It’s about having that safe space to ask someone to stay on the phone, hear you cry and be present for you when you need it most.
Just as with any living thing, relationships must be nourished regularly to stay alive and grow. There tends to be a lot of focus on avoiding toxic relationships and less attention paid to the ways we can continue to nurture healthy relationships. While it is very important to free yourself from unequal, harmful and unfulfilling relationships, it is just as important to hold onto the relationships that matter.
he Love variable is all about relationships and human connection. It’s about identifying and focusing on relationships with family, friends and life partners that fuel our souls. Fulfilling the Love variable is about giving yourself permission to ask for a hug from a loved one when you need it.
For me, I feed my friendships and family ties with regular phone calls just to check-in, catch-up, and share in the mutual curiosity that we have for one another. I’m always excited to learn more about the people in my life, just as they are about me. We continue to ask each other questions that give our relationship greater depth, meaning and understanding.
But there is another dimension of the Love variable that requires us to dig deeper. Sometimes we need to take a step back, observe our feelings in relationships and examine the way our egos steers us away from getting the love we want. As children, we are unafraid to share ourselves with others and express how we feel.
But, as we mature, we learn that the world can be a very painful place. Over time, we protect ourselves by building walls around our hearts, denying our need for love and shutting ourselves off from others so we can’t get hurt. As a result, we internalize negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves that limit our ability to connect with others.
Challenging yourself to excuse your own ego, is critical to fulfilling the Love variable. The key to having good relationships is in understanding how the ego tries to protect itself from being hurt. This recognition can shed light on the ways we deny ourselves the love we crave. It can also help us identify our own suppressed needs and the power that vulnerability has in helping us fulfill those needs in our closest relationships.
This process includes exploring relationships that we might consider toxic and how you contribute to that dysfunction. Often times, this means digging into your childhood experiences and examining the ways our parents and caretakers influenced our behavior into adulthood. I want to stress that this is hard work. It requires a lot of self-reflection and guidance from a skilled therapist.
So, where do you begin? First, take responsibility for yourself and your relationships. Ask yourself what love means to you and identify those who fill your emotional cup and those who don’t. Ask yourself whether you have clearly communicated your needs in your closest relationships. Have you asked the other person what they need?
Remember, Love is about refueling those relationships that are dear to you. Don’t be that person who mistakes extreme independence for strength. Identify the people who fuel your soul and surround yourself with them. Healthy relationships are with those who put a mirror in your face and force you to self-reflect to be better. Those relationships are worth keeping and fulfilling.
What relationships fuel your soul? Tell me about a time when your friends, family, spouse, partner, etc. made you self-reflect? How do they make you a better person? Tell your story on Instagram using #lotustheoryny
It’s okay to admit that you desire human connection and healthier relationships. We all need them and no one’s relationships are perfect. And while every human is unique and different, we all have a universal need to hear the words “I love you”, to feel loved unconditionally, and be vulnerable with someone we feel safe with. We have at least one person in our lives we can do this with and sometimes we just need help identifying that person. Other times we need help figuring out why we feel uncomfortable telling that person our need for love and other times we need help figuring out why we have a habit of running from love the moment that special person gets too close.
"CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO EXCUSE YOUR
Experiencing a fulfilling relationship requires time and energy, not only to enrich the relationship but also to invest in your own personal development and growth. A healthy relationship is one where each individual invests in their own development as much as they invest in developing the relationship.
Nourishing a relationship can mean different things to different people. We all express love differently.