Monday, March 16, 2009
“Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.” ~Leo Buscaglia
Just a few days ago my mother was excitedly telling me of the cruise she and my father are going on to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary coming up in October. The moment I hung up the phone, a friend stopped by, and I shared the happy news with her. My friend sighed and asked what their secret is.
Indeed, there is no secret to having a long, healthy relationship, but a good dose of self-love and respect are certainly the key ingredient toward its longevity.
Too often, people embark on relationships to fill inner voids they are unable to satisfy on their own. Because of the burst of energy directed at them by the new partner, they feel renewed, happy and fulfilled. However, as soon as the “newness” wears out – and each person in the game feels comfortable in showing their true colors – the band-aid relationship is defunct.
If people approach a relationship as a whole, their communion is one of equal exchange. No issues of control get in the way, because each person is self-confident and doesn’t need a daily shot of reassurance. On the contrary, when someone approaches a new relationship as a half - and hopes someone else will make them whole by supplying a substitute for the self-love they were lacking in the beginning - the end result is often a sad one.
In the early days of the relationship, when both parties float on the wings of infatuation, each of them is feeding the other person a great deal of energy - the energy flows back and forth and keeps both fulfilled and secure. As days go by, and the level of comfort grows, the amount of energy fed to the other person naturally decreases. Suddenly, the whole is split back in two halves, and each is loudly demanding its fix to feel complete. As the half is starved of its daily dose, old patterns of doubt and fear that were temporarily deactivated are triggered back into action; subconsciously terrified at the thought of being cut off from the energy supply, the person being ignored initiates conflicts to trigger at least a flow of negative energy. Their aggressive approach turns the other person off even more, with the result of a complete shut-off. After a few unsuccessful and pained exchanges, the relationship dies.
We often mistake our fear of being alone with love. Some fear losing others, through death or otherwise, because they are afraid no one will be there to take care of them; other people fear losing loved ones because they need to take care of someone else. Being needed creates a gateway for energy to flow. Either way it's about control, which originates from the ego, not from the soul.
We need to fall in love with ourselves, before we fall in love with others, and know that we are worthy of our own respect and happy being with ourselves. Until we enjoy our own company, we shouldn’t expect others to pick up our slack.