Love Is Like Mining for Diamonds: It Takes Work
by Paul Mauchline, Director of The Art of Loving Institute
We all know people who have really unrealistic expectations of relationships. So many hopeless romantics believe that love is the solution to life's problems. Many people confuse lust with love, over and over again. There are people who change lovers often, because they thrive on the excitement of the initial stages of love. These are just some of the more exaggerated examples that come to mind. Many of us have our own erroneous expectations about love. These expectations can set us up for disappointment down the road. What we believe about relationships affects our attitudes toward our relationships. If our expectations are unrealistic, we will inevitably be disappointed with our partners. Many people enter into relationships with the expectation that, if they find the right person, the relationship will take no work or effort. This is a totally unrealistic expectation. LOVE TAKES A LOT OF WORK.
In a new relationship, you are meeting another person's persona: the person that they most want you to see. As you get to know the person better, new layers of each of you emerge for one another to see. As the level of trust in the relationship grows, you both will expose deeper and deeper layers to one another. The deepest layers of each of us formed at a very young age, in response to childhood experiences. If your expectation is that relationships do not take work, then you probably are in for a major disappointment when the deeper parts of your partner's personality emerge. Temptation may come to leave and find a new, "better" partner.
You will find, however, that we are all the same: we all have deeper layers that hide under our socially acceptable personas. If you are unwilling to explore the deeper layers of your partner, or to reveal your own deeper layers, your relationships will remain superficial and unfulfilling. You will feel that something is missing… that your relationships are never intimate… that your partners never understand you… that you cannot understand your partners. You will be wondering why love seems to elude you. You will turn from person to person, looking for the "right" person, but never find him or her. You will never discover the real person that lies behind the mask of the persona in your current partner. You will never create the loving relationship that you desire, unless you are willing to put forth the effort to discover who your partner actually is, and to reveal your true self to your partner.
Many people believe that they understand the cliché, "love takes work." The question is, do they truly understand the meaning of "love takes work"? You will know that you are working at your relationship when you want to run away in frustration, but you stay and talk with your partner -- not just once, but repeatedly. Intimacy grows from the commitment and work that you put into your relationship. Of course, this is not to say that everyone is compatible with everyone else. However, once you have found a partner who meets certain parameters and seems compatible, the balance is 100% pure W-O-R-K.
A nice analogy for this process is that of mining for diamonds. On the surface, you can see certain signs that tell you that diamonds might be down there, somewhere below the surface. You decide to dig, and you invest all your time into digging. It is messy work. You feel like giving up, but all the signs on the surface insure you that there will be diamonds down there, somewhere. So you keep digging. Eventually, after a lot of time and a lot of effort, you find rough gemstones deep below the ground. How amazing that such beauty could be so far under the surface of the earth, under so much dirt. You are very glad that you persevered, instead of giving up in your search.
Relationships are exactly like this. Put the work into a relationship with the right person, and you will reap the love and intimacy benefits. When you have unrealistic expectations, you give up very early on in the relationship, without giving your partner or yourself a chance. You miss the opportunity to find the diamonds within your partner and within yourself. You will both feel cheated, and neither of you will really know why. Our expectations influence us, often without our even realizing it. It is important to recognize when your expectations are unrealistic and are interfering with your ability to form loving, intimate relationships. Changing your unrealistic expectations will seem foreign at first, because your beliefs have taken many years to form. Only through vigilance, hard work, and perseverance will you be able to change them, and to have more realistic expectations about loving, intimate relationships.
When you are considering whether someone is right or wrong for you, you must maintain your values, goals and lifestyle choices without serious compromise. As I have said before, communication is one of the most important components of a loving relationship. It is what allows us to rise in mature love with one another. Communication, the dialogue, the questions, and the answers: they all are key components in your effort to discover if your new partner meets your essential parameters for a long-term partner. Once you have determined that you wish to pursue a relationship, communication also is a key component in allowing the unlayering process to occur - as you unmask and show your deeper layers to your partner, and as you witness your partner while he or she unmasks and unlayers before you. Communication is an essential part of the work of any relationship.
A relationship is togetherness. You are one with your partner. As a couple, you have chosen to spend your lives united. The two of you travel life's journey, through its peaks and valleys, together -- so that you both might experience a loving, committed relationship, the type that we all seek today. As individuals, and as part of a couple, we all need to practice the art of loving daily. At all times, the art of loving requires from us patience, confidence, discipline, concentration, and faith. It is an attitude that we should live and present to the world through our daily thoughts, words, and actions. In a loving, committed relationship, you both must have this attitude. When you are both practicing the art of loving together, on a daily basis, this will allow you to experience a unique, fulfilling relationship that will be strong and resilient enough to endure any problems during your life's journey together. Finding the right person for you is only the beginning of this process. Without putting in the work, even the most perfectly matched couple's relationship eventually will fade. Many of us learn this the hard way, regretting that we did not work harder in a previous relationship while we still had the chance. Some of us find ourselves in another relationship, missing our old partner whom we know, in our heart, was the one for us.
Love is a two way street. It takes WORK from two individuals who are planning on starting a life together. It is a lifetime of work: so I caution you to recognize this now, rather than later. Take the time to know that you are indeed compatible with one another. Extinguish your fears. Have your priorities in order. Love one another to the highest degree. Keep digging till you find the diamonds within your partner, and your partner finds the diamonds within you. Have fun with one another, and enjoy a journey of passionate, committed, rising love together.
Paul Mauchline is a researcher, writer, and speaker on loving relationships. As the director of The Art of Loving Institute he teaches a workshop on the Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island. The Art of Loving™ workshop offers the knowledge you seek to elevate yourself and your relationships to a higher level of understanding and success, visit his Web site at http://www.artofloving.com
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