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Thoughts on love and relationships

February inspires affairs of the heart

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” ??" Audrey Hepburn. Photo credit: Gwyn Nielsen

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February has brought us National Heart Month and Valentine's Day, so it is impossible not to think about affairs of the heart. Here are five thoughts about love and relationships.

The art of self-love. Everyone comes from different backgrounds. Sometimes self-love can be hard to achieve depending on the love that you were shown from those who should have loved you the most. Some people grow up in loving and encouraging families, while others do not. When you have been hurt by circumstances you cannot control, it is extremely hard to realize self-worth and love yourself.

Any time you choose to enter any relationship, whether it is a romance, a friendship, or family, it can be difficult unless you love yourself first and enter into it whole. Entering a relationship empty and broken will cause your partner to fill in the broken pieces and leave them feeling miserable. You may end up shutting them out completely, giving them a reason to flee.

While you can't control your outside circumstances, you can control the choices you make from this day forward with every relationship you choose. You have the power to make the decision to love yourself no matter what life has dealt you. Once you embrace wonderful you, you can offer all the relationships you choose complete love.

Be someone you would love. Before you can have an amazing relationship with anyone, you must be lovable yourself.

Any time there is conflict in a relationship, it is always easier to blame the other party for what goes wrong before considering you may be the person at fault. It is difficult to step back and take a long hard look at yourself and possibly realize you are the one who must make a change. A good way to start is by evaluating present and past relationships. Are you someone who loses friends often? Is there constant conflict in the majority of your relationships? Do you exhaust yourself attempting to impress others instead of being yourself, just as you are? Do you find yourself judging others or invalidating them with negative words? Do you find yourself telling untruths to impress others?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you must make the changes to ensure long-lasting and fulfilling relationships. Start by admitting that you are the problem. Put an end to blaming others for your shortcomings. Commit to ending your need to invalidate others, gossip, lie, and pretend to be someone you are not. Ask for forgiveness in your relationships. Lastly, treat others as you wish to be treated.

Love deeply. Love unconditionally. Choosing to let yourself go in a relationship can sometimes be difficult, especially when you've been hurt before. Avoid letting past relationships prevent you from experiencing the true joy of a healthy relationship. When you meet someone you feel drawn to, never hold back. Be fearless. Go all in. What you receive in return is worth it.

Choosing relationships. In this beautiful world we live in, having an attitude of love toward others is a wonderful way to live your life. However, having an attitude of love and choosing relationships we invest love into are two very different things.

With millions of people in this world, we have an amazing opportunity for wonderful fulfilling relationships. Choose wisely. No matter the type of relationship, if someone continually mistreats you and destroys your personal joy, they do not deserve the privilege of your love. Choose to forgive them, wish them well, and remove yourself from one-on-one contact. Choose people who cultivate happiness in your life, and keep them close.

The labor of love. There are different types of relationships. Choose the relationships that are most important to you. Cultivate them with unconditional love and commitment so that they thrive. For relationships you cherish but find difficulty finding time to invest in, that is okay. When you do have the time, drop them a line and remind them that they are loved by you.

Audrey Hepburn got it right when she said, "the best thing to hold onto in life is each other." Love yourself, be lovable, love deeply, choose wisely and invest in love. It is worth it.

Gwyn Nielsen is a military wife, volunteer, public speaker, and founder of, A Homemade Happiness Lifestyle Blog. 

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