“Are you lovable?”
That is what the therapist asked when a wife was complaining about her husband in a group class. We weren’t there undercover as a distressed couple, but for volunteer training.
He then mentioned the time he told his wife he loved her, but wasn’t IN love with her. He said she responded with a confident smile and said, “we’ll see about that.” He confessed it was very attractive.
It made us think: if you are consistently spewing toxic waste from your mouth and behavior how does that promote a loving relationship between two people?
What would you say if a stranger were to ask you: “are you lovable?”
Of course, we all say YES if we were to be asked this. And then we might pause and hope lovable doesn’t mean perfect.
Sure, we might give a little shrug about our mistakes, but conclude, we are one of the most lovable people on earth.
“No one is as lovable as me!” we exclaim.
And as a lovable person, we might have complaints—because we are SO DARN LOVABLE—about anything unfair. We have to point out when our partner isn’t meeting their end of the deal. It’s not like we’re asking for perfect.
It’s no big deal, right?
We want a lovable person. And we are absolutely certain that we’re lovable—we don’t even need to question it.
Buuuuuuuuut, should we?
I’m sure your partner would appreciate it, if we all checked ourselves, and did a quick lovable-scan like a virus check on our computers.
Let’s do it, shall we!
Here are 3 questions to ask ourselves to see if we are in fact l-o-v-a-b-l-e.
1. “Am I the right person?”
So many books and blogs written about relationships focus on the qualities of the special person we want to attract. But this inevitably places you in the passenger seat. Why not be the driver?
When we focus our energy on “the right” person, the potential mate, or future spouse, you take a passive approach like the “damsel in distress” waiting … and waiting … and waiting.
But when we focus on ourselves and realize what’s in our power to change and improve, you become the knight on a mission to find true and everlasting love.
2. “Do I invite the kind of love I want?”
While you’re on your mission to get the kind of love you want, make sure you’re after what you truly want.
Don’t give away trust freely, just because what you see appears to be genuine. Perceptions can deceive us, and the only way to avoid that is with time.
Sorry for dropping the t-word—pestering “time” takes too long!
So, do you set the boundaries necessary for you to be more compassionate and loving?
This is not to say everything’s peaches and cream even when you do earn trust. Some issues can make things look pretty hopeless even when you have an emotionally healthy relationship.
If you do end a relationship or decide to get a divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a failure and you’re average. Our current society makes us feel like this, but it’s not helpful.
Say your boundaries were crossed and you tried to give this person another chance, does that make you less of a person to end a destructive relationship where you feel used?
Resilience is a part of you and it does take two to tango when it comes to earning trust. No one person should carry the burden of earning trust.
You’re the baker of your own bread and if you burnt those buns, then make another batch pronto. Make as many batches as you need until you get it right.
3. “Am I what I ask for?”
Do you pay attention to details, confront conflict in a healthy way, remember the important appointments, and keep your cool even when things get tense? Every single day?
Not just the beginning of the relationship, but 9 or 12 months in when the magic and novelty have worn off—or 4 years into parenthood, when children are dominating the scene and you have to settle for a 1-hour ration of time for a date night, a shower, and a glass of wine?
We’ve invented so many ways to describe our resistance to change:
■ I’m stubborn
■ I’m hard-headed
■ I know when I’m right
■ I have my mom’s genes
■ I can’t help it
What’s important, is to ask if you’re providing as much as you ask for.
An important quality of a lovable person is someone who is first to give before considering what would benefit them.
Constantly thinking what you can get out of the relationship minimizes the value of what you already have. It’s one of the three behaviors that frighten love away.
This may sound contradicting to the first point in taking charge, but the opposite of passivity isn’t selfishness, it’s just action. And action also includes appreciating what you have.
WARNING: Do not follow this advice if you’re in an abusive relationship. It will not help you to be “more appreciative for what you have,” because it will only victimize you even more. And it will not help to overset boundaries if someone is already possessive. Google “domestic violence” to find out more. Abuse is not just physical.
With that said, if you want to a spectacular relationship, to be lovable is to:
1. Love yourself, and respect your own boundaries
2. See what you can offer the relationship, before asking for more
3. Look at yourself for change, before being an expert at your partner’s faults
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