Kosher Cruises from J Singles Cruise
Kosher Cruises from J Singles Cruise

Ask on-board Dating Coach Sheryl Giffis:  Illuminate It!

This has always concerned me when it comes to dating: I'm scared that I care too much about what the guy looks like! When I meet a guy, and I don't really like the way he looks, then I'm not that interested in what he has to say, and I know I don't give him a chance. And it scares me because maybe he's someone great and would make me happy, but I just need to like the way he looks. I've tried not to let it matter, but it hasn't really helped. Any advice you can give to help me out- because it really bothers me.

Thanks for being honest. You've perfectly articulated what a fear looks like. Fear is what happens when your imagination goes into overdrive and commandeers the steering wheel of your thoughts. Instead of experiencing this guy as he truly is, you see him as "the-guy-who's-not-cute-enough-to-be-my-husband." Thus, the focus shifts from him to you, so of course you can't see who he really is because your own image is in the way!

Today it's his looks, tomorrow it's his financial status, next week it's his height--maybe finally it'll be just the way his mouth twists when he's nervous. It's always something. Other people are mirrors of us. Our perceptions of their "flaws" reflect subconsciously what we're most afraid of: feeling unattractive, growing older, gaining weight, losing money, being alone, etc.

Please try these 2 exercises.

1)  Think back. When did someone take you only at face value and not try to get to know you further? (Oh that's (your name here), yeah, she's too [fill in the blank: face/body/age/circumstance/social status/hair color/attitude/beliefs]-no thanks, I don't want to go out with her!) What was the reason he gave and how did that make you feel? Chances are he made an assumption about you having nothing to do with you!

A word about chemistry. It matters. But it's something you can't control, and it's not determined only by looks. How many times have you gotten to know a person and they become so much more attractive once you really know them? Remember, G-d designed us all to fall in love with each other. When you really get to know a person of substance, you can't help but love who they are inside.

2)  On a date, be receptive to him. What gifts does he have that you don't? What can he do that you can't? What makes him special to his mother? Can you appreciate his masculinity? Acknowledge to yourself that you don't have to marry him, you just have to identify what qualities make him special. This will help you to see him more clearly. And you might even find those teeth or his gum lines are actually endearing by the end of the date once you realize that you only get to see them when he laughs at your jokes!

I've met and dated a lot of people, and I want to find the right one already. What am I doing wrong?

Attraction comes from within. Whether you're five or 95, if you've got a fire burning inside, then others will be drawn to it. If you feel that you're not attracting the right people and opportunities into your life, then stop to look inside and check your magnetic. What are you attracting and who? After all, our internal conscience and intuition is actually our compass, based on everything scientists have proven, in terms of the electromagnetism that is contained within the atoms and molecules of our cells. In fact, the Hebrew word for conscience is almost identical to, and derives from, the word for compass. Our conscience IS our compass. Where is yours aimed? Remember, we attract who we are, not who we want.

I've been dating so long. Why is it so difficult to meet someone?

The hardest part of dating, as in any area of life, is taking responsibility for our situation. Once you take total responsibility and stop blaming others, you're then motivated to be proactive and make things happen for yourself. Taking responsibility requires self-management which is adjusting your attitude, adjusting your mindset; keeping an open mind and an open heart and being curious about and vulnerable to the possibilities that life has in store for you. When I hear people say, "There aren't enough decent guys/women out there," "No one gets me," "I don't get set up with good prospects," "It's just not in the cards for me to be married," or "it's just not my nature to date well," I know they are speaking from fear, not from a sense of knowing how powerful they truly are to change this self-perception. Self-management helps you to handle your fears and move forward. Self management allows you to focus on options, not outcomes. We can't change or control anybody but ourselves, so instead of focusing outward on others, let's take responsibility for what we're going to choose to do, who we're going to choose to be, and how those choices will help us get one step closer to becoming our fully expressed creative selves and, in the process, finding our beshairt.

Luminarious Living offers a unique process of inquiry based on the principles of halachic and mystical Judaism, behavioral analysis and pattern recognition. Founder Sheryl Giffis helps people uncover and identify subconscious tendencies and perceptions through language. She was trained in rhetoric at UC Berkeley and is a certified master listener. Recently married, she credits coaching with facilitating the meeting of her beshairt.

Dating Coach Sheryl Giffis
Dating Coach Sheryl Giffis
Luminarious Living

Longer-term coaching is available. For more information, please email

"People living in scarcity see the cup as half empty; People who are positive thinkers see the cup as half full; People living in abundance see the cup as overflowing, While people living into their greatness are the cup."

---Kim George, Coaching into Greatness