I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately. How they are formed and how they stand the test of time, distance, and endure in the face of adversity, jealousy, and envy. I have also been considering why they might fail, and what is it that makes one relationship stronger than the other? How can we protect ourselves from getting hurt? I am sure you will be pretty surprised at what I have come up with on this. See I have some friends that jump from relationship to relationship, they leap before they look, and sometimes that isn't always a bad thing. But the problem with leaping and not looking is you never actually know what you are going to get. A question came out in my many phone conversations over the weekend that needs to be explored and answered, and I thought that there was no better place than on Uncle B's Corner. There are a lot of you who come here for advice, inspiration, guidance and support and I think that the question is one that is truly worthy of looking at in detail. The question was when are you and I going to be number one, why are we always second best? Why aren't we someone's first choice? Why do we have to wait and settle for what comes our way?
I am going to attempt to answer all of these question in this entry because I think they all tie together and if I weave my tapestry just right the story that unfolds might illuminate the darkness and dispel some of the common mistakes we make when we enter into a relationship. The first thing I want to talk to you about is the standard age old question how do you make a relationship work. The easiest thing to remember is that a relationship is a partnership, it is a two-way street, and both partners have to be willing to give and take, and it has to be an equal share, if one member is giving more than the other, it just isn't going to work. Now, we have discussed relationships before and what you can do to make them last. There are several key ingredients that needed to ensuring that your relationship is on a solid foundation, those are things like open communication, you have to be able to feel comfortable enough with your partner that you can discuss anything and everything with them. There can be no secrets, remember that secrets have a price, not only now but in the future as well. Secrets lead to feelings of betrayal, and open yourself up to lying and deception. So there has to be absolute honesty, you have to be able to be honest with yourself first and foremost, then honest with your partner. You can't lie to yourself and then try to be honest with your partner, and further if you are sneaking around and hiding secrets from your partner are you being upfront and honest with them? I don't actually think it is possible. Lastly you have to open and receptive, you have to willing to compromise, adapt and bend, you cannot be so stuck and rigid in your ways, if you are how can anyone feel comfortable around you and in your environment. Along with this concept of being open and receptive, is the willingness to try new things, accept the challenges of discovery, both within yourself and in your partner, you have to be open to experimentation and willing to discuss how you feel with them at every new venture.
If you can say and be honest with yourself, look over what I just wrote above, and you can honestly say that you have those attributes between yourself and your partner, I think you have a firm foundation that is going to be necessary to build a lasting long term relationship, and you will be able to weather the storms and obstacles that life and others are going to throw your way. But remember this is the foundation and the beginning, this is what is necessary to build upon, and trust me when I tell you that a relationship is a work in progress, it is every changing, and you will have to be open to the challenge of growing and adapting with it. If you are not! And are stuck in your own set rigidity, it will be easy for your partner to outgrow you and move on with someone else that is adaptable and willing to change and grow with the relationship and them. Now that being said, it is also important to understand that because a relationship is a two-ways street, there has to be some areas of compromise, acceptance and unconditional surrender. It is impossible to be in a relationship that is solely based on I versus We. You have to understand that you are no longer thinking and planning for one, you are now a unit and what you do and decide is going to affect you and the entire relationship. Along those same lines is the fact that both parties in the relationship are not stationary, you have not completed your own path of enlightenment, your journey of self discovery and awareness, you aren't the final product of who you will be or who you are. Neither has your partner, therefore you have to build in safeguards and plans, you have to have common relationship goals that are in alignment and further your own personal goals. Remember I told you in another earlier entry that the couples that have both common friends and individual friends as well as common relationship goals and separate personal goals are the ones that are most likely to endure.
Unconditional acceptance and surrender is a mandatory factor in long lasting relationships, because you have to have the heart to accept those things that you cannot change, and surrender yourself to your partner daily and they to you. By surrender I mean you have to be able to have total trust and belief in your partner, they are who has your back and will be there to protect and uplift you at all times, and you them. But lets talk a little bit about trust. Trust is something that is earned over time, it is not something that is automatic, it has to be proven in words and deeds, and it is reinforced by repeated demonstration. Once trust is established you have to nurture it and protect it, because as I have told you before it is a fragile thing that can be bruised and hurt very easily if betrayed by the person who it has been gifted too. But it is this fragile and gentle thing called trust that is what will build the bond between you and your partner that no one can break. It protects you against the jealousy, adversity and envy that others will try to throw at you, they will try to drive a wedge between you and separate you. I believe that it was Sun Su once said that it is easier to win if you divide and conquer. You cannot let another's words or deeds separate you from your partner, if you do then you are lost, and the relationship might not be able to survive. Trust is also what will allow your relationship to withstand time and distance, because you have learned to accept and trust your partner and know that they are not going to do anything that will hurt you, that you can count on them and rely on them at all times and in all things.
It is also possible to protect yourself and your heart from getting hurt by taking the time to really get to know the person that you are going out with. Build a friendship, a relationship that fosters trust, explore each others personal goals, and explore their interest, hobbies, likes and dislikes. I mean really get to know them, understand them see if their philosophy is similar to your own. There is definitely nothing wrong with taking it slow. Remember that everyone of us wears a mask that protects who we are from the world around us, take time to get to know and see the person behind their mask, you will be glad that you did. Keep in mind that the person that you think they are when you started dating isn't the person that you are going to end up with, because after the honeymoon period and that mask is off, if you haven't taken the opportunity and time to get to know them you might be surprised to find you don't like the person or have anything at all in common with them. Which is why at the beginning of this I told you that those the rush into relationships end up not knowing what they are actually getting.
They say that we should learn from our past, and in the past courtships were usually longer in duration then they are today. It is a proven fact that people who have a bond of friendship and a deep respect and love for one another, who fall in love have a more successful and healthy relationship. I know a lot of you think that if you get too close with a friend that it might ruin the relationship you have with them. Honestly, guys that is a load of crap. If you are friends already it will only make that friendship stronger, because a true friend is someone that already accepts you unconditionally, and if something were to happen with the relationship the friendship would still remain and both of you would get past the failed attempt. Remember that the human heart has the greatest capacity to love and forgive. How many times have you had fights and arguments with a friend and didn't talk to them for a while, but sooner or later both of you will come back together and make up. Friendship can endure through anything, and the same is true for relationships based on true love. Honestly, how can you love someone if you don't know them? How can you meet someone and three days later think you know everything about them, and be in love? The answer my friend to both of these questions is that you can't. If you really are honest with yourself, you know that you have confused attraction and lust and combined it with the feeling of being wanted and needed and called it love. Love takes time to grow, it is a seed that is planted, nurtured, and then blooms, and when it does it is the sweetest thing you can ever know.
As far as the question of always being a runner up, never anyone's first choice that is a perception thing. See if you are confident about yourself and know what you want, you end up settling for whatever comes your way, you jump at the first person that shows you attention, and again you confuse the emotions of being needed and wanted with your lust and attraction and think that it is love. Honestly your mind has tricked you into thinking that lust was actually love, and you thought that the person's mask was the real person, you never gave each other the chance to meet the real people hiding behind the mask waiting to be revealed. Therefore, everything you thought was actually a lie that you have told yourself, and no matter what you do the brain cannot ever trick the heart. The heart will try to it's best to accept the other person but soon little things that they do and say will begin to bother you. Once that starts happening that annoyance will grow to animosity and eventually to dislike and the relationship will fall apart. After this happens to you several times you start to doubt yourself, and your ability to actually find love. Thus making yourself the perfect bridesmaid but never the bride.
Just remember my friend, if you are truly in the market for love, take the time to properly invest in it. Love and relationships take work and effort, they are not spur of the moment things, and in my mind love at first sight rarely if ever actually happens. The longer you take and the more that you know about each other will go a long way in building that foundation I was talking about, and once that foundation is laid, nothing in this world will ever be able to dislodge that which is built upon it. I can tell you from my own personal experience that building a relationship that has a solid foundation of friendship, common experiences and unending trust is worth all the effort, energy and time you put into it. What an amazing feeling it is to wake up in the morning thinking about someone and know that they are thinking about you. That you have no doubt in your mind about that person or their intentions, and that they would do nothing intentionally to hurt you. You know in your mind that they are your light and inspiration and when you go to sleep at night they are the last person that you think about before you fall asleep. I have to admit, that even though me and my man are miles apart and have been separated for over a year, our relationship has grown so much stronger. Let me tell you I used to get jealous when people flirted with him and he flirted back, but here is a lesson I learned, I should have taken it as a compliment that others think my man is sexy as hell and is attractive, because it is a great compliment not only to him but to me as well. See, my man chased me down, he wanted me, and made that perfectly clear, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could have had anyone he wanted, but it is me that he chose, and it is me that he wants, and at the end of the day I am the one he comes too, tells everything too, and above all else, I am the one he is thinking about. When we are together I feel like I am home and content just being near him. Talking to him on the phone puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I know he is the only one for me. Especially now after everything we have been through, because we have been apart for over a year, and all we have had is talking to one another, and Facebook and emails. It forced us to actually talk to one another, to explore each other and learn all about each other all over again. What I have learned and what he has shown me through all of this has been priceless, and no one can ever compete with our memories, and experiences. No one could ever pry us apart or drive a wedge in between us, because we know each other so well now.
I hope that you take my words and use them, build the foundation, earn the trust needed, invest the time and energy necessary into really getting to know one another and find out exactly what I am talking about. Again, life is too short to be alone and feeling unfulfilled. Let me tell you when you find your true love, you will know in your heart, the heart cannot be fooled.
As always my hopes and dreams are with you,