GROW IN LOVE NOT FALL IN LOVE
Over the years, I Learnt that most people make mistake when they talk about falling in love and growing in love, so it’s time I write about falling and growing in love because I think we’ve all done enough damage with this whole “falling” in love thing.
It’s because they’re looking to find that person that immediately makes them fall in love with them. Then it doesn’t happen. It’s because you can’t fall in love, instead you grow in love. By waiting for that magical moment that never comes, you might miss out on someone who gave you that special feeling (but didn’t feel like sudden movie love), and then you miss out and never have that perfectly compatible person because you let it go on expecting to suddenly “fall” in love.
That magical love does exist; it’s just the lead up and maintaining it that’s different. Love is a bond that grows stronger, and that’s where most people mess up. You can’t fall in love because to fall is this sudden thing, and that’s not how it works, it’s more like a bond where that person grows with you through thick and thin. That initial phase of a friendship or couple, is where the foundation is built, and it’s strengthens the more you grow together. You can fall into infatuation, but not love.
FALLING IN LOVE
“Falling” in love all too often involves two people who previously stood independently collapsing into various levels of co-dependency, merging into the other, losing themselves for the sake and existence of the relationship. The two people assume a new identity: a “couple.” In this name of “love,” the partners become dependent upon one another, their expectations for happiness and comfort and security become entwined, their own preferences dimmed in the name of “compromise.”
“I love you, but I need you to do this and that and NOT do this other thing, so I know for sure you love me. I need you to be perfect, as you were in the beginning, or as I wanted to believe you were. I cannot generate happiness and contentment unless you behave in a way that pleases and affirms me.”
To teach you, then, how to “fall” in love fearlessly would be to teach you nothing at all about true fearlessness, nor would it teach you about true love.
Falling in love happens when one or both partners are afraid to exist independently, separately. Falling in love happens when you don’t trust yourself or your partner enough to stand grounded in your own personhood and love from a position of internal strength.
What if you could maintain your own self—the ever-more-fearless self you are becoming every day—and fully, fearlessly love another? What if the only way to fearlessly love another was to first love yourself, to know yourself as wonderfully complete, with and without a special person attached to your hip? What if you chose to stand grounded in that knowing as you reaches out to love another?
What would be possible if you loved like this? How high do you think you could rise if you were neither expecting your partner to lift you up, nor seeking to prop him/her up when the chips are down? (I am not saying you wouldn’t comfort each other on a bad day. I’m saying you wouldn’t be dependent on that comfort or upset when for some reason it isn’t forthcoming).
What heights in love, work and life could you reach if you remained you, and your partner remained him or her adorable self, and you found space between to love each other?
GROW IN LOVE:
Imagine, just for a moment, that it truly is possible to free yourself from the chains of the past, the defences, the insecurities, the reasons why not to let yourself love or be loved. Feel the fresh breeze of this blow down the hall, even if you don’t really yet believe it. Imagine a love so gorgeous and free and generous that neither of you need each other to exist, stand or love. But you do so because it’s fun, because it’s a wonderful part of life. You do so out of free will, pure desire and unlimited capacity to do so.
Mind blown? If so, you’re not alone. This concept often butts up against many individuals’ idea of a relationship and of love. But here’s the thing, my friends, there is another level of exquisite love available in the realm of this kind of fearless partnership.
Rising in love seems like it would elicit less fear than falling in love, right? After all, in general, we are a “rising” culture and “falling” is not something we tend to seek out.
Fine in linguistic theory; but for many, rising in love may conjure up fears about having to stand on our own two flat feet rather than relying on someone else within a relationship. Once again, we confront the basic reality of practice. Our automatic pilot mode is “I need you to do X so I can feel Y.”
We have to practice a different way of being before any of this starts to feel “natural.”
HERE IS A LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED IN A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP:
- SUPPORT: You need to support each other. That means in life decisions, in hard times, in dreams, in goals, and everything else that comes with it. When you are chasing your dreams or your goals, you need to support each other, and that means more than just saying “ok honey”. It means that you actually support it; be there to figure out how they’re going to do it, help them do it, constructive criticism, not talking down on it, and working together to help each other out.
- CHALLENGE EACH OTHER: Just because you’re supportive, doesn’t mean you have to be a “yes man/woman”. Again, you don’t have to talk down or call something stupid, challenge each other in a way where they still know you’re on each other’s side.
- COMMUNICATION: I honestly believe 90% of all fights come from miscommunication. You need to be honest with each other, trust is important, and it’ll also help you understand how to be happier with each other. If something upset you, they won’t know unless you tell them what upset you, and why it upset you. If you don’t, you end up bottling it up and they’ll do it repeatedly (because they’re unaware of what they’re doing), and it’ll get much worse down the road.
- VALIDATION: This is the perfect follow up to the last one. When something is bothering someone, and you get defensive, or if you say “You’re just too sensitive” or you basically make it sound like it’s their problem, that’s a recipe for disaster. You need to show that you care, and acknowledge it. You can figure out how to move forward from there, but sometimes we all just need a little attention or a reminder that someone cares, and if you invalidate someone then you’re basically saying “meh, it doesn’t matter”.
- TRUST: This is a cliché, but its cliché because it’s true, however what people don’t talk about is how this goes both ways. For example, we all already know that we should trust each other to be able to go out without having to spy on them, but we also need to be able to trust that person to update us on changes too. If one person suddenly makes plans to go out after work, then call your significant other and let them know. That way when you’re hours late coming home they aren’t worried that something happened to you and wondering where you are or if you’re ok. You’re not necessarily asking permission, you’re just keeping them in the loop, and that’ll also stop resentment from building because maybe your significant other made you a surprise evening for when you got off work. This simple phone call will eliminate a lot of headaches. If they don’t pick up, just send them a quick text.
- FRIENDS: You should hang out with each other’s friends, even if they aren’t necessarily your friends. Both people can still be independent and hang out on their own, but you should balance it out. We know that when you’re in relationships you don’t see your friends as much, and this is a way to maintain those friendships, and still bond even closer. Share in each other’s movies, hobbies, friends, and dreams. Don’t complain about each other’s movies either, a relationship is give and take and when you care about someone, you tend to want to share the things you like (hobbies, passions, etc.) with each other.
- BEING A TEAM: It’s unrealistic to think you’ll never have an argument. It’s going to happen, but what’s important is how you get through it. If they screw up, you don’t need to lecture them, talk down to them, or punish them to make sure they know that they’ve f*cked up. You want to move forward, and make sure they know you’re with them, not against them. You don’t want to feel like a parent punishing a child, you want to be a team moving forward, they’ll appreciate that you didn’t try to verbally beat them down (or otherwise…)
- BE GRACIOUS: This is an area most people need to work on in every aspect of their lives, not just relationships, but it’s especially important in relationships. Make sure they know you appreciate what they do for you. No one wants to feel like they’re being taken for granted.
- BE EMOTIONALLY PRESENT: This goes for men too. You might think you’re “manly” but no one wants a cold emotionless shell. Don’t pretend you don’t feel things, open up each other. This helps your communication.
- DO LITTLE THINGS: Sure, the big things might make for great stories, but when you miss someone, it’s usually the little things they did that you remember the most, so understand that this can be more important than just buying a big gift on a holiday. Leave a note randomly, go enjoy a view together, make their favourite meal, be silly and sing along in the car just having a stupid good time (but still focus on the road), give him/her a massage after a hard day, show affection, etc. It will keep the spark in your relationship alive.
- DON’T JUST COMPLAIN ABOUT THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS: Think about it. If all one of you do is complain to your friends whenever he/she messes up, then that paints a really bad picture in mind. They don’t get to see the good times in between, the only context they get is every couple of months all they hear is what a bad person this person is, and suddenly they’re the biggest jerk on the planet and “I don’t know why you’re even with him/her”. For me personally, I only ever talk the girl I’m with up to my friends, because I don’t believe in tearing her down. Granted there are some people who are bad people and you need to get out, but this topic isn’t about those situations.
- MONEY: If you’re living together, and have bills to pay, you need to come together in buying decisions. Obviously money isn’t the most important thing, but it’s often one of the most common fights couples have. Before you buy a house, couch, TV, or whatever it is, you guys need to keep each other in the loop, so that you have a plan. Otherwise you’ll come up short on food or bills and no one wants that stress. If you disagree, imagine if he suddenly bought a TV because it was on sale and she suddenly bought couch because it was on sale, and you both surprise each other with the sudden purchases, that’s a conversation no one wants to have.
- BE YOURSELVES: Yes, I saved this cliché for the end because I didn’t want you to skip over it. Don’t be one person to attract someone, if who you actually are won’t keep them around in the first place. We all have our different selves; you might be more serious among some people, and goofy around others. You might be in a weird mood one day and another on another day. Make sure you accept each other and allow them to really just be who they are, people change and grow over the years, you want to be able to come home and enjoy life, and that won’t happen if you’re on edge waiting to be criticized by the other person and scared to do anything.
By no means do I call this complete, but I do consider these to be important things.
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I wish you all success in your relationships and that you find who makes you happy!