If You Fear Attractive Men, Imagine An Elephant

Stable, steady, and loving

  • Sarah Stroh

Written on Sep 16, 2023

nervous woman Four Oaks | Ground Picture | fizkes | Shutterstock

One thing I’ve noticed about myself over the last few years is that I’m afraid of attractive men. No, not afraid to approach them. No, not afraid to flirt. No, not afraid to make the first move.

I’m afraid of the power they have over me. I’m afraid of the ones I like, but I’m not sure if they like me as much. I’m afraid they will turn me down.

And this affects the way that I date.

During a call with my life coach, who I have a bit of a crush on (he knows), this came up. I realized I was feeling nervous in his presence. He called me out on it and asked me why.


I told him I felt this need to impress him. A bit like he had it all figured out and I was unworthy in his presence.

At the same time, I knew these feelings were not about him (someone I logically know is not a real candidate for dating). They were about who he represented: someone I wanted but didn’t have.

In his presence, I felt similar to the way I have with men I’ve liked in the recent past: small, insecure, and hungry for validation.

After our call, I wondered why this is. How could I see things differently? How could I become more confident in myself in the presence of attractive men?

RELATED: 5 Ways To Boost Your Confidence When Dating & Looking For Love


Enter the elephant

As you may know, I’m also a coach. My job in this role is to challenge my client’s thinking and get them out of their logical brain and into the world of feelings and images so that they can start thinking more creatively about their lives and get closer to where they want to be.

During a recent coaching training weekend, I learned a method to help clients get out of patterns they find themselves in with certain people (a colleague, a partner, etc.), and it seemed relevant to my situation.

I decided to do a dry run of this method on myself for practice but also to see if it would help me think differently about men I like.

Here’s how it works:


Basically, you take a selection of animals, in toy format or picture format, and show them to the client.

Then you ask them to choose the one that is supposed to represent them in the situation at hand.

selection of animals

Image by mossi889 via Wikimedia Commons

So in my practice run, I asked myself: What animal am I when I’m on a date with a guy I like?

Then I asked myself, which animal represents my date? I chose the house cat to represent myself and the lion to represent the person I’m dating.


RELATED: Spiritual Animal List & The Symbolic Meaning Of Power Animals

Why the cat? I chose the cat because I’ve noticed, when it comes to dating, I often try to play it cool, just like a cat. I act a little aloof so they think I’m less available, so I seem mysterious.

It’s also important to me to look pretty, kind of like a cat that spends a lot of time grooming.

And why the lion? On the other side, the lion is intimidating and fierce, just like someone who I perceive as having it all figured out.

He is stable and steady, above me, the king of the jungle.

RELATED: 6 Signs A Power Imbalance Is Wreaking Havoc In Your Relationship

So what’s the problem with this dynamic? Well being the cat is stressful. There’s too much pressure to give off exactly the right impression. And in reality, I don’t like playing games. I just want to be myself and be accepted for that.


Also, there’s a power imbalance that doesn’t seem so healthy.

I think a lot of people find themselves in this dynamic on dates, at work, you name it. But how do we emerge from it? You have to ask your client or yourself: What animal would you rather be?

If you could be any animal on a date, which would you choose? I chose the elephant.

Why? The elephant doesn’t care that it’s huge and maybe not so fancy. No, it’s big and it’s there and it’s a worthy companion to the lion. It doesn’t have to be afraid of the lion. If the lion bites, it will hurt, but ultimately the elephant will be okay.

The elephant is also stable and, as an extremely social animal, open and loving.


In the lion’s presence, I feel much more at ease as an elephant than I was as a cat.

There’s a bit more to the method than I’ve just described, but long story short, remembering the elephant has already helped me out in real life.

Last week, I went on a first date with a man I’m into and, on the date, as I found myself becoming the cat, timid, walled up, I remembered to summon the elephant. I remembered that I’m solid, I’m safe; I can be open and loving and present and fully there.

I turned my whole body towards him. I looked him straight in the eyes. And the date was awesome.

It’s so refreshing to just have to remember to accept yourself and be proud of that. And just know whatever his reaction, you will be okay.


RELATED: Elephant Symbolism & The Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing An Elephant

Sarah Stroh is working to create a world where people have the confidence, tools, and education to pursue the romantic life they truly want.