My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Love the ones you’re with

The challenge to love those closest to us is valuable training in learning how to love well.

A challenge to love

In another lifetime, years before I moved to the US, the gentleman I was engaged to gave me a cd with love songs that are intended to be used at weddings. Even though I later decided that he was not the person I wanted to share my life with, I still remember and love those songs.  I caught myself singing one of them a few days ago after working on a slide show for an article that was published in Best Self Magazine, Atlanta.

The article was about finding love, and Amber Salisbury, one of the experts who contributed to the article gave this valuable piece of advice, “Don’t wait until you are in love to start loving.” There were 40 tips total, but this is the one I held on to.

I remember as a child thinking that marriage must be one of the greatest things in the world, after all God made it. But the words to the song I had caught myself singing seem like words from a fairy tale when viewed in the reality of many relationships.

“Wherever there is laughter ringing
Someone smiling, someone dreaming
We can live together there
Love will be our home.
Where there are words of kindness spoken
Where a vow is never broken
We can live together there
Love will be our home …”

Seems simple enough. As a matter of fact, these would probably be the words we would use to state the kind of relationship we desire. But for many, after the wedding ceremony, followed by years of too many harsh and unkind words, disregard, disrespect, broken vows and the inability to remember the last smile; one may discover that loving the people closest can be downright challenging.

I believe that’s why the advice to start by loving the ones we are with, (right now) is so valuable. The relationships that we are in: child, parent, brother, sister, colleague, friend, are the training grounds for how we do relationships in the future. This is where we learn how to handle conflict, how to forgive, how to show respect, how to honor and love others and how to value ourselves. Insecurity, distrust, fear, jealously, low self-esteem or unfaithfulness will not magically disappear when the “right one” comes along.

Is there something that you would like to see changed? No, I’m not talking about in the other person, I’m talking about in you. You know that behavior that resurfaces more often than you’d like?  Those words you always wish you had not said, or that thing you keep saying you’ll do differently next time? or whatever your thing is that needs to be changed.

I’m working on my stuff too. I have one great desire, that is, to love well. I have to fight the relational dysfunction that I saw growing up, where love was more a feeling, and it seemingly was not understood that the act of love is a choice. In maturing I’ve had to relearn some things.  For, the lasting magic that we long for in relationships come by hard work. Working on, working through, working pass.

I refuse to live in pretense. I refuse to hide behind anything false. The mistakes I’ve made I’ve had to work through and work pass. However, my journey for emotional health and growth is one that I’m committed to and one that will last a lifetime.

As you pursue your emotional wellness journey, this is Dona Halliday challenging you to love the ones you are with, so that you’ll learn how  to genuinely love the one you want to share life with.

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5 Comments»

  Rants&Randomness wrote @

I love this post! What mostly stuck with me, or what I got out of it, (I don’t know if you wanted to get people to think this), but I absolutely feel like people should love and love, because without the little start of love, how is one suppose to start a proper relationship. I don’t know:) Good job. ❤

  my6inchchallenge wrote @

Thanks R&R. We all take away different things when we hear, see or read something. But yes, genuine love has to start somewhere. And since it is so easy to develop pseudo relationships with our twitter, facebook and blogging communications we can forget that the relationships where we actually connect in person requires more that the quick one line update or where we can ignore the things we really don’t like.

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  jnel wrote @

So true Dona! You may need to send this out in an email blast! So often we think we should spare our true love for the person we think may love us best but love take practice etc… And until we truly being to love those in our lives when we meet the right person we may not be able to love openly after all we were loving those close to us with “restrain love”…This becomes an unknown habit to some then we assume that flaw is with others and not ourselves.

  my6inchchallenge wrote @

Perfectly summarized, Jnel. I think fairy tales are great but they’ve certainly skewed our perspective where the everydayness of love and life is concerned.


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