(this photograph was taken at a gorgeous white sand beach in florida)
Relationships are invaluable things in our lives. They must be nurtured and cherished in order for us to learn what we have to learn from them.
*When I refer to “Relationships” I mean both romantic relationships, and the not-so-romantic relationships too. Both are equally instrumental in our big picture.
Often times, when we talk about relationships, we’re referring to our partner. What they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, what they need to do differently, and how they could change so that we could have a shot of being happy. Wouldn’t it be more interesting for us to instead focus on what we can do? On what changes we can make to make all the important people in our lives feel as special as they are?
In all our relationships our intentions should be:
To express the truest and highest version of ourselves.
To create an environment that allows our partner to express the truest and highest version of themselves.
And when you do these things, you automatically love yourself. And you love your partner.
Relationships turn sour when our intentions deviate from this. When we want our partner to be a certain way, or do certain things, or perhaps NOT do certain things. When we believe that things have to be a certain way in order for us to be “happy.”
We hold our best counsel, and this goes for our partners too. Even the highest vision we have for our partners may not be as high as the one that they have for themselves – so it isn’t our place to judge, condemn or instruct them on how things must be. Our partners are our greatest teachers.
In this post, I will be talking about how we can create an environment that allows our partner to express the truest and highest version of themselves. This can be done in three ways.
Pay attention in your relationships. Listen to your partner. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the ugly stuff. It doesn’t matter. Listen without judgement. Just be there for them. Just create a space that they can feel how they choose to feel, without having to self-censor themselves.
Actually listen to what they are saying, instead of waiting for your turn to talk. How was their day? No, really, how was their day? How do they feel about the way their life is going? Do they look beautiful today? Tell them!
Care about the things they care about, simply because you care about them.
Allow their presence to speak for themselves. Allow it to glow through in everything they do and say.
If they have something incredible to share, and maybe they are too shy to share it, introduce them to the right people, let them share their stories, allow them to sparkle. When you live to make someone else shine, you can’t help but get some of that sunshine on yourself too.
Ways to give someone you love attention:
- Call them just to talk.
- Ask them how their day was and really listen.
- Ask them meaningful questions about who they are, who they want to be, and what they believe is possible for them.
- Introduce them to your friends / your homies / your peeps.
- Find an environment that you feel they will be able to share some of what they know without judgement.
- Do something special just for them. Everyone loves surprises.
- Do something genuinely helpful for them. Something that will truly make their life easier.
- Set up a date night!
- Compliment them in public. (genuine compliments, please)
Because we all need cuddles!
Of course, affection can manifest in many forms – so find a channel that works for you and just spread the love, y’all!
We all want to feel loved and cherished. Attention without affection can feel cold and uncaring. If attention is the hug, then affection is the warm fuzzy feelings that accompanies the hug.
And a hug without those warm fuzzy love feelings just doesn’t get the job done!
Ways to show affection to the ones you love:
- Kisses and cuddles.
- Making them laugh until it hurts.
- Hold hands.
- Bake them cookies/cake/ or whatever dang dessert they love.
- If you missed them, tell them.
- Take walks together.
- Call them just to talk.
- Buy or make them a meaningful gift.
- Smile warmly at them
What makes us want to do more of the great things we do? Appreciation.
Our relationships and partners should naturally inspire us to continue doing wonderful things in our lives. It should be effortless. The appreciation you receive should be self-fulfilling itself. It should make you want to keep going out there into the world, chasing your dreams, and constantly evolving into the most kick-ass version of yourself.
Are there things you haven’t fully appreciated your partner for? There is always something to appreciate.
Maybe it’s the way they go to work and make money to keep your home happy and safe.
Maybe it’s the way make sure there is dinner on the table every night.
Maybe it’s the way they make you laugh!
Maybe it’s the way they folded down a page in a magazine they thought you would like.
They don’t have to do any of these things, but they do, because they love you, and they love themselves.
Maybe it’s just the fact that they are themselves. Being who they are and allowing you to somehow be a part of it.
Are there times in your relationship where you think “I probably would do that if they made me feel more appreciated!”
Of course you would. Anyone would. Everyone would do amazing things if they felt validated and loved and cherished for their efforts. It’s natural.
If you want to break this cycle, start showering your partner in appreciation.
Ways to show your partner you appreciate them:
- Take the time to think of 5 things you really appreciate about your partner.
- Send hand-made thank you cards/letters.
- Don’t forget to say thank you!
- Take the time to think about all the things you have grown to “Expect” your partner to do, and imagine your world if these expectations no longer existed – and they did these things anyway. Think about how grateful you are for this.
- Help out with something your partner usually always does, just because you appreciate that they do this for you all the time.
- Speak good things about your partner and all the things they do and are for you.
- Give them a biiiiig thank you hug!
- Buy them coffee for being so awesometastic.
- Try to make their “job” or “work” a little bit easier for them.
You know, even just a simple, meaningful, and genuine “thank you for ____” said with love, is enough!
Let’s make it our intention to show warmth and care in all of our actions. Life is short and we just don’t have enough time to waste on being angry, sad, resentful, unappreciative, and in any state of mind that is not in total AWE of your amazing self, life, and all the beautiful people in it.