lately it seems that many folks are clinging to the "you attract who/what you are" argument, particularly with regard to relationships.
i always want to interject with a, "yes, but...".
instead, i let it slide.
this is when it's great to have a blog.
from where i sit, "you attract who you are" is a vast oversimplification at best. at worst, it's a dangerous thought trap in a society that already does far too much victim blaming.
of course it sounds perfect. you keep meeting jerks? well, you must deserve it on some level. keep finding mates who beat you? guess you need to get a black eye every now and then...but we all know it's not that simple.
i will concede this point: low self esteem leads to disastrous intimate relationships. this is clear. whether it's because you keep letting this one clean out your bank account or put up with the other's neglect hoping for a better day, if you don't believe you deserve the best, you won't get it.
on the other hand, what about the folks taking advantage of these self esteem issues? where is their responsibility? what healing do they need? in a perfect world, those in need of some gentle uplift would be supported until they were ready to enter into relationship, appropriate emotional responses and boundaries intact. instead, we have a predator/prey model that has folks ducking for cover, even if they might never be privy to the more extreme manifestations of the problem.*
in my understanding, interactions with others are lessons. people enter your life for a reason, and your walk together speaks to that, whatever the outcome. how many times have you heard about a relationship that should have been perfectly blissful, but wasn't because one or both parties were not doing the necessary work? that's a lesson.
to use my own example, i didn't "attract" my last relationship because i hadn't done my work, although i definitely learned about a few tender spots in our time together. it's likely he entered my life because i had started to feel i was ready for "the one". same with him.
the difference? i continually worked to be and maintain readiness and was open about my process; he worked in his own mind and shut me out. i had the tools to deal with our issues and mine when they arose; more often than not, he didn't.
then there's the money and success angle. i.e., you can't have "broke" friends if you're tryin to ball. well, my answer to that would be, "what does 'broke' mean?"
i can tell you right now, i don't think i have one materially rich friend. but i have many friends and acquaintances who are billionaires in heart, spirit, intellect, and character. i wonder how difficult it would be to find those qualities if i decided to go out and get some financially secure friends. trust me, i've been around my nouveau riche, upwardly mobile peers, and i couldn't stand them. i had very little in common with them on any level, even though i grew up middle class myself.
just goes to show what gets rewarded these days.
in a time and place such as this, with so many supposed quick fixes and instant solutions, you don't often hear about the deep work of healing. those of us committed to that path will often attract those in need of healing and must be ready to draw the appropriate lines in the sand. one way to avoid sending out homing signals to the wounded is to get very, very specific about what we ask for.
so, instead of "you attract who you are", i would offer that it's more accurate to say, you get what you ask for, consciously or unconsciously--which i have always seen hold true.
if that's what the "you attract..." crowd really means, great. i just cringe a little when i think of what hearing that does to the most vulnerable hearts among us, and how it lets some bullies off the hook.
*e.g, someone who's afraid to date 'cause everyone's a potential serial killing, sti-bearing, low down cheating monster according to the nightly news and dateline nbc exposés. never mind that these elements may not even be a significant factor in their communities.