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The One Thing You Must Do Before You Can Find True Love

05/13/2015 02:33 am ET | Updated Nov 28, 2016
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If you don't have what you truly want in a relationship, then you are right, something is seriously wrong. But here's the important part: What is wrong is not you. I repeat, the problem is not you. You are not a bad person. You are not failing to get a wonderfully rewarding relationship because you are not worthy of it. In fact, I believe, to the absolute core of my soul, that you are about to discover a huge secret, in fact, I believe it is the best-kept secret in your life: YOU. This secret is not only being hidden from the people you see every day, bond with or dream of marrying, it is being kept from you.

The second thing I know for absolute, drop-dead certain is that you are not thinking right or playing the game well; otherwise, you would have what you want. You are a deserving and quality potential relationship partner, but you apparently don't know how to get in the game or play the game once you do.

And yes, it is a game. Somehow or another, people have decided that looking for love is some hugely serious process that must be approached with reverence and decorum. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised since seriousness is usually associated with desperate situations and "desperation" is a word I often hear from both men and women regarding their love lives. I agree that selecting a life partner and making the decision to walk down the aisle is a decision of gravity and deserves the utmost in contemplation, prayer and consideration. But, the process that gets you there is a game and a game that has to be played loose and fun if you want to win. You've got to play the game without sweaty palms, or you will never get what you are looking for.

Saying that dating and relating is, at least in the beginning, a game does not mean that it is trivial or frivolous. Make no mistake; I'm talking about making a major change in your life, specifically your love life. It's time to be a winner. It's time to start being a bride instead of a bridesmaid.

Think about it, the problem has to be something besides you. Don't you know women who are, in your humble opinion, not as interesting as you, not as smart as you, not as loving and caring and giving as you, not as cute or attractive as you, but yet they have a great relationship partner while you sit at home talking to your houseplants? Why? Maybe they just got blind lucky, but I'm betting they have what they want and what you wish you had and because they know how to play the game better than you do.

I know that there are also women out there that you just love to hate, because they seem to have it all going on. They're young, fit, stick-thin, energetic and cute. You're thinking, "How do I compete with that?" You stand in your bathroom looking in the mirror and saying, "Look at my hair! Look at my hips! I've got legs like stumps! My eyes are too far apart! This is the genetic betrayal that is my legacy! I am destined to die alone! Well, snap out of it! I can promise you that you don't want or need to be some beauty-queen model that spends her days on the runway. She may very well be home starving or puking up the dinner she just pigged out on, looking in the mirror and saying the very same things you say or worse. Besides, I can't tell you how many men I've heard look at those women and say, "Good grief! I've seen more meat on antlers! She needs to spend a little more time at the buffet."

If you're sitting at home dogging on yourself with an endless list of self-critical put-downs, then I guarantee that other people, including men, are going to find it very difficult to see value in you because you are hiding it so well. You're going to have to understand yourself and know yourself — and, as strange as it sounds, before he ever falls in love with you, you are going to have to fall in love with you.

To get where you want to go, you’re going to have to rewrite the script of your life and make yourself the star. And, you have to define who you want to be your leading man. Then you’ll know exactly who you are and what you’re looking for. No more trying to be all things to all people. No more trying to guess what some man wants and struggling to morph yourself into it. You are going to be the best you can be, rather than somebody you are not, and I promise that will be more than enough to create the love you want.

Modified excerpt from Love Smart: Find the One You Want - Fix The One You Got by Dr. Phil McGraw (Free Press).

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