Many guys ask me if it’s possible to be vulnerable and sexually attractive women.
And while this answer may shock you: Yes you can. In fact, you can become more attractive by becoming vulnerable.
But here’s the problem:
Most guys confuse vulnerability with the notorious “Attraction Killer.” This “Attraction Killer” poisons every single attractive quality you have and makes love impossible as long as it haunts you.
In this episode, you’ll discover what this “Attraction Killer” is and how to decapitate it from your psyche.
Listen now and you’ll become more attractive by the end of the episode.
Show highlights include:
- The single most important factor for determining if women find you attractive (0:29)
- The insidious “N-word” which pollutes your attractive qualities and scares women away faster than Freddy Krueger (6:17)
- Why relying on your partner for your happiness will sabotage every relationship you ever have (10:39)
- How to become more sexually attractive to women by picking your nose (12:25)
- The cold, hard truth about why ugly, broke, and stupid losers get more ladies than you (13:46)
- The common “turn your partner into your therapist” trap nice guys fall into which makes their girlfriend cheat on them (18:00)
- How to become happier and more attractive by embracing sadness (21:05)
- How to bounce back from your girlfriend cheating on you in public and becoming suicidal (even if your situation isn’t as dire) (23:31)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Get access to all my current and future online coaching courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership program today at:
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host.
This episode is all about the one thing, the difference that makes the difference, the one big thing, the one big factor that makes the biggest difference in a man’s attractiveness. If you know what this one thing is, it simplifies everything for you as a man, if you’re looking to improve your attractiveness to women, and if you have this one thing, then you can be as vulnerable, as emotional, as open, honest, and authentic and transparent as you want to be.
I know this is a major issue for a lot of guys because I constantly get questions about this, about “How can I be vulnerable, or should I be vulnerable and show my real emotions if I want to attract a woman? Showing my vulnerable emotions, or my vulnerability or emotions, wouldn’t that make a woman lose attraction? Will showing my vulnerable emotions make a woman lose attraction for me?”
If you have this one thing that I’m going to be revealing in this episode and examining and expanding on, if you’ve got this one thing working for you, then you can be as vulnerable as you want and you’ll still be attractive to women. But if you don’t have this one thing, no matter what else you’ve got going for you, it won’t matter. You won’t be attracted to women. Is that clear enough? That’s how big of a deal this one thing is.
Even better, if you focus on this one thing, if you make this one thing the metric by which you gauge this phase of your self-development or your personal improvement or your growth, then not only will you be attractive, but you’ll also be increasing and improving your mental and emotional health. [02:17.0]
This is mentally-healthy attraction, attraction that’s actually good for your mental health that, as you increase your attractiveness as a man, you’re also improving your mental health. Isn’t that an amazing thing? You can become more sexually attractive, while, at the same time, becoming more mentally healthy, and a big part of mental health is happiness, fulfillment, peace, and calm, but also confidence, as well as feeling worthy, worthiness, and connection, a deeper connection with yourself and with others.
All that’s wrapped up by what I mean, in what I mean by mental and emotional health. You can get all of this, which, arguably, I hope, if you’ve been following my podcast long enough, you realize that that’s a lot more valuable than just being sexually attractive. [03:05.4]
But I know that a lot of guys who find me on the internet are, first and foremost, focused on the sexual attractiveness bit, and so I’ve been pointing out that they don’t have to be at odds and that, in fact, they’re not at odds, because the one thing that makes the difference, the difference that makes a difference when it comes to your sexual attractiveness, if you’re tracking that one thing in order to improve that one factor, you will also, along the way, become more mentally healthy.
The main reason I am making this episode is in response to the many messages that I’ve been getting and continue to get every week, sometimes every day, about that very question of “How can I be vulnerable with women without them losing attraction for me?” [03:57.7]
What I’m inferring from that, the implicit assumption I detect there, the implication is that they want to be vulnerable that there’s this implicit desire to be transparent, to be themselves, to be, quote-unquote, “their true self”, and that they’re afraid that they’d have to become a false self in order to attract women, so I want to applaud that already. This is actually a step forward.
Back in my day, so to speak, this would’ve been, and how long ago was this? Seventeen years ago when I was first getting into the study of sexual attractiveness, the study of sexual attraction and the practical experimentation of all of the various research that I came across and doing my own R&D.
Back then, there was very little resistance to adopting routines or dressing a certain way, or having a certain kind of vibe, or it was just basically you were looking for a manual, an instruction manual, for how to be attractive. Then the question isn’t so much the instruction manuals, just testing it, and you test lots of different instruction manuals that all differ in their advice. [05:13.0]
Eventually, you pick one, and you hopefully find one that works and works for you, and then you can just replicate the results. Of course, that leaves aside the question of authenticity. Now there are a lot of guys who are concerned about authenticity or maybe it’s just a selection bias, or the type of guys who contact me are concerned about authenticity or transparency and honesty, which I think is great.
But then there’s this myth that they’re buying into and that they’ve heard online from whatever other sources, toxic sources, that say that they can’t show vulnerability or even show their emotions to women without being in danger of the women losing attraction. That’s a myth that I’m going to be busting in this episode as well. [06:00.7]
By now, you probably are wondering, what’s the one thing? Hopefully, I’ve gotten your interest by leading you through the importance of the one thing, but now what’s the one thing? If you’ve been following the podcast, you probably can guess. This is the difference that makes the difference. This is the biggest factor when it comes to a man’s attractiveness to women. What is this? It’s neediness and non-neediness.
If you’ve got non-neediness, then everything else will work. If you don’t have it, in other words, if you’re needy, it will pollute anything else that you’ve got going for you. That’s how important this is. You can just simplify everything in terms of your journey to become more attractive to women. You can simplify it all down to just one metric and just focus on this one metric, and it will make all the difference, the only difference that you need to make and when it comes to your attractiveness. Everything else will be largely irrelevant. It’ll just all be icing on the cake. [07:06.0]
I’ve got three big points here and the first point is on neediness versus other attractive qualities. Neediness is the end-all and be-all. If you don’t have it, you’re not going to have the necessary ingredient to be attractive, not for any length of time, and so if you don’t have it, that will sabotage anything else you’ve got going for you. But if you do have it, then everything else becomes mostly irrelevant.
That’s the first point. Let me illustrate that. You can just think of all of the attractive traits that are not neediness. For instance, I’ve brought up the five pillar traits, the five main traits, and even here, I’m simplifying it to five and I already thought that that was pretty good, but it can be simplified even further to just the one of non-neediness, but it’s backing out, zooming out a bit to the five. [07:58.8]
The five, I use an acronym to help remember this L-A-S-A-E, LASAE, and those are leadership, assertiveness, sexuality or being comfortable with your sexuality, adventurousness, and being easygoing. Those are all really attractive traits, and if you’ve got those five, you’re well on your way, and in many ways, those five encapsulate everything else.
But in addition to those five, I could just rattle off another dozen or two dozen other sexually-attractive traits in a man, so I’ll just add in there and just rattle these off. Being witty, being self-controlled, being funny, being popular, being social, or healthy or wealthy, or intelligent or creative, or ambitious, or having a good sense of fashion, a good fashion sense or being well-groomed, or being perceptive, or having a sexy tonality or sexy body language, or being physically strong, being cultured or classy, or being hardworking. [09:13.2]
In addition to being a leader, sexual, adventurous, and easy going, you can have all those other things going for you as well, but just think about any one of those traits or all of them together and then just add in there, the fact that you’re needy. If you’re a good leader, but in this moment, in front of this woman, you are needy, then it won’t matter how great of a leader you are in terms of your attractiveness.
Just to remind you, I’m talking right now in terms of sexual attractiveness, not whether you are a good CEO or something. You can be a great leader at work or anywhere on the field, whatever, in your field of study or work, but in front of a woman, even if you are otherwise a good leader at that very moment, but you are also needy now, add the ingredients of neediness in there, it just ruins your sexual attractiveness. A needy leader, right? [10:10.8]
How about assertiveness? You’re an assertive person, but you’re also needy, right? And that can come together. You would otherwise be assertive, but with her, you’re needy, and so you can still be assertive and you can even be assertive in your neediness, and that would just tank your sexual attractiveness.
Just keep running it all. You’re comfortable with your sexuality, but you’re also needy, right? You’re emotionally needy, but you’re comfortable with your sexuality. You could also be adventurous, but needy. You’re an adventurous guy. “Let’s go for it. I’ll jump off this cliff.” But you’re looking back to her to make sure she sees and you’re still pining after her, and you’re dependent for your happiness on her validation, etc. You’re needy, but you’re also adventurous. You’re needy, but you’re also easygoing. You notice, as soon as you add neediness in there, it doesn’t really matter what else you have going on for you. [11:03.8]
You’re high status. You’re a rich dude, but you’re needy. You’ve seen a lot of that, hopefully, if you’ve been around the block. A lot of rich dudes are needy. One of the main reasons they got rich and worked so hard was because they were needy. They were needy probably not just for sexual attractiveness, being sexually attractive in the eyes of women, but also for validation, for significance, etc.
That drove them, like demons haunting them, to work so hard and sacrifice so much of their personal life in order to make money, because they thought eventually if they can finally make the money or if they can finally get the trophy or whatever, the achievement, then that would mean that they’re good enough and now they can stand in front of a woman and feel like they’re good enough. But, of course, it doesn’t ever make you good enough. It haunts you, so he’s still needy. [11:48.5]
You probably can find many examples. Not all, of course, because neediness is its own separate thing, but, often, neediness drives achievers to achieve. Not always, of course, and I’ve talked about this many times in other episodes on the achievers, the curse of the achiever and so forth, and how to achieve without neediness and to be in flow in doing something you love and doing it because you love it, etc., and excelling at it because you love it and not having to be haunted by insecurity to drive you to achieve.
Okay, so you can see how neediness is “the” one factor. You add neediness into any other sexually-attractive or physically-attractive, or just attractive trait in a man, but you add neediness in there and it spoils the whole thing.
But then the other way, the other side of it, if you’re not needy. If you’re not needy, but you don’t have money and you’re just expressing yourself from your non-neediness, basically the whole you don’t give a fuck. You don’t really care. You’re kind of indifferent and you’re just pleasing yourself in a way. You’re kind of expressing whatever you feel like expressing. [12:59.5]
You maybe crack a joke because you feel like it. It’s not that you’re particularly funny. It’s just that, at that moment in time, you don’t really give a damn about what she thinks of you. It’s not that you actively are seeking to piss her off or turn her off or anything. You just don’t care. You’re not needy towards it. You don’t need her to like you in order for you to feel good about yourself. Then you just express yourself however you would naturally do even if she wasn’t there.
You can now take out, take away any other trait, and this will help you to see why even somebody who’s being vulnerable can be attractive, so this is the case that I’m going to focus on, because, otherwise, I would have to go down every single trait and I know it’s going to blow the minds of needy guys that they could have any of these other things going against them, like maybe you’re not intelligent or maybe you’re not hardworking, or maybe you don’t have money, but if you’re not needy, you’ll still be attractive.
I know that’s going to blow people’s minds. But I don’t have the time for that because I could spend a whole one episode at least on each of those traits that I just rattled off there. I’m just going to focus on the vulnerability part because that’s the big question I keep getting. [14:10.8]
Now I’m going to move to Point 2 on vulnerability and attraction. The reason why a lot of guys have discovered that what they think of as being vulnerable will turn women off is because, when they’re being vulnerable, they’re doing it from a needy place.
Now let’s get a little bit clearer on what neediness is. Neediness is needing somebody else to meet your needs for you. That’s often what’s happening. I mean, that’s what is happening. Another way of putting it is, if you are needy, you have needs that are not being met, okay, and the reason you continue to be needy over time is because you don’t know yet how to meet your own needs, and so you’re waiting for somebody else like a hot woman, or anyone, really, somebody else, whether it’s your mother, your buddies, the world, to put you on a cover of a magazine or something. You’re waiting for somebody to fill, to fulfill your needs for you, because you’re not able to meet your own needs at a high level. [15:18.0]
I know this is going to blow the minds of needy guys, but this includes love and connection. If you’re not able to give yourself love and connection, and meet your own needs for love and connection yourself at a very high level, then you are going to continue to be needy, even if you’re not aware of it in the moment, because it’s not at the forefront of your consciousness.
Maybe you’re not paying attention to it because you’re, I don’t know, busy playing video games, so your mind is not on the fact that you’re needy. But once you are not distracted, then it’s going to be a lot more obvious that the neediness is still there because you haven’t learned how to meet your own needs yet. [15:56.8]
As far as “How do I do that, David?” there are many steps to this and there are many different ways of doing it that, if you do them all, then that’s the best way of going about it, and I have courses for this. These are therapeutic courses, the therapeutic process, and that that’s actually what I’ve been referring to all along for the past few years when I’ve been saying the therapeutic process for becoming more attractive, it’s really about focusing on this one thing: meeting your own needs.
The first thing we’ll do is to first identify your hierarchy of needs and the ways that you’re normally going about trying to meet these needs and not meeting them at a high level. You’ve got to take this and get an assessment.
Then you can just do some reordering and that’s pretty straightforward, but then it gets deeper because then we get into your parts, your psychological parts. I’ve done quite a few episodes on your inner-child parts, your shadow parts, so now you’re getting a clearer idea of the various parts of you whose needs are not being met. [16:56.0]
Then accessing your higher self, or, in IFS therapy terminology, your true self, which is the linchpin. That’s the key and the required element for being able to meet all of your various parts’ needs. Parts’, plural of parts. Parts’, plural possessive. Parts’ needs are met in yourself by your higher self, and sometimes other parts can meet the needs of other parts, but to the highest level and in a guaranteed way, it’s got to be through the leadership of your true self, your higher self.
That’s the therapeutic process and I’ve got courses on this. I do this in private therapy for my clients and I’ve done a lot of podcast episodes on this, so I’m not going to dwell on the therapeutic process in this episode. I’m just pointing out there is a whole process for it to be able to meet your own needs, but just getting clarity around the fact that neediness is a result of not being able to meet your own needs at a high level consistently and frequently. [18:00.0]
Now, when most guys try to be vulnerable in front of a woman, especially on a date or when they first meet he in a bar or something, or maybe with his crush that he’s been friend-zoned by, what happens is these guys, from a needy place, start to spill their guts and get all sad and what’s stereotypically considered needy. They get clingy. They get sort of shrill and demanding.
What they’re doing is they’re showing this vulnerability and asking her to accept him and that’s what they believe vulnerability is, right? Their view of vulnerability is “You can hurt me right now. Here you go. Please hurt me,” and so that is one way to understand the term, “emotional vulnerability.” If that’s how you understand it, then don’t do that. Don’t do that if you want to keep her attracted or to attract her, because that is not attractive. That is literally neediness. [19:00.8]
A lot of guys, when they’re showing vulnerability, are actually showing neediness. Don’t turn your partner into your therapist. This is a common nice-guy maneuver, a white-knight syndrome symptom, where the man is going to his female love interest to get his needs met for love, connection and worthiness, and it’s just icky for her to become basically his mom, because that’s what he is doing.
His inner-child parts have not had their needs for connection, significance, worthiness and love met consistently and reliably in the past, and so they’re still looking for that reassurance, that security, that certainty that connection, love and significance will keep coming. But, in himself, he doesn’t know how to meet that because he hasn’t accessed his higher self. [19:54.2]
What he is doing is going to women and asking them, not in so many words, but in a kind of emotional blackmail of “Here, look at my sadness and vulnerability. Now meet my needs for acceptance, for security, for certainty, for worthiness,” and she’s not doing that because she’s turned off, because he’s needy. That literally is neediness. That man is needing her to meet his needs and his, quote-unquote, “vulnerability” is a baby’s cry. It’s a child’s cry for love, connection, significance and certainty, and he’s not able to do that for himself and so he spills his emotional guts to her, and that’s what he thinks of as vulnerability.
Now, that’s one, I suppose, one definition or one way to look at vulnerability, but that’s needy vulnerability. That’s when you’re not able to meet your own needs, and so then you’re emotionally blackmailing her to meet your needs, and when that doesn’t happen, these guys just chuck the whole concept of vulnerability out the window and say, Then I can never be myself with women because they won’t really love me. But what has really happened is he needs therapy. He needs the therapeutic process. He needs to learn how to meet his own needs in himself and then he can be as vulnerable as he wants. [21:15.8]
Now that’s sounds an oxymoron to a lot of guys, because, first of all, they don’t know what it feels like to be able to meet your own needs fully and yet still be sad, because the immature think that meeting your own needs means you’re always happy and always up and always positive, and everything is always great.
That’s actually a really boring one-dimensional life. But to them, that’s the end-all and be-all, and so they can’t even understand and conceptualize how pleasurable sadness can be. It sounds oxymoronic to them. They’re so afraid of sadness that they can’t even stand it. This is most guys. That’s why most guys get stuck in terms of their emotional growth and they get emotionally stunted. They should take my courses, obviously—that’s why I made those courses—or they could find a good therapist and stick to and commit to that therapy over the course of months and years. [22:08.0]
Do you struggle in your interactions with women or in your intimate relationship? Are fear, shame, or neediness sabotaging your relationships or attractiveness? In my Platinum Partnership Program, you’ll discover how to transform your psychological issues, improve your success with women, and uncover your true self.
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Okay, so the second point is that what guy’s mistake vulnerability for being is actually neediness, and if you’re needy and vulnerable, it doesn’t matter if you’re actually really being vulnerable, because you’re needy. Neediness will destroy and sabotage everything when it comes to a man’s attractiveness. [23:06.5]
However, the opposite also is true. If you’re not needy, then you can be vulnerable, and, in fact, if you do that, it might even be attractive and very likely will be attractive. Let me illustrate this with examples from my own life, and I’ve noticed that especially needy guys or white knights, or nice guys, like to hear and take encouragement from hearing my own vulnerabilities.
I’ve shared in many other videos about the time I was suicidal. How many years would it have been by now? It was nine years ago, and during that time, I was suicidal because I was coming out of being cheated on by the girl that I had been seeing in an exclusive relationship for a few years already and in a kind of public way. We were featured as a couple in newspapers and magazines and that sort of thing. [24:03.3]
Then having been cheated on, it was even for my narcissistic parts, at the time, my parts that were acting and behaving narcissistically, that was an even bigger blow, arguably, the biggest blow. But, of course, there was also the loss of love and connection, and then the loss of certainty, and then the blow to my significance and worthiness, and so forth.
I didn’t know anything about psychotherapy. I didn’t respect any of it at the time and I didn’t take it seriously at that time, so I ended up being quite suicidal because I didn’t have any hope. I didn’t see any way out of it. I could just claw my way back into confidence and I’d be the man again, and I know a lot of guys think that’s all there is, but, to me, that’s empty. I already had it, don’t think it’s a big deal.
I already had all the pleasure I wanted, so most of the guys in the world, whatever they’re striving for, money, power, women, by that point already, I wasn’t excited by any of that and I didn’t think there was any real value in it. But that’s all I knew, so I just jumped back in there and I got it. I got the money, the power and the women. [25:04.1]
I was living it up, but, inside, I was empty. It felt like everything was meaningless and I felt like life was meaningless. As a philosopher—I was literally a professor of philosophy—I was armed to the teeth with all of the arguments to prove to you that life is meaningless and that there’s no moral goodness, there’s no objective goodness and so forth.
I’d be on dates with very attractive women who I just had no enthusiasm with because I just didn’t have enthusiasm for life, and I’d meet attractive women in bars or at parties and I would just start talking about how I thought life was meaningless and that I felt it was empty, and that I had so much love in me to give, but that I felt that there wasn’t anyone that deserved it that I could give it to. [25:51.6]
This was at the time when I was still just processing the fact that my, at that time, two- or three-year-old goddaughter was what really opened up the floodgate of love flowing from me, and so I felt the love there. Once a month or so, when I was able to meet with her during this period, that was the reason I was staying alive, really.
But other than that, in between my play dates with my goddaughter, I felt that life was pretty pointless. I had friends, so I had plenty of affection and fun times and that sort of thing. I had plenty of pleasure. I had a lot of pleasure, but it was all empty, right? It was just sort of like just gorging yourself on the best hotel buffets and just the fun, and ego-stroking. If you’re a deep person, if you’re a deep thinker, you’ll quickly realize how empty all of that is in the grander scheme of things and how it doesn’t lead to fulfillment or abiding happiness in life.
I’d be talking about having my heart broken by my ex, how much I loved my goddaughter, how I felt life was meaningless, how much love I had to give. I’d be looking them deeply in the eyes to see if they understood me. “Do you get it? Do you feel me? Do you get it?” and the only time I had any kind of enthusiasm was when talking about my goddaughter or something. [27:10.0]
I was in a depressed place. Twenty-nine out of 30 days on average, I would feel like, What’s the point? I’d drag myself out of bed. I’d still be meditating, still be going to the gym, because I had nothing else to do, really. I was still taking guys out to the clubs and coaching. I was still lecturing on philosophy, psychology, and, of course, dating skills, and I had just begun my study of psychotherapy. But, largely, what was happening was, throughout these three- or four-hour dates or when I was one-on-one with a woman, I was just a sad guy.
I was literally sad and I would share my sadness, and I would think, the whole time I’d be thinking when I was doing this, You probably will leave at any moment. I was like, You’re going to excuse yourself to the bathroom and I might not see you again. I was totally ready for that. I was totally okay with it because I wasn’t looking for her to meet my needs for me. I was able to meet my own new needs the most I could, but I wasn’t asking her to meet my needs. [28:09.3]
I wasn’t asking anyone outside of me to meet my own needs. I just felt that this was the truth of life that anyone who didn’t feel this way was deluded, and, in many ways, I still believe that because a lot of people are just going around uncritically trying to live a hedonistic lifestyle. Largely, they’re not reflective about it because they’re failing at the hedonistic lifestyle.
Those who succeed at attaining it, only then can you realize, Wow, I worked so hard for this pleasure and this ego-stroking and it’s still unfulfilling, and those are the people I get. Those are the people that get me and I get them, but they are the minority. [28:45.8]
But, anyway, I’m on these dates and just being me and vulnerable in my sadness and the emptiness of life. But none of that stopped me from being attractive apparently and it turned out it was not so much that it worked, as in vulnerability was some kind of technique, but instead that because I wasn’t asking them or looking to them to meet those needs for me, I was simply sharing and expressing my true, authentic feelings and thoughts that that didn’t detract from my attractiveness. In fact, since that was all I was doing, the only thing I was doing, it was actually creating attractiveness, because it’s attractive when you have the courage to be vulnerable and not require others to meet your needs for you.
There’s a great dramatic illustration of this in the movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson, called The Departed, which is a remake of a famous Hong Kong movie. There’s a scene in it where DiCaprio is in the basement of the shrink, the female love interest, the main female love interest in the movie, and he’s just being kind of mopey, kind of down, and for good reason. If you watch the movie, you can understand that. [30:00.0]
There’s not much of this witty banter. There isn’t this charming, funny, all of that outgoing stuff that nice guys and social nerds think is what you need to be to be attractive, and that’s what I used to think back, 17 years ago, when I first started in this understanding of attractiveness. But, instead, he’s just being himself, but he wasn’t needy. He was being vulnerable because that’s actually what she said, in that that’s the line in the movie. “Is this vulnerability real?” she says to him. “I think so,” he says, and then, in the next scene, they hook up. They have sex in her room, no bedroom there. He’s just being him. It’s the authentic him. That’s in the movie anyway, the character in the movie.
That’s a great depiction of it. I’ve shown this as a great contrast when I was teaching dating skills between the DiCaprio character in that movie and the Matt Damon character in the movie. The Matt Damon character in that movie is the witty, charming, funny guy, the outgoing guy with the one-liners and all that, the comebacks, and it turns out that works at the beginning.
It’s flash, right? It gets you attention. It can create some attraction and you can hook up. You can have sex with from that and that’s one way to go. It’s sort of like the Vince Vaughn, the stereotypical Vince Vaughn characters in the pickup type movies, like Wedding Crashers and Swingers. That works. That’s one persona that can work. [31:19.0]
There’s another persona that’s a vulnerability one and that’s more of the tortured artist. Johnny Depp does this sort of character quite well. DiCaprio in The Departed does it really well and he does it really well even in the office with the shrink where he kind of loses it on her, because he’s just being himself, and that’s a different kind of vulnerability.
That’s a vulnerability where you’re displaying anger and frustration. You’re still being vulnerable because you’re authentic and open. Then the vulnerability of finding her outside the office and asking her if she wants to grab a coffee or something. That whole thing, that whole transition, right? And then, later on, into her bedroom is a great illustration of a guy who didn’t need her to meet his needs and yet he was still feeling sadness or whatever vulnerable emotions that he was feeling. [32:10.7]
Now, I know some nice guys are going to be like, But that’s not vulnerability, and fair enough. If you don’t call that vulnerability, if your word “vulnerability” means neediness, then I will tell you, you’re right. If vulnerability equals neediness, which is how many nice guys understand it, then vulnerability will not create attraction, for sure, because vulnerability, in your definition, is actually neediness and that’s the opposite of what you need to do to be attractive. That’s the attraction killer. That’s the one thing that will spoil and pollute any other thing you’ve got going for you in terms of attractiveness. [32:48.0]
But vulnerability, in my understanding of it and in the psychotherapeutic understanding of the term “vulnerability”, isn’t about trying to make somebody else meet your needs, because that’s actually mentally unhealthy. Instead, it’s a separate issue about you learning to meet your own needs and yet still feeling sadness, a lack of connection. Your inner-child parts and any other parts are feeling the need for connection and love, and significance, the need for worthiness and so forth, and maybe meaning in life like my philosophical parts, and searching for those, and yet you are able to be with them even in their sadness.
There are plenty of times in your therapeutic journey when your inner-child part is grieving over a past trauma, maybe sexual abuse as a child or maybe a loved one who passed away early in your life and you haven’t mourned them or grieved them fully. In the therapy, in the therapeutic process, you get to finally allow these parts of you to feel fully the emotions they’ve been repressing that they felt like it was not okay to feel.
But now, because of the presence of your higher self, it’s okay for these parts to be felt, to feel these emotions that were not okay before. It’s okay for them now because now they’re in the presence of your higher self and your higher self can give them a big warm embrace and let it be okay for them to feel these, because your higher self can take it. [34:12.0]
It’s not that now everything’s hunky-dory and positive and you’re always like in The Lego Movie, right? Like everything is always positive. That’s fake positivity. That’s not what therapy’s about. Therapy isn’t just to make you all happy all the time. If that’s all you want, just go to amusement parks and do drugs or whatever, and that won’t ever actually work in the long run. But that’s just pleasure.
But if you want real healing, you have to follow sadness, and then eventually you’ll find how cathartic staying with your sadness is. It’s like a high. If everything’s hunky-dory in your life and you are experienced with the therapeutic process, you’re going to start missing the cathartic feeling of staying with sadness, because it’s a beautiful feeling. [34:57.2]
Sadness is just one of many emotions that will make you feel vulnerable, and only if you’re a higher self or maybe the higher self of your therapist is able to be with those parts that are feeling these vulnerable emotions, only then will they feel cathartic, because only then will they feel seen, understood, appreciated for how they’re feeling and what they’re going through. I mean, I’m talking about the parts in you. Then they will be able to let go of their burdens. Then you’ll have that lightness of being. But you’ve got to go through the process, and the process itself is an incredibly enjoyable process, if you lean into it or if you just let it unfold.
That’s the second point. Vulnerability and attraction, depending on how you understand vulnerability, it either is neediness, and then, of course, it would taint your attractiveness; or if your vulnerability is simply being with emotions that feel vulnerable, like sadness, staying with the hurt, staying with missing the loved one that you’ve lost, or the trauma and the abuse or the sad things that have happened to you and being okay to embrace your inner child and let them feel the love coming from you—because you simultaneously are feeling courage, confidence, compassion, and love, and all the hurt and the sadness, because there are two parts in you. There’s the inner-child part and then there’s your higher self. [36:19.7]
That’s the second point, vulnerability—you can be attractive while being vulnerable, depending on how you understand vulnerability, as long as you don’t understand vulnerability as neediness—then the third point being attractiveness is different from love.
In a relationship, if what you want is a love relationship and not just a hookup and not just wanting to be sexually attractive to women—which is in itself sort of like just focusing on the opening course of a long tasting menu, right? That’s like focusing on the first pitch or the first inning—if what you want is actually a love relationship that will last over time and will deepen and grow over time, if what you want is real intimacy, then in that case, attraction shouldn’t be the main thing you’re thinking of or optimizing for. [37:07.3]
But it’s one of the elements, because in order to keep the passion going, you’re going to have to be able to meet your own needs, because insofar as you’re asking your wife to meet your needs for you, you’re going to be not attractive. For a relationship to seed and be passionate over the long haul, you’re going to have to be able to meet your own needs so that you can get your neediness under control for yourself.
Already, that’s blowing the minds of a lot of nice guys, because the whole reason or the whole purpose of getting into a relationship for a nice guy is to get all your needs met by her, your emotional needs, your physical needs, your sexual needs, by somebody else, and that’s actually what a baby wants. That’s actually the needs of a child.
The child’s cries are “Meet my needs for me, Mom, Dad, the other caregivers,” and these nice guys are trying to recreate that dynamic and they feel so empty and lonely inside until they get it and they don’t know what love is. They don’t actually understand what a love relationship is. They don’t actually understand what it would take to have a successful intimate relationship. [38:13.2]
What it takes is that both parties are able to meet their own needs in themselves to a high level, and I’ve done many episodes on this. The Magical Kitchen metaphor. Just look up “unconditional love David Tian” and you’ll find I’ve done multiple seminars and episodes on this. I have a whole module on this in the “Rock Solid Relationships” course, what an unconditional love relationship looks like between two fully independent, mature people, who are able to meet their own needs in themselves.
Okay, just wanting to point that out. If what you’re actually after is love, then there’s a lot more than just being sexually attractive, in case that’s not obvious, but it is one element, a necessary element of a passionate relationship. Okay, attraction and love, that’s the third point. [39:00.5]
If you’re not clear on the distinction between sexual attractiveness, and being worthy of that and being worthy of love, I’ve done an entire episode, a seminar, a video seminar on attraction versus love. You can actually look it up on YouTube or google “David Tian attraction vs. love” and you should be able to find it.
Okay, just to recap, I’ve covered the one thing that makes the difference, the difference that makes a difference, which is neediness and non-neediness. If you add neediness in there with any other attractive quality, it destroys it. It pollutes it. It sabotages it.
If you’re missing non-neediness, it doesn’t matter what other attractive qualities you have. You’re not going to be attractive. But once you have non-neediness, once you’ve met the one metric, the one criterion, the one major thing, then any other attractive quality on top of that that you’ve got—like you’re physically fit. You’ve got great fashion. You’ve got good body language. You’ve got good vocal control. Whatever, right? All that good stuff you throw on there—that’s all going to help, but that’s just like the icing on the cake. That’s just to get you over the finish line, right, or it’s the last 10% percent tweaking. But the bulk of it is going to be from the neediness and the non-neediness. [40:14.0]
Okay, the second point is vulnerability and attractiveness, and making and the connection between vulnerability and neediness, and then being non-needy. In other words, you’re able to meet your own needs or you’re there for the parts of you that are feeling these vulnerable emotions so you don’t need someone else to do it for you. You don’t need her to be your therapist. You don’t need her to be your mom, but you’re able to do it yourself.
You’re not looking to her to give you acceptance or appreciate you. You’re just expressing your honest thoughts and feelings and so forth, and you’re okay with her rejecting you or whatever. That’s when you’re not needy. When you’re not needy and you’re vulnerable, then your vulnerability can become very attractive.
Then the third point being simply that attractiveness is obviously different. Hopefully, now it’s obvious that it’s different from love, and that if you want love relationship, you’re going to need a lot more than simply sexual attractiveness. But sexual attractiveness is a necessary ingredient in a successful, passionate relationship. [41:07.2]
Okay, so we’ve covered a lot of ground here. Thank you so much for listening. I would love to hear your feedback on anything I’ve covered here, so please leave it in the comments. I read every one and I respond to as many as I can. Thank you so much for the feedback and support up till now in this podcast, and please share this podcast with anyone you think would benefit from it.
Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out. [41:35.8]
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