This Is What Actually Attracts People To You

Photo by Briana Morrison / Stocksy

From Cleopatra to the Cinque Terre, reverence to great beauty seems woven indelibly into our DNA. The research-proven benefits of being attractive seem convincing enough to justify the pursuit of such beauty, yet after a solid 30 years of doing just that, I can report there is more to this story.

Over time, I've learned to understand words like "beauty" and "attractiveness" in a different way—not in terms of physical appearances but in terms of what I refer to as radiance. Radiance is that je ne c'est quoi that spins heads when you walk into a room. It creates a door where there was once a wall. It has nothing to do with age, body shape, or physical features. It doesn't discriminate among races or classes. And despite what it might say on the sides of fancy packages you see in the drug store aisle, genuine radiant magnetism can't be bought, nor can it be applied, highlighted, or injected.

That's because radiance, at its core, is energy. It's light. It's life.

The real meaning of "attractive."

For years, I dutifully did the bidding of my Fortune 100 employer. As I climbed the rungs of the corporate ladder, I stacked my closet with red-bottom soles, got expensive blowouts, and adorned my body with shiny things—an unconscious attempt to make up for the luster I lacked inside. I had plenty of First World extravagances and had no problems getting dates and short-lived relationships, but I was confused about why, after working so hard, I hadn't attracted the love, family of my own, and tight community of friends I craved.

I had yet to learn that like energy attracts like energy; it's literally a law supported by quantum physics. A person whose light is on becomes a magnet for heart-thumping love, rock-solid friendship, supportive community, exciting invitations and opportunities, overflowing abundance, and great sex. A person whose light is dimmed or off completely is repelling all those things.

In other words, we don't attract who and what we want. We attract who we are.

How can you tell if your light is on?

So someone with their light on attracts others with their lights on. But how exactly do you know if you're "on"? It's actually quite easy to tell. You can do it anytime, anywhere, and it's free. Tune into yourself and answer these questions:

  • Are you genuinely enthused to meet the new day?
  • Do you feel passionate about what you're creating?
  • Are you energized and grateful for all you have?

If you answered a resounding YES! then woo-hoo! Your radiant light is on.

If these questions are kind of irritating, then chances are…your radiance might be drunk under a table in Tijuana somewhere. I get it; mine was there for years. I had no idea it was my radiance that was missing, though; I just knew life felt hard. I was pretty serious, more than I'd like to admit. I put in a lot of effort and still wasn't getting what I wanted, and then I punished myself for not doing better. I had a 10-piece luggage set of resentments, and aside from those first few hours post-morning-latte, I was pretty exhausted. Needless to say, my light was barely flickering.

It doesn't matter if a person is 9 or 90 years old; you can tell when another person's light is on. They're approachable. You can connect with them. They're open and full of life. They effortlessly make others feel better just being around them. They walk into a room, and no matter what they're wearing, what they say, or what they do, they just glow with ease, grace, and joy.

On the other hand, when a person's light is off, you can feel that too, right? They're guarded. You instinctively feel like you have to tread lightly, unsure of what to expect. Will they judge you, reject you, resent you? Will they try to prove themselves to you? They seem to feel uncomfortable with themselves, which makes it less comfortable to be around them.

Research proves exactly what we all feel on an intuitive level: various studies have shown we prefer people who display warmth and smile, and some research has shown that we unconsciously sense the emotions of the people around us and tend to mimic them. If someone is radiating with positive energy, we’ll internalize that and feel that same way around them. But if they’re filled with negativity, we’ll sense that too—and probably want to get away from it.

These two kinds of people show up in the world in two very different ways, but there's actually only one thing differentiating them: the information they're using to power their lives.

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How our outlook on life can keep us closed off from others.

Your beliefs inform your thoughts, and your thoughts (conscious and unconscious) are responsible for whether your light is on or off.

The good news is, even if you've been unconsciously dimming your light, it's easy to recover because radiance is who you are at your core essence. It's just the illusions society promotes (that you've agreed to) that cause you to dial it down.

Below are three of the biggest illusions so many of us subscribe to, as well as the real truth they're obscuring. As you tear down these illusions, you'll begin to feel your flame start to burn bright once again—and find that others are also drawn to that light.

Societal illusion No. 1: Life is hard, and bad stuff happens to me.

Spiritual truth: You and you alone are personally responsible for everyone and everything that is in your life.

When I learned this, I had just discovered the man I thought I'd spend my life with had cheated on me, was abandoned by my entire group of friends, and was battling health issues. Over time I came to realize I was personally responsible for creating all of this—a realization that left me simultaneously horrified and hopeful.

The key shift in perspective is understanding that life is not happening to you but for you. No matter how painful or uncomfortable a situation is, you are creating it for your personal benefit and evolution. When times get tough, ask yourself, "Why am I creating this?" Then, find what I call the gift. Every situation you create bears with it a gift of some sort. The gift won't be like gifts you've received in the past—instead, it often comes in the form of gaining greater insight about yourself and your path as you recognize what your role is in shaping your life.

This recognition leads to forgiveness and ultimately compassion for yourself and others, which is a much higher energetic frequency. Finding the gift carries a vibration of gratitude, which is not only a superfood blend for your radiance but also a foundation for manifesting even more abundance.

Societal illusion No. 2: I need to be perfect to be worthy of approval, acceptance, and love.

Spiritual truth: Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, you have a wellspring of entrancing passion living inside of you.

Look outside your window right now. Do you see a tree that is perfectly straight? A flower that's perfectly symmetrical? Perfection is an illusion that doesn't exist in the natural world. And you, dear friend, are part of the natural world too. Striving to be perfect means bowing to a standard that doesn't actually exist, which means you are walking around in a constant state of judgment toward yourself. Judgment has a very dense energy vibration that blocks the light, fast frequency of creative passion. It's easy to be a critic, but the critic is the least happy person in the room.

And I’m not just being a softie here! Research itself shows that people tend to find others’ mistakes endearing: in one classic study, researchers asked students to observe people taking tests, and those who did well on the test but happened to spill coffee at the end of it were rated as more likable than people who simply did well on the test but didn’t spill anything. Having flaws makes you far more relatable, because perfection has no access point.

The truth is, you don't need to be perfect to participate; you just need to give yourself permission to be the beginner. The beginner isn't supposed to know anything, so the beginner can never fail. With this simple shift in perspective, I accessed my once-dormant creative passion and wrote a novel; learned to play guitar, sing, and write original songs; paint huge canvases full of color; do improv; and dance burlesque—after literally believing I didn't have a creative bone in my body for the first 32 years of my life. Permission leads to passion, which delivers you to purpose. A passionate, purposeful person has a fire in their heart and a light in their eyes that is utterly intoxicating.

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Societal illusion No. 3: If I take care of everyone around me, I will somehow magically be OK.

Spiritual truth: You can only give from your heart if your heart is full.

Imagine for a moment that you're a 5-year-old kid, and your teacher gives you a plate of chocolate chip cookies and tells you to pass one out to each student in the class and then take one for yourself. You're thrilled because you love cookies and are blissfully unaware of what gluten-free means yet. After passing out the last of the freshly baked cookies, you look down, and there are only a few measly crumbs left.

How do you feel? Annoyed? Resentful? Lacking? Hungry?

Now imagine a different scenario. Your teacher tells you to save a cookie for yourself and pass the rest of the cookies out to the class. When you get to the last student, once again, only crumbs are left.

What is your natural inclination? Maybe like you want to break your cookie in half and share it with your classmate?

The reality is, it's very difficult for you to be of any real service to the world, your family, or yourself if you don't give to yourself first. Nothing robs radiance like resentment. The white-hot truth is that when you gift yourself first, you feel abundant, and giving becomes a natural extension of who you are.

You already have the keys to attracting the people you want in your life.

Yes, maybe attractive people do get a lot of good things coming their way naturally in life. But when we reframe how we're defining the word "attractive," this phenomenon starts to make a little more sense.

Once I turned my focus inward and learned how to shine my light, I was amazed at how quickly I was able to attract a rock-solid tribe of women; a devoted, sexy family man (at 38 years old!); and soul-sister clients. I found that while makeup, hip designs, and shiny things can be fun, the key to your real magnetism lives inside of you. Regardless of whether you are man or woman, round or waif, old or young, financially fortunate or from more modest means, when your light is on, it's absolutely impossible for other people to not be drawn to that light.

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