Attract them by the way you live. — Saint Augustine
I am a good man, but I’m always striving to be a better man, a more complete person. As such, I read many books on philosophy, theology, psychology, business, well-being, and a good deal of fiction. In each, I search for both answers and new questions. The quote above raised a new question. Do I attract them by the way I live? Instinctively I think romantic relationships, but when I rephrase and apply the question to other areas of my life I see how this quote, turned mantra, holds a reformative power to change my life.
How do I attract women into my life?
How do I attract friends?
How do I attract the work I do?
How do I attract my purpose?
I’ve always been a people pleaser, and a problem solver. This is not a revelation, however the quote enlightened me as to the impact my actions have on the way I live. I realize I don’t attract them by the way I live, I live to attract them. Again, I don’t attract them by the way I live, I live to attract them. While this statement isn’t intrinsically true across all areas of my life, it is unmistakably real in the relational areas of which I’ve placed the highest priority. The areas of seeking, and of filling voids. Specifically, my relationships with romantic partners, and quite possibly my relationship with work and spiritual pursuits. The romance connection is irrefutable. Work, colleagues, and spiritual connection may be more abstract but I believe laws of attraction are as applicable to the latter as the former.
My close friends are my close friends because of the way I live, and the way they live. There’s a natural connection built over time, based on commonalities and interests. It isn’t forced. On the other hand, based on my history with women, I could make a very strong argument that my motivations are in pleasing, solving, and being what I need to be to attract them. The scenario unfolds as such; attraction surfaces, pursuit begins, problem to solve discovered, solve problem in a pleasing manner cloaked as the hero for the damsel in distress, become what they need (often inaccurately defined by myself), be the pleaser and accommodator until I forget who I am, live to attract them until it blows up, rinse, repeat.
Flag colored red. Am I attracting them by the way I live or am I pursuing for my own selfish need to be needed, to be loved? I am undoubtedly attracted and infatuated at first, then through connection and bonding, I fall in love. I tend to fall hard, in a windstorm of hopeless romantic and giving, peppered with sheets of neediness and insecurity. This is likely because, post problem solved, I move to pleaser phase. In pleaser phase I’m not attracting anyone by the way I live, rather I morph the way I live to meet the needs of whom I’m now constantly pursuing. This never works.
Similarly, I morph myself into what is needed, what attracts, in order to make a living. Far less have I asked how can I live my purpose and in turn attract the work that aligns with the way I want to live. Rather, I attack it as a problem and retrofit myself into becoming the solution. How can I attract money? How can I attract a woman? How can I find peace within? These questions are all wrong.
This year I will re-attempt to live my life the way I want to live it. No longer will I worry about attracting, or being attractive. Instead live wholly, do what I feel called to do, share consistently and courageously from my heart, and attract them by the way I live. It works. I’ve seen it happen. The process of sharing who I am and taking off my mask has connected me with new people, and has made room for deeper connections with those I’ve known, or thought I knew.
If I keep asking questions, seeking answers, living my way, then all I’ve been looking for will be attracted into my life because I’m living it and no longer looking for it.
The way I want to live can be summed up in a sentence, one I hope can stand alone on my tombstone. Simply:
Here lies a good man, he loved fiercely, and lived bravely.