As a society, I feel that we can get caught up on a lot of the wrong things. People are often more concerned about the actions of celebrities and those they have never met, than the improvement of their own lives, pursuit of their own passions, or happiness of their own relationships.
We immediately dismiss people for not looking looking good enough, or we analyze them for looking too good. They must have had surgery. They must be photoshopped. But who are they, really? As a person. Does anyone really care?
We have ultra popular websites like Instagram that showcase and reward the beautiful with thousands of followers and perceived popularity, but cares not for substance or integrity. While these are fun distractions and serve their own purpose, they permeate society and float to the surface like a ping pong ball being released underwater – and then they stay there. Prominent. Dominant. Unwavering.
Here is something to consider: Anthony Robbins, perhaps one of the most prominent authors and speakers of our time who has helped millions across the globe, holds 2.5 million Twitter followers. This sounds substantial until we realize that Kim Kardashian has over 25 million. Justin Bieber? Nearly 57 million. That is more than Barack Obama.
While we may dismiss all of this as frivolous trivia-like ‘fun facts,’ we have to recognize the serious problems that come along with it: Lack of appreciation for depth, substance, and what really matters in a person – making it more difficult to build strong, lasting relationships.
If this is the case, what should we be valuing in each other more?
In relationships and in life, I believe many of us overlook the importance of thoughtfulness. Life is fast-paced and we often get so wrapped up in our day-to-day that we lose sight of how important it is to work to make our significant other happy as well. This includes learning one another’s likes and dislikes, supporting each other during difficult times, and encouraging each other during the good times.
It includes paying attention to small details and doing special things accordingly that we know each other will like. Being thoughtful helps us live, connect, and love more deeply with others.
C.S. Lewis once said “Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.” While this holds true in all aspects of life, having this as a quality is of paramount importance in an intimate relationship, as we are trusting our heart, feelings, and emotional well-being to this person. A person who talks one way and acts another will be nearly impossible to build a real relationship with.
A person who is intellectually curious about the world around them will never become boring or run out of things to talk about. They will hold our attention as well as challenge and motivate us to learn and absorb more as well. This is an important, but unappreciated quality that helps to keep relationships fresh and exciting.
Happiness in relationships stems from the ability to be honest with each other, which in turn stems from the comfort of knowing you can open up without being judged. Being non-judgmental is not a quality you will find on one of Cosmo’s “10 steamy things that turn him/her on” lists, but it is even more important.
The ability to civilly disagree.
When two people come together from different backgrounds and upbringings, we cannot expect to have every single interest or opinion in common. And if we did, it would get boring quickly. It is natural to disagree, and maybe even to argue – but it is profoundly important to be able to approach these situations with maturity and civility.
Disagreements and arguments do not have to turn into fights or blowouts.
It is not realistic to think that every person will always thrive in all different types of scenarios. A situation you love to be in might mortify your significant other. But, that being said, I believe it is important to develop a versatility in ourselves that allows us to be comfortable in a variety of environments.
Someone who supports your interests.
While many people think that sharing common interests is important to a relationship [and it is, to an extent] it is not that high on the list. This is because as two different individuals, we can discover new things through each other when we experience each other’s separate interests – and also partake in them with our partner because we know it is something they enjoy.
If you are with someone who puts on a sour face or wants to leave early any time they are doing something you want to do, but you are happy and willing to do everything they enjoy, one can easily see how this would quickly become an issue.
Optimism is not being blind to reality, it is choosing to see the positive side of a situation regardless of how hard you have to look for it. Someone who ignores the silver lining because of the dark center will become emotionally exhausting – particularly if you always have to convince them the bright side exists.
Willingness to communicate.
Communication is the backbone to a relationship. Without the ability and willingness to be honest with each other, there will be conflicts due to secrets that should not be secrets. If we are unable to tell our significant other what makes us happy, what bothers us, what is important to us, or what our concerns are – how can we ever expect them to learn and adjust accordingly?
Passion for us, yes. But also passion for life. Passion for a purpose, or a hobby, or a business, or a charity, or something. When someone lives with passion, they bring that excitement and curiosity with them to all areas, including their relationship with you.
Patience is a virtue, as they say. Being patient allows us the ability to make those around us more comfortable with us by not rushing them or making them feel pressured to do, be, or act a certain way. It is the foundation for being more easy-going and amicable. Not to mention, being patient reduces stress because we understand that certain things are just not worth stressing about.
We already value honesty, but we don’t usually talk about qualities like sincerity which are often an underlying trait of the honest. When someone is sincere, they are naturally truthful and don’t just tell you things [ie., compliments], they make you feel what they mean.
Raise your hand if you want to try to build a relationship with someone who is so stuck in their ways that they refuse to do, learn, or try anything new…
This is not a real word but I’m making it one right now. No matter how kindhearted or giving someone is, lack of appreciation for their efforts will, eventually, cause them to walk away. A partner who is appreciative of things we do for them [no matter how big or small] is one we will continue to want to do those things for.
A deep connection can really only form when two people have the depth necessary to cultivate it. Physical attraction is important. A great smile is important. Someone who takes care of themselves physically is important. But it is not important enough to bring a couple through hard times. It is not important enough to build a foundation on. It is not important enough to actually make someone want to commit to you.
We, as a society, spend too much time emphasizing the importance of improving the body and not enough time discussing the importance of also improving the mind and personality. Too much of one or the other, and our relationships will flounder.
Maybe – just maybe, if we started valuing these qualities in each other and looked further beyond the surface, our love would be stronger and our relationships would last longer. There is only one way to find out.
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