We’ve figured out how to control most things in our lives — our bodies, our weight, our work. But relationships? That’s something different altogether. We can’t control someone else’s heart, and because of that, there’s always a certain amount of uncertainty in any relationship.
And, sadly, it is this uncertainty that causes many of us to put up walls and push others away. Because at its core, our need for certainty is a survival mechanism, and in uncertain states, we do what is necessary to protect ourselves — or our hearts in this case. But the beauty of the uncertainty in relationships is that it is in this space that our ultimate spiritual growth evolves, and where we can find more joy and more happiness than anywhere.
So just how do we overcome the innate urge to self-protect during periods of uncertainty? How do we learn how to surrender control to trust and faith? Through understanding, practicing and mastering the skills that are critical to your success in finding, nurturing and creating an outstanding relationship. There is a lot to learn and appreciate about the needs, feelings and behavior of yourself as well as your partner — and, most importantly, how to use these understandings to best support your partner and your relationship.
SHARE YOUR FEARS
How do you protect yourself from feeling pain? Do you give your partner the cold shoulder? Do you hold back love?
Becoming aware of your behavioral patterns makes it easier to recognize them when they arise, and helps you achieve more objective viewpoint when emotions take hold. But the recognition of your triggers and patterns is just the first step — next, you must share this information with your partner.
Open up to your partner about what you need in order to release your inner withholding and connect. Let your partner play a supportive role in helping you work through your fears and finding a new approach to any destructive patterns. You may be surprised just how much more trust this can create.
GIVE WITHOUT GETTING
Learn to give without the promise of getting. Learn to receive your greatest joy from seeing your partner fulfilled. Find out what drives your partner, what they are hungry for, what their goals are. Find out what their pains are.
For example, try looking your partner in the eyes and asking them to explain what makes them feel loved. Honor and accept their answer as the truth and not try to change their needs to match yours.
Learn to choose trust and faith — stay, even when everything in you wants to run. No matter what, believe that your partner has only positive intent.
For example, when you feel yourself reacting to your partner as if they are doing something “to you,” observe your reaction and trust their intention. Rather than reacting, open up and see what they need at that moment to feel loved.
Be the example of what you want in a partner. Step back and feel what your partner is feeling and be present for his or her pain.
For example, instead of demanding from your partner, decide to go first in giving what he or she needs. And when your partner is in distress, commit to listening with absolute compassion, with the sole goal of helping alleviate their suffering.
Remember, the only thing we can control is ourselves: our actions, our reactions, the choices that we make in our relationships every day. Embrace the power you do have to shape the dynamic of your relationship, and you will get one step closer to creating true peace in your relationship.