Givers, Takers and Other Kinds of Lovers
Relationship Coach and Author
The Law of Attraction is all the rage these days. Millions of people are using vision boards and the like to start new businesses, find better jobs, own their dream homes or succeed at some endeavor. And people are experiencing incredible results. People are also trying to apply the Law of Attraction to their love lives. Like a job, home or a business, people want to attract and experience a genuinely healthy relationship. In fact, many of us would put that at the top of our list.
But while we hear many success stories of how the Law of Attraction led a finding a job or a dream home, it’s common to hear people complain that it’s not working in their love lives. Oh, they’re attracting partners and relationships alright, but not the satisfying kind, not the kind they’ve envisioned. Though they know exactly what they want, they continue to attract people they don’t want—men that are selfish, narcissistic or afraid of commitment, or, women who are materialistic, needy or controlling.
In this article, I want to suggest why the Law of Attraction may not be working for you in your love life. I want to tell you why you continue to attract the very people you don’t want in your life and how to change that.
The answer lies, believe it or not, in a couple of Bible verses found in the New Testament book of James. Now, don’t tune me out. I realize you may not have opened a Bible or gone to a church in years. In fact, I haven’t either. It’s not my thing anymore. But the Bible does have some profound spiritual truth to offer us, if we’re open to it. And this is a case in point. James 4: 2-3 sheds light on why the Law of Attraction may not be leading you into the arms of the love of your life. Here’s what it says:
“…You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Let me play with my Billy Graham persona and walk you through this. Bear in mind, however, that James is not directly speaking about relationships in these verses, but to the totality of our experience in the spiritual realm. I’m simply applying it to our love lives. Let’s examine his wisdom.
The first phrase, “You do not have because you do not ask,” is the Law of Attraction, circa, A.D. 50. (And you thought the makers of The Secret had some new wisdom!) This verse says that being clear about what you want, speaking it in prayer, meditating on it in the presence of God, is the most basic principle of manifestation. This simple phrase embodies the Law of Attraction. If you don’t know what you want, and if you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. It’s as simple as that.
But what if we do know what we want; what if we do ask—and yet we still don’t receive it? What’s up with that? Why is our dream partner not appearing in our lives? And worse yet, why are we attracting the very kinds of people we don’t want? Why are we stuck in what I call “The Groundhog Day Syndrome”—attracting the same kinds of partners over and over again? (You can find more about this syndrome on my website.)
Well, James has the answer. He says it’s because we “ask with wrong motives, that we may spend it on our pleasures.” He’s saying our motivation in love is driven by ego. We want to be in a relationship, not to give, but to get. He’s calling us to examine the entire motivation for a relationship in the first place.
Why do we want to have a partner in our lives? (Really go deep and find the true answer to that. Don’t merely read on. Contemplate. Inquire.) Why do we want to meet the man or woman of our dreams? What’s the real underlying motivation for it all? James suggests that it’s because we want a partner to give us something, so that we can “spend it on our pleasures.”
If we have the courage to really self-examine, we’ll find that we’re motivated by what we can get from our partners. In other words, our egoic needs are driving the whole thing. We seek love for what we can get from love. We’re driven by our perceived lack, by the empty feeling inside, by what we think we need to feel happy, secure, alive and whole. In other words, our ego is driving the bus and our destination is a sense of self.
If James had communicated his thoughts in today’s psycho-spiritual jargon, it might have sounded like this: “Your love life sucks because either you haven’t practiced The Secret, or more likely, you are seeking a relationship because your ego is looking to secure, satisfy and complete itself through another person.”
Here’s the reason your love life isn’t working: You don’t really want to give love; you want to get love. Your motive isn’t to love another for no other reason than that’s what you choose to do, but to get love from another so that your ego’s needs are met. If it was simply to give love, you could do that right now and there would never be a problem. You could focus your love on whomever you chose and you’d be completely fulfilled—whether or not they returned your love or even appreciated it. In fact, you would not be seeking to manifest a partner at all. It wouldn’t matter to you. All that would matter is loving the one (or ones) you chose to love.
In other words, your desire to manifest a partner, to use the Law of Attraction to find love in the first place, confirms that you are motivated to GET something out of love. You would not want to be loved it if there was no selfish motive in being loved.
Are you arguing with that? Do you think your motive is otherwise? Tell me this: Do you or have you had drama in your relationships? Of course you do. Almost everyone does. I certainly do at times. And drama is always—I repeat—always the result of the ego’s needs not being met by the other. Any conflict, argument, or problem in your love life can be traced back to your partner not coming through for you in some way. You just need the self-awareness and the courage to see it. They haven’t fulfilled their role in your life and that leads to drama—but only always.
Remember the Groundhog Day Syndrome I mentioned earlier? Here’s why we continue to attract the same basic person over and over again. If you’re interested in a relationship for what you can get out of it, then you’ll always attract a partner who is similarly motivated. The Law of Attraction means like attracts like. If you’re wanting love so that you can “spend it on your pleasures,” every person you attract will be up to the same thing. It’ll be a tug-of-war, with each of you seeking to get from the other. And if one person isn’t getting what they want, the result is drama.
There are two egos in the relationship, and by definition, the ego is one big glob of WANT. That’s all it is. That’s it’s essence—want. Have you experienced relationships as power struggles? That’s why. Have you had the “It’s your fault—NO, it’s your fault” argument? That’s why. Have you been involved in blaming, complaining, judging, accusing and name-calling? That’s why. It’s ego. Each person is trying to get the other person to love them in the way their ego needs to be loved.
Therefore, you are not in LOVE. You are in GET.
And if you are in GET, you’ll always attract a partner who is interested in a relationship for the same reason—to GET. He or she doesn’t want to love you; they want to get love from you. They’re a “taker” just like you are.
What is love anyway? Simply put, it’s the absence of GET. It’s the absence of self, of ego. Permit me one more Bible verse. This one is from the love chapter in the New Testament, First Corinthians 13, which you’ve heard quoted at just about every wedding you’ve ever attended! Verse 5 says, in part, “Love does not seek its own.” What does that mean? I put it like this in my book, A Drink with Legs:
“No matter how often I felt like I was in love; no matter how often I said the words, “I love you,” to one of my partners, I never truly loved them because authentic love is a one-way street. Love asks nothing, needs nothing and requires nothing. It needs no response, no return and no reason. Love has no strings, it has no memory, it incurs no debt and needs no vow. If need exists, love doesn’t. If want is present, love is absent. Love is not mutual. It is not a two-way street. It is freely given with no thought of reply. Love, if it actually is love, is unconditional. Always.”
Here’s the healthy and evolved reason for a wanting to be in a love relationship: You recognize that you are Love itself. That’s the starting point. Your nature is love. With that awareness, you realize you lack nothing, need nothing and seek nothing. You are love. You don’t need love any more than the ocean needs water. The ocean is water and you are love.
Furthermore, you love all sentient beings and feel absolutely no separation between you and any other form. You are connected and in communion with everything. And yet there’s an inner impulse, a quiet, calm desire that yearns to focus the love that you are toward one particular person.
Why do you want a relationship? Because you simply want to love another human being—period. There’s nothing in it for you; nor do you want anything in return. It’s just your nature to Love and so that’s what you do. When this becomes true for you, when your ego’s needs are ignored and transcended even a little bit, you will attract a person who will also want to focus his or her love on you—just because they feel like it.
Now you have two people who are in a LOVING relationship, not in a GETTING relationship.
Where do you begin the journey to such a relationship? Certainly not on Match.com and certainly not in a bar or a grocery store or a bookstore. This journey begins by going inwards, by disidentifying from the egoic self and realizing your true nature which is whole, complete and lacking nothing. Only then will you experience the love life you instinctively know is possible.
There is no love without enlightenment. The gateway to a great, satisfying relationship is to and through your own heart, realizing your true, spiritual nature AS LOVE. Are you willing to walk through this gate? Are you truly interested in such a quest? Not many are. Jesus said, “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”