When we ask the question about what draws others to us, we might first want to determine why we’re asking the question. This magnetism is not about popularity, attractiveness or some sort of self-aggrandizing behavior. It’s nothing to do with eliciting attention or being something like a mesmerizing bug light on dark summer night that attracts hoards of mesmerized insects. Those things suggest behaviors that we construct and put out; something like bait or tossing out something alluring designed to artificially draw others to us. This question has nothing to do with any of that.
The assumption is that the manifestation of the individual is sufficient to be compelling and terribly attractive. It’s not about being something that we’re not. It’s about being everything that we are. The theory here is that if we can cultivate and become everything that God designed us to be, then that in and of itself will be powerful beyond our own understanding. If the image of God, that we are created in, is fully manifest in our lives without diminishment or compromise, it will be wildly transformational. Human beings manifesting the fullness of who they were crafted to be would be inviting and correspondingly transformational in a manner almost mysterious. And that which is transformational can be nothing but magnetic and incredibly attractive to those around us.
The Worst of Us Represents Our Best Resources
We tend to spend more energy hiding what we don’t like about us, rather than accentuating what we do. Oddly, what we tend to hide is most often the very stuff that has the greatest potential to build us. What we hide is most often the rich fertilizer and thick mulch that when applied to our lives brings phenomenal growth. What we see as dirty or tarnished or hideous most often is the very base elements that have within them dynamic resources for growth. We see it as trash. Yet, managed appropriately it is treasure waiting to be distilled from trash.
In a sinful, fallen world, the trash in our lives is a natural by-product of our fallen state. Yet what we see when we see the trash in our lives is trash only because we can’t see anything redeemable in it. We often view it as so putrid and so wrenchingly disgusting that we’re blinded by the very nature of what it is, so we can’t see anything in the trash but trash. Our eyes are strictly one-dimensional and are therefore limited only to what they can see. And when they see trash, they see trash and trash only.
Yet, the trash of our lives in God’s hands is infinitely more about the opportunity in the refuse than the stench that it emits. Trash is rich with opportunity and it holds within it resources that are can be greater than that which is good within us. Trash is opportunity in disguise. And therefore, rather than run from it, deny it, hide it, rationalize, or place blame for it, we should seize it and use it.
Unashamed About Transparency
Not only is the trash in our lives marvelous opportunity, honesty in dealing with it renders us strong and attractive. It’s not about broadcasting our trash or anything else in our lives for that matter. It’s living in transparency regardless of what our lives are made up of. Rather than creative disguises or carefully crafted fronts, it’s about being brave enough to simply be.
Transparency takes strength because it demands vulnerability. Vulnerability means risk. Risk means that we set ourselves up for the unknown and forfeit any perceived safety that posing might afford us.
And so it’s living with a transparency that’s defined by honesty, not by advertisement. It’s about simply being in whatever state we happen to be. It’s about being true to ourselves, warts and all. It’s about seeing pretenses and games as things that mask who we are and therefore distort both our relationships and eventually the whole of our lives.
Transparency does not mean the unbridled releasing of everything that we are for public display. Clearly, we need to be wise as to when and where we reveal who and what we are. Certain people and certain situations require that we balance what we expose or don’t expose. However, determining how much we reveal about ourselves is not about hiding or distorting who we are. It’s simply a matter of discretion; the exercise of wisdom in understanding that certain situations requires certain approaches. It’s the manifestation of maturity in the management of our lives. And when we live with a transparency driven by wisdom and tempered by maturity, others are drawn to us.
Less of Self and More of Others
People are drawn to us when they feel we are invested in them over our investment in ourselves. It’s a hierarchy of diminishment where we intentionally place others above ourselves. Out of this hierarchy there is great strength for it takes a far superior strength to elevate others above ourselves than the much weaker manifestation of strength in elevating ourselves. All of this has nothing to do with surrender. It has everything to do with purposefully putting others first in a show of strength and a manifestation of character.
Elevating others above ourselves requires purposeful balance in that we can only give to others as much as we have within us. Therefore the care of self is ultimately so that we can take care of others. We invest in ourselves so that we can maximize our investment in the lives around us. With a sustained investment in others sustained by our investment in ourselves, we will find others attracted to us.
Magnetic or Not?
How do you live your life? Do you incorporate the principles that draw others to you, or are you in fact cultivating the very things that will drive them away? Mankind is indeed relational, and as such we are naturally drawn to others. Drawing them to you should be for the sole purpose of building them up so that they may in turn build others.
© 2014 Craig Lounsbrough, M.Div., Licensed Professional Counselor