In the last post, Step 1. Love Yourself, we went through the first step to finding love: learning to love yourself, and taking care of your appearance to feel confident and give you the best chance of making a good first impression. In this post, I’m going to help you perform a self diagnosis to find out who you are and what you really want from a relationship/partner. This isn’t just for singles either – anyone can apply the principles below.
Before you enter the big, scary world out there and start off on your journey to find love, it’s crucial that you have at least a good idea of what you’re looking for. When it comes to love, some people believe in fate, or a grand plan that will unfold when it unfolds, and some people believe you just need to be lucky. I believe in what the Roman philosopher Seneca once said, in that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
When you were younger, you probably played the love calculator game, where you calculate your ‘true love compatibility’ with someone based on a simple and cheesy algorithm. Now that we’re a little older (and hopefully wiser), most of us would like something a little bit more substantial.
The first thing you’ll need to do is grab a piece of paper and pen, and you’ll want to make a list with three columns (ME, THEM, and SCORE). In the first column of each list, under ME, write down all the good and bad things about yourself: the things that make up and define you as a person. If you’re struggling to think of things, you could try asking a friend – but only if 1) you are open to constructive criticism, and 2) have a good friend who you know will be honest and open with you. Otherwise, start by thinking about your emotions: are you energetic or lazy? Are you emotionally stable or are you on an emotional roller coaster?
To prompt your thinking a little more, try answering the following questions:
- Are you conservative and uncomfortable with change or are you dynamic and embrace change?
- Do you take risks or are you careful and cautious? A daredevil or prefer to play it safe?
- Do you crave company the company of others (extrovert) or do you prefer to be alone (introvert)?
- Are you romantic or are you realistic?
- Are you a leader or a follower?
- When making decisions, who comes first – the desires of others or of your own?
- What is your coping strategy to deal with the world around you? Are you a curious intellect? Or do you find humour is a good coping mechanism?
- Do you use the left side (logic, language, and analytical thinking) or the right side (expressive and creative tasks) of your brain more?
- Are you religious or spiritual? How political are you?
- Do you have children or do you want children in the future?
The questions above should be a good starting point, and try to be as detailed and exhaustive as possible – you’ll be surprised at what you come up with.
Now have a think about what you want from a partner and write a list in the THEM column. Try again to be as detailed and exhaustive as possible, and use the items you listed in your ME column as a starting point. You may like someone with the same trait as you (or, on the other hand, the thought may repulse you!). When you’ve written down a dozen or so items in each column of the list, write a score in the third column based on the following scoring system:
5 = Necessary
4 = Very important, but not necessary
3 = Important
2 = Not very important
1 = Doesn’t matter
Cross out any item that scores 1 or 2, and draw a big circle around all those items that scored 5 – these are the things you NEED from a prospective partner. Those remaining that are things that you WANT from a prospective partner.
Take your time over the next week to think about your list – often things bubble up from your subconscious mind when you’re least expecting it – and add things as they come to you. Cross things out, too, if they’re no longer applicable or if you’ve changed your mind. You might also find your ratings change as you think more about each item on your lists.
How do you assess what you want from a relationship/partner? What are your needs and wants from a prospective partner?
Now that you know what you want, the third step in finding love is to start looking, and you’ll find a few of the common places to start looking for love, and some of the pros and cons of each, in Step 3. (Where To Start) Looking For Love.
In the next post of Part 1: Find Love, I discuss dating someone similar to you in comparison to dating someone different to you and examine the core foundation of successful relationships (see Dating Someone Similar Or Different – Opposites Attract?).