I want somebody to make me happy. This is what I used to tell myself each time I was looking for a new relationship.
At the time, I didn’t see a problem with the statement. I didn’t realize how it was taking away my emotional strength, how I can stay strong in relationship and how it was contributing to attachment to the wrong people.
This mantra made me run into relationship problems, the most notable of them being:
- The behavior of partners didn’t correspond to my expectations, hence – disappointment
- I was looking for an external source of happiness instead of tackling my insecurities
- I was comparing my relationships to what others had, building a false ideal
- The placement of happiness in somebody else’s hands contributed to feeling week and lost
Eventually, I came across a powerful Marcus Auerlius quote:
“You have power over your mind―not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
While far from a life-changing eye opener, this quote had me questioning my previous behavior. If you don’t have the emotional strength on the inside, can you rely on somebody else to build you up? Can you give another person all of the control over your experiences, your thoughts and ultimately- your happiness?
The answer is negative. Building emotional strength in a relationship is the key to the strong foundations that make a partnership last. While it’s not easy to accomplish, I believe this internal strength is of paramount importance for balance and harmony when sharing your life with someone else. How to be strong in a relationship? Let’s try to find the answer.
Understand the Traits of Emotional Strength
Emotional strength is a pretty vague concept. This is why I eventually started exploring the characteristics that emotionally strong people share.
Emotionally-strong people recognize their needs and they’re also capable of verbalizing those. They don’t wait for somebody else to shape up the reality that will eventually make them happy.
In addition, an emotionally-strong person is not seeking short-term gratification. They know that relationships go through ups and downs. They don’t allow a setback to discourage them from pursuing a long-term partnership with someone worthy.
Emotional strength contributes to a higher level of flexibility, an ease in terms of accepting the inevitable and an open mind that allows people to learn from their mistakes. This is the type of person I wanted to become. It was up to me to determine how.
Determine Your Current Emotional Strength
You have many weaknesses but there’s also strength hidden inside you. Realize this fact in order to avoid relationship disappointment the next time around.
To determine your current emotional strength, you’ll have to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you consider yourself a happy person? Do you need someone to give you happiness?
Are you easily upset when things don’t go your way?
Do you experience rapid mood swings that can be attributed to the behavior of others?
Do you tend to make a relationship your entire world?
Are you a jealous person?
Do you find it easy to let things go, especially when you know they’re not right for you?
Are you “needy,” trying to do everything with your partner? Do you feel threatened by alone time?
Do you see a pattern forming here? Obviously, most people will struggle with a few of these issues. If you check all of the boxes, however, you’ll have to start a journey towards building your emotional strength.
Learn to Say No
The absence of emotional strength will make you agree to more than one thing that runs against your principles. This isn’t how you’re going to build a happy relationship with local singles.
Learning to say no can be incredibly empowering, be it in your personal or professional life.
You are not obliged to agree to everything your partner says. Even if you’re in the early stages of a relationship and you want to be liked, it is imperative to set some healthy boundaries. Work on these with your partner in order to ensure understanding.
Change Is Inevitable
While routine makes us feel comfortable, it also prevents us from growing.
You have to accept the fact that change is inevitable.
The perfect relationship could end abruptly due to circumstances that you don’t have control over. In such instances, you have to let go and move on with your life. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck in a vicious retrograde cycle.
Your relationship will change. Your partner will change. So will you. Change can be a positive thing, if you embrace it and go with the flow. Being strong in a relationship can be a real thing.
Spend Time on Your Own
Overcoming the fear of being alone is the key to a happy relationship.
Successful and strong couples recognize the importance of personal time and space.
Begin spending some time on your own, even when you feel like being with a partner 24/7. Dedicate this time to your friends and family. Start a new hobby and explore your talents. Learn a new language.
Engaging in such activities will show your inner strength. It will teach you that you’re capable of being self-sufficient. Once you discover this self-sufficiency, you will also enjoy a stronger bond and a healthier attraction to your partner.