One must learn to love

“One must learn to love.— This is what happens to us in music: first one has to learn to hear a figure and melody at all, to detect and distinguish it, to isolate it and delimit it as a separate life; then it requires some exertion and good will to tolerate it in spite of its strangeness, to be patient with its appearance and expression, and kindhearted about its oddity:—finally there comes a moment when we are used to it, when we wait for it, when we sense that we should miss it if it were missing: and now it continues to compel and enchant us relentlessly until we have become its humble and enraptured lovers who desire nothing better from the world than it and only it.

But that is what happens to us not only in music: that is how we have learned to love all things that we now love. In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fairmindedness, and gentleness with what is strange; gradually, it sheds its veil and turns out to be a new and indescribable beauty:—that is its thanks for our hospitality. Even those who love themselves will have learned it in this way: for there is no other way. Love, too, has to be learned.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche


12 Tough Truths About Great Relationships

Nothing in this world is more difficult than love.  And nothing is more worth it.

Our media culture – with its happily ever after fairy tales – often creates the expectation that life is supposed to be like an endless day at Disney World.  And nowhere does our media culture present a more skewed set of expectations than around intimate relationships.  We are swayed to believe a great relationship is all sunshine and roses, despite the fact that most of us have witnessed firsthand the difficulties and disagreements our parents struggled through when we were kids.

Just as life isn’t perfect, intimate relationships aren’t either.  They require effort and compromise.  They require two people to practice patience and presence, and thoughtfully extend themselves for the sake of the other.  They require us to redefine the fairy tale story of love that our media culture has attempted to brainwash us with.

It’s time to take a stand and acknowledge the fact that we’ve been fed lies.  We’ve been told that love is just a feeling, but the reality is that love is an action – many actions.  It’s continuous work.  It’s something two people must commit to as a daily ritual.

When you’re able to accept this new reality, and get past the damaging lies about things needing to be perfect all the time, you make room for the true joy of engaging deeply in a great relationship, which holds a powerful, flexible space that widens itself to accommodate the necessary struggles.

Here are twelve tough truths about great relationships:

  1. A soul mate is really just a loving partner who’s willing to work with you. – To say that one waits a lifetime for their soul mate to come around is a bit of a paradox.  People eventually get tired of waiting, so they take a chance on someone, and by the powers of love and commitment they become soul mates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.
  2. True love is often the most inconvenient kind. – Again, it takes two people who truly, TRULY want to work together, every day, compromises and all, to build something special.  That’s what great relationships are all about – daily teamwork.
  3. There will be lots of little issues. – When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever ties rather than to maintain commitment, but the extent to which two people in a relationship can bring up and resolve issues is a significant sign of the soundness of their relationship.
  4. There will be lots of tough conversations. – The right words won’t always come easy, but when you don’t talk it out there’s a lot of important stuff that ends up not getting said.  Every great couple needs to argue (consciously and mindfully) now and then, just to prove that the relationship is strong enough to survive.  Long-term relationships – the ones that truly matter – are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys.
  5. Conscious, mindful communication is necessary, but takes practice. – You can measure the happiness of an intimate relationship by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry, unhelpful words.
  6. There will be more honest misunderstandings than you’d like.– When it comes to understanding your partner, deal with them as they are, not how you’d like them to be.  (Read The 5 Love Languages.)
  7. There will be lots of apologies and necessary forgiveness. – Love is living your own life, but sharing it.  It’s forgiveness.  It’s making a million little mistakes with each other and turning them into learning experiences.  Love is patience, optimism, and sometimes it’s a simple kiss when there’s nothing left to say.
  8. Partners can’t force changes in each other.People can only change themselves.  Instead of trying to change your partner, give them your support and lead by example.  If there’s a specific behavior they have that you’re hoping fades over time, it probably won’t.  If you really need them to change something specific, be honest and put all the cards on the table so your partner knows how you feel and why.  But keep in mind that the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead to help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.
  9. A great relationship isn’t needy. – In a great relationship, you love each other more than you need each other.
  10. Even the greatest relationship won’t completely fix YOU. – If you’re not happy with yourself, or comfortable with your own truth when entering a relationship, there’s a good chance you’re not ready for that relationship.  Work on loving yourself first.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the Self-Love chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  11. Some people won’t support your relationship, no matter how great it is. – Great relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.
  12. No relationship lasts forever. – People don’t live forever.  Appreciate what you have with your partner – the loving moments and all the little things.  You’ll never know how much they mean to you until the day they are no longer beside you.  And remember, just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.


The bottom line is that all relationships, including the greatest of them all, require patience and effort.  And no relationship will work flawlessly all the time.

Being too hot and cold about the expectations and demands of what should or shouldn’t happen in a relationship always spells trouble.  No matter what happens, or how great a relationship is, there will be struggles present, but you can still focus on the good.  Instead of constantly looking for signs of what’s not working in your relationship, what you need to do is look for signs of what is.  Because, as you know, what we focus on grows stronger in our lives.

Love that lasts a lifetime

“I’m not going to settle for ordinary love. I want my love to be one of a kind. I want to wake up every morning next to the person I love, and tell them how lucky I am. I want to walk down the streets holding hands, and have people know how much we love each other. I want to be with someone, who sees my worse, but encourages me to be my best. I want to be able to laugh with the person I love, but have a conversation where we share our deepest thoughts. I want a love that’s so special…It lasts a lifetime”.

Don’t fall in love. Be in love.

Lovers worldwide ponder the question of whether their relationship is on the right track or not.
Once the answers are found they somehow seem elusive. We go on reading articles that tackle love, watch movies that might inspire us or buy a magazine with the big headline spice up your love life.
We keep on treating love like the past generations did and act upon what our subconscious mind had acquired. Before we know it the relationship promptly takes a whole different path and all of a sudden everything that our partner is doing seems scant. In no time we blame our significant other and ourselves. We curse our luck and instantly identify with drama.
And once we look back at our own failed relationships we can clearly see that at the time something must have gone awry. The matter seems too thorny to deal with therefore we jump from one relationship to another hoping we find that perfect mate and live with him forevermore in Shangri-La.
But do we ever wonder why the path we took in the first place was wrong? We probably don’t. I’m not being a pioneer here but I think it’s time to look at this matter with a whole different perspective.
Realize that the first stages of love are always euphoric.
Falling vs. being.
Looking at the word falling let’s try to see the hidden meaning behind it. Defined by all dictionaries, fallingmeans the movement downwards toward a lower position. Being, on the other hand, means remaining in a specific state.
Now let’s assign this to relationships. The first stages of a relationship are always referred to as euphoric. The euphoria at the beginning of every love story is undoubtedly beautiful but only if approached with caution.
When we fall in love we practically fall into deep sleep. We create an illusory bond between us and our partner. Frequently this bond is self-created and based on emotions mixed with blind sentiments.
Everything based on emotions will eventually disintegrate. Emotions or blind sentiments do not exist they are only a reaction influenced by the brain. Whether it takes months or years, those sentiments––the euphoric stage––will come to an end. If we were not aware of the euphoric stage ending, we will be surprised when we notice that things have changed drastically in the relationship.
The giver will wake up from a dreamy state and realize that he might have given too much and giving more will only clash with his current not-so-loving feelings. In conclusion, he will rise from the fall.
The beloved will feel a sense of lacking, insecurity and a strong need for his partner to satisfy his needs. He, himself, will rise from the fall as well.
When the exquisite euphoria comes to an end the relationship takes one of three roads: it either ends, jumps into the fighting/restorative stage or it crosses into the conscious path.
Crossing into the conscious path.
So euphoria is nothing but a glimpse which our mind and emotions would love to hold on to. Mainly it gives partners two major satisfactions: first ego satisfaction and second personal satisfaction. The amount of attention we get at the beginning of the relationship can boost our ego greatly. And all the caring and compromises will fulfill our personal needs in a blink of an eye.
If love is not about passion nor about feelings then what is it about?
After a whole bunch of experience, close observations and inspiration I have come to the conclusion that love is a choice.
You choose to love someone.
Again, I am not referring to love here as a set of emotions.
When you choose to love that person you technically choose to stay with him after that the euphoric stage has passed. And this is when real love will flourish. All of the intimacy, the love, the respect, the compromise and the trust, will come from your inner-being and not from your emotions.
How to love someone consciously is an art which people must learn to skill. It’s about time to unlearn what we have acquired in this field. Whether from our society, from Hollywood, from our friends, our parents or the wrong assumptions of ourselves, we must drop it and step into the conscious path of love.
Here are 10 major points for shifting any unconscious relationship to one that is full of light.
1. You are not perfect and neither is your partner.
I regard this as a very pivotal point to the relationship’s growth. If you look at your own relationship you will instantly realize that, unconsciously, you expect your partner to be perfect.
Whether in his actions, his personal being or the way he/she is dealing with you, you have set an image of your partner in your own head–a perfect one–and you want him/her to act accordingly.
There is a beautiful verse in the bible that says,
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in yours?” ~Matthew 7:3-5.
Why do we have to look for the flaws in our partner and dismiss ours?
We are not perfect and in order to let our love flourish we must accept each other the way we are. And once we do accept, any change that occurs afterwards will be done willingly by both parties.
2. You don’t own your partner and your partner doesn’t own you.
Couples must understand that they don’t own each other. Having the sense of controlling your partner’s life might feel like love, but it isn’t. Again, it’s resulting from your emotions of insecurity and the fear of losing your partner, not forgetting how much our ego admires the art of hijacking.
A conscious love is a conscious trust in your significant other. When you trust him/her you deliberately let him be. In return you can be as well.
3. Your partner can’t complete you. You only complete yourself.
The number one mistake couples make in a relationship is expecting the other person to provide them completeness and happiness. Some people might even get into a relationship just for this reason. And as soon as they realize that the feeling of being complete won’t be accomplished they leave the relationship just to start a new one with a new illusion.
Before we start any kind of union with anyone we must know who we are. Once we know who we are, the man or the woman who comes into our lives will feel a great sense of relief. They won’t have to worry about how to keep our happiness in check and, in return, we won’t have to worry about their happiness either.
When we teach ourselves to be unconditionally happy alone, the presence of other people will bring us more happiness.
4. Fights result from your ego.
There is no perfect relationship. The main reason is because there are no perfect human beings. Imagine you are putting oil and water in one glass hoping they mix. This is the case in relationships. Every single one of us is different from the other; therefore the union of two people is always like oil and water. They can never mix but they can only float on each other’s surface.
Mistakes will happen and may sometimes lead to fights. But before fighting and identifying with pain know where your attack is coming from.
Eckhart Tolle says in one of his books,
“True love has no opposite”.
Think about this before attacking your partner, blaming him or judging him. Love doesn’t fight, love forgives, forgets and moves on.
5. Love requires a state of no-mind.
Love has many enemies that permeate it. If you are in a state of fear, doubt, over-analyzing, over-thinking, expecting or worrying, your love will die.
Only a state of no-mind can let love grow. Our ego loathes love, therefore it will try its best to kill it, remove it from its roots and throw it quite away from us.
Be aware of destructive thoughts for indeed they are destructive. They are able to create a whole new story in your head without anyone’s consensus.
6. Awareness is major.
Just like awareness is key in our everyday life, it is also pivotal in love. Bringing awareness to our relationship is casting direct light on our being. It must be cultivated inside us and around us.
Always remember, if one partner is aware enough and conscious enough, he will indirectly reflect it to the other. Set a good example in your relationship so people and your partner can learn from you.
Moreover, the absence of awareness between two people creates dependency, false assumptions and unhappiness. It will sabotage any innate connection between the two of you.
7. Love yourself before loving anyone.
We sometimes underestimate the power of loving ourselves. Loving yourself is radical.
How can we expect to give love to another if we have problems loving ourselves? Most people step into a relationship presuming that the love they will receive will make them love themselves and life. But it’s a fallacy.
In no time we will realize that there is a problem from an unknown origin and—in the same token—we will feel like we are the problem.
In fact the problem is that there isn’t enough love inside of us. And this will result in not being able to love anyone or anything.
8. The one doesn’t exist.
I blame Hollywood for this one. We have learned that there is the one for each one of us and this is majorly wrong.
There is no one perfect for us. We make ourselves perfect for each other. In other words we create the one.
This is the reason why so many people don’t get into relationships. They are simply waiting for that perfect person who suits them 100%. He/she has to suit you of course but the rest is amending, building and fixing. And this is when the one you are with becomes the one.
9. Detach yourself from your partner.
Don’t panic- this one’s beautiful. One of the false beliefs we unconsciously learned from our background is that love is attachment. I just said unconsciously because we don’t realize how much we are attached to our partner till the hour of separation.
Attachment works like a drug. If you don’t take the drug you will have all the symptoms of neediness. And relationships with strong attachments will always leave you sad once they end.
The beauty of detachment in a relationship is immense. Detachment makes you feel liberated and comfortable. This is true for your partner. The good news is that detachment is true love. If you are attached to your partner—always expecting him to be by your side and so on—you are being selfish and minding your own needs; you are attached.
Detachment is letting the other person be and minding his own happiness as well, even if this means letting him/her go.
10. Don’t fall in love. Be in love.
The beauty of being in love outweighs any false lingering or attachment. Most of the time we confuse attachment with caring; independence with overstepping boundaries and lust with love.
When we are in love, we just are. The life we were leading before our partner came along is still ongoing.
We don’t subtract anything; rather we add someone whom we are ready to share our completeness with.