While the ingredients for a happy and satisfying relationship may be different for each person, since each of us has different needs, but love, trust, and respect are the three basic elements that serve as a solid foundation on which we must build our relationships.
A relationship can’t be maintained without these three basic elements, or if one of the pillars is unstable, like a building, the whole establishment begins to collapse. So when it comes to understanding the destiny of any given relationship, we can try to see how these three elements are practiced and maintained. The base on which these pillars are placed is fundamental for the structure to support and resist pressures of any kind. We have to make sure to establish relationships on solid ground from the start, because a weak base can’t sustain a structure, so it can lose balance and finally collapse completely.
There are times when we hear people say that the state of their relationships is complicated. They are correct. Relationships are, in the real sense of it, always complicated. This is simply because we can’t lack one of the three pillars of a relationship and expect the other two to compensate. These pillars are like the wheels of a car, in which the absence of a single wheel can’t take it anywhere, but we have to find the missing wheel so that the car can move forward and reach its destination.
A relationship is complicated in a sense that it is not always about seeing rainbows and feeling the butterflies in our stomach. Relationships are mostly about overcoming challenges, and hard work to get what we want to achieve. It’s always a work in progress, so to speak.
Now we are going to discuss the other two pillars of a relationship, in addition to respect: trust, and love. Of course, there is more to a relationship than just these three things, but they are also more important than the rest. We must never forget that if one of these three pillars is excluded, no relationship can ever thrive.
Love is a fundamental pillar, just like any of the other two, although we can, to some extent and in terms of importance, consider that respect is slightly higher in rank. But, do we know what love really is? We may have listened to so many people who define love in their own words, but, then, how do we know with certainty that what we are experiencing is true love?
We can consider many things about love and its meanings, but in reality it is a practice. It is not something that we can find or can’t find, but it is about loving ourselves that can lead to our unconditional love for everyone else. If we can love someone under any circumstance, then what we have is unconditional love. But we have to love ourselves first unconditionally, in such a way that we can have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another human being. If we do not know how to feel and act for that unconditional love within ourselves, we can never share it with everyone else.
To think that love will only sustain us through everything in our relationship is good. But it has to be tested. True love takes time to build, because it has to be built.
Unconditional love is difficult, but we can reach that level through practice. We can practice love for the rest of our lives. We must adapt our love to others.
The opposite of love is not indifference, as some of us may think it is, but hatred. There was a time when we thought that indifference is the opposite of love, based on a simple analogy that opposites assume a dimension of comparison, so that we can consider love and hate, for that matter, as opposites in one dimension of valence, while love and indifference, on the other hand, are opposites in relation to the intensity. When buying this type of argument, therefore, we can say that the opposite of success, for example, is not failure, but that we never try at all.
But let’s face it! Indifference can’t be the opposite of love, simply because it is a neutral feeling. When we are indifferent, we do not love or hate the person. Indifference is simply the lack of love and hate. We can love and hate someone at the same time, but it is impossible for us to be both indifferent and loving or hateful towards the other person. We can never have something and nothing at the same time.
Indifference, therefore, is the neutral ground between love and hatred. It is a state in which we can either begin to love someone or start to hate other people. Using a simple analogy, we can arrive at this: that the opposite of 1 is -1, and if love is represented by 1, the opposite will be represented by hate in -1. Now the absence of all emotions is 0, which is empty, nothing. 0 represents what will be called indifference.
Trust is one of the three important pillars of a relationship. Trust is fundamental for a happy, rewarding, and satisfying relationship. We can’t love someone without trusting the person. And trust arises from the fact that we can respect the person we believe is worthy of our love.
While most of us think of trust in a relationship as something that is being true to our partner in everything, which is good, there is much more than just that. Trust gives us the confidence to navigate the uncertainties and complexities of whatever comes before us. Without trust, or if we feel we can’t trust anything or anyone, every moment of our lives becomes a living nightmare.
Trust is synonymous with freedom, so that, when we allow more space for trust to work in our relationship, we are actually allowing more freedom in our partner’s life. And not only that, it also allows us to operate more effectively as individuals at the same time. Trust makes everything possible so that we can experience the full potential of our relationship.
It takes time to build trust within a relationship. But how do we know if we should trust someone? How do we find out whom and how much to trust? Trust is an option, and it takes time for us to build on that trust within a relationship.
One of the most important decisions we can make in life is to decide who to trust. If we fall into the trap of trusting the wrong people, we can become victims of abusive relationships, of being taken advantage of, and of many more undesirable results. Perhaps the best way we can make better decisions about who we can trust is to avoid making important decisions on impulse.
We need to bear in mind that the moment we decide to start a relationship with someone, we are actually choosing to trust them. So, if we feel that we can’t trust anyone else at this time, then we can also assume that we are not ready to be in a relationship yet. But we can maintain a good relationship with ourselves first by trusting ourselves as one of the most important requirements, before we can maintain a good relationship with other people.