by Judy M McCutcheon
It’s scary isn’t it, just the thought of being alone? We end up in a relationship – good or bad – because we fear a future of being alone and not having someone to love us. So, we settle for whatever comes along, and we convince ourselves that we are in love.
But, we are intuitive beings, and that little voice often creeps into our heads causing us to question our motives for being in the relationship. We dismiss it because of course, we want someone to love. Therefore, we talk ourselves into believing that we love the person. But do you really love them or are you just in love with the idea of love? Are you courting that fear of being alone? Do you stay in the relationship because of what you can get? Are you afraid of being alone, so even before one relationship ends, you are in another and the second one is no better than the first? Do you stay because you are afraid of what society might think? Do you think that people really care about your relationship status? In the Caribbean, we can be tough on women who end up unmarried and alone. So, some of us even convince ourselves to stay in a relationship that we know is no good telling ourselves that it’s better to “wait long than to marry wrong.”
We all at one time or the other believed in happily ever after – we tell ourselves once we find that special person who will love us beyond our wildest dreams, things will be better. Don’t get me wrong, love is wonderful, but so many times we mistake being in love with the idea of love, rather than the act of loving someone. Loving someone goes much deeper than just the physical, it goes beyond lust and infatuation. In Loving someone you to see past their flaws and shortcomings; you accept them for who they are and not for what you can get from them. Loving someone entails wanting what’s best for them, even if it means having to end the relationship. Loving someone involves your desire to see them grow and develop; it involves looking for opportunities to build into each other; it involves encouraging and motivating; it involves you pushing that person to be a better version of themselves. It does not involve you trying to make them into someone you want them to be. The truth is, loving someone is an act of selflessness, it is about being ready to forgive, it’s about trusting that other person, but it’s also about trusting yourself. Many of you have a record book of all the wrongdoings your partner has committed and just waiting for the right time to “let them have it.”
But is that really love? Loving someone means giving 100% of who you are to the relationship, it’s not a 50-50 thing. Fifty% means that you are two halves trying to come together to make a whole. One hundred% means that you are two whole people coming together, and when that occurs, magic happens. Too often we go into a relationship hoping that the other person would complete us but that’s such an incorrect way of looking at love. This notion of falling in love seems like such a painful thing – you could get hurt, and we usually do get hurt. First off, love is an inside job, it requires you to first love yourself. Moving around from relationship to relationship hoping to find that right someone to love you is counter-productive. Have you ever noticed, that everywhere you go, you take you with you? Being able to give yourself completely and selflessly to another person involves you loving yourself unconditionally. You must first decide that you are worth it. This concept of self-love is very important if we are to have meaningful relationships and this goes beyond intimate relationships.
Taking the time to find out who you are, is an important ingredient in avoiding toxic relationships, even a toxic relationship with yourself. Our relationship with ourselves can be toxic in so many ways – the types of friends that we keep; the way we treat our bodies; the way we deal with our finances. Many of us are in a spiral when it comes to our finances, we are constantly stressed out and worried. Yet, we do not take the time to understand why we do the things we do. Loving yourself requires you to take a long hard look at who you are. It requires you to take the time needed to get into you; it requires you to be honest with yourself about your habits and that means all your habits, including your intimate relationship habits. It requires you to go deep into yourself, and that can be an uncomfortable place to be, but it requires you to go there until you come to the realization that you are enough. And when you do end up loving someone, you would realize it is more about what you can give rather than what you can get. You would realize that love, real love, brings with it an energy and an excitement about the prospect of growing and developing together.
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Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company. www.goblueinc.net