In the pursuit of finding true love, have you ever felt like you're constantly holding your tongue in your relationship? That your partner may or may not know you truly as a person because you have not allowed yourself to be truly vulnerable? Or do you fear you are settling in your relationship? True love is found in true vulnerability, which is being your genuine self.
In my work at private practices and treatment centers, I see far too often people who have learned the irrational belief that their real thoughts and feelings are not important. This belief leads people to hold their thoughts in, settle for less because they believe that is what they deserve, or believe that their feelings are not valued. Let me let you in on a little secret: those negative thoughts in your head are WRONG.
Do Not Let Social Media Mold Your Expectations
Have you ever known a girlfriend or been a girlfriend who was so worried about what her mate would say if she spoke up about something in their relationship, that she said nothing? I have and I have also been that girl. Women, especially Black women, are raised with so many conflicting ideals. “Be independent, you don't need a man." And if you haven't had many successful relationships, then the conversation turns to, “Why aren't you married yet? Are you not letting a man be a man?"
How are we supposed to find middle ground? In today's society, women are constantly either reading quotes about how their relationship should be, viewing images of the latest proposal shoot, or photos of couples in matching outfits. Or, in contrast, are viewing reality show relationships of women with men who are incessantly unfaithful to them but are still somehow expected to remain in the relationship, thinking that they are fulfilling the “ride or die" role. There has to be more to love and healthy relationships than what we are being spoon-fed on every screen and social media outlet.
And there is. It all starts with finding your OWN VOICE.
Find Love Within Yourself First
You have to get to know what it is you like in a relationship, in a man, and most importantly what is it that you like about yourself. Women often find so many ways to shrink themselves, or make themselves smaller, in their relationship to accommodate their partner. This will only lead to the woman trying to discover happiness in an uncomplimentary relationship. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable.
Speak your mind in your relationship and voice your needs. You don't have to choose between being vocal about your needs and fearful of being alone, or being in a relationship where you are being taken for granted. You have the power to build what you want! Only you know the type of love you truly need and only you can fight for that love.
Let's Talk About It
Use your communication, voice your concerns with your partner. I know it may be difficult, they may not understand or agree with your views, but you will not know until you try. A person cannot change things if they do not know there is an issue. And for those of you who feel stuck, who have voiced your feelings time and time again, but to no avail, do not be afraid to end an unhealthy relationship and start over.
So many people suffer in long-term relationships with partners they have no intention of marrying, or who they know is not “the one" because of FEAR. I have worked with people who have been in relationships for three and four years with someone they do not genuinely want to be with just because they are comfortable and afraid of starting over. Do not fear a new beginning, fear a life that is less than what you deserve.
Above All, Believe In Hope
There is power in vulnerability and in knowing and loving your true self. There is real love out in this world. So, for the people who are disheartened, unhappy, single, or committed, I hope this can be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel you're traveling.
Do not allow someone else, fear, or settling guide your ship of life. YOU are the captain. Be the captain.
Charla J. Horhn, MS is a Mental Health Counselor at the Clarity Psychological Group in Atlanta. If you would like to schedule a one-on-one session with her, or even some couples counseling, contact her at (404) 699-3170 to learn how she can help you up the quality of your life and love.
Featured image by Getty Images.