Ok, confession. This is an overdue post I was supposed to write two weeks ago.
The biggest reason why I haven’t been able to spam this one out like the rest of my other posts, is because I am slightly uncertain about what I will express here.
Put my age in more detailed numbers, I am only 9592 days, or 315 months, or 1370 weeks old. And I spent most of those times doing I don’t know what the h*** is going on things.
And my new self always manages to prove my old self quite foolish. But here it goes anyways.
After experiencing and reflecting on several relationships that didn’t work out [insert sad face], these are the major qualities that I’ll be looking for in my next serious relationship.
These qualities will sustain a healthy relationship and cultivate the presence of unconditional love.
When I talk about responsibility, I am speaking about being self-responsible.
Here is something I read a few years back written by Mark Manson on the nature of toxic relationship which I couldn’t agree more:
“Entitled people often fall into two tracks in relationships: either they expect other people to take responsibility for their problems or they take on too much responsibilities for other people’s problems. As a result, their relationship is a fragile product of avoiding inner pain rather than embracing genuine appreciation of each other.
Entitled people who blame others for their emotions and actions do so because they believe if they paint themselves as victims, eventually someone will come along and save them, and they will receive the love they always wanted. Entitled people who take the blame for other people’s emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they fix their problems, they will receive the love and appreciation they’ve always wanted. These are the ying and yang of any toxic relationship: the victim and the fixer. The person who starts fire because it makes them feel important and the person who puts out the fire because it makes them feel important.
In both cases, the intention is selfish and unconditional love is not present.”
— Mark Manson in the The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
We’ve probably all been in immature or toxic relationships before. The biggest thing I’ve learned about myself from my past experiences is that I used to take too much responsibilities for others. I gave people chances because I thought they could change for the better for me. It came from a place of wanting their love I thought I “deserved”.
Looking back, the concept of feeling like just because I made efforts or I helped them grow meant I “deserved” anything was already conditional on my part. A relationship should never feel like a trade. Keeping score is the best gateway to build unhealthy resentment.
Taking responsibility for others or expecting others to be responsible for my happiness will no longer be in my equation of love. My partner and I should both understand that we are self-responsible for genuine happiness, and the relationship only adds more values to our lives. Together, we can grow and become better versions of ourselves.
2. Acceptance and Appreciation
The path towards having unconditional love involves acceptance and appreciation.
My partner and I should have a very good understanding about each other. Learning about each other on deeper levels and seeing both the good and the bad. We should accept each other for who we really are on the inside, not who we wish each other to be.
We don’t always have to agree, in fact we can be very different. But we should be able to accept and work through our differences. There is no perfect match.
But of course, the better our core values and beliefs match, the easier it is for us to accept each other. So it’s important to find someone who is on a similar page about these major things.
Appreciation is based on a solid foundation of acceptance and respect. It’s the key to feel and express love and gratitude. My partner and I should be able to feel genuine appreciation for each other and act out on those feelings regularly.
This one has always been on the top of my list. It’s the most important value i learned from my mother.
“The planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”
— David W. Orr
Kindness is a fundamental component of love and compassion. It holds significant power and greatly benefits everyone’s lives.
“Unconditional love flows through specific channels of respect, integrity, purpose, meaning, value, response-ability, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion — and these form the foundation of our new, naturally ethical lives.”
— Loch Kelly in Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness.
Only when people are kind and compassionate towards themselves, they can be genuinely kind towards the others. Kindness is more than a one-way, outgoing energy—it’s based on a foundation of self-love, something that needs to built from within first.
4. And… Bonus Points for Practicing Mindfulness!
If you read any of my other posts, you know I’ve been learning and practicing mindfulness meditation. It has drastically transformed me into a better and stronger person.
So, the bare minimal is that, my partner should be able to understand the nature of my practice. Better yet, it’ll be great to find someone who is genuinely interested (not just saying they are without taking actions), and actually practice it as well. There are so many amazing things to discuss and share regarding the topic of meditation and the psychology of human nature.
Melody Zheng :)