Last week’s featured article was a another hint about being conscious in your life. “Is It Love… or Comfort” prompted us to view relationships as containers for growth. We begin relationships at whatever growth level we happen to be in when we meet, and then — we change. Change is the way of the world, so inevitably in our relationships, we have a choice: we can grow together or we can grow apart. A significant number of couples do not consciously make this choice.
Our social and familial conditioning often contains an autopilot that dictates partners, marriage, children as an endgame. Advocates of conscious living, myself included, view these as lovely, fulfilling choices – IF you so choose, but certainly not an endgame. Particularly, the old message of relationships often includes an element of another person being the completion of one’s life and love, as opposed to a complement to your own self-love and fulfilling “be-ing” – – which is in essence, the generator of your ability to share love in the first place. Awareness of one’s self is pretty key to a lot of outcomes, and the following article and video by renowned relationship expert Margaret Paul explores a very fundamental view of this:
Actually, in my research and years of relationship counselling there are two very different reasons for wanting a relationship. The first is about what you want to get, and the second is about what you want to learn and share.
Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Get
If you ask people why they want a relationship, many will say things like:
- I want someone to love me and make me feel special and worthy.
- I don’t want to be alone and lonely anymore.
- I want to have children.
- I want to feel safe and secure.
What they might not say outright is that they want a relationship to:
- Fill the empty place within them.
- Complete them. They hope that their partner will give them what they are not giving to themselves and what they might not have received as children.
- Make them feel taken care of emotionally, financially and/or sexually.
You might be thinking, “Right! Aren’t these the reasons everyone wants a relationship? Why be in a relationship if not to be loved, cherished, made to feel special, safe and secure? What’s the point of a relationship if not to fill me, take away my loneliness and make me feel okay about myself?”
There really is another reason for wanting to be in a relationship.
Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Heal, Learn and Share Love
The other reason for being in a relationship stems from the fact that relationships are the most fertile ground for learning about what is unhealed in us, and for having an arena to heal. Most of us have baggage from childhood that we carry into our primary relationship — such as fears of rejection and fears of engulfment. These fears generally get played out with a partner, which offers us an incredible opportunity to learn about and heal them. Relationship can be the Ph.D. of personal growth!
Learning about your fears of intimacy, as well as about control issues that may surface with a primary partner, can lead to much personal growth — enhancing your ability to love. The more you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings — learning to love yourself, cherish yourself, make yourself feel special and valued — the more you may want a relationship in order to share your love rather than to get love. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not the getting of love that takes away loneliness, but the sharing of love.
The most profound and beautiful experience in life is the sharing of love. But we can’t share our love unless we are filled with love. When we learn to fill ourselves with love from our “Source” — whatever that is for each person, such as nature, spirit, God, the energy of the universe — then we come to our partner with inner fullness rather than with inner emptiness. Rather than needing a partner to complete us, we desire to share our completeness with our partner.
When two people come together to get love rather than to learn, heal and share love, there is a strong possibility that their relationship won’t last. With both partners trying to get loved and filled by the other, and neither one having learned to love and fill themselves, each will ultimately be disappointed. Very often, one or both might believe they’ve picked the wrong partner.
When two people come together because they want to learn together, grow together, heal together, share their time and companionship, and share their love and passion, they have a good chance of creating a lasting, loving relationship.
When these people are asked why they want a relationship, they say:
- I have a lot of love to give and I want to share it with a partner, who also has a lot of love to give. Possibly, we might want to have children with whom to also share our love.
- I want to learn and grow with someone who also wants to learn and grow.
- I want to share time, companionship, lovemaking, laughter and play with someone with whom I feel deeply connected.
If you tune inside and honestly ask yourself why you want a relationship, and you find yourself on the first list rather than on the second, do not despair. You can learn how to love yourself and fill yourself with love so that you have plenty of love to share with a partner.
at our common level of health — which is the level of taking personal responsibility for our happiness and wellbeing — OR
at our common level of self-abandonment — which includes making someone else responsible for our feelings.
Given this reality, you have a far better chance of creating a healthy and loving relationship with a partner when you have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. There are many more wonderful videos on youtube.