Love Is How You See It
Many of us think of love as something that we are in pursuit of; something that we have to search for, as if we could one day turn a corner and magically have it appear before our very eyes. Sure, some people manage to experience what they might call “Love at First Sight”; a romance that blossoms from a chance encounter or an ironic twist of fate. But I believe the majority of people find themselves hoping and wishing for the kind of relationship that causes them to feel something they’ve never truly felt before – the way we all wish we could feel at least once in our lifetime – and that is to feel truly loved, accepted and respected for who we are.
Of all the things we look for in our lives, it is the one thing that many of us believe will make us feel complete. To be able to have a partner that you can feel comfortable with, who you can confide in and trust in and know that they have your back because they love you and they truly want what is best for you. Isn’t that the love we’re all looking for? Isn’t that the way we all wish we could feel?
We often find ourselves questioning our relationships – those of us who are fortunate enough to have someone in our lives – we may question whether they are loyal to us, whether or not they really love us, and whether or not they are the so-called “right person” for us. We look at their behaviors and analyze their words and we anguish over what they really think of us or even how they feel about us. We think things like, “Well, if they loved me, they would do this!” or “Why can’t they just understand what it is that I want?” And all the while – the whole time that person is in front of us just asking us to do the same.
It’s so easy to turn to victimhood and make the other person wrong. It’s easier to believe that they are flawed or at fault or that even that they don’t really love us because if they did then we wouldn’t be feeling what it is that we are feeling in that moment. We look at them and judge them and ask ourselves why we’re with them and whether or not it’s even worth it – but where does it really get us in the end?
Any relationship, no matter how strong it is, no matter how much the partners love each other or how committed they think they are, can be torn apart and destroyed through the process of negative thinking. I’d be willing to bet, that if anyone were to do research on how many marriages and relationships have ended because of one or both of the partners negative thinking habits, I’d venture to say that they would find that it is 100%.
People think marriages end in divorce because of extra marital affairs, partners that are too focused on their work or their addictions, or that they end because one partner doesn’t contribute as much as the other in terms of time, energy, income or sacrifice. But the truth is that none of these things are the root cause. If anyone were to dig deep enough, they would be certain to find that the thing that started it all – that actually caused the beginning of the end – was how one or both partners developed the habit of thinking negatively about their spouse.
I understand that it may seem overly simplistic and that everyone must know that it’s obviously not helpful, but I caution about overlooking this one most important and critical detail regarding the nature of human beings in relationship. There is nothing – nothing more destructive and damaging to a relationship than this.
At the bottom of it all – we are all human beings – looking for the same things and wanting to experience the same feelings as everyone else. We all want to be loved for who we are. We all want to feel cherished and appreciated and respected and admired. We all want to feel connected and accepted and loved, and there are no exceptions. None whatsoever.
What kind of a world would we live in if we could see through each other enough to see how we feel and what we think and what we believe? How would it change things if we could know and understand what each of us is in need of and longing for? How differently would we respond to each other if we were able to be honest and open in our communication so that there would be no question about what it is that we need?
The problem with the world today is that we have forgotten that we are all the same; that we all have the same needs that we are trying to meet and the same feelings that we want to experience. We enter into relationships looking for what the other person can bring to our lives and we continually hold them to task on what it is that we think we expect from them. But where is the unconditional love in our own behavior and attitudes towards our partners? Shouldn’t we at least be willing to offer them the same thing that we are looking for ourselves?
The reality is that we actually create the circumstances we find ourselves in – do we not? If I am feeling less than enamoured in my relationship, then if I really want to change it, I have to become willing to ask myself the tough questions. Questions like, “How have I been contributing to this situation?” or “What is my ultimate outcome for this relationship, and how can I positively influence my relationship in a way that will give me that result?”
Regardless of what your situation is with your partner, if you really want to save the relationship and make it as good as it could possibly be, you have the ability to look at both your own actions and those of your partner and consider how you could be doing things differently. Are there assumptions you have been making about what they think, feel and believe? Are there things you have been quietly tolerating that you shouldn’t? Have you been honest and open about the way that you feel? Have you attached certain meanings to behaviors that could be inaccurate or disempowering to you both?
Any time you find yourself reassessing whether or not your relationship has the ability to withstand the typical storms that will inevitably blow in from time to time, try to use those moments as an opportunity to remain open minded and think about the situation from a different perspective. What needs could your partner be trying to meet? What could it be that they are really asking for in those moments? Is there something you could do, say or believe that would allow them to feel the same way you want to feel in the relationship?
We all have the power to choose how we think about things – our work, our families, our children, our relationships and our lives. Everything in the universe is open to possibilities. Why deny yourself the opportunity to take advantage of that? Make a decision to stand in your own power and take ownership over your life and your future. Who knows what could happen if you allow yourself to turn expectation into appreciation?
I understand that it may be a big shift to change our perspectives to our own behavior, and even more challenging to take ownership of the roles that we have played in moulding our relationships into what they currently are, but in the end it is truly the only place where we can find our power and regain some sense of control in our lives. It is only by making a decision to stand in our own power that we can ultimately bring stability, comfort, security and love back into our relationships. Because beauty really is in the eye of the beholder…and Love is exactly however it is that you choose to see it.
About the author
Tamara Dodgson is a Certified Strategic Intervention Coach and Life Strategist, trained by Robbins Madanes. She has spent the better part of a half century studying, researching and learning about personal growth and development, self-help, spirituality, leadership, success, achievement and philosophy. She is a writer, philosopher, life coach, mother, fitness enthusiast, nature lover, book fanatic and divine being of infinite possibilities. She is also the proud author of "Designing Your Life - A Guide to Help You Consciously Create Your Future" and has recently released a new educational program called "2017 - Your Year of Transformation." You can connect with her on Facebook at Forward Coaching & Consulting Services, on her website at www.tamaradodgson.com, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.