If you could have a handbook for anything in life, we bet that you would probably ask for a handbook on relationships.
We hear you.
Relationships start forming even before we are born. The friends and family of our parents start bonding with us when we are in the womb. Then we start meeting our own people – friends, cousins, teachers, romantic partners, colleagues. The list of relationships is never exhaustive because there are so many in our lifetime.
Here are four golden rules, which, if you follow, you are certain to create and maintain more secure relationships all around.
1. Love Yourself
Yes, it is a Justin Bieber song and we are not trying to make a Bieber out of you.
Loving oneself is the cardinal rule to creating security, harmony, and love around you. By self-love, we don’t mean vanity or narcissism. Self-love is more about respecting yourself and your needs and caring about filling your own cup before you start sharing the contents of the cup with others. If you constantly shared the contents of the cup with the people in your life without caring about refilling it, wouldn’t there be nothing left to share? Self-love is exactly that. If you don’t take the time to find out who you are, whether you love yourself, how you prefer to be loved, and what are the limits to different relationships in your life, how can you possibly hope to love another person with the intensity that you dream of?
When you start to love yourself, you start to learn that other people also deserve the kind of respect and unconditional love that you seek, and you teach yourself to love people better.
2. Let Go
If you were crazy about someone, and then over time you outgrew your love for them, would you like it if they constantly reminded you of how much you loved them and asked how you could get over them that easily? No.
Then why would you expect that of someone else?
It is perfectly acceptable for people to outgrow one another. You are perhaps not BFFs with the first friend you made in your apartment complex as a 5-year-old.
If someone respects you enough to tell you that they no longer love you the way they did, and would like to part ways, love yourself and respect their choice enough to let them go so that you don’t hold yourself back from the next source of joy.
3. Let Your Preferences Be Known
Everyone loves differently, and knowing this and communicating to your friend/partner/relative how you would like to be loved is the key to better relationships. For example, if you are the expressive and physically demonstrative kinds, but your partner is a man of few words, does not show emotions easily, and only physically expresses his love in private, there is a lot of ground here to feel unloved and end up parting ways on a bitter note.
When you are getting to know one another and see that you are different, you have two choices – either let them go or communicate how you would like to be loved. If the latter does not work, learn to let them go. Misery is a two-way street, think about the other person also.
4. Love Is Given Freely
Acceptance and tolerance are all essential parts of love. You can’t conduct a relationship like a business transaction unless it is a formal, professional relationship.
Just because you love someone, it does not mean that they have to love you back or are even obligated to continue to be in touch with you. If someone was crazy about you, and you only had cordial feelings for him or her, would you not prefer to distance yourself so as not to give them hope?
You can love someone from a distance, and wish him or her well. Stay open and curious. Expect the best for yourself, and treat others well. Soon enough you will find someone who wants to love you the way you would like to be loved.
How good does it feel when someone loves you without any expectations of you? They don’t want anything from you in return, yet they always want the best for you. Our mothers and our friends teach us this kind of love. Try and extend this to all your circles.
Relationships are one of the most critical factors that contribute to all aspects of our growth and well-being. You could be very poor, but if you are loved, and you know it, the chances are that you will be more content and joyous than someone who has enough money but is uncertain about his/her relationships. Pay attention to the people in your life, and do not forget to take care of yourself while at it.