Learning To Love Yourself

Take a long look in the mirror and ask: How do you overcome the problem that has kept you from finding The One?

By Elena Rover

hen Gay Hendricks saw a lovely lady, he walked up to her and said:

“I’m very attracted to you. I want to spend time with you. But I want you to know that I’m only interested in relationships where each person is
She was thrilled that this man was so honest and straightforward.
more interested in being honest, not hiding, where both people take responsibility, and where people are committed to their creativity. If that is OK with you, do you want to have coffee?”

How did Kathlyn react? She was thrilled that this man was so honest and straightforward. She knew exactly how he felt. And she was excited to get to know him better.

That was almost 30 years ago, says Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D., CEO and director of training for the Hendricks Institute, an international learning center that teaches the core skills of conscious living. She and her now-husband, Gay, coauthored a program called Attracting Genuine Love (now available as a CD/paperback combo). And she shared with us the secret to finding true love that guided Gay’s first comments and led to a strong marriage.

What’s keeping you from finding love?
Whether you never find anyone suitable to date, have a string of awful first dates or end up in unsatisfying relationships, the cause is the same: “There’s something about you that you don’t love and believe is fundamentally unlovable,” says Kathlyn. “You go looking for somebody to love it in you. You end up attracting someone who doesn’t love themselves. And then you end up with two negatives, which never adds up well.”

Fixing the block
The cure is to confront the central problem — to learn to love yourself. “The key is to move from trying to conceal who you are to an attitude of revealing,” says Kathlyn. And it doesn’t take a long time to do. The Hendricks’ have put together a program in Attracting Genuine Love that worked for them personally and for thousands of couples who have tried it.

The rule of three
One essential lesson is to determine three things that are an Absolute No, which would prevent you from loving someone, and three things that are an Absolute Yes, that you need in your mate. Kathlyn shares this example of one of hers: “If I see someone who is mean to animals or young children, I would never be with that person.”

Take care when you select what fits on your Absolute Yes and Absolute No lists, because these traits are not negotiable. If someone seems great but has a characteristic that is on the No list, then walk away. Do the same if a characteristic from your Absolute Yes list is lacking. Make sure you feel that strongly about the lists before finalizing them. Picture yourself meeting an attractive stranger who seems perfect until you find one mismatch with your list. Would you be prepared to move on?

The Absolute lists are the basis for a successful relationship. “When you meet someone who fits within
Take care when you select what fits on your Absolute Yes and Absolute No lists.
these requirements, you have a strong foundation on which to build a beautiful structure,” says Kathlyn.

Additional considerations
It’s fine to have preferences — to find yourself attracted to one physical type or personality. “Visualize what you want, draw a picture — however you choose to creatively imagine the future you want,” says Kathlyn. But keep in mind that these preferences are different from your Absolute lists. The traits you prefer are not deal-breakers. You shouldn’t turn down a date with someone who seems terrific because that person doesn’t align with your preferences. If you do, you might miss a great match in someone who meets your core values and needs.

Why the lists work
On the other hand, it’s not wise to override your Absolutes. “People settle for what they can get,” notes Kathlyn. The Absolutes are a powerful tool to avoid wasting time and effort and ending up with heartache. “The people who are not suitable get sorted out quickly, which makes space for finding the right match,” she says. “If you settle for less, then you aren’t out there to find that great match.”

Getting what you want
After you determine your Absolute lists, let people know what they are. More important, be willing to state them to romantic interests — as Gay did when he met Kathlyn.

From there, the key is to be genuine, which comes back to the need to love and accept yourself so you’re not tempted to present a false view. The value there is not only that your date falls in love with you for who you are, but that you become more attractive. “Authenticity creates chemistry,” says Kathlyn. “It’s the best aphrodisiac there is.” Say something honest and open, making a connection. “It melts walls and arouses a kind of authenticity that is very attractive and has sexual chemistry.”

That’s what Gay did — and Kathlyn found it irresistible.

Three Tips to Meeting Your True Love
“The first 10 seconds are the key to a great future,” says Kathlyn. Try these three tips for a surefire good first impression:
  1. Get real right away. Say something that gives a true insight into who you are or how you are feeling. It doesn’t have to be profound, just real. When you do that, you are inviting someone to meet you from the heart.
  2. Make a positive observation. The topic can be the other person, the scene, anything that you notice and can share with the other person. It establishes a connection and a shared appreciation, a positive place to start.
  3. Declare what you want. Establish your commitment to your absolutes, which makes it clear you have integrity.

Veteran journalist Elena Rover runs Well Words, a consulting company that develops interactive products and websites.
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