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5 Common Misconceptions About Love

5 Common Misconceptions About Love

We all think we know what love is, but when times get rocky and relationships get rough, the gaps in our knowledge can become crippling. Don’t fall for these five common mistakes.

1. Love is a 50/50 partnership

Many people view love as a two-way street, with each person receiving affection in proportion to what’s been given out. It’s true that love often breeds love in return, but expecting a measured response for each gesture of affection is unrealistic. Worse, it leads to score keeping and the constant feeling that one is doing either too much or too little.

The reality is more like a series of candles, each lighting the others. Some candles are large, some are small. One person’s 80% may glow dimmer than someone else’s 20%. Sometimes we pour love in a constant stream toward someone who is not yet able to give it back. Try to give 60%, 70%, or even 100% in every relationship you are part of. You never know which candle may be just a few seconds away from sparking.

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2. Loving someone means never letting go

We all make sacrifices for the people we love, but there’s a big difference between changing your plans for someone else’s benefit and allowing yourself to be swallowed up in self-destructive behaviors that benefit no one.

Remember that sacrifice is about exchanging something of worth for an outcome we value even more. Like a chess player giving up a pawn in order to advance his queen, we let go of our own desires in order to improve the well-being of those we love. If our selfless gestures fail to achieve this goal, they cease being sacrifices and become waste.

You never have to stop caring about someone. But sometimes, for your own safety and sanity, it’s important to step away, regain perspective, and create an environment that allows everyone to grow.

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    3. Being loved cures loneliness

    No one likes to feel alone. Feelings of isolation can become crippling, like an all-consuming whirlwind that funnels into a black pit of despair. When you’re trapped in that pit, it’s easy to feel that if someone – anyone – would just care about you, things would get better.

    The truth is that people do care. They just haven’t figured out how to say it in a way that gets past the whirlwind. They want to help, but they can’t. No amount of love poured in from outside can fill up the aching chasm of loneliness.

    Fortunately, there is hope. Often the chasm can be filled from the inside – not by being loved, but by loving other people. Reach out, be honest, share what you are feeling and express your sincere desire for the welfare of others. You may be surprised at what happens next.

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    4. True love knows no bounds

    It’s not easy to be trapped between the people you care about and the choice you know is right. Many of us have stood in that difficult place and listened with heavy hearts to the inevitable words: “If you really loved me, you would do what I ask.”

    Loving someone doesn’t mean giving them everything they want. One of the most difficult, empowering, and life-changing expressions of love is the willingness to say no.

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      5. Love is blind

      Love isn’t about pretending not to notice problems. It’s about seeing problems, understanding them, and forging onward despite them. It’s about seeing people for who they are and who they can become. It’s about acknowledging imperfections and choosing not to make a fuss about them.

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      When problems arise, don’t ignore them. Instead have the courage to say, “This sucks, but we can fix it.” Try to view your loved ones as partners in the search for a solution, and not as the source of the problem.

      Love is not blind. Love sees, and it makes us feel safe to be seen.

      Featured photo credit: taliesin via morguefile.com

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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