What’s the magic ingredient in attraction? Relationships counsellor Dr Charmaine Saunders offers her advice.
Falling in Love
Falling in love is terrific, we all agree, but most of us never stop to think what creates the attraction in the first place. We assume it's the look of someone, their personality, clothing, smile or eyes, sexual magnetism or a clever chat-up line.
Would you be surprised if I told you it's none of those factors? They are merely the bait to hook us in, surface stuff, while all the time, there's an undergrowth of psychological impulses drawing us to a particular person.
If you entered a room in which there were 10 prospective partners, all of a similar appearance, age and style, you would still gravitate towards one or two of them.
What is that pull? It's energy, vibrations, an aura that we're attracted to. In turn, we give off these same signals that others respond to. As they are subconscious, we can't manipulate their effects, but by understanding them, we can change from within and then, the reflections we experience will also change.
The two main laws of attraction are –
1. We're attracted to people who appear to have qualities we lack. That's where we get the idea that “opposites attract”.
The truth is that we are all complete individuals without the need for another to complement or fulfil us. Our society doesn't promote this idea, so most of us spend our dating lives seeking the other half of ourselves instead of pursuing personal excellence. We are made up of an infinite number of polarities, but if we don't know this, we keep looking for others to supply our needs, such as finding an extrovert attractive because we ourselves are shy. What we should be doing is experimenting with the unexplored parts of ourselves. Every shy person has a flamboyant side. Let us celebrate our own diversities.
2. We're attracted to people who encompass qualities we saw in our own parents, particularly the one with whom we had problems.
If we feel one or both of our parents didn't love, praise or cuddle us enough, we constantly look for these characteristics in our partners. Unfortunately, our childhood hungers can never be satisfied by adult relationships, only by self healing. Co-dependence occurs when we expect our partners to heal our old hurts and fulfil all our needs. Emotional baggage needs to be dealt with and firmly left in the past.
Stages of New Love
There are several stages in the process of developing a new relationship. I always advise clients not to make a permanent commitment in the first six months because the early magical period can be very misleading. Researchers have found that a person's hormones actually change when they first fall in love, which means thinking is muddled and the potential for illusion is high. It's very easy to become addicted to the thrill of early romance, causing someone to engage in serial relationships rather than pursue one that is more meaningful.
After the initial period comes a turning point when the new partners have to decide if they want to continue and build something lasting or just break up. Without sufficient self awareness and personal development, it's very easy to make the wrong choice at this point. In fact, many couples do separate after the first six months when reality sets in and judgement is no longer clouded by the first flush of love. You may have ended a relationship yourself or been at the wrong end of a puzzling break up. Puzzling because there sometimes is no good reason for ending the relationship. It just suddenly feels wrong and one or both people want out.
By knowing the difference between romantic illusion and real love, these painful endings can be avoided. The more self knowledge we possess, the more we can make healthy choices about which attractions to build on and which to let pass.
One of the ways in which we can minimise the possibility of choosing the wrong partner or any partner for that matter, is to refuse to live with labels. By allowing labels to restrict us and the way we see ourselves, we're more likely to be attracted to someone out of low self esteem.
The best way to ensure that we make healthy choices in life is to-
* know ourselves
* let go of past issues
* refuse to live behind labels
* understand how relationships really work
We don't enter relationships just for comfort, joy and companionship - that's a common myth. They are much more about healing and growth. Each of us has a relationship pattern or "love map" as it's often called. To identify what this is simply requires a look at where you've been and who you've been with, the choices you've made to date. The pattern can comprise all or some of the following -
* similar person
* how the relationship began
* how it ended
* how it made you feel
* any similar characteristics
* similarity to one or both parents
The conditioning we received in childhood creates our patterns in adult life, which then are reflected in the vibrations we give off. Here's an example of how this might work in the area of attraction. If a girl witnessed her parents having a very boring marriage, that will be her unconscious expectation as she embarks on her dating life. If she meets a man from a similar background, they will attract to each other based on a matching vibration. Together, they will move into the future and have a boring marriage - of course!
On the other hand, if the same girl is drawn to a man on an opposing vibration, she will be thrilled initially. But unless she has put the work in to understand the laws of attraction, she will find the relationship uncomfortable and most probably end it prematurely.
So it's clear that not knowing the laws of attraction, what creates them and how to avoid the pitfalls can be dangerous for those seeking love and a lasting relationship. We tend to get what we expect in life, so we ought to expect the best. Armed with appropriate knowledge, there's nothing to stop us getting it.
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