Do you foresee yourself with your current love until you’re 100 years old? If you’ve exchanged vows, did you take the “in sickness and in health…’til death do we part” bit seriously? How do you really know when your love is real?
Some of us are always looking for the next good thing – the same people who consistently replace their partners are often looking for a bigger house, a better job, and the like. What they may not realize is that they may already be with the best… for them. Long-term relationships, friendships and just sticking things out in the name of making a commitment (such as completing your education or finishing a home remodeling project, even when the going is bumpy) have some exciting perks.
For instance, if your relationship is a loving one, then – based on a foundation of respect, trust, friendship, passion and time – it’s far more likely to be a lasting one. Older couples tend to joke that they sometimes look at the other side of the bed and say, “Who is this person next to me?” That refers to the “disconnect” that sometimes occurs as people take different paths over time. Just remember that these paths can meet up again. If your relationship was built on a deep friendship, you are more likely to draw on that when you hit romantic speedbumps. In life, passions do wane and ebb – but deep, true, time-tested love will always trump the feeling of the moment.
Your “other half” and you are partners – partners in life. One of the best ways to further commit to someone is to embark on a venture that involves some team-like plotting, planning and strategy. Whether it’s raising a family, starting a business together, or decorating the house… you’ll share in your successes and surmount your failures, and you’ll celebrate the energy that you put into those projects. A common goal creates a unity that extends beyond love.
Work is also a good place to stick with your commitments. A devoted employee is far more likely to be rewarded with a promotion and a raise than one who doesn’t show a commitment to their work. Don’t “job hop” continuously on your way up the ladder. Spend at least a few years in one place, implementing strategies and proving your mettle as you earn a higher position and strengthen your ties with your colleagues. Ultimately, you’ll feel more rewarded by your achievements, and your stability will have a longer-lasting effect on your career. You will have built a network of people around you who may support you professionally for years to come – because they know your work, and they respect you.
Likewise, if you’re still in school you’ll want to commit to finishing your courses until you receive your diploma. An education is a gift. It expands your knowledge, introduces you to new concepts and strengthens your ability to apply what you’ve learned once you enter (or return) to the workforce. Furthermore, an appropriate educational background will allow you to approach certain professional positions that you would otherwise not be eligible for. You’ll never find yourself thinking, “If only I had graduated college/gotten that MBA/finished learning another language.”
Be my friend
Finally, staying power also applies to your non-romantic relationships. Although there are some friendships that are not meant for the long haul (sometimes, because they prove to be toxic), you’ll want to recognize your true friends. Keeping these people close by will help you to live a longer, happier life – and expand your outlook. Nurture these friendships, and remember to reciprocate that positive energy. There are sages who maintain that romance fades – but friendship lasts forever. Whether that’s true or not, it is your friends to whom you will turn in times of grief, confusion, anger, sickness and celebration. Don’t take them for granted!
Your parents may have admonished you not to be a “quitter,” and they were right! Sticking with life’s commitments – in love, in friendship, in work and at school – is a mature decision. It will also give you an incredible sense of accomplishment when you get your degree or job promotion – or a from-the-heart acknowledgment by your best friend.
In love, the “next best thing” isn’t a new person in your world – it’s something you’ll create or accomplish with the one who is already in your life. In work, the “coolest gig” isn’t the one at the hippest company, but rather the one that gives you a sense of fulfillment as you stick with it. It’s the position where you inspire colleagues to achieve their best – even as you help raise the company’s level of service. In school, the degree to aim for is the one that will actually benefit you the most – both intellectually and professionally. And in friendships it is that long-term sense of “give and take” that will give you the strongest sense of belonging, and reward you many times over – in some cases, more than your family ties.
So make a commitment, stick to it and reap the benefits of a sound long-term decision. At the end of the day, you’ll be more satisfied for having stuck it out.
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