How Well Do You Love? Great Relationships Start With You

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In the spirit of February and the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write a bit about love, relationships, and how to approach it in a way that is most fulfilling for you and those you care about.

First, seek completion within yourself. A healthy relationship is not 50/50, or two “half people” that come together to make one. It is 100/100, or two “whole” people joining together to expand and enhance, but not complete. When two people come together, who are already more fulfilled and happy within themselves, the relationship has a higher potential to result in a more lasting and fulfilling experience for both involved. It is all too common for a relationship to quickly become lopsided, one way or the other, when we’re talking about “half people.”

The better you know yourself the less you will be trying to be something you’re not. You can then both be who you really are with each other. Does that sound like a healthier relationship to you? It all comes out in the long run anyway.

Is it love, lust, or desperation? When the superficial physical features are worn away by time will what you feel for this person still be there? Do you connect deeply, or are you together simply for the superficial attraction or because you are more afraid of being alone than of continuing on unfulfilled? Do you frequently overstep your bounds, ultimately suffocating the relationship, in an effort to be a part of all and everything they do because you feel like you have nothing else? Do you often feel jealous and insecure?

Or, are you comfortable enough in your own skin and confident enough to trust your love for each other, allowing it to breathe?

We don’t have to only be talking about how you are with your significant other here. It could be your children (can you say, “overbearing”?), or even a parent or a friend. Everyone needs the freedom to be and discover for themselves. Everything needs balance to be healthy and strong. How’s your inner balance?

Talk is cheap. Anyone can say, “I love you.” But it reminds me of a saying I heard long ago: “What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I cannot hear.”

What are your actions saying to those you love and care most about? Take a moment and give it some thought.

“Familiarity breeds contempt.” Why do we frequently treat strangers better than our own loved-ones? Who is the “real you”?

We tend to put our best self out there in public for strangers to see. We wear that mask that covers the truth about ourselves that we don’t want others to know about. You know, the one that manipulates those who don’t know us well enough so that we can get what we want from them.

However, our loved-ones see us without the mask. The question is, what do THEY see? What’s TRUE about you?

Are you compassionate and understanding when you have your differences? Or are you manipulative and controlling so you get what you want from them while disregarding their position or opinion?

Unconditional love is the only love that counts. Anything else is self-serving, and that’s not what love is about. Love is much bigger than “me”.

Like the mother who would put herself in harm’s way and stand between a hungry lion and her child, we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for those we truly love.

You put them first, in the appropriate time of need, without a thought of what it may cost you.

Tough love also has it’s place in the equation. Let’s not confuse wants and needs with how much we love. It breaks your heart when a loved-one is struggling with something. You just want to step in and take their burden, but do they need you to? Is it what’s really best for them?

Can you step back and recognize when it is their challenge to endure and overcome? Are you able to realize that you stepping in to rescue your loved-one can take away their opportunity to learn and grow?

You may be stealing away their chance to develop the level of confidence and self-esteem that serves them going forward in life. Your misplaced “love” is for yourself, so that YOU feel better, and it handicaps the very person you want the best for. They become incapable of handling things on their own as their self-worth plummets.

Challenging relationships have that special place in our experience. Ever step back and take notice who can push your buttons so easily and why? What are they like? Do you see a repeating pattern among different employers, employees, co-workers, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.?

In my experience, it all appears to have reason. There is nothing random about it. Somehow, the universe knows what I need most and until I find a way to work through it to learn, grow and ultimately change in the process, I’ll keep having basically the same experience. In fact, it will likely get worse and worse until the situation has the intended affect and moves me to think and act somehow… differently.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from those I most want to avoid?” What is it in you that allows for such an impact when around that person? Is it something you don’t like about yourself? Are you projecting your own faults or shortcomings?

Or maybe you just need to learn how to be more patient, understanding, or compassionate for someone not as happy, healthy, wealthy or as confident and self-assured as you.

Our Valentine’s Day reminder:

So, with this coming reminder on the 14th of February, one that we really should not need, yet do:

How well do you really know those closest to you? How well do you actually listen, observe, pay attention and understand THEIR thoughts, worries, cares, and desires? (And while you’re at it, do you communicate your own, or do you expect those you love to be mind-readers?)

Now, with all that in mind, how can you SHOW that special someone, along with all those you care the most about, what they mean to you? What will help them FEEL your love for them, from THEIR perspective?

Bring a positive, open, and unselfish energy into your relationships and that is what you’ll experience in return.


Any thoughts you’d like to share? Let’s hear it!

About the Author Shifu Ahles

Leave a Comment:

Julia says February 7, 2014

Thank you for the article. Recently married with a lot on my mind. Your article makes sense.

Shifu Ahles says February 7, 2014

Hi Julia,

You are very welcome. Thank you for the comment. And congratulations on your recent marriage! I wish you both the best.

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