Years ago, when I was dating toward my first marriage, I had a long list of requisite qualities I wanted in a potential mate: dark hair (as a ginger myself, I hoped to give any potential offspring the best shot at avoiding my fair skin and red hair!), holds a graduate degree, older than me, driven by wealth and success, and so much more.
Looking back at this list, I cringe for a variety of reasons. There’s the glaringly obvious: Um, can you say superficial and privileged? Then there’s the more subtle, yet perhaps sadder reason: That list was created not by my soul, but by my human small self (aka, my social self, or the part of me that was obsessed with what others thought, focusing primarily on impressing and not disappointing them).
Ultimately, I ended up marrying a man who met most all of my small self criteria and provided a perfect life on paper. I also ended up in a dysfunctional and high-conflict marriage followed by a divorce from that same man 12 years later.
He was an amazing, good man who I respected deeply…but a life created solely from the perspective of the small self does not provide much of a solid foundation for lasting love.
Having learned my lesson, my only mantra or criteria going forward was “Peace.” Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I had essentially handed the reins from my small self to my soul and let the Divine take the lead for the first time in my life.
Soon thereafter, my partner Chase arrived on the scene. I like to joke that he is peace incarnate (thanks, Universe!).
Of his many other incredible qualities besides emanating peace, interestingly none of them match up with my original small self list from all those years before. And thank goodness for that!
When I got my small self out of the way and let my soul start doing the manifesting, the Universe was able to deliver exactly what I actually needed.
Now here we are 7 years later, as ridiculously happy and grateful for each other as we were in those first few honeymoon months. I suspect we never would have found one another had I not ditched the list.
Chances are (especially if you read The Secret or consciously work with The Law of Attraction) you have heard somewhere along the way that you should make a list of all the qualities you want in a mate and visualize the heck out of finding that particular person. From hair color and height, to hobbies, to whether he/she places the toilet paper roll onto the holder in the “over” or “under” position, you have likely been told to get as specific as possible.
And you may just manifest that very person who checks all the boxes – we now have a ton of research showing the power of visualization and our thoughts to affect not only our own biology, but also the world around us.
Often, however, when we come up with criteria for our “perfect person”, that list comes from our small self (remember, that’s the part of us that cares deeply about what others think or who we think we “should” be with).
Ultimately, we may wind up with someone who fits the bill but is better on paper than in our heart.
So try ditching the list. Instead, drawing from your soul (or the wisest, most authentic part of you that transcends the small self and is always aligned with your highest and best interest), think of a handful of feeling states that you wish to experience on a regular basis with your new love interest. For example: peaceful, joyful, and carefree.
These general feeling states (versus super-specific criteria) leave plenty of wiggle room for your soul to find, and the Universe to deliver, an ideal match – a match you may not have considered otherwise, but that is more fulfilling than your small self could have ever imagined.