A few years ago, “The Secret” was all the rage. Oprah had the author and many of the various figures in the book on her show to discuss the best-selling phenomenon. “The Secret” came out at a time when I was searching for some answers, so I decided to read it. The most important thing I learned from “The Secret” is its main premise: you attract the energy you put out.

Although “The Secret” didn’t fully satisfy my longing for clarity, I did learn that you must have intention behind your goals and the life you’ve imagined. I don’t agree that all you have to do is envision something and it will happen. I do know that you must believe that it will happen. Contrary to some schools of thought, I think the same is true with dating and relationships.

Last week, one of my single sister-friends and I were talking about this whole notion that you should stop looking for a significant other. It has been three years since she was in a committed relationship and she hadn’t been dating a lot. It was mostly by choice as she is a great, gorgeous woman with a lot to offer. But, like me, she had heard all of these relationship advice experts tell her that she shouldn’t be looking for a boyfriend.

We began this discussion about this concept that perplexed us both. We understood the underlying argument; focus on making yourself better and if you do that the mate will come. The reason why this doesn’t ring completely true is that little thing I learned from “The Secret” about putting energy and intention behind your goals. It seemed impossible to find something for which you weren’t looking.

Moreover, it seems so unnatural to “stop looking.” If being in a relationship is one of your goals, why would you stop looking? We all know that when a relationship is a desire and priority, every eligible (and some ineligible) person that you encounter and are attracted to raises a thought in your mind. It’s natural and automatic.

As we discussed this further, I realized why that line of advice misses the point. First, as I stated above, I truly believe you must connect energy and action with your goals. Second, it is unnatural to completely shut yourself off when meeting new people and not helpful to the process of finding someone. Third, it presupposes that one can’t work on self and find love at the same time. And finally, I think it confuses “looking” for being “thirsty.”

My guru (in my head), Ms. Oprah Winfrey, is always telling us that for anything to happen in your life you must first believe it will. Subconsciously, we all know that to be nothing but the truth. Unfortunately, we feed ourselves such bad information about ourselves that we use the power of that truth in the wrong direction. Instead of believing in positive, self-affirming things we accept the opposite into our spirit.

If you have a list of attributes, qualifications, etc., that you’re looking for in a man then, you must believe that he exists and that you will find him. Even if you’re more flexible and just want to find true love, you must believe that will happen for you. You must put intention (belief) behind your goals and actions. If you’re actively taking inaction (i.e., not looking) it doesn’t synergize with you believing and putting intention behind your goals.

Again, I don’t know about you, but when I meet single, eligible people that I’m attracted to, the thought always goes through my mind, “Could this be the one?” But, if I were in the mode of “not looking,” then I wouldn’t even entertain that thought. I don’t think that’s possible or healthy. I wrote a column about remaining open and how essential being open is to finding love. Whenever you put the word “stop” in a sentence it equals “closed” or the “end.” Not a good look if love is your goal.

One thing that I completely agree with about that school of thought is that your primary focus should be on you and being the best you can be. What I disagree with is the presumption that you have to always do that in a vacuum. True, some of us are really messed up and should spend some time working things out… alone. But, most of us are just works in progress trying to be better.

We’ll be evolving into our best selves as long as we live. I certainly don’t want to wait until I’m 85 to find love. I believe you can work on self and still look for love at the same time.

Finally, my sister-friend and I discovered the biggest flaw in the argument — it confuses “looking” for being thirsty or desperate. We all know the difference. Thirst and desperation never yield positive results. So yes, you should not be so consumed with your search for love that you become thirsty or desperate. If you’re not sure if you’ve reached that point, just ask a good friend.

We felt better at the end of our discussion as it was something we both were rattling with in our spirits. I encouraged her to keep working on self, to keep believing, to never be thirsty and, most importantly, to keep looking for the love she’s imagined. If a relationship is your goal then, by all means, don’t stop looking!

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