Category Archives: Relationship

Discover How to Empathize to Men and Relationships

Books and articles about how to love your man are everywhere. If you truly want to make your boyfriend happy, the key is to understand men and relationships. While women are seen as the more sentimental partner, know that men have feelings, too. Children have been socialized based on society’s views that men have learned to suppress their emotions to become more “masculine.”

This article contains tips on how to empathize with men and how to develop a healthy relationship.


The first step at empathizing with your boyfriend is accepting him for who he is, even if he has flaws and annoying habits. Accepting him for who he is means recognizing and understanding all his strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see things from his perspective.

Unconditional love is the best kind of love you can give anyone. When you love your partner despite his faults, you will be able to provide the love he has been longing for.

Place Yourself in His Shoes

When your boyfriend is in a bad spot, it’s not easy to give advice, especially when you don’t see the other side or the whole picture. Instead, imagine what he’s going through and ask yourself what you’d do in his circumstance. It’s okay to give your say, but become a listening ear as well. Be encouraging as much as possible.

Be Sensitive to His Moods

Tact is the word. Don’t just prattle on thinking that he won’t be offended with your words, whether you’re having a tiff or not. Also, beware when talking about yourself to no end. It’s pointless to talk if he has “switched off” and doesn’t want to listen anymore.

Give Him Some Space

Sometimes, it’s better to not talk at all or communicate at a later time. Don’t be afraid to ask your boyfriend if he needs some space. Some men aren’t blunt about telling you that they need time to be with themselves. If things aren’t looking very well, offer some space. This way, both of you will be able to sort things out.

Be Thoughtful and Sweet

Any guy would easily fall for a girl, that can sweetly charm her way to his heart. Most men look forward to coming home to a sweet partner after a bad day. Comfort him and show him that you care.

Healing Family Relationships

Bringing healing to family relationships can be one of the most difficult aspects of the spiritual healing process. The reason for this is that we choose to incarnate within our specific families for the purpose of healing and growth, which often challenges us deeply to the core of our being. For many of us it may feel as though healing is exactly the opposite of what we are receiving with our families, as we endure the difficulties and limitations of our relationships with our parents and siblings.

Before incarnating, we choose families which can bring to the surface specific issues and themes that our soul wishes to explore, learn about and heal. Often these issues are challenging and bring to the surface discomfort that we would prefer go avoid rather than face. Some people deal with this discomfort by placing blame on their parents or the situation they were born into, which provides a temporary outlet for the emotional pain they have experienced, but ultimately prevents the free flow of love, light and healing in the heart.

As we grow personally and spiritually, there comes a time when we are called to release ourselves from the emotional pain we have carried from our childhood. There are steps in this process, which may taker a shorter or longer time, or which may involve many lifetimes of learning.

The first step we take is to become conscious of the pain we are carrying. If we have repressed these feelings, they will emerge when we are ready to face them. Sometimes an event such as an illness or a loss can illuminate feelings we have buried or forgotten. Once we become conscious of the pain and allow ourselves to simply feel it, healing can begin. Being with the pain, and bringing it before God is an essential part of the process. In this way we are not alone, as the divine Creator who is All sees, hears and feels with us. This can be done with prayer, intention, meditation, creative expression, or any way that resonates.

Once we have become more conscious of the pain we carry, the next step involves the willingness to let go of our pain. Though on the surface it may seem strange to want to hold onto pain, there are many deep emotions that can become entrenched within us, and wrapped around our sense of self. We unconsciously hold on to the pain, because it is all we have ever known. For example, if we are carrying anger, hurt or betrayal, we are asked to forgive and to move on. If we were the victim of abuse or neglect, we are asked to let go of our anger, and our entitlement to be angry. This part of the process cannot be rushed, which is why it is so important to be willing to feel our emotions fully first. Once this happens, the next step of healing naturally unfolds.

Once we have traversed these steps of becoming conscious, feeling our pain, and being willing to let it go, then we are fully available to receive a deep and complete healing. As we voluntarily empty ourselves of those things we’ve been holding onto, more of God’s love and light can enter our heart, mind and body. The pathways of life begin to open up and reveal new directions, new possibilities, and new choices. Our hearts begin to open and love blossoms, forgiveness becomes a way of being, and spiritual awareness awakens within us. These are the gifts that come through healing family relationships, a heart full of love and trust, unencumbered by the pain of the past.

Got Healthy, Happy Relationships?

How do you create love and respect in a relationship when the other person isn’t supporting the process? If you’re like most people, you care a great deal about the people you’re in some kind of relationship with. You might want to be compassionate and be able to listen to them in a caring way, but it might seem like the other person isn’t trying to help the situation or that they’re being negative or interacting in less than productive ways. Does any of this sound familiar? If so you’re probably feeling confused, frustrated, and perhaps even guilty about not being able to be nicer to this person you care about.

Misunderstanding compassion

We believe these feelings come from misunderstanding the true meanings of compassion and caring. Here’s what we mean: in many people’s minds empathy and compassion are often associated with self-sacrifice or selflessness. People think that if you are a compassionate person you ALWAYS behave compassionately and are able to listen caringly – no matter how you feel. This can be especially difficult when embroiled in a relationship that is creating hurt feelings and other kinds of emotional pain.

The notion that one should be selfless and just sacrifice their feelings for the sake of getting along is far from the truth as we see it. Most people want to cultivate compassion and learn empathic listening to enhance their relationships, to create closeness and understanding. This can only happen when you actually want to do this, when empathizing with the other person is the most wonderful thing you can imagine doing in that moment.

Also, empathy is not just something we offer other people. We find that many people don’t understand how to use self-empathy – listening caringly to yourself. Yet it’s a vital ingredient in learning to understand yourself in order to stay true to what’s most important to you. And these are essential building blocks for creating closeness and understanding with others.

Empathy is not always beneficial

If you attempt to listen empathically to another person when you would much rather be doing something else, two things are likely to happen. First, you’ll probably feel resentment and become judgmental about that person and their behavior. This happens because you’re not being honest with yourself; you’d rather be doing something else but because of some idea that you should listen compassionately to this person no matter what, you go against your own desires.

When this happens, it is easy to begin blaming them for the lack of happiness you feel with thoughts such as, if they would only … stop complaining, think positively, get a different job, stop being so negative, get some friends … or any number of other ideas you believe would help the relationship.

Second, whenever you listen to someone with these kinds of negative thoughts running around in your head, they are sure to detect the resentment and judgmental attitude sooner or later. This will create just the opposite of the understanding and closeness you hope for and will continue to tear down any hope of a healthy, happy relationship.

Following, NOT sacrificing, your feelings

In dealing with a situation like this start by giving yourself permission NOT to empathize, not to just throw your emotional pain out the window in the spirit of self sacrifice. Be honest with yourself about how you feel and what’s most important to you in each moment. Never attempt to be empathetic unless it’s the most wonderful thing you can imagine doing in that moment.

We suggest you start using your emotions as your guide in knowing when to empathize and when to step away. Being true to what would give you joy in the moment is one of the most important first steps you can take not only to get along, but to create the closeness and understanding you want.

When you begin to be more honest with yourself about how you are and what you want, it’s easier to accept others as they are. This is the key to saving your relationship if it’s lacking love and respect. Practicing this requires many more understandings and skills than we can go into here. However, we would like to offer you two practical exercises we believe will improve a situation in which one party is not able to cooperate in the way you want them to.

Exercise One:
Since we’re positive that what you focus your attention on grows, we recommend you begin making lists of the other party’s positive qualities, the things you enjoy about them, what you are grateful for about them. These can be things from the past or present, and nothing is too small to include.

When you’ve completed the initial list, any time you feel uncomfortable or hear yourself beginning to judge the other person, take out your list and read it. When you’re done reading it, add at least one more thing to the list.

Exercise Two: 
Cultivate more joy in your life. To do this you must be very clear about what is most important to you–what you value most deeply in specific situations–what qualities bring joy to your life. Once you do this investigation, narrowed your list of values down to the three qualities that would bring you the most joy in your current situation, come up with at least two things that you can start doing right now that will help you experience more of these qualities in your life.

For example, if you do the values investigation and find that connection with people brings you a lot of joy, you might come up with a list of friends you can call when you’re not able to get the quality of connection you want from the troubling relationship. If you find that play and exercise are important, plan ways you can have more play or exercise with your children or friends.

This shift in your relationship starts when you realize that your happiness does not depend on others’ actions and that you can stay true to yourself and find alternative ways to experience what you value. We are confident that this shift will help you have less resentment and dissatisfaction, will greatly improve your ability to be compassionate and listen empathically, and boost the love and respect of experience in all your relationships.

So let’s recap:
1. Pay more attention to how you are and what you want most (Practice Self Empathy).
2. Focus more on what you can be grateful for about the other party.
3. Take responsibility for bringing the qualities that cultivate joy into your life.

Stages of Relationships

In this short article I would like to discuss with you the subject of men: how to understand and deal with them, and how to live with them. In another article coming soon, I will look at women, and how to have a good, solid relationship with the female of the species.

Let us talk about the stages of relationships to start with. You may have noticed that the above title is backwards. The proper stages of relationships that you should follow are Understanding Men, Love, and then perhaps Marriage.

Men (and women) are complex, ever-changing things that you cannot hope to ever fully understand, and then relax. It is a continuous work in progress to watch him, figure him out (but not psych him out!), think, note his likes, dislikes, reactions, level of maturity, and so on. Of course, he should be doing the same for you. This will make for a harmonious, happy relationship.

Women want a man who is strong, confident and mature. So while you are dating, observe closely. Is he spoiled? Selfish? Does he sometimes let his guard down and act like a little boy? Perhaps it was disguised as a joke, but watch out. It can take a year or more of frequent dating before the real nature and temperament of your partner emerges.

It is worth remembering as well that men can be just as vulnerable and emotional as women. Men know they are supposed to be strong and supportive. But sometimes they need help too. Needing or asking for help is not a sign of weakness, or a character defect. On the contrary, it shows a good level of adult maturity, to know when to ask for help and not be ashamed of it.

You know very well that you should not stay with a man who abuses you. I do not need to tell you that, I hope! But what about the guy who is a little more crafty, and not so obvious? Does your man constantly criticize you and put you down, especially in front of family and friends? You may think this behavior is foolish and sad, and just tolerate it.

However, there is more to it than that. It is in fact, a large red flag being waved in your face, so do not dismiss it. A man who behaves in this manner is chock full of insecurities and emotional problems. He is dumping his issues on you because you are handy and convenient, and usually will not fight back. In this way, he escapes having to actually deal with these problems himself.

As an aside, fighting back vigorously in such a situation might make you feel better, but it will only make things worse. This man needs to see a counselor or psychologist quick, and get straightened out, if possible. You cannot do this yourself unless you actually are a psychologist yourself, and maybe not even then, so do not try.

The important point is, a man who often acts in an abusive, childish or emotionally immature manner is damaged goods. Steer clear and find someone else, before you find yourself accepting the blame for his problems and getting messed up yourself. He wants you to feel as bad about yourself as he feels about himself.

If you stay in such a relationship, he will succeed. You will soon feel guilty and inadequate, and lack confidence in yourself, for all the wrong reasons. Or, actually, for no reason at all. Put some effort into watching your man in the first few months of your relationship. Think carefully and remember what happens. There are always warning signs in a bad relationship, sooner rather than later.

Do not ignore them, thinking they will go away. They will not. On the contrary, they will usually get worse with time. To achieve a happy ending, you must go through the stages of relationships in their proper order. Understanding should come first, no matter how madly in love with him you are.

You know very well that most folks are on their best behavior in the early stages of love and dating. Do not be in too much of a rush to get married or move in with him. She who hesitates is sometimes saved. Be patient and become a keen observer with a sharp memory. It will pay off bigtime in the long run.

Is Your Relationship Love or Pity

If you are in a relationship and you just feel that something is missing, then you owe it to yourself and your partner to take a close look at what is taking place in your life with your partner at this time. The very real question that is going to have to be answered at the end of your assessing this situation is whether your relationship is based on love or pity.

The individual that you are spending your life with may be your best friend, and the problem is they may not be your lover. It may not be the individual that you are able to have a passionate relationship with that has that deep rooted love that having a partner brings. The individual may be a very close friend that you feel comfortable discussing things with, and sharing your problems with, and having a good time with, but the relationship ends there. If you are not feeling that tug in your heart each time you are with them or looking for them and counting the minutes to when you are going to see them again, then there may be something missing that you need to bring back into your relationship if it’s possible.

You may know within yourself that this is not the person that you had thought that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, but don’t want to hurt them by ending the relationship. So you are now, in your heart, accepting second best even though this is a top rate person. You are not being fair to them or yourself to allow this to continue. It is something that you need to bring out in the open, and many times when this happens it turns out that there has just been something affecting the relationship that can be rectified, and the passion now returns to the marriage or partnership.

Many times with a hectic pace of life, or one or the other going their separate ways without realizing it, they have become selfish in the relationship and have taken the marriage for granted. Sometimes doing a reality check is all that it takes. Then this may not be the case, and it turns out that you are truly in the relationship because of pity. This is where you need to ask yourself, do you want to spend the rest of your life this way, or do you want to give each of you a chance of finding the true love and happiness in a relationship that you expect out of life.

Is There an Anger Problem in Your Relationship

Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But
to be angry with the right person, to the right
degree, at the right time, for the right purpose
and in the right way… that is not easy.

For around three years, my husband and I have participated in a couples’ enrichment program. As members of the core team, I was misguided in thinking our sole responsibility would be to share our experience, strength and hope. We were additionally required to dissect our own relationship in areas of communication, pinpoint our need for growth and apply the program’s tools to slowly move forward. (Ouch!) The lesson on anger was an unavoidable hot topic that Scott and I had wrestled with over the years. Many of our worst memories from those hostile times had been brushed under the rug, taking the opportunity for growth and healing with them.

In sharing a brief synopsis of our dealings with anger, I’ll be stepping out on a limb in an effort to relate to those with similar struggles. We have been lucky to encounter people who could guide us forward and teach us tools. Yes, most couples fight; within reason, disagreeing can be quite useful in conflict resolution and moving on to healthy decision-making. However, anger can also be a toxic, painful, heartbreaking practice that strips away at any positive emotional foundation a couple shares. The damage burrows deeper than the initial wrongdoing ever would have had the power to do. Knowing this from experience, I would like to touch on what we have learned. Most importantly: Left unaddressed, anger has the power to take from us everything that we treasure.

There are two identifiable extremes when dealing with anger, neither of which is healthy. One person may choose to hold in or ‘stuff’ their feelings to avoid conflict or keep the peace. Another, having little ability to take that route, might let loose, blow up, saying and doing things they will later regret. Men and women can vacillate between the two and couples can include any combination of these behaviors.

It is important to note that anger is an emotion which, like all emotions, is neither right nor wrong; it is the behavior that accompanies it that can be unacceptable. So, learning to deal with anger in a healthy way was something we had to be taught. We have come a long way over the years; but, this is where we began…

In my adult life, I’ve never been a stuffer. I learned early on in my relationships, men would prefer I quiet down. For them, the silent treatment would have been a blessing, so the rebel in me embraced the opposite behavior. When a situation erupted, I would lash out verbally, throw things, slam doors and take off in the car, tires squealing. Over the years, working on myself in a 12 step program toned that down… slowly. Early on when things blew up with Scott, I would angrily say things like, “Are you #%$*& kidding me? That’s a bunch of &#@%! You’re nothing but a %*&@! I’m sick of your #@%$!” Words that cut and scar, drive away or infuriate beyond measure.

Seething anger on the verge of explosion has a life of its own. Did you ever look into the eyes of a man and know/feel that he really wanted to hit you? I mean knock you out??? Some men will; some men would never. In my younger years, I had been in relationships with both. Without shouldering total blame, even I realized that I was the common denominator. There was something about the way I communicated that drove men insane! If I wanted to partner with Scott in a long-term, loving relationship, it was up to me to honestly discover what that was.

For starters, I could never keep my mouth shut. If an angry thought popped into my head, it spewed out of my mouth like dragon fire… no filter, no caution… forget counting to ten! Cleaning up my mouth was a good place to start. A man once told me, “Cussing is a crutch for conversational cripples.” Ouch!! But there was truth in his statement. I used profanity when I couldn’t or wouldn’t find the words to express my true feelings. It always put Sam on the defensive and made things worse. Just taking every nasty word I wouldn’t use in daily conversation out of an argument diffused it quite a bit.

Next, it was suggested that I look at all the accusations I threw around. YOU, YOU, YOU! If Scott is the only problem in our relationship, then I’m in trouble, because I’ve learned I can’t change him. I can only control my own actions. At first, looking inward was a foreign concept, next to impossible! It was an eye opener to own the harsh nature of my verbal attacks and my insane focus on Scott’s need to change that was fueled by my own self-righteousness. “I was wrong” and “I’m sorry” could be soothing balm for our broken condition, but for years they stayed chained to my pride and ego, never being spoken.

Unresolved anger is the most dangerous marital problem I feel we’ve confronted. It would invariably spin into feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of leaving or divorce. We are both capable of out of control behavior that can do devastating damage. Ironically, handled with some simple tools, we have seen it can be diffused before it escalates. Acknowledging the warning signs of a raised voice, tense muscles or a knot in my stomach, gives me the cue to take a breath, bite my tongue and walk away if necessary. Tabling an issue and making a specific time to talk later, after we’ve had time to cool off and reflect, has saved us from ourselves many times.

We both wanted to communicate our feelings and be heard by the other; but once out of control, our anger made that impossible. One of us may have had a valid concern to begin with, but lacking the skills to communicate effectively would leave us furious. Eventually, the original issue would take a back seat to the unacceptable behavior that overshadowed it. We learned through the pain of failure and the fear of causing irreparable damage that we could not get rid of our anger problem ourselves. Seeking out advice, suggestions and specific tools to apply where our old ways failed were vital steps necessary for making changes.

I am humbled to admit the reality of our past, but I am genuinely proud that we faced our inadequacies and found ways to rise above them. We are and forever will be a work in progress. Knowing positive change is possible, we encourage others to be open to taking the tough steps that can bring peace and contentment back into areas which may seem hopeless. I don’t believe a relationship can maintain itself on a daily basis; we are either building it up or tearing it down. It is a choice; my choice; our choice. We are resigned to the fact that there will always be more for us to learn! But we believe having to rebuild after something is totally demolished is much more difficult than taking care of the required maintenance a day at a time.

Dating Relationships

Love is not just how we fell towards another person. It is not the only up-thrust into a dating relationship. It is also a matter of how we express our feelings to them. We all follow the trends in love craze and sing along the most romantic love songs. Sometimes our love lives take a turn that we never thought possible. The reason why this happens is manly because many people fail to investigate their own love, personality and knowledge while looking for someone with whom you are compatible.

When people of opposite sex meet for the first time and there is something between them suggesting the crown of dating relationships, something closer to mutual interest in each other, the attraction is often overwhelming. The appreciation of the love life comes from both parties and it appears nothing will ever bring the love birds apart.

Then there comes the question that has nagged mankind for generations. Why does love wane so quickly? Couples will appear to have suddenly turned into archrivals with accusations of unfaithfulness and neglecting of responsibilities. The spouses stop giving and start to make demands. This love trend may continue at the same rate but may sometimes differ in different partners depending on their character traits. Since dating relationships do not regard the right way to fall in love, no one can claim to have a prescription. How you meet is of little importance. Most perfect couples meet in the oddest circumstances.

The extent to which lovers maintain creativity without appearing to look unnatural could be debated. It is difficult to know the personality of your lover during the dating period. A person will always take care not to behave in a manner that may make them appear unkind or undesirable. The only trait that comes out clearly is that concerning sex, love and romance in all dating relationships. There is a risk of someone faking a desirable personality only to change a few days after marriage.

A lot of observation is called for, plus a keen interest in the person’s background as well as the motives that motivate the individual’s behavior during the dating period. The ideas you have concerning love and romance. You have to be keen on observation meaning your consciousness has to be always on the alert. Dating relationships do call for carefulness. For instance, if you like going out in the beach and when you suggest this to your partner she readily agrees, you may not succeed in knowing what her likes are. You need to know what else she likes apart from going to the beach. She may not even like going there at all.

Find out about the things that tickle a sense of belonging in her. Know what she would rather die than do and know what annoys her most. Use this knowledge to tell if you are a match for her or not. Knowledge of these things helps in figuring not only the love personality of your prospective spouse but also your own, which fits you in the line of dating relationships that might lead to something more. If you are the kind of a person who is always fascinated by the meaning of things and not the things themselves, you will have a difficult time trying to impress a person who accepts things the way they are without delving into their meaning.

Rebound Relationships

Is your ex dating someone else after you just broke up? The fact is, your ex is trying to get over you and not deal with the emotions of the break up.They are trying to forget about the real love. This is one of those times when love really stinks.

The rebound relationship is often used to try and deal with losing someone that they really love. Does it matter who’s fault it was? Or why? Does it matter who put an end to the relationship? I don’t think so. What really matters is the true love between you.

Relationships that are founded on true love have the ability to be saved.

Most often, if an ex is in a rebound relationship they are focusing on what went wrong with your relationship. They will try to have a “reverse relationship”. What?….If your a nice person, they will probably spend time with someone who is opposite. If you are into sports or “Desperate House Wives”, they will probably attach themselves to someone that into computers or someone that loves “The Sound Of Music”.

Here’s the opportunity. Your ex is focusing attention on you and you are now able to determine what your ex is looking for. Otherwise, if your ex is with someone completely different then you, there must be something missing in your own relationship. Find out what it is and you will find the way to get your ex back.

More than likely your ex will find that the re bounder has flaws and will recall the many reasons why they are in love with you. You have to give it time. TIME…….that’s another one for Love Stinks. Let the ex develop the memories and missing the great things in the relationship.

At this point you have to be cautious. When the opportunity comes back at you, don’t immediately jump on top of it.

· Don’t try to convince your ex that you are the love of her life. Let them discover this on themselves.
· Don’t apologize over and over. Your ex already know why reason for loving you.
· Promising to change is a big mistake. Your ex is in love with who you are.
· Don’t even bring up the subject of who’s fault the break up was. Pure waste of energy and time.
· If you beg your ex to take you back, you should probably get that tattoo on your forehead that says “STUPID”.

Your Primary Spiritual Relationship

Popular culture is focused on attracting love, yet you’ll only be able to receive as much love as you give to yourself. You’ll deflect or guard love that doesn’t resonate with you – like a compliment you don’t believe. The opposite is also true. You’ll allow others to abuse you a bit less than you abuse yourself. So if you desire lasting love, learn to love yourself, because your relationships will parallel your relationship with yourself.

The subject of love interested me from an early age after reading Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. I was still young and unconscious of my feelings about myself. For years, the concept of loving myself eluded me. Like many on a spiritual path, I became very good at compassion for others, but had no idea what self-love meant. Little by little, I’ve learned that it starts with self-esteem, self-acceptance, and finally compassion and love – all progressive stages.


Most people determine their worth based upon other-esteem. They seek approval and validation from others, and their opinion of themselves isn’t very high unless they get it. True self-esteem isn’t based on what others think of you, since its Self-esteem. It’s basically what you think of yourself. You may think well of yourself and your competence in some areas, but not in others, and your estimation may fluctuate with illness and life’s ups and downs, but if you have good self-esteem, you’ll return to feeling good about yourself. You won’t blame yourself, nor take others’ opinions or what fate throws you too personally. You’ll think you’re an okay person despite losses, ill heath, mistakes, and rejection. Many people focus on their flaws and have trouble acknowledging their assets. Others have inflated, unrealistic opinions of themselves. Studies contend that narcissists have high self-esteem. I say they lack true self-esteem, because when a major loss occurs, their self-esteem can plummet, especially if it’s in areas that support their self-concept, such as beauty, public acclaim, or material success. The biggest obstacle to self-esteem is self-criticism.


Unlike self-esteem which varies, self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. You accept yourself despite your flaws, failures, and limitations. You’re more self-forgiving and let go of self-judgment. Instead of comparing yourself to others, both positively and negatively, you appreciate your singular individuality. You feel that you’re enough without having to improve upon yourself.

Self-acceptance works wonders. Once you start accepting yourself, you gradually stop worrying what others think and become more spontaneous and natural. Self-acceptance is what allows you to be authentic. You can finally relax, and allow more of the inner, real you to be seen. You’ll have no shame or fear of revealing yourself when you accept yourself unconditionally.


Whereas self-esteem is an evaluation and acceptance is an attitude, love combines both feeling and action. Contrary to what many believe, self-love is healthy. It’s neither selfish, nor self-indulgent, and neither egotism, nor narcissism. Actually, egotists and narcissists don’t love themselves at all. A “big ego” is compensation for lack of self-love. Most people think too little of themselves, not too much, and often falling in love is merely a compensation for inner emptiness, loneliness, and shame. No wonder most relationships fail (including those who stay together). Erich Fromm correctly pointed out that love is an art form that takes dedication and practice, not something you win or fall into. Rather, being able to love is a faculty to be developed. It entails effort and begins with learning to love yourself.

Fromm contended that Western society has been influenced by the Calvinist belief that we’re basically sinful, and thus self-love was considered sinful. But since the Bible says, “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” how can loving your neighbor be a virtue and self-love be a vice? You’re part of humanity as worthy of love as the next person. Many kind or religious people are able to love others, but unable to love themselves. They believe having a high regard for themselves is indulgent, conceited, arrogant, or selfish. The opposite is true. The greater is your love of self, the greater will be your love of others. The inverse is also true; hatred of others is indicative of self-hatred.

In a relationship when you love someone, you try to understand their experience and world view, although it differs from your own. You offer your attention, respect, support, compassion, and acceptance. Your caring involves knowledge, responsibility and commitment. These virtues are not compartmentalized, because love is indivisible. Thus, as you develop these abilities, your capacity to love yourself and others grows.

Developing the faculties of attention and compassion that are key to intimacy, necessitate discipline and time. To learn anything requires that you desire it and find it worthy of your effort. Although self-love is certainly an important goal, our society is full of distractions, and its emphasis on speed, performance, and productivity make developing self-love a challenge. Meditation, yoga, martial arts are helpful in learning self-awareness and focusing attention.

Compassion for yourself enables you to witness your feelings, thoughts, and actions with acceptance, caring, and understanding as you would when empathizing with another. Compassion is expressed with gentleness, tenderness, and generosity of spirit – quite the opposite of self-criticism, perfectionism, and pushing oneself. When most people are stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted, they attempt to do even more, instead of caring for themselves. If you weren’t nurtured as a child, self-nurturing can be absorbed in therapy over time. You’ll learn to integrate the acceptance and empathy offered by your therapist. Self-compassion differs from self-pity, which is a judgment about your situation or feelings. Rather than acceptance and compassion, self-pity says, “It shouldn’t be this way.”

Fromm states that self-love entails faith and courage to take risks and overcome life’s setbacks and sorrows. Faith in yourself enables you to comfort yourself and face challenges and failures without lapsing into worry or judgment. You develop the ability to see yourself objectivity and know you’ll survive, despite present emotions. If you constantly seek validation and reassurance from others, you miss the opportunity to develop these internal functions. As knowledge is pre-requisite to love, spending time alone with yourself is essential to identify and listen to your feelings with sensitivity and empathy. Acquiring the ability to witness and contain your emotions are also faculties learned in meditation and psychotherapy. This is crucial to intimacy because it enables you to be present to love and have compassion for others.

Perhaps you’ve concluded that learning self-love isn’t easy. Look at it this way. Throughout the day, you’re confronted with many opportunities to disregard or attune to your feelings, to judge or to honor them, to keep commitments and be responsible to yourself, and to act in accordance with your needs, values, and feelings. You have an opportunity to learn self-love all the time. Every time you talk yourself down, doubt yourself, exhaust yourself, dismiss your feelings or needs, or act against your values, you undermine your self-esteem. The reverse is also true. You might as well make healthier choices, because you and all your relationships will benefit.

Steps to a Good Relationship

Do you need to find a few steps to a good relationship? Have you been casually dating for a long time, but with steps to a good relationship you’d be able to turn that into a commitment? Have you been dumped so many times, you just know you have to find steps to a good relationship before you even try to hook up with another guy?

Most people just dive into a relationship without a clue how love, romance and commitment work. We just kind of muddle our way through it hoping things will work out for the best.

For the most part, things don’t work out at all. If you want a better chance at making something out of your next romance, read these steps to a good relationship.


Look around and you’ll probably find a lot of tricky ways to trap a guy. Embellishments, fibs and outright lies are often suggested into order to make the guy think he’s dating someone who doesn’t even exist.

Honestly? How can you hope to build a strong relationship based on lies?

If you do choose to fib, make sure it’s about something trivial and inconsequential. Hiding something, like the fact that you don’t want children when you know very well that he does can be a disaster.

Mutual Respect

If you really want this relationship to go in the right direction, remember to maintain a high level of respect for him. It’s so easy to lapse into a war of words over everything and anything and the constant bickering can take its toll.

Once you realize you’re in love with this man, continue to show it.

Basic Commonalities

Many couples try to convince themselves that their love will carry them through any and all problems, including basic differences in one another. Certain differences work out great, they’re even welcomed. These are the cases in which you could say one mate completes the other.

He’s outspoken where she’s timid. He’s a great cook, while she’s loves to do laundry. He would spend every red penny until they lost everything if it wasn’t for her wise money sense. These couples blend together well and make for strong unions.

But if you love the country while he feels invigorated by the city, or if family is vitally important to you, but he wants no kids at all, there’s little chance your relationship will survive.

More often than not, the person asked to make the huge sacrifice ends up resenting it and the relationship fizzles out.

Keep it Hot

Couples who’ve been together for a long time and still thrive will tell you that they keep their sex life fun and exciting. Whether it’s through games, dressing up, playing roles or making movies, they’re constantly conscience of the importance sex plays in the relationship.

It’s not a simple matter of sexual satisfaction, which is important in itself, but it’s also the intimate connection; everything that leads up to sex and everything that follows it.

Don’t neglect this important aspect of your romance.