1. Know Thyself
Rarely do we marry the first person we enter into a relationship with when we’re young. Sure, maybe there’s that one couple we all know… they met in elementary school, got married and are still together to this day.
The rest of us generally have multiple relationships before we feel like we really know who we are.
It usually takes experiencing a few ups and downs in relationships and possibly a break-up (or ten) however you roll, to discover what it is you’re really looking for inside of a relationship.
You may think you want a partner to fit a certain set of characteristics that you haven’t yet developed in yourself, or you may attract a partner who’s been put in your life to trigger all your stuff so you can do some healing work.
Whatever the case, we don’t always know what we want in the beginning. We may pedestal certain qualities when we’re younger only to realize what’s truly important to us later in life after many failed attempts at “making it work” with someone we weren’t really meant to go all the way with.
Example: When Samantha was young, she wanted a partner who was tall and made a lot of money. After marrying a tall man who worked in an executive role for 5 years, they were divorced because of other differences they were unable to resolve. Mainly, they didn’t have a strong friendship and lacked interest in participating in one another’s lives.
2 years after her divorce she met a man who wasn’t so tall and worked in the creative field as a writer. He fit many of the other criteria she had written down, yet this time she felt a lot more clear as to what felt right.
She fell in love with him quickly and realized how much she valued other characteristics like being able to have deep conversations and relate on an emotional level.
It took her first marriage ending to help her uncover the deeper qualities she valued in partnership. She wasn’t being shallow in her first marriage in a negative sense, however she didn’t have enough experience yet to see the deeper qualities she valued in a long term partnership.
Our culture calls divorce and break-up a “failed relationship”, but the fact of the matter is these relationships are how we learn what our needs and wants are. Our failed relationships help us to uncover the areas in which we’re willing to compromise in a relationship, and the ones we simply aren’t.
But bouncing from one relationship into the next isn’t going to get you the clarity you want.
Taking some time in between break-ups to nurture your own inner-world will go a long way when it comes to moving closer towards a partner who you’re truly compatible with.
Knowing yourself means taking time to actually be with yourself.
Some people go most of their adult lives never having really experienced being single and this rarely works. It eliminates the ability to just tune in to your own energy without distraction.
When I say “get to know yourself”, I’m not just talking about what you like, don’t like, or want and don’t want. I’m also talking about exploring your mind and asking yourself hard questions.
This is in relation to what’s called “shadow work”.
Why is it that I don’t like xyz quality in another person? Could this person be a mirror for something that also exists within me?
Am I expecting someone else to create my happiness? Am I happy on my own or am I hoping someone will come and save me?
When I spent time getting to know myself on a deeper level after my divorce, I did a lot of Shadow work.
I got to know and love the darker parts of myself that were running the show behind the scenes of my own mind.
My anger, pain, frustration and sadness all came rising to the surface. Once I allowed myself to feel these darker emotions, they didn’t have a hold on me anymore.
I was free in a sense because I was able to acknowledge myself as worthy in all of my humanness, even the ugly parts.
When you can be with your own inner darkness, you’ll be able to be with someone else in their darkness too. If you’re fairly unacquainted with your own anger, you’ll probably feel triggered when someone else is angry. (There’s a difference between anger and violence – a violent partner is not acceptable.)
Meeting your own shadow essentially gives you ownership over your feelings, even when the person you’re with pulled the trigger.
In a nut-shell, it becomes less about what’s happening outside of you, and more about what’s happening inside of you.
2. Get Comfortable Being Single
Don’t just put on an act and tell your friends you enjoy being single, really learn to be at home with yourself. You don’t have to meditate on top of a mountain or anything (you could if you wanted to) but at least find time to journal, take a walk, or get comfortable having a meal on your own and actually enjoy yourself.
This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to want a relationship. All humans are wired for connection and most of us are wired to pair bond.
But there’s a difference between knowing you’re worthy of a relationship while being unattached to when it’s going to happen for you versus feeling desperate and trying to force a relationship to begin before its time.
When you’re desperately trying to avoid being alone, you’re more likely to dive into something even if it’s a relationship that doesn’t serve your highest good. Which leads me to the next point:
3. Find Your Happiness Within
What a cliche right? Eye roll. Well since you’ve never heard it before, I’m going to let you in on one of the sure-fire ways to attract the relationship you deserve… you guessed it. Self-love baby.
Developing yourself and creating a safe place of internal happiness is crucial to attracting and building a happy relationship with someone else. No one can do your growth work for you and no one can magically make you feel better.
We can use people to distract us for a while, but overtime as chemistry shifts and the falling in love phase settles down, those same thoughts or emotions we intended to override come creeping back.
I’m not saying you have to be in a perfect state of bliss 24/7 before you can be in a happy relationship. Common, that’s not even possible unless you’ve found a way to outsmart the human condition.
So if you’re still human it’s fair to say you’re going to come with some stuff to work out, and relationships with partners who support us on our path of growth are safe containers do so! So do you need to have it all figured out before you date someone?
No, absolutely not! But don’t expect the relationship itself to solve your internal problems or quiet your negative self-talk.
That work needs to be done regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship. Being a truly empowered woman means you’ll have the confidence to enjoy life when you’re single just as much as when you’re in relationship.
Learn to self-soothe. Get to know how your body feels when you’re sad. Give yourself love and honor your body. Demonstrate your worth in the ways you choose to treat yourself. There’s nothing sexier than someone who has boundaries and practices self-love like a boss.
4. Write it Down
On a lighter note, let’s talk about one of the most powerful ways to invite something (or someone) into your life. Write it down. This is no Secret (get it?) that was an inside joke. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sorry. Ask me on the Facebook page and I’ll fill you in.
But seriously, even the scientific research has shown that when we write something out by hand our brains form thousands more connections than they would if we were typing on a computer. Writing in a journal is powerful stuff.
Writing it down isn’t just about manifestation, it’s also about taking the time to get very clear on what it is you want inside of a relationship.
Try this format when you write out your relationship goals:
- What do you want in a relationship?
- What are you willing to do to attract this relationship?
- What are the qualities you’d like to have in a partner?
- What would like to provide in a relationship?
- What do you expect your partner to provide in a relationship?
- When there’s conflict, how will you two work it out?
Example: will you shut down, will you move towards one another and talk, will you connect with a third party like a counsellor or therapist, will you use communication tools?
- What are the feelings you want to experience inside of this relationship?
- What are your deal breakers?
Keep this in your journal and edit it often. Feel free to change it as you learn and grow and remember the people you call into your life are an opportunity for growth and healing – always. Even if it appears otherwise. This is the “take responsibility” part of the equation here.
Truth be told, you may think you want a partner with one conflict style and attract the exact opposite of this.
Does that mean the relationship is doomed to fail? Not unless you take on that belief. What’s more likely is that there’s something for you to learn here. So pay attention and lean into the lesson.
5. Be Someone You Would Love to Date
This is a funny one because most of the time, we don’t actually consider if we’d date ourselves before we go on and on about what we expect from the other person in our dream relationship.
We spend a lot of time listing who we want them to be, but not a lot of time thinking about how we’ll show up for our beloved.
My spiritual teacher always asks us “look in the mirror and ask yourself this question: would you date you?”.
So, would you?
I’ve answered yes and no to this many times. Sometimes my behavior is annoying AF, and sometimes I’m gods gift to men (kidding, sort of.) But hey, we all have our moments.
The question is, are you continually working towards being a better version of yourself or are you stuck in wanting to be right.
You know that saying “would you rather be right or would you rather be happy”? Ancient wisdom, I swear.
6. Don’t Wait to Do the Thing
If you’ve ever caught yourself saying “when I’m in a relationship I’m going to do this thing”, consider that now is the time to do the thing.
Don’t wait for a relationship to give you the permission to go on adventures or have an experience you’ve been dreaming of.
Live your life now and trust this is the way to attract a partner who will match you. Think about it. Is the guy or gal you want to share your life with just sitting at home, waiting? Probably not….
And neither should you.
Take yourself on a trip.
Go for a 5 star meal at your favorite restaurant.
Plan a group camping trip or go on a solo.
Create a romantic environment and enjoy a night at home.
Treat yourself the way you would want your romantic partner to treat you.
7. Find Your Tribe
Look around and observe the people you’re spending your time with these days.
You’ve found your tribe when you can say yes to the following:
Do your friends support you in your mission to be a good person?
Can you can ask for what you need?
Can you can be yourself, even when you’re going through hard times?
Do your friends give you honest feedback?
Do you feel inspired when you’re with them?
Do you know you can grow with these people?
If you answered yes, congratulations. You’ve found your tribe. Since you’ve surrounded yourself with positive people and formed healthy relationships, you’re well on your way to attracting a healthy romantic relationship as well.
We are who we surround ourselves with and if we can make our friendships work in a conscious way, we’re getting great practice in for when our romantic partner shows up.
But what if you answered no?
Don’t worry. I’m not asking you to throw out all of your friends and completely overhaul your inner circle, but perhaps there are some shifts that need to occur.
I’ll tell it to you straight, when I was about 20 I did a massive overhaul of the relationships I had in my life.
I let go of most of the people I had in my life because they were superficial relationships and the truth is at the end of the day, they didn’t have my best interest at heart.
In order for growth to occur, you must also have strong boundaries and know you are worthy of having more.
That includes making sure the people you spend your time treat you with respect, support you in being better, and encourage you to pursue our dreams.
Besides that, it’s important that your whole life isn’t centered around finding, or keeping a relationship with just one person.
We’re wired to have community. Community is what keeps us thriving as individuals in a seemingly chaotic world.
You are wonderful, worthy and fully deserving of having the relationship of your dreams. Just remember, it all starts with you.