By Lesya Li
“Love does not obey our expectations; it obeys our intentions.” ~Lloyd Strom
Have you ever felt less about a relationship when it didn’t exactly pan out like a fairy tale? I sure did.
I had it stuck in my mind that a great relationship should bepicture perfect.
When reality would give me a sobering slap showing it was far from perfect, I would walk away from a relationship that refused to meet my standards.
I thought that a relationship is like a flower in a pot, ever blooming by itself. No hard work whatsoever. But the “flower” also has a tremendous thirst for nourishment and requires time and dedication to ensure it grows and blossoms.
Stubbornly, I believed that when I met my one and only, my life would change for the better. Just like in a romantic movie, I was expecting the credits to roll up the much anticipated “Happy Ending” sign.
Real relationships have nothing in common with a fairy tale.
I had to learn that in order to find genuine happiness (in any relationship) I needed to let go of that silly, romantic movie-like metaphor. When I let go of what a relationship should be like, I started enjoying relationships as they were by looking beyond the flaws and releasing false expectations.
5 Tips to Create a Loving Relationship
1. Find wholeness instead of expecting someone else to complete you.
Give yourself and your partner the greatest gift by becoming whole so that you won’t look for a relationship to complete you, or lose yourself and dissolve into another person completely.
It was challenging to break free from the notion that in order to be whole, I had to find my other half. I also struggled to find a connection with myself outside the walls of relationships. But I was convinced that it was crucial to be able to find comfort in my own company.
We all want to be happy, and happiness comes from within. Solitude allows us to clear our mind and unwind. It gives us to chance to reflect on what we want to experience to create fulfillment in life.
Put some time aside. Nurture yourself with the love and attention you deserve. The more you fill yourself with love, the more love you’ll be ready to give. Be kind to yourself. Find your peace and comfort in solitude.
All great love stories start with loving ourselves first. When we nourish our internal light, then we are ready to share it with the rest of the world.
2. Focus on yourself instead of trying to change someone else.
I was determined to change my partner and teach him something that just didn’t appeal to him. I’ve only recently realized that it’s fruitless to try to change someone else, and better to focus on yourself, acting as an example of what’s possible.
For instance, two-and-a-half years ago I started eating healthy and exercising daily. I became a vegetarian and was excited about the way I felt and the weight I dropped in a matter of a couple of months. Of course I wanted my significant other to feel what I felt. I wanted him to feel good.
I was forcing him to attain my new healthy habits. It turned into an obsession to see dramatic changes in him in a heartbeat. The result? He became furious and resentful.
When I quit nagging about what he should do, I gave him space to breathe and be himself. And eventually, when he was ready to change, my significant other turned his eating habits around. He followed my example because he felt compelled, not forced.
3. Learn to see the extraordinary within the ordinary.
We often do just about anything to avoid the ordinary, don’t we? For years I couldn’t see the magic in sharing the day-to-day life with the person I love.
I was comically obsessed with avoiding ordinary, so I wished that each moment would take my breath away, or that my partner would do something that would. I wanted each moment to be epic and filled with glory.
I had my expectations way up high and forgot how to appreciate all the “little” things—things that might seem ordinary, like going for a walk in the park hand-in-hand.
I’ve learned how to see the beauty in each moment shared with my loved one knowing that ordinary is extraordinary when you see things through the heart.
4. Let go of conditions and expectations.
Have you ever placed conditions on your love? I did.
When we expect people to give us love in a precise way we yearn for it, in the exact way we couldn’t give it to ourselves, we put our contentment in someone else’s hands and suffocate our relationships with impossibly high standards.
If you’re not happy with something, share your feelings, but consider that love won’t always look exactly as you expected it would. Letting go of heavy expectations gives our relationships room to breathe and allows us to appreciate everything that’s going right instead of focusing on what we think is wrong.
5. Listen to understand.
Arguments are awful, aren’t they? They leave us with that bitter aftertaste. Arguments have also made me think less of myself, and the relationship.
I failed to realize back then that the more we communicate and listen, the fewer challenges we face.
State your point patiently and listen to what your partner has to say without interrupting them. Construct the bridge of understanding through the chasm of the argument.
We all want to be heard and understood.
The biggest problem with communication occurs when we don’t listen to understand; we listen to reply or to fight back.
I still struggle with the whole “not acting upon emotion” thing; however, I understand that emotions are temporary, but the situations created by them may resonate for much longer period of time.
When we allow our relationships to be imperfect and accept that we all have imperfections too, that’s when tiny yet noticeable changes occur. We all deserve nourishing relationships that are filled with love, respect, and warmth. Share your light and let yourself be loved in return.