I see many couples in my practice, and in my personal life that get stuck in certain perceptions of what a relationship means and the needs it’s supposed to meet for him or her. I’ve come to realizations both in my personal and professional life around what a couple-ship means and the needs that it could meet.
A lot of the time people get into relationships to meet their needs, i.e., to feel loved, needed, find security and belonging. I am proposing a new concept to the world of intimate relationships. My challenge that I pose to you is instead of getting into relationship to meet needs, both stated and unstated, try to see it from a perspective of extension. The goal, I feel, of conscious, healthy realtionship, is to come from a place of wholeness and extend that to our partner. What does this mean? If I am a person that feels fulfilled, and is meeting all her needs, I get to turn and extend and share that with my partner. I can “share” the love I already have within me out to my significant other. My partner is free of having to meet my needs and becomes someone to celebrate my life with! I get to pour all the passion and contentment I reap into him. Our relationship is one of sharing and extending verus needing and expectations. This puts each individual in realtionship into a different role of responsibility. To be in this kind of conscious realtionship means that each participant is responsible for finding joy, contentment, passion, and fulfillment in their individual lives. This doesn’t mean our partners don’t also bring us this but it’s an enhancement versus a point of origin. I equate the individual to an island in my sessions. I will ask the client, “How is your island? Is it bountiful, enjoyable, and does it contain a passion for life?” Using an island as a metaphor for how the person is relating to him or herself. Once again to see two islands (conscious people) meeting that are full and pouring over with abundance and passions is different than barren islands that turn to each other to meet and create these feeling states and needs. This is how unhealthy bonds and attachments form. The only thing needed for these two healthy islands meeting is a bridge that allows access back and forth. Water is allowed to flow freely between these two worlds and there is an autonomy within the togetherness.
So I ask you, what beauty and self-created passions do you bring to your partner? Now that you’re responsible for bringing a whole and fulfilled Self to the table of relationship, where do you start? Beginning to ask these questions frees up our partners and places us in charge of meeting our needs and tending to our own island. The quest becomes one of how much beauty and passion can I cultivate and share with my partner? This doesn’t mean we don’t have down times where we lean and ask for support from our partner, but having that bountiful island comes with a support network meaning it’s not just our partner that we turn to. We have many to assist us with the challenges life throws our way.
An examples of a bountiful island (an individual that is self-sustained and full) would look like this: there is a support network; there are activities that he/she participate in that evoke passion and a zest for life; career is aligned with principles and ethics and there is a sense of purpose; there is a deep connection with a religion/spiritual tradition/etc., that connects the Self to something greater; the individual likes spending time alone and actually has a freindship with himself or herself and there is no uncomfortableness with alone time. These are just some examples of the kind of person that I am referencing in this article. At this point you may feel it’s impossible to create this Self. I’m here to say it’s not. If we want to be a good, conscious partner we need to love and create the Self we are going to bring to the table. This takes time, focus, commitment, and dedication.
Make a list of all the needs unmet in your life, and reasons you want a relationship. Then one by one start finding people, places, and things to fulfill that list on your own. This will begin to put you on a path of wholeness and shift your perspective to what dating can be about. I challenge you to find this sense of freedom in relationship and to put the effort and time into befriending and truly loving your self first!
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