For centuries people have described and praised love as being like a fire striking at the heart. Sonnets, stories and novels all tell stories about young lovers who, through all kinds of adversity, find love and come to live happily ever after.
I Don’t Know You Yet, but I Am Ready to Meet You
Every one of us wants to believe this magic, and are willing to submit our whole life to it in the search of our own wonderful love story. And why not, you probably think! But for us to find true love we must firstly be able to say: *“I Am Ready to Meet You”*.
We really must be free of our past and at peace in ourselves. This is the foundation and the beginning of a new life where **Happy Ever After** is truly possible.
Then after choosing someone you would like to have as your partner (who you may even believe is your soul mate) your relationship must pass through five stages if it is to get to *“happily ever after.”* The pre-requisite for being able to manoeuvre your way through these is to be able to truly say: *“I don’t know you yet, but I’m ready to meet you”*.
And like any great adventure finding the fairy tale requires us to pass through a storm of challenges on the way. Each of these challenges requires us to pass a test before we can move on to claim our prize and, like all challenges, sometimes these are difficult, leaving us questioning and wondering whether it really is worth it.
The answer to that question is a definite **YES!!**
The Five Stages of Relationship Development
Stage 1: All I can see are your good points
Stage 2: Rediscovering the differences that make the difference
Stage 3: From “we” back to “me”
Stage 4: Recoupling (when you put “relate” back into “relationship”)
Stage 5: Happily ever after
If you pass through each of these stages successfully, I promise you will get there.
But let’s start at the very beginning. This is where the foundations are laid for your very own “happy ever after.”
Before Stage 1: I Don’t Know You Yet But I’m Ready To Meet You
Long before the magic can begin, you live your life completely unaware of the existence of the person you will ultimately fall in love with. Before a relationship exists, you are just being yourself, sometimes selfishly so. Your only thoughts are of your own wants and of how to gratify them. For some, this is just as you like it, though for most, the pull to be in a relationship can be so strong that it occupies all your waking time.
Each person needs to be a part of a society that brings a positive assessment of his character, appearance, personal skills and generally an overall praise of his skills and abilities.
In connection with the above, this may also be the role of our partner. In good times and in bad it is namely our partner that is our support when facing the world and life’s difficulties. We simply do better when we’re in relationships, and not just love relationships, than when we’re not.
Looking for a partner just might bring you the real love of your life. If you are in a secure state of mind, intellectually and emotionally, and are at ease with yourself, then the path is well laid for you to find your true soul mate.
During my sessions with many of the couples I’ve met, I’ve often heard the phrase: “What stands between us? We used to be the perfect couple…” Most times the answer to this question is that it is not enough to just state “I Am Ready to Meet You”. You need to work a lot harder to achieve your goal. And this work needs to be focused on your own self before meeting your future partner.
I want you to reread that last paragraph. It is possibly the single most important thing about this whole magic thing called love.
To be truly able to love another, you must truly love yourself first.
However, many people struggle to understand what this actually means. It is not about being conceited or cocky or selfish even. It is about being self-confident and authentic, open and honest and real, with yourself and others. You then enter into a relationship because you want to be there, not because you need to be.
In other words, you go into a relationship because life is simply better with the other person in it. It is not because you need that person because of something missing in you.
This can sound confusing. What I am trying to get across here is that you cannot feel good feelings for another if you have only negative feelings for yourself. To feel good about yourself is not to be self-centred; it is simply being confident in who you are, knowing that you deserve all the respect and care that everyone is entitled to, from yourself and from others.
I cannot stress this point enough. It is most important to be aware that if you are in a less-than-stable state of mind, you might choose a partner based on the unmet needs that lie behind that instability.
And not only that, but your potential partner’s unsatisfied needs might be his or her reason for choosing you. This can only result in both of you not really being able to get, or give, what you both need to grow personally or as part of a couple.
Put simply: The secret to a truly wonderful relationship is being truly wonderful yourself. This is the foundation for finding true love.
Remember that and keep working on it. It would be naive to believe that something so complex as human relations may be described as a pink-cloud flawless trip. On the contrary, a good relationship is a relationship that passes through each of the five stages, which require strength, time and perseverance in order to be able to move on to the next stage.
Do not trust the fairy tales that blindly describe only the period of falling in love, for this is just the beginning.
And while I’m not claiming that it is easy to establish a great relationship when you are truly OK with yourself, and your potential partner is OK with themselves, then you’re on your way.