On Being Attractive

attrac­tive |əˈtrak­tiv|
• pleas­ing or appeal­ing to the senses
• appeal­ing to look at; sex­u­ally alluring


How impor­tant is it in a rela­tion­ship that one is attrac­tive? I’d say VERY impor­tant. But, what does it really mean – beyond the dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion – to be attractive?

My obser­va­tions have con­vinced me (I am not aware of any sci­en­tific research) — and it is summed up in a say­ing “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” — that beauty is really the indi­vid­ual inter­pre­ta­tion of real­ity. Just look at the cou­ples you know and the ones walk­ing down the street. Don’t you often won­der how these peo­ple are together, how ANYONE can be with this “ugly and revolt­ing” per­son who you would not touch with a ten-foot-pole.

Yes, it is per­sonal, but not all of it is in the eye of the beholder. And, a per­sonal vision can change. To my eye, Cather­ine Zeta-Jones is one of the most attrac­tive women I know of. I am sure she was attrac­tive enough to Michael Dou­glas at the time they got mar­ried. What hap­pened? They are going through a very ugly divorce and attrac­tive­ness has dis­ap­peared and been replaced by repul­sive­ness. How did eyes stop see­ing beauty and see the oppo­site instead. Does beauty that we get attracted to actu­ally exist “out there?” Obvi­ously, or not so obvi­ously, NOT. The eye of the beholder is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent. But, is it only the eye, or is there more to it? Well, you guessed it: all senses are ulti­mately involved in choos­ing a part­ner: touch, smell, words said, even taste.

But, that’s not all. What about the well-known but not eas­ily describ­able sixth sense, intu­ition? What is it? In our case of attrac­tive­ness it’s often called “inner beauty.”

This inner beauty seems to be a deci­sive fac­tor, but what is it? Can we put our fin­ger on it? It is not easy to define, but it seems to be much more attrac­tive, con­sis­tent and long-lasting than the fleet­ing beauty of the prover­bial eye. After being with the per­son you love for a long period of time, looks become less and less impor­tant. And luck­ily so, because we get older and looks are very dif­fi­cult to main­tain, despite all the advance­ments of plas­tic surgery, hair trans­plants, potions, crèmes and the mil­lions of prod­ucts and pro­ce­dures of the beauty indus­try. A youth-glamorizing cul­ture com­pletely ignores inner beauty because it can­not be sold.

In a strong rela­tion­ship “outer beauty” is not nearly as impor­tant as the media would have us think. Good rela­tion­ships are strong because part­ners rec­og­nize and appre­ci­ate the inner beauty in each other.

Although outer beauty is impor­tant for an ini­tial attrac­tion, inner beauty is what keeps rela­tion­ships strong. Males and females have a some­what dif­fer­ent take on outer or exter­nal beauty. Men are attracted mostly to beauty per­ceived by the senses while women often want more than that. Women often look for a man’s abil­ity to sup­port her. That’s why men, regard­less of their looks but with a fancy car, money, a pow­er­ful posi­tion, intel­li­gence and con­fi­dence, are often more attrac­tive than a good-looking man with­out those qual­i­ties. This is one of the rea­sons that men think of women as “com­pli­cated,” and women know how to attract men just by their looks because men are “simple.”

Back to inner beauty. As with exter­nal beauty, the inter­nal one varies from per­son to per­son. Here we talk about com­pat­i­bil­ity. The inner qual­ity of a per­son is one of those inde­fin­able and highly per­sonal cat­e­gories. The elu­sive­ness of how to define “qual­ity” is beau­ti­fully demon­strated in a famous book, Zen and The Art of Motor­cy­cle Main­te­nance by Robert M. Pirsig.

Here is the link to one of the web­sites list­ing per­sonal qual­i­ties, good and bad:


It is impor­tant to under­stand that there is no such thing as “good” qual­i­ties and “bad” qual­i­ties when it comes to per­sonal attrac­tion. The choice depends on the “per­son­al­ity of the chooser” as in the eye of the beholder. And even more than that, the choice depends on the inter­pre­ta­tion of, or the mean­ing given to par­tic­u­lar qual­ity, which may depend on the con­text of the sit­u­a­tion (cul­ture, par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances, per­sonal back­ground, etc.).

As you can see, there isn’t such a thing as per­fect beauty, a per­fect rela­tion­ship, or per­fect any­thing. And at the same time (also depend­ing on how you want to inter­pret it), real­ity or “what is,” is always per­fect, because who are we to chal­lenge and ques­tion real­ity and the per­fec­tion of cre­ation of which we are only a tiny part?

In sum­mary, a per­son is not his/her qual­i­ties. A per­son has qual­i­ties. Accep­tance of your part­ner (as well as every­one and every­thing else) exactly the way they are and exactly what they are not is what is called love. If there are some qual­i­ties of the per­son that you can­not live with or accept, so be it, but it does not mean that you have to aban­don love.

Love equals hap­pi­ness, and aban­don­ing it to your inter­pre­ta­tion of the qual­i­ties that a per­son has instead of appre­ci­at­ing who a per­son is, will rob you of your hap­pi­ness whether you are in a strong rela­tion­ship, or if your rela­tion­ship is not work­ing out.

What are YOU attracted to?




Selfish Feelings

Are we our feel­ings, or we just have them? Some­times it seems that we are made of them.  Feel­ings per­vade our every day lives. How do we man­age them and how we use them or abuse them? We have good feel­ings and bad feel­ings. When we feel good we appear to be a totally dif­fer­ent per­son than when we feel bad. How do we man­age them and how we use them or abuse them? This is the sub­ject of today’s article.

We feel and express our emo­tions all day long. Whether we com­mu­ni­cate them by words or behav­ior, we make sure other peo­ple know how we feel. Or do we? We also try to hide our feel­ings for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, be it fear, polite social con­duct, inap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the moment, strate­giz­ing, etc.

It has been shown that if con­nect­ing path­ways in our brain, from the lim­bic sys­tem and amyg­dala in par­tic­u­lar (the emo­tional cen­ter of the brain) are sev­ered, a per­son is com­pletely unable to make any deci­sions at all.  So, emo­tions seem to be an insep­a­ra­ble part of our every­day expe­ri­ence, and for good rea­son, as you can see.

How is it then, that these same emo­tions often make our lives mis­er­able? Can we do any­thing about it? Let’s first see how emo­tions play out in our rela­tion­ships and if there are any dif­fer­ences in their influ­ence on people’s lives.

One way to approach this issue is to make a sim­ple dis­tinc­tion between hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal dif­fer­ences as to how peo­ple man­age their emo­tions. Hor­i­zon­tal refers to peo­ple who are mostly on auto­matic, express their emo­tions with­out a sec­ond thought, or on the other hand, hide their emo­tions out of fear. There also seems to be a nat­ural and con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence between male and female feel­ing man­age­ment, with which we will be more con­cerned here.

Ver­ti­cal dif­fer­ences are more con­cerned with the level of aware­ness, our abil­ity to observe our­selves objec­tively, our emo­tional intel­li­gence and level of per­sonal devel­op­ment.

I would like also to dis­tin­guish the dif­fer­ence between feel­ings and emo­tions, i.e., between feel­ing some­thing and emot­ing it. This dis­tinc­tion may not be com­pletely accu­rate, but it cer­tainly is very use­ful: feel­ings are an inter­nal affair while emo­tions are a behav­ioral issue. Our feel­ings are “felt” in our bod­ies as an energy field, in our plexus area, our throat, our limbs, our head, etc. Feel­ings are con­strained within the para­me­ters of our body; they are ours. When, on the other hand, we act upon our feel­ings, we show emo­tions, we emote, we cry, laugh, smash things in anger, show love, etc. In other words, emo­tions are the expres­sions of our feelings.

Men and women are pro­grammed dif­fer­ently the way they process their feel­ings. (By ‘man’ I mean mas­cu­line and by ‘woman’ I mean fem­i­nine; both gen­ders have a mix­ture of both to dif­fer­ent degrees in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, so do not take this per­son­ally, and at the same time it may be use­ful if you indeed do so.)

One of the major gen­der dif­fer­ences in the realm of feel­ings is that women are feel­ing crea­tures and men are ratio­nal crea­tures. This comes from the appar­ent inabil­ity of women to con­trol what thoughts come into their mind. Since thoughts in most cases are trig­gers for feel­ings, women seem to not have con­trol of what they may feel at any moment. Since feel­ings are heav­ily involved in the deci­sion mak­ing process, women’s emo­tions may seem erratic to a man, incon­sis­tent, illog­i­cal, inap­pro­pri­ate, thought­less, etc, (add your own if you are a man.) That’s why it is thought that it is in a woman’s nature to change her mind often! No won­der this dri­ves men insane, but to a woman it is quite “log­i­cal and reasonable”.

If you were to pay atten­tion to the dif­fer­ence between a man and a woman’s vocab­u­lary, you may notice that women use the verb “to feel” and “a feel­ing” as a noun much more often then men. Guess why: Because feel­ings are much more impor­tant for women than for men. That does not mean that men do not have feel­ings, as many women pre­sume that men are defi­cient in the feel­ing depart­ment. In fact, men have just as many feel­ings as women; they just man­age them dif­fer­ently. Men, being hunters by nature, can­not afford to have emo­tions freely expressed while stalk­ing a deer, because the deer will escape, thus no food for that week. Men are much bet­ter at keep­ing a sin­gle focus and not allow­ing unwanted thoughts to enter their minds. (See The Game­less Rela­tion­ship.) On the other hand, a con­stant broad view and dif­fused focus allow­ing every­thing to come into the sphere of a woman’s aware­ness was a means of sur­vival in a hos­tile envi­ron­ment mil­len­nia ago. Thus, a man’s rela­tion­ship to feel­ings is dif­fer­ent than a woman’s, and although largely incom­pre­hen­si­ble to the oppo­site sex, is equally use­ful as a sur­vival tool. This is one of the rea­sons why a couple’s chance of sur­vival is much higher than a sin­gle person’s (not to men­tion repro­duc­tion opportunities).

In our rela­tion­ships, our roles have been deter­mined by thou­sands of years of evo­lu­tion. Just because we have lived in “mod­ern times” for rel­a­tively few years does not free us from our genet­i­cally pro­grammed roles. We, for instance, often hear of late that women want a ‘sen­si­tive man’. The moment a man becomes ‘sen­si­tive’ a woman does not like him any more because he is not ‘man enough’. I see it too often in my prac­tice. A whole new lan­guage has devel­oped about this, like “we are preg­nant”, not uttered by two women, but by a man in a mar­riage. Many ques­tions come to my mind such as, “How did these men get pregnant?”

What a woman means by want­ing a sen­si­tive man is one who is able to per­ceive what she is feel­ing. Men are prac­ti­cal. They want to solve prob­lems, not lis­ten to someone’s out­pour­ing of feel­ings about an issue. It is impor­tant for both sexes to edu­cate them­selves on the gen­der dif­fer­ences. Many rela­tion­ships could be saved if only we knew some of these secrets. Why they are still secrets, beats me. After all the knowl­edge we have accu­mu­lated, most peo­ple seem to be igno­rant about this subject.

So, why did I title this arti­cle Self­ish Feel­ings? It is about the ver­ti­cal dif­fer­ences of emo­tional man­age­ment.  Feel­ings are very per­sonal and par­tic­u­lar to every­one and for every sit­u­a­tion, yet we use and abuse our feel­ings to express our emo­tions in order to manip­u­late, blame, credit, cre­ate guilt in oth­ers, etc. Granted, we often do it with­out even being aware of it. Two year olds may be for­given for doing it uncon­sciously (although I’m not sure that it always uncon­scious even at that age) but with adults it is a sign of being irre­spon­si­ble and unaware or mind­less. Not being respon­si­ble for your emo­tions can be very destruc­tive for a rela­tion­ship. You can­not have your emo­tions run ram­pant and dump your feel­ings onto oth­ers when­ever you “feel like it”. It is a sign of infan­tile behav­ior not suited to fully devel­oped adults. I hope you real­ize that to be only con­cerned about how you feel, how oth­ers feel about you, or how you want them to feel or not to feel about any­thing or any­body else, includ­ing them­selves, is sim­ply self­ish. This world does not revolve around you although it may seem like it to you. Such ego­cen­tric behav­ior is nat­ural for chil­dren at a cer­tain devel­op­men­tal level. It is time to real­ize that a human being can go through higher lev­els of devel­op­ment past the ego­cen­tric, namely ethno-centric, world-centric, cosmo-centric and fur­ther, which we are yet to discover.

So, whether you are a man or a woman, it may be time to start work­ing, if you already haven’t, on becom­ing self-aware instead of being self­ishly self-conscious and notice where your self­ish feel­ings are at work and are inappropriate.

Feel­ings are such a huge sub­ject that I’m sure we will return to it. In the mean­time please post your com­ments, thoughts and ques­tions so that we can learn from each other.

Happy feel­ings!





Who chose your partner?

Whether your rela­tion­ship is going well or not you can always think back to the out­set of the rela­tion­ship and, if you are able to look at those begin­nings with an open mind and objec­tively, you can always say, I told you so. Or at least your par­ents, rel­a­tives or friends could say it.

Our ini­tial rea­sons, feel­ings and intu­ition, or denial of the same are very telling about what our rela­tion­ship will look like in the future. No sur­prises here. If, say, when you first met your part­ner your intu­ition told you that he/she was not for you for any par­tic­u­lar rea­son or in gen­eral, and later you gave in to your feel­ings and rea­sons for not trust­ing your intu­ition, you may very well regret it at some point in the future. If you got into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda, when­ever your agenda gets ful­filled or is not per­ti­nent any more, the rela­tion­ship will most likely dis­solve. You may even be unaware of the real rea­son why you do not want to be in a rela­tion­ship any more, so you will look for some super­fi­cial imme­di­ate rea­son to end it, but if you go deep enough you will always find that orig­i­nal agenda being the real rea­son and cause for your “change of heart”.

Now imag­ine that your part­ner came into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda that he/she has never revealed to you. Often they may not even be clear about it them­selves, or they may be in denial about it. You may end up bewil­dered and con­fused as to what hap­pened. You will never get a straight answer from your part­ner for the rea­sons men­tioned above and you will have to set­tle for some other lame and unbe­liev­able excuse for the break-up. Either way, the real rea­son most of the time lies in the ini­tial rea­son for being in the rela­tion­ship in the first place.

So, who chose your part­ner? Were they your fears, long­ings, desires, inner child, inse­cu­ri­ties, low self-esteem, lone­li­ness, sex drive, you name it. These are just some of the rea­sons. Men and women usu­ally have very dif­fer­ent ones. That par­tic­u­lar dif­fer­ence makes it very dif­fi­cult for you to dis­cern what the real rea­sons are for your part­ner want­ing out.

But when all is said and done, the rea­sons for break­ing up most of the time are just that: rea­sons, plau­si­ble sto­ries, excuses and expla­na­tions. Orig­i­nal agen­das are rarely part of the break-up con­ver­sa­tion and tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for it is not even on the radar screen. It is much eas­ier to blame the other for your lack of com­mit­ment, respon­si­bil­ity, integrity and gen­uine love.

Aware­ness exer­cise: Being hon­est with your­self is very demand­ing, often uncom­fort­able, some­times even impos­si­ble, but nev­er­the­less, it is an essen­tial prac­tice for being in touch with real­ity and your growth and devel­op­ment. This exer­cise has two parts: a) no mat­ter how resis­tant and uncom­fort­able it may be, admit to your­self the real rea­sons you got into the rela­tion­ship in the first place, and b) remem­ber what your ini­tial reac­tion was when you met your future part­ner for the first time. What con­clu­sions can you draw from these mem­o­ries? Cau­tion: This is nei­ther the place nor the time to blame any­one, includ­ing your­self. Just notice what insights you come up with. You may even share them with your part­ner if you think it appropriate.

Please share those insights  with us.




Responsibility In Relationships II

What respon­si­bil­ity means in a rela­tion­ship and how we avoid being respon­si­ble unbe­knownst to us. In The Rela­tion­ship Saver and else­where I men­tioned that the only effec­tive way to be respon­si­ble is to take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for your rela­tion­ship. How do you know if you are not being 100% respon­si­ble? Well, there are a few behav­iors that once you rec­og­nize them they will give you a pretty good idea of how respon­si­ble you are. In the coach­ing com­mu­nity we call it RACKETS. What it means is that we pre­tend we are doing the right thing when in fact there is a much more insid­i­ous rea­son for our action:  avoid­ing respon­si­bil­ity at all costs.

And the costs are high. But first, let’s see what a racket is and deal with what we get out of what is called “run­ning a racket.” The def­i­n­i­tion of a racket is: A fixed way of being plus a per­sis­tent complaint.

What is it that you do and what do you get out of run­ning a racket?
–    You are right and your part­ner is wrong.
Read the arti­cle “On Being Right”
–    You try to dom­i­nate or avoid dom­i­na­tion of a sit­u­a­tion or your part­ner.
This may include pres­sure, bul­ly­ing, insist­ing on your point of view, all sub­tle passive/aggressive behav­iors, etc., as well as the “don’t tell me what to do” syn­drome, even avoid­ing the dom­i­na­tion of your own promises. (Read the arti­cle on Integrity In Rela­tion­ships)
–    Your actions are always jus­ti­fied (by you, of course) and your partner’s actions and/or opin­ions are by default inval­i­dated.
We judge oth­ers by their actions. We judge our­selves by our inten­tions.
In short, what we get out of run­ning a racket is avoid respon­si­bil­ity and by default lose power.

You may notice that for most peo­ple this is a default behav­ior, we do not know any dif­fer­ent. But, the big ques­tion is: are we aware of the COST? Do you know what the costs are? I bet you don’t — these are very obvi­ous so here they are:
–    Love and inti­macy
Love starts with com­plete accep­tance of your part­ner (read the arti­cle on Love In Rela­tion­ships in this blog) and inti­macy is free­dom and the abil­ity to safely com­mu­ni­cate what­ever you are present to at the moment
–    Full self-expression
This means being free to be your­self at your best with­out hav­ing to jus­tify, defend, sur­vive, or in any way com­pro­mise your integrity (read the arti­cle on Integrity In Rela­tion­ships)
–    Health and vital­ity
You know how you feel when your rela­tion­ship isn’t work­ing. It can lit­er­ally make you sick. Depres­sion is another option. Vital­ity is nonexistent.

And now that you know what it costs you to run a racket you may try to become more aware of what comes out of your mouth pre­ceded by your thoughts. In order to become aware here is how to rec­og­nize if you are run­ning a racket or not:  When­ever you are frus­trated or upset and that state of mind is famil­iar to you, you think, “it always hap­pens,” you may be sure that you are run­ning a racket.

Run­ning a racket and thus pass­ing on the respon­si­bil­ity to oth­ers, cir­cum­stances and/or the envi­ron­ment is the best way to lose power and con­trol of your life and a say-so in your relationship.

Please also note that run­ning a racket is an instinc­tual, knee-jerk reac­tion and totally counter-intuitive. Nev­er­the­less, it is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of your hap­pi­ness in a happy and game­less rela­tion­ship to be prac­ticed on a moment-to-moment basis until it becomes your sec­ond nature and you can stop a racket in its tracks, even before it man­i­fests itself in lan­guage and behavior.

Absence of rack­ets in your life guar­an­tees hap­pier per­sonal life, stronger rela­tion­ships, huge leaps for­ward in your per­sonal devel­op­ment and valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to others.






The Meaning And Reality

The core mean­ing of the word rela­tion­ship is to “respond com­pletely to another, like respon­si­bil­ity” says Krishnamurti.

Let’s see what this really means. Respon­si­bil­ity, as I explain at length in my book The Game­less Rela­tion­ship, is abil­ity to respond and not merely to react. Also, most of the rela­tion­ships most of the time are hap­pen in reac­tion to each other. (Ref. : The Rela­tion­ship Saver.) That’s why it is so easy for a rela­tion­ship to go into a down­ward spi­ral with­out appar­ent hope of sur­vival. We now also have to dis­tin­guish response from reac­tion. To respond is by no means same as to react. Reac­tion is auto­matic, based on our thoughts and inter­pre­ta­tions when we are engaged in a rela­tion­ship. Response is based on what actu­ally hap­pens, on the real­ity of the action, and not on our inter­pre­ta­tion of what we saw or heard. In other words one responds to what is being said and not to one’s own mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions to what is being said. To respond appro­pri­ately to any sit­u­a­tions takes much more than tak­ing the sit­u­a­tion at the face value. First, it takes thor­ough under­stand­ing of your own think­ing process and only then the think­ing process of oth­ers. This requires thor­ough aware­ness of your actions, by being an avid observer of your­self, by being in the present moment. So, as we can see the rela­tion­ships never hap­pen in the past. So, don’t bring up the past and don’t dwell in the future, in what should and should not be. Your trans­for­ma­tion of your rela­tion­ship begins with a pro­found rela­tion­ship with what is.

This needs prac­tice, so, prac­tice, prac­tice and prac­tice and .… prac­tice now.

Best regards,


The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less­Re­la­tion­ship

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