6. You are not a victim.
You have control over your life. People stuck in unhealthy relationship dynamics—including me when I was—are stuck in denial, and rationalization. Call yourself on your excuses. Stop believing them. Disengage from a need to be pitied. Are you telling yourself or others stories about being taken advantage of trying to generate sympathy? Stop. Victimhood is not attractive to healthy people. Not only that, you are not a victim. You are in control. Take it.
7. Live with purpose.
Spend quiet time alone each day, without interruption. Think about what you need in life to feel better, or do better. What is missing for you? You don’t have to officially meditate, unless you want to, but be still and quiet. Go inward without distraction. You can be a person who makes things happen, or a person to whom things happen. Which do you want?
Living with purpose is about doing the tough things, and then reaping the rewards. When you sit with your feelings instead of eating them, or watching mindless TV, or drinking five beers, you can get past them, understand them, and process them. When you go to the gym to re-energize, relieve anxiety, and get strong, you give yourself an immeasurable gift. When you eat healthy to fuel your body you can be present in mind, body, and spirit for your family, friends, partner, and yourself.
It is also important, when you’re in a relationship, to maintain this practice, as tempting as it may be to spend all your time with your new love. We all need me time. You’ll find you have more to give to your partner, when you also give to yourself.
8. True love does not hurt.
Loving relationships are consistent. There will always be times of inadvertent hurt or disappointment, even with those who truly love you. That’s life; no one can meet your every need. A comment may be taken the wrong way, your partner may be struggling with something—there are a myriad of reasons for a minor hiccup. It’s not always smooth, but if you work at it, it works. True love helps you with life, it’s not what makes life more difficult. Love is support in a difficult world. Everything in life is not an argument or a challenge. Emotionally healthy people don’t live that way.
9. True love loves us as we are, and wants us as we are.
If someone asks you to give up interests, hobbies, friends, a job, or anything that makes you who you are, that’s not true love. And, it’s not healthy. To nest in a new relationship is normal, but after a time, you settle in, and get back to your routine. Life is about balance. Because life is busy, you may adjust how much time you give your interests and loved ones, but it’s important to maintain the fullness of who you are, just as your partner does the same. One plus one equals two, not one.
10. Finally, true love is an action from you and to you. Act it and insist on it. Every day, whether in a relationship or not, assert that love is what you do, not what you say. And, require it. For non-love relationships, such as those with friends, co-workers, even acquaintances, respect is the action from you, and the action to you. You deserve to be treated with love and respect. In all your relationships.
Real, true love is work, and when you understand that, you will be less likely to go in and out of relationships in which you will experience anything but love. Use your time out of a relationship wisely. Build what you need to be in a healthy relationship. And then, go out and make it. And it will be real, and true, and wonderful.
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