romantic evening scene at the beach.

 After my husband passed away, after the grief began to wane, after the numbness passed, I still woke up every morning in dread and fear of another day I didn’t want to face.

It wasn’t a perfect love, or a story-book love. It was a love that overcame challenges, and sometimes meant fighting to be together. It was about us holding on and me needing to let go when the time was right. And it was worth it. We had a happy, fulfilling relationship.

And that was then.

And now, all these years later, my amazing husband is one of the reasons I’m the happiest woman on the planet.

When friends ask me what I did to get past the pain and anguish of loss, I simply tell them, I did my best to make choices that were healthy and helped me feel better and never let loss take over my entire life.

One slow step at a time I began to love life and it loved me right back.

I chose to focus on what I had to smile about, and to remember that all would never be lost.

I had learned much that would never be lost: true love is a verb; real love is a process; lasting love takes time.

I decided that if I’d had one great love there was nothing stopping me from having another. Only me. Only my attitude. Only my choices, my self-imposed limitations.

If you’re struggling with relationships right now, remember that the struggle is part of your story.

Look it directly in the eyes and know you can never lose, if all you do, is done with love.

And that’s just what I want to share with you today…ways to have happy, fulfilling relationships, done with love.

1. Stop comparing your past with your present

Everything in life depends on how you see things. Each time someone new enters your life the tendency is to let your past experiences be your guide.

The same old story is playing out in your mind.

You’ve decided how relationships are. And all you remember is indifference and neglect. Trying to live your present life from the past, only leads to disappointment; you’re allowing the past to define your future.

You can’t have one foot on the brake and expect to move forward.

Release old pain, old wounds, old everything that holds you back from greater love.

Use the one gift you’ve have absolute control over: how you think. Harness that power. Choose to imagine that there is an ideal someone for you, and transform your current experiences into a more joyful reality.

Nothing is more important to having happy, fulfilling relationships than giving up what was. Learn this lesson well.

2. Harness the power of awareness

making changes

Before something exists in your life, you must have an inner awareness of it. To have great relationships you must first accept that they exist. And most importantly, that they exist for you, regardless of the disappointments and heartaches of the past.

Dare to love again. Dare to dream. Your best relationships cannot materialize until you accept the possibility of them, until you decide you are worthy of great love, until you snap out of your old, unworkable definitions of how relationships are.

Life is lived, each experience manifested, because you believe and accept the things you do. This is your life, you are the author. Write a better one, with a happy ending.

You’ve had enough losses and enough pain, why lose more of your life by holding onto old experiences?

3. Love and value yourself

Whatever you believe about yourself and your life is what you experience.

If you don’t love and value yourself you can’t expect to attract someone else to do it for you. You can’t, you won’t experience what you’re not.

Believe in yourself, you are powerful beyond imagining. As you learn to trust yourself, today’s possibilities will stop being drowned by yesterday’s insecurities and doubts.

Stop believing that your happiness depends on your relationship. Don’t look outside yourself, don’t wait for someone else to make you happy that’s a path to pain and misery.

Remember you are beautiful enough, you are good enough, you are powerful enough. You are enough. Believe it.

4. Acknowledge the blessings

No matter how much you admire and love another. Unless you say so, they don’t know.

Mind reading isn’t a gift many of us have. Appreciation can soothe troubles and turn a difficult day into one that’s worthwhile. All that’s needed is for you to speak the words.

Lots of relationships don’t work out because more time is devoted to pointing out what’s wrong and not enough time speaking words of kindness and compassion.

Things won’t always be perfect. Great relationships are made when you both care enough to work it out.  Keep an open heart, give affection, appreciation and attention or just a shoulder to lean on when needed. What you give always comes back to you, somehow, somewhere.

5. Competing kills love

Don’t compete with your partner. Co-create with them. Keep reminding yourself your relationship shouldn’t be a battle ground it’s a journey you’re making together.

Don’t get caught up in the game of being better than your partner; their success is not your failure.

Allow one another to shine. And don’t let anyone put your sparkle out. We need all the light we can get in our world. Stand strong in the truth of who you are.

Remember your relationship consists of three. You, me and we. They all deserve equal billing.

6. Keep honesty alive

Be brave enough to be open with each other. Be willing to have heart to heart conversations where everyone is vulnerable.

Honest conversations can change your life and lead you to a relationship that becomes more beautiful with each passing day.

Find ways to speak your truth that don’t make the other person wrong.

People may disappoint you. Be confident enough to speak out and express how you feel, but don’t demand perfection.

Even the best relationships have bumps in the road. Even the best of us have flaws.

Cherish the imperfections and stop waiting for things to go wrong. Balance what’s not working with what is and build upon the best.

7. Time and attention matter

When we love something, it matters to us.

And when something is valuable we give it our time, we take pleasure in it and enjoy it. So it is when we love someone. Our time and attention matter if relationships are to bloom and grow.

Phones off, computers off, all distractions put aside and you’re giving the best gift of all, your time. You’re saying to another…you matter…you’re important…I value you.

Remember it’s never about having time, it’s about making time now, because later too often becomes never.

8. Don’t lose yourself

Love doesn’t have to be self-sacrificing to be called love. It doesn’t have to be painful or a struggle every day. And you don’t have to give up who you are to be loved.

You don’t have to lose yourself because someone came into your life.

To live in a loving world you must first have love inside. We can only  experience who we are, not what we want and love isn’t something that you get, it’s something you tune into.

Make sure you involve yourself with others who recognize the beauty that is you, the value and worthiness that is you.

Not because of your great success in the world, but because you are here, and you are worthy. Be mindful of your magnificence; you are part of the divine.

YOU deserve to enjoy success on every level…spiritual, financial, physical and emotional and I hope this article supports you on your path.

What’s your best tip for a great relationship, or do you have a favourite from this post? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, beliefs, insights and inspiration in the comments below.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle

PS If you enjoyed this post I would appreciate it if you would share via your favourite social network. Each share or like helps to reach more people who might be looking for some actionable steps to having greater abundance and happiness in their life.


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. The comparison tip is my favorite, Elle. And it applies to every thing in life. If we’ve experienced something, we always tend to have the residual impact sitting in our heads (and our hearts) even when we know we must move on. The process of switching over to anything new suffers from this impact. Expecting good things with a solid dose of hope softens the edges somewhat. Still, it is a bit of an effort to seamlessly glide into the next best thing.

    Great tips! 😀 Hugs!

    • ElleSommer

      Hi Vidya…your words are wise my dear one. Especially like expecting good things with a solid dose of hope – now that’s a magical phrase. 🙂

  2. This is truly one of the most powerful posts you’ve written, Elle. I’m sorry for you loss and amazed by how you started to love life again.

    Honestly, I love every sentence of the advice in this post. This stood out in particular, “Stop believing that your happiness depends on your relationship. Don’t look outside yourself, don’t wait for someone else to make you happy that’s a path to pain and misery.”

    But you’re point about making time for your relationship and giving your full attention also spoke to me.

    Beautifully said, Elle, and all so very true.

    • ElleSommer

      Hi Sandra…I’m very happy you liked the post. Thank you. There’s so much you could say about relationships, which makes it’s tricky to get it all in one little post! But hopefully I covered the basics. 🙂

  3. Hi Elle,

    This is a great post underscoring the need for maintaining healthy intimate relationships.
    The fact is ,life is full of our concern with two major mental aspects ;our relationships, and our
    Both these issues play a vital role about how we feel about ourselves,the world at large,and also our
    ability to feel effective and empowered in life.
    Much as we are socially conditioned to decry conventionally unacceptable theories,Eastern
    spirituality emphasizes on the aspect of karma and our dealings with other people,as originating from our previous births. This includes our intimate relationships in this life,and also their quality.
    To that end I must say,and appreciate your post,which highlights the need for essential trans-formative action;appreciating,loving,forgiving,and simultaneously loving ourselves.
    These actions only take us closer to resolution of any past interpersonal conflicts, which is a must for evolving our consciousness.

    • ElleSommer

      Hi Mona.Love really is all we need in the end, isn’t it?

  4. Elle, as always thank you for your wisdom. For most people, if we’re not happy in our relationship, we are not happy in our life. Your points are seamless and provocative, Seamless because they’re fluid and concomitant, Provocative because they’re are a call to action and the action is to love. Like you wisely offered, “love is a verb.”

    • ElleSommer

      Hi Brian. As we both know my dear friend…love is all. ღ

  5. Elle,

    Tears instantly surfaced for me as I read your beautiful post. I’m re-reading Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul and your words reminded me that we need not try to rid ourselves of the negative in our lives, but to, as you say, “look it directly in the eyes and know you can never lose, if all you do, is done with love.”

    Years ago, one of my 12-step sponsors constantly reminded me to live with no regrets. There is a lot that goes wrong in life, but if we’re being true to ourselves (the ONLY relationship we’ll never be without!), then we’re a success.

    Also, as I read your suggestions, it occurred to me that relationships include how we live with situations, organizations, institutions and places, in addition to people. My significant other is struggling with the loss of a beloved job. I’m going to send your post to her in hopes that it helps her learn to love again when it comes to work.. That is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

    • ElleSommer

      Love that book Beth…a great reminder to dig it out and re-read.

      I absolutely agree with you that how we live includes everything! Love includes everything. In our despair it’s always about reaching for love; and even the tiniest, smallest glimmer is bright enough to lead us onto a new path.

      A few years ago my husband found himself without a job he loved. It was a total blessing in disguise because now he’s doing something he loves, on his own terms. Being focused on something wonderful being on its way to you creates those bridges of incidents that take us across to the next place on our journey. I’m imagining those bridges all being available for your partner. Do tell her I’m pretty good at imagining good things for others! My friends tell me I should start an imagining business! 🙂

  6. I loved this line “And now, all these years later, my amazing husband is one of the reasons I’m the happiest woman on the planet.” so encouraging! And I absolutely love all the tips in this article, and the perspective that they come from. Anyone who has ever been in an argument or a relationship…which is everyone!…would benefit from reading this.

    • ElleSommer

      I’m so happy that I can be encouraging Annie. It’s my purpose for being here, writing and sharing. So I say woohoo to that! 🙂

  7. There is so much love in this post Elle. Thanks for sharing your story and giving others the hope of finding love again, even after a great loss. You are a beautiful person inside and out <3

    • ElleSommer

      You are so sweet Melissa…I truly appreciate your kind words and I do hope my post uplifts and encourages those who are struggling right now. We’ve all been there, we’re all in this together. 🙂

  8. Elle this was beautifully written. It really touched my heart. After loss it is so difficult to move on. For me it was the loss of a baby while pregnant. I had such a hard time moving on but like you said-I had to focus on the things I had to smile about-to finally move on. It wasn’t easy but slowly we learn to love life once again. Every point you mentioned is on point and such a great reminder. You seem like such a strong person and full of wisdom. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • ElleSommer

      Hi Edith, lovely to have you in our community. I am so very sorry for your loss. And great job you for being aware enough to focus on the rest of life that still offered things to smile about. Things happen to us and for us and at the end of the day the one thing we have absolute control over is how we think, and where we focus our attention. And as you say slowly…sometimes really, really slowly…we move out of the pain and grief and are able to smile at life, and it smiles right back. 🙂

  9. HI Elle – you saved your last point for your best point with this line being incredibly powerful: love isn’t something that you get, it’s something you tune into. Very important to remember that in relationships, we have to start first with ourselves. If we can’t accept or love ourselves, we shouldn’t expect someone else to. No one else can love us like we can ourselves. Others can enhance and fulfill that love and like you say, tune into that love, but not cultivate love in us. This article gives me a lot of hope for new beginnings and new love.

    • ElleSommer

      Hi Vishnu, lovely to see you. I’m so happy you feel encouraged after reading this. It certainly sounds as though you have a huge understanding of how love works…pretty much like everything else in our world, from the inside out. Life truly is an inside job, isn’t it? 🙂

  10. I have something new from this article. Thank you for this kind of presentation about relationship. Very important to remember that in relationships, we have to start first with ourselves. Sometime compromise is one of the important element for relationships.

    • ElleSommer

      Hi John thank you for taking the time to share your views. We learn from one another every day. 🙂

  11. You have nice post, I have agreed with many points that you said.
    I also want add my opinion, my story in my relationship today that is: First of all I must say I have sometime to understand my relationship really worth and important with me, I can feel I have many that other don’t have. I person think there are many people don’t appreciate their relationship all of time, but in fact it really exist in each relationship, because it come from first of love, and problem is they don’t see them. I recommend people find it example while you going alone and think about what is worth and good you have in your relationship that other don’t have or better than alone.
    And my next key is I need to do something to keep something good, I must efforts to add more love, such as simple my support to my wife, my family… love need to build together.
    Your post very close my mind, I am happy in my relationship and your post will helpful with many people’s relationship.
    Thank for share great post.

    • ElleSommer

      Hello Chu Nam, it’s always wonderful to hear another’s perspective on life and I so appreciate you taking the time to stop by and share yours. I know there are many of us for whom your words will resonate. 🙂

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