Social norms are general standards that most people adhere to. The problem with social norms and their impact on your relationship is that they assume that what is good for your neighbours will be good for you too. Social norms are conditions and they therefore oppose unconditional love. If that wasn’t enough, how can it be true that what’s good for everyone can be good for you too?
There are some things that are good for all relationships, such as treating your partner with kindness and respect, honouring your differences and learning the art of communicating the truth infused with the importance of your relationship. Unfortunately, social norms are about conforming to a standard of behavior that ensures that you will be anything but true to yourself.
If you aren’t yourself, who are you?
You and your partner are unique individuals. What makes a relationship long-lasting and strong is that it honors and celebrates the uniqueness of both people in the relationship.
For your relationship to really thrive, it needs you to find win-win solutions to everything that you’re faced with. If it’s not best for both of you then it isn’t best for either of you.
It doesn’t matter what your friends or family do or even what they think. What matters most is that both of your personalities, needs and desires are taken into account for all relationship decisions. If your partner is unhappy, then rest assured that you will be too.
There is no right and wrong in relationships so much as there is ‘what works’. Take the time to find out what works for the two of you. At the end of the day, using unconditional love and treating one another with kindness and respect while being true to yourself will always stand you in good stead.
Social norms dictate things such as if you’re in a committed relationship you should vacation together, you should spend time with in-laws that you can’t stand, you should show up at work functions, you should say the right things in public and you should make an effort to be nice to people that are important to your partner.
Unconditional love dictates that everything is done either out of fear (obligation) or love (desire). It says that the most loving position of all is allowing your partner to just simply be true to him or herself. It says that there is an infinite number of ways to make your relationship work.
Social norms often oppose unconditional love. They say, I will love you if you are not you, because who you really are is unacceptable to me. Unconditional love says, I love and accept myself flaws and all, and therefore I can offer you this same standard of love.
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