Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow. Brené Brown
I spent many years in relationships while having one foot out of the door. Those were the times when I was saying I wanted to be a friend, a lover, a member of a group, and in the meantime was in the mental and emotional continuum from reserved to critical; waiting for something to fill my soul and being unsure if that something was available to me.
My internal monologue bits were always playing; looking for the perfection in love, waiting to be really appreciated, wondering if I was important to those who were important to me. Sometimes I would harden my closed-up little knot of a heart and think, “Screw this, I can make it better on my own.”
Well, I can make it on my own, but that wasn’t my goal.
What I wanted all along were fulfilling relationships with the people I have chosen to be in my life. I just didn’t realize that the key to success was my own commitment. I hold the power to make my life better.
I know. I sound like Wayne Dyer or some other guru when I say this, but, “Change your mind, open your heart, change your life”. It is that simple.
Simple and not easy. (But it gets easier.) The bundle of feelings and their consequent behaviors that I had built up over the years are complex…not at all simple. Still, with a few little adjustments I immediately began to make my relationships better.
Make no mistake here. I am not talking about making bad relationships tolerable. I’m not discussing verbal or physical abuse or toxicity. This is about transforming the relationships that you already intend to keep into rewarding, joyful connections. Because if you are like me, the key is to know when you’re in it for the long haul but you haven’t jumped in with both feet.
There is a formula.
First, you make up your mind. I am constantly examining my thoughts and attitudes and eliminating the escape-hatch syndrome. Leaving is no longer an option. My relationships have fullness and history. What could possibly make me consider throwing away such a part of myself?
Then, open your heart. This is the key. Drop the scales of criticism and resentment from your eyes and see the people in your life with a new perspective. I’m not looking at anyone within my chosen circle with an eye to their mistakes. I am remembering that I also say things without thinking, sometimes don’t know what to say, and can make any day better by thinking and/or saying something supportive and loving.
Take the plunge. Risk being wrong. Risk not being perfect. Risk being rebuffed. Risk being your (best) self. Risk loving in its truest sense. Be that person who looks, who listens, who touches, who swallows minor irritations, who gives love not knowing for sure that it will be appreciated in that moment. Be the one who soothes rather than reacts. Be the person who gives approval instead of advice. Put some emotional money in the bank.
Did I say this was easy? Did I mention that I’m not very good at it yet? Did you understand that I am trying?
And that’s the best I can do – go all out to be all in.
Thanks, Ramana. And, good one, Maxi!
“I hold the power to make my life better…”
blessings ~ maxi
I very much agree that commitment makes a huge difference, but I believe it’s not sufficient to commit yourself to a relationship when the other person doesn’t. In my few relationships I’ve had before Peter, I was always committed, but still felt like the relationship regarded only for 20 % of me (while taking 80 % of my free time). It didn’t match, and the reason for that was a lack of empathy and acceptance, so I felt “observed for probably failure” all the time. On my side there is the responsibility for not standing up well enough and avoiding conflicts. Then I was on my own for several years and learned I could do that, although I didn’t want to be like that for the rest of my life. However, I made my peace with that possibility. When I met Peter, it felt very easy and natural from the beginning because we are so similar in many way-of-being things, and we were both honest about our willingness to commit ourselves. So I think that it matters who you are with, but it doesn’t work out without commitment.
You are right. A one-sided relationship is not worth the commitment. There is so much give and take in a good relationship that if there is one taker and one giver, it is lopsided from the get go. For me, I find that I must sometimes renew my commitment within myself. Knowing that I am in a relationship in the long-haul should teach me to be always looking for the most harmonious solution rather than for self-satisfaction. I can forget that if I’m not staying aware.