This one goes out to all the single people in the world! A big part of finding the love of your dreams is knowing what you really want — as opposed to what you think you should want. This may seem obvious but most people go through the dating process without a North Star to guide them, or they are using someone else’s. I’m sure you have heard that it’s important to have a “list” of qualities you want but there are tricks to making a list that works.
First, spend a little time fantasizing about your ideal life with this person. What kinds of activities will you do together for fun and romance? How will you live together and manage household issues like cleaning or money? How will you support and encourage each other’s careers? What are your interests and passions and how do they intersect with the other person’s? Children? Pets? Be really honest with yourself. If you love hiking, don’t assume that this is something you “should” do with your partner — if it’s your time for personal reflection, then what you may really want is a partner who honors that about you and has their own process of reflection too.
Second, think in qualities, not characteristics. If you envision lively discussions and engaging interactions, then focus on the quality of intelligence or wit rather than a certain profession or degree. Or if you have been looking for a vegan runner, consider that you might be looking for the quality of commitment to living healthfully. Most people get their mind stuck on certain characteristics and inadvertently limit their possibilities for finding the right person.
Third, build your “pie of love.” This is a fun way for prioritizing your list. You will want to take the qualities you have identified it and split them into 3 areas, as if you are baking an apple pie.
- Must haves: key ingredients that must be present to co-create the relationship you envision (e.g., crust, apples, cinnamon) — try to keep this list to no more than 10 so you stay focused on the core, and then do NOT compromise on this list, ever.
- Bonuses: qualities that are desirable but not necessary, or the garnishes (e.g., ice cream, cheddar cheese) — if you get one or more, you can be grateful but they are not as core as the must-haves.
- Deal breakers: things that trump the other two areas because they would ruin everything else (e.g., mold, bugs, broken glass) — the minute you see them, you are out the door, period.
- Must haves: intelligent, fun/funny, mentally healthy, financially stable, in love with me, ready to commit/be monogamous, hetero/bisexual, kind to all beings, progressive, willing to work on his stuff/grow
- Bonuses: cooking (I have this skill), dancing (can take lessons), handy around house (can hire this service), wealthy, great family, attractive, tall
- Deal breakers: addiction, abusive to animals or people, racist, mental illness, homophobic
While I was dating, this list helped me not get distracted by some great bonuses at the expense of my must-haves (I’m a sucker for a tall guy who can dance). It also helped me not get sucked in to bad relationships because my deal-breakers were objectively identified before I met a specific person.
Finally, the best part of having a list is that once you become clear, the universe will start sending you some possibilities. Some of them will be tests, to see if you are willing to hold true to your vision, and some will be harbingers, letting you know that your real soul mate is on his or her way. So take a little time to build your pie of love and I bet that by next Valentine’s Day, you will have the love of your dreams.
This was a little excerpt from my Soul Mate workshop, coming soon as a downloadable podcast.