Legions of people are looking for true, lasting love-and not finding it. If you want to know how to find your true love, my first advice would be to stay away from any dating advice with a superficial fixation on looks, games and gimmicks.
The inspiring, essential dating advice no one ever tells us
There’s a wiser path to finding love, and if you follow it, you’ll not only find healthy love more quickly, you’ll heal your life in the process.
The book, “Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy” has helped thousands of people transform their search for love by teaching them how to discover their innate Core Gifts–the key to finding healthy love, learning self-love and transforming our lives.
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An introduction to how to find your true love
In this episode, you’ll learn four keys or steps that will move you closer to real love and help you discover your deepest innate gifts. You’ll feel the difference almost right away as you apply these principles.
So, what I want to say first, is that love really matters. Love matters hugely. And all this nonsense about oh you should be just fine alone and anything else is codependent, is just not true.
We are built to be with other people
Without intimacy we wither. It’s like oxygen for us. And the intimacy journey, is the greatest journey of our lives. On some level, we all know how much love matters. And it’s why there’s such an explosion of new apps, and new ways to meet people all the time. But, even with that explosion, the number of single people is not shrinking. Even with this explosion, the number of single people is growing. Why is that?
Well, a big part of why it is, it’s because we’re being taught wrong things about how to find our true love. In fact, most of what we learn about finding love actually leads us away from real love. It is not about playing a bigger numbers’ game. It’s not about instant access to more people. It’s not about getting better at seducing, and God knows, it’s not about trying to become irresistible. The skills of true dating are the skills of intimacy. They’re not the skills of game playing. And the way we look for love, actually usually determines the kind of love that we find.
There’s a wiser path.
And it’s a path I know from two different ways. I know it is a psychotherapist, who specializes in this issue, and who has worked with people over decades, and who has made a commitment to hone my understanding of what really works, to find beautiful, soul filling, health love. And my knowledge of this path also comes from my journey, as someone who was, what I call, chronically single for decades and decades and decades, until I met my wonderful husband and I formed a beautiful life and a beautiful family with him. But God what I had to learn because I was one of the worst daters I knew. I was looks bound. I didn’t treat people well. I didn’t treat myself well. I wanted love so badly and so deeply and so desperately, but I didn’t know how to find it. But God knows I looked and I looked and I looked.
I looked through sex. I looked through apps. I looked through websites. I looked through clubs, and I just kept doing the same mistakes, again and again, until I realized that this terrible merry go round of dating failure that had become my dating life, just wasn’t going to stop until I stopped. And that’s when I began a pretty humbling journey, to try to understand what I was doing wrong, where was their wisdom, and why did I keep banging my head into the same walls, again and again. And I felt willing to stop the kind of patterns I was so stuck in. Were they easy to change? Absolutely not. And did I do it all at once? Oh no.
And, am I still stuck in patterns of avoiding intimacy, even though I’m in a wonderful marriage? Absolutely. Would my husband agree? Yes he would. But the humbling experience of saying, I need to grow and I’m willing to grow is what changes everything. And that’s the audience of people that I want in this podcast. People who are willing to grow. Who know they need to grow and who are willing to. And if that’s you, welcome. I hope you find a home here, a home that changes your life for the better. Because these ideas that you’ll be hearing have the power to do just that.
Fixing Ourselves Comes First
And so if that’s you, here’s the first thing I want to tell you. We have all been victims of horrible dating advice. And if you look at the dating advice and see what it has to say, and see what it’s mostly about, it’s about how we have to fix ourselves. It’s kind of finding love from the outside in, fix your outsides and then you’ll be loved, then you’ll be irresistible, then you’ll find a quality person. But that’s not how it works. Because when we approach the search for love that way, by trying to fix ourselves, we’ve implanted a mechanism of failure deep into the circuitry of our dating life.
And what is that common mechanism of failure?
It’s a deep down belief that we’re not good enough, that until we somehow make ourselves more desirable, more confident, more sexy, more masculine, more feminine, more thin, more buff, less sensitive, less powerful. The list is endless. We’re somehow just probably too flawed for love to find us. Taking that outside-in approach is like looking at ourselves through a funhouse mirror. Our flaws become amplified. We don’t see our beauty. We pick at our flaws. So much dating advice also gives us a really mixed message. Act more confident, but be vulnerable at the same time. Women: be powerful. But not so powerful you scare men away. Men: be sensitive. But not too sensitive or you’ll be weak. The list of ways we’re taught we need to reshape ourselves into pretzels to find love is endless. And it’s toxic. But thank God there’s a wiser path
But it’s a path we mostly haven’t been taught. It’s a path of self honoring. It’s a path that asks us to change and to grow for absolute sure. But it’s a path that assumes that the essence of who we are is where our magic lies, not our apps, not our glutes, not our quads, not our fake self-confidence, not the number of dates we go on, but our ability to dignify and cherish and show ourselves. And then only, only choose people who treasure what they see when we do that. That is the wiser path to love. That’s the path that leads to love with so much more speed, with so much more dignity, and with so much more success. And that’s the path that I’m going to be teaching in this podcast.
I’m going to be teaching many of the ideas that I teach in my bestselling book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. And I’m going to bring in the best teachers that I know in the world to help guide you in your journey to love. And in every class and every podcast, we’re going to end with a practice that I’m going to give you. And that tiny practice is going to help bring insight and compassion and change in positive ways to your dating life. It will help you re-steer your dating life in a way that heals you, and empowers you, and leads you more directly to love. And it will open doors for you. So at the end of the podcast that’s something I’m going to be doing. But first let me share four keys that have the power to transform your search for love.
Key #1 – Leading With Your Soul
I want to start with a quote from Chip Conley, who’s the best-selling author of Emotional Equations, in a new book Wisdom at Work. Chip, after reading my book Deeper Dating, kind of captured the book’s absolute essence in one sentence. And here’s what he said:
“If you want to find your soul mate learn to lead with your soul, or your heart”.
And that’s the essence of Deeper Dating. That’s the essence of wiser dating, but it’s not easy. And let’s look at why it’s not easy to lead with your authenticity. And that brings us, that question, brings us to the first key, which is discovering what I call your Core Gifts.
Your Core Gifts are the parts that make you, You.
They are your places of deepest sensitivity and deepest passion. They’re the places where life touches you the most deeply. But we’ve been taught to hide those parts of ourselves because we just feel too vulnerable and too different, when we expose them. And those qualities, those qualities where we feel the most joy and the qualities where we can be hurt the most, these most tender vulnerable true parts of our being, are the parts that early on we kind of pack away or we airbrush them into something that we think is going to make us more popular. But those qualities are the raw material of a happy life. They are where our soul lives. And here is an amazing formula that I have found to be very true. The degree to which you learn to cherish those vulnerable, authentic qualities, to that degree, you’re going to start becoming sexually and romantically attracted to people who also treasure those qualities in you. And you’ll find them more easily.
But the opposite is true as well. The degree to which you take your authentic self and think you need to airbrush it, or hide it, or protect it, and not show it, to that degree, sadly, you’re going to end up again and again with people who don’t know how to treasure you for who you are. And this journey, the journey that we’re going to be exploring in this podcast, is the journey of how to find your true love by leading with your soul or your heart, if you prefer that word. Or your authenticity, if you prefer that word. It turns out that our deepest insecurities surround our most tender or passionate parts.
Those are the parts that are closest to our true nature, and those parts which I call our Core Gifts, are the parts that draw healthy love and sustain it. But as long as we hide them, we will never be able to help them mature, to help them grow up, to help them live in the world with generosity and discrimination and bravery, which are the qualities they need, to become who they need to be. So the first stage in this journey is to begin to name and discover your core gifts. And when you make the decision to treasure those parts of you, your world will change, your life will change and your dating life will change. It’s maybe the closest thing I’ve seen to a miracle in my decades of working in this field. And I’ve seen it again and again in my life and in the lives of my clients.
Allow me to share just a little bit of my personal story.
I was born in the mid-50s and I grew up in the 50s and the 60s and the 70s as a gay kid, with a really tender heart and a deeply creative spirit, and no place in the world for me at all that I could discover. And let me just say one thing. This is not a podcast for gay people or straight people or transgender people or bisexual people. This is a podcast for everybody. The lessons that you’ll be hearing from me and other people are universal. Not all of them will apply perfectly in exactly to you, but you will hear the universe malady in these insights because we’re all human and we all are learning about love.
Anyway. I felt like it was the deepest shameful thing to be me. My parents were Holocaust survivors and they’re astounding incredible people. But especially earlier on in their life when they were still that close to the horror of the Holocaust, strength was everything to them. Protection was everything to them. And my softness scared the living hell out of them. So I learned to have my softness scare the hell out of me. And I grew up inside loving those parts of myself, but somewhere else inside despising them, and that reflected in my search for love. And I spent decades unable to find my true love. I found a lot of sex. I found a lot of guys that were interested in me. And I found a lot of guys that I was interested in. But those two never really matched up. Because the people who had good hearts and stability and decency, well I ran from them as fast as I could. And that was sad but it was true. Slowly though, I began to have to face reality. I began to have to face the fact that as busy as my life was, there was a kind of loneliness that was eating me alive.
You know there’s a wonderful saying which is,
“The truth will set you free, but first it’ll make you miserable”
And that’s what happened first. As I began to face all the ways that I was fleeing love, harder than I was searching for it, I had to begin to turn those things around. And the key for me, and the key for countless people I’ve worked with, and the key that I have seen work again and again, is that I learned to treasure those core gift qualities. And when I did that, all of a sudden I began to meet people who also treasured them. And I didn’t want to run so quickly for the hills. And that’s the deepest richest journey of finding your true love. It’s the journey that changes lives and changes dating patterns and leads to joy and possibility. And it’s the discovery and the embracing of those core gifts of yours. And that’s the path that you’ll be learning in this podcast.
Key #2 – Learn To Educate Your Attractions
The second stage, the second key to this journey is actually to learn to educate your attractions, again and again. Most of us become attracted to similar kinds of people. And until we do the deeper work of learning to cherish and name our core gifts, we’re going to kind of keep ending up, many of us will, with people who are what I call attractions of deprivation. So in simplest terms, we could really kind of think that there are two types of attractions: Attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. What are those?
Your attractions of deprivation are the attractions where you are just so hot for someone, so excited by someone, who almost loves you, who almost is able to commit, who almost treats you well, then treats you really badly. These are attractions of deprivation where they turn on the itch to try to get these people to love us consistently and right. And most of us have spent years trying to get those people to love us, and ended up with a lot of heartache and a lot of wasted years. Now, almost all of us have that circuitry in us, where we can be drawn to people like that again and again.
An alternative circuitry
But, most of us also have another circuitry, and this circuitry when we recognize it and begin to tap into it, changes our futures in the most profound ways. Listen closely because this insight really does have the power to change your search for love.
The other circuitry that you have embedded in you, is the circuitry where you can become romantically and sexually attracted to people who inspire you, with their solidity, with their goodness, with their decency, with their kindness, with their creativity, with their bravery, with their honesty. And that’s a different kind of sexual attraction. It’s a different kind of romantic attraction. And there is an existential point that, we may hit in this journey and that I deeply encourage everyone to come to in this journey, and it’s a scary one and it’s a hard one but it’s a beautiful one. It’s that point where we make a decision, and we say I am done pursuing my attractions of deprivation, no matter how sexy they are, no matter what a turn on they are, no matter how sticky I feel toward those people. I’m done with that. I’m only going to look for and I’m only going to focus on attractions of inspiration. Those are the attractions where the turn on is connected to the person’s goodness, to their decency, their sense of humor, their ability to make you feel safe and right, deep inside your soul, and the way in which your heart, your soul, your deep self, feels at least relatively consistently safe in their presence. These are attractions of inspiration. And when you make the commitment that those are the only attractions you’re going to pursue, it’s going to be scary at first, because you’re going to think, “Oh, my god I’m eliminating so many people” and you are, but you are strengthening and you are speeding your journey, in fact.
Physical attraction still matters
Let me just say that I am not saying that you should be with people you’re not attracted to because they’re good for you. It’s got to be physical. There has got to be chemistry. And I’m in complete favor of that. But God knows there are people out there who are going to turn you on and be sexy and who’re going to be attracted to you who, are attractions of inspiration. And if you think that it’s going to slow you down, because when you make that choice you’re going to eliminate so many people. Let me give you an example. Imagine going to a bookstore, and all you know is you want a book that’s going to be exciting and fun. How long might you end up being at that bookstore? Or you go to a restaurant and you don’t know what you want. You just know you’re hungry and in the mood for something good. But think about, now, going to that restaurant and knowing pretty much exactly what you want or imagine going to that bookstore and knowing the exact book you want and how much time you’re going to save when you make this decision, you are going to save time in your dating life in the same way. And your choices are going to be profoundly better.
So, these are just some concepts in the second key of the Deeper Dating journey, which is about educating your attractions and understanding the difference between the attractions of inspiration and deprivation. And just to say that these are all subjects I go into in great detail in my book, in my courses and in my intensives.
Key # 3 – Leading With Your Authenticity
So, the third key is about getting out there and leading with your authenticity in your dating life. In your online life, in your blind dates, in your second dates, and your third dates, in your sex life, in being at parties and in meeting people, and even in your connections with your friends. That process of leading with your deep authenticity. And when you do that it’s a totally different way to date. It demands an entirely different kind of pretty awesome and glorious level of risk. It’s the risk of being you, and it’s the bravery and dignity of saying, “I’m only going to be with people who really know how to cherish that”.
Now I know I’m throwing a lot at you with these concepts and just know that we’re going to be speaking about all of this in so much more detail in our podcast. So, this is about this third key is about actually how to be in this strange, cold, odd, filled with crappy dates, dating world. But to do it from a wiser perspective.
Key #4 – Healthy Relationships
And the fourth key lies in what happens when you meet someone wonderful, and it’s actually a healthy relationship. It’s an attraction of inspiration. Because these relationships get cultivated in a really different way. They grow more slowly. We want to flee more often. Fears come up often in unconscious ways in these healthy relationships, that don’t come up in the same way, in unhealthy relationships. We need to learn to wean ourselves from the white hot pyrotechnic excitement of attractions of deprivation, and we need to learn to bear the comfort, and the solidity, and the new kinds of risk in these healthier attractions of inspiration.
And what’s the new kind of risk?
The new kind of risk is that this is someone you can really reveal your deep self to. And that’s scary. And it’s hard. But these are the relationships that you can do it in, and you will be protected by this person’s goodness and decency and treasuring of you. You won’t be protected perfectly because none of us are perfect, but you will be protected in an essential way. And that is the path to happiness. Let me say something else about this fourth key. Part of this fourth key, the key of learning how to deepen intimacy in a healthy relationship. And again we’ll be talking about all of this in the podcast in the future, is discovering your sexual and romantic core gifts.
So what are your sexual and romantic core gifts?
They’re the places where your sexuality and your romance meet your warmest, most loving, most honest self. And that is a place where beauty explodes. And that’s a place where love can go on and on and on. When we allow ourselves to join our turn-ons with our tenderness, our safety with our sexuality, our art and qualities of passion with our decency and goodness and care. And that happiness. That’s what we’re looking for. And this path, which is essentially a path of authenticity, is a path of celebrating who you are. And it’s the most powerful path I know for finding and keeping real love.
What I’m hoping you will get out of this podcast
And I welcome you to this podcast, because we’re going to be learning and talking and experimenting with so many different dimensions of this, where you’re going to be hearing from some of the world’s top experts and we’re you’re going to be able to call in and ask me questions which I’m going to be answering directly on the show.
A Practice For You
Before we end the podcast, I want to share a practice with you.
- In your dating life, ask yourself which are attractions of deprivation?
- Which are my attractions of inspiration?
- Where do I notice people who are being attractions of inspiration?
- Where do I notice qualities of deprivation?
And consider, as you notice this, to make a commitment to yourself that you are done and finished wasting time with your attractions of deprivation. And that you are committed, in a heartfelt way, to just looking for your attractions of inspiration.
You know, you probably will need help. You may need support from friends. You may need support from therapists. You may need support from my book or other books. But consider making that choice. And make another choice as well. And that is to actually start actively looking for your attractions of inspiration. When you make that the central focus in your search for love, everything will change.
So give that a try. Call in. Let me know what happens when you try this. Let me know how that works. Send me a message in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts and your insights about everything that I talked about.