When I sat down to write this blog I was trying to figure out how I could begin to explain what relationships were really about, how we can begin to understand their true nature and more importantly their true power and how understanding relationships could mean for us.
Most people think of a relationship as a union with someone that basically gives each of the participants certain benefits or connection points with the other. Most often when we think of relationships we think of them as a way to get something we want or need, regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. It could be someone to take care of you, to keep you from being lonely, or for financial security. There are many things we unconsciously want to get out of a relationship.
Consciously or unconsciously, the tendency is to look at a relationship from the vantage point of what can be gotten from the relationship, in other words, “what’s in it for me.” We evaluate our relationships from the point of view of what we think we “should be” getting out of it.
Traditional thinking is that a relationship will make us happy, make us feel better, give us more joy and feel less alone. Deep down inside, we all want to feel safe, taken care of, and there is the mistaken belief that a relationship can do that.
A Relationship may make us feel safe or happy in the short run but this feeling can only be temporary and cannot provide True Happiness in the long run.
While there are many levels in understanding relationships through which relationship can be seen and understood, I like to start with this distinction:
Relationships can be viewed from the perspective of how we live our day to day life and how we can better get along with our partner. I call this the Introduction or the First Stage to Relationships.
Some important points of focus are how we experience life together, how happy we are with each other and ultimately how happy we ourselves are. And somewhere along the line, if we are honest with ourselves, we can look at and evaluate the dance of manipulation and coercion that we do to get what we want from the relationship.
Many coaches and therapists have developed techniques as to how to make a relationship more harmonious, or loving or even to elicit better sex. This is rarely long-lasting. There is nothing wrong with this approach and it is indeed important and necessary for most people to start here.
The other, what I will call the macro perspective, is from the view that relationships either succeed or fail based on what you are thinking, feeling or doing and has nothing to do with your partner.
The work that Rafael, my husband, and I do is to facilitate a very powerful awareness that the way we experience anyone in a relationship is always, and I repeat, always about how we feel about ourselves. This is called the mirroring effect. Therefore, the only way to change how you feel about or be with your partner is to change the way you think and feel about yourself.
This basic truth is very transformational and in my next blog I will explain how understanding this basic concept will change everything for you and your relationships.