Choices for Any Relationship

Wait… it’s Valentine’s Day!? I couldn’t tell by the amounts of posts on my Facebook newsfeed or Instagram feed! Just kidding.

Now time to get serious. As some head out tonight to celebrate with those closest to them or maybe choose to stay home to enjoy just another Friday night (because Valentine’s Day really is just another calendar day – we can celebrate it all we want, but how different is it really from all of the other days of the year?), it’s important to keep in mind why this day was created. Sure you could blow it off if you’re single, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romantic relationships.

Valentine’s Day is about relationships – any relationship. How we care for those relationships and how we treat each other. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of romance, friendship, or family. Our relationships don’t define us, but they help us realize what’s important in our lives.

I found this great post on another blog that I read, and it seems to be the perfect fit for Valentine’s Day. The article is titled “7 Vital Choices for Happy Relationships” by Lori Deschene and was first published on Tiny Buddha. Here is an excerpt from the post:

So-in-Love

So I’ve done something a little different to explore the different ideas that support healthy relationships. As I often do, I put a question out to the Tiny Buddha Facebook page: what’s the key to a happy relationship?

I took a sampling of the nearly 200 responses and grouped them into 7 tips. For each one, I listed a few simple ways to apply those ideas right now. If you’re not currently in a romantic relationship, a lot of these can still apply to the other relationships in your life.

1. Practice self love first.

It seems like you can only have happy relationships if you can be happy with or without them. ~Erika Gonzalez

Know that it is not the other person’s job to make you happy. The only person who can do that is you! ~Christi Emmons

The ultimate kicker: be honest with yourself about who you are. ~Kelly Bell

Know that you can be yourself and still be accepted. The best relationship is when you bring out the best in each other, and you are purely content when neither has anything to say. ~Stephanie Schwenning

Take it off the page:

  • Make a list or mental note of all the things to appreciate about you. Realize everyone has flaws, and there’s a lot more right with you than wrong with you.
  • Work on forgiving yourself. The past is the past and you deserve to put it behind you, but no one else can let it go for you.
  • Be good to yourself today. Practice yoga, meditate, or take a walk.

2. Focus on compatibility.

Be best friends first. ~Wendy Nicholson

Have an incredible “like” for each other. ~Diane Bateman

Have shared (or at least compatible) values and communication. Everything else can be forgiven, accepted, or put aside, however values are the root of how we relate to all beings. ~Frank Ra

Find the person who inspires you to be a better you, and always encourage them to become the best them. ~Corinne Morrill

Take it off the page:

  • If you’re single, do something social that you love. You’re more likely to meet compatible people if you get out there and foster your  interests.
  • If you’re in a relationship, spend some time sharing something you both enjoy. My boyfriend and I met at karaoke, so singing together is a great way to connect.
  • If you’re in a relationship with someone and it always feels like hard work, ask yourself: are you trying to jam a square peg into a round hole? It can be scary to walk away from the wrong person, but it’s the only possibility of meeting someone who will feel right.

3. Practice acceptance.

Accept that not everyone or everything is perfect. We are all perfectly flawed. ~Simon Kirk

Be non-demanding of your partner—partners don’t tell each other what to do. ~John Bigl

Mutual adoration and acceptance of the differences that make each of you individuals are keys to a phenomenal relationship. ~Casey Kimes

Happiness is a choice, as are all things in life. I choose to see and feel grateful for all of the best qualities in my partner, rather than focusing on shortcomings. ~Emily Roberts

Take it off the page:

  • If you feel yourself focusing on everything someone appears to be doing wrong, ask yourself if there’s something else upsetting you. It’s easier to blame other people than it is to look in ourselves, but oftentimes that’s where the problem is.
  • If you feel like changing something about someone else today, ask yourself what change you can make in yourself instead. If you feel unappreciated, show appreciation. It’s more empowering and productive to show people how to treat us than to complain about what’s lacking.
  • If there’s something you just can’t accept, ask yourself if you’re willing to walk away because of it. We can’t change other people, but we can change our relationship to them.

4. Have realistic expectations.

Don’t expect it to be happy all the time. ~Stephanie Goddard

Don’t sweat the small things and speak up when it really is important to you. ~Elizabeth Sadhu

Remember that it isn’t always happy, but get through those not so happy moments together or apart, whichever is needed. ~Jessica Duff

Keep realistic standards for each other. ~Ashna Singh

Take it off the page:

  • Eliminate the word should today—how a relationship should work, how people should act if they love you.
  • Notice when you’re projecting something onto the other person that has nothing to do with them, like a fear from a past relationship. Then make an effort to let it go.
  • Recognize when you’re looking for that person to do something for you that you need to do for yourself, like make you feel lovable or take care of your needs. Then release those expectations and do it for yourself.

5. Be kind in words and deeds.

Think about the person’s feelings before you speak or criticize them. ~Dana Brewer Covey

Have a fast ear and a slow tongue. ~Mark Ward

Have compassion and grow together, not apart, as the years go on. ~Krista Tverdak

Love must be bigger and stronger than anything else. Never keep any record of your partner’s mistakes and faults and be ready to forgive. ~Mel Escobar

Take it off the page:

  • Make an effort to really listen—not just wait to talk.
  • See the other person as if for the first time. It’s all too easy to take someone for granted. Really notice all the wonderful things they do, and let them know what you see.
  • If you get frustrated with each other, ask yourself, “Will this really matter after I’ve cooled down?”

6. Be honest.

Talk about things that leave you vulnerable from the heart. ~Cheryl Floyed

Compromise and dream together. ~ Becca Stinson

From my grandparents, who have been happily married for 60 years: the three C’s: caring, communication, and compromise. ~Emily Larsen

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and if something really is bothering you talk about it in a calm controlled manner. Leave drama in the theaters and movies. ~Ben Reyna

Take it off the page:

  • Open up about something that you’ve been keeping to yourself. It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic. People can only be there for us if we let them.
  • If something’s on your mind, express it without implying the other person is responsible for your feelings.

7. Remember to act.

When you’re bored, do something about it. ~Ernie Somers

Adjust to change. Adjust to moods, lifestyle changes, and new additions, and always remember to love. ~Elysia Cordero

The rest comes and goes as we change and grow and struggle, but being able to laugh together brings you back together. ~Kerry Kokkinogenis

Have rich individual pursuits and pursue things together. ~Laura Texera

Take it off the page:

  • If you haven’t in a while, take time to do your own thing today—completely on your own or with friends.
  • Take time to laugh together, whether it’s watching funny YouTube videos or trying something new together.
  • If you feel dissatisfied with your life, don’t assume it’s your relationship. What other adjustments could you make to feel happier with your place in the world? Maybe you need to take a small step toward a hobby or more fulfilling job.

And lastly…

Start over again and again. ~Miguel Angel Carrillo Infante

It’s a new day–a new chance to practice giving and receiving love.

Some of the Facebook responses were slightly edited for spelling; some were part of longer responses with more detail. Photos here and here.

This excerpt was republished with permission from tinybuddha.com. You can find the original post here.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) and Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself. She’s also the co-founder of the eCourse Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the HeroFollow @tinybuddha for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

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I’m thankful for all of the relationships that I hold near and dear to my heart this Valentine’s Day. As you take some time for yourself today (or this weekend), reflect on what relationships in your own life matter most to you, why, and what you can do to make the right choices in them. It’s not a challenging exercise, but it’s worth it.

Happy February 14!