Our greatest joy and deepest fulfillment in life comes from the relationships we have. While we want harmonious and fulfilling relationships, ideally with everyone, it is healthy and realistic to acknowledge that even in the best friendships and partnerships there will be challenges. And, it is truthful to admit we cannot have an agreeable and satisfying relationship with everyone.
For instance, you will not be peaceful if you attempt to establish a relationship with someone who has aspects of her or himself that go against your core beliefs and values. Maybe someone you know thinks it is okay to talk about you behind your back. You know gossip wounds hearts and causes relationships to fail. If you go against yourself and stoop to his or her level of behavior, and you accept gossiping is okay, you will become frustrated and disappointed with yourself. Eventually you will also be upset and dissatisfied by the person’s lack of sensitivity to other people’s feelings.
Moral conflict arises in relationships when there is empathetic incompatibility. Meaning, one person is more emotionally mature than the other. Such as in the case where you have the principled awareness to appreciate the pitfalls of gossip and the other person does not. Therefore, having shared moral values is paramount to establishing healthy relationships. When two people are mismatched on the fundamental values of trust, honesty, respect, and personal responsibility, the relationship cannot survive.
To help prevent the frustration and disappointment that arises from being mismatched in your relationships, first take time to really know yourself. Look at yourself honestly to determine your strengths and weaknesses. This is necessary because you may not have been taught how important respect, trust, honesty, and clear communication are to the success of relationships. And, if you were raised in an abusive or dishonest environment you may mistake abuse and dishonesty for love. Neither of these are behaviors are love so it is essential to know what motivates you and what wounds you need to heal in order to have successful and loving relationships.
Second, learn to appreciate the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink,” applies to each of us when it comes to whether or not we choose to change ourselves for the better. You wake up to what you need to change about yourself through the process of inner deliberation. Self-assessment is the way to discover negative behavior that is preventing you from creating the best life possible. This same process of wanting to discover limitations is necessary for the people you love. So it is important to let go of the idea if I just love her (him) more, s(he) will change.
Third, loving others does not mean you lose yourself in relationship. Relationships are meant to help you find out more about yourself, not give up who you are for another person. Avoid frustration by going into a relationship wanting someone to live life with you, not for you.
Fourth, know people will not respect you if you do not respect yourself. Part of self-respect is setting boundaries, to say no to things you are uncomfortable with. Being a doormat is not attractive, satisfying, or healthy. Going against what you know is true and right for you does not allow you to bring your best to the relationship. Realize it is healthy to say no.
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