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The Greatest Love of All: Love Yourself And Your Mate Will Follow

A while back, my client Kari introduced me to “love lists.” I still use Kari’s love list idea (with a few tweaks) in my practice as a dating / life coach and I have to thank her for inspiring me! Along the way, I discovered that Kari wasn’t the only one making love lists. Countless men and women are list makers in some form, many with the goal of finding and attracting their ideal mate.

Kari’s original love list was two-fold. She made one exhaustive master list detailing what she did and didn’t want in the man of her dreams (which she consulted frequently throughout each relationship). Then, after a break up, she would make a shorter love list particular to her ex, detailing what she did and didn’t like about him, comparing his qualities with her master list. As time went on, Kari edited her master list, hoping that by defining the perfect man, she would have more luck finding him.

One day, I suggested Kari shake up her routine and make some changes to the love list. “Why don’t you make a brand new love list?” I challenged her. “But this time, I want you to focus on what qualities you love and appreciate about yourself instead of the qualities you are seeking in a boyfriend.” I advised Kari to be generous in her compliments and cautious in her self-criticisms and we met the following week to review her new and improved love list.

At our next meeting, Kari looked sheepish as she handed me a nearly blank piece of paper. “I felt weird !” She laughed, “I don’t usually sit around just, you know, loving myself!” When making her typical love list, Kari was like a kid in a candy store, gleefully scribbling down all the wonderful things she imagined Prince Charming to be. But when Kari tried to work on a “love me” list, she faltered, quickly feeling uncomfortable and out of place spending just a few minutes appreciating and cherishing herself. So, we spent a few weeks developing Kari’s “love me” list together.

By re-focusing the love list on herself, Kari began to re-train her mind and heart to know and value herself, instead of trying to control her relationship destiny. While Kari’s original love list was a fairy tale fantasy: the “love me” list was a true story. Sure, the guy that Kari ends up with will probably have some of the qualities on her original love list. However, obsessively poring over the dream of a man who resembles her list is certainly not going to attract him to her. What’s more, the “love me” list is far more capable of helping Kari define what she wants in a mate because it encourages her to know herself fully, allowing her to better understand her own needs.

Kari still has a copy of her original love list. But she no longer makes mini-lists after each break up. Instead, she whips out her “love me” list to boost her spirits as she prepares to move on. Yes, she’s still single, though she tells me that, since ditching her obsessive devotion to her original list, her dating life is now more relaxed and enjoyable. “You know, it’s crazy, Annie,” she told me a few months back, “but since I changed the love list, the guys I do end up dating are much closer to what I always had in mind.” The “love me” list isn’t magic, but it is a powerful way to re-adjust your approach to dating, based on a foundation of self-respect. I’m confident that Kari is on the road to love; and her new love list is sure to guide the way.

Why not try it for yourself? Whether you are a single gal like Kari or in a committed relationship, take fifteen minutes this week to make your own “love me” list. Don’t forget to check in and tell me how it goes!

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As Featured In Elle Magazine