By Emily Fletcher
We all want true love. Partnership, romance, connection — these are all completely natural human desires.
Maybe you’re in a place in your life where you feel ready to dive in and find the person of your dreams. Whether you’ve been single for a while or have recently gone through a breakup, the best way to proceed is not by jumping on a million dating apps and scheduling happy-hour dates every night for the next month.
Before you find a soul mate, you need to lay the foundation for what you really want in an ideal partner and get specific about your desires.
In my mindbodygreen course Guided Visualizations: How to Overcome Your Fears, Excel at Work & Have Mind-Blowing Sex, I take you through a variety of different techniques to wake up your sexual and creative energy and help you tap into your unique, most idyllic version of your romantic life. I’d like to share a few of those with you here:
Imagine your perfect lazy Sunday with your ideal partner.
To really get into this one, take a moment to sit down comfortably with your back supported and your head free. Take a few slow, deep breaths, then close your eyes. Now, imagine waking up and rolling over and seeing your ideal partner lying next to you, fast asleep. Take a moment and really picture what they look like. Is it a man or a woman? What color is his or her hair? What color is their skin? What do they look like when they’re sleeping? Can you hear their breathing? Let your imagination run wild.
Now, they wake up and open their eyes and they see you and make eye contact. Notice what color their eyes are, and notice what their smile looks like when they see you. They pull the covers away and you see their body as they walk to the bathroom. How tall are they? What physical form do they take? Just see them as they walk through the room.
As you both wake up and start the day, imagine what your activities look like. Do you go out for brunch or do you cook at home? If you cook at home, who cooks and what do you make? Smell the food in the air and see it on the table in front of you. Picture the table itself. Do you sit in front of the TV or in front of each other? Is your table in your kitchen or on your balcony? As you’re chatting over brunch, notice what the conversation is about and what attributes about your partner come out when they talk. Do they like to talk about politics or work? What kind of job do they have? Do they want kids?
You wrap up brunch and head out for your perfect Sunday. Just imagine what that is for you both — hiking, kayaking, exploring the city, going to see a movie, going for a long drive. Throughout the day, notice the moments that you connect and that you make eye contact. Notice what it feels like when you’re riding in the car and you reach over and touch their hand. Is their skin soft or rough; do they hold your hand back?
Now, imagine that the day is winding down and you’re back home getting ready for bed. I want you to have some fun here and picture your ideal sexual encounter with this person. Are you in the bed or on the dining room table? Are you wearing anything? Are there rose petals or candles? Really take the time to see the images, smell the smells, taste the tastes, and feel the feelings. Then imagine yourself falling asleep in their arms, feeling safe and connected and so incredibly grateful for the bond that you have with this person.
Taking a nice, deep inhale, savoring all of those feelings and images. As you exhale, bring yourself back to the present.
How did that feel? Was it dreamy and perfect, or did you have difficulty picturing many of the details? If it’s the latter, that’s OK. Because I’m about to give you a piece of homework to help you really hone in on the details of your ideal partner.
Write down 100 attributes you would want your ideal partner to have.
The items on the list should be more than “nice” or “kind.” Be sure to write out the full 100. Even if you get to 60 and think that you’re done, keep going! If you feel stuck, think back to the visualization.
The reason it’s important to be specific is because the universe can’t deliver your desires if you don’t ask for them. If you go to a restaurant and order “food,” the waiter will be confused and won’t know what to bring you. The same goes for your love life.
The next part of this exercise is to take the list you just wrote and throw it out. Burn it, toss it into the closet, tear it up into little pieces. Because the purpose of this assignment isn’t to try to control every little detail; it’s just to get to the core of what you want. You place the order, and then you trust that the chef will bring you something that’s in line with what you specified, even if you don’t know exactly what the food will look like or what kind of plate it will come on or how many minutes it will take to arrive. Let go of your attachment to the outcome.
Last but not least, make sure you’re fulfilled first.
There’s one other key aspect of this process, and that’s making sure that you are 100 percent fulfilled before you try to bring someone else into your life.
Many of us subscribe to the 80/20 rule. We believe that if we’re 80 percent fulfilled, our partner can bring the other 20. But it doesn’t work that way because happiness is an inside job. So your homework is to find tools and techniques to get you to the place where you feel 100 percent fulfilled on your own.
The more fulfilled you are internally, the higher quality partner you’re going to call in. And then you’re dealing with two people who are 100 percent fulfilled on their own so they can share this bliss and play with each other versus two people who are clinging to each other to fill each other up.
Knowing this, I want you to spend the next seven days leaving your house like the 100 percent fulfilled version of you. Do your hair, buy some new clothes that make you feel great, take baths, participate in your favorite hobbies — all the things that help you feel like the best version of yourself. Because when you feel your best, other people are automatically drawn to you.
I know this might seem like a lot, but I assure you that doing the groundwork now will help you in the long run as you navigate the beautiful, messy world of love. Take the time to get really specific about your desires, then throw them to the universe. Trust that nature has your back and will deliver you the love and connection that will allow you to share the fulfillment that you already have inside you.
This article originally appeared on mindbodygreen.