For a lot of people, the love they experience in their lifetime will always be considered one of their finest achievements. It will be the part of their lives that they cherish most, that they see as the most valuable aspect of their being.
When something is that important to the lives of so many people, it is worth taking it seriously and approaching it with respect when you allow it into yours. If you are lucky enough to have someone who makes your world seem brighter, you owe it to them and to your relationship with them at least that.
That means support and care and trust and, most importantly, honesty.
Honesty with them and honesty with yourself about them and the connection you share. Honesty about all of your feelings, not just the good ones. Honesty about their failings and their flaws and the things you disagree on.
Caring about someone does not mean that you have to pretend that their shortcomings are not there. It does not mean defending them even when they are in the wrong. It doesn’t mean tidying up after the messes they leave in their wake without realising.
Instead, it means being truthful about these things. It means acknowledging their existence and continuing to love that person anyway. It means being open enough with them that you are able to talk to them about their failings. It means helping them to better themselves by allowing them to understand why these problems arise and to help them to find ways of fixing any issues. It means being able to tell them when they are in the wrong. It means helping them to understand the other side of the story.
It means treating them like a human being, with flaws and weaknesses and imperfections, instead of letting your love become blind idolatry.
It means trusting that you don’t need to automatically take their side without considering the situation thoroughly. It means believing in their sense of judgement and morality to such an extent that you can critique their flaws as harshly as you like and trust that you will still find good reason to defend them.
It means that believing that, if they are mistaken, they will listen to your concerns and they will care about what you have to say. It means being able to trust in their judgement. It means having faith in their ability to reason.
It means trusting that they will listen to you if you disagree with them and will consider incorporating your suggestions into their world view.
It means knowing that your connection is strong enough to handle a few disagreements, allowing love and acceptance. It means knowing that you can be frank with each other and know that it doesn’t mean you don’t care about each other still.
Don’t agree with someone because you love them. Love them because you agree with them.
Love means not caring that they’re not perfect. It means, simply, caring.
If you really are stuck in a rut, feel free to check out our library of books we recommend for people with Anxiety, Depression, Stress. We also have books on Buddhism, yoga and more over at Daily Zen’s books page.