Embrace “The Greatest Love Of All” In Your Relationship

couple boxing with red glovesI began thinking about how inspirational the song, “The Greatest Love of All” is, and how Whitney Houston’s voice perfectly captured the essence of the kind of love millions all over the world should be looking for.

The following text references some of my thoughts about how the greatest love can be inside of all of us, and in the healthy relationships we all deserve.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows…
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe…

The challenge for some people to live as they believe is that they have not figured out who they are; what they want in a relationship; the personal direction that they are moving in; or whether or not they should feel positive about their life course.

Developing a sense of clarity about how you love yourself and how you could potentially love your partner is tantamount to individual happiness. Sometimes our emotions cloud rational thinking and we compromise our values, beliefs, or ideas in order to please our partners.

Inasmuch, we suspend our own happiness because of our fear of not having anyone special in our lives. Because of this, it is critical that people take their time in figuring out what they truly believe in and be willing to express that on a consistent basis in their relationships. Walking in someone else’s shadow may keep you, your partner, and others from recognizing how bright your light (e.g., personality, traits, attributes, etc.) is and how powerful you can be.

No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

I spend a lot of time talking and writing about dysfunctional relationships and how some people continue to invest themselves physically, emotionally, sexually and spiritually into partnerships where they are devalued, disrespected, or discouraged.

In some relationships, people allow their partner to call them “stupid”, “ignorant”, “ugly”, “dog”, or “triflin’”. In these debilitating relationships, people will readily justify insults from their partner by saying, “She was just playing around,” or “He really doesn’t mean it,” or “I know he really loves me and would do anything.”

If you were to truly embrace the “greatest love of all” you would do the following:

1. Set boundaries for yourself.

2. Acknowledge that your happiness should not take a back seat to relational/romantic happiness.

3. Accept that self-love is dynamic rather than static and changes over time, place, and context.

4. Readily commit to giving themselves the best of themselves.

In addition to taking hold of these four precepts, you should be willing to shift the relationship in a direction where your romantic involvement becomes an invitation to your partner to honor the love that you have for yourself.

And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

What’s intriguing about some dysfunctional romantic partnerships s is that people will sometimes remain in relationships for the “number”. What I mean is that some people are able to find solace in sharing with their family or friends that they have been together for 1, 5, 10, or 20+ years, but they may have been unhappy for years….and are committed to remaining unhappy.

Initiating change in the relationship or severing the relationship invokes fear, confusion, and anxiety. In the song, it is suggested that by embracing yourself and the traits that allow you to be you, you may discover that the relationship you’re in may not be the best one for you. If you decide to separate from your partner and find yourself to be lonely, you should draw strength from those positive attributes that allow you to be a unique and special individual. Perhaps, spending time alone to rediscover and learn who you really are can allow you to experience the greatest love of all.

The world will mourn the death of Whitney Houston for years to come and it is unfortunate that we lost a tremendous talent. Her charisma and voice changed our lives, our relationships, and our ability to maintain the greatest love of all.

By Dr. James Wadley, BDO Relationship Expert

Dr. James Wadley is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Human Services Program at Lincoln University. He is a licensed professional counselor and marriage, family, and sexuality therapist in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His book, “The Lost and Found Box”, addresses the need for individuals to rediscover happiness. You can learn more about him at drjameswadley.com.

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