Monday, November 30, 2015

What Does it Mean to Love?

What does it mean to love another person?   Does it mean we must always agree?    Does it mean  that we merge with them and lose our individuality?    Must we give up what makes us unique to be in a relationship?

When we enter into a relationship, whether it is with a partner or a friend, our goal is to bring ourselves as a whole person to that relationship.   If we are practicing self-care and are centered in our being we can bring ourselves to our relationship as a gift.   If, however, we are not yet at the developmental stage of being ready for interdependence... we may unwittingly hurt either ourselves or our partner.  Interdependence requires us to be willing to be vulnerable.  That can be frightening...  especially if we have been hurt in the past.

Old wounds have a way of coming to the surface as soon as we feel ourselves becoming vulnerable.  Our instincts scream out to protect ourselves from further pain as our fears loom overhead.  We must practice our tools at those times and not allow ourselves to sabotage our relationship by succumbing to our fears and insecurities.

We breathe...  we ask ourselves, " what am I feeling right now?"...   we focus on positive self-talk...  we allow ourselves a moment to think before reacting...  and finally we respond sharing our fear with our partner in a safe non-judgemental way using "I" statements.

When we communicate in this manner we are showing our partner by our actions and words that they are just as important to us as we are to ourselves.  That is a powerful message of love.

Must we always agree?  No, of course not.  But we must defend our values with calmness, respect and clarity always focused on the issue and not denigrating the person.  It is important to disagree without being disagreeable...  especially when you love your partner and want to avoid creating pain or shame.

Should we merge with our partner, giving up our uniqueness?  No.  Each of us is valuable and loveable as we are today.  We may have areas that need growth or change, but that does not mean we are defective in any way.  We are working toward a goal of becoming...  not a goal of perfection.  We love our partner as they are... giving them the space to grow and mature.  That is not only a gift to them, but a gift to ourselves, as we receive what we give in our relationship.

Using our tools and focusing on ourselves and how we can improve our own lives gives our relationship the gift of life and our partner the ultimate gift...  unconditional love.

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