“Raise your words, not your voice. It's rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
Rumi 1207 - 1273
Love is often seen as some kind of cure-it-all, excuse-it all. When people overestimate what love can do in a relationship, it can easily lead to unrealistic expectations. Believing that 'all you need is love' can result in ignoring the importance of honest communication, mutual respect and the willingness to compromise. Why bother with choosing our words and actions responsibility if love can solve it all?
Imagine a friend moving in with you. He trashes your place, she refuses to get a job and pay rent. He demands the passwords to all your accounts, she insisted on accompanying you on your nights out. He demands to find dinner ready every evening, and she yells at you if you dare to raise questions and ask for changes.
A bit drastic, I agree. But ... how long would you allow such a friend to live in your apartment? And ... how long would you tolerate (suffer) such behaviour in a love relationship?
uncomfortable truth about love
Just because we fall in love with someone doesn’t mean they are good for us. It’s possible to fall in love with somebody who doesn’t treat us well - or maybe he/she does her truly best - but it makes us feel bad about ourselves still. Or we don't get that respect we offer and expect in return. Maybe we don't feel heard and seen, however hard we are trying - and it hurts. Or our significant other tends to live a dysfunctional life, paved with lies and excuses that leave us discouraged and lost for words.
It’s also possible to fall in love with someone who has ambitions and goals that are contradictory to ours, who holds beliefs and views on life that clash with our values, dreams, and aspirations.
It's normal to occasionally sacrifice own desires, needs and plans, time for one another in a partnership. But when it comes to sacrificing self-respect, our body or the freedom of choice - just to be with someone - love becomes problematic.
When you are looking for a partner you must listen to your heart - AND use your brain. Because you want to find someone who makes your heart sing - AND a person with healthy values: someone who treats themselves and others right, and whose choices and perceptions of life are compatible with yours.
"We are responsible for what we hear other people say - and for how we act"
Even with the best possible partner though, disputes and conflicts along the way are inevitable. We ARE different people, both with our very own history, our scars and vulnerability, our dreams and ambitions - or simply preferring to do the things we both love to do in another moment, somewhere else or with a different intention.
Healthy Communication - in any relationship - isn't automatically a given, nor does it grow naturally just because we are in love with each other. Most of us simply have no clear vision of what healthy communication could sound like.
Marshall B. Rosenberg, an American psychotherapist (1934-2015), developed NVC, Nonviolent Communication in the 1970s - a communication guide that is since revolutionising our perception of communication.
Although the basics look fairly simple, NVC goes deep. Not only the way we say the things we want to say improves; NVC changes our perception of what is going on around us and our thinking about the things we observe. Our hearing habits will be transformed too over time - and the more we grow in understanding for our own needs and feelings, the more we will be able to offer compassion and receptiveness for other people's feelings and needs - and their expression.
Conflict is inevitable, emotional, verbal and physical violence are.
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