Many people I know feel lost in their pursuit of a relationship. Others are drowning in their relationships. In these predicaments, there is a longing for satisfaction that people cannot live without; they believe in intimacy and loss of ego that relationships can bring, one is complete in the acceptance of another. This other person is the embodiment of attraction, mannerisms, interests, and characteristics in which one can gather a large sense of validation.
However, the challenge of this is, if we live by this dependence, we also die by it. We become perpetually focused on the balance and also the extraction of the value we get from this arrangement. When one fails us, which will always happen at some level, we are devastated. We generalize that they, their gender or ourselves are bad and wrong. Paralleling this perception with the pain we feel creates a physiological response that cements a new resolve in ourselves. We lose a part of our vitality and expect less. We then live with the toxicity of a bad relationship or we live alone, ruminating on the challenges of the past over and over again in a fleeting attempt to regain our dignity. In this process, one is deconstructed and becomes less, diminishing future possibilities. Presence and continuity are no longer available. We then “feel heavy” to others, not present, or even worse, full of hate or egocentric ambition. Others become objects in our quest to fulfill our compromised desire to fill the emptiness we feel in side.
Attachment to another to regenerate oneself and shield oneself against fear with expectations of love and acceptance is always a recipe for disaster. This is simply entrusting our validation, nurturing, and growth to an unpredictable being. Will they die, change their minds, start using drugs, have an affair, become bitter, abusive, or disinterested? Or simply act human and make mistakes that we interpret as betrayal? We do not know and never will know for certain. And yet many of us throw our entire self into another’s care in the hopes that it will all work out for the rest or our lives. This is risky at best and as many clients have expressed in my coaching practice, can be disastrous.
There is a better way. Ideally one creates the resilience in oneself to return from any aspect of loss and live in the vitality that is our natural state of being. This is done by mastering skills so that you can, on your own, generate the deep serenity and acceptance you’re trying to extract from others. Here’s how:
- Let go that your position in society has any relevance to your value.
- Give up that you or anyone else is wrong.
- Accept that predicaments and suffering are a part of life and can be excellent opportunities to grow and develop deeper values and meaning.
- Acknowledge as a human, you are hard-wired for struggle; participate in the difficulties of life with acceptance and optimism.
- Understand that our outlook is very much affected by our physiology; take good care of your machinery: rest, eat healthy food, exercise, play, laugh, seek serenity. Sunshine, and physical touch are important.
- Know that attachment to details and the upset associated with them diminishes your connection to yourself and others. (In the grand scheme of things, the details of your life have little merit if they’re not developing you or your capacity to love.)
- Treat yourself and others as well as you can despite the triggers from the past.
- Develop an internal loving discipline that returns you to yourself and frees your mind every night so that you are open to your dreams. I.E.: meditation, prayer, mantras, Visualizing your dreams to be true, yoga, or practicing an art that you love. By morning, you’ll have returned to your fully-realized self, optimistic and fully energized for the day.
Developing a purpose and intention that incorporates these practices and principles into all aspects of your life, you’ll develop a larger and larger capacity to love others, as well as yourself, just as you are. Will it last? Yes. Even with the inevitable losses in life, you’ll be in love with being a witness of life and amazed at the wonders life has to offer. You will also be able to see the authentic love in others because your agenda will be in the moment with them rather than thinking about what you can extract from them.
As for others they’ll align themselves with you for what they see in you. You’ve become attractive by the energy and freedom in your character. They’ll then be free to choose to be with you, stay with you and love you. Perhaps they’ll stay your whole life, perhaps not. Either way life goes on. You both grow along your journey.
If they leave in some way, you’re still complete, perhaps saddened by their lack of presence. You may even mourn the loss of the relationship. But this is part of your human process and you know your journey is deeper, more powerful and mysterious than any one person, including yourself, can define. Love is the goal, and we expand our presence to all with whom we are in or have been in relationships. And so you go on, confident that life is abundant, vibrant, and full of opportunities for you, knowing that everywhere there’s a possibility of love and wonder.