Inspired by a recent blog post and a few conversations with friends on the subject of relationships, (romantic, friendships…) I decided as I sit here with my coffee and leftover pizza breakfast, in true millennial fashion, to share some thoughts…
To be frank, society does a pretty great job of showing us everything not to do, and giving us all sorts of distorted expectations of what a healthy relationship should look like. We see broken and exploited, drama driven relationships all over the media for the purpose of entertainment, and then the pendulum swings the other way, and we are shown relatively unrealistic fairytales.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from believing that true love, and long lasting, adventurous, committed, expansive, whatever your heart’s desire relationships don’t exist. Everyone deserves to have their own “fairy tale” in a way. The disconnect is the pervasive expectation that the “perfect or ideal” relationship or friendship won’t take work. When in fact it will probably take a lot of work. And often the work starts with you. And the work usually has a lot less to do with changing your partner, and a lot more to do with becoming the best version of yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to perfect yourself before being able to deserve or enter a loving relationship. Far from! Part of the beauty of a relationship that embodies unconditional love, is being loved for everything that makes you you, the darkness and the light. Because everyone, and I mean everyone, has both.
What I am saying though is that unconditional love has to start with the way you love yourself. We can’t love someone else more than we love ourselves and expect the relationship to be balanced. And your partner’s job is to have that love for themselves as well.
So where can you start loving yourself more? Taking better care of yourself? What aspects of yourself still need to be healed? Part of our purpose in this lifetime is to heal, to actively and consciously grow through healing our wounds and traumas we’ve experienced in this life (and in my opinion many lives before).
On another note, people mirror back to us what we express. Express more gratitude and you’ll likely feel more appreciated, give more, love more without expecting anything in return, and see how even small acts of kindness can change how you feel from the inside out, and likely your relationships with those around you.
I recently saw an Instagram post that really resonated with me, it refers to a “soulmate” but really I think it applies to any close friendship or relationship we maintain. I’d encourage you to read it with whichever term you feel most resonates be it partner or friend… it said:
“A soulmate isn’t someone who completes you. No, a soulmate is someone who inspires you to complete yourself. A soulmate is someone who loves you with so much conviction, and so much heart, that it is nearly impossible to doubt just how capable you are of becoming exactly who you have always wanted to be.” — Bianca Sparacino
Powerful stuff right?
Another aspect of this is looking at ways we can infuse unconditional love in all of our relationships. By giving that love to others we open ourselves up to receiving it. I believe many of us don’t realize just how closed off to love we really are. And the only way to truly let it in is to give it, to ourselves first and foremost, and of course to others.
Now I’m far from an expert on this stuff, but I will say my past four or so years of being relatively single have been some of the most transformative and eye-opening years of my life. This was my path. I know of a lot of beautiful relationships where those involved are in lockstep, actively helping each other grow on their paths, mirroring to each other what needs to be healed and worked on, and learning how to lovingly communicate and facilitate that growth within each other. Also incredibly beautiful.
I think a common disconnect for many of us that haven’t found ourselves in a healthy growth-oriented relationship, with ourselves or another, is that there’s nothing wrong with growth or change. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or that there’s anything to be fixed. You are perfect, beautiful, and deserving of love as you are right now.
But growth is why we are here, on this crazy hectic planet, in this crazy hectic life that challenges us daily. The struggles we face are not meant to beat us down, they are meant to show us the strength that we already have within us. The frustrations, whether it be traffic, a salty coworker, or even the loss of someone we love, every experience is an opportunity for us to rise. To peel off another layer of what the world has put on us, and reveal who we truly are.
And the people you surround yourself with, be it a partner or a friend, should be companions with you on this journey.
Yes, I believe true, passionate, exciting and long-lasting love exists. I also believe, as my amazing friend Amanda has put very eloquently, that we also can’t expect our partners to be our everything, to meet all of our needs. Yes, we all should have expectations and be clear about what we desire out of a partnership.
However, it is just as important that we surround ourselves with positive, supportive friendships and experiences as well. It would be unfair to expect our partner to support us in every way and aspect of our lives. We can’t forget they are on their own important life journey as well!
One final note… if you haven’t found these people yet, your soul tribe, the loving partner you desire or supportive friend, it’s okay and I’m here for you. And I promise that you will. Somethings just take time, but in the meantime, I’ll bring us back to self-love because I believe every positive growth and change in our life (career, relationship, health…) starts here.
So I’ll ask again, where can you be loving yourself more? What lifestyle changes can you enact to start feeling even just a little bit better? What affirmations can you involve in your morning routine to help you heal the things you don’t feel so great about? Look at what you can work on and love yourself enough to put in the time, and also to be at peace with where you are at right now. We have to be at peace with the now because really that’s all we ever have.
And the more you show yourself love, the more you attract and welcome love in from others.