Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are You Lovable? Ten Actions to Be More Appealing

We all want love. We are hard-wired to want it. From the moment we leave the womb and enter the world, we are kicking and screaming for love and care. Babies demand love, and mothers are programmed to provide it unconditionally. (Thank God, right? Those crying, pooping, eating machines don't always foster warm, fuzzy feelings at three in the morning!)

In most healthy families, love is offered to children unconditionally by their parents. And if we're fortunate, our parents continue to offer this love even as we become adults ourselves -- whether or not we deserve it! Parental love is one thing, but what makes us deserving of love from other people? What qualities make us lovable? Here's what I've learned over the years about lovability:

1. Be Light
There are two meanings for this. Be light as in don't be heavy, and be light as in don't be dark. People who are light draw others to them. It is effortless to be around someone with a lightness of demeanor and an easygoing manner. A person with a light heart reflects happiness and brightness to others, and it is uplifting to be near them. Be someone who offers light, positive energy to the world, and the world will be drawn to you.

2. Like Yourself
If you don't like yourself already, then make that a daily objective. Write down all possible reasons that you should like and respect yourself. Focus on your positive qualities and successes. Don't allow your mind to lock on to negative thinking. If you don't like yourself, your lack of self-esteem will be apparent to others. It is very hard to love someone who doesn't love themselves. It is very hard to receive love openly and completely if you don't believe you are worthy of it.

3. Set Boundaries
I know this sounds pretty negative if you are trying to attract love, but it goes hand in hand with liking yourself. Setting boundaries is about having respect for yourself and gently letting people know who you are and how you want to live. If you allow yourself to be taken advantage of and walked on, it is hard for others to respect you and to offer you real, healthy love. You won't lose love by setting boundaries. You will become more lovable.

4. Show Kindness to Everyone
Just be kind to people. Buddhists have a meditation called "loving kindness" to develop selfless and altruistic love. Show loving kindness to all people, regardless of their station in life or behavior toward you. In this hurried, self-centered world, show kindess to everyone you encounter, the check-out lady at the grocery store, the fussy child on the airplane, the guy who flips you off on the highway. Develop a habit of kindness and make it part of who you are. A kind person is hard not to love!

5. Laugh at Yourself
Don't take yourself too seriously. Have enough confidence to laugh at your own foibles. Embrace a healthy self-deprecating humor. If you let the defenses down, and allow yourself to be vulnerable and real, then you become more approachable and oddly enough, more respected.

6. Show Affection
The power of loving touch is astounding. When you offer someone a hand, a hug, a friendly squeeze, you are jumping into their space and pulling them into yours. You are inviting a connection. There are some who aren't so comfortable with lots of affection, but even so, a small amount of touch communicates volumes about who you are and your willingness to reach out.

7. Be Real
Sometimes in our efforts to be lovable, we lose ourselves. We put on an act to appear smarter, funnier, richer, more powerful or simply to become the person we wish we were. That's all fine if you want people to love the imitation you. But eventually the act is not sustainable and you're found out. Don't waste your time pretending. Just be yourself. Be honest with yourself and others about who you are so the real you can receive the love you deserve.

8. Have Integrity
Honesty. Loyalty. Reliability. Strength of character. You might win love without these, but you won't be lovable for the long term. Define what integrity means to you, and live that every day.

9. Be Surprising
Step out of your comfort zone. Do something unexpected. Go out of your way for someone. Say the nice thing that you are thinking. Say yes instead of no. Gain a reputation for being interesting and surprising -- in your own special way.

10. Love Unconditionally
Offer love to others expecting nothing in return. Offer love because you want to give it without fear, conditions, or strings attached. Give love for the sheer joy of giving, and you will discover that your own lovability factor increases exponentially!

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