You don't need to be "in a realtionship" for love to thrive in your life!
When I first started the preparation for this week’s topic on love and its connection to business, I was surprised to find how very few of the materials and articles I read resonated with me.
On one side there was the focus on “how to have a successful relationship” and on the other “how to build a successful business”.
The only middle ground between the two seemed to be around the difficulty of maintaining a successful relationship IF you had passion for your business or career endeavours.
From what I gathered the options were simple:
1. You either have a good relationship that takes work and dedication which naturally moves you away from being able to have a successful business/ career
2. You have a successful business/career going on, in which case your relationships are expected to suffer for sure (if the relationship doesn’t suffer you are probably delusional about your levels of success…)
Both of those seemed to me not only simplistic but very much untrue as well.
None of them touched on any of the complementing elements between love and business, let alone on the deeply rooted need in every human-being to share a connection with another, which by default makes the importance of having good relationships significant for our general well-being and performance.
What I thus want to share with you is a much internalised perspective, which hopefully will add value to a world of messiness and will set the right tone for what we are going to share with you all week.
Let's scoot quickly to it...
My values and beliefs are western-centric. I am born and raised in a society where the notion of love, God being love and us, having a duty of being good and loving towards each other is prevalent. I am also a part of an individualistic society where we have shifted our focus from faith and the community to the individual and their right (as well as ability) to create happiness, love and meaning in their lives.
My assumption is that as a reader of those words, you and I have similar views on and share some common values, which guide us (consciously or unconsciously) in variety of situations.
Because of the importance that society has put on romantic love, we count it as a vital aspect of life. If it’s missing, we search for it.
Often, in the process, we develop fears and insecurities...
We could start questioning our qualities, abilities or identity. Many argue, that relationships are the source of some of the biggest lessons we’ll ever get.
On the other hand, a relationship filled with love can enable us to see the good, to recognise our qualities, to have stability and to believe in ourselves.
However, what no one really pays attention to is this:
LOVE IS NOT ALWAYS FOUND AND EXPERIENCED THROUGH AN ACTIVE, TRADITIONALLY-LOOKING RELATIONSHIP!
When it comes to us being full, complete, joyful, in love or content with ourselves, it is NOT the relationship and the other person who brings those feelings to us. Another person can teach us, they can show us things, support us, give to us, be a stepping stone or a life-long pillar, they – but they cannot create our internal world and the way we feel! It’s not them – it’s you!
Think of examples such as Michelle Obama. An incredibly strong woman that has for long periods of time been on her own with two children to look after, while her husband, not yet the famous Barak, was constantly away.
She didn’t have the presence, but she had the internal feeling of love that no one other than her creates. It’s not Barak that brought the relationship to her – it’s her internal perceptions and world that allows her to feel the love and for love to support her.
Others in her place would have felt abandoned or rejected, not a priority, or perhaps that this wasn’t their person after all. So it’s really not them – it’s you who’s in control on you!
Another example is the love towards someone who's passed away. The love and strength that comes with it can remain. But who creates the feelings? The one that’s left living! The one who HAS the relationship regardless of the fact that it’s not necessarily perceived as an existing one.
In order to have a good relationship that gives you strength and one the positive influence of which can translate into other areas of life, you don’t need the relationship to be traditionally present!
As eluded to, relationships challenge us, trigger our deepest fears, provoke us, annoy us or show us sides of our behaviour that we dislike. But, even when we have the right to blame our partner for what they are causing us, there is ALWAYS a part that we are responsible for.
This part is how we feel - regardless of the fact that it might be difficult to control it.
We are responsible for the reactions we have. And it is up to us to decide how much time we spend in a particular situation.
What I am trying to convey is simple:
You are an active agent, not merely a leaf blown by destiny or faith in different directions. My circumstances are a product of ME whether or not I like the outcomes I'm facing. Yours are a product of YOU.
The unfolding of a relationship is a consequence of the actions and thoughts of two people. One of them is you! The other one you cannot (and should not) control.
When the intention of talking about love and relationships and their incredible impact on our performance and business successes developed, I wanted to talk about it without making any one feel they NEED to have a relationship in order to perform at peak state.
What people need is to have clean feelings of love towards another and a very clear, internal sense of content with the relationship they have – regardless of its status.
In other words, acceptance and liking of the relationship(s) you have and the way it(they) unfolded.
This is not to undermine in any way the extreme at times difficulty to accept the demise of a partnership or the hurt that one can feel as a consequence of rejection and abandonment.
It is not claiming it is easy to deal with the maintenance of a relationship that is currently facing challenges and is not going well, either.
Strength comes from real love. That is - when the expectation that the other person owes you in return doesn’t exist.
When the pain has been excruciating and I’ve tried unsuccessfully to focus on work – what has always brought me back to centre is asking myself a simple question that goes like this:
“If I claim, in front of myself, that I do love this person, wouldn’t I do what’s best for them and not what’s best for me?”
It may seem altruistic or naïve, but reminding myself that love is not about me, has enabled the achievement of two important buy-products:
1) It immediately shifts the focus and enables you to know what’s best for the one you love. This grounds you and makes you less worried about how your actions/feelings/appearance would be perceived. You’d be strong in knowing you’ve done the right thing.
2) It removes the selfishness which is the cause of anyone’s hurt in most cases.
“I was hurt because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I felt pain because I wasn’t treated the way I needed to be treated, I was disappointed because MY dreams and expectations were not met.”
When the multiple “I”s and “My”s go away, we are left with the love that no one stops us from carrying or having. It doesn’t mean you can still have an active relationship but it means you can love.
Love, that’s just love, makes you smile on the street, even if the object of your feelings is not present.
Love, that’s just love, allows you to continue to love but also live, work, perform at your peak.
Love, that’s just love, allows for dedication and focus like no other.
Love, that’s just love, knows when to silently disappear without you feeling resistence or pain.
Let the week begin!
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P.S. Thank you to all those we love!