It’s a common mistake for people who are seeking a new relationship to look for someone who is just like them, or for someone to complete them. They attempt to present themselves in the best way possible, either as a half of a perfect whole, or as the ideal person they think their future partner might want.

Finding your soul mate will require a different and a far more soul-enriching approach. Following are six steps that may help you.

  1. Seek the missing parts of you.

Stop looking for a soulmate. Instead, focus your attention on you. Learn how to accept yourself, how to heal past hurts, and how to develop different parts of yourself.

This is especially important if you’ve recently ended a relationship with someone you thought was “the one.” Ending those relationships can be deeply painful. Maybe you’re feeling like you need to find someone else to be with so you can feel content, or that you need someone else to love you in order to feel loved. Or you might feel like you’re breaking apart, like part of you was torn off.

But you need to learn to be whole on your own. When you learn that, your life will certainly change!

  1. Live the life you want to live.

When you learn more about yourself and how you can follow your own path, you’ll start living a life that’s meaningful to you. You won’t be following someone else’s advice about what you should be doing anymore. This could be a disappointment to people who are close to you. But you have to fulfill yourself first to find fulfillment in your life.

Doing what is right for you may require a relocation, a different job, or new relationships with people who are more aligned with you on your new life path.

One effect of living the life you want to live is that you automatically become more attractive. You become more real, more authentic, more passionate, and just happier. This makes you beautiful in a natural and effortless way, and also gives you much better odds of meeting your soul mate, because your soul mate is already connected to your new path.

  1. Be yourself

As one psychologist said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

When your goal is to find someone by making yourself appear more attractive, you’ve altered the way you behave and the way you present yourself. If your soul mate meets you, they might not even recognize you, because they’re not meeting the real you.

Becoming the real you may involve how you dress, how much you weigh, or how often you work out. It may be respecting that your preferences change at different times. Go to the gym only if you love it. Do yoga only if you want to. Surf or cycle if you enjoy those activities. If not, don’t!

A partner who will be with you for the long haul shouldn’t be making long-term decisions about your future together based on superficial things about you. So do what’s right for you. Do the things you enjoy doing. Choose your wardrobe because it suits you and makes you feel comfortable.

You’ll be infinitely more attractive to your soul mate if you look like the real you when you meet!

  1. Develop characteristics you find attractive in yourself.

Most of us outwardly express only small glimpses of who we really are. We limit ourselves to the personality we’ve become in response to our surroundings. This is an unavoidable stage in our development. We form a personality that best enables us to survive and thrive.

This involves developing characteristics that serve our survival needs, and the characteristics that aren’t required are weakened and eventually discarded. Later in our lives, we’re drawn into relationships with people who strongly exhibit the very same characteristics we’ve discarded. It’s as if we’re attempting to complete our own personality through a relationship with someone else.

When you’ve become aware that you’re attracted to people because they exhibit the characteristics you’ve cast off, you can work on strengthening those characteristics in yourself. When you do this, your relationships will be transformed.

If you’re already in a relationship when you begin this process, you and your partner will both be able to reclaim your discarded characteristics, and you’ll both be able to more fully be yourselves. This will serve to strengthen your relationship with each other.

  1. Be open to opportunities presented to you.

When you evaluate each person you meet as a potential candidate for the ultimate job with a life-long contract, it negatively alters the flow of events and the natural connections that could have formed. People may be offended to find out they’re being considered as a “catch,” and they’ll certainly avoid you!

The best way to stop looking at everyone as a potential life partner is to stop looking for a life partner. Let natural connections form with people you meet that you genuinely share interests with. Then enjoy the relationships that naturally develop. The relationship may be a bond based on a shared interest. It could be a business connection. Or it could be a genuine friendship. But if no connection forms, let it go naturally and move on with no regrets.

  1. Let relationships evolve naturally.

When you find someone you share a good connection with and form a genuine relationship, don’t force things along. Allow the relationship to unfold and grow naturally. If the person is your soul mate, they will also be interested in you. If you pay genuine attention to one other, a genuine relationship will develop.

It’s not necessary to play games, or to try particular techniques, or to achieve particular milestones by a certain date. Genuine long-term relationships aren’t games.

Would you want to have a relationship with someone who had to be tricked into it? Do you want a partner who fell head-over-heels in love with a false version of yourself that you created and have to work to uphold and hide your true self in the process?

Or do you want a genuine relationship with a devoted partner to share true love with?

Just like people are different, relationships are different, too. The ways your relationships form and grow will be different, too. You can’t force them to grow or evolve in certain ways. Engage with people, enjoy the process and make decisions naturally. There’s no magic formula you can follow to guarantee a specific outcome.

The bottom line is this: Learn to live your life fully. Learn to accept yourself completely. And learn to love yourself unconditionally. This will free you to love others and to be loved more completely.