Today I want to talk about something important. Part of leading a healthy lifestyle is cultivating healthy and loving relationships. We all want love, we all need it, we all crave it, we all love it! Personally I feel that it is a necessity for our wellbeing and survival. But how often do we question the love that we are receiving or giving? Whether it’s real, authentic love?
As the New Year approaches many of us find ourselves reevaluating our lives, decisions, relationships, dreams, goals, our purpose, and ultimately our vision of what we want our lives to look like and with whom we want to share that vision with.
Love is a beautiful experience and feeling when it is true! But unfortunately, often enough, love is also thrown around, meaningless “I love you!”’s that are just words. Words without actions.
How do you define love?
For me LOVE is an abundance of feelings inside, that I can’t always exactly explain, and that affect my whole being. It is words and actions combined, that reflect respect, kindness, caring, compassion, empathy, trust and honesty, all of which carry immense meaning that require authentic love that come from the heart.
I know that love can be complicated and relationships differ tremendously from person to person, but I think it is important to think about the relationships we have or might be getting into, and ask ourselves if the love we are receiving and the love that we are giving is authentic, or serving some other purpose, a means to and end, for the ego; selfishly and sometimes ill purposed.
Some expect love, they think that it is a given because “its family” or “it’s someone you have known for a long time”, but I think that is a tainted expectation. No one’s love is given, you have to earn it. The only exception I can think of is the innate love we feel and have for our babies/children as they are growing, learning and developing. Eventually however, even they, as they get older, need to be able to understand what it takes to withhold a loving, kind, respectful relationship with their parents and others.
I think that if we want to have genuine loving relationships we need to love ourselves first and stand up for ourselves by building relationships with people who appreciate us, who treat us kindly, with respect, who try to understand us and who support us.
Relationships that are the opposite of this are toxic and can be abusive. They don’t make you feel good about yourself or anything else, they instil self-doubt and push you down instead of lifting you up.
This is why I strongly feel that we need to be our own number one advocates and not allow anyone to treat us badly. No one has that right! No one has the right to put you down and tell you that your character traits and personality are faults. No one has the right to belittle or harm you in any way, even if they say “sorry” and “I love you” later, because those are just words.
Be who you are, love that person and engage with people who love you truly for all that you are. That doesn’t mean we have to like everyone and everyone has to like us. We are all different. But you be the one that picks for you.
Don’t engage in any relationship just because you feel bad, because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, or because you want to please and be okay with everyone. Those are not good enough reasons. Don’t feel forced because you keep thinking of what that person might think of you or what they might do. Think of yourself, put yourself first, choose you and choose who you allow in your life, not the other way around.
If someone is not good for you, be brave and let go. You will be much better for it. That doesn’t mean to have ill wishes for anyone; you can still truly wish people well but not engage with them. Sometimes we just need to let go of relationships that do us more harm then good, and put ourselves first. If we don’t stick up for ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to stick up for us.
I write this from a lot of love in my heart! I am a person who is very in tune with my emotions. Some people call it “emotional” with a negative connotation, I call it emotional intelligence. What is life without feeling, anyway?! Isn’t that part of the beauty of being human? I think so. Ofcourse logic has its place. No one said it didn’t.
I hope next time you say “I love you” or hear “I love you” from someone else, you’re not afraid to ask yourself if you really mean it and if the person saying it to you really means. It might be an enlightening moment - a realization that could change your life. You may realize that you want to rebuild the love with that person, but you may also decide that it’s best to part ways. Only you know the answers of your heart. But love without all those actions that define it, is not true love! And abuse of any kind should not be accepted nor tolerated!
There are many forms of abuse: verbal, bullying/cyber bullying, emotional/mental/psychological, physical/sexual/domestic violence, neglect, economic/financial, cultural/religious/spiritual; with family, friends, acquaintances and people you don’t even know; which cause emotional turmoil and pain-sometimes physical, always emotional! Sometimes you don’t even realize it - until you do.
To those who may be engaged in abusive relationships of any kind, I have this to say to you:
You are beautiful inside and out, you are strong and courageous, you are brave, you are worthy, you are deserving of true love. There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect just the way you are. You are special because you are you, unique, no one else is like you. You matter and are needed in this world. Anyone that tells you differently is absolutely wrong!!!! They don’t know you even if they say they do.
Some people are nasty because they have their own problems and are dealing with their own demons; don’t believe them!
If you have contemplated or are contemplating suicide, please don’t do it! You are needed here on this earth, you have a purpose, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. Ask for help! There is no shame in asking for help. Tell a friend, a family member, call/text/chat with a help line/crisis line. Seek a therapist who can lovingly listen and help you find the answers that already lie within you so that you can start to unload the burden and weight that has been dragging you down, and begin to rise up and heal. There are so many people that want to help you and be there for you. Give them a chance. Don’t let them/it win-whoever or whatever it is that you feel is too much to bear at this very moment. You will get through whatever it is that you’re facing and when you come out of it on the other end you will be so grateful for choosing to live. It’s not easy, I know, but it is still worth going through it so that you can survive, live and thrive and be there to help someone else who may be going through the same thing that you are going through right now.
Everyone is worthy and deserving of love but sometimes we punish ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, due to beliefs and fears that stem from past experiences. Those beliefs and fears are wrong! Remember that, every time they pop up in your head, and start believing in the goodness of your heart and of yourself. You are deserving, kind, loving and worthy!
As for me, I do believe in true love. I always did. And now I believe it even more because I have it, with my children whom I love in a way that I didn’t know love existed-wholeheartedly and unconditionally; who give me the same love in return and an unsurmountable amount of joy and happiness. With my husband who loves me for who I am, respects me and adores me; who taught me that actions really do matter especially when words don’t match the actions, and who shows me his love every day by being their for me and supporting me. And finally with family and friends whom I have chosen to have in my life based on all that I feel is important in relationships. I am grateful that I have all these people in my life and I am grateful for having the opportunity to love and to be loved. I have done my own assessments and re-evaluations over the years and have made many changes in my life for my own personal wellbeing and growth, and I continue to do so every so often. But first I had to believe in myself, love myself, trust myself and stick up for myself before I was able to receive the love that I have now.
So as this New Year approaches I wish for all of you to evaluate and assess your lives and relationships, choose to be kind and loving to yourself and to others, make choices based on your own wellbeing, and surround yourself with those who do the same; and finally to exuberate love in everything you do! ❤️
With all my love,
Here are some questions you can ask yourself about the people you have relationships with, to help you assess and re-evaluate:
-Do they respect you, and themselves?
-Are they kind to you, and others?
-Do they speak with kindness, and do their actions reflect their words?
-Do they care or are they arrogant?
-Are they understanding or always disagreeable?
-Are they supportive or quick to judge?
-Do they really listen or mostly care about themselves?
-Do you genuinely like these people for who they are and what they stand for?
-Are they positive influences in your life?
-Do they deplete your energy or do they charge it with positivity?
-Do they accept you for who you are even if they don’t agree with you?
-Do they like you just the way you are or do they want to change you; wish you were different?
-Do they blame you for things that go wrong or do they self-reflect and take responsibility for their own actions and how they have contributed to a situation?
Would love to hear what you think and feel about love, what it mean to you, how you definite it, how you show it, how you like t to be shown to you, what actions do you think are important, and also what questions do you ask yourself when re-evaluating your relationships. It’s an important discussion to have and I hope it can begin here.