Hollywood and Choosing Your Mate - Part 2
- Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D. eHarmony.com
- 2002 10 Oct
In the final part of my series on Hollywood and mate selection, I’m going to focus on some ways you can "reprogram" your brain to better select the love of your life. As you’ll remember from part 1, I believe that, for most people, television has had a profound impact on the traits they consider valuable in a mate.
I actually believe that in your brain, there are probably as many as f1,500 relationship dimensions. That’s how many we found in the most careful research we’ve done so far—1,500 dimensions on which you have a preference about what you would like in a person with whom you’d spend the rest of your life.
Years and years of watching television have communicated to your brain that the things television finds attractive, namely appearance and money, are more important than the rest of the 1,500 dimensions.
I think that most people have a filter group of qualities that allow them to sample, in a very limited way, from the 1,500 dimensions to only look at 12 to 15 dimensions and make a determination about all the others. For instance, when you say "Hi, I’m Doug," and she says "Hi, I’m Linda," you probably could come up with 15 dimensions that you’re looking at. You know how tall she is. You know what her body proportions are. You know how she’s dressed. You know what her facial features are. You know what her mouth looks like. You know whether she’s attentive to you are not. You know the color of her eyes, and so on—12 to 15 dimensions. Now you are going to make an assessment about an ultimate match between you and her on the basis of these 12 to 15 dimensions.
Unfortunately, most people are dead wrong in the prediction they make in the early phases of a relationship; dead wrong when it comes to determining whether a relationship will be a good one or not in the long term. I want to suggest to you that many times you make a negative evaluation about the long term match between you and another person when indeed, if you got involved with this person, you would discover that you would have a great relationship with them.
The fact is that Hollywood has so encouraged us to place our emphasis on external things, that when you don’t find what you’re looking for in the facial features of the other person, or their height, or their body type, that you simply go right on by. If indeed there are 1,500 dimensions, it is possible that you are passing up a person with whom you would have 1,490 dimensions in common.
You’re predicting that everything is going to be negative because these superficial dimensions are negative. That’s why we say to you that Hollywood has engaged in a great hoax. If you take part in that hoax, you’ll likely end up with a candidate pool that is so small that you will eventually give up the task of trying to find the right person.
I want to help you develop a way of meeting people that will allow you to get beyond the first six or eight dimensions to get to know persons at a deeper level, so you will possibly meet that diamond in the rough with whom you can have a fabulous relationship down the line.
First of all, I would like for you to take ten empty 8.5x11 sheets of paper and on the top of each of these sheets, I want you to write a word. These ten words come from my book, Finding the Love of Your Life. On the top of the first sheet I want you to write the word "Personality." On the top of the second sheet, "Intelligence." On the top of the third sheet, "Appearance." On the fourth sheet, "Ambition." On the top of the fifth sheet, "Chemistry." On the top of the sixth sheet, "Spirituality." On the top of the seventh sheet, "Character." On the top of the eighth sheet, "Creativity." The ninth sheet, "Parenting." The tenth sheet, "Authenticity."
Now what I want you to write under each of these words is everything you can think of about the person you’d like to spend the rest of your life with that has to do with this word that you’ve placed at the top of the sheet. For instance, under the word "Personality" on your sheet, would you like your mate to be quiet and somewhat shy or talkative and gregarious? Which of those attract you? Would you prefer your person to be intense and logical or kind of laid back and easygoing? Would you like her, or him, to be funny or serious? Would you like them to be strong and independent or someone who leaves the decision making totally up to you? Do you prefer that they be soft or tough? I want you to write down everything you can think of that relates to personality.
When you get done with these ten sheets, I want you to go back and read over all of these things that you’ve written on each of the ten sheets and I want you to list the ten most important things that you’ve written down on each of the sheets. Finally, I want you to go through the ten sheets and I want you to find the ten most critical things out of all the sheets that you are looking for in a potential mate.
I bet you’re going to find that a number of these ten things are simply not available to you to assess when you’re just meeting a person for the first time for three minutes. The possibility is that many of these ten things turn out to be from the inside of the person. They have to do with their character, their spirituality. They are things that, when you just see a person and you pass them day by day, unless you get to know them, you won’t know whether they have these things or not.
Reprogramming your brain. Reestablishing the importance of internal factors. By following the above exercise you can make sure that you don’t become a part of the Hollywood hoax that would encourage you to look for superficial, external criteria and eliminate all persons who do not fall within these categories. This new perspective will allow you to maximize the size of your candidate pool and therefore establish a greater possibility for selection of a person with whom you can be genuinely happy for the rest of your life.
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