Many years ago I read this amazing book by Gavin de Becker called “The Gift of Fear.” The basic premise of his work is that our bodies know things before our heads (or hearts) do, and that those feelings are gifts to which we should pay close attention. That they actually pick up on subconscious cues we haven’t processed yet.
Man, is he right.
And fear isn’t the only feeling our bodies can detect accurately. I think who we are or aren’t attracted to often has a lot to do with signals and cues that our subconscious picks up on before we have conscious “proof” of who will be good for us.
I think about it often, mostly when I doubt what I’m feeling and it comes back to haunt me. Like today.
It’s usually pretty obvious to me if I’m attracted to a guy. I want to touch them. Literally. I can feel the electricity, from mild to “I need to sit on my hands” intense.
So why, I am asking myself now, did I doubt myself about the last guy I was dating? I had no desire to touch, let alone kiss him. But I kept trying. He seemed like a nice guy: smart, funny, passionate, and really in to me. All good things. Yet – I felt nothing.
I’m pretty sure that the reasons I didn’t trust what I felt are both internal and external. Truthfully, I’m lonely sometimes. And I’d love to have someone to wrap their strong arms around me, especially at the end of a crappy day. But it’s gotten harder and harder as I’ve gotten older to justify to my friends and family WHY I don’t feel anything for this guy or that one. People always want to know why.
I don’t know why – I just know what I feel. And what I don’t. Why can’t that be enough? Trust me, I WANT to feel something. If there’s a chance in hell that a date could be something more, I’m open to it. But my body never lies.
Turns out there was a really good reason, beyond the fact that I wasn’t attracted to this guy (he looked and acted like a homeless teenager – NOT a turn-on for me). I gave him a second chance, only to discover that he’s a lazy, spoiled brat. And my body was probably picking up on those cues long before they were revealed to my brain.
Last week, he threw not one but two temper tantrums: one because I wouldn’t go back to his apartment, and the second (when I finally did) because I wouldn’t sleep with him.
He actually insulted me and tried to bully me into having sex with him. Seriously? Does that work with anyone?
I didn’t WANT to sleep with him, and that’s sorta a prerequisite for me. My body’s not your jungle gym. If I feel something, trust me – you won’t have to ask me twice.
But this guy was too lazy and arrogant to make the effort to make me feel anything. So I didn’t. Once again, my body knew all along that this guy wasn’t worth my time.
Next time I’ll trust it. I promise.