Debrena Jackson Gandy, popular author of All the Joy You Can Stand: 101 Sacred Power Principles for Making Joy Real in Your Life (Crown; $22), offers these five myth busters as a way to clear the path to true love. (For facts on Debrena's books, workshops
1. Myth: A good man is to be found.
Truth: Many of us put more energy into going where the brothers are than into cultivating our own magnetism. If you're quick to anger, practice being pleasant. If you're lost in the shuffle, set aside quiet time for a (healthy!) spirit lifter. When you are supple within, you heighten your ability to draw a man with whom you can be fulfilled.
2. Myth: You can attract a healthy relationship without healing from past ones.
Truth: We draw to us people who are as healed or unhealed as we are. So when a new man inadvertently bumps into an old wound it's suddenly throbbing again. Get to the root of current conflicts by examining (in a journal or through talking) any negative feelings associated with the past. That should free you of old emotional scars that could interfere with a present love.
3. Myth: You shop for a man like you shop for a car.
Truth: Many of us invest more time listing the qualities we want in a man than developing those qualities within ourselves. Then, when a good man shows up, we're disappointed if those qualities don't arrive in the proper package-he's not our "type," doesn't have a degree, etc. Your challenge is not only to develop the qualities you seek, but also to have the grace to accept the person who shows up embodying those qualities.
4. Myth: The quality of our relationships with women has nothing to do with our relationships with men.
Truth: If we use words like too competitive or can't be trusted to describe women, then we can't be our authentic selves among ourselves. The effect? Our relationships with men are equally unhealthy, distrustful and superficial because a solid romantic relationship is, at its core, a friendship. As you bond with women, tell the truth about who you are and allow emotional intimacy; that'll transform your relationships with men.
5. Myth: In relationships, women are the followers.
Truth: In the traditional courtship ritual, it appears that men pursue us and we say yay or nay. In actuality, men respond to our cues. To lead in love, set the pace of a relationship. Start with afternoon dates in public places like museums, adventure parks, festivals. If all goes well, up the intensity a notch to an afternoon lunch date, and later, nighttime activities. You may worry that he might lose patience, but if he's interested in more than your body, he'll hang in there.