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Last week, I wrote a post on loving them anyway. Inspired by Thich Nhat Han, and discussing how we need to be open to people’s failings and love them anyway. I received a few comments from people who resonated with this post. One that really got me thinking (which is why I love her writings because she usually does get me thinking) was by Lindsey from one of my favorite blogs A Design So Vast. She talked about how she has struggled with the line between loving someone when they are imperfect and accepting someone’s bad behavior. I have been thinking about her comment and the concept of where is that line? Because I too struggle with it. Growing up with messages of avoiding co-dependency and women who love too much, I have noticed myself and some women in my practice become hyper aware of our own needs and what we want our of a relationship. We have lost the idea that relationships are about give and take. They require some measure of vulnerability and risk. The goal of a relationship is to show up for your partner over the long haul and be open to their needs as well as your own. Healthy relationships involve give and take and a sense of loving someone even if they don’t hit the mark all the time.
Please hear me, I in no way want to encourage abusive or negative behavior. Someone degrading, hitting, yelling, or belittling another human being is unacceptable behavior in any relationship.
I am talking more to those daily mess-ups or when someone just isn’t quite there for us when we need them. I feel that somewhere in the world of relationships we lost the human factor. We lost the belief that for the most part we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have. There are people out there who are abusive and negative and we don’t want them in our lives. AND there are people that are trying and because they aren’t hitting perfection on a semi-regular basis we are frustrated.
When I look at long term successful (or what I see as successful) relationships in my world, what I see are 2 people who decided that there is more good here then bad, people that have committed to each other to work through their problems and live out a life of mutual co-existence and make a life that is happy. They are committed to each other’s happiness and sharing a life–they are not keeping score or holding a tally sheet. They are over the long haul loving and supporting each other through life.
So when you think about your relationship I want you to ask yourself–over the long haul… Is this person adding to my life? Is this person building up more than tearing me down? When the chips are down would this person be there for me? Does this person celebrate my successes and dry my tears during my challenges? Is this person truly capable of showing me in ways I can feel it that they love me? Then ask yourself. Do I add to this person’s life? Do I build this person up more then tear them down? When the chips are down am I fully there for this person? Do I celebrate their successes and dry their tears during the challenges? Am I capable of showing them in ways they can feel that I love them?
If you answered yes to these questions, be grateful and celebrate the genuinely sturdy foundation on which your relationship is based. If you answered no, now is a time to take a deeper look at your relationship, at your needs and your partners needs and explore ways of re-building the foundations of your relationship.
Relationships is about playing a game of catch. And we need to have some awareness and communication around our relationships, around what we need, what our partner’s need and how we can help each other meet those needs.
Thanks to everyone for your comments–my goal of this blog is to make this a conversation about Living Happier as a person, in relationship and in your careers. Thank you for showing up and sharing.