The first 3 parts of this series have been concerned with a conceptual look at how we were born to be related to God, ourselves and to each other. We also examined some of the foundations for being related the way God envisioned for all of us – to have relationships that work. Now, let’s look at how we can bring our authentic selves to relationships and contribute to them as well.
1. Stay present, dropping the past so that your wounded child within doesn’t drive your adult relationships. Your past was only an outcome, not a mistake. Look at others with fresh eyes and treat them the way that you want to be treated, i.e. love and forgive – repeatedly. (Mt. 7:12 & 18:22.)
2. Drop all guilt and shame. You will make mistakes. Acknowledge them, take responsibility for them and do as much damage control as you can. Let go of your judgments – especially those that bring shame. Confess them so that you don’t ever have to worry about being ‘found out’ again. (James 5:16; 1 Jn. 1:9.)
3. Never stop questioning your thoughts. Nothing works better than the truth. (Zech. 8:16; 1 Cor. 4 – 6.)
4. See the differences between you and your partner as ‘building blocks’ for a relationship that transcends your singular contributions. Neither try to change the essence of who you are nor that of your significant other. You were both made in the image of God. (Gn. 1:27)
5. Give up the need for anyone else’s approval. Free yourself from the opinions of others. Live from God’s point of view and everything in your life will be superlative. (Ps. 37:4 – 6; Pr. 3:5, 6; 16:2, 3 & 9.)
6. Make healthy choices. Don’t choose people who like to dance with you in your old dramas – those who present a repeat role model for an incomplete relationship you had in the past. Dismantle your old unworkable choice-making strategies and follow your heart.
7. You are responsible for bringing 100% of your happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment to the relationship. Your partner is not there to do that for you. Share with your partner how you like to be loved but accept that the way they love you is their best way of doing it; and that needs to be okay if you want this person in your life. That way, they don’t have to ‘get it right,’ and neither do you.
8. Steer clear of people who are aloof, perfectionists, controlling, judgmental, defensive or dishonest. (Big hint: Never look for a partner when you are feeling lonely. You will have a tendency to settle for less.) Choose good character above all else – someone who is truthful, willing to be vulnerable, responsible for themselves, willing to show and share intimacy, honest, giving, forgiving, disposed to changing unworkable behaviors and actively committed to staying conscious. In short, seek out someone who is the person you are aspiring to be.
9. Drop any form of dependency. You really don’t need anyone. All relationships (with the exception of the one you have with God) are temporary. All people will leave you for one reason or another. They die; the kids get married, etc. Realize the gift of the relationship while you’re having it! Afterwards, it will live in your heart forever. If you come from a position of ‘need,’ you can never be present with that gift because you are always preoccupied with the potential loss of it. Dependency comes from a desire to control the uncontrollable. Decide instead to have a good life, regardless of who or what passes in or out of it – embracing the lessons of love that was gifted to you in that passing.
10. Your relationships will reflect your present state of awareness, and each holds an opportunity for spiritual growth and increased compassion, both of which eases the suffering of all the people on the planet. Love exists in the moments of your journey when you reconnect with your true self – learning to love others and yourself as we are, not as you think we ‘should’ be.
Are you ready to relate?
To be continued…
Goodnight and God bless.