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Relationship Choices

Finding Your Soul Mate

Imagine finding someone who you seem to have known forever. This person knows your weaknesses and strengths and is nurturing and encouraging. You laugh at yourselves rather than others. You feel at ease being yourself. You know you are not being judged or evaluated. You want to do for this person without caring about getting things in return.

Recent research conducted by The Human Development Company regarding internet dating has revealed a number of interesting things. Among them is the fact that people describe themselves in very glowing terms– almost universally.

We believe that people do perceive themselves correctly. They are honest, funny, adventurous, romantic, generous, loving, down-to-earth, etc., etc. The question arises, "Do people show up being fully themselves around others, especially the opposite sex, or are there some other forces in effect?" One school of thought about relationships is that "Nobody's perfect." Stop being overly critical, realize what you think you're looking for is just not available. Lower your needs, lower your standards and then you'll find somebody you can be happy with.

Disappointments and failures in relationships make us reevaluate our approach and needs constantly. Aristotle said, The problem in life is not that we aim too high and miss, but that we aim too low and hit. The perfect person is someone who meets your criteria, your needs, as opposed to some idealized form of perfection.

There are many people who fit your criteria. The question is how clear you are about your needs, and how committed you are to having them realized. One helpful exercise is to sit down and write all your thoughts and feelings about men (or women) and relationships.

Recently I was leading a workshop for a women's group. A very unflattering picture of men emerged from the group. Men are pigs was at the top of the list. The rest of the list wasn't much better. These were all professional women in their 30's with prior marriages, who were very social and were out there trying to meet men. When I asked them to write a list of the characteristics of their perfect man, they had a difficult time– many basic elements were left off the list completely.

Imagine trying to build a house, a much less important enterprise in terms of our happiness and fulfillment than finding the right mate, the same way. Oops! We forgot windows and bathrooms and a few other basic things– we assumed all houses came with these. The house would be unlivable– as are so many relationships. For instance, we assume that when we go out to meet someone, that we will find somebody physically and emotionally available.

We never even think about it. I have worked with thousands of single people and no one ever had that on their list. The truth is that people often get involved with a married person, a person who is seeing someone else or someone who has just broken up and is afraid of getting back into a committed relationship.

You may ask, "How does writing a word like available on a list prevent us from meeting the wrong person or prevent someone from lying to us?" Very easily! Making a list when we are creating a relationship is to be used exactly as a builder uses an architect's plans– on a daily basis. We check every detail to make sure that if a mistake is being made, it is discovered before it's too late. The list is a living document which you look at every day, add to and subtract from.

Working with your list makes you aware and alert. You wind up asking the right questions, and becoming extremely observant of behavior and intuitive when it comes to responses. You learn to trust that inner voice saying "something is wrong." You know how many times you've ignored it in the past and paid the price. Your inner voice, your Spirit, is never wrong. It's when our need for love and companionship override it– hoping this time we are mistaken or that we can change the person– that we wind up regretting our choices.

Having a complete list of the things you want, as opposed to the things you don't, equips you with an accurate measuring device. This also allows you to see if what's missing is at the top of your list or the bottom.

Prioritizing is important in all aspects of life, and even more so here. Many people who are hurt and afraid of making another mistake will focus in on something that is not very important and blow it out of proportion. This is a defense mechanism and a way of self-sabotage. If you have your list and notice that what you're upset about is #23 on your list, you can ask yourself why you are making this so big. This helps you to get in touch with your own issues about relationships in general. Hopefully, you can then let go of this objection and enjoy the person for the 22 other things they are providing for you.

Finding the right person, your Soul Mate, starts with becoming open to the possibility– here are some important guidelines to apply to any new relationship:

• Do they feel familiar— like brother, friend, or father/mother? Do you feel comfortable with this person?

• Do you feel trusting of this person? Do you want to open up to them with the truth about your past? You also want to feel open and curious about the other, yet not demanding or forcing information.

• Do you feel playful? You might feel no need for your usual "adult act," laugh a lot, feel spontaneous– even the serious topics become lighter.

• How is your conversation? You want talking to be exciting, giving you a sense of being understood and wanting to talk for hours at a time without this being a precursor to sex.

Another almost universal truth you can apply to see if a relationship is right for you is how much effort does it take? The more effortless it is, the more this signals harmony. The more you have to work at it, explain it, understand it, forgive it, be patient with it, struggle with it– the stronger it signals that this is not the right relationship. Getting sucked into relationship for the sake of testing your ability to change a person or situation is energy wasted.

The right person is waiting just around the bend– take a few more steps and let it happen.

Article based on a new book by Stefan Deutsch • Melville, NY


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