There are so many layers to uncover in one another. You think you know your partner because you’ve fallen in love with them, and they think they know you cause they’ve fallen in love with you…but you only know a layer or two…until you get to the next layer…and the next layer….and the next layer. Sometimes they wont show you the deeper layers, sometimes it takes time for them to let their defenses down, and allow the vulnerable layers to show…but no matter if you are shown the layers or not shown them, in time, all the layers are revealed, you get the center, and know one another fully, or as fully as possible. When you know one another completely, and you make a conscious decision to accept them for who they are, and they do the same for you…this mutual love and acceptance is what is known as true love.
When you first meet…you rush into the other, high from the feeling of falling in love, that intoxicating and joyous beginning where you feel you have finally met the person you are meant to be with….projecting what you want to see to support how you feel, while reveling in the potent feelings of merging…not seeing what you don’t want to see, what you are not ready to see (nature knows what it’s doing with the mating ritual, creating a strong bond in the beginning by making it fun and easy)…until the beginning “honeymoon stage” settles in, laying an initial foundation…for the first challenge to arise…something does not go right or feel right for one or both of you and…
The shadowy sides of the personality emerge, which we all have, right next to our pretty light sides. For example: she gets critical, he gets passive, she gets angry, he gets distant, he doesn’t take action, she isn’t being supportive, she detaches, he blames, he shuts down emotionally, she picks apart, he deflects, she judges, she is not feeling understood, he is not feeling appreciated. Hurt happens and misunderstandings occur, as the two lovers face their first times going through life circumstances together, seeing how each person has their own way of interpreting. Styles chafe. Ugly traits emerge. Fights happen. You see the shadow sides of each other, and in yourself, wondering if you both can own up to your ugly sides, accept them, and work on improving communication, without blaming the other, without anyone putting themselves on a high horse. Both lovers are challenged to see how well they can love when conflicts arise. To see if they can handle each other at their worst. To see if they can own their own issues and work on themselves, while traveling into the shadow side of life…
You also find out, as a relationship develops, where you are not as compatible, and you have to decide to agree to disagree for the sake of the love. For example….one is the analytical heady type while the other is the zen type who doesn’t analyze. Or one person stays up late and sleeps in late while the other goes to bed early and wakes up early. One is fast moving and fiery and the other is mellow and earthy. One makes a lot of money and is career oriented, while the other struggles with the material world. One person likes rock music while the other likes electronic music. He might like camping while you hate it. You might love going out on the town, while she enjoys staying in. You see your differences, and if you both know that differences are natural, you have the opportunity to balance one another out, work as a team and grow.
Love is not enough to make a partnership work long-term. There must be flow. The lovers must be very self-aware, flexible, and able to transform. Very few relationships are perfect from the get go, if any at all. Love requires work just as a beautiful garden is tended to with detailed care and knowledge in order to make it lush and healthy. Every relationship’s flow is different too. Some relationships are more balancing as the two polarize one another, while other relationships are more saturated in similarity of energy. Or you get a mixed bag, areas of polarity and areas of similarity. Perhaps you have the same values and interests but your personalities are polarizing. Or maybe you are both have similar characters, but you have different interests. There are so many different combinations of lovers, you really cannot compare one to another. Once you know how you work as partners, you can find your flow together, and nourish the love to keep it growing and wonderful.
With true love, the two lovers grow more intimate through their challenges, balancing differences, growing as couple and also growing individually. They will learn how the other operates, honor their way, and give their partner what they need even if it’s not what they need themselves. Maybe you go the extra mile on holidays because it means a lot to your partner, even if you don’t really care. Or maybe your partner makes does the laundry while you pay the bills, because it makes it easier for both of you. Both lovers need to know how to take care of the other in balance with care taking the self. If it’s right, you get closer as time goes by, no matter how difficult the struggles get. What does it mean to get closer? You know your partner so well that you can laugh instead of make a big deal. Or if a big deal is made, and hurt happens, you trust that your partner is not trying to hurt you, and you are able to work things out. Trust is key. When the honeymoon is over, trust is your north star, what you want to achieve on a real working level.
Love is not about shopping for groceries. It’s not about getting exactly what you want. Sometimes sacrifices are made. You have to look for the essentials. Everybody’s essentials are different, but i will share with you some of mine: mutual devotion, loyalty, kindness, self-awareness and commitment to heal and grow as individuals, being home for one another, attraction, affection, good communication, openness, verbal expressiveness, physical gestures, romance, warmth, and sense of humor. What am i willing to let go of that is not essential? I won’t share that list, but I have been making it in my head, because I feel it is important to know the difference. You wont get every single trait you want from your true love. We are supposed to get our needs met from other facets of life, not just our partner…but also from friends, jobs, nature, ourselves. Being able to let go of what is not essential is essential in a relationship, because we are not here to shop for love. love is here to school us.
True compatibility is when two people enrich each other, not when two people are exact mirror versions of one another. If you are looking for yourself in a partner, you are being a narcissist really. My advise to everyone is to let go of forcing your lover to be like you. Instead, discover who they are and love them for who they are. Don’t fool yourself into loving who you think they can be! Of course there will be things you don’t like about them, just as there are things you don’t like about yourself. But can you accept what you don’t like? Really accept in your heart? Not just say you do. This is the key. Fully accepting your partner for who they are is the foundation of a strong true love relationship. And of course, you first must be able to accept yourself to accept somebody else. This is 101. Many of us learn about self love when we hit challenges in our relationships. Self love tells you the difference between accepting your partner and settling.
The difference between accepting your partner fully and settling is this: if you can understand, honor, and meet the needs of your partner’s heart (self loving), and they can understand, honor, and meet the needs of your heart, you are not settling. Plain and simple. If you are sacrificing your needs to meet the needs of your partner (not self loving), or they are doing that for you…then you are settling, and you need to let go and move on, because the relationship is based on co-dependency which has its roots in lack of self love. True love does mean that everything about the relationship is easy and perfect. Maybe your sexual connection needs work. Maybe you need to work on communication. Or perhaps practical struggles arise, and the balance of give and take momentarily gives way, as you work as a team to keep each other afloat. Problems don’t equal settling. Problems are challenges that urge the two lovers to think in a new way, try new approaches, heal, and become new.
Finding out if it’s true love, is a journey. It takes time and experiences, both fun and hard, dark and light, to truly uncover all the layers and get to the meat and bones. Don’t hate the dark times and struggles. They are golden. They will reveal to you how strong your relationship is. Don’t be afraid to fight, or get hurt. Don’t think it’s supposed to be all smiles and laughter. Embrace the hard times, the hurt, the fights. Embrace the journey without thinking of it as a win or lose game. True love either is, or is not, you can’t force it. Be brave. Observe how the two of you get along. If you get closer to one another over time, if you honor and meet the needs of your two beautiful hearts, and if you accept and value your differences and balance one another out…then you are true loves, if you choose to be. No need to place blame on the partners who are not true love. No need to go into harsh dramas. Let go and forgive the past with as much grace as you can. Say thank you. Be flexible.
The journey of true love asks you to see with an open heart and eyes, be able to humble yourself and apologize. Don’t force circles into squares. Share your feelings. Avoid ruts, laziness, inertia. Genuinely learn about yourself and your partner in the now, verses assuming you know everything, and bringing your past relationships into the present one. Observe your compatibility and be honest about it. See how you handle each other, as life doles out the challenges. The simplest part is the love. You know you love him. He knows he loves you. You know you love her. She knows she loves you. But can you nurture the love? And is the love compatible for a long-term domestic partnership? Are you and your partner mature enough? Aware enough? These are the questions as you journey….
Might as well dissolve the false illusion that love is a walk into the sunset, for that easy breezy fairy tale is not real. Let’s get real and make love beautiful for what it is, messy and radiant, dark and light, complex and simplistic, all of it, the whole shebang. Most of all, love is resilient. True love requires a continual working partnership, it’s not a static possession to put on the shelf of achievements. True love means sharing your essence and your life completely, providing a safe place to call home in the heart of the other. True love also provides an immense challenge, as two lovers make space for personal growth by acting as mirrors for what needs healing and transforming in the other. Putting your hands in the dark soil, while your souls embrace a feeling of loving each other forever, is a delicate balancing act that nourishes the eternal spirit of love, by tending to the daily garden of earthly reality.