Today I want to talk about the purpose in relationship. Why do we seek it? Why do we need it? How does it serve us?
Now, most of us don’t really think about this at all. We meet someone… there is a mutual attraction… we “fall in love”… we lose ourselves in the passion and excitement… and we live happily ever after. Well, maybe not the last part…
Because what really happens for most of us is that the passion and excitement fizzle down and we find ourselves looking at one another and thinking, “Who is this person? This isn’t the person I thought it was.” We find after some time that this other person isn’t quite who we imagined them to be, and that they’re not capable of fulfilling our needs the way in which we had hoped for. In fact, we may even become annoyed and frustrated with them. And just as quickly as we fell into love, we can fall right back out if it.
So we go on the next one… same story… we “fall in love”… it’s fresh… it’s new.. it’s exciting… and then the passion fizzles down, the haze begins to clear, and we find ourselves once again faced with the reality of this person who has so many imperfections and is not in the slightest bit capable of making us happy.
So how many times do we do this?… going from one person to the next… always feeling unsatisfied… unfulfilled… falling in and out of love?
But a better question might be, “What is it that we’re really looking for?”
Are we looking for someone who’s going to fulfill all of our needs? Are we looking for someone who’s going to make us feel complete… make us feel happy? Because if this is our motivation, then maybe we’re going about it all wrong.
What if there’s no one out there who can make us feel complete? What if there’s no one out there that can fulfill all of our needs and desires?… What if there’s no one who can truly make us happy?
What if that’s our own responsibility? What if wholeness, completeness, happiness and satisfaction are all things which already exist within ourselves? …And putting that responsibility upon another person is not only selfish and unfair, but also futile?
What if we took a whole different approach to our relationships, expecting nothing from our partners, but expecting everything from ourselves? Maybe there wouldn’t be any disappointment. Maybe, instead, we might have more appreciation for that person.
If the purpose of a relationship is to place the other person in a position of responsibility… responsibility for our state of being… our satisfaction and joy… then the other person is little more than an object for exploitation. What often occurs is that we find ourselves in a relationship of trying to exploit one another. And when it doesn’t work out… and it never does… we act surprised. We might even feel used. And certainly, it may be that the other person was simply using us… using us as a means to satisfy their needs and desires… but weren’t we just doing the same thing in regard to them?
So how can we go about it differently? What if we take responsibility for our own emotional needs? What if, instead of trying to make someone else responsible for our happiness, we accept that responsibility ourselves? What if we realize that our personal sense of wholeness is not something that anyone else can give us, and that maybe we’re already whole and complete?
So, if we take this kind of approach to relationships, then what is the purpose? If we’re already complete…. If we’ve taken responsibility for our own emotions… then why do we need anyone else? The truth is, we don’t. We don’t need anyone. And this is exactly what makes this kind of conscious relating different from the typical unconscious relationship.
Unconscious relating is based almost entirely on a strong sense of need, which arises from a belief in scarcity. And so we’re seeking a partner to complete whatever it is we feel is missing. But conscious relating, on the other hand, seeks nothing but to give. When we are conscious of our own emotions, taking full responsibility for them, and learning to love ourselves, we wind up having so much love and joy that we feel compelled to share it with the world. We’re not coming from a place of scarcity, but rather, from a place of abundance. We have so much love and happiness that it spills over into all the various aspects of our lives. We then find partnership in which we can share that energy, without any need for anything in return.
So we’ve done the math, and we can see that one unhappy person plus one unhappy person equals two unhappy persons. And, likewise, one genuinely happy person plus another happy person equals double the happiness.
A conscious relationship is based on the understanding that those involved are on their own individual journeys… and we are each responsible for our own happiness. We come together, not to exploit one another, but to share what we have discovered within ourselves, and to support and encourage one another’s personal growth.
Part of our own personal process is recognizing and accepting that we’re not perfect… that we still have many areas to work on. And by acknowledging and accepting this within ourselves, we also acknowledge and accept this in our partners.
Too often we’re seeking perfection in another person, when we’re not so perfect ourselves. But in a conscious relationship we recognize the imperfections… we accept them… and we only try to change the imperfections we see within ourselves. And what is so wonderful about this kind of relating is that it affords us the opportunities for personal growth.
It often takes being in relationship with another person to bring light to those areas within ourselves that need our attention. So, whereas before, we might find certain aspects of relationship to be unfulfilling, unsatisfactory and even frustrating… we can now utilize these aspects as opportunities for our own personal growth.
Once we have decided to take responsibility for our own emotions, we no longer see our partner as the source of our agitation, but rather as someone who brings light and attention to our triggers. And so, we can develop gratitude for that. We can learn to appreciate that some particular situation is forcing us to have to look more deeply at ourselves.
Now, when the situation is reversed… when it’s your partner who’s being triggered by something you’ve said or done, this is your opportunity to come from a place of compassion and understanding… to provide support to them while they are working to resolve their own emotional reactions.
Every situation in life is meant to teach us something, if we are willing to see it that way. And often the most challenging situations arise within our relationship to others. So, if you’re really intent on growing, and tearing down the boundaries that prevent you from living fully in love… fully in joy… and embracing your freedom… then see your relationships as opportunities for growth.