A friend of mine’s sister has what I often refer to as an extremely challenging life. We’ll all suffer terribly at times, but being a single parent of an Autistic child does translate to a certain kind of relentlessness. Not only is the child more challenging, but the condition also means that the parent may receive little to no loving feedback from their child. Way more energy goes out and way less comes in.
Despite all of this, an acquaintance of mine just started dating a woman who’s in the same position as my friend’s sister. Her boy’s also pre-teen and quite a handful. He can be very loud, he can do a lot of damage and he can even be aggressive at times. So I asked the fellow what it was like dating someone in that position. It might surprise you to know that it was exactly that situation that attracted him.
He’s a widower in his 40’s and has dated his fair share. He’s handsome, reasonably financially successful, and you could easily imagine people saying that he “could have done better.” What he sees in his girlfriend is one of the most capable, upbeat women he knows. Precisely because he knows her life is very challenging he’s that much more impressed with how positive and generous she is. He talked about how easy it would be for her to whine or complain or simply waste her life wanting a different life. He talked about people he knew who had it way easier yet they complained more. In short, he saw someone who had proven the quality of their character because they had demonstrated that they knew how to be happy even in the face of adversity. And that was what he wanted to date: someone who wasn’t depressing to be around, someone who looked forward to each day and didn’t complain much. He was looking for someone capable, and that’s what she was busy being.
To the contrary, my friend’s sister’s facebook page only lists two things: expressions of how bad things are, and wants about what life she would rather have. She can show you where she would rather live, what she would rather drive, where she would rather go, and who she would rather know, and then there are the constant whines about her son. Again, the son is certainly a huge challenge, but the other guy’s girlfriend is in that situation too….
Because my friend’s sister is expressing weakness, frailty and disappointment, she attracts weak, frail, disappointed men who help her build her a weak, frail, disappointed life. But she’ll tell you her life is hard because of her son and those consistently weak men, not because of her attitude. Meanwhile the other woman has taken the very same ingredients, but she’s enacting capability, gratitude and happiness and, lo and behold, she ended up attracting a guy who was capable, grateful and happy.
My friend’s sister will not get a fancy house by wanting one. She won’t get a nicer car by wanting one. She won’t get a rich, kind husband by wanting one. In fact, wanting all of that guarantees it will never happen, because that’s what she’s doing with her life—that’s what she’s creating—wanting. Looking at it on facebook it looked thoroughly unattractive and I could easily see why quality men avoided her.
As Wayne Dyer says, “You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are.” So stop focusing all of your intention on things you want to be different, and start focusing yourself on what you already have to be grateful for. Because nothing is less attractive than whiny neediness, and nothing is more attractive than someone who is happy and generous. We all get tired and slip at times, but our lives are built from our overall attitudes. So instead of complaining and wanting a new life maybe it’s time to start taking more responsibility for how you’re looking at the one you already have.
I sincerely do hope you make the sort of choices that allow you to truly enjoy your day because that will attract the sort of people who know how to do likewise. And having a personal tribe like that makes for the best kind of life that any circumstance permits. Go for it.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.