Do you settle for relationships with people because you secretly believe that you can't do better? I once knew a wonderful and loving minister who used to tell a story about one of his parishioners who came to him for guidance. She was a lovely woman who was having trouble financially. She told the minister about her low paying job and how she could barely pay her bills each month.

The minister took a twenty-dollar bill out of his pocket and offered it to her. She recoiled, saying that she couldn't possibly accept it. He replied, "Can you see how you are turning away from the good that the Universe wants you to have? You are stopping yourself from having what you need because you don't think you deserve it."

What do you tell yourself that you deserve about relationships? Do you feel awkward when a very good-looking person strikes up a conversation with you? Do you shy away from approaching someone who looks as if they are wealthy or admired by others?

Many people have shared their relationship problems and their yearning for a life partner with me. I usually ask them to make a list of the qualities they are looking for in a partner who is perfect for them. Most people enjoy making this list, however I usually have to remind them to add: He or she thinks that I am wonderful and a perfect partner for him or her. You will never find the right one for you unless you can imagine that you are desirable too.

What are you telling yourself that keeps you from attracting worthwhile relationships? Make a list of your shortcomings, the qualities you think you have that would keep a lover away. Perhaps you think that you are ugly, stupid, socially awkward, or dull. Do you have friends? What do they see in you? If you aren't sure, ask them. You might be surprised to find that others think you are lovable, attractive, have a wonderful sense of humor, are compassionate and much more.

I once had an acquaintance that was extremely obese. She was married to one of the most handsome men I had ever met. He absolutely adored her. The first time I met him I wondered why he had picked her since my fantasy was that he could have any woman he wanted. As I got to know them I realized that my friend was not only an extremely intelligent woman who was very successful in her field, but was warm, caring and much more. Her husband saw all the positive qualities that were not obvious if you judge only by the outside package.

When I was just out of college and in the dating scene a friend introduced me to Steve, a great guy who was fun to be with, intelligent, attractive and had a quirky sense of humor. I thought that we hit it off very well, but he didn't ask me out again. When I told my friend about it he explained that Steve also had a glass eye and was very self-conscious about his "deformity". Obviously Steve told himself that he was not as good as other men. It made no difference to me, and I felt sad that what could have been a meaningful relationship was aborted before it could begin.

Steve wasn't able to risk finding someone who could accept him for all his best qualities. Do you play it safe by relating only to those you don't think will rebuff you? Make your own list of all the things you like about yourself and read if out loud to yourself every day saying, "Someone special is coming into my life that wants to have a meaningful love relationship with me because I am… " You will feel better and be surprised at what can happen next.

Author's Bio: 

Gloria Arenson, licensed psychotherapist is the author of Desserts Is Stressed Spelled Backwards, How to Stop Playing the Weighting Game, Born to Spend, Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing, Freedom At Your Fingertips, and EFT For Procrastination. She is in private practice in Southern California. Find more at www.GloriaArenson.com