The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
Many times when people want a new relationship, they either look for someone to complete them or they imagine sharing their life with someone just like them.
So, they try to present themselves in the best possible light for their imagined future partner — either as one perfect half of a whole or as an ideal version of what they believe their future partner will want.
In my experience, finding your forever love and soul mate requires a different, far more soul-enriching approach.
Here are seven steps that worked for me that I believe might work for you, too:
1. Live your life as you want to live it.
When I started to discover more about myself and to follow my own path, I started to live a life that was meaningful to me. I was no longer following someone else’s rules and ideas about what I should do.
This can disappoint some people close to you, such as your family and close friends. However, if you want to find fulfillment in your life, you have to fulfill yourself and your own needs and not someone else!
Doing what is right for you means you will be in places, jobs, and near people that are aligned with your life path, and with you. So, you will have a much better chance of meeting your soulmate, because your soulmate will also be connected to your life path.
“Live the story you want to tell.” — Simply Topaz
2. When you meet someone, don’t hurry things; allow the relationship to unfold.
When you meet someone you have a good connection with, allow that connection to develop and grow.
If the person is a soulmate, he or she will also be into you, so if you both pay genuine attention to each other then something will develop.
There is no need to play games or to try particular seduction techniques or to achieve milestones by a particular time. A successful long-term relationship is not a game.
Do you really want to be in a relationship with someone you had to manipulate into? Do you want your partner to be enchanted by an image you have created so that you have to hide in some way? Or do you want your partner to love you wholeheartedly? What kind of relationship do you want to bring children into if you end up having them?
Each relationship is unique, just as each person is unique, so how your relationship unfolds will be unique too.
You can’t plan for it to go a particular way. You have to engage with the process of it and with each other, and then make decisions as you go. There is no one line you can say, no one action you can take, that will lead to a particular result.
All you can do is live your life more fully, learn to accept and love yourself more fully, and you will love and be loved more fully.
“You can’t hurry love, no, you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy, it is a game of give and take.” — The Supremes
3. Stop looking for your soul mate and find the missing parts of you.
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s exactly how I met my fiance. I stopped looking for “the one” after a four-year relationship ended, which I had believed was the one. I decided to turn my attention inward — to get to know and accept myself, to heal past wounds, and to explore and develop new parts of myself.
Previously, I needed to be with someone to feel content, to have someone love me to feel loved. The break up with my first boyfriend was so painful because it felt like I was falling apart as if I was being torn from a part of myself.
What I discovered was that I had to learn to be whole. And when I started to work on that, my life changed.
“You are perfect, whole, and complete. You needn’t add anyone or anything to yourself to experience your true power. — Doreen Virtue
4. Stop trying to appeal to an imagined, potential partner.
A side effect of leading the life you choose is that you automatically become more attractive. You become more real, authentic, substantial, valuable, passionate, happy, and present. This makes you more beautiful naturally and effortlessly, and it will also make you attractive to your soul mate.
Whereas when you try to make yourself attractive to find someone, you alter the way you behave and present yourself so that if your soulmate were to show up, he or she might not even recognize you.
So just be yourself, whether that means you dress in corporate attire or resort wear, or casual clothing or more formal, or if your preference changes at different times.
You don’t need to be a particular weight or have large biceps or wear uncomfortable shoes if you don’t like them. Go to the gym only if you love it, do yoga if you love it, walk or surf or cycle if you enjoy those activities.
A partner who you will be with over the long term will not decide your worth based on a superficial aspect of your appearance. So tap into what feels right for you, do the activities you enjoy, wear the clothes that suit you and in which you feel comfortable.
You will be far more attractive to your soul mate if you look like yourself when you meet them.
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” — Coco Chanel
5. If you are attracted to particular qualities in another, find or develop those qualities in yourself.
Most of us express only a small part of who we are. We limit ourselves to the personality — or self — we have become in response to our childhood environment.
This is an unavoidable stage in our developmental process because we have to form a self — or ego — that enables us to survive and hopefully thrive in our family and social setting.
And the way we do that is by developing characteristics that meet our survival needs and pushing away any characteristics that aren’t valued or needed.
So we all have hidden or disowned parts of ourselves that at some point we need to unearth.
When we haven’t yet unearthed and embraced our disowned parts, we are drawn into relationships with others who express those parts. It is like we are unconsciously trying to complete ourselves through our relationships.
These relationships usually involve intense attraction at first and are characterized by feelings of completeness. But inevitably, they become stifled by strong relationship patterns that form where people get stuck relating to one another from one main part of themselves that bonds with its opposite in the other person. These are called “bonding patterns.”
So, for example, a very responsible man might become a “responsible father” about his partner’s inner “pleasing daughter,” and a nurturing woman might become a “nurturing mother” to her partner’s inner “needy son.”
If the woman doesn’t become conscious of her own responsibility, she will rely on her partner to be responsible. And if the man doesn’t connect with his nurturing side, he will want to be nurtured by her. But then when stresses and vulnerabilities arise in the relationship, these bonding patterns turn negative, and the partners turn on each other.
I am so grateful to have learned about bonding patterns because the awareness of them not only helps enormously in my relationship, but they also act as a guide for which parts of myself I have lost connection to.
Because bonding patterns are a natural way that we give and receive love, they are unavoidable. And no matter how conscious we become, there is always something unconscious! But bonding patterns can be navigated successfully.
When you become aware that you are attracted to other people because of what you have disowned in yourself, and then work on owning those qualities in yourself, your relationships transform.
If you are in a relationship already and you begin this process, then as you and your partner reclaim your disowned selves, you start to become more fully yourselves with each other and your relationship will become richer.
“Work on being in love with the person in the mirror who has been though so much but is still standing.” — Anonymous
6. Engage with life; accept the gifts that are offered to you.
If you are intentionally looking for a partner, you probably will not find them.
When my fiance and I met, we were not trying to fall in love or be anything. We just happened to become fast friends and everything else happened organically from that point.
When you look at each person you encounter as if you are screening them for a job with a life-long contract, it changes the organic flow of events and natural connection that forms with the people you encounter. It is also off-putting to be evaluated as a “catch” and it is likely to make people run from you!
The simplest way to stop assessing others as potential life partners is to just stop looking for a partner and connect with the people you meet with genuine interest.
Then, enjoy the type of relationship that naturally develops — or doesn’t — whether that’s a friendship, a business connection, or a bond based on mutual interest.
“Life is a privilege and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” — Tony Robbins
7. Love Yourself
I found the greatest love of all inside of me
The greatest love of all is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.
— Whitney Houston
I wish you loads of love and fulfillment in your relationships.
This post was previously published on Medium.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Shutterstock