Love the One You’re With
Your dream has come true!
Finally, you can be at home with your loved ones all the time. And while those magic moments surely happen, there will be the other not-so-magical kind occasionally. That’s when you think that all this togetherness is not the perfect dream. It’s involuntary and 24/7 during highly stressful times.
How we show up for each other in the weeks to come could leave our relationships feeling more resilient or a bit frayed. Explore these ideas to help you through the days and weeks to come:
Unconditional Positive Regard (Aka Unconditional Love)
Each of us is an expert on our own lives. We’re each resourceful and whole. How do you remind yourself that this is also true of your loved ones? This doesn’t mean you have to excuse bad behavior, but it does mean you get to drop the judgment and the desire to fix the other person. Remind yourself that you love this person, and you are on the same team. Losing the judgment can be tough in close quarters. How do you drop into your unconditional love? Controlled breathing helps a lot. Noticing your expectations and your fix-it energy can also help. A bonus skill is to assume positive intent. You get to operate from a belief that we are all doing the best we can under the circumstances – and under the circumstances, our best gets to be good enough.
If you practiced dropping the expectations or the desire to change or control the other person, what would you notice about your unconditional love for the other person?
Do you ever find yourself listening to your loved ones just to confirm that you already know what they are going to say? Or have you ever been listening as if it’s your job to be the fixer or the fault finder? Try to listen deeply instead, removing assumptions and actions from your mind in order to really hear what the other person is saying. Deep listening is nonjudgmental. You’re not formulating what you’re going to say next. And if the other person believes differently than you do about a set of circumstances, that’s your chance to lean in and get curious. You are fully present when you are listening. You are looking for thoughts AND feelings, for what is said and what is not said. When you’ve fully heard what they’re thinking and feeling, then it will be your turn to express your own.
When are you in the habit of not listening to the other person? What might shift in you if you practice listening with non-judgment?
Intentionally Co-Create the Future Together
It’s easy to fall into a knee-jerk or habitual negative way of showing up for each other. These defensive postures might have felt necessary at some point, but what about now? The world is forcing us to reflect on how we chose to live our lives. Practice pivoting toward each other, questioning assumptions about what the other person needs or wants, and lean into a trusting, vulnerable, or loving way of relating. How might you create a safe space to discuss your shared values, to discuss your hopes and dreams for the future? How might you spend time refreshing your understanding of where you want to head together, what you need within your relationships, and clarify your aspirations together? This may seem like a funny time to co-create the future together, but if your shared vision for the future is viable in tough times, it will withstand any circumstance. Gently seize the opportunity to renegotiate how you show up for each so that you can step into the future with renewed resilience. Issues to thoughtfully discuss might include values, life purpose, work, health and wellness, caring for relatives, geography, or your bucket lists.
Use this time together to revitalize and strengthen rather than fray each other’s edges. Love, non-judgment, listening, and curiosity are all helpful. But mostly, it’s about the love.