|You are here: Rediff Home » India » Get Ahead » Leisure » Books|
'My life is like a bra that's been put on wrong'
It's a time for fresh starts now that 2009 has arrived and as part of a relationship series to ensure you're lucky in love this year, we bring you an excerpt from Make Every Man Want You by Marie Forleo. As the title suggests, the book is a ladies' guide to dating and creating a favourable impression with the opposite sex.
Presented below is a section from Chapter 2, The Five Truths That Every Irresistible Woman Needs to Know.
Men Are As-Is Merchandise, or
Love 'em or Leave 'em, Baby!
Have you ever found yourself dating a man and thinking, "He'd be perfect if only he were more affectionate, less controlling, more communicative, less self-absorbed, younger, older, wealthier, more A, less B...?" Chances are, if you've ever dated anyone, you have had these thoughts. Fix-him thinking is rampant in our society and plays a big part in many unhappy relationships. It may also be a mindset that's keeping you single.
Psst. Here's another secret: men don't want to be changed or improved.
Think about it. Would you feel attracted to a man who constantly tried to change or improve you? Someone who told you to lose a little weight? Wanted you to do a little less talking and more cooking and cleaning? Didn't think so. You've got to give up trying to make him be different than he is if you want to be irresistible. In fact, much of your 'wishing he'd be different' keeps him staying exactly the same. (Remember, what we resist persists.)
I've got another question for you. Have you ever been to the 'as-is' department at IKEA? It's a big room filled with furniture; small chairs, big tables, couches, entertainment centers, lamps, and assorted pillows fill the space. Some pieces are like new, while others have some wear and tear and require a bit of TLC. All of it is for sale in the condition that you find it, for the price marked.
When you visit the 'as-is' department, you look at what's available and choose whether or not you want it. Of course, you can waste time talking to yourself about how you wish something were different�
"If that chair were yellow, it would be perfect."
"If that couch were just a little wider, it would work for me."
"If that table were a shade darker, it would be ideal for my kitchen."
�but ultimately you must look at what is and see whether or not it would be a good fit for you right now. If it works, you take it. If not, you move on. Well, guess what? Men are no different. One of the biggest mistakes women make is trying to change or improve a man into something he's not. This includes trying to change the way he feels toward you. Let's repeat this all together, shall we? You cannot change the way a man feels or behaves.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that men don't change or can't change. People transform their lives all the time. However, it is not your job to change or improve anyone -- especially your partner. If he wants to change or adjust anything, he needs to choose that on his own.
It's like this. Every human being is a unique and perfect expression of who he is or she is in this moment. People can be different than they are right now (this includes you). As an irresistible woman, your job is to simply be here and tell the truth about what works for you and what doesn't. Make is-ness your business and meet life as it shows up -- not as you prefer it to show up.
If you don't like something about the man you're dating, you have two choices: (1) communicate in a straightforward yet compassionate way about what doesn't work for you and get his perspective or (2) move on, sista -- he's just not the one for you. Communication is essential for any healthy relationship. However, there's a big difference between communicating about what works for you and what doesn't and trying to improve or change someone.
When something doesn't work for you in the relationship, let him know. Tell him what you feel and make it clear you're not blaming him for your feelings. Talk about possible solutions or what does work for you, and listen to his response. He may be completely unaware of what he's doing that's upsetting to you and happy to adjust his behaviour to support the health of the relationship. On the other hand, he may say, "This is me, honey -- take it or leave it!"
Either way, don't blame him for your feelings as though he caused them (because he didn't). When you make your feelings his fault, he'll go into automatic defense mode and not listen to you. The communication lines will be broken, and you'll both feel upset and frustrated. Even if you say you don't blame him for how you feel, if you secretly do blame him, he'll sense your dishonesty and defend himself till he's blue in the face. You'll lose credibility and become instantly unattractive, and he'll dismiss anything accurate and valid you have to say.
Nothing outside of you can ever make you feel something. Those emotions (anger, frustration, upset) live in you. Want proof? Have you ever been happily driving your car when someone wants to cut into your lane and you pleasantly oblige? Now, can you also remember a time when someone cut in front of you and you honked, screamed and acted like the poster child for road rage? In the latter experience, chances are you were already upset. You had anger and frustration in you, sitting just below the surface. The event itself doesn't cause the upset -- it merely is a trigger that justifies what's already happening in you and waiting to get out. So when you blame other people for what you're feeling, you disempower yourself. You're operating from confusion and making yourself the victim of those around you.
Communicate like the brilliant and irresistible woman you are. Refrain from pointing fingers or proving your case by listing all the ways he's done you wrong. Look to see the truth of the situation. Perhaps the disagreement is easily resolvable. Perhaps you can let go of being right about how wrong he is and move on. Or maybe, just maybe, it's an excellent opportunity to get out of an unsatisfying, dead-end relationship.
When a relationship doesn't work out, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong or deficient in either person. It just means that you're not a good fit for one another. It's that simple.
Spiritually, it's selfish to hold on to something that's not working. You're stealing time from him (and yourself) that could be spent in another, more harmonious experience.
The bottom line is this: men don't want to be changed or improved. Allow the both of you to be who you are. Be honest and straight in your communications, but don't try to change, improve, or make him into something he's not.
Excerpted from Make Every Man Want You (Rs 175) by Marie Forleo with the permission of publishers Tata McGraw-Hill.
Want to purchase the book online? Click here.
|Email | Print | Get latest news on your desktop|
|© 2009 Rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback|