What is Love?
I believe that Love in its truest form is Connection. The more we feel connected to someone, the more we love them. Think about the people you love the most (such as family members) ….isn’t it difficult to imagine being emotionally disconnected from them?
Being connected to someone means a few things. This means that those we have increased connection with can have higher influence on our emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Imagine people like pieces of string- separated, they really do not have much effect on one another but when they are tied or sewn together the action of one string affects the rest. The more we are connected to someone, the more we can be affected by them. Have you ever heard someone say “those you love the most are the ones who will hurt you the most”? This can be true in many ways, because the deeper we are connected to someone, the easier it is for them to influence our emotions. Think about how much family members drive us crazy! That’s because we have a very deep connection with them, as opposed to a friend or acquaintance that we could potentially just cut off at any time.
“Where you invest your love, you invest your life”
Sometimes we forget how much our relationships with loved ones affect our lives. If you decide to form a relationship with someone, it is important to recognize the impact that it can have on your life. Furthermore, our relationships often take up a great deal of our time. It is important to recognize how that time is being spent and if it is beneficial to your overall life.
Here are a few general tips on Relationships
On Being In Relationships
Safety First Sometimes it is not just about finding the “right” person or “soul mate” but making sure that we feel safe with the person. Safety does not only mean being safe physically, but also emotionally. We must learn to recognize if a person is harmful to us because that harm can have incredible consequences in our life. If you are unsure whether or not your relationships is unhealthy, try visiting these links: 11 Warning Signs of Unhealthy Relationships (Life Hack) – 51 Signs of Unhealthy Relationships (Psychology Today)
Choose Love Carefully– Some people treat love as a game (i.e the dating game). Though it is important to have fun and enjoy life, the time and energy we spend on someone can have a significant impact on our lives. It is important to acknowledge the effect another person can have on us. Relationships are not just two separate people interacting, but they are connections between two beings that can lead to a variety of outcomes. Choose a partner like you would choose any major aspect of your life (career, environment, etc).
Love Involves Trust– If you don’t trust the person that you are connected with (or want to be connected with), it will be very hard to evolve within the relationship. A lack of trust leads to one questioning every interaction. If you have difficulty trusting, first ask yourself where it is coming from. Your lack of trust may be coming from a prior relationship or a circumstance that has nothing to do with the person you are in a relationship with. Also ask yourself if the person has done anything to make you not trust them. Sometimes we accept our suspicions as fact without even examining the evidence in front of us. Sometimes, our partners have done specific things to make us not trust them. However, we must decide whether trusting that person is “worth it” or even safe for us, keeping in mind that trust will rule the relationship. How much we trust our partner determines our every action toward them and ultimately their actions towards us. Many of us our afraid to trust because we feel like we will get hurt or damaged if we make ourselves vulnerable. The truth is we can get just as hurt from not trusting. Not trusting can cause painful interactions or ultimately lead to stagnant or broken relationships.
Love Evolves– Love does not have to be static or categorical (i.e “in love” or “out of love”). It can be a process. Different situations and interactions can begin to create a “deeper” love or a “deeper” connection. Instead of searching for the “perfect relationship” or the “perfect boyfriend” search for better more meaningful connections. As we learn more about the person we are in a relationship with and as we learn to compromise and problem solve, relationships begin to evolve into deeper more beautiful interactions every moment.
Have A Partner That Helps You Grow- As relationships affect our lives, it is important to be with people we can share a path with. In looking for a partner or in improving a relationship, it is important to have relationships that help us grow. If we connect ourselves with others who are going in a different direction in life or who are unable to support our life goals, we may become stagnant or very unhappy. That doesn’t mean a partner has to do everything you are doing exactly, it just means that you both support each other and walk alongside each other on life’s path.
On Finding Relationships
Start by improving yourself– the best relationships happen after we have learned to work on improving ourselves. Working on yourself also gives you “practice” and “patience” for working on a relationship. Furthermore, people are more likely to be attracted to those working to be healthier and happier.
Do the things you like– It sounds simple, but sometimes we forget this. Engaging in activities we enjoy (clubs, sports, groups, hobbies, etc) can lead us to meeting people who also enjoy similar activities. This is an easy way to meet a potential partner or friend that shares our interests.
Don’t get discouraged- Just because you haven’t found a partner, does not mean anything negative about you. In fact, it can be a very positive thing. Not having a partner allows you to have less obligations and also gives you time to work on yourself. Being single could also mean that you are simply selective in your partner choice or waiting for the “right” person. In short- being single ain’t all bad.
Talk to people! This sounds very simple but it is easier said than done. Being social in some way is the only way to meet people. Often times we get stuck in our routine and worries that we forget how much we are limiting our social interaction. Go out to places you enjoy. Talk to others as much as you feel comfortable. Consider being social online if it is easier for you to connect with others this way.
Identify what you want in a relationship. Make a list of qualities you would like to have in a relationship as well as in a partner. This doesn’t mean these qualities need to be written in stone, but it is important to identify what type of things mean the most for us within the context of our own lives. It may also be helpful to imagine what your ideal partner would be like. And if that person does come along, don’t be afraid to speak to them!
As we learn to evolve and find happiness, we must pay attention to our relationships with others. Not just romantic relationships, but all relationships. Ask yourself what effect each and every relationship has on you. Assess how much you are giving vs receiving in each relationship. In addition to working on ourselves personally, we must also learn to work on our relationships and our interaction with others. Just like learning to be happy is a process, learning to love can be as well. And as we evolve as individuals, we can also learn to evolve in relationships and in interactions with others.