We’re all guilty of prioritizing the must-have’s in a potential partner, and to some degree this is healthy. Here’s a fresh perspective on the itemized list of “ideal mate” qualities.
If you’re single and in search of a loving mate, chances are you’ve got a sizable list of preferred qualities you’re looking for in that special person. Having a list like this is important because it can help us clarify what really matters in the relationship we seek—especially with ourselves.
A few years ago, I rattled off my own romantic wish list to a friend, and one of the top requirements my ideal man had to possess was fluency in a second language. My friend shot me a look of disbelief and asked whether I’d ever mastered French after all my years of inconsistent practice. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘non.’
The thing about itemizing qualities we want from our future mates is that those are very likely traits we’d like to see more of in ourselves. A few of the other toppers on my list were kindness, a sense of adventure and emotional availability. All great attributes, I thought, all the same qualities I wanted to nurture in myself, too. That revelation changed the game altogether. I’m reminded of Ghandi’s ‘being the change’ we want to see in the world and an oft-quoted psalm that has this to say on the subject of love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… . Love never fails.
It’s a worthy goal to nurture those qualities in myself, and I’m finding the process to be a humbling back and forth between flourishing and falling short. When I look at the old lists I’ve made for my ideal man, I do so with a greater compassion for our human imperfections and the grace we all need to evolve into the highest versions of ourselves possible.
That brings up the other thing I have to ask: could you be loved?
Being love and loved will call us to drop our guard and relax back into it, to sink roots down and through it, to stay awhile and draw it up like it’s the water of life—because it is. It goes without saying that being loved is on your wish list, too, and we can practice being it every chance we get.
Rumi said, Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It may take a lifetime of trying to tick this one off of the list, but when it comes to the prospect of embodying love itself, you’d be hard pressed to find a more worthy goal.
[image: via *_Abhi_* on flickr]