Do you have a relationship role model? If you don't, today I am going to convince you that you need one & if you don't have one I am going to give you a few suggestions of where to look!
But first...an anecdote...
I used be that girl who fantasized about an ideal love life (as embarrassing as this is to admit, I know I am not alone - ha). My role models for love were novel characters, movie actors & actresses and people whom from afar seemed in love. When I finally did find the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with - the stuff from novels and movies didn't help me be a better wife, lover, companion... Rather, my role models for love became the unassuming people in my life. Some role models were people I hardly knew but others were people who had known me my entire life.
Every time my mother comes to visit me, I am reminded of what a selfless, loving relationship should look like. She is, in my eyes, the epitome of selfless love and one of my relationship role models. In her presence, I think of where in other relationships I can mimic the selfless love she bestows on the people around her. Maybe many of you can relate and maybe many of you can't because for you maybe the epitome of selfless love in your life is a friend or sibling or mentor or even God. It doesn't matter who you look to, it is more important that the role model you choose is someone you can learn from.
3 Reasons why you need a relationship role model:
Relationship role models can...
- Help you can work towards more fulfilling relationships
- We all have those relationships in our lives that we wish were better but at the moment are awkward or not pleasant. I have found in those instances when I try to envision how one of my relationship role models might tackle the relationship, I am able to think of different ways to strengthen the relationship that needs work. Often, I am reminded simply that consistent and sometimes greater efforts are needed temporarily to nurture a weaker relationship.
- Be the gentle reminder in our busy lives that happy & healthy relationships exist
- When I get wrapped up in the day to day, it is often difficult to pause. However, I am often inspired to work on my relationships because I see my relationship role models often very happy & content in their own lives.
- Help you continuously evolve
- I think this is the greatest benefit of having relationship role models. I think it is important to note that as humans we aren't perfect. We don't often individually possess all the qualities we would like to imbibe in our lives. I think for this reason, it is important to have more than one relationship role model. We should be able to look to different people for their different strengths. I mentioned earlier that I look to my mom as an example of selfless love, but there are others that I look to for other qualities that I value in a relationship like open mindedness or optimism.
So, what if you don't have any current relationship models? I believe we attract the people into our lives that match our outlook on life. Thus, I believe you must work on your outlook first. As a Naturopathic Doctor, this is one of my favorite things to work on with patients. Then, secondarily you can actively look for relationship models in the following areas/groups:
- Community/volunteer groups you may be a part of
- Religious/spiritual groups
- Friend circles
- Interest groups
Perhaps sometimes in place of not so helpful relationship advice all you need are relationship role models you can look to for fresh ideas & practical guidance!