For Valentine’s Day, I would like to post what Bob and I wrote in the final paragraphs of Daring to Love.
“We would like to end the book with some personal words of advice and encouragement.
Be courageous. It takes courage to change your defensive behavior, and to sweat out the anxiety that this change process may arouse in you. With courage, you can face and overcome the critical inner voice that tries to sabotage you. And with courage, you can create a better life and a more gratifying relationship.
Be optimistic. Being optimistic is a notable relationship skill— it’s a notable life skill, for that matter. It’s valuable to look for the good in people and situations, and especially in yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Growing cynical only leaves you feeling miserable and disillusioned. Keeping an optimistic outlook will fortify you and lead to positive out- comes. As the Dalai Lama is reported to have said (Jezek- Arriaga 2017, 144), “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”
Take action. Never forget that love is not just a noun. It’s also a verb—an action. The source of your greatest power and freedom in life is your ability to choose the actions that you are going to take. If you want a close and intimate relation- ship, and if you value having love in your life, take action, and behave consistently in a loving manner.
Give it your all. When you are in a relationship, give it your all. Don’t hold back. Go for broke. Dare to love! Don’t waste an opportunity by being cautious and self-protective. Daring to love will give you the best chance for the best outcome—a loving and gratifying relationship.
Give yourself a break. Have compassion for yourself, especially as you confront your defenses that interfere with love. Whatever your limitations and challenges in loving and relat- ing to someone close to you, always remember that you came by them honestly. No one is innately lacking or incapable of loving. You can have compassion for the ways in which you have been hurt, and for how they are impacting you in your romantic relationship. You can be kind and patient with your- self as you go about changing the defenses that arose from how you were hurt.
Have a sense of humor! A sense of humor can be a lifesaver in a relationship. The ability to laugh at yourself, and even at life, allows you to maintain a proper perspective while dealing with sensitive issues that arise within your relationship. Partners who are playful and tease each other can use humor to defuse a potentially volatile situation. A good sense of humor eases the tense moments between partners. Plus, it always feels good to have fun with someone!
From Both of Us
Believe in love. In spite of the violence and unrest in the world, and regardless of the abuse that individuals are capable of inflicting on their fellow human beings, love continues to be universally acknowledged as the essential life force. As Robert observes in Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships, “When love is sincere and real, it reaches spiritual proportions that give value and meaning to life” (R. W. Firestone, L. A. Firestone, & Catlett 2006, 39).
Love is worth believing in. Love is worth fighting for. Love is worth the personal challenge. No other endeavor offers higher rewards.”
Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. copyright © 2018 Tamsen Firestone