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I know this is going to sound cliché, but I am grateful for my failed relationships. Not because I did not end up with the people I was involved with, but because of what they have taught me about my choices and about what I thought love was. I no longer say, "I want to find love."
When you are looking for love, you end up passing people by, or you end up in a relationship where one of you are chasing a third entity — a love triangle. Instead, I am looking to meet an individual who has certain characteristics that I am looking for in a partner, and see how things evolve. This has been the most difficult choice I have had to make in order to transform how I understand a relationship — namely, if you want to create closeness with a person, nothing should stand between you and them. No thing. Not even love. It is only when we remove our concept of love out of the equation, that the masks fall and truth is revealed. Neale Walsh, author of Conversations with God, said that there are two important questions that we should ask ourselves before getting involved with anyone. The order of these questions is mandatory.
A. Where am I going?
B. Who is coming with me?
In the light of these reflections, I have come up with a few characteristics of things to look for in a potential partner.
1. How you feel in their presence?
How do you feel about them? How do you feel about yourself with them? If words and actions were put aside, could you still just sit in their presence and would that be enough?
2. Where are they heading in life and can you support them?
Goals matter. A driven individual is a powerful force to be around. They will inspire you, but on the other hand, do you feel like you could support them on their journey and allow them to reach their goals, even surpass them? Do you feel proud when they mention their successes? Do you share their enthusiasm?
3. Are you ready to make space for their shortcomings in your life?
It is a waste of time to try to change a person. For sure, we all evolve naturally, however if we can find a way of accepting people exactly as they are and embrace them into our lives that way, it will save a lot of frustrating conversations.
4. Do they inspire you to be more?
Naturally, we are all tempted to focus on appearances, when we first meet someone who catches our eye. The only thing is that appearances quickly wear off, as we get comfortable and we receive validation from our love interest. My new approach is simple — if somebody inspires me to be a better version of myself, whether they like me back or not, I want to be around this person. If they like me back, it is even better, but I am not improving to have them like me. Chemistry creates something much bigger that surpasses both of us.
5. Do they make you feel like changing the world?
Among the many things that have changed in my recent approach to relationships, is my former desire to receive for the self alone. If I feel a certain way about a person, I want this energy to bear fruits. I want to channel that love into something constructive for the world, like a project that will change people's lives. Love is energy, love is momentum. We should be able to tap into that moment when we feel on top of the world and impact the world in a bigger way.
6. Do they share your values? Are you complementary?
No two people will have the exact same approach to life. We are talking about different people with different upbringings and life experiences. However, there should be a basis and some complementarity. If one person has a certain approach to life and the other one has a different view that is somehow an extension of what's missing, then we are talking about complementarity and progress, especially if that person is able to tell you what's missing straight to your face.
7. Is this truly about them?
When you catch a glimpse of the world through their eyes and you feel like your own experience of life has been enhanced, when you realize how unique their opinion and outlook are, and you feel like they are a myriad of worlds that you just want to keep exploring. When time is out of the equation and there is no end result, but to grow closer without any expiry date, then you know that you have outgrown love and you are heading towards true closeness.