I have a question for you, “what is true love?” Stop and think about it for a second. If you don’t know the answer, how are you supposed to ever find it? Or model your current relationships around love if you can’t define it?
We’ve got tons of perspectives on “True Love.” Our parents’ relationship is the first model of a partnership that we witness growing up. After that, we have opinions in the media, stories from friends and some personal experience to help clarify our definition of what love is. That’s a lot of information but it’s often conflicting and sometimes totally untrue. So how do we know which relationships are accurate models of true love and which aren’t?
First, we need to get clear on what love is not, so that we can know what love is. So let’s start with some common myths about it:
1. True love is about sacrifice
Is it, really? There is no doubt that compromise is necessary at times but a total sacrifice of self can’t be love. When you give yourself completely to your relationship, you can lose your identity. How much can you value your identity if you’ve given it away? When you maintain your individuality, your journey intertwines with your partner’s instead of blending together. You maintain a healthy separation and keep your respective opinions, hobbies and friends.
2. True love is out there for me…somewhere
By looking for love in another, you’re affirming that you’re lacking it. You cannot attract something in your life if you truly believe you are lacking it. People who lack self-love often judge themselves very harshly, have low self-esteem and seek approval from others.
3. True love is about commitment
This is true when you’re first committing to yourself. When both parties commit to their own happiness instead of each other, their respective journeys intertwine instead of blend together. A relationship is comprised of two individuals. You have two minds and different preferences. If you commit only to the relationship and not yourself, you’ll have to make decisions that always make the two of you happy. If you’ve ever been in a relationship, you’ll know that there are times where this is just not possible. Sometimes, a compromise just won’t cut it and you have to do what’s right for you and encourage your partner to do the same. Two happy people make a happy relationship.
4. My partner completes me
Looking for someone to “complete” you affirms that on your own, you are half a person. You are not whole and are essentially flawed. This is a serious blow to self-esteem. Needing another person is not romantic! It sets you up for a seriously co-dependent relationship.
Imagine the kind of relationship you create when you believe you are half a person. You must depend on that person’s presence to feel whole and if the relationship ends, you lose your other “half.” This belief is not only unfair to you but it puts a massive responsibility on your partner to make you feel whole.
As you can see, it’s crucial to love yourself in order to fully experience true love. When you love yourself unconditionally, you commit to your happiness, value your identity, accept the areas that you could improve on and recognize your wholeness. When partners truly love each other they don’t need to be possessive, controlling, manipulative or insecure. Instead, they assist one another in becoming better, healthier and happier. That type of relationship is powerful and unwavering.
If you believe you “need” the person you are married to or dating, ask yourself why. What would your day be like without them? Try it out. Take some time apart and do something fun! Have an exciting moment without them for a change. It’s fun, fulfilling and you’ll have something new to talk about next time you’re with them. If you’re single and needing to find a partner, ask yourself why. What would you have in a relationship that you don’t have now? Power? Love? Companionship? Try journaling to see what you feel is missing. Learning about yourself and what makes you happy is an incredibly rewarding process. And when in doubt, remember, that true love always starts from within.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ― Rumi
About the author
Danielle Fagan D. Psc, is author of Infinite Kingdom: Ignite the Night and a Spiritual teacher. She can frequently be found meditating, reading, writing and teaching workshops. For more information, visit: www.DanielleFagan.com