I need to talk to you about the Soulmate List. I know there are all kinds of lists, but this one’s the doozy. Mainly because it’s the one that trips up so many of us so often. And, secondly, because I’m fresh off a speed dating experience that had me rethinking a lot of what I’d been told as single lady with no ring on it. So, as the resident bitch-slapping expert on belonging and forging courageous connection, I gotta tell you, my List was kind of bullshit. Which leads me to believe yours might be, too.
Also known as the Life Partner List, I’m talking about the itemized, prioritized, idealized roster of traits, tastes, and must-have qualities we want the person of our dreams to embody. It’s usually a make-or-break proposition, high-stakes in its attempt to define down to the details who and what our ideal mate must look like, sound like, feel like, be like.
Depending on how serious you are about your List, it can backfire and blow up if you get too attached to it and take your eyes off of life as you knew it.
Let’s say you want someone kind, generous, friendly, and outgoing. But what if, whenever you’re in social settings, you retreat to the darkened corners of the room, counting the floor tiles where no one can see you? From that vantage point, back behind the potted palms, you watch as Mr. Wonderful works the room, much to the delight of the other single ladies uh-oh-ohing circles around him in leotards.
Here’s the thing. In that moment, what if he’s actually looking for you, but you’re feeling too self-conscious, hidden, and undeserving to show yourself to him, let alone to anyone who might be the brother, sister, kid, neighbor, colleague, Ex or parent of that person who’s perfect for you?
The scenario isn’t all that convoluted when you think about it. Because the truth is what we’re looking for—whether it’s a mate or a job or a new and different whatever—we need to be a match for it. Our playing small and undeserving won’t ever edge us closer to the goal.
Put another way…
how can we receive
the kindness and generosity of others
when we feel unworthy of it?
When we look for our Ideal Mates, Soul Mates, Perfect Matches, Life Partners, Better Halves—even our Unsuspecting Future Exes, if that’s how you roll—what we’re looking for is the highest and best, most balanced version of ourselves to be reflected back to us in their eyes and actions. And if these desired traits aren’t already present and in us, then it’s time to shine a light on that List and turn the search for the Great Mate inward on ourselves.
This way, we not only learn to cultivate the traits we seek, but we also become more of a magnetic match to what we actually want.
I feel an anecdote coming on…
Once upon a time I made a Miracle Man List of my very own. He had to be friendly, intelligent, considerate, open to new experiences, kind, close to his family, funny, blah blah blah. Then one day I befriend a guy in a night class we were taking. Each week we seemed to naturally gravitate toward each other, laughing and trading jokes about random class topics, which soon shifted to quips about our personal lives.
I loved that he was so easy to talk to. He was intellectually curious and had a dry wit that found an easy rapport with my own. He was a nerd; it was a no-brainer; I liked him. He liked me. He was my kind of guy. Only, not that kind of my kind of guy—he wasn’t The Man of My List.
Wait. Friendly, intelligent, considerate, open to new experiences, kind, close to his family, plus a lot of the blah blah. This is the critical point at which we lose out if we’re not careful, honey. And by “not careful,” I mean we’ll always leave empty handed if we’re too busy dragging around resentment and fear, listening to the voices of the past mired in judgment from others about who we are and how we’ll love.
Here’s the thing: giving ourselves increased permission to let real people enter our lives and witness us as we are changes the game on all fronts (not to mention the behind!).
Ultimately, maybe, what I mean isn’t so much ‘fuck your List’ as it is ‘get deeply intimate with it’. Try them both and let me know how you do.
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- A unique opportunity to gather in with like-minded visionary women (and a few brave men) who also love to laugh.
- Like going to a TED Talks evening, but funnier, edgier, more irreverent and raw.
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- A great choice for a memorable girls’ night out!