There are three things we seek in relationships, and all three of them can be found within ourselves.
Discovering what these three things are is a powerful step toward knowing ourselves, empowering relationships and experiencing unconditional love. They will allow us to be in a relationship for the right reasons, and that makes all the difference.
The three things we seek are:
While men sometimes suggest they are in romantic relationships for sex, many remain in sexless marriages. Many woman claim to seek security, yet remain in insecure relationships. Discovering what we are really seeking inspires us to find it in ourselves and bring it to our partner—a sweet offering, making our relationship a gift exchange.
We want another heart beating in the proximity of ours. We want another mind and mouth offering up thoughts and kisses. We want ears that can hear us, hands to touch us and flesh to embrace.
Company, we are taught, is necessary for mental and physical health.
Company offers empathy, compassion and a dance partner. It gives us someone to share the sunrise and sunset with, and someone to catch our tears and share our laughter. No matter how quiet or removed, gregarious or loving the company is, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, we remain with someone.
But this is often at the expense of own well-being and we remain with someone out of the fear of being alone. When this happens, we rob ourselves and them of our genuine company. We often compromise in the name of company.
Having someone around distracts us from our own self-discovery, which—given the chance—can lead to self-love, warmth and softness within. Nobody will ever be closer to our hearts than we are. And the origin of our love is the affair between our hearts and minds.
When our hearts and minds aren’t getting along, a third person—spouse, child, friend or relative—becomes a surrogate, a distraction from the all important action of loving ourselves.
To know and enjoy ourselves fully, we need to meet new aspects of ourselves—parts of us we may love, hate or simply not understand—that we can bring to the altar of relationship. We must venture into the frontiers of ourselves: a daring enterprise which tests our courage, trust, wisdom and commitment. All of these are important elements we will need in relationship. Without them, relating falls short of what we wish it would be.
The most intimate company is our own company.
Try as we might, most of us do not like or approve of ourselves. Even the pompous peacock bragging about accomplishments is inspired by fear of disapproval. Walking through the grocery store, we catch a glimpse of another who we immediately like more than ourselves. But we like them because we don’t know them. We like them because they nod to us or say “hello,” and don’t critique us.
We temporarily trust their assessment, though it’s based on nothing. What we really seek—what convinces us deeply that we are important, of value and worthy of love—is the approval of those who know us best. But fear resides there as well, because if they get to know us, and then leave us, that is a vital vote against us—and it results in all kinds of insecurity. That insecurity can turn our day up or down based on the approval of others. We become attention-seekers, losing ourselves in the process.
Then, we want more approval, such is the nature of external approval.
The approval we find within ourselves, however, isn’t dependent upon what we do. In fact, it is inexhaustible because it is based on our existence. Whether we are a baby, a young child, a teenager, in the midst of life, or elderly, we still exist. When we consider ourselves to be of value by our very existence, then as long as we exist we are valuable.
Bringing this sort of value to relationship results in a high level of bonding because unlike external approval, it does not come and go, it is not dependent on the weather or moods. It is confirmed by the pulse of life within us, by our breath and our ability to think and feel. Bringing this sort of approval to relationship leads naturally to unconditional love.
We all wish to be remembered. Remembered by our spouse when we are away at work. Remembered by our children while they are at school, off to college or living in a distant city with their own family.
Being remembered softens and opens us to our spiritual nature. When I think of my mother, who passed away several years ago, I feel warmth inside. It is my warmth, my love—it is inspired by her, but it is mine. Remembering her brings her back to life within me; it makes her immortal.
No slogan carved on a tombstone is clever enough to prove that we were valued, but what we do here, when it inspires the hearts and minds of others who outlast us, is what transports us into a timeless place of grace.
The Catholics canonize certain people, making them “saints.” But we each become living saints to the degree to which we touch deeply other people.
We get busy in our day-to-day life, but that doesn’t stop us from being immortal spirits all the while. When we know ourselves as immortal spirits, we bring a different kind of integrity to a relationship. We embrace karma, aware that there are consequences to our actions and thus become perfect partners, behaving in alignment with our deeper nature.
Immortality extracts us from the cycle of birth and death and it informs our daily existence, imbuing ourselves and our relationships with love, caring and compassion.
Enjoying our own company, offering ourselves approval and stepping out of the cycle of life and death provides a fine foundation for relationships and life, and tips the romantic scales in our favor.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Catherine Monkman