Achieving any goal has a lot to do with your ability to
visualize that goal. Great athletes visualize themselves
crossing the finish line first, getting a hole-in-one, or
batting the ball out of the stadium.
However, it may be hard for you to visualize success in love
if your previous love relationships didn't provide a good
model of what you are looking for.
I'm going to give you a concrete, step-by-step method for
figuring out what you want and need, so you'll have a
positive love goal to visualize. It will be a process of
self-discovery, and along the way, we may discover some
preconceptions and misconceptions which have hampered your
search for love in the past.
Unlike most of the articles in my Love Library, which you
can read quickly and then go on, this one involves a little
homework. It's actually a "Mate Selection Guide."
But there's no rush and no teacher grading you. So you can
skim through the following exercises, see where they lead,
and then decide for yourself what you want to do. If you
decide to have some fun and complete the Guide, I promise it
will be rewarding, but I suggest you take it an easy step at
The first step is to write down a "wish list" for your ideal
mate. Following a form similar to Exercise One below will
help. I suggest you create a private file in your word
processing software which contains the lists for all six
Exercises in this Guide.
Since this Guide is for your eyes only, be totally,
outrageously honest. Have fun. Describe your ultimate
By making a list of what you want, you may be surprised to
find that you get exactly that. Many clients of mine have
reported that really focusing on what they wanted in a mate
somehow caused that exact person to materialize in their
You may be thinking, "But wait, I don't want to limit my
choices!" I understand your concern, so trust me. The
lists which follow are exercises, not stone tablets; they're
meant to change and evolve, and you're creating them not
because you're sure you know what you want, but because this
process is an excellent way of finding out what you want.
And these lists work for everyone.
Even if you're sophisticated and highly experienced at love,
you can benefit from some quiet reflection and note-making
on what you've learned. Even if you feel that love is
hopelessly subjective and undefinable -- even if you want to
keep it that way -- making these notes will identify certain
patterns which might prevent the repetition of past
Learning to be wiser about love doesn't make it any less
romantic. When that right person steps into your life,
"chemistry" takes over, and lists and notes go flying out
the window. These exercises only help you find love sooner
and more surely, not change it.
So whether you start with a fully-fleshed-out fantasy mate
or just a few wish-list desires, start with something, and
My only request for describing your fantasy mate is that it
be YOUR fantasy, not your family's or your friends' or
Hollywood's. Avoid writing down something just because it
reflects our society's belief system, such as "the man
shouldn't be younger than the woman," or "the man always has
to make more money than the woman." This also suggests you
concentrate on inner qualities rather than things like
physical appearance and social status.
Exercise #1: My Ideal Mate
What did you write down? Your list may be different, but in
my seminars and private counseling, I've noticed that "Ideal
Mate" lists generally follow a predictable pattern. Both
men and women want a certain age range, plus a few generic
good qualities like "Sense of humor" which everyone wants
and no one could argue with. Then, abruptly, the lists
Women usually want "Financially secure" or "rich" (expressed
more politely as "Well-educated," "Ambitious," or coded by
Men usually want "Sexy" (expressed more politely as "Good
Figure" or "Attractive," or coded into height/weight
In my seminars, this pattern provokes lots of snide remarks.
The women accuse the men of being superficial (or worse),
and vice versa. Hardly ever does anyone ask, "where does
this pattern come from?"
The reason women want security and men want a sexy figure is
biological. For the first million or so years of human
existence, a man's role was to father as many offspring as
possible and protect them from saber-toothed tigers. If a
woman was able to have many offspring, and nurse them all,
and had picked a strong man who could protect them,
In the Cro-Magnon "singles" world, women looking for strong
and men looking for sexy were the ones who perpetuated our
species, and they passed along and reinforced these
preferences over countless generations. Saber-toothed
tigers have been gone for less than 10,000 years -- not
nearly long enough for our basic instincts to change.
The answer, of course, is to understand that the instincts
exist, but they don't have to rule our lives. They're knee-
jerk reactions, not absolute needs. The successful, well-
paid woman manager doesn't really NEED a killer executive
husband for security. She might actually be more happy with
a sweet sculptor who's totally supportive of her career.
The old instincts still tug deeply, of course. So a warning
to the men: that long-legged blonde with the big breasts may
have gotten away with murder all her life because she's so
beautiful, and she may sleep 'til noon, be very "into
herself" and extremely expensive to maintain.
Similarly, a warning to the women: that succesful politician
or real estate developer whose power just draws you to him
like a moth to a flame may not be a paragon of sensitivity.
Then again, he may have so little time for you, you'll never
find that out.
For women, this programming goes beyond biological. Your
Mom probably told you, "It's just as easy to fall in love
with a rich man as a poor man." The problem is, being
married to a wealthy man can be hell.
Wealthy men usually know how to be very charming, but that
charm is often as thin as a hundred-dollar bill. If he has
inherited wealth and grew up as a rich kid, he's probably
spoiled and insecure underneath. If he's a self-made man,
he may be a driven, compulsive workaholic who's equally
impossible to live with. Either way, you wind up with
money, but you may learn the hard way about Mom's other
words of wisdom: "Money can't buy happiness."
Am I stimulating your thinking about what you want? That's
my purpose. You're the one who gets to decide, and there
are no absolute "right" or "wrong" preferences -- only
what's right for you. While you're mulling over all the
enticing attributes of an ideal mate, let's move on to
In Exercise #2, list all the good qualities that you have to
offer a potential mate. Making this list will keep you from
selling yourself short. It's also good for your self-esteem
and will help you crystallize exactly why you deserve a
special person in your life. If you have trouble making a
list, get a good friend to help, or ask yourself, "What are
the good things my best friends would say about me?"
Be sure not to overlook "Special Skills." You may not think
that making your own pasta or being an expert on the Civil
War would attract anyone, but it makes you different and
interesting. It makes you you.
Exercise #2: Why I'm So
Good Personality Traits:
Other Good Qualities:
Activities I can do:
Special Skills I possess:
Now, let's have a quick, interesting check on something.
Very often we want to be judged on "internal qualities" --
our warmth, affection, supportiveness, etc., but we want to
pick on the basis of "external qualities" -- tall, thin,
sexy and rich. So compare your first and second lists.
Does this apply to your lists?
Either way, I'm sure you have a list of good qualities long
enough to have people standing to meet you. No
one's perfect, though, so in the next Exercise, I want you
to list some of the imperfections that make you human.
This list, of course, doesn't have to be as long, but see
how objective you can be about yourself. What you write
down is just between us.
Exercise #3: Why I'm Not Such A
We'll come back to this list later, but for the moment, it
serves as a little reminder. When each of us finds someone
who will love us for our good qualities, we naturally expect
them to put up with our "other" qualities as well. Does
that suggest anything to you?
Right. When you find your "Mr. or Ms. Perfect," they
won't be. Perfect, that is. If you keep looking for
someone perfect, you'll only find them when your eyesight
fails of old age.
Imperfect is inevitable. The key question is: what are you
willing to put up with and what are you not willing
to put up with?
The answers to that question will become your threshold
Standards for dating and mating. And the sooner you
establish them, the better. If you wait until you're lost
in the thrill of the chase or the heat of passion, it's too
late. Start by listing, in the next Exercise, some likely
imperfections you are willing to put up with.
Exercise #4: Five Things I'm Not Too Fond Of But
Could Learn To Tolerate For The Right
OK, now that you've shown flexibility and a spirit of
compromise, it's time to get tough. What are you not
willing to put up with?
Exercise #5: Five Things I Can't Stand Under Any
The last step in setting your standards is more fun.
Instead of thinking about what you can't stand, now's the
time to think about good qualities that are important to you
in a potential mate -- those particular qualities that are
so important, in fact, that you absolutely must have
You may want to review the qualities you've already listed
in Exercise #1, your "Ideal Mate," and simply pick the most
important. Or you may want to test yourself a little, by
first writing down what you now think is most important
after having completed the intervening exercises, and then
check this list against #1.
Exercise #6: "Must-have's" -- Five Things I
Can't Live Without
Good work! You now have your own private "Mate Selection
Guide." These lists, and the thought process which went
into them, can help you in many ways. For example, if you
meet someone new who seems to be interested in you, you'll
have a basis for determining what your interest should be,
instead of automatically responding because you're flattered
by the person's interest.
You now have a guide to help you decide whether or not to
show an interest in that person down the hall at work who's
always seemed kind of attractive -- or if you're not sure,
what to find out about him or her from your co-workers in
order to decide.
I suggest you re-visit these lists as you date and change
them as experience dictates, while trying to follow the
thought process we've just gone through here together.
Related Keywords: Your Requirements, Meeting People
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