Love is never enough to have a relationship work. The divorce courts are full of people who love each other.
Letís say that you and I have a relationship and I treat you lousy. What good is my love for you? Itís not worth much. Love by itself is never enough to have a relationship work. If I want my relationship with you to be loving and supportive, I need to make sure you feel loved.
Itís the experience of love that makes the difference. If I interact with you in a way that has you feel loved, our relationship will be great. If I interact with you in a way that has you feel unloved, our relationship will be a mess.
What creates the experience of love?
The experience of love is created by giving the gift of acceptance and appreciation. Notice how you feel when someone genuinely accepts and appreciates you. Doesn't this feel good? Of course it does. You feel better about yourself and better about life. You also feel better about the other person.
The same thing happens when you accept and appreciate someone else. That person automatically feels better about life and better about you. By giving acceptance and appreciation, you create the experience of love.
Now notice how you feel when someone is non-accepting, critical, or controlling toward you. Instantly, the experience of love disappears. You get hurt and upset. You put up your walls of protection and automatically resist the person who is non-accepting toward you.
The same thing happens when you are non-accepting toward someone else. That person gets upset, puts up his or her walls of protection, and automatically becomes critical and resentful toward you.
Then you get hurt. Your walls of protection get stronger and you become more judgmental and critical of the other person. Then the other person gets more upset and becomes more critical of you.
Without knowing, you create a cycle of conflict, a cycle of hurting, attacking, and withdrawing from each other. This cycle then goes on and on without either person ever noticing his or her role in the problem. It's this cycle of conflict that creates the suffering in relationships.
To end the cycle of conflict, or to make sure it never starts, you need to make sure the other person feels loved, accepted, and appreciated. This is the key to having any relationship work.
The key to accepting
Unfortunately, accepting is much easier said than done. Some people are very difficult to accept. Fortunately, acceptance is nothing more than surrendering to the truth. The people in your life are exactly the way they are whether you like it or not.
Pick someone in your life that you can't accept. Notice that this person has a very particular state of mind and a very particular way of seeing life. Notice that this person is exactly the way he or she is and that your feelings about it are totally irrelevant.
When you are at peace with the truth of the way someone is, you have peace of mind. You see your situation clearly and can see what needs to be done.
You may discover that the other person isnít for you. Thatís okay. You can accept the person and go your separate ways. Accepting someone doesnít mean that you have to live with the person.
When you fight the truth of the way someone is, you destroy love and fuel the conflict. Fighting the way someone is doesnít change the person. It makes your situation worse.
To have a relationship be great, surrender to the truth of the way the person is and empower the person as a human being. Then do whatever you need to do to have your life be great.
Watch Bill Ferguson talk about what creates and destroys love
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