Identifying The Right Counterpart
Identifying the right partnership can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But once we find that needle, how do we know that it's the right one. Or better yet, how do we know if the person we’re interested in is worth the risk. I mean, it is a risk, right? Starting a new relationship is agreeing to be vulnerable.
It asks us to take a risk on sharing these vulnerabilities in exchange for a lasting partnership. As humans, we are hardwired to seek out connections with others but it doesn’t have to be a complete risk. Through the development of your listening abilities, you can begin to quickly decipher who is the ideal amongst the crowd. This article is designed to help you sharpen those skills.
Accountability Starts At Home
It all starts with accountability! Taking the time to sort through our pasts relationships with accountability can quickly reveal patterns in our decision-making skills. To be fair, the way we pursue relationships is heavily rooted in the types of relationships we experienced growing up.
This is why I always recommend shadow work before doing any serious dating. My point is, you can’t really change these patterns unless you’re willing to see them. If you can’t go through your past relationships and see where you can take accountability for its existence AND demise, no amount of listening can help you.
Suggested Reading: A Beginners Guide to Shadow Work and Boundaries
Get Clear On What You Want
Once you’ve seen the patterns and mastered the art of accountability, it’s time to get clear on what you want. I am a firm believer in self-love first. Before we go out into the world demanding things in a partner, we first have to be willing to be that ourselves. Do NOT demand something of someone else that you aren't willing to reciprocate. Do NOT demand devotion from your partner if you aren’t devoted to yourself.
Look In The Mirror
There is a term in shadow work called mirroring. It is centered around the concept that our internal reality is mirrored back to us in our external relationships. For the sake of this article, this would mean choosing an emotionally unavailable partner because we are disconnected from our own emotions. Even further, this could relate to having an emotionally distant parent.
And that folks is how shadow work begins. BUT, this concept works both ways. When we reveal those patterns, take accountability and “ do the work” we begin to step into the light. We then learn to choose partners who reflect back to us the love we have for ourselves.
So, decide what qualities you want in a partner, then work on being those things to yourself, first. In this way you can be sure that what you attract in a partner is a true reflection of what you want. This also prevents us from making unhealthy concessions.
I know you’re probably wondering “ wtf does this have to do with listening?” To that, I say EVERYTHING! When we don't know what's going on with us, we are likely making unhealthy compromises in our relationships. You know what I mean, overextending yourself, saying yes when you really want to scream “ fuck no!” It happens to all of us.
Making concessions is like sticking a thumbtack into a tire. It creates a slow leak in our energy centers and before long we’re stuck on the side of the freeway, completely out of air. When we start making the wrong kinds of compromises we end up in toxic relationships that overtake our sense of self. Take a moment right now to think of the last time you agreed to something that you didn’t want to do?
How did that make you feel? How often do you feel like that? If it's a lot, it's probably time to take a hard look at your relationships. -and yourself cuz accountability, right?
Being able to identify the times we made compromises that weren't in our best interest helps us to avoid making them in the future. This way when those opportunities pop up in the future, (and they will pop up in the future) you’ll make a different choice. It’s all about putting yourself in the best position to listen.
The Art of Listening: Reading Between The Lines
Rarely will a person say “ Warning I’m a walking red flag, please avoid me. ” But they will, through conversation hint at it. This is where being able to “ read in-between the lines” becomes invaluable. This is also the point where everything I said previously will begin to make sense.
Understanding the how's and why’s you learned through the accountability and shadow work phases positions you at a heightened level of awareness. You now understand that everything isn’t always what it seems and there’s usually something brewing on a deeper level. You now possess the magical ability to read humans, you just don’t know how to use it yet.
And now we come to the part of the article where I explain how the sauce is made. And if you haven’t done any of the work I suggested above you’ll still find some success but I promise that it will be inconsistent and short-lived. (SO DO THE WORK!)
Talk It Out
When communicating with potential lovers, pay attention to the way they speak. Listen to the words they choose and more importantly, how they speak about others. Do they speak about themselves positively? Do they speak with confidence or arrogance? Do they talk over you or do they value what you have to say? The way a person chooses to communicate says a lot about who they are and where they’re at on their journey.
Objectivity and Observation
Choosing the right partner isn't just conversations, its the observations that follow. The way a person responds to any given situation helps you to identify their character. Measure their words and actions carefully.
Pay attention to how they love and care for those around them, especially themselves. The most important thing for you is to remain objective. When we become emotionally involved too quickly the truth begins to distort. We become idealistic and begin making excuses for behaviors that will cause issues later on.
Take the qualities and habits of the person and measure them against what you know about yourself and the goals you identified earlier. This will help you to remain centered in the process.
For example, If safety and reliability are important to you. Having a partner who is hard to reach or inconsistent won't work for you, even if they check every other box. If you've done the work, it's okay to remain firm in those details.
Exit Stage Left
If for any reason a person doesn't match up with what you desire, kindly exit stage left. When you desire to be in a lasting relationship, it can be too easy to begin making compromises early on. Loneliness is a terribly powerful motivator for this kind of thing. This is why I recommend Don Miguels Book, The Mastery Of Love. There is an important excerpt about making yourself a self-sustainable kitchen.
Sounds weird, I know but hear me out. When we love ourselves completely, we realize that the absence of a partner doesn't mean an absence of love. And in that realization, we can choose partners from a place of want and not need. This further empowers us to love at higher levels and to walk away when it no longer feels right. And that is how you choose a partner in love and in life.