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To really love someone who really loves you is to be emotionally healthy, supportive, and caring. It is partnership, compromise, and acceptance. Real, true loveamplifies while dysfunctional love contracts. And yet, that which amplifies comes with work and responsibility both to self and to each other
There are things you can do that will almost guarantee success:
1. To find the right person, you need to be the right person.
Before a relationship, build your life. What went wrong in your last relationship? What patterns and habits do you need to adddress? Understand these before you get into a new one.
2. Know your boundaries.
Is an affair a deal breaker? What else is a non-starter? Drug abuse? Excessive drinking? Dishonesty? Financial instability? Racial slurs? Emotional, verbal, or any other abuse? Know before you go in.
3. True love is healthy communication.
Do you want to be with someone who calls you names? Or blames you for things, nitpicks at you? I don’t. When you talk with your partner, begin with “I feel” or “I think” statements, and be with those who do the same. There is game-playing in dysfunctional relationships. Healthy relationships are not games. If you feel like you’re in a game, the way to win is to not ..
4. True love means goals and desires, both yours and as a couple.
Figure out what you’ve always wanted to do—and do it. Find out what your partner wants in and out life and support it. Decide, early on, if you can and will support each other. You want to be happy, you want your partner to be happy, and you want to be happy together. Get to this early or you will be disappointed, and disillusioned. You do only live once, so make the most of it.
5. Be proactive in all your relationships.
Make choices about relationships and friendships—even those with relatives—and don’t let friendships or professional connections just happen, or continue if they no longer meet your needs or violate your boundaries. Be with those who are loving, respectful, honest, and open. Choose people who know that trust is earned and that once broken, can be impossible to get back.
6. You are not a victim.
You have control over your life. People stuck in unhealthy relationship dynamics—including me when I was—are stuck in denial, and rationalization. Call yourself on your excuses. Stop believing them. Disengage from a need to be pitied.
7. Live with purpose.
Spend quiet time alone each day, without interruption. Think about what you need in life to feel better, or do better. What is missing for you?
8. True love does not hurt.
Loving relationships are consistent. There will always be times of inadvertent hurt or disappointment, even with those who truly love you. That’s life; no one can meet your every need. A comment may be taken the wrong way, your partner may be struggling with something—there are a myriad of reasons for a minor hiccup. It’s not always smooth, but if you work at it, it works. True love helps you with life, it’s not what makes life more difficult. Love is support in a difficult world. Everything in life is not an argument or a challenge. Emotionally healthy people don’t live that way.
9. True love loves us as we are, and wants us as we are.
If someone asks you to give up interests, hobbies, friends, a job, or anything that makes you who you are, that’s not true love. And, it’s not healthy. To nest in a new relationship is normal, but after a time, you settle in, and get back to your routine. Life is about balance. Because life is busy, you may adjust how much time you give your interests and loved ones, but it’s important to maintain the fullness of who you are, just as your partner does the same. One plus one equals two, not one.
10. Finally, true love is an action from you and to you. Act it and insist on it. Every day, whether in a relationship or not, assert that love is what you do, not what you say. And, require it. For non-love relationships, such as those with friends, co-workers, even acquaintances, respect is the action from you, and the action to you. You deserve to be treated with love and respect. In all your relationships.