“Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates.”
~ Kate Angell
If a woman doesn’t feel beautiful, can she still attract men?
This is a painfully challenging question with so many sub-texts.
- Are men only attracted by beauty?
- Can a woman who is attractive still feel undesirable?
- How can a woman who doesn’t feel that her “external package” is valuable still put herself out there without fear of rejection?
- Are there other characteristics that compensate when beauty is not evident?
- Does the way a woman feels about herself change the way she is desired by men?
- And the most anguishing question: Is she realistic about what she can offer and what she wants?
When men and women grew up together and were responsible for ancestors no longer present and children not yet born, they had the time to know each other and their families more deeply and could value each other’s contribution to their larger, shared society.
Love had the chance to grow beyond just what people looked like and depended on so many other variables.
Their “people” often had a great deal to do with who chose whom and what the criteria were for long term commitment. No one was easily left out of the pairing process.
In our fast-paced, isolated, more fractured world of dating, we no longer have the luxury of those options.
Societal values on who is desirable and who is not have become more superficial, and not just for women.
Height, hair-line, straight shoulders, power, influence, success, erectile capability, and the ability to nurture children are on the top for guy popularity.
Beauty, fitness, age, weight, and financial independence are those for women.
Dating sites proliferate and are, even in themselves, becoming more rapid acceptance and rejection vehicles. Most relationships don’t last and instant hook-ups are becoming less valuable. In short, you get less time to evaluate for the critical variables that could actually predict whether a relationship has a chance for depth and true intimacy.
It is easy, in this high demand, high performance, constant shuffling for connection, for those who don’t measure up to those standards to lose confidence in their ability to be chosen.
Yes, men are more visual than women.
They do tend to start with the physical package and have a harder time getting past it, especially in causal encounters.
Women will look beyond (to a point) the initial package to see if what they find can make them more attracted to that man over time.
The issue is just that.
Will there be enough time for a woman who does not easily measure up to the societal norm of physical desirability to display what is more valuable than skin deep before she is cast aside?
For women who feel they consistently don’t get the opportunity to get to that level, the answer lies in being in parallel to good men in an environment where both are committed to something greater than self that they both enjoy and serve.
Political, religious, social, humanitarian, athletic, cultural…whatever satisfies having the time to get to know each other more deeply without he pressure of a “yes” or “no” immediate acceptance or rejection.
If women continue to hang out in real or virtual environments where physical is the main instant rejection button, they cannot hope to maintain feelings of desirability.
Let’s not stop there. If a woman has trod in empty waters a long time, and actually allowed herself to internalize feelings that she can’t win for losing, she may fail to develop the characteristics that do keep men in love with them, or to even recognize them in a man.
For decades as a therapist, I have noted what those behaviors and attitudes are that anyone can develop regardless of being endowed with external desirability. I call those people “The Keepers.” (See my article on Psychology Today Blogs).
They are the partners and friends you never want to lose. Self-acceptance, resiliency, love of adventure, openness to new ways of thinking are some of the ways you can recognize them.
Women and men both who are in love with life are hard to resist.
People who make others feels treasured are wonderful to be with. Genuine interest in the way another thinks and feels is becoming more of a rarity but will always be perceived as quality.
Lastly, please don’t forget about marketability.
We can only hope to match with people who will love us for who we are and who we are becoming. At some basic level, we humans are traders. Situations are “deals” and both people have to want what the other is offering. That may be hard to swallow but it is an irrevocable truth.
You can only make yourself as valuable as you can within your capabilities and options.
Lori Gottlieb’s wonderful book, “Making the Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” is a very special piece of writing that addresses that concept beautifully.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
When I read this week’s topic I felt really sad that there are woman who think they are single because they do not look good.
There is so much more to an attraction than physical beauty. The problem comes in because the media makes women think that the only way you will be considered beautiful is if you are a certain size with absolutely no fat on your body. Your face better be clear and look like silk and your hair needs to be long and flowing and if you don’t fit this description then you are considered ugly.
This is a very serious problem because many young girls and woman see this and believe this lie. This has contributed to eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorders, etc.
Another problem that comes from this lie is many women suffer from low self esteem and engage in self defeating behaviors like constantly telling themselves “I am ugly” or “Why is my best friend so pretty and I am so ugly. No one will ever like me.” I am positive that most women reading this article can relate. So how do we stop this unhealthy, untrue belief?
The best thing about this world is that all women come in many different shapes and sizes and colors and every woman is beautiful in her own way. I personally think life would be pretty boring if we all looked alike.
The second thing is all men find different things beautiful in a woman.
There are men who like skinny women and there are men who like women with curves or women with some extra weight and some men love obese women. I know we all have seen a couple where we wonder how they got together.
We may think that for various reasons but we have all experienced this thought. This example is proof that every person who wants to be in a relationship can be, but there are some things that should be in place with yourself before you even begin to look.
There is proof that our thoughts have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves.
Therefore, if every time you go out with your friends and the only thoughts going through your mind are “I will never meet anyone” or “I will be single forever”, then you will most likely be single forever.
The first thing that has to change is how you feel about yourself.
If you don’t think you are a “good catch” for someone why would anyone want to be with you? I know that may sound harsh but it is very true.
Think about it like this, if you were car shopping and the dealership was like I have this car and it doesn’t run very well and the frame is beat up and it is painted an ugly color.
Would you consider buying the car?
However, if the dealership said I have this great car, it runs to good, great gas mileage, and it is the best color then I am sure you would be interested.
How you feel about yourself is how you will present yourself to the world.
When you go out tell yourself, “I am beautiful and I am interesting and I know someone will be interested in me.” You have to be confident in who you are or you will have a very difficult time finding that special person.
Another thing to consider is if you are unhappy with how you look because you feel you are overweight or underweight or just very unhealthy then it is time to make a life change.
I only recommend this if you are unhappy with your size. I am not suggesting losing weight because everyone else thinks you should. I am a firm believer that we all have to take charge of our lives. We can all be whoever we want to be, but you have to be willing to make changes as necessary.
The best way I could sum this up is with this prayer;
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Reinhold Niebuhr)
Denise Davis, LMHC – www.mind-diagnostics.org/listing/153686-Denise-Davis
Women often wonder how they are going to attract a man when they do not think they are beautiful and the reality is that they are not going to attract a man if they do not think they are beautiful.
How can you feel beautiful when your mind tells you something different?
Being beautiful isn’t about being physically attractive based on pop culture standards.
Not everyone is a size 2 or 4 or even 6. Some women are tall and some are short. Some women have well endowed breasts and some women have different assets. While there is a notion of what is physically attractive in society, just because you don’t fit into those standards does not mean you can’t feel beautiful.
Feeling beautiful is about loving and accepting every part of your body, mind and soul.
It means taking a look in the mirror every day and saying “You are beautiful and I love you just the way you are”. It is about embracing your curves and finding clothes that are flattering on you. It is about going up to a guy in a bar and saying hello because you are confident enough to know that you bring something to the plate.
Not every guy is looking for the same thing in terms of beauty. When you display confidence, you become a magnet for men who are looking for confident women, despite their measurements or how straight their hair is.
Beauty is deeper than your skin.
Beauty is reflected in how you treat yourself. It is an invitation to how other people are going to treat you.
If you treat yourself as though you are the most beautiful woman in the room, men will follow suit.
You will know you are beautiful and that you deserve the best guy in the room.
You will radiate beauty in your smile. You will radiate beauty in your posture. You will radiate in the clothing and accessory choices you make.
You will exude beauty and men will notice and you will leave wherever you are at living in abundance and expansion when it comes to attracting men versus wondering why no one hit on you.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
Our society places too much emphasis on outward appearances!
How can anyone judge what is beautiful and what is not? It really is true that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. There are so many celebrities that are called “beautiful” but I don’t see it at all.
Then there is the photo shopping that leads us to believe that humans actually look the way celebrities are presented in film and print; if a relationship is based on looks, even if just initially, it is not worth having. It is superficial and the happiness won’t last. Looks change over time, always.
The truth is attraction is really an energy thing and not about physical beauty.
The world is full of “beautiful” men and women, have you ever-wondered why or how two people actually find each other? It is all about energy not looks.
The most important thing to understand is that if you feel you are unattractive and unlovable then you are correct.
If you feel you have value and are very lovable you are also correct. So how does it work?
You send a vibe out for everyone to sense and feel.
They respond to the energy you are transmitting. In addition that “I am not lovable” energy will shut down your ability to receive anyone who may want to come in because your signal is saying, “No, I am not lovable”.
There is more to the old adage “Beauty is more than skin deep” than just words. If you believe you are lovable than others will see that, feel that and believe it.
Another important thing is to not look for a partner.
Be okay with being you all by your self. You will know you are getting there when you no longer feel lonely, bored, or just want someone to share your life with.
When we look for a partner it does several things energetically.
1. It sends out a needy energy which will either bring you an abuser or someone who is equally, or more so, needy.
2. It pushes away the real one that will be coming in. Think of two magnets, when one pushes it repels the other. The same thing happens in relationships.
The relationships in which we look rarely, happily, withstand the test of time.
Practice loving you inside and out; practice being comfortable with only you!
So many people can attest that “beauty” does not bring happiness and neither does having a mate. It is solely your responsibility for you to find happiness within you.
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com
One of my biggest regrets as an older person is how much emphasis I put on my looks when I was growing up.
I never thought I was pretty enough, and it impacted my self-esteem in a big way. I grew up in Los Angeles where beauty was highly prized. It seemed like everyone who was popular was blond, skinny, and had a little turned up nose. With those parameters for success with boys, I wasn’t going to get far.
To be fair to myself, and all of the other girls who felt that they weren’t pretty enough, society really does put a lot of emphasis on looks.
We are all attracted to beauty. If we’re being honest, we too are probably initially attracted to the best looking guy. We appreciate beauty in art, architecture, nature, and music. There are admittedly very few unattractive people on the covers of Vogue or People magazine.
If physical beauty were the only criteria for being in a relationship, there would be a lot of single people.
But it isn’t. I think being pretty can give you a leg up. At the bar, the prettiest girl will get more attention. That’s because it’s the only attribute that’s visible, and people are drunk at bars.
However, we are far more than our looks.
Because I wasted so much time bemoaning my lack of physical beauty, I didn’t develop other parts of myself that I eventually realized were much more defining of who I was as a person.
While high school (and we won’t even mention junior high school!) sucked, when I went away to college I began to realize that looks were only going to get people so far.
As I looked around at the new bigger world that I’d entered, I realized that what I was most attracted to was actually concealed by the face.
No matter how attractive that face, if there wasn’t much interesting going on inside my interest began to wane. Here people were attracted to people who shared their interests, their passions and their ideals. Sure, being pretty counted, but not for very much.
As I began to look at my other, deeper attributes, I realized that I was smart, funny, and I was a very nice, big-hearted girl.
I had leadership qualities that earned me the respect of people I admired. I was passionate about politics and I loved to read and engage in intellectual conversations. In short, I wasn’t half-bad. I had a lot to offer and I began to look for the kind of people the qualities that I grew to respect far more than how they looked.
Had I valued any of that growing up, I would have felt very confident about my attractiveness.
That kind of confidence would have probably made me popular. Confidence is hugely attractive. People are drawn to confident people. If you believe that you are valuable, others will value you too.
When I think of how long we are likely to live, would you want to spend your life with a pretty face but an empty head?
Oh and by the way, we’re all going to get old, which also doesn’t get you on the cover of Vogue. Beauty is fleeting; brains and heart last a lifetime.
Sally Leboy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
A few months ago a friend noticed my new commitment to working out in an effort to get healthy.
She asked the question “What you doing girl, trying to get your sexy back?”
Of which I immediately replied “Sexy never left, I just want to be sexy in a smaller, more toned body!!”
All she could do was laugh. I will readily admit I am not Haley Berry or bootylicious like Beyonce (not yet!). However, with all of my curves, lumps and bumps, it is clear that it is MY attitude that exudes MY beauty and presents as MY sexy!
• Redefine Beauty (fill in the blank):
MY beauty is/has/exudes ________________ (e.g., nice lips, bold eyes, my strength, can run 5 miles, etc.). Know what you are working with.
• Change Your Mindset (fill in the blank):
MY beauty will/can/presents as _________________ (e.g., sexy, strong, enduring, run a marathon, powerful, etc.). Understand and appreciate your own strengths and attributes (the things that make us) that makes you uniquely you.
• Act Accordingly (fill in the blank):
In MY beauty I will _________________ (e.g., engage in activities I like to do, meet new people who have the same interests, etc.). Living your life based on your unique you will allow you to live in this world as your sexy you.
• Practice What You Preach (fill in the blank):
When I look at him, I see _______________ (e.g., money, nice tie, pretty teeth, very tall, etc.). What we do know is men (and women) are initially driven by what they can physically see and what their minds tell them they can do with what they can physically see. If this is you, think about what and/or who you are presenting to others.
We cannot change a person’s perception as to how you look, but we can change our perception of who we are. So the question remains, is Beauty Your Name?
Dr. Maurita Hodge – www.movingmountainsconsultingllc.com
As women we’re inundated with magazines and television images that tell us how we “should” look to get the “right” guy. It can be easy to feel insecure and believe that in order to find love you must look a certain way.
I challenge you change your mindset. Here’s how:
1. Process and let go of resentments.
Resentments interfere with your ability to present the beauty of who you are. Harboring resentments about being single leads to bitterness, which is not attractive. Letting go of resentments makes room to focus on who you want to be and what you want.
2. Learn to feel beautiful and like yourself.
Guys find confidence sexy and attractive. How you feel about yourself is reflected in how you talk and present yourself. Find a style (clothing, make-up, no make-up etc.) that makes you feel good about you.
Beauty is subjective. What one guy thinks is beautiful another guy will shrug and say “she’s alright”. So consider there is a guy out there who will find your brand of beauty beautiful. Feeling good about yourself will shine through and give you a better chance of attracting that guy.
3. Reconsider how you meet men.
If you’re only going out to bars or clubs waiting for a guy to approach you I challenge you to find a different venue to meet someone. Such venues tend to focus on superficial traits.
The topic of how to meet someone could be an article by itself, so for the purposes of this topic the main point to consider is: find a forum that will enable you to showcase your personality and your great qualities that can’t be summarized by how you look.
4. Re-frame your story.
Let go of the story that relationships are only based on physical attraction. Those that are rarely last for long and have their own set of challenges. Healthy fulfilling long-lasting relationships develop out of mutual interests, shared values, and being attracted to each other’s qualities. Every couple has their own story of how they met or became interested in each other and you get to write your own!
Laura Rinset, MS, LMFT – www.linkedin.com/in/laurarinset
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