No, I am not trying to be a super downer. I am a stinkin’ life coach for goodness sakes. I am mostly rainbows, unicorns and cotton candy.
But I also have some good stuff to say and I think this is one of them.
Let’s start with my favorite subject….love. Even if they deny it, everybody wants love. We emotionally and physically need love. It is a beautiful, pure and kind emotion. It makes us happy and gives us the support to follow our dreams, conquer our fears and become our best selves.
Here is the good news. We are naturally good at love. As children, we are born with a beautiful, open capacity to love and be loved: the ability to open our hearts and minds to people and let them into our lives. Love is nothing less than life altering when we open ourselves up to it. But here is the catch people – ultimately, we are not looking for love or at least it is only one part of that “holding hands with the love of our lives when we are 90″ kind of dream.
Genius happening NOW! What if I were to tell you that we need to stop looking for love and start creating relationships? Let’s crack this baby open, shall we?
Most break-ups do not happen because of love. Rarely do we actually “fall out of love or does it fade away.” It is not that love changes, it is that we change and hence, relationships change. How we talk to each other, fight, show affection, share, spend time together, socialize, deal with money, parent, all of it! That is what makes up a relationship and is also the tough stuff that can break people up. Love is a part, but in many ways, it is only the beginning.
You may be having a hard time at all of this dating/relationships thing – not because of love – but because of how you learn and understand relationships. Unlike love, it is not a gift you were born with and it is not a super power that you get from a radioactive spider bite. It is a learned behavior and most likely what you learned was….meh.
And the truth is, which I keep on learning the hard way, that most of us are not naturally good at this.
When we were a wee thing we learned about relationships everywhere. We were like little sponges watching the way the world interacts. Movies and television, our parents and other adult figures in our lives, our own experiences with others…and let’s be honest, sometimes we did not have the best role models or experiences. Kids can be mean, and adults have their own flaws that make seeing how to connect with people and create long lasting relationships almost obsolete.
What it leaves us with is a seriously messed up view of what relationships look like and feel like. So we go out there “looking for love” and are left confused when relationships don’t work out asking “didn’t they love me enough?” When it never really was about love. It was about the many, many other things that make relationships a success or failure.
My best childhood friend, who has a wonderfully successful relationship, will be the first to say it isn’t because of her or her husband or even love. It is about the fact that over time they created an “us.” I love that. It makes me feel empowered to know that I can work on being great for someone and, more importantly, to look for a true partner to create an “us” with.
That I can put on my big girl pants and realize that I will walk through life, sometimes stumbling into people that I love, but I have the option to create a relationship with them. To realize that it is about more than just feelings and I have the power to choose to let them be a part of my life or not.
Good relationships are not about saying “I love you, or do you love me?” but about moving toward the “I love us”
Here is what loving “us” might look like. “I love the way we can talk through the tough stuff and come with solutions where we both feel good. I love that we challenge each other to be better people. I love the way we support each other’s dreams. I love that we can laugh together, frequently. I love that we listen and learn from each other. I love, at the end of every day, that “we” means so much to me that I want to work all of it out. No matter how hard it is. Because us is so much better than just me.”
I know now, that is what I am looking for someday. Who wants to join me?
Are you ready to stop looking for love and start creating relationships?
Dating Challenge: Take a step back and look at your relationship role models. What did you learn? Is it going to help you create a good relationship? Who can be your new relationship role models? What are they doing to create something that lasts? What can you start working on today to get yourself ready?
Talk to me.
Photo found on http://www.staypositive.me/page/8