You may seek companionship and warmth.. but if your unconscious intention is to keep people at a distance, the experiences of separation and pain will surface again and again until you come to understand that you, yourself, are creating them. Eventually, you will choose to create harmony and love.” ~ Gary Zukav
Looking back over my years of dating and relationships, I can see so clearly now how I missed vital warning signs, refused to see critical red flags and dismissed bad behaviour, all under the guise of unconditional loving.
Well, now I can officially say, to hell with unconditional love.
Even though I continued relationships with the archetypal bad boy and those that clearly only had their own best interests at heart, my heart was never fully given.
I fooled myself that I had lessons to learn from these connections and that they served a purpose. Ultimately, I just never valued myself highly enough to quit these toxic addictions and walk fast and far away from those closest to me that were inflicting the deepest and most painful wounds.
Now, with eyes wide open and no longer afraid of love, I can recognise the good, the bad and the ugly types of attention, desire and connections that come my way.
The following traits, for me, are the ones that matter in a long lasting partnership:
Faithful. Once someone has been unfaithful, the trust has been broken and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to regain it. If the relationship isn’t working, work on fixing it or leave; being unfaithful will cause destruction, no matter how solid and stable the foundation. It simply is not an option—a definite deal breaker.
Humour. Most people have a sense of humour of some kind, and I’m not expecting a comedian; I mean the type of humour where life isn’t taken too seriously, where laughter can be found in the simplest things, in shared jokes, teasing each another, connecting, enjoying one another and being light-hearted so that the every day things can bring about a smile. Being able to laugh at ourselves and also at one another in a way that is respectful and ridiculous all at once.
Respectful. Respectful to themselves, me and also to others. Someone who is thoughtful, caring and shows consideration for other people’s feelings. Also, someone who takes into account how their actions can affect others and who treats others how they would like to be treated.
Supportive. Supportive at all levels: emotionally when I need someone to listen; physically, when I need arms to hold me; encouraging, when I’m unsure about what I’m doing and also supportive when I just need a little help and guidance along the way. Also, someone who is willing to let me support them in all the same ways.
Trusting. If someone is willing to trust, it is a sign that they are secure. Often accusations go flying around when the person throwing them is the one who needs addressing, not the one on the receiving end. Unless there are genuine reasons for concern, then trust should be given so that wings aren’t clipped and cage doors firmly closed.
Lack of self-worth is the fundamental source of all emotional pain. A feeling of insecurity, unworthiness and lack of value is the core experience of powerlessness. ~ Gary Zukav and Linda Francis from “The Heart Of The Soul”
Easy going. Treading on egg shells is never fun, being with someone tightly coiled will just create tension and anxiety within the relationship. A partnership should be relaxed, enjoyable and both parties should be free to express themselves, without worrying about the consequences.
Gratitude. Recognising and being thankful for all that life offers, even at times when it seems there is not much to be grateful for, finding a reason for gratitude will help to sustain optimism. Expressing appreciation is polite, show manners and boosts happiness on both sides.
Confident. Someone that is sure of who they are, what they want and willing to accept their perfections and imperfections and is still comfortable in their own skin.
Integrity. Someone who is wholesome, true to their word, stands up for what they believe in and has high morals and values.
Balanced. There aren’t many who are completely balanced at all times, we all have our ups and downs, however, someone who is able to regulate the swings and create harmony is essential for a healthy relationship. Times will be hard, times will be amazing, so, of course, moods will generally swing to both ends of the spectrum from time to time. Being able to pick ourselves back up and balance ourselves back out without allowing emotions to take control for too long is where the key to balance lies.
Honest. No game playing, no compulsive lying and no making up stories when the going gets tough—no and no thank you! Telling the truth is not always easy, but when someone is able to do this even in the face of adversity, it shows me that it is someone worth keeping around. A little white lie will always escape from time to time, I don’t expect an angel, and the truth sometimes hurts, but for the most part, honesty is always, always the best policy.
Maturity. By mature, I don’t mean older as a person of any age can show maturity. Quite simply, if he is displaying the characteristics described above, then there’s a very good chance he’s mature. Someone who is not desperately trying to cling on to their younger years with something to prove and instead is gracefully taking what life has to offer and is conscious and mindful of themselves and those around them.
It frustrates me that it has taken me so long to fully understand where I was going so wrong, if I knew back then, what I know now I would have been saved from a huge amount of heartache.
I don’t expect that anyone is perfect—I certainly am not. And I certainly don’t believe in having a checklist or a wish-list as love, is love, is love. However, I do expect that if I am to spend huge amounts of my valuable life in another person’s company, they have to value me, value themselves and value others.
It doesn’t matter how much money they have, where and how they were educated, how flashy their car is or how good-looking they are (attraction is important, but a beautiful soul attracts more than physical beauty)—none of that matters. Not one of the qualities I look for are materialistic or aesthetic.
All I look for are the signs of a genuine, true, decent, caring, compassionate, loving human. Everything else can be figured out as we stumble through our life together.
Simply, when things are rough, someone to navigate with; when the rain pours, someone to shelter with; and when rainbows appear, someone who will help search for the gold. Looking for the magic and believing in the impossible, someone who will enjoy the journey, with no expectation of the destination.
The people we are in relationships with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors, reflecting their beliefs. If we look honestly at our relationships, we can see so much about how we have created them. ~ Shakti Gawain
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May