12 Tough Truths About Great Relationships

http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/10/04/12-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.

Afterthoughts

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.

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Live a life that matters

“If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. Find your passion, whatever it is. Become it, let it become you, and great things will happen FOR you, TO you, and BECAUSE of you. And even if things don’t work out as planned, you’ll still be heading in the right direction. Because nothing you have passion for is ever a waste of time, no matter how it turns out.”

8 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/01/08/8-things-to-remember-when-everything-goes-wrong/

1.  Pain is part of growing.

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward.  And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to.  When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose.  Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.  Just because you’restruggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.  Good things take time.  Stay patient and stay positive.  Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you.  When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2.  Everything in life is temporary.

Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt, you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning, but still you often forget, and instead choose to believe that the night will last forever.  It won’t.  Nothing lasts forever.

So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.  (Read The Last Lecture.)

3.  Worrying and complaining changes nothing.

Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.  It’s always better to attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.  It’s not over if you’ve lost; it’s over when you do nothing but complain about it.  If you believe in something, keep trying.  Don’t let the shadows of the past darken the doorstep of your future.  Spending today complaining about yesterday won’t make tomorrow any brighter.  Take action instead.  Let what you’ve learned improve how you live.  Make a change and never look back.

And regardless of what happens in the long run, remember that true happiness begins to arrive only when you stop complaining about your problems and you start being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

4.  Your scars are symbols of your strength.

Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed.  It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward.  A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of.  Don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage.  Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear.  You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them.  You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.

Rumi once said, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most powerful characters in this great world are seared with scars.  See your scars as a sign of “YES!  I MADE IT!  I survived and I have my scars to prove it!  And now I have a chance to grow even stronger.”

5.  Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it.  So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way.  Otherwise, there’s no point in starting.  This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion.  It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end.  It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills.  It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar.  It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers.  It could mean lots of time alone in solitude.  Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible.  It gives you the space you need.  Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.  And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine.  You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path.  And it’s worth it.  So if you’re going to try, go all the way.  There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

6.  Other people’s negativity is not your problem.

Be positive when negativity surrounds you.  Smile when others try to bring you down.  It’s an easy way to maintain your enthusiasm and focus.  When other people treat you poorly, keep being you.  Don’t ever let someone else’s bitterness change the person you are.  You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you.  They do things because of them.

Above all, don’t ever change just to impress someone who says you’re not good enough.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future.  People are going to talk regardless of what you do or how well you do it.  So worry about yourself before you worry about what others think.  If you believe strongly in something, don’t be afraid to fight for it.  Great strength comes from overcoming what others think is impossible.

All jokes aside, your life only comes around once.  This is IT.  So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile, often.

7.  What’s meant to be will eventually, BE.

True strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.  There are blessings hidden in every struggle you face, but you have to be willing to open your heart and mind to see them.  You can’t force things to happen.  You can only drive yourself crazy trying.  At some point you have to let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.

In the end, loving your life is about trusting your intuition, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning through experience.  It’s a long-term journey.  You have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting every step of the way.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.  You might not end up exactly where you intended to go, but you will eventually arrive precisely where you need to be.  (Read A New Earth.)

8.  The best thing you can do is to keep going.

Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again.  Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart.  Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes.  There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong.  And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t.  When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher.  Find the strength to laugh every day.  Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful.  Find it in your heart to make others smile too.  Don’t stress over things you can’t change.  Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak truthfully.  Work diligently.  And even if you fall short, keep going.  Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

  1. Think positively.
  2. Eat healthy.
  3. Exercise today.
  4. Worry less.
  5. Work hard.
  6. Laugh often.
  7. Sleep well.

Repeat…