If it isn’t obvious by now, my new niche is about finding love, building better relationships, and leading a romantic and spirited lifestyle that supports both efforts. I believe that many of us are not equipped with the tools we need to love and be loved because the mechanics of how they should work are not always explained to us outright. It’s taken me A LOT of less-than-graceful learning experiences, therapy, and self-help books to recognize a deficit for these skills in my own life and I’d like this blog to reflect my journey in acquiring them.
I still have a long way to go towards understanding love and the human experience but I hope my stories of heartache and triumph reach you with compassion and connectedness. Words have the power to change our experience and my goal for this blog is to impact you and your relationships positively through loving words, thorough research, fun reads, and engaging imagery. I believe we are all deserving of fulfilling relationships and I recognize the responsibility that rests with both partners to achieve that.
So to kick off this effort, I’m sharing my Quick Start Guide to Falling In Love Again because sometimes you have to put yourself in a new mindset to really appreciate the people around you. This guide speaks to, what I believe is, one of the greatest pleasures of being in a relationship: falling in love with the same person over and over and over again, despite your differences.
Here are 9 practices I recommend to quick start those good feelings you’re looking for in your relationships, INCLUDING the relationship you have with yourself and your life (more on that to come). Never stop falling in love… 💋
1. Be Grateful – I’m a firm believer that gratitude, especially when expressed, brings out the best in people. It also primes you to see what you have in a positive light and to recognize good fortune when it comes your way. If you see your relationships through gratitude glasses, there will always be an abundance of reasons to fall and stay in love. Glue them to your face if you have to.
2. Make Space – You don’t know you need it until you have it: space. The dreaded “S” word. I don’t mean to curse or anything but I’m here to tell you that making space is A GOOD THING. Seriously. Make space and honor it, even if it’s not a mutual decision. Recognize that “asking for space” is a healthy and loving way of saying “I want our relationship to continue but I need to be my best self for that to happen and this time apart will help me sort out who that person is.” A clear head is better than no head at all. Remember that.
3. Work On Yourself – One of the topics I’m most excited to address on this blog is about bringing your best self to your relationships. I plan on spending a GREAT DEAL of posts discussing how you can cultivate your best self to bring more fulfillment and joy into your life. I can’t wait to share my tips and tricks for becoming the greatest version of YOU in all areas of your life! Stay tuned.
In the context of falling in love again, here’s why it’s important: relationships are between two unique INDIVIDUALS. When you fall in love with your partner for the first time, you are very much separate and that’s captivating.
As time progresses and the relationship becomes more serious, things can get a little tangled. I believe that if you’re mindful of this, a tangled mess can be a beneficial thing because you see it as good chaos. It makes you smile and motivates you to continue pursuing your dreams but it doesn’t subtract anything from either individual in the relationship.
On the other hand, if you’re not mindful of how your lives are intertwined, a tangled mess can be VERY bad. You’re so thick in the mess that you can’t see a way out and you get lost in it. You forget who you are and the unique value you brought to your relationship is lost.
Remember: in love, two halves do NOT make a whole. Do the work that needs to be done and bring your best self to your relationships. I like to think of it like this: two WHOLE circles form a Venn diagram that overlaps in the center. Why be one circle when you can be two?
4. Know When to Hit the Reset Button and Go On Your Second First Date (Repeat A Million Times If Necessary) – I hate to say this but sometimes couples find themselves in a love rut. I know this because I have experienced it myself. I think what makes dating in the beginning so fun is the actual going on dates part. When life starts to get in the way of spontaneity and romance, it becomes difficult to keep up with and dates start to seem unnecessary. Know when you’ve hit this point and push the reset button. Go on your second first date and come back with a plan for making date night more intentional moving into the next chapter of your relationship. Just because you’re in the middle of your love story doesn’t mean you should stop dating your significant other!
5. Choose Praise Over Criticism – I never thought that I would become the person who used criticism to correct but I did and as common as it might be, I’m actually kind of embarrassed by it. When M 💕 and I met, I was in a really good place mentally. I had just come back from being abroad in South Africa and I felt really happy with who I was. I had somewhat of a spiritual revelation while I was away that made criticism seem very counterproductive to me. I was living by the Law of Attraction, practicing gratitude, and loving the life that was unfolding around me. I was like a little hippy.
And then I got smacked in the face by adulthood. Like full fist straight to the mouth. It totally knocked all the wisdom I learned right out of me and made me see everything through this lens of “not enough” and “beyond repair.” I honestly don’t know why I let adulthood kick my ass so much, especially with all the strength I’ve realized over the past few years, but it did and I kind of dragged everyone into it. I started being critical without realizing it. Out of desperation, I defaulted to ineffective means of facing challenges in my relationships.
Let me tell you this much, criticism without praise is NOT effective. Criticism to control is NOT effective. Criticism in general is NOT effective. It’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem better handled through acceptance and support.
I’m actually going to talk about this more in a post I have planned called “More Effective Relationships According to the Hawaiians” but for now the main take away is this: people will subconsciously move away from those who constantly criticize them. If you’re praying for solidarity and support in your relationship, make sure your actions match your prayers or you’ll lose it. Self-sabotage is real everyone.
Get ready for my upcoming post by reading the following book: Happy Me, Happy You: The Huna Way to Healthy Relationships.
6. Take It One Day at a Time – So quick confession: I am definitely the type of person who gets “intoxicated” by what they love. This makes me a fantastic candidate for a superfan but a pretty chaotic and sometimes overbearing partner. I have to remind myself constantly to pump the breaks and be patient.
I heard this great quote about marriage once and I believe it’s the key to understanding love and long-term relationships. It goes like this:
“Marriage: If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”F.Burton Howard
So tell me, why rush if you intend to spend the rest of your life with this person? Why treat something that “grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by” like it is ordinary? Love’s a marathon. Stop treating it like a sprint.
7. Find More Effective Ways to Handle Existing Challenges – I think we all fall into the trap of blaming the outside world for our problems from time to time. We point fingers, we get upset, and we use ineffective means to overcome challenges in our relationships because we feel powerless. I find that when I reflect on ways I’ve been ineffective, I feel more loving and compassionate because I’m recognizing how I’ve contributed to a challenging dynamic.
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a conference for women on motivation, leadership, and female empowerment. Keynote speaker, Dr. Michelle Rozen, shared her thoughts on productivity, change, building better relationships in the workplace, and being more charismatic. But one thing in particular keeps coming back to me from her keynote and it’s this: a dynamic in a relationship is built by two people and while it might be impossible to “fix” the other person, it’s possible and effective to change how we interact with them.
Fixing the dynamic rather than the other person helps us recognize where our efforts have been counterproductive in creating harmony and makes addressing issues in our relationships less like a personal nuclear bomb explosion and more like a simple math problem. Relationships really are a two way street, everybody!
8. Have Faith and Be Present – Perhaps cliche but totally true: everything works out for the best. If you’re going through hell in your relationship or just want to make it even better by falling in love all over again, you need this experience. It’s all part of the plan. Without it, you are also without wisdom. So have faith that everything will work out in your favor and be present to the lessons and love unfolding around you before it’s too late and the moment is over.
9. Rinse and Repeat – This one is easy. Anytime you are in a love rut, repeat these steps. Love is a practice you have to come back to, even when it’s hard or uncomfortable. Show up for the people you care about most by falling in love with who they already are (again and again and again).
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P.S. – So much for a quick start guide 🙄 … this ended up being a lot longer than I expected. It’s mostly advice I distilled from my own experiences but I know it lacks the “story” that brought me to these lessons. If you are excited to hear the stories behind my life and relationships, stay tuned. More posts are a-coming! I’m so fired up about this new niche and I can’t wait to inspire you to build better relationships through this blog. Spread the love! Also, should I start a book club? I dig sharing book recommendations with you and I can’t wait to show you what I’ve learned from Happy Me, Happy You: The Huna Way to Healthy Relationships. Let me know in the comments!