10 Things You Need to Know to Have a Strong, Happy Relationship

Posted by on March 7, 2020 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 1 Comment

Image Credit: Tiny Buddha

By KJ Hutchings | Tiny Buddha

“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.” ~Ernest Hemingway

When I was in my early twenties, I was in a relationship with a man who abused me emotionally and psychologically for many months.

It turned out I was his first serious relationship, and this had often made him feel overwhelmed and insecure. He didn’t feel “good enough” for me or deserving of my love. Ironically, we’d both suffered from low self-esteem but had shown it in completely different ways.

During my time with him I often felt insecure, stupid, unattractive, and utterly unlovable. That dysfunctional relationship stripped me of much of my self-esteem, and damaged my faith in human nature.

But in hindsight, my ex did me a big favor. My experience with him made me, for the first time in my life, give serious thought to what I wanted from a future relationship and partner, as well as how to strengthen my self-esteem and confidence.

I read as many books as I could on self-confidence, self-love, healthy connections, and boundaries (there was no Internet in those days). I learned how to meditate and trust my intuition, and I stopped being a people-pleasing pushover who put everyone else first.

As a result of what I learned, I created the following ten relationship rules for myself, which I believe are essential for strong self-esteem and loving long-term relationships.

1. No relationship can flourish on love alone.

No amount of love for my ex-boyfriend could alter the fact he treated me badly and his behavior toward me was destructive. Love alone was not enough to salvage our relationship.

In order for a relationship to survive and thrive, it needs trust, respect, attention, kindness, patience, empathy, commitment, communication, understanding, mutual liking, loyalty, compromise, and security. And you need a partner who is also willing to work at nurturing the relationship.

All relationships require work and effort; there are no exceptions. Love is an essential part, but it does not conquer all. You can love your partner with all your heart and still end up in a relationship that is damaging and dysfunctional.

Love alone can’t turn a bad relationship into a good relationship, and you can’t change an abusive person into a loving, respectful partner if they don’t want to change.

2. Self-love is never selfish.

Most of us have been conditioned to think self-love is selfish or conceited, but in reality there’s nothing further from the truth.

The most powerful relationship you’ll ever have is your relationship with yourself. Other people may come and go, but you’ll always have yourself, so it’s vital to like and love the person you are.

I discovered that when I’m more loving and compassionate toward myself, my capacity to love others in a more selfless and caring way increases. I no longer crave love or acceptance from other people.

When you feel good about yourself, you treat others well. Looking back, I realize my ex-boyfriend didn’t like, let alone love, himself very much.

The only person who can give you self-love is you. You don’t need anyone else’s permission, only the willingness to be more compassionate and attentive to yourself and your needs. To do that, you need to identify your needs—spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional—and then prioritize them. Even when other people have conflicting wants.

3. Perfection doesn’t exist.

Movies, magazines, and social media all have a lot to answer for when it comes to creating unrealistic expectations of a “perfect” relationship, partner, and life.

No relationship, even between “soul mates,” is perfect because perfection doesn’t exist.

We do our partner a great disservice when we expect them to complete us, read our minds, understand all our feelings, fulfill all our social needs, always be romantic and passionate, and always make us happy. Such pressures are all too often unbearable.

And we do ourselves a great disservice, and make ourselves miserable in the process, when we demand “perfection” in everything we do, or how we look or live our lives.

4. Kindness always counts.

Acts of kindness, no matter how small, always have an impact. They always make a difference.

One day, at the end of my relationship with my ex, my then manager found me crying in the restrooms at work. After coaxing me to tell her why I was so upset, she gave me a hug and sent me home for the rest of the day. It was precisely what I needed at the time.

I’ve never forgotten her kindness, and now I consciously try to be as compassionate as possible in my daily life.

Kindness reminds us of our shared humanity, our innate need for other people, and our sense of connection to everything around us, especially our loved ones. Our actions count. We count.

When we show kindness to others, we are also showing kindness to ourselves because our acts of compassion resonate within us. The positive energy, good karma, whatever you wish to call it, is good for us; it makes us feel better about ourselves.

Whenever possible, choose kindness. Be kind to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues even when they are driving you crazy. Show kindness to strangers. Be kind even to those who have hurt you. It will benefit you in more ways than you can imagine.

5. Love is meant to be shown.

No one likes to feel they are unappreciated or taken for granted in a relationship. I know that only too well from personal experience.

We can’t just assume that our loved ones know how important they are to us, so it’s vital to show them in words and actions.

Say “I love you,” praise them, and give them compliments. Show your partner how much you appreciate them. Express your admiration for them to other people too.

Take a genuine interest in their interests. Celebrate their successes and comfort them when they’re upset. Say “thank you” often and “sorry” when necessary.

Life is short, so show your love for others without embarrassment and don’t forget to show yourself love too. (Remember, self-love is never selfish.)


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  1. tlarmstrong2018@gmail.com' Tammy says:

    I it was encouraning.

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