As John Greene wrote in his remarkable book Paper Towns, “People wanting to be around someone because they’re pretty is like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.”
There’s a lot more that goes into people’s evaluation of you than your sexual or physical appeal. And because most people don’t get this, they try to emulate what they find attractive in others to make themselves charming.
But here’s the thing about charm:
The things that make you charming are unique to your personality. This is why the same things that make one person attractive (like their ability to stay quiet) can make someone else look weird or off-putting.
Hence, to understand what makes you attractive, you must understand yourself and the things that already draw people to you. There’s no need to act like the stereotypical bad boy or a baddie.
“The worst loneliness,” the incredible Mark Twain wrote, “is to not be comfortable with yourself.”
Today, everybody wants to be someone else. Why? No one really shows who they are.
We’ve all become scared, fragile, and insecure because we care more about how people see us than how we truly are. Highlight reels have become the new reality. This is why depression is on the rise.
We’ve all become lonely, torturing ourselves with the perfect reality that we’ve created for everyone to see. And this image of perfection is ruthless. It’s a two-edged sword.
First, it makes you feel like an imposter. You sell your soul for attention on social media and force yourself to smile while your heart bleeds.
Then the perfect image that you’ve created tortures someone else and makes them resentful because your perfect life – which is everything but perfection – makes them feel like failures.
It is because of this that those who have accepted themselves are like saviors to us. We may not say it, but we feel liberated whenever we find someone who is unapologetically themselves.
This is one of the reasons why we love comedians. They say what they feel. And the best comedians are especially skilled at roasting themselves and using their flaws to make you laugh.
2. The best evidence of self-care and self-acceptance
People who look healthy look charming to us not just because being healthy makes you physically more attractive.
As studies have found, healthy physic says a lot about your level of self-care. When you have good physic, people tend to assume that you’re disciplined and put together. And healthy people tend to be better cognitively and behaviorally.
Evolutionarily, we are wired to seek healthy mates for obvious reasons. First of all, a healthy mate has a greater chance to give us healthy offspring.
Secondly, life is full of hardship, and a healthy person is just more equipped to stick and fight with you in the long haul. Nobody wants to spend most of their lives taking care of a partner that became a casualty of life because he or she was too weak.
3. The underrated power “thank you”
Showing gratitude has been shown through research to have a ripple social effect positively. According to Dr. Algoe Sarah, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina,
“When we say ‘thank you,’ we’re sending a message to the person who just did something nice for us, that they are valued, that they’re seen, that the thing that they did for us was worth doing in the first place.”
Saying “thank you” is so underrated. But the power is not hard to understand. Think about any moment someone said “thank you” to you, even for a little gesture you did. How did you feel? More importantly, how did your view of that person change?
As the ancient German philosopher Arthur Schopenheur wisely put it in his Counsels and Maxims, “Politeness is like a counter — an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”
It takes nothing from you to be polite. But the simple act can make a huge difference in how people see you.
4. The value you place on yourself
People don’t see you through their eyes; they see you through your eyes. This means that if you don’t present yourself as high value, they won’t see you as such.
To a large extent, people are looking up to you to know how to treat you. You always take the lead, and no one will treat you disrespectfully without your permission.
Here’s what people don’t understand:
Your value isn’t priced by how much you have in your bank account. It’s about attitude. You can have all the money in the world and know nothing about self-respect.
President Nelson Mandela is one of the most famous presidents to have ever ruled a country — if not the most famous. And he earned his reputation while he was in prison, with nothing. The same place that was designed to strip men of their dignity and self-worth made a man great.
You see some men become needy and ecstatic simply because a good-looking lady is sitting next to them. And their loss of self-control says all the lady needs to know about them.
Your value is shown by your attitude. You have to be intentional about how you want people to perceive you. From the way you walk and talk, to the way you show respect to others, people are forming opinions about how you deserve to be treated.
Putting it all together
As the best-selling novelist, Ellen Hopkins put it, “Sometimes it’s the little things in life that mean the most.” Never underestimate how much your attitude can influence people’s perceptions of you.
Don’t get distracted by the standard of attractiveness that the media is trying to sell to you. You don’t need to be a bad boy or have the perfect body for people to find you attractive.
If you want something that lasts, develop the character that will win hearts. Even if you don’t have the looks, you can easily hone the four qualities above. They are the things that will make you not just admired, but also respected.