The Heartbreaking Cost of Finding True Love

1258 Relax and Succeed - We feel the love we giveWhen we’re young we think it’s anyone notable. Notably attractive, notably strong, notably wealthy, notably popular; and we’ll go after the best version of that we can find. If our standards are relatively low we can be happy for a long time, but if they’re very high we end up breaking up a lot.

By the time we’re a little more mature we’re looking for someone who’s more of a match for us. We want someone who’s naturally inclined to have similar interests and values regarding how the energy in life gets invested, so it becomes less how people are to others and more how they are to us. But we still are quite particular about what we’ll accept.

Once we’ve had some difficult life experiences with the limits of our tolerance we know that even someone compatible to our interests isn’t good enough and we begin to look for people that are simply easy to be with. Just someone to share life’s loads with. By that stage people have surrendered their big strict romantic ideals and they happily trade that for a daily partner who simply sees past our own faults and still makes us feel truly loved. (Although notably, precious few work on trying to be easier to get along with themselves.)

1258 Relax and Succeed - May you be held in compassionWe can be lucky and find profound connections like that right away, but even they aren’t often destined for life. Regardless, for most people who do ultimately find true love (which isn’t a large percentage), it often takes several relationships and a lot of meeting people before they finally find someone that defies everything they’ve learned, and everything they know about themselves. At that point we are left with a very inexplicable attraction that exists despite all complications, including those surrounding our own confusion and/or lack of trust.

In the other relationships we were certain, and then we beat up ourselves for not being able to figure out how to make the relationship feel worth it. Each time we thought we’d finally figured it all out and finally knew what was right for us, but then we realised that all we did was graduate from one level of misinterpretation to a more sophisticated version of misinterpretation. Yet, in the case of actually realising true love, we’re often so startled by it that we question even ourselves. Despite our brain being uncertain, we find ourselves with a strange dedication nevertheless.

We do think these are the most beautiful people in the world, but not in the way we’ve traditionally thought of that concept. We see them as having deep and wonderful connections to various aspects of our lives, and yet they may have less to do with our personal interests than any other person we’ve been with. They are easy to be with in a very special way. These are people you can be at your worst with and still feel safe.

1258 Relax and Succeed - True love can be foundIn unexpected ways, the ultimate people for us will have all of the qualities we’ve always sought, they just won’t deliver that package of qualities the way we might have originally imagined. But how they always stand out is that these are the people we’ll pay a price for. These are the people who we are devoted to despite our better judgment. They are the ones who somehow magically compel our hearts to make significant sacrifices that aren’t about us feeling unworthy ourselves; they’re about us seeing the other person unconditionally.

There is no explaining them, and there is no way in which to go about finding them, they simply occur. But when they do they’ll stay with you for life, whether they live or die. We’ll never know enough to understand all the wonders that take place in our consciousness, but true love is what it is nevertheless.

Some people frustrate us because they only represent a part of the universe we’re looking for. But when we finally find a person that is whole to us as they currently are–even with us aware of their faults and weaknesses–well, then, that person is someone who can open a universe to us.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right

817 Relax and Succeed - Expectation is the root of heartache

It isn’t too much to ask is it? Just one other person who gets us? Just one? Just someone who accepts us for who we are and who’s into the same things we are? There’s billions of us. Surely they’re out there. Right?

Right…?

The reason we’ll always feel we’ve made the wrong choice is because eventually some things don’t work out. But by ‘don’t work out,’ we mean we fight, or argue, or one of us cries or get confused when communicating. We all start with the assumption that if we could just find someone who’s truly compatible then that wouldn’t happen.

But what does compatible mean?  Because if we think it means no arguing, no hurt or upset feelings, or no pain or confusion then we’re not understanding or respecting the journey that is our lives.

People often ask me questions like this: how much do you compromise for your partner before you stop being yourself? The real question might better be: how do I grow closer to my partner?

817 Relax and Succeed - The fool doth think

In these exchanges compromise is always seen as a loss. It’s us giving up a bit of ourselves for them, or they’re giving something up for us. That is one way to choose to look at it. But in the best relationships that is not what people are doing.

People in the best relationships are not saying, Stop yelling at me! You know I’m always late! If you loved me you would accept me for who I am! The healthy couples look at each other and the always-late-person remembers that one of the many reasons they were attracted to their partner was because they were so respectful.

If we’re conscious and aware, we likely have also noticed that one of the ways our partner demonstrates that respect is through their respect of other people’s time. So the pressure we sense that they have placed on us, is really just them being themselves for one of the reasons we liked most about them.

The healthy couples eventually realize that they can develop the strengths their partner has if they simply emulate some of their healthy behaviours. In the case of being late, the person may simply start with the simple goal of genuinely trying to be on time more often.

It’s important to note that healthy people aren’t adopting behaviours for their partner. They do it out of a genuine respect and appreciation for their partners approach. They think their partner makes the world a better place by being that way, so they choose to act similarly.

Thanks to this inspiration based approach, the changes we make need not be a viewed as a loss. They’re can easily be an improvement. The problems primarily show up because couples get confused about the order someone else thinks we should make these changes in. After all, these changes ultimately take us all a lifetime and even then….

Yet, our failures can strangely act as a positive force in a relationship.

817 Relax and Succeed - Go and love someone

Since our partners are generously putting up with us clumsily learning to be who we want to be, then it’s not unreasonable that we would put up with their learning too. In this way our mistakes can, over time, come to generate gratitude rather than trouble.

If we’re constantly focused on how our partner is better than us then we’re often in a state of appreciation, which is the healthiest state to be in. It’s an everyday kind of steady love where we really feel lucky. If they simply aren’t someone we can genuinely look up to, then that is when a relationship should end.

If we do start off feeling lucky, then tough times have more padding. From that healthy place, on the times when we are really late, we will find our partner is more patient and understanding because they’re fully aware that we’re trying.

The best part is, they notice that we are trying because they have been watching and appreciating us just as much as we have been watching and appreciating them. When we both are able to do this is when relationships are at their best.

Explaining our behaviour ad nauseum points directly downward. As a general rule, the more we talk about how we see it, the worse we do. The more we try to understand the other person’s position, the better we do. If there’s lots of I’s and you’s in our argument it’s all about ego and not love. Those won’t move anyone forward.

It is always critical to remember that the people in a relationship are in a state of growth throughout their lives. The unaware, ungrateful couples grow apart and more rigid. The conscious, appreciative couples grow ever closer as they both become stronger and more capable thanks to lessons learned —but not taught— by each other.

817 Relax and Succeed - It is better to bend

We can see our partner suggesting a different approach to things as them being incompatible with us. Or we can see it as an invitation to expand ourselves.

If we have a list of things that our partner needs to change for us to be happy then we’re sunk. If we have a list of changes we want to make to ourselves, for ourselves, and those were inspired by our partner, then we’re in a healthy state of mind. We don’t want to direct the world to suit our worldview, we grow by expanding our worldview to include more people.

Which course we take with our relationships on is always open to change, so if right now we think that maybe we’ve chosen the wrong person, we need to just ask ourselves this one question: what are the ways in which I have grown by being with my partner?

If you can’t find any then that’s not their fault. If they were good enough to attract us then they should be good enough to have at least one quality to emulate. If we don’t even know what it is then the problem in the relationship is likely not them, it’s that both parties may have innocently made an incompatible, uninspiring choice. This happens a lot to really nice people that don’t like letting others down.

We shouldn’t think we were ever supposed to crack the code of finding the perfect person for us. There’s no secret formula. For all people the only formula is awareness and appreciation.

We should look for people that inspire us. If we do that, it’s easier to voluntarily choose to try to grow to be more like them because we recognize that it would expand and improve us as a person in our own eyes.

Our appreciation for each other as teachers can then add to our relationship’s cycle of gratitude and appreciation, and it is the couples where that flows best that they have by far the fewest issues. So here’s to all of us joining them on that path.

peace, s