As we’ve just celebrated Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Meh, we are reminded that love isn’t just about once a year romantic gestures, or that fancy fine-dining meal.
According to renowned psychoanalyst and social philosopher, Erich Fromm, who presents love as an activity, a skill that can be taught and developed rather than something magical and mysterious.
He explores love in all its aspects and argues that the active character of true love involves four basic elements: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. Seen in these terms, love is hard work, but it is also the most rewarding kind of work.
Here are some practical ways we believe we can practice each of those basic elements.
Showing someone you care is to be intentional and take meaningful actions for the other person. Here’s how:
1. Be an active listener
2. Do it, don’t just say it
3. Communicate intentionally
4. Make time for them
5. Do new things together
6. Apologise often, even when you’re not wrong
It’s absolutely necessary to put ourself aside when wanting to build a healthy relationship - by using the empowering action of taking responsibility to build the relationship you want.
1. Be honest
2. Be proactive, not reactive
3. Be willing to forgive
4. Be mindful of your words
5. Honour your commitments
6. Take accountability for your actions
Respect is the cornerstone to a healthy relationship. It means that everyone is equal and valued.
Here are some thoughts:
1. Demonstrate trust
2. Talk openly and honestly always
3. Value the other person’s feelings and needs
4. Speak kindly to and about each other
5. Give each other space
6. Support their interests, hobbies, careers, etc.
What are the skills you need to keep your relationship strong? Whether it’s with a partner, or a family member, taking steps to further develop yourself will strengthen your relationships.
1. Develop effective communication skills
2. Practice empathy
3. Practice your self-awareness
4. Ask for feedback
5. Get involved
6. Learn to self-regulate
These are just some practical tips on how we can love better. What are your thoughts?