“A disciplined mind brings happiness.” – Buddha
A successful, healthy relationship is based on principles, not love. Hollywood sells fantasies on how relationships work. Fantasies that revolve around love, when in fact, love is the last thing that’s needed in a relationship.
Love doesn’t determine who’s trustworthy or who we’re compatible with. Love ensures sex happens and babies are born. Everything after that, doesn’t concern love.
A relationship survives on principles. Love won’t save a dysfunctional relationship. Love doesn’t replace trust, respect or good communication. A relationship can survive on the latter, but it will starve if it only has love. You can’t eat love and you can’t trust it either.
Love is not enough. A relationship needs more than love to survive. It needs trust, this is the foundation. A relationship without trust is not a relationship. It’s just two people who know each other, who live together and sleep in the same bed.
Without trust, both partners look out for themselves instead of each other. Without trust, your lover becomes an enemy. An enemy that you keep close.
Think about your relationship with time.
Are you trustworthy? Are you the type of partner that time can trust, whole heartedly? Can time trust you to look out for her best interest? And sometimes, at the expense of your own?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then there’s a lack of trust in your relationship with time. If time can’t trust you, the state of your relationship is in trouble. If your relationship with time ends, you form one with death. One cannot afford to push time away. Without time, we have death. When time dumps you, you die.
Therefore, we should always check our relationship with time. We should have honest conversations with time, conversations about our relationship and where it’s going.
Couples counselling is another method. A counsellor can help us become aware of the missing aspects in our relationship, and what needs improvement. From there, a plan can be put in place to improve our relationship with time.
However, we must commit to doing everything in our power to make this relationship work. Without a commitment, couples counselling becomes a glorified conversation with a third party.
Fortunately, time doesn’t have commitment issues. She’s not a fickle creature. She’s faithful.
Human beings on the other hand, are different. We change our minds more than the Earth changes seasons. Commitment isn’t our strong suit. We struggle to remain committed to each other.
Thus, when it comes commitment, we have all the work to do.
Time is faithful. She rarely abandons her partners. Even in times of need, she’s there. Right next to us. Watching over us. Reminding us, that nothing is permanent, everything is temporary. With time, pain becomes joy. And joy becomes pain again.
“The menu is not the meal.” – Alan Watts
In South Africa, there’s an epidemic of informal prostitution known as blessing. Young women trade sexual favours for gifts from older men. These older men are called Blessors. These young women are called blessee’s, because they receive ‘blessings’ from ‘blessors’.
This form of prostitution has been around for a long time.
However, new technologies like social media, have made it popular. Instagram being one of them. Instagram is a picture sharing social media platform. People post pictures of what they ate, where they’ve been or what they’ve done.
People also share their opinions, in the form of pictures, on Instagram. One of the most popular topics on Instagram are relationship goals.
Relationship goals are what a person wants from a relationship. But, due to the nature of Instagram, the relationship goals people post about, revolve around what is seen, and not felt.
As a result, material relationship goals are the ones promoted on Instagram.
Thus, people who use Instagram, often fall into the trap of believing that material relationship goals, are the goal of any relationship.
This contributes to the newly formed culture of prostitution in South Africa. Young women sell their bodies for trips to Dubai, so they can post their trips on Instagram.
Unfortunately, relationships involve more than what the eye can see. They involve matters that the heart can feel.
Furthermore, a relationship doesn’t end when these relationship goals are achieved. Thus, these women continue to sell their sexuality, for more things they can take pictures of.
These young women are often objectified and seen as inferior by these older men. They indulge in unprotected sex for a pair of bloody shoes. They trade their souls and dignity for a picture and a thousand likes.
A lot of people trade their relationship with time for things they can see, for materiality. People trade their happiness for relationship goals, only to realize that goal hasn’t made them any happier.
People believe joy is found in the things that can be seen. They forget it’s a feeling.
Instead, they leverage the time they have for gifts. They prostitute their lives away for money. They sell their souls for a new car and a new house. A relationship shouldn’t be centered around goals. Forming healthy relationship habits is better.
If you work a job you hate, with people you don’t like because the pay is good; you’re a prostitute.
Goals focus on the future, at the expense of the now. They focus on what one can see. They’re usually in the form of a vision. That vision leads us to sacrifice what we feel for what we dreamed. They lead us to ignore what we need for what we want.
Once we achieve that goal, a new one arises. We end up chasing the future, never enjoying the now. We look for happiness out there, instead of in here.
Habits are healthier than goals. They force people to turn inward, not outward. They force people to focus on what they feel, instead of what they see. They force people to think about their relationship with time, and not their goals.
A good habit is a habit that’s sustainable. A habit that contributes positively to our lives. With enough discipline, our potential for growth is exponential.
But without it, our descent into hell is too.
This is an excerpt from, How To Live Forever: A Guide To Transcending Your Limitation