You love your friends and family – and they love you, too. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be your friends and family. They want the best for you, of course. They want to see you in a happy relationship (if that’s what you want), and you likely talk to them about the perils of dating in modern society.
“Men/Women suck, it’s so hard to find the right person. Just be yourself, he/she will come along!”
Seemingly sound advice – or, is it?
I work with a lot of people who say things along the lines of “Well, I’m still single, so I must be doing something wrong.” The people-pleaser and friend in me wants to echo the advice they hear all the time. “No, no – you’re great just the way you are, don’t change anything.”
But, maybe that’s exactly the opposite of what you need to hear. “Just be yourself” is pacifying. It is refusing to be critical – and is therefore unhelpful. It provides no value whatsoever to your situation, because if what you were doing was getting you what you want (regardless of what it is), then you wouldn’t need anyone’s advice.
The truth is, you don’t attract what you want, you attract what you project. You attract what you have worked to become. You attract people who live a similar lifestyle as you. You attract people who have similar goals, values, dreams, and beliefs.
And, not coincidentally, having these things in common are equally important to maintaining a relationship, as they are to keeping one.
Ask yourself: Are you living the lifestyle that your ideal partner would be living? Are you improving yourself daily the way you would want he or she to? Are you holding yourself to the same standards you are expecting from the people you date?
Now – should you change who you are at your very core? Should you stop being true to yourself and what’s important to you just for the sake of finding a significant other? Obviously not. If you alter yourself to fit what you think someone else wants, you’ll never be fully happy or satisfied because you’ll be pretending to be someone you’re not.
Then, the person you’re with won’t actually be getting to know the REAL you. And how can someone really, truly love you – if they don’t really, truly know you? They can’t.
We must constantly be improving ourselves. Further educating ourselves. Informing ourselves. Staying healthy. Holding ourselves to the same standards that we hold our potential partner to. How can you expect to hold high standards for a man or woman you’re hoping to date, if you don’t hold the same standards for yourself?
You have to stay true to yourself. Stay true to your values. Stay true to your beliefs. Stay true to what makes you, YOU. But understand that nobody is perfect and relationships are not only about finding the right person – they are also about BEING the right person.
It’s a two-way street, you need to work to become the type of person that your ideal partner would be attracted to.
You want to capture someone’s heart? Bottom line is you have to be a product, sell yourself daily. Keep reinventing yourself while still being the essence of the person they met. Don’t fall into a routine, because a routine is indifferent, surprise them. Show them your love by continuing to be better than you were yesterday and better than the rest. If you can master that, they will never stop loving you.
This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama’s Blog
Photo credit: Getty Images