Have you ever looked at the Self-Help section in a bookstore (specifically the dating self help section)…I mean really looked? It feels kind of like one of those hidden pictures you stare at for hours, trying to find the panda’s face that’s hidden in what really just looks like a Picasso painting. It should say somewhere, WARNING: Vertigo-inducing area. It’s like a jumble of He’s Just Not That Into You So You Should Act Like a Lady but Think Like a Man. I admit, I myself have fallen victim to the billion dollar industry of self-help books. I’ve tried to let it lead me and give me the “secret” to dating successfully and finding a mate. I even let Steve Harvey, who admittedly cheated on his wife and didn’t seemingly feel too bad about it, try tell me how I should start acting to snag a man.
As I get older and go on more and more failed dates I’ve realized that there’s really one simple thing, one “secret,” one key to finding a mate…BE YOURSELF. It’s funny how simple this is but how hard it is for all of us to do. I’ve struggled with it for the last 27 years and 7 months. Having a disability certainly doesn’t help as unfortunately, some men just aren’t willing to deal with someone who has a physical disability. But the older I get, the more I realize that that’s ok. Yeah it hurts sometimes and I certainly wish that every time I had a date lined up, I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to tell them about my disability (if they didn’t notice from the limp before I could bring it up). But overall, I’m glad that it acts as an extra filter to weed out the guys that I don’t want to date me anyway. I don’t want someone that doesn’t want me…period. And that can be applied to all of us, not just me. Yes, it’s going to hurt sometimes when someone doesn’t want to continue seeing you or he doesn’t call. But the reality is if that person didn’t want you for who you are anyway, then you want them to go away so you can move on and find the guy that will love you for exactly who you are.
If you have to be someone completely inauthentic to “snag a man,” then you’re finding a man you didn’t really want to begin with because he doesn’t like the real you. And why would want that? I want — no, I need — someone who is willing to help me up when I fall sometimes (and someone who wont be embarrassed by it or can laugh with me about it). I need someone who can lend me their arm to help me get up a curb and who will realize that though I won’t be able to run marathons with you, I’ll be at that finish line cheering you on and ready to give you a big hug and a kiss.
We as women need to realize just how fabulous we are and just how worthy we are of someone else to love us. I know it’s hard with the all the commercials and magazine ads bombarding us on a daily basis, telling us we’re not good enough. But know you are amazing and you are lovable and never let anyone tell you different. And know that as cliche as it sounds, there really are more fish in the sea if it didn’t work out with that one guy you really liked. Never compromise yourself or what you want just so a guy will like you or because you’re worried you’ll never find anyone else. I’ve been guilty of this myself and it led me into a very serious 13 month long relationship that made me miserable. Maybe some self help books will tell you this, I don’t know. But what I do know is none of those 8,000 books that are reaping a huge profit from people just looking for some help will help us learn how to truly love ourselves and be ourselves. And none of them will be able to allow us to take that with us on future dates and into any future relationships.