We all long for authentic relationships, but, even in our overly connected lives, these relationships are hard to find. We meet people and socialize online, but these connections tend to lack a necessary dose of human intimacy. We work beside people in crowed office buildings, but our communication is work-oriented and not relationship-oriented. We may be lucky enough to have friends and family in our lives, but when we are distracted by social media and busy with work, those relationships take a hit.
1. Things are going to suck, eventually.
If you’re expecting the fairy tale ending, that’s not how things actually work. If you think that my hundreds of articles and videos about romance are meant to imply that things are always sunshine and rainbows, then I’m sorry, that was never my intention. The reality of life is that every relationship is going to face challenges. There are going to be illnesses. Family struggles. Disagreements. Disappointments. REALITY. The sooner you understand things are not going to be perfect, the sooner you’ll be able to accept all phases of a relationship. Good, and bad.
2. Our relationships are filled with unnecessary judgments.
When we judge, we learn nothing. Realize this. Open your mind and heart. Don’t judge people just because they sin differently than you. The world is changed by your example, not by your judgments. Be kind. Ask about people’s stories. Listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be a good neighbor.
3. You don’t get more than you give.
Too many people hold their partner to higher standards than they hold themselves.This isn’t about physical fitness – this is about lifestyle and general effort put into yourself and your relationship. Do not hold expectations for other people that you would not meet yourself.
4. We carelessly gossip about our relationships.
Don’t give in to the unnecessary negativity, drama and gossip around you. Be positive. Give people a piece of your heart rather than a piece of your mind. And listen carefully to how a person speaks about other people to you – this is precisely how they will speak about you to other people.
5. We try to hide our flaws, even from those closest to us.
As imperfect as you might be, as small as you sometimes feel, and as out of place as you imagine you are, you don’t have to hide the flawed pieces of yourself. Remember, you attract other people to you by the qualities you show them, but you keep them around based on the qualities you truly possess. Personal flaws are a part of everyone’s life. If you try to hide them, you don’t give the people who care about you a chance to truly know and love the real you.
6. Nothing is ever going to be how you pictured it.
Good relationships require work. Good relationships require sacrifice and compromise. They are amazing, but rarely easy. Resisting the hard times and seeing them as immediate evidence that something is wrong or that you’re in the wrong relationship only aggravates the difficulties. By contrast, finding the willingness to view the challenges as opportunities to learn will give you the mindset you need to nurture your relationship to new heights.
7. We try to “fix” the people we care about.
The act of sincerely caring for another person is rooted in love and respect. This means listening to them wholeheartedly and letting them know by your complete presence that they are seen, heard, and valued. It’s not a space where you try to fix them – it’s about being a witness to the totality of who they truly are.
8. You have to be the bigger person sometimes.
Your significant other isn’t always going to know how to communicate, or apologize, or compromise, or ask for forgiveness. Sometimes, you’re going to have to be the one to step up and be the bigger person. You are going to have to accept an apology you never got. You are going to have to clear the air, to make something less awkward, to understand they didn’t mean what they said, to say something bothered you when they might not realize it.
9. We take too many things too personally.
There is a life-changing amount of inner freedom that comes to you when you detach yourself from other people’s negative gestures and behaviors. The way others treat you is their issue, how you respond is yours. You know this. You simply can’t take things too personally, even when it seems personal. Rarely do other people do things because of you – they do things because of them.
10. We place too much blame on our relationships.
You have to stop telling yourself that other people are your excuse for being unhappy, unsuccessful, etc. It’s not anyone else’s job to fill in your empty inner space. That’s your job and yours alone, and until you accept responsibility for your own emptiness and pain, your biggest problems will persist.
Your relationships with others are important, but you also need time alone with yourself, because when you’re in solitude you’re free from external obligations and pressures. You’re free to be YOU without being fancy and putting on a show. You’re able to hear your own thoughts and act on them, effectively. So go ahead and find a quiet space. Cherish your personal time.