It seems that there are so many articles about what to avoid in relationship that it only seems fair to balance the scales.
Humans are social creatures, and intimate relationships are important aspects of life. These are traits that I find valuable in friendship and intimacy.
1. Being able to be authentic.
Having self-integrity and loving oneself and the other requires authenticity and acceptance.
When you can be un-apologetically yourself and completely natural, then the relationship is epic. There is nothing more nurturing than being accepted with all the shadows and light of self. Every aspect of a relationship is easier when being naturally oneself. Every person is created different. We are all unique in spirit. The best way of relating means never changing yourself so that another person is happy.
After all, loving a person means accepting that person as they are with no need for them to be a different way.
If a person needs to be different, the real message is that a different person is needed. For in changing the spirit, the person changes and becomes inauthentic. How can an inauthentic person be trusted ?
The foundation of all relationships is the ability to feel trusted and secure. This takes an ability to be fully oneself, to be strong and open in communication, to take responsibility for personal action.
Trust resides at the feeling and emotional level, and may wax and wane depending on authenticity and reliability.
If a person has to prove that they are trust worthy, there is an inherent resistance and cause for that lack of trust which can be examined. Sometimes a lack of trust comes from insecurity within and has nothing to do with the other person. At other times, the other person is deserving of having no trust because of their words, actions and behaviors.
Trusting oneself is essential for knowing how to trust others.
3. Communicative Communion.
Hearts remain open through words.
Being able to communicate, to be heard and to see the other, is essential for any relationship to blossom and endure. In the absence of communication, relationships suffer and eventually end.
Words are so important that they are even a primary love language, able to create, nurture or destroy relationships.
Ideally, the bonds are so powerful that communion happens, the ability to know and understand the other without words. This is an empathic, feeling level form of communication where the emotional and mental states of the other can be felt and responded to.
4. Shared Values.
Humans grow up in a variety of scenarios that creates a huge array of values. Having similar values alleviates conflict, because there is nothing to fight about. You already see eye to eye. Shared values reduces conflicts, supports security, builds trust, and ensures longevity.
Shared values are huge when it comes to relationship styles and sexuality, such as being monogamous or in open-relationships. And to know and understand shared values, open communication must first happen.
Often times core values never change in a person—they are integral to self-identity and personality.
If two people have different core values, then conflict arises and compromise must happen. And how that compromise happens can bring growth or just add to the conflict.
5. Willing Compromise.
No two people will ever see eye to eye in everything. Being able to authentically communicate and find common ground is a trait to be cherished. Different than harmful adjustments that go against ones own nature, natural compromise is done with a willing joy and causes the relationship to be stronger.
This is the ability to yield pride, attitudes, beliefs and concepts in the service of love.
6. Laughter and light-heartedness.
Laughter makes everything better.
The person who lights up ones heart and with whom the experience of life can be laughed at together is truly beautiful. Levity heals all old wounds and gives energy for every new day. Laughter keeps the spirit buoyant, and can sustain the heart through all of the ups and downs in life.
7. Embracing Shadows.
Ideally life is a bed of roses, and sometimes those roses die. The natural course of life brings death, trauma and painful surprises. I have yet to meet a person who can respond to the difficulties of lifes challenges with perfect poise and equanimity. The person who can stand close and be embracing during these times is a rare gift, especially in an age when so many people seem to only focus on being happy and remaining positive.
This level of acceptance reveals the ability for authenticity within oneself and loving the authentic human spirit in others. The person who abandons their loved ones during such times reveals their own fear of reality and instability.
The ability to step closer rather than away when grief rends the heart and shreds the mind is a sign of true love.
Relationship is what life is all about.
Whether relating to oneself, the environment that surrounds us or other people, everything abides in a framework of relationship. It’s my hope that these seven simple concepts may reveal the positive and often unseen or overlooked aspects in relationships that can take a relationship from effortful “working” to simple, authentic and real.
To close, I paraphrase a description about love by author Dr. James Dobson.
Love is not dependent on the highs and lows of life. It is dependent on a commitment of will. Love is not blown back and forth by winds of change, circumstance or environmental influences. Even though emotions may be fickle and jump from one extreme to another, I have chosen to love my wife, and that choice is sustained by an uncompromising will.
Love is far more than an emotional, biological high … true love is an enduring expression of the human soul.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons