In the first conversation I ever had with my partner, he asked me, “What do you think makes a relationship work?” I replied without any hesitation, ”Willingness.”
What I love about willingness, is that it allows room for humanity and imperfection in a relationship.
Neither partner has to do everything right, they don’t have to have all the answers or know exactly how things are going to work out because the willingness is there to be understanding, to forgive, to love unconditionally. If there is willingness, then there is an intention, the seed is planted to make things work and even after a challenging time, a relationship can organically move in a more positive and loving direction because of that willingness.
When we are happy and feel loved, willingness is easy. We naturally do things to make the relationship better, we want to do things that are pleasing to our partner and it is effortless because we feel nurtured and loved. But what about when we feel hurt or in pain? This is the time when willingness is most important to a couple.
In these times, we need to be willing to be accountable to ourselves and our partner. If we are willing to learn and grow – go deeper to discover what is really going on instead of blaming our partner, if we are willing to love and be connected first with ourselves and then with our partner and be open to love, it will come.
If you shift from your pain and allow your willingness to guide you, even after challenging times, a relationship can be renewed.
The intention, the desire, the willingness to love someone is an incredibly powerful factor in a relationship. What is your level of willingness? Have you gotten lost in feeling hurt and let down? Have you forgotten how much you really love your partner because you have been feeling pain? If there is even a spark of willingness in your heart, you can find your way back to the love you most want with your partner. That is a power of willingness.
Happy first day of Spring!!! Spring is all about new beginnings and it is a great time to plant new seeds, find a fresh way to look at things and do a little spring cleaning. Spring cleaning our relationships can be a great way to give ourselves a boost, refresh ourselves and our relationship and move more intentionally towards the relationship we really want.
What are you going to clean in your relationship today? Fear? Jealousy? Anger? Resentment? Are you ready to let go of hurt and pain from the past and embrace more love in your life today?
We unconsciously hang on to emotions that don’t serve our relationship. We have been hurt. We are scared we may be unlovable. We do everything to please our partner and neglect ourselves. And when these painful emotions build, we end up hurting ourselves and our relationship too. But doing a little spring cleaning can help us become aware of what we are feeling and help us align our intentions and actions with the end result we most want…love.
When spring cleaning, we ask ourselves if our feelings and actions are motivated by love or pain? Are we doing things that serve our relationship and give us the results we want or are we doing things that cause damage? Are we willing to embrace love or do we want to continue to live in pain?
Becoming more conscious of what we are feeling and what is motivating our actions can help us create the results we want. We cannot expect that actions taken in pain and anger will produce the loving results we most desire. We have to be willing to love in order to receive more love.
Take some time and be really honest with yourself about what you are feeling and what is motivating you in your relationship. Are your actions moving you towards a loving relationship or are they continuing to build more pain?
When we focus on our end result - love – and when we intend to get there, we align our feelings and actions with our goal to ensure greater success. Being willing to love, ensures you will feel more love.
I am especially fond of love but I’m not especially fond of Valentine’s Day.
I love the idea of dedicating an entire day to loving others, it is a beautiful and noble idea. However, like other good things, we have over-commercialized Valentine’s Day (if you don’t believe me walk in to a Wal-Mart or other similar store and take note of all the stuff that is supposed to be an expression of our love).
True love doesn’t need fancy dinners, flowers or extravagant gifts. Unconditional love doesn’t come inside a stuffed bear holding a heart. Real love doesn’t need anything at all — except an open and willing heart.
There is nothing in life more important than love — and true love comes from within and is expressed authentically. My wish is for everyone to be able to love fully and deeply in a way that enriches your life beyond measure.
I hope you are able to feel real love today, whether that love is for your partner, your children, your parents, your friends or a stranger you meet who touches your heart. Let a lot of love into your heart today(and everyday) and use the power of love to fill your soul!
This is one of my favourite descriptions of a relationship, written by Kahlil Gibran in his book, “The Prophet.”
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”
I have only recently begun to understand this with my heart. In the past, fear prevented me from truly understanding what this meant. I was afraid I would never be good enough, afraid I wasn’t lovable, afraid I would be alone — and those fears ended up pushing real love farther and farther away from my reach.
I felt very dependent and needy in my past relationships. I wanted to please and do what I thought my partner would want me to do because I was scared that if I didn’t, he would leave. I tried to hang on to relationships with all my might, thinking that if I loosened my grip, I would lose it all. I was scared that if we were independent, we would not want to be together — or more accurately, he would not want to be with me. I believed that there needed to be a dependence on one another in order to make a relationship work. But, of course, hanging on too tightly and being too dependent on my partner was exactly what left me feeling unloved and all alone.
I realize now that what I felt in the past was not real love…it was based too deeply in fear to have been love. In order to feel real love, I needed to embrace everything I feared most and be willing to let it all go. When I let go of my fear I began to experience the power and strength of a relationship based in love. I realized a healthy relationship involved two individuals bringing their own lives and experiences to each other. It is about both people bringing their strengths and their love to one another allowing it to expand and grow. Releasing my fears allowed me to finally understand what Kahlil Gibran wrote about in “The Prophet” and it has given me the gift of being able to experience real love for myself.
I’ve spent this past week de-cluttering my home. I tend to live simply and yet, I’ve been amazed at how many papers, articles of clothing and other unused items have been taking up space in my home and in my life. Since clearing the unused out of my life, I realized I hadn’t even been aware of the impact it had on me. The little messes were making my home look unattractive and feel chaotic. It was weighing on me because I felt bad letting it build and knew I couldn’t keep putting off cleaning it forever. It was taking up space and energy that I could have used more effectively and I feel so much lighter having assessed what I really want in my life and letting the rest go.
It is important to de-clutter our relationships from time to time too. Emotions can build up in a relationship. We can clutter up our relationship with feelings of hurt, disappointment, anger, expectation, jealousy, hanging on to things from the past, and feeling unloved. Cluttered relationships can weigh on us, feel chaotic and look unattractive and we end putting our energy into things that don’t really serve us anymore. Instead of being free to love and be loved, we have to wade through the mess and clutter and it takes a lot of our time and energy.
Like the clutter in my home, our relationship clutter is often built slowly over time and not something we consciously set out to do. We are often unaware of the way we’ve been approaching our relationship or the feelings we’ve been hanging on to until we have an opportunity to release them and create more space again. And when we get rid of the unwanted and negative clutter, we can create some wonderful new relationship experiences.
Do you have some clutter in your relationship? What kinds of feelings are you holding onto that are not serving you and your goals for yourself and your relationship? Are you using your relationship energy to have the kind of relationship you want or are you allowing your clutter to hold you back from what you really want?
Releasing emotions, patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us and our relationship can be incredibly healing and help us move closer to the kind of love and relationship we most want in our lives. De-cluttering your relationship can be an incredibly healing tool in your relationship.
Sometimes we forget how much power we have in our relationships. We look at our partner as the cause or solution, we look at our circumstances and we look at other causes outside ourselves and when we do, we forget we have the power to create whatever kind of relationship we want, at any time we want. We can choose to feel loving, we can choose to see the good in our partner and our relationship, we can choose to focus on all those qualities we love most and the moments that feel best. And when we focus on what feels good, we feel good and our relationships feel good too.
Yesterday’s blog was a list of 100 ways you can have a great relationship. If you look at each item on the list, you’ll find it is something YOU can do at any given moment. It doesn’t rely on your partner or anything else to be different in order for you to create a great relationship. The items on the list can help you see how YOU can direct your focus so you can feel more of what you want and experience the kind of relationship that your heart truly desires.
If you find yourself struggling, take a look at the list and make the effort to do something(s) on that list. You’ll be amazed how quickly and easily things can change when you focus on creating a great relationship.
In honour of my 100th blog post, I’ve listed 100 ways you can create a great relationship RIGHT NOW!!!
- Love yourself
- Love your partner
- Love your relationship
- Learn and practice unconditional love
- Take care of yourself
- Be on your partner’s side
- Be present
- Communicate from your heart
- Let go of fear
- Let go of expectation
- Embrace who you really are
- Embrace who your partner really is
- Be kind
- Be happy
- Be accountable
- Give your partner your time and attention
- Read the book, “Real Love” by Greg Baer
- Discover your Love Language
- Learn and honour your partner’s Love Language
- Do something everyday to express love your partner
- Make your relationship a priority
- Treat the word “LOVE” as a verb
- Listen to your partner
- Seek to understand
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt
- Write down 10 things you love about your partner
- Brag about your partner to someone else today
- Be your true self
- Seek to find fulfillment in your life and bring that to your partner and relationship
- Laugh together
- Make a date
- Spend 5 minutes thinking about what it was first like to fall in love with your partner
- Do something special for your partner
- Seek to resolve conflict peacefully
- Be willing
- Be aware
- Be radically honest with yourself and your partner
- Ask yourself what you can do to make your relationship the best it can be
- Express gratitude for your partner
- Let go of should’s and obligations and truly give from your heart
- Know yourself
- Empower yourself
- Own your emotions
- Let go of blame
- Be Love Able
- Put yourself first
- Put on your rosy coloured glasses
- Learn from your partner’s reflection
- Be accepting
- Be understanding
- Listen to your partner’s story
- Treat your partner the way you want to be treated
- Be a great partner
- Use the power of two
- Set goals for your relationship
- Plant some relationship seeds
- Find the truth underneath
- Let go of old patterns
- Be conscious
- Listen with your heart
- Be willing to receive love
- Do random acts of kindness for your partner
- Be curious
- Plan together
- Tell your partner how much they mean to you
- Show your partner how much they mean to you
- Make time to connect everyday
- Be creative with your relationship
- Make time for yourself
- Daydream about your love right now
- Be your partner’s best friend
- Be your partner’s ally
- Be playful
- Love with all your being
- Turn off all technology when you are together
- Share with each other
- Commit to be the best you can be
- Make your life joyful
- Find reasons to be grateful
- Create a little magic in your life and in your relationship
- Nurture yourself
- Nurture your partner
- Respond to your partner’s needs
- Choose to be happy instead of being right
- Love your partner when it is most difficult
- Love yourself when it is most difficult
- Have hobbies and interests outside the relationship
- Enrich your life
- Honour yourself
- Honour your partner
- Honour your relationship
- Remember the reasons you love your partner
- Dream about your relationship
- Focus on the positive
- Relax and enjoy your life, your love, your partner, your relationship
- Be committed to love
Yesterday’s blog was about remembering there are two sides to every story and how important that can be in our relationships.
Here are some tips to help you apply this in your own relationship.
1. Practice on little things first. If you feel irked by something your partner has done, take a moment to remember that they likely aren’t doing this to purposely annoy you and imagine several reasons they may have done that particular thing.
2. Be willing to ask your partner questions to help uncover their story. Remember to check your own feelings at the door and approach your partner with curiosity rather than accusations and judgement.
3. Be willing to hear your partner’s side of the story. Remind yourself that you love them and they love you.
4. Remind yourself that you are on your partner’s side and they are on your side. Sometimes even just saying this in an argument can help defuse the situation.
5. Seek to understand your partner as often as you can.
6. If you are upset about something, take some time to ask yourself why you are really bothered by it. In the example yesterday about the couple and the Christmas gift, the woman was upset because she was already feeling unloved and unhappy and she was looking for him to provide some grand gesture to make her feel better. Those are feelings she needs to work on herself and spending time to reveal that can help relieve a lot of tension in a relationship.
7. Love. Approach your partner, your relationship and yourself with unconditional love as often as you can.
In our relationships it is important to remember there are two sides to every story. We sometimes lose sight of this because when we feel hurt, our side is the only side that matters. We can become so entrenched in our own feelings that we forget our partner loves us, we forget their true intentions, and we forget they have a story too. But when we expand our view, we are able to see more of the truth and get back to loving our partner and living more peacefully.
I was reminded of this when I heard a couple relate a story over the holidays.
A woman was expressing her disappointment to me about her Christmas gift from her husband. She was disappointed and felt hurt and unloved because in her mind, the gift lacked effort, thought and love. She was unimpressed, to say the least.
Later, I discovered her husband had actually put a lot of thought into it. He spent days thinking about what to buy, wandered around the malls and looked in all her favourite shops. He finally realized it was unlikely he would find anything she’d really like and he didn’t want her to have to deal with the hassle of returning something after Christmas. Wanting to please her and ensure she really got what she wanted, he opted for a gift certificate.
This is a great example of how different things can look when we are able to put all the pieces of the story together.
When we get caught up in ourselves and what we think, it’s easy to forget that our partner is most likely doing their best. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking does our partner and our relationship a huge disservice. A lot of hurt, disappointment and conflict can be resolved by giving our partner the benefit of the doubt and realizing they have a story and being open to hearing it too.
When we set our goals based on things we want, we really only focus on the means to the ends. The only reason we really want something is because of how we believe we will feel when we have it. Think about it — why do you want a new job? more connection in your relationship? a new pair of shoes? a holiday?
I like to set my goals on the true end result — the way I believe I will feel when I have whatever it is that I want.
Here’s my suggestions for goal setting.
1. Ask yourself what you want. Write it down. Example: I’d like to make more money.
2. Look at each item on your list of wants and ask yourself what you believe you will feel when you have those things. Example: Having more money would allow me to feel more secure, free, relaxed, peaceful, happier.
3. Write your goal based on those feelings. I suggest using present the present tense. Example: I focus on feeling secure. I feel free. I am peaceful and I feel happier every day.
4. Look for examples of those feelings already present in your life. Example: Secure: I have a home. I have money in the bank. I feel secure in my relationship. I feel secure in my friendships. I feel secure as a mother……
5. Plant the seed in your mind to see more ways you feel those things and look for ways to feel them more often in your life.
6. Keep track of how you are feeling and what comes to you as a result.