Tomorrow is our chance to be more loving and loveable, isn’t it? Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and it represents a great opportunity to go and spend money on cards, flowers, confectionery, meals out and novelty underwear, all in the name of love and romance.
Valentine’s day does tend to promote a romantic ideal of love and I think most people believe that relationships need to be built upon a foundation of love and romance that turns into a fairy tale as depicted in many of the Princess films and books that my 3 year old daughter is currently obsessed with. Yet the research about having a lasting, happy relationship tends to be far more sober and actually quite unromantic.
When looking for love, just seeking out someone who you share interests with, as is a common feature of internet dating, for example, is flawed. People often assume that if they have plenty in common, and share numerous similarities, that there will not be problems, however, all relationships have issues and problems at some stage. Being able to work through them is important, being resilient, learning from issues and developing out of them is what makes the effective, long-lasting relationship, not lazily thinking about having perfection and romance from the very beginning and expecting it to last forever.
Therefore, healthy reactions and responses to arguments and issues are important. Having fights is actually ok, it is usual and perfectly natural. If you are not fighting at all, the likelihood is that you are probably not communicating at all. (Gottman, 2014, What Predicts Divorce)
In an article I wrote last year, I cited research about arranged marriages. When people enter into an arranged marriage, whilst they may be harder in the beginning, after a few years they are as successful and often more successful than marriages founded upon romantic ideals of love. Research supports this. You can read more here: What We Can Learn From Arranged Marriages & The Hypnotherapist’s Working Alliance To Have Better Relationships
Arranged marriages were not being advocated in that article, just the underlying notion that you have to work at it in order for it to be successful. People in arranged marriages do not have any illusions of romance which can and do often lead to great disappointment. They know that in order for the marriage to be successful, they need to work at it and develop it accordingly.
How we reflect upon challenges we encounter in our relationships is important; and equally, how we then respond to those challenges. If we simply believe that each argument or issue is a disaster and it is awful, then what do you think happens to that relationship? Yet when the attitude is one whereby arguments and issues are challenges that were overcome and that resulted in the relationship being stronger….. That attitude helps create a stronger relationship.
Sooooo… Whether you love or loathe Valentine’s day, I also see it as a great reminder of how we can be more loving in all of our relationships, all year round. It can become something that we actively work on, and that is what this article is all about today.
If you’ve explored ideas about how to become a more likeable and lovable person, this is already a very good sign, and shows self-awareness. We need to be responsible for who we are sometimes, and it’s impossible to be responsible for things we are unaware of. Love and happiness is not something that necessarily happens to us by chance. Being loving and lovable is a skill that can be developed, which requires ongoing work on your attitude and depends on how you interpret your own life situations and scenarios. I believe wanting to be more loving and more loveable is a wonderful life choice you can make. What’s more, recent studies show that these people are 35% less likely to die early than the lonely and unhappy ones!
First of all, you have to learn how to love yourself. I am going to be writing about this in depth tomorrow. When we love ourselves, it is far easier for others to love us. Whether that love comes from our partners, parents, children or friends, if we love ourselves and are kind and considerate to ourselves, we are open and we can feel the love of others’ more readily. If we are unkind to ourselves and even dislike ourselves, we tend to be shut down and closed off to receive, no matter how much others express love for us. A good example is when you examine the life of existential angst ridden teenagers going through great change, who struggle to love themselves and thus feel that the world is against them. The more we feel we are worthy of love, the more we feel and accept the love given to us.
Tune in tomorrow for much more focus on loving oneself. Back on to today’s focus though….
Jeremy Nicholson, a relationship psychologist who writes for Psychology Today, reveals that “Saying ‘I love you’ on a regular basis is not always indicative of a successful relationship status. A better indicator is how the partners actually treat and care for each other. Without loving behaviours backing it up, saying ‘I love you’ is just an empty expression.” And that’s where appreciation and developing the ability to be more loving and loveable comes in.
Here are some way of truly feeling loved and secure and helping others feel the same:
1. Thanking Your Partner For What They Do.
All relationships have routines, and when routines are underway, sometimes, what those people do is expected or even taken for granted. So importantly, don’t take their work for granted. Appreciate your partner or any other person you wish to develop a relationship with.
A study reported in Scientific American’s indicates that gratitude acts like a booster for romantic relationships, and the more often appreciation is expressed, the less likely the couple are to break up.
If you want to read more about how to express gratitude in general, then read this article.
Evidence Suggests That Being Materialistic Could Be Making You Unhappy – But Here’s The Antidote to That
2. Look for Reasons to Appreciate Your Partner.
One of the greatest needs we have is the need to feel appreciated. Most of us give thanks and appreciation for the obvious things. Find reasons to appreciate your partner for the invisible work he or she has done for you. It could be anything at all. Find ways to appreciate how that person contributes to your life in a positive way and demonstrate your appreciation openly.
In return, this will be appreciated – don’t expect that, just be happy to know it.
3. Say Thank You for The Non-Obvious Stuff Too.
Your partner supports you in a number of ways. So as well as thanking them and appreciating them for what they do that is observable, recognise the impact they make in ways that are less visible.
Whether it is work, education, parenting, spiritual growth, or any other thing, your partner has impacted your success. Be sure to tell them that achieving your goals is partly their success, too, and thank them for that.
4. Be a Great Listener.
Great listening skill is extremely important for a healthy relationship. In fact, it has been found to be the common quality in the most successful and lasting relationships all over the world. Listen with an intent to understand not to reply.
Read this article to learn how to be an amazing listener:
Learning To Listen Hypnotically To Enhance Your Relationships
5. Be an Interesting Person.
If you read my recent articles about stepping out of your comfort zone, then you’ll understand the benefit of giving yourself and your relationship a jolt from time to time.
You want to stimulate and engage those that you wish to be more loving with. Do your best to stimulate and be an interesting and loving person. Consider ways you can step out of any ruts and show an interest in the other person and that will be a great start. Then knowing what you know about that person, engage them in ways that will help you both be more interesting and interested in each other.
6. Develop Physical Attraction Too.
Physical attractiveness is often significant to the health and happiness of a relationship. When people feel attractive, they exude much that can develop and maintain quality relationships. Dress up for yourself, at the same time for your partner too.
I think it is lovely that people get so comfortable with their partners that they can lounge around without inhibition any way they like. It is also going to give you the opportunity to develop all the previous points when you both make an effort for each other and for yourselves to feel and be physically attractive with each other.
7. Spend Quality Time With Your Partner.
Sometimes a busy family life, hectic work schedules and the nature of busy modern living in general can create stress and anxiety which challenges relationships. You need balance in your life to feel loved and lovable. Spending quality time with your partner can help rekindle the spark in your relationship or make it burn brighter and hotter than ever before. You also need time to nurture your body and soul through activities that bring you joy.
Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to do that, and then decide to make it a regular thing that you do. Whether it is a simple date night at home, or whether it is going out, dedicated time where you can focus upon each other will work wonders.
When there is respect, confidence, and love between partners, relationships flourish. Add ongoing appreciation and consideration while stepping out of stale routines will add to that. Be open, communicate openly on a regular basis, reflect upon your relationship and celebrate it, enjoy it, have fun together and recognise what areas you can both work upon.
Be patient with the process. Sometimes small shifts happen over time. Allowing your own process to unfold is an act of love in and of itself. Tomorrow we’ll look at how to really, really love onself. In the meantime, enjoy some Sigala, with some Sweet Sweet Lovin’, won’t you put it on me? Go, be more loving….