There are so many things we think matter. There are so many qualities we all have on our perfect boyfriend list.
Typically, they include words like tall, or well-built, or funny, or ambitious, or fun, or confident, or dark haired, or light haired, or stylish, or wealthy, or, well, you get the picture.
We all have our lists, and they're all different, but they're also all very similar. They all have words that describe the ideal traits that we think we want in a partner.
But the reality is, none of these matter as much as one single word that conveys so much about what really matters, but is so often left off of our lists.
It’s what it means to be kind.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines the word kind as:
kind, adjective : having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others : wanting and liking to do good things and to bring happiness to others
and includes as synonyms the words benevolent, compassionate, affectionate, loving, good-hearted, kindhearted, kindly, softhearted, sympathetic, tender, tenderhearted, warmhearted, attentive and considerate.
Read through those words again. These are the ones I want you to come to know so well so that there’s no mistaking the qualities you’re looking for in someone who’s right for you, who’s worthy of you, who’s deserving of you and all that you have to offer.
You see, my perfect boyfriend list used to look a lot like yours. I had everything on there that I thought were must-haves for anyone that I could possibly be attracted to, let alone spend the rest of my life with.
And while I slowly figured out through lots of trial and error exactly what I did and didn't want, and what the deal breakers were and which qualities really mattered and which ones I could be much more flexible about, nothing compares to what I've learned since then.
It's what I've learned during the rest of the story.
The part that comes after you’re married and have children and real-life jobs and stresses and in-laws and mortgages and all of the other everyday realities that are part of a shared life. That's when you learn what really matters.
That’s when the word kind becomes so much more than just another word on your checklist.
And it’s why, if I had to do this all over again, it’s the one word that would matter about the person I would choose more than anything else.
Kind. Compassionate. Caring. Understanding. Forgiving. Loving. Gentle.
Back when I was dating, before I had a clue just how important these qualities would become, I had so many other concerns about what mattered. That elusive spark used to be at the very top of my list right above “tall, dark and handsome”. It mattered so much to me back then, I can only imagine how many potential men I passed over simply because I never knew just how important this single quality really was.
It’s become the one very most important quality of all.
If it isn't already at the very top of your list, then it needs to be.
So take that list of yours, that long one that you keep updating but leaving the same things at the top that aren't getting you anywhere closer to the real kind of love you deserve, and put this at the top.
Trust me on this one: Most of those things you think are so important right now won’t matter in the long run. In fact, most of them don’t really matter now. You just think they do.
If you take away all your programming (we all have it), take away all the cultural conditioning and the classic fairy tales that we all base so many of our dreams on, what you’re left with is really very simple.
Is he kind?
Because how he treats you - how he is with you - says volumes about the type of person he is. Yes, you need to be attracted to him. Yes, you want to share common interests and beliefs and philosophies. But at the end of the day, what really matters is about something far deeper than anything skin deep.
Whatever you do, don’t miss that part when you're writing your perfect boyfriend list.