If you’re attractive, gracious, and wise in the ways of the heart, then you must be a great catch. And that means men should be attracted to you instantly. Right?
But instead you’re getting hardly any messages on your online dating profile, while other women who aren’t on your level are getting chatted up right and left.
Self-doubt creeps in. The only possible explanation is that you’re doing something wrong. But what?
So you do more research. You read newsletters like this one. You pore over every aspect of yourself, searching for the single flaw that’s turning off men.
A lot more women study what turns men off…
Compared with the number of men who study what turns women off.
Think there’s something strange about that?
I could have called this article “The #1 Thing Women Do That Turns Men Off.”
But I didn’t.
Because that’s not the message I think you need to hear.
We tend to assume that the only people who struggle with relationships are the ones who SHOULD struggle with relationships.
They don’t have the social skills. They don’t present themselves well. They don’t understand men.
But strangely enough…
The women who struggle the most are often the SUCCESSFUL ones.
Being a successful woman makes your job harder.
The more work you’ve invested in yourself, the better you are at what you do, the more your pool of suitable mates shrinks.
You’re not content with dating someone who just sits there with nothing interesting to say. You want to date someone on your level. And those men are few and far between.
I think there’s a different reason finding love is harder for successful women, though.
It’s not just that there are fewer men on their level.
Rather, it’s that they’re doing something that isn’t working as well as they’d expect.
You could call it a “mistake.” But I prefer to call it a “less successful tactic.”
What is it?
Striving for worthiness.
It’s a strategy that can get you far in life, but in love it always backfires.
So what is hustling for worthiness?
The term comes from shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown.
In her Oprah-approved bestseller The Gifts of Imperfection, she writes:
“Only one thing separates the men and women who feel a deep sense of love and belonging from the people who seem to be struggling for it. That one thing is the belief in their worthiness. It’s as simple and complicated as this: If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.”
“Well, that’s easy,” you might think. “Of course I believe I’m worthy of love and belonging!”
But DO you?
If you truly believed in your own worthiness, why would you try to impress a man?
If you knew you were good enough just as you are, why would you try to “fix” or “improve” yourself so that men like you better?
A lot of dating advice encourages you to strive for worthiness.
It implies you’re not good enough just as you are. You have to “fix” your flaws before you can be worthy of a quality man’s interest.
And women who are successful—who want to be the best at everything they do—are particularly susceptible to that message.
They know that the journey to success involves impressing other people.
According to Brené, we do that by “performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving.”
That’s what gets us the promotion. That’s what gets us leadership positions.
And it feels so good.
When you achieve the success you’ve always wanted, you know beyond the shadow of a doubt you ARE worthy. Your achievements speak for themselves.
But that’s not where worthiness comes from.
Worthiness is a deep inner knowing that no matter what you do, no matter what mistakes you make, you are already deserving of love and belonging.
A woman who believes in her own worthiness doesn’t hustle on a date.
She doesn’t perform for a man. She doesn’t pretend to be perfect. She doesn’t try to please a man. She doesn’t try to prove herself.
She simply is. She shows up. She experiences whatever there is to experience.
And he relaxes, knowing that he doesn’t have to act like a judge on “American Idol” and decide whether she’s going to the next round. 😉
Dating isn’t a competition. There’s no prize for attracting the most men.
There’s nothing to win.
There are simply two people, right here, right now, discovering whether they have a heart connection.
Whoa, this blog is great, I love reading your posts.
Keep up the great work! You already know, lots of people are hunting around for this information, you can help them greatly!
I have been told by men that they thought I looked too “polished” for them before even exchanging any conversation. I have a high profile job dealing with high profile people so I have to look polished and behave very elegantly but I am definitely a down to earth, easy going woman pretty much at all times. I have been successful getting them to see and to like the ordinary me but it always takes me by surprise when they say it…I guess because I don’t see myself as anything different than the real me. I just hope I don’t send the message that I don’t think I am worthy just because I look like I might be high maintenance…yikes!
Very well written.
Great article! Thank you- I’m leaving for work today with much better perspective and peace!