Learning to Love Well
Tim Clinton and Pat Springle discuss how we must love ourselves before we can truly love others in a relationship.
Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we...set our hearts at rest in his presence.
-1 John 3:19-20
Living our best life is about learning to love well. We may blame our past, our parents, or our ex, but the key to our future lies with us, not them.
The sad truth is, many of us are still doing relationships like when we were teenagers. You may have incredible fashion sense, amazing skills that landed you a great career, be able to keep an entire household functioning smoothly—and still have neglected your emotional growth and maturity. Minus this important element of who we are meant to be, we’re prone to view ourselves as one-up or one-down—powerful and manip- ulative, or weak and submissive—and fluctuate between the extremes: One moment we’ll control and use others to get what we want. Then we’ll turn around and rescue those we care about from the consequences of their choices. We make people our “project” while we neglect ourselves. We don’t set boundaries. We deny our own feelings or desires and get lost in a spiral of insecurity, self-doubt, and fear.
If any of this describes you, just keep in mind that God longs for us to experience the very best kind of love, joy, and intimacy that we can. In fact, relationships were his idea! So how do we experience healthy, thriving relationships? We start by recognizing that we have a choice to grow up emotionally and develop healthy patterns.
Dr. Sandra Wilson has a theory that says change happens when we consistently make and practice new choices. As an adult, you have a choice in every relationship. You no longer have to live as a victim of other people’s behavior and mistakes, as you may have had to as a child. You do not have to be preoccupied with keeping others happy. You do not have to keep rescuing people. You can be free to love genuinely. To set boundaries. To express your feelings honestly. You can learn to love deeply from the heart and experience safe, satisfying, stable relationships.
It all starts with the decision to be honest with ourselves and pursue a new path.
Excerpted from Break Through by Tim Clinton, © 2012. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. www.worthypublishing.com. Used by permission. Tell us what you thought of this excerpt on Twitter: #BreakThrough @WorthyPub
For more information, visit Tim Clinton’s Web site.