Love is All We Need

Monday, February 14, 2022 @ 11:34 AM

As we approach Valentine’s day, it’s important for us to acknowledge the love in our lives, as well as self-love. “Belonging” is innate, or something that we’re born wanting and needing. Relationships and connections define us from the time we’re born until we take our last breath. It forms us as children and marks the path to who we are when we take our first steps toward independence from family and friends. The wrong connections can forever change our lives and this is why it’s so important to choose our interpersonal relationships wisely.

It's important to recognize that we teach people how to treat us. When you allow small acts of disrespect, it should come as no surprise that larger ones will follow. This can be a problem when a person comes from a dysfunctional or abusive childhood because this kind of environment can teach us that disrespect is normal. Often, my point in therapy is to realize that if this kind of emotional pain hurts as a child, it’s going to create the same harm as an adult. Such pain doesn’t change just because you’ve become an adult. This is why therapy is important.

A person once told me that if you want to change the people around you, you have to change the people around you. She was essentially saying that if you want change, start with who you have around you. However, this change starts with ‘self’. You have to be willing let people walk away and be okay with it. Think of it as choosing fruit in the grocery store. You don’t want the ones that are bruised, rotten, or wormy because you see signs that it may not be good for you. Well... This is easy in the grocery store because you don’t have an emotional connection to a piece of fruit.

Part of developing a good relationship is that it’s up to you to decide whether that person will be a part of your future. It’s emotional connections that cause a lot of people to stay in dysfunction. Some people think that a person won’t like them if they set interpersonal boundaries but finding that out is the whole point of respecting yourself and the person you’re in the relationship with. Boundaries and those tough discussions will provide signs as to whether you can both work through the tough moments life will present. These discussions contribute to the emotional foundation that form the rest of the relationship. Working through those moments will also show you “who” you’re going to have during tough times. That also goes both ways.

I say all of this to say that love is important. Love that’s good for you can make the sun seem brighter. It can make a headache go away. Good love can heal the body and the mind. Bad “love” can make nights seem deadly. It can contribute to bad physical health. It is the stress in the stroke just like it’s the worm in the apple. It’s not good for you and we shouldn’t ignore the warning signs.

I’m not saying don’t give people a chance but it’s like that Maya Angelou quote, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Once a person has gotten comfortable in a relationship, you really begin to see them for who they are and you get to decide how or if you move forward. That goes both ways.

So, for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, it may be time to start some heart-to-heart discussions, or it may be time to take a look at who’s in your network and work on setting up a good support system for yourself. Good change takes time and perhaps it’s time to address some of our physical health concerns with some therapeutic conversations.

Proverbs 19:8 says is whoever is sensible loves his own soul and in that understanding we will discover good. Lastly, in that good, let’s define the love we want and the love we give by 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:4-8), which leads such understanding to a good and perfect love for everyone involved.