Have you ever wondered why the arena of relationships can be so challenging and confusing? The answer is likely to surprise you and challenge a lot of your beliefs about relationships. This article will assist you in Demystifying Relationships and some of the most common challenges.
The Most Fundamental Function of Relationships
Relationships are multifaceted and involve a lot of variables, making each relationship as unique as the individuals involved. Despite this diversity there are some underlying principles which are true for every relationship. The most fundamental of these principles is that the primary function of any relationship is to facilitate our individual growth and development. Not so surprising, considering that our entire life is a continual process of development on so many different levels. Understanding this principle changes the way we approach challenges in our relationships.
Relationships as the Perfect Mirror
Our relationships with others are an extension of our relationship with ourselves. You cannot be loved by someone else more than you love yourself, nor can you love another more than you love yourself. The belief that a partner or relationship will make you happy, fill some void or somehow complete you is a recipe for disappointment. To find lasting fulfillment, each of us needs to empower ourselves in the various arenas of life. Unrealistic expectations placed on our partner produce resentment and makes them pull away from us. More than anything else, our relationships guide us towards discovering our inherent wholeness, and teach us to love and appreciate ourselves more completely.
Dynamics and Mechanics of Attraction
The dynamics of attraction are largely governed by individual motivational values. We are attracted by traits and qualities in others that we believe we are lacking ourselves. This attraction is a self-serving juvenile infatuation rather than mature love. Similarly, we’re attracted to another’s empowerment in areas of life in which we are disempowered. On a practical level such relationships provide us with support in our weakest areas, but psychologically they challenge us, constantly reminding us of our own disempowerment. Without understanding these underlying dynamics of relationships, partners are likely to build resentment towards each other, until the things that first attracted us to someone become the very things we can’t stand about them.
Relationships and Challenges
The dynamics of intimate relationships are largely governed by the subconscious beliefs of the individuals involved, providing the perfect environment for growth. The challenges we face in our relationship are inherent to us, rather than our partner or the relationship itself. This is why after ending a relationship because of a specific issue or challenge; we often encounter the same or similar issues in successive relationships, or even in some other area of our lives. You can run, but you can’t escape from yourself. These challenges provide an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and to empower ourselves in some new way. Resistance to our inherent process of growth by seeking only experiences which support us and avoiding challenges is what causes us emotional pain and suffering, not to mention more severe challenges.
Demystifying Relationships Myths and Fantasies
Myths and erroneous beliefs about relationships abound, creating unrealistic expectations and unforeseen challenges at every turn. The more of these beliefs we dispel, the wiser and more empowered we become, and the more we appreciate those close to us for the valuable role they play in our personal evolution.
Happily Ever After….
The pervasive “happily ever after” myth that assumes our “perfect partner or relationship” is waiting out there somewhere is a disempowering fantasy, devaluing relationships involving challenges and getting in the way of us learning valuable lessons from our current experiences. We learn about ourselves and the dynamics of relationships with each successive partnership we engage in, until we are wise enough to manage a lasting mutually fulfilling loving relationship.
Love and Unconditionality
True unconditional love is exactly that, unconditional. It is a conscious choice to love and appreciate someone for who they are, just as they are. It does not require that they love us back, or even acknowledge our love for them. It is never self sacrificing, but grounded in equality.
The Frustrating Self-Righteous Stance
Another common mistake is the idea that we can change or “fix” our partner. This juvenile and self-righteous position is an exercise in futility, as the more we try to change them the more they resist. This desire to change others derives from our own self-judgment and repressions. When we accept ourselves as we are we no longer feel the need to judge others.
The Self-Minimizing Delusion
There is no place for sacrifice in a mature relationship. When we sacrifice our needs so that our partner can fulfill their needs, we build resentment. At the same time our partner loses respect for us. How can they love us if we don’t love and respect ourselves enough to stand up for ourselves. But there’s more to it than that… In essence all sacrifice is a subversive attempt to get what we want, it always comes with unspoken expectations. If we continue to make sacrifices without getting that expectation met, our resentment grows out of control and we become explosive.
The Learning Curve
It is important to understand that through each successive relationship we learn more about ourselves, and more about human dynamics and interaction, until we have the wisdom to attract, create and manage a mature mutually fulfilling relationship on a foundation of unconditional acceptance and love.