A lot of young men looking for love fall into a dangerous trap:
They think their value—whether social, economic, entertainment, sexual, or otherwise—is what attracts women to them. But if you build a relationship based on value, you will never find true, unconditional love. And this is needy in nature.
Because unconditional love can’t be earned, by definition. It’s not based on value, hierarchies, or anything else.
In this episode, you’ll discover how to attract unconditional love without relying on your value like most people try to do.
Listen to this episode now, obliterate your neediness, and find unconditional love.
Show highlights include:
- The 2-second mindset flip that instantly eradicates your neediness (0:57)
- The shocking reason why most people never experience real love (even when they think they’re in a loving relationship) (5:38)
- How men searching for unconditional love sacrifice their present happiness for future pain (and how to prevent this) (6:19)
- Why becoming more valuable can actually make finding true love harder (8:18)
- 13 scientifically-backed reasons why women will find you more attractive (15:05)
- The weird way seeing a sex surrogate can help you find unconditional love (22:14)
- The insidious way waiting for unconditional love makes you needier than a spoiled two-year-old (35:18)
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 am David Tian, your host.
In the previous podcast, we covered the myth of earned love and the connected trap of trying to be your best self in order to earn that love. We also touched on a lot of important concepts, such as the twin terrors, neediness, core insecurities, worthiness, and we concluded by looking at or beginning to look at the danger of conflating different kinds of value—and that’s what we’re going to go into in more depth on here in this episode. [00:50.3]
A big payoff of this examination of what it takes to be worthy of love or to be enough is that if you believe firmly, confidently, 10 out of 10, that you are the of love, then that brings your neediness down as a natural consequence to a zero out of 10, and it makes you non need. If you’re that way, then you will be naturally maximally attractive in terms of your personality. You’ll be naturally attractive.
In case it’s not obvious what that means, it is that whatever you’re saying, thinking, feeling, and wanting to do, or your motivations, your intentions, will be right in line with what is attractive sexually as a man, especially as a man because of the non-neediness and attractiveness equation. I covered all of that in the previous episode.
But even more important than simply being naturally attractive, far more important, is that you will find and this is the only way to find true lasting fulfillment, peace, joy, and love. This is the only way to actually have these as consistent default states in your life. They require this belief, this conviction that you are enough, that you are worthy of love. [02:11.5]
If you don’t believe that you’re enough, then nothing else will matter. If you don’t believe you’re worthy of love, nothing else that you accomplish or create will actually bring lasting fifth fulfillment, peace, joy, or love. In fact, it will sabotage any love relationship that you find yourself in or end up in, in the long run, and it will Al also sabotage your fulfillment and lasting peace and, therefore, your consistent joy in life.
Most people, especially achievers, who take as a default the view that they need to earn love or earn their worth end up spending most of their lives trying to earn it and never finding that lasting happiness, that lasting fulfillment, and one of the most tragic elements of this is that they may not notice this until the very end of their lives because there’s always something more that you can do. [03:11.0]
Even when you do well and you’ve met your goal, as you get close to meeting that goal or especially when you’ve met that goal, if it’s a big goal that you’ve been spending years striving towards, when you finally get it or get close to getting it, the belief that you’re not enough for love, that you’re not good enough just in who you are, but that you have to go and earn it, that belief will come along in sabotage any lasting fulfillment that you would get from achieving those goals—because what’s going to happen? Necessarily what will have to happen is you’re going to have to ratchet it up. You’re going to have to raise the bar. You’re going to have to raise the standards. You can’t settle.
You can’t rest, because if you do that means that well, you could lose it. In addition, you’re not getting anywhere. You’re not going anywhere further and it always requires this sense of unease and a sense of urgency to get to the next goal, to earn your self-worth. [04:04.0]
This is why that myth of earned love is so dangerous, because if you buy into this myth of earned love, which most of the world, especially most achievers have bought into as their basic mode of operation in life. This is their stand coping strategy, their standard defensive mechanism to not have to deal with the pain of their vulnerability, of not being loved or not feeling as if they’re loved just in who they are, but they have to go and do stuff. They have to go and earn it. They have to go and achieve in order to be worthy of love.
One of the most pernicious aspects of self-help, which is generally quite toxic already, is this refrain that you hear over and over in all of the different contents that self-help makes about being your best self. On the surface of it, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you enjoy this process of learning, then, by all means, go for it. It’s like if you like to play basketball, by all means, go play basketball. [05:03.6]
But if you’re striving to be your best self, because unless you become your best self, if you believe that unless you become your best self, then you’re not worthy of love or you’re not enough, then that becomes toxic. It’s so ingrained in self-development, personal development, self-help, this idea that you have to be your best self in order to be worthy of your ideal woman or in order to be worthy of happiness or of some reward down the road, and only then can you feel that you are significant, that you are enough, that you are worthy, then that obviously—hopefully, it’s obvious to you by this point if you’ve been listening to of my episodes—obviously this is toxic.
Any earned love is not real love, because if you are not loved for who you are and you’re only loved or primarily loved for what you can do, then at any point you could stop doing those things or you could become incapable of doing those things, and yet still exist, yet still have your being, and yet then you would not be worthy of love anymore, then that’s not love. That’s like admiration. That’s liking. That’s respect. That’s being used. It’s not love. [06:17.8]
Unfortunately, most people never discover this truth or only discover it very late in their lives, and they end up spending a lot of time in their lives on pursuits that don’t actually bring them the fulfillment and happiness and sense of self-worth that they were hoping would come through all of that hard work and labor and sacrifice. You don’t want to sacrifice your present happiness for future pain. That’s the worst bargain you can make, but most people and a lot of achievers do this.
Okay, I’ve made many podcasts episodes on unconditional love, so I’m not going to repeat all of those points here. Instead, I’m going to come at it a different way, through the point or concept of value. In this episode, I’ve got three broad points and the first one is about and expanding on the previous, the last point in the previous episode, which is on the different kinds of value. [07:11.4]
A lot of men think of love and worthiness in terms of value, especially those who had come through dating advice, and back in the day over 17 years ago when I first started learning and training in getting better with women, in the broader context of the pickup artist world, there was an obsession with social value.
One of my old mentors created a course about value and social value, and talked a lot about value. I found already at the very beginning of just learning about this concept of value of social value to feel quite a lot of tension with earlier views of value. [07:54.0]
My old profession was as a university professor in the department of philosophy, specializing in moral psychology, and one of my main fields was ethics and, of course, value is a loaded term in ethics, in moral philosophy. It was important every time for me to specify that what these dating skills practitioners or students had in mind wasn’t just value, in general, but social value.
But very often they never specified, so they just kept using the word value. “What’s your value? How much value do you have?” the idea simply being, the more value you have, the more attractive you’ll be as a man. That was the equation back then. There wasn’t much focus on neediness, but one of my first mentors focused mostly on value, and you could see it in his own life. He was focused on building more value, especially in terms of being an entrepreneur in business because I think the underlying motivation there was that then he would be a more valuable human being, and as a concomitant of that, being a more attractive male, a more attractive man. [09:02.7]
Examples of Jay-Z was a common one that came up. Jay-Z is of more value than the average guy in the street. Therefore, Jay-Z is more attractive to women, in general. On the face of it, just the very simple equation of value to attractiveness seemed to be true there intuitively. Okay, I can see why that makes sense why Jay-Z would be more attractive, even if physically speaking, he’s just maybe average or something. Then you can extend that to Bill Gates or Elon Musk, providing more value.
Again, now this is providing value, creating value, from this mentor’s perspective, and in the economic sense or capitalist sense, would then somehow create more attractiveness in this person. The more value you have and can create, or have created or have brought, then the more attractive you’ll be. Then this value to attractiveness equation where they’re directly proportional or largely proportionate, what was being pursued. Let’s make more value in our lives. [10:00.3]
This was very common for about a decade in the PUA world and is an extension of how many people evaluate their own value and the value of others in a normal, or modern, I should say, modern capitalist economy, that the more value you create or bring, or can create or have or own, the more attractive you ought to be.
Now, there’s no question that in terms of economic value, the more value you create, the more units of production or whatever the unit that you want to measure is that you have or can create or have created, the higher your economic value is.
The same thing with military value. The more that you can contribute to certain military goals, the more value you would have to the military. Therefore, you’d have more military value. The same with political value. The more you can contribute to the political party or to whatever political goals, the more value you would have toward them with respect to those political goals. You’d have higher or lower political value. Sure, great. [11:05.2]
It makes sense from a social context or in a social context, let’s say, a nightclub that Jay-Z would have more value in the nightclub in terms of social value there, because you can spend a lot more than the average person and he’s bringing celebrity status or attention and so on. Then what my old mentor would say is that he has created songs that we dance to, insofar as he has created these songs that we like. He has created value and, therefore, that makes it more valuable than the average person.
These are all different types of value, but there’s social value in there. There’s some economic value. There’s some entertainment value in there, all mixed in there. If you, as I did for many years, saw myself and evaluated myself and graded/rated myself in terms of my value, and that being pegged to my attractiveness as a man, sexual attractiveness, you can also notice, by the way, there’s mating value. [12:00.8]
That’s a more specific term that you find in some disciplines of academia, especially evolutionary psychology and some other branches of psychology. In fact, there’s a great book called mating intelligence unleashed that introduces this concept of mate value or mating value. It does a very good job of fleshing out that concept, but you don’t need to know the specifics or the history of this term if you’ve just studied some basic evolutionary psychology.
In the textbooks on evolutionary psychology, the famous ones, the most definitive one that get updated quite frequently is the one by David Buss and in the textbooks on evolutionary psychology, and David Buss and other evolutionary psychologists and social psychologists have spelled out and have studied for many years the different factors that women find more attractive, or qualities or characteristics that women find most attractive in men and vice versa, what men find most attractive in women, both in terms of personality and physical qualities. [13:00.5]
The more of these you have, the more or the higher your mating value, just stands to reason, right? You can even think of it in terms of a specific type of mating value, which is sexual value, and a lot of guys think of sexual value. Of course, they don’t have that concept in mind or the terms in mind, but they’re constant. They’re often frequently, especially in their teens, evaluating women in terms of their sexual value. How hot is she? Especially for any guys who is looking through porn, which is almost every human male who has access to the internet and has done this, and every woman has done this as well, has gone through puberty, naturally evaluating members of the opposite sex for how hot they are, how much sexual value they have for the person.
One way of going about becoming more attractive to women is simply by going systematically, raising your value in the specific types of value that matter when it comes to attractiveness, which is social value, sexual value, mating value. I mean, there’s a lot of overlap in those concepts and terms, economic value, fitness value, your sports value, just becoming or scoring higher on all the metrics that matter when it comes to being attractive. [14:16.4]
If you haven’t done this already, if you haven’t thought through this common sense approach yet, it’s very simple. Just grab a textbook on dating intelligence or mating intelligence, or evolutionary psychology and mating, and there are many lists that have some research backing them for what women find most attractive in men. They’re very common-sense lists. You’re not going to find anything very surprising there.
The problem is most men who might know this in the background, the back of their mind, they don’t think that’s available to them. They don’t know how to systematically go about accruing these personality traits, because they haven’t learned how to cultivate character, right? Then they look for cheats and hacks, and that, unfortunately, seems to be the majority of what I find on YouTube and other internet platforms. [15:04.0]
In fact, just now I paused the recording here to go grab off my shelf, the textbook, Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind. This is now, I don’t know, in the seventh edition. It’s David Buss. Here, and I’m just reading from the table of contents, he has got the content of women’s mate preferences, women’s long-term mating strategies. Okay, what have they been proven to have a preference for? A preference for economic resources, good financial prospects, high social status, somewhat older men, ambition and industriousness, dependability and stability, height and athletic prowess, symmetry and masculinity, love and commitment. A preference for willingness to invest in children, for similarity, and kindness, humor, incest avoidance, and voice. All of those have backed up behind them empirical evidence.
Some of them, you can’t do anything about height, though, of course, you could wear shoes with a bit of a heel or maybe give you a bit more height. You could dress in a way that makes you look taller. There are all kinds of things you could do to kind of give a little bit of an edge, but there are some things you really can’t do that much about. [16:12.2]
But there are most of these things you can do a lot about. You can increase or raise your financial prospects. You can increase your economic capabilities or resources. You can develop humor and all of these, almost all of these, can be developed, so you just go about systematically doing that, just like what I did for my PhD.
I sat down and looked at all the skills I needed to master to do this, and there were many languages I had to master, a lot of different skills and different disciplines. I had to figure out what the courses were and take those, and do well in them and practice them and so on, and then go find the mentors who were the best at each of the most important core skills and spend a semester or more with them, studying closely with them, and systematically going about building this. It’s the same when it comes to becoming more attractive. [16:57.7]
I know for a lot of guys who are used to the cheat and hack route, because I think what’s happened is so many guys have failed to become good at systematically building their social value, their mating value, because of the psychotherapeutic problems that they have that block them from doing so. But if you don’t have the psychotherapeutic blocks, the systematic building of mating value is relatively straightforward.
But even then—I’m going to put that caveat, “even then”—so that’s what I did to become successful with women, to become much better with women than I started out, and it was a process of about a year and a half, two years before I had exceeded my initial dating-skills goals and was really living up, living it up and making up for my lost twenties, lost twenties from social, partying and hooking up, having sexual experiences standpoint, and making up for it in a year and a half, two years, and then more.
But it was still empty and here’s why—because these value hierarchies, these value metrics of economic value, social value, sexual value, mating value, whatever value, none of these are about you having intrinsic worth, but instead you having to go and earn it or something that you own or possess instead. [18:12.8]
In this way, you can see that there is a value hierarchy. Maybe that’s obvious, right? There are some people who have more of it and some people who have less of it, or some people who are higher up on the value hierarchy and some people who are lower on the value hierarchy, the idea being you start off lower and you work at making yourself higher.
There are some cheats and things like that, but, overall, in the long term, you want to have real value. I mean, that’s obvious, right? You don’t want to be relying on a fake value. But even then it’s empty, because you don’t want to be loved for what you can do or what you have, or own or possess. You want to be loved for you, who you are.
Now, you might object, especially if you’re younger and say, Actually, I’m not after love. I just want more sex. I just want hot sex with hot girls. I mentioned this in the previous episode, find somebody else to follow my material. This content is not for you, okay? [19:09.0]
But I also challenge you just before you go that I don’t think that what you’re really after is primarily sex, because if it were, there are much easier ways to go and get sex with hot girls than remaking your personality than systematically building your social value in order to be worthy of attraction from hot women, if it was just sex that you were after.
Now, I fully concur that there are cases when it might just be primarily sex, because you’re a horny or you’ve been deprived of sex, or you’re just young and immature and that is maybe a dominant thought in your mind, and that’s just something that you kind of sow your wild oats and that’s definitely an aspect of growing up. [19:54.7]
I actually think it’s unfortunate in a lot of the moralistic countries, especially the moralistic West, but it’s not limited to just the Western countries, any kind of cultural repression around sex and sexuality will result naturally where, because the sexual urges are repressed, they’re going to come out in other ways, come out in ways that are taboo and in ways that are uncontrolled, and in ways that are warped because it is underground, so to speak.
There’s very little maturing of it and you’ll see this in a lot of sexually-repressed societies or countries or places where young men and women end up fetishizing sex and not being able to benefit from wisdom of those who are further along in their journey, like myself, in this area, and they end up not being able to develop their sexual psychology or even their sexual technique, how they are in the bedroom. It becomes a very one-dimensional hush-hush taboo act in the shadows. [21:02.3]
I’ve actually covered this in the series I did on the shadow as part of the sexual energies as being repressed into the dark, into the shadows, instead of integrating those into a harmonious, mentally-healthy whole.
But, anyway, it would benefit many men, especially who get confused, especially young men in their twenties who get confused about whether they were really after sex or also want love. I’m also talking to those guys who are adamant that they don’t want sex at all, blah, blah, blah, because of their moralistic stances where they’re repressing their sexuality into the shadows as well—so on both sides of that equation, the ones who think that they’re overly dominated by sex and the ones who think that sex has nothing to do with it at all.
If it’s an intimate relationship, you’d hope that there’s going to be some sex there. Otherwise, you’re just trying to look for a great female friend. That’s right, there’s sex involved there. But, unfortunately, it’s hard for young men in a lot of the world to be able to separate those, to be able to spot the differences, to be able to tease those out, to be able to tell the difference between when they’re motivated by sex and what their deeper need is love. [22:12.0]
I actually think that if you could stop all the trafficking, sex trafficking that happens in any kind of nonconsensual consensuality to it, and you could have just like empowered as strippers, you could have sex workers who are fully in it with their eyes open and this is a career choice they’ve made, just as we do have sex therapists and sex surrogates, which is, as far as I can tell, a respectable profession.
But actually if you could afford it, you might want to just go with a sex surrogate to help you get over or at least be able to explore your needs for sexuality in your life and to be able to own those more fully. I have no references to sex surrogates at all. I’ve never tried them and I don’t know any personally, so don’t write to me asking for any. But you could Google them in your area, your country, or your town or whatever, and see what comes up. [23:04.0]
But I’m also saying that there’s no shame around exploring the options or avenues of, again, absent any illegal sex trafficking or any non-consensual activity, the potential for exploring and just getting out of your system your need for sex, which is a biological need. Totally get it and you want to be able to get that need met on its own, so as in the words of There’s Something About Mary, the classic movie, you’re not going out with a loaded gun or a loaded weapon, right? You want to be able to think more clearly and see more clearly when you’ve gotten your sexual needs met. Then you notice the emotional needs are much stronger and much deeper.
But if you haven’t even gotten your sexual needs met, especially for young men in their twenties, it’s very confusing because you have them all mixed up together. Maybe you’ve experienced this where you get into a relationship with a girl that you were just sexually attracted to at first, then you catch the feels, you get attached, and then things start to go awry because you get really needy. Voila, there you go. There are your sexual needs now being met, but then, uh-oh, you’ve got these emotional needs that you weren’t even paying attention to that sabotaged the whole thing. [24:15.8]
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Okay, so it’s important to be able to tease those out. There are different types of value, sexual value, mating value, social value. Got it. But even if you were to check the box on all of those and you are then to be worthy—in your mind, you’re hoping that now you’ve got your 10 out of 10 or whatever, you’re high enough, nine or eight out of 10 on social value, sexual value, mating value, all the different types of value hierarchies that you were gaming with—and now you’re up there and now you’ve got this girl, guess what? You’ve got this girl, you earned this woman, based on you doing this stuff.
At any point, you could get hit by a car and lose your ability to do some of that stuff. You could get a traumatic brain injury and forget a bunch of things, or you could regress back to the way you were before, you learned all of those things and worked all of that, all these achievements and all that. You might think, Oh well.
What stands to reason is she will abandon you, right, if you can no longer bring home the bacon, if you can no longer make her laugh or whatever the heck your social value is based on, if you lose your six pack, if you get hit by a car and you get disfigured in your face, if you end up in a wheelchair, if you lose a limb? [26:09.4]
The reason she was with you was because the way you earned it was by jacking up your value on the hierarchy. Now you fall back low down on it. She should leave you. Notice that that, therefore, she was not actually loving you, which it might be just fine if you go in with your eyes open sort of like a prostitution arrangement, right?—okay, I’m going to provide these forms of value. In exchange, you’ll provide whatever sexual value or whatever the dude wants—then just realize that that’s a barter exchange. I mean, that’s an exchange of value there.
It’s a value exchange and that’s all it is. It would’ve been better if you had protected it with a real contract, so you can enforce it in some way, but, hey, if it’s an unspoken contract, that’s how most, 90 percent or more of relationships go, because how many people have actually thought through these issues and these concepts, and these terms and the meanings of them that I’m bringing up here in this podcast? [27:04.3]
Yet what happens is they get surprised. They get blindsided, especially the men I’ve seen who get bitter and end up joining Red Pill or MGTOW or whatever, and engage in a kind of nihilism. “There’s no point to any of it. Let’s just destroy the whole hierarchy,” that kind of thing. They get blindsided because they thought it was love, when really the whole freaking time the guy was earning it by doing all of this stuff to jack up his value on the hierarchy.
Then he’s surprised when he falls lower on the hierarchy or the hierarchy and the standard rises up around him faster than he can keep up, or what happens is the woman now has access to men higher up on the hierarchy that she didn’t before and now he’s, relatively speaking, lower on the hierarchy and she just chooses a higher up guy.
This is what the Red Pill guys and the MGTOW get so pissed off about when they complain about hypergamy, female hypergamy. They’ll just switch up to the higher, the harder one. Dudes who were doing this before until they got stuck on the hierarchy at a certain point and they couldn’t get a hotter girl, now they’re lower on it and now they complain, because they’ve lost. [28:12.0]
Notice none of this has anything to do with love, right? You could be worthy of a pay raise and that would be pegged to your value to the company or to your value to the economy or whatever, capitalism or whatever, right? Military value, right? You’re more valuable to the military, so you deserve a commission or something like along those lines. That makes sense.
But when it comes to love, there is no hierarchy. When it comes to love, just by you existing and you being you, you are enough. There’s nothing more that you can do. It’s got nothing to do with your possessions. You don’t earn love because you’ve got fancy clothes or a nice car or a six pack. It’s just that you are you and you are deserving of love from the moment you were born, and very likely from the moment you were conceived. I haven’t thought enough about that, but I think so. I’ve just had my son, and the moment we got the ultrasound, I was already in love with him and he did not have to do anything to earn it beyond just existing. [29:10.6]
Now, a lot of guys, here’s an objection, I should put this out there right away, “Oh yeah, David, I’m not talking about the love of a mother for a child. That’s not what I’m after,” and I totally agree that there’s unconditional love there. I’m talking about unconditional love from a woman and these are the guys who are in pain and that’s my second point.
But just before I go to the second point to address this objection, I just want to finish off that first point about value and value hierarchies. Notice that when you fall down on the value hierarchy, there are actually in history, well-studied moments in history and they were all throughout history when society has actually acted on these value hierarchies.
The idea of human rights is a relatively new one, especially codified in any way in human history, and earlier on, I mean, there’s lots of slavery recorded like servanthood that was basically like slavery or being peasants that were basically in some kind of indentured servitude to the emperor or the king, but there are even more egregious examples of value and status hierarchies that have no room for love. [30:14.5]
If you’re going to play that game, don’t expect there to be any kind of fulfillment from it. It’s a purely Machiavellian one. If the world, the systems that you’re working in operate that way, like your company does, you’d better learn what the hierarchy is, because then you won’t be surprised when you don’t get the raise because you didn’t put in the commensurate value. Don’t be surprised. But that’s not love. Don’t get confused there.
When you say “I’m enough” or “I’m worthy” or my core insecurities that are sabotaging my attractiveness and creating all this neediness, they actually don’t have anything to do. The illusion is that they have something to do with your other types of value, but they don’t, because even if you had all those other types of value, there’s going to be that doubt in your mind—that should be there if you’re rational, if you’re thinking through it or if you’re experienced—that if you were to lose that value, then you would no longer be valuable. If that’s what you’re counting on to create a love relationship, then I’ll tell you, that’s not a love relationship, unfortunately. That’s not a love relationship. [31:12.0]
Examples in history. Maybe you’re a fan of the movie, 300, where they depicted the historic society of Sparta and the Spartans, and this idea of them taking the physically-deformed babies and dispensing with them, because they were of no value or of negative value and they’d be a liability, negative value to their society.
The same with the value hierarchy of—and, of course this is going to come up because this is like the classic example—the Nazis, Hitler and the Nazis, and those of Jewish heritage or ancestry being less valuable. In fact, not even just being less valuable; they’re a liability. They were a pollution, right? Activating the discussed mechanism that is so common, such essential part of a conservative or traditional morality, and finding that in the Nazi regime. Would you like to be a part of that? [32:09.5]
Then, of course, on the other side, it’s the same thing, a value hierarchy in communism, if you guys in the West, especially nowadays, really hate communism I’m finding. It used to be kind of cool in the beatnik periods or whatever. Not now, right? Especially not now.
You’ll notice, and I work with clients in communist Vietnam and communist China as well, and what they’re raised on, especially now in the past couple of years, but their parents especially were raised on in their earlier generation, this belief that their value was intrinsically or inextricably tied to their productivity, their value to the party or their value to the country. [32:54.6]
There’s actually this tie in communism to the famous saying—I think it’s JFK, right?—“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That’s exactly what the communists are saying. What can you do for us? And if you can’t do anything for us, then you have no value in this country.
Okay, so if you don’t want to participate in a loveless value hierarchy or a status hierarchy, I mean, you’ll have to do it to some extent, practically speaking, depending on your economy or the society you’re in to make money or get ahead or whatever, just be clear that that’s got nothing to do with love.
Okay, if you want to make the football team, you’re going to have to make the standard and there is a hierarchy because you’re at the tryouts. The coaches are going to be listing the players in the order of capability or whatever, right? That’s just straightforward. But when it comes to love, it’s flat. There’s no hierarchy because there’s no sense of you are more deserving of love if you do XYZ. [33:57.4]
Now, I know this is going to screw with lines of a lot of achievers because they grew up since they were little children with a belief that their mommy and daddy’s love was completely pegged to whether they were obedient and whether they were good students, or whatever that thing that their parents most wanted in their own lives and they then forced onto the child.
This is going to be shaking one of the foundational beliefs of your life, if you’re an achiever, and even pretty much every option, whether you’re a rebel or some other kind of pleaser or a recluse, to some degree, everyone has imbibed this belief around worthiness, and it’s just not true. It doesn’t make sense to the concept of love.
Now we return to this idea of unconditional love and the objection that I hear guys saying, Yes, I concede or I can see that there is unconditional love and ought to be unconditional love between a parent and a child. Sure, totally, I can assent to that. I can even understand unconditionally loving your dog, your pet, your puppy, whatever, great. That’s not what I’m after. I’m after unconditional love from a woman. [35:10.8]
Great, okay, that’s great that you’re clear on that, so you’re not confused about the sex need. Great, so you want unconditional love from a woman. Great. The problem is if you’re going around asking people to view unconditionally, what is this? What is this? This is the definition of neediness. If you need it this desperately and you’re going around saying, “Love me unconditionally, love me unconditionally,” that’s not attractive and it won’t draw into your life a love relationship of unconditional love.
Instead, it will draw, if anything, pity. A woman might pity you because it’s so pathetic and they might just take some pity upon you and get into a relationship with you, I suppose, but it’s not going to be the basis of a strong relationship. Why? Because the way it should go is that you, what I’m talking about in terms of an unconditional love relationship, you’ve got to go. [36:01.8]
Otherwise, it’s not sustainable, because if you are waiting for her to love you unconditionally to meet your needs before you feel good, before you feel settled and safe, etc., then you will always be needy and basically you’ll always be a baby. In terms of receiving unconditional love, who else receives unconditional love all the time and doesn’t really appreciate it or know quite what to do with it? A baby, right? They don’t have this level of self-awareness to even understand the concept, but they like it, generally. They’re very grateful for it.
Then, as we become adults, it becomes more and more unattractive as we continue to act like babies. You can go around acting like a baby asking for unconditional love, but that’s not going to get you even sex. It’s not even going to get you unconditional love, unless somebody takes pity on you, and maybe if you’re very old, they might just pity you and then maybe they might form some kind of non-sexual unconditional-love relationship with you. [37:00.2]
Then how do you go about getting or creating a relationship of unconditional love? You’ve got to realize, first of all, that in a relationship of intimacy—so we’re not talking now about an unconditional-love friendship or an unconditional-love parent-to-child relationship, because the objection was explicitly not to deal with that. We’re specifically looking at a romantic relationship of unconditional love—how do you get into that? How do you create that?
As a man, and I think most of you are men listening to this, so as a man, the first thing you’ve got to do is to get a hold of your neediness, because that will turn off and, therefore, sabotage any kind of romantic or sexual intimacy, and that’s going to be a necessary component of a sexual relationship of unconditional love. So, this neediness. In order to counteract the neediness, you’ve got to meet your own needs, and the most important need is the need for love. That’s the most foundational one as I argued in the earlier episode. [37:57.0]
In order to do that, to be zero out of 10 in terms of neediness, and 10 out of 10 then in terms of your own self-worth, the belief, this conviction that you are enough for love, that you are valuable just in who you are, not in the things that you do or the things that you have, not for what you can do or be used for, but simply in who you are.
What happens there is, when you arrive at that rock-solid confidence in your own self-worth in terms of love, being enough for love, what it does is it actually creates in you a dynamic of loving yourself. In IFS therapy, which I think is the best approach of therapy, a more sophisticated way of putting that, “loving yourself,” a more sophisticated way or more nuanced way of putting it is your “higher self” or “true self” loving all of your parts, including, or especially perhaps, all of your inner child parts because they’re the ones who feel it most acutely, this need for love. [39:04.0]
When you love all of your own parts fully and they feel fully loved by you unconditionally, then you are no longer needy for unconditional love from anyone else. All of these guys writing in saying, “I don’t really care about unconditional love. I just want unconditional love from a woman,” what I’m reading is lots of neediness around it and there’s a lack of enough love in themselves, so that they can actually have unconditional love flowing out of them, because unconditional love comes from an overflow of love in yourself. When you’ve got so much love to give that you can’t yourself soak it all up, there’s all this extra love out there because it keeps producing. It’s a never-ending fountain of love. [39:51.7]
Okay, how do you get to that state, David? That leads to my third point. Just before I go into the third point, just finishing off the second point about unconditional love and value and neediness, where when it comes to unconditional love, there’s no hierarchy. You earn it by being, so in that sense, you don’t really earn it, right? The moment you exist, you can’t earn more of it. If you exist, you’re already worthy. In fact, if you existed, you’re already worthy of love.
In my previous episode, the one just before this, the point about love, in general, versus love from a specific human being, a specific individual, had to do with the fact that ultimately what we are after, the prerequisite to creating a relationship of unconditional love is unconditionally loving yourself first.
That’s the basis of it, because once you are able to meet your own need for love, then you can enter into a relationship from a place of giving, not going to get. When you go into a relationship to get unconditional love, without filling yourself up first, without coming from a place of giving but you’re getting, you will sabotage and destroy that relationship and it’s just a matter of time. [41:02.8]
But if you come to it from a place where you are filling yourself up with unconditional love and you don’t need it anymore because you are loving yourself to the full, then you are in the place of now “Oh, I’ve got all this extra love to give and I love this other person and I’m going to going to commit to that.”
Now, here’s the other tricky thing about romantic relationships. There are a lot of other types of emotions mixed up in there, including sexual desire, friendship, affection, respect, partnership, especially when it comes to making your way in the modern economy, partnership in terms of parenting, and all kinds of other emotions and roles and factors that go into play besides simply unconditional love.
That’s why it’s almost impossible for a young man to understand unconditional love and to be able to work with it, if he’s primarily focused on the concept or on the instantiation of it in a relationship because it’s all mixed up together. In fact, many of the fears that guys have around loving some woman unconditionally is that she could screw you over. She could cheat on you. She could lie to you, and that’s absolutely true. [42:16.5]
It might turn out that her, quote-unquote, “love” for you is also conditional, in the sense of, if you turn out to be a psycho axe murderer, she will feel no guilt in retaining or stopping her love for you, and that’s totally fine in my books. It’s okay to not have unconditional love between adults in a sexual relationship to the level where a parent would love a child who is dependent on him.
That’s an even deeper relationship in the sense of dependency, but also because the child is a much more innocent party here and the parent bears some responsibility and duty towards bringing up the child—so there’s a lot of much closer linkage of responsibility there—whereas in the responsibility of two adults, there’s a much clearer boundary and it makes more sense to be able to have all of these different factors in play in a romantic relationship and have unconditional love as one factor among many. [43:18.8]
If you make that decision, the biggest mistake, when it comes to an adult relationship, you make a decision to do so. You can be infatuated. You can be really, really into this girl, right? No question. In fact, since you’re freaking 15, 16 years old, you were probably already falling head over heels over some girl, right? Some crush. Don’t mistake that with love. But a lot of guys do. “I love her already. I don’t even know who she is, but I love her.” That’s not love yet.
Unconditional love is a decision that you make when it comes between two adults and it’s a decision that can be easier or harder. It can be a lot easier if you’ve got lots of infatuation and lots of liking, and sexual desire and all that, and then it becomes “Okay, I’m going to a allow myself to unconditionally love this person,” but that allowing is still a decision. [44:01.3]
Just notice that that decision there, if you follow through with it in a really tough situation, if this person goes, I don’t know, bipolar or psychopathic or something and you totally didn’t see it, maybe you didn’t understand what you were looking at or whatever, but if you choose to continue to love this person, that’s unconditional love. It’s understandable if then it turns out you didn’t love this person unconditionally and that’s okay, because the question that guys are coming at me with, “How can I get a woman to love me unconditionally?” is a question from a place of neediness.
Once you’re able to meet your own needs, you don’t need a love. You don’t need an unconditional-love relationship from a woman anymore, because you are already meeting your own needs for unconditional love fully 10 out of 10, so you don’t need it from the other person, just as a good parent ought not to need the child to love him unconditionally. [44:55.0]
Imagine a parent. I don’t know how many of you [are one]. It’s really great if you become a parent. I was blessed to discover this with my goddaughter early on in my life, over 10 years ago now, of the feeling of looking after a little baby and not needing the little baby to love me back in order for me to feel good. I mean, the baby could throw up on me, poop on me, pee on me, or get really angry at me, and I won’t take it personally and I will still feel this love naturally for the baby, right?
That’s an important distinction to make between the love of a parent for a child or an adult for a child—especially a baby, a defenseless baby who can really do nothing, achieve nothing in that moment and still be worthy of love—versus between two adults.
This is something that I haven’t brought out more because one of the issues was guys are so desperate for it, hearing, “Oh, once I’m in a love relationship that I won’t need it from the other person, that’s bizarre,” because of the very thing that they want so desperately. Here’s the best way to get it, which is to not want it. It’s not need it. Not “not want it,” sorry. Not need it. You might still want it, but you won’t need it because you’re bringing it yourself. [46:04.5]
When two individuals are bringing unconditional love and are looking to give each other unconditional love, not looking to get it from the other person, then that’s sustainable and growing. That’s really the prerequisite for a growing relationship of passion and connection and love. But if you’re in there to get unconditional love from the other, then you are not ready for a relationship in the long run because you will sabotage it. This is, I guess, a kind of paradox, but this rings true of all of life.
There’s a great book called Trying Not to Try by an old colleague named Edward Slingerland. I highly recommend that book, Trying Not to Try, and it goes back to ancient Asian, Chinese philosophy, this concept of the most valuable parts of life are ones that require this or involve this paradox. It’s the same with unconditional love and your own neediness. [47:00.7]
If you understand the concept of neediness and non-neediness, and attractiveness and getting into a relationship, and then giving versus getting unconditional love—and notice giving to get, how conditional that is, and that’s not love—but unconditional love is love that flow out of you no matter what that you have to hold back and actually make an effort to hold back. But then if you make the decision to allow it to flow, then it becomes unconditional.
Sometimes it’s really easy. Like I was saying, parent to a child, a parent to a baby, it’s very easy. We have hormones that make it a lot easier. At the beginning of a relationship, when there’s a lot of passion, naturally, it’s a lot easier. If you really like the person, it’s a lot easier, right?
But the preconditions for creating a love relationship of unconditional love is that you love yourself unconditionally, and that the basis of that being this conviction of your own self-worth, your own value, your own worthiness, that you are enough for love and that there’s no hierarchy of this. There’s no value hierarchy in love and being very clear that, if what you want is a love relationship, then you’ve got to make that the foundation, your own love for yourself. [48:19.0]
Okay, then the final point is very quickly, How do you do that, David? I’m going to be illustrating how this works in real case studies in the next episode, but just real quickly, you can understand these concepts and how all of this works intellectually, but not feel it. Therefore, that’s not enough. Just intellectual conscious cogitation, logical rationality is not enough. Just philosophy on its own is not enough. It’s great. It helps. It gets you part of the way, but to go all the way to really lock this in for you, you’ve got to get it into your unconscious at the emotional level—and the best way to do that is a therapeutic process with a good therapist.
I’ve made many recorded courses in the “Platinum Partnership” that help this a great deal. That’s an option for you. You can also find a good therapist. I recommend IFS therapy. You can just Google the IFS Therapy Directory and look through the directory for a therapist in your time zone. [49:13.5]
However you do it, just realize that the intellectual understanding is not enough. It’s just scratching the surface, and I know for many intellectual parts, it feels like that’s everything. That’s all the heavy lifting, but it’s so hard to even just understand it intellectually. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, it’s not. There’s a lot of really good stuff following it that feels really good. But although that feels really good, it’s going to have to go through a dark tunnel that could last years of not feeling very good and that’s part of the process.
Okay, just to recap the three points, I covered the different kinds of value, especially the difference between social value and what I was calling human value, or just the being enough for love.
- I covered why, in some cases, value hierarchies and status hierarchies matter in practical day-to-day life, but when it comes to love, they don’t matter because love is flat. Love has no hierarchy. [50:06.7]
- Then the second point I was getting into was love by its very nature is unconditional, and I mentioned or dealt with the objection of unconditional love in an adult relationship of intimacy and how that works, especially in relation to neediness and value.
- Then, finally, I quickly pointed out that philosophy, the intellectual understanding, the conscious rationalizing or logical cogitation, is not enough, that instead what really is needed is unconscious processing of the emotions or rather, more accurately, bringing what’s in the unconscious up into the surface, so that you can work on it, and how having the emotional transformation.
- The best way to do that is through a therapeutic process.
All right, we’ve covered a lot of ground there and I will be going even deeper into how all of this looks in reality. In the next episode, I’m going to be introducing a lot of case studies and telling you about sort of the brass tacks of how this can work. [51:07.5]
All right, thank you so much for listening to this and to any of the other episodes that you’ve enjoyed. I’d really appreciate it if you could rate it on Apple Podcasts, and I really appreciate any feedback you have at all. If you like this, please share it with whomever you think would benefit from it.
Thank you so much. I’ll see you in the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out.
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