United in personal responsibility
The immature romantic myth of our society causes many couples to place the entirety of their happiness on another’s shoulders. We are conditioned from a young age to believe that achieving certain ‘life milestones’ is what will bring us happiness and satisfaction. The fairytale relationship is one of these.
There is the assumption that, once we have achieved this, our ‘other half’ will sweep us off our feet and make our life complete and permanently happy. And if he/she doesn’t, it is because something is wrong with him, not us. This illusion does not feed love, but separation.
‘My other half makes me feel this’ ‘I would be happy if he only changed that’ ‘She’s making my life miserable’. This is a huge responsibility to place on another human being, and the cycle of blame in the couple relationship only makes us more and more unhappy as we give away more and more of our power to a dynamic that will never really work.
When we take personal responsibility for our feelings, experiences and wellbeing we no longer give someone else a job that we should be doing ourselves (a job they usually didn’t ask for!) This is highly empowering; we come to a deeper knowledge of the needs of our souls and how to meet these.
We become more secure and fulfilled as we grow to understand that everything we need is already within us. This is not arrogant self-sufficiency, but a deep understanding of our true, divine nature. We are the microcosm and everything that exists in the macrocosm is reflected, to a greater or lesser extent, within us.
When we know we are innately complete, the desperate need to source and secure everything (especially happiness) from outside fades. We are already happy, or at least more aware of where the energy of happiness originates from, and so are able to enjoy our lover’s presence, without expectation that he give us something he cannot.
Yes, he can and should increase our happiness through the joy of love and of his self-offering to the relationship. But, only we are responsible for how we feel and act within that relationship.
As more space and understanding is created within us and within the relationship, the fear of losing him reduces, as does fear of suffering; as we know we are innately ok inside; always were, and always will be. Outside circumstance becomes less important, which in turn gives happiness more space to establish itself; as true happiness is not dependent on the exterior; it is indeed an ‘inside job’.
There is an immense freedom for both parties in knowing that nobody can really hurt you; you have the ultimate responsibility for your thoughts, emotions, feelings and intentions.
Love is a gift not a demand
You have the power of loving the other one without asking for something in return, without complaining, without doubting. When we can detach from wanting (or worse needing) something in return, we align ourselves with the law of Occult Offering.
By simply admiring your lover’s existing qualities, and being grateful for supporting him in his personal development, you will be acting as a genuine support for him. One that will allow him to flourish independently. Whereas, when we are constantly putting heavy expectation on the other of change, we do not accept and love them as they are.
We are projecting a fantasy onto them, and becoming annoyed when they don’t fulfil it. Accepting them, seeing them in their highest possible light, and supporting them to achieve their goals is a much more effective approach. It is one that will also make you much happier - as all of the aforementioned behaviours are positive and therefore attract more positivity and happiness into your experiencing of life.
Free from relentless expectation, you become genuinely appreciative, and receive his love as a gift, not as a vital help. Free from expectation, you do not need him to change or to act in a particular way to make you happy; this gives you both freedom and space to transform sustainably and out of love.
Your lover is not here to fill a gap in your soul, but to offer you both joy. Choose to attract happiness, thus your road to true love will be open; because everything starts from within us.
Get in contact with your inner power
When a woman doesn’t love herself, she expects love and validation to come from the outside and is insistently, whether directly or indirectly, seeking approval from others in order to feel worthy and loved. She usually wants concrete proofs of love; she keeps a close eye on his words and his gestures, needs regular reassurances and confirmations.
Sometimes she is so afraid of losing the loved being, that she worries at the smallest appearance of affective withdrawal. Becoming jealous and petty, she interprets his phrases and attitudes as being a slight to her, or as revealing an underlying preference for someone else.
She sometimes gains a perverse delight in keeping a running list of actions, words or gestures which are proof of lack of affection. Plagued by a legacy of pain and self-hatred, she becomes hyper-sensitive and can veer suddenly from joy to suspicion, from adoration to pessimism.
Love based on these types of behaviours and dependencies is almost guaranteed to make both unhappy. And eventually, the list of perceived wrongdoings and reactive incidents leads to a relationship end.
The challenges within a couple are not about the other; they are products of that couples’ specific dynamic; events that generate an encounter with our own selves. Either we resist it, falling again and again into the trap of blame, or we accept the confrontation with our own limits and choose to awaken our own inner force of awareness and connect to the peace within.
When an issue comes up, don’t think only about what the other did ‘wrong’, but look at what it brought up in you.
Ask yourself these questions:
How did it make you feel, and why?
Journaling is a good tool for this; reflect o the incident, write lucidly and calmly what actually happened (not your interpretation of it) and write immediately how it made you feel in that moment.
What did it trigger from your childhood or previous relationships, and how can you work to heal this, instead of projecting all responsibility for this accumulated hurt onto you lover?
As we experience more and more suffering, and go through more and more failed relationships, we tend to project pain from similar incidents in the past onto things that are happening right now. This is not fair. Try to distinguish when you had a similar argument/experience/trauma before. Practice forgiving that person and yourself, and you will work towards releasing past pain, which will make you more objective in your current relationship.
What negative tendencies in you did this incident bring to light? How can you work to improve or eliminate these?
How can you approach conflict in a way that it can be used as a tool for transformation, maturation of the couple dynamic, and in a way that leads more directly to understanding, harmony and love?
Non violent communication is a very useful tool for opening this kind of dialogue, as well as for general self-awareness. Its basic structure is this; 1. What happened? (concrete action/words/event only; Not your interpretation.) 2. How did it make you feel? 3. This feeling reveals an unmet need in you; what is it? So, or example, if you felt unheard, you have a need to be heard. 4. Proposal of a concrete action to improve the situation; for example date night once a week, or catch up on our feelings every other day at 9pm. Ask your beloved; would you be willing to do this? If they are not, don’t judge, but aim to come to a concrete, alternative agreement.
Open a dialogue with your beloved; honesty and vulnerability are two of our greatest tools for achieving and deepening intimacy in a couple relationship.
Cherish the great privilege of your love
Love your own soul and you will not always crave love supplements. Trust yourself completely and you will no longer feel the need to seek confirmation, affirmation or reassurance. Discover your qualities and flaws and you will not have the wish to conquer others in order to prove to yourself that you really exist.
To love yourself has nothing to do with egoism or ego. These are only signs of a lack of communication with your profound self. Love for your self brings with it kindness, nobility, inner satisfaction, optimism and emotional maturity.
True love naturally respects the other person’s freedom. Many times we think we have rights over the other person, because we love him and therefore he has obligations towards us. We, in fact, do not have any right over him. And he does not have any obligation towards us. Love does not demand property rights. It is a spontaneous self-giving.
It is commonly understood that life in a couple gives one a privileged statute that gives the access to the other person’s intimate space. This is a given privilege, not an owed right. It is a privilege that you can receive in dignity; a gift that only love makes you worthy of, each and every day.
Photo credit to Ines Honfi