We all aspire to have a healthy and loving relationship. At its best, a relationship can be the most significant healing aspect in our life. If it turns sour, it can feel like a slow and painful poison. Relationships don’t come with warranties; they require daily maintenance. Nobody makes mistakes on purpose. Mistakes happen by mistake. That said, there are a few relationship mistakes that you may be unintentionally making and don’t notice. These are three examples.
Loving others before loving yourself.
Isn’t it so common to hear the phrase, “Love others?” Well, you can only give others something that you already have an excess supply of. If you don’t have enough love within you and you’re trying to give or take it from others, it’s like two beggars asking each other for something they both lack. My whole practice and teachings have been about love. We are conditioned to believe that we need an outside source – a person, thing, or situation – to complete us. We are already complete. Love is not something you will find online or through a random partner; you must discover it within you. I’m not trying to stop you from loving others, but I certainly want you to love yourself first, without any outside support. It will happen when you accept yourself as who you are. Let go of how society defines you and embrace originality.
Don’t neglect the relationship that you have with your own self. While you may try your best to improve your relationships with others, it will all be for nothing if you don’t connect with your inner stillness.
Taking things personally.
I was once told by a very wise man to not take myself seriously. He added: “Because you will be the only one doing so!” The ego craves importance. It wants to be the center of attention, and it reacts when someone says something that disagrees with your opinion. Everyone has the right to express his or her views, but you can prove yourself right without having to prove others wrong. When you take things personally, you allow others to press your buttons. Be it a rash driver on the highway or a significant other, taking things personally will make you everybody’s victim. The solution here is to respond – rather than react – to a situation. How others express themselves is their journey; how you respond to their expression is yours. I wait 24 hours to respond to someone who is angry or aggressive toward me. That 24 hours teaches you to let go and understand things beyond just your lens.
Failing to express yourself.
Love is its own language. It doesn’t need words to convey its message. However, words can sometimes enhance the quality of a relationship. Holding on to a grudge can amplify negative feelings, which can result in a volcanic eruption of anger and heated arguments. I tell all of my clients that they must take the time to express their love, needs, and other important matters in order to soothe their relationship. While some partners may be able to interpret the unsaid, many partners appreciate open and honest communication. Expressing love and forgiveness on a regular basis is a healthy exercise in any relationship.
If you are looking to deepen your relationships and learn the basics of authentic communication (with yourself and others) take a look at this online course – Transformative Communication – an easy and life-enhancing approach for better relationships.