There is always a lot going on between two
people in a relationship. But very often,
much of what goes wrong in a relationship
has to do with what’s going on in our own
minds. Most of us have a constant dialogue
running in our heads, analyzing our
relationship and informing us on how to
behave. Instead of simply acting based on
how we feel, we are advised by our “critical
inner voice” : “Don’t be a fool.” “Don’t let her
know how much you like her.” “Don’t tell
him what you’re really thinking.” Although
these thoughts may seem self-protective,
they’re actually self-sabotaging.
While it may sometimes feel like we have to
outsmart our feelings so as not to get hurt,
when it comes to our relationships, we are
far better off being vulnerable, making a
practice of being the one who loves more.
Throughout our lives, the only people we can
fully change or develop is ourselves. We can
strive to be the best we can be at expressing
love. And when we do, we give ourselves a
better chance of getting what we want.
As we get close to someone, we must not
listen to the critical inner voice that warns
us not to “be a sucker” or “love too much.”
This doesn’t mean choosing someone who
doesn’t love us at all or staying with someone
who mistreats us. Rather, the goal is to
develop into a giving person, a loving person.
It’s a worthy pursuit to learn to do extra
things and go the extra mile to show love.
Here are five tips on how to be more loving
in your relationship:
1) Communicate what you feel. People often
make a big deal of who says “I love you” first.
Many people feel shy or foolish to be the first
to admit their feelings. It’s scary to take the
plunge and tell someone how you feel, but it
is also the only way for your relationship to
survive. When we take the advice of our
“critical inner voice” telling us not to trust or
open up, we deny our partner a chance at
really knowing us. We also deny ourselves
many opportunities to get closer and get
what we want. Make sure to say how you
feel, rather than trying to temper or hide it.
Avoid playing games or over-analyzing your
partner’s communication. Instead, think
about how they make you feel and let them
know how you feel toward them. There is
always a chance you will get hurt or rejected
when you put yourself out there, but it is still
worth it for your own sake to take risks and
let people know you for who you are.
2) Avoid the “tit for tat” mentality. Couples
often get into trouble when they start
quantifying what they do for each other. If
you find yourself thinking or saying “I will
only do this if you do that,” you may be
forming an unhealthy habit. Pretty soon, you
might find yourself thinking, “Why should I
clean the bedroom? He never lifts a finger!”
or “Why should I be the one to go toward her
and be affectionate? She always acts too busy
for me anyway.” Instead of thinking about
what you’ll get in return, try to be selfless in
your giving. In other words, commit to acts
of kindness with no strings attached. When
you do this, it doesn’t just make your partner
feel loved; it makes you feel good. Plus, it
leads to a cycle of openness and exchange
between you and your partner, instead of
promoting a posture of defensiveness, in
which both of you won’t budge for fear that
the other will let them down.
3) Be sure to support and participate in the
things that excite and interest your
partner, that light your partner up. If he or
she loves to hike, take time to experience
this passion alongside your partner.
Encourage them to pursue their interests and
the things that give their lives joy and
meaning. You can expand your own world by
being open to another person’s. This doesn’t
mean sacrificing your own interests or giving
up what makes you happy. It just means
staying open to trying new things, so that
your world is always expanding instead of
getting smaller, which is a risk in many
4) Take actions your partner would
perceive as loving. Quite often, our acts of
kindness tend to take place on our own time
or within our own parameters. In other
words, we might do things for our partner
that suit us then feel hurt when our partner
doesn’t react the way we want them to.
Maybe taking them out or buying them
presents is something you consider
worthwhile, but is it something that your
partner values? Perhaps he or she would
rather just spend a night at home, curled up
next to you and watching a movie? Even a
simple act, like picking up something they
need at the drugstore or offering to make
dinner, can be true expressions of love to the
people close to us. When we consider what
matters to them and respond accordingly, we
show love and consideration that goes
beyond ourselves.
5) Don’t become closed off. Often, when
relationships get closer, we have the
tendency to create a protective distance by
slowly shutting down or closing ourselves off
more and more to our partner. We may start
to get cynical toward them, honing in on
little traits that we don’t like. We may start
building a case, piling up every mistake they
make until we’ve formed a wall between us
and them. Hardening ourselves to our
partner can be a defense against being too
vulnerable or loving. When we love someone,
we are more susceptible to fears of losing
them or the life we are accustomed to. It is
better to face these “fears of intimacy” than
to turn against our relationship. We should
fight to maintain our feelings of love, even
when it is frightening to do so.
No matter what, we can only feel our own
feelings. Being loving is the best thing we
can do for our own well-being, because it
allows us to feel genuinely good about
ourselves. It is a skill that benefits us in all of
our relationships, with our friends and our
children as well as our romantic partners.
Plus, when we expand our own ability to be
loving, we actually grow our capacity to be
loved. It opens us up to new possibilities,
while allowing us to feel a consistent sense of
honesty and integrity within ourselves.

Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *