
So, what kind of people do you want to invite into your life? Are you showing them your best self? Sometimes figuring that out may even mean identifying what we don’t want. Ask yourself what kind of energy you’re giving out and how you’re receiving others. Like attracts like, right? Who you are today is a direct reflection of who you can receive. When you look at it that way aren’t you worth the wait?
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