Of all the relationships we experience, love relationships are perhaps the most complex. They are strenuous in that they take a real toll on our emotional wellness. They are lifelong in that one romantic chapter can cause an impression for the rest of our years. A ruptured friendship may leave us saddened but not broken, whereas a breakup or divorce can leave us utterly devastated. Indeed, there is something about the force of love that shakes the very foundations of our soul. Maybe it's love that makes the world go round, after all.
It's easy to take a wrong turn in our quest for the perfect relationship; we may overthink things, complicate matters, or act in ways we later regret. Revert to these eternal, infallible principles to navigate through your labyrinth of love:
Simplify. We often forget that when it comes to love, simplicity is key. Naturally, we want to build an empire with our partner. But in doing so, we can quickly lose sight of the simple values that first fostered love. Return to simplicity. Nothing is more valuable at the end of the day than tender moments shared in silence, with no mention of what was, could have been, or might be. De-clutter your relationship. Cleanse your bond of all toxicity: people who interfere, harmful emotions, hurtful memories, and compromising tendencies. Maintain a love as pure as water.
Keep out external influences. External influences are the rotten seeds of relationships. And before you know it, negative influences can consume a relationship like weeds ravish a garden. Keep your relationship exclusively between you and your partner. Your loved ones may want what's best for you, but their biased advice or out-of-line behavior may affect the delicate dynamic with your partner. Bringing in the energies of others may do more harm than good, especially if your relationship is already in trouble. Learn to think for yourself. Ask the divine world for help, not overly opinionated friends. Everyone will offer you their take on what's right but no one can actually offer you what's right. Only you can do that for yourself. When plagued by doubts in love, pray, meditate, and look for answers within yourself.
Tame your ego. The ego is the most destructive force of all relationships. It tears down the human bond because it favors the me and neglects the we. For the sake of your relationship, let your proud guard down. Take nothing personal; even if your partner does something irrefutably wrong, understand that he or she may have personal issues that you know nothing about and that also have nothing to do with you. Realize that, yes, in a perfect world, everything would be fair play, but that in relationships, everything is compromise, sacrifice, and endurance. Hold your partner closer to your heart than you hold your own ego, and you will succeed in holding a healthy, long-term relationship.
Build them up. The quality and duration of relationships revolve around choices. You have the choice to build your partner's self-worth or tear them down to nothing. Remember that weaknesses are far more visible than strengths, but that it is a sign of personal weakness to play on the shortcomings of another. We become so used to our partner's flaws that we think those around us are used to them, too. We may joke to people about our loved one's imperfections and think this is no big deal. But we don't know just how deeply run the emotional wounds carved by these failings. As a rule of thumb, refrain from speaking negatively about your partner in public. You may want to vent to others, but keeping silent is wiser. Instead of starting the day by chiding your partner for something they did wrong, begin your day by thanking them: "Thank you for being next to me and with me. Thank you for being you," you can say. Tolerate their defects as you tolerate your own. Nurture the person who has stood by you; they are more sensitive than you can imagine. A simple "I'm proud of you" can uplift their entire day.
Initiate intimacy. Intimacy is not restricted to intercourse; it is intense bonding of the body, mind, and spirit. A simple touch of the hand can be simply enthralling; a gentle whisper in the ear can send your partner reeling. To keep such small but profound acts alive is to keep love alive. Dig deeper than mundane conversation; reach heightened intimacy by engaging in topics of true substance. Over time, we become immune to the excitement of our relationship and toxic boredom strikes. Scientifically speaking, dopamine levels in our brains drop as we become used to a person. You can avoid this by being consistently aware of your partner. Feel them; develop a strong sense of their needs and wishes. Understand when they need a hug and when they need to be alone. To be truly intimate with your partner is to be always in tune with them on a physical and emotional level. Never underestimate the intimate powers of the soul.
Don't force change. Many people live with the false notion that they can change someone. No one can change anyone else; we change ourselves. Forcing change on a person only forces them out of your life, and ultimatums ultimately end relationships. Allow people to pass through their own phases, all the while showing support and gently ushering them in the right direction. Accept your partner's struggles and internal conflicts as they perform inner work. They will change, but in their own time and at their own pace. Until then, work to improve yourself. The single best way to inspire change in someone is to lead by example. If you love them, you will let them be.
Love yourself. Reality reflects what the mind projects. If you project self-love, your reality will reel in outside love. Acknowledge your own bad habits and quirks, but embrace yourself fully. Practice patience with your failures and take small steps each day to evolve as a person. Evaluate your strengths and praise yourself for the goals you've already achieved. Each morning when you wake up, look in the mirror and speak out loud an affirmation of self-love. When you love the totality of your being you invite your partner to love all of you as well.
Relationships are complicated enough without our added elaboration. But if there is any art to the human bond, it is following these simple principles for a less stressful, more durable loving dynamic.
To your amazing relationship,
Dr. Carmen Harra
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