Have you ever been in a situation where you find yourself fighting hard to get a relationship off the ground? You are sure it has the makings of a meaningful partnership so you invest time, encouragement and most of all love in the person concerned. Your mind is set and any doubts that flutter past are waved away because you are convinced you are doing the right thing with the right person. And maybe for a short while you are, but what happens next confuses you because it is unexpected, it creeps up, slaps you in the face.
Even though in your heart you feel you love this person, you also know they are very lucky to have you loving them, because you believe in yourself and your capabilities. So, when after a flying start – where affection and time are lavished on you – an empty vacuum opens up, you become bewildered as to why this could possibly happen. They still smile at you in that way and want to make love to you every night.
But you feel something is missing. You search for what had been, bustle around, placating them and trying to make sure all their needs are met – but they don’t seem to give much in the way of return. In fact they behave as if nothing has changed and carry on buying you flowers and hoping for routine intercourse as if this is all the stimulation you need from a relationship.
What has happened is plain to see in retrospect: they feel they have you in the bag. You are in their life, in their bed and on their mind. They do not need to do anything more. You are theirs. They need sex, but require less mental and emotional stimulation than you, so they wrongly feel that sex is the main stimulus you need too.
It is not. You are vibrant, intelligent and thoughtful. What on earth would possess them to feel the work is done?
This is a scenario which has happened to me and I am sure you too. At the time it happens, however, you are often so embroiled in the relationship it is difficult to see the wood for the trees. It becomes easier to blame yourself. You must be inadequate in some way; ungrateful in some way; spoilt in some way. In short you begin to believe it must be your fault. After all, how could your perception of this person have been so out of kilter?
So what should we look for in a lover before we begin a relationship? We should certainly try to be objective with regards to genuine emotional and intellectual compatibility. Once a couple fall in love their view of this is often obscured and it becomes easy to dive headlong into a partnership that lacks durability because there is too little common ground.
We all love to celebrate Independence Day: fire-cracks, parties, drinking and eating, being with friends, maybe even with lovers (if we have one at the time). And we keep celebrating Independence Day once a year, year in year out, as if this is something which has been engraved into our yearly routine, became part of our life-style, for ages.
But then, does celebrating Independence Day make us independent, free and able to pursue our own wishes and desires?
To put it more clearly: why are we accustomed to celebrating Independence Day on a regular yearly basis, and have not been accustomed to pursue our own independence on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? How many of us are enslaved in our own behavioral patterns, driving us to sabotage our relationships time and again, without us doing anything to learn what’s going on, what we do wrong, and consequently free ourselves from old patterns, change whatever needs change and empower ourselves to develop a truly healthy, loving and successful intimacy? Why is it so much easy to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day rather than our own?
One simple answer is, that we have learned to celebrate Independence Day from an early age, so it became something we have been accustomed to, while we haven’t learned to develop our own independence, freedom of mind and of expression.
Another explanation is, that it is easy to “join the club” and do whatever others are doing: this doesn’t require any deep thinking on our part; any deep commitment. We do what others do, we feel we belong, we are part of: So easy! So enlightening! So wonderful!
But then, as Independence Day approaches its end, as night falls upon the nation, upon the city, upon us, we go to bed and wake up next morning as if nothing has happened, nothing in us has change: we are still who we were, enslaved in our own habitual ways of doing things, struggling to continue with our search for a successful intimate relationship, looking for a partner who will fulfill our needs and desires, only to realize, once more, that the road to a satisfying relationship is still a long-shot away…
How to become truly independent!
As much as you have become used to celebrate Independence Day on a yearly basis, by the same token you can – even should! – become used to pursue your own independence, on a daily, weekly and monthly basis!
What does this entail?
Pursuing your own independence means, you decide to dig deep into the reasons which have made it difficult for you, until now, to find the relationship you have been looking for. “Digging deep” is not easy – no wonder you might have avoided doing it until now! But then, without looking inside and taking responsibility for your failures in relationships (rather than blaming others or the “circumstances”) you can’t release yourself – free yourself! – from whatever needs, fears, emotions and behaviors have driven you to sabotage your relationships time after time.
Freeing yourself and becoming independent is a first step towards a healthy and successful intimacy
It is only when you understand how you shot yourself in the foot until now, that you become able to take the necessary steps to stop using the same damaging ways in which you have managed yourself until now – ways which have failed your relationships time and again. It is only when you stop these damaging ways from reoccurring that you become able to change in a positive direction. It is only then that you can find a partner with whom to develop a successful intimacy.
The reason being, that only when you free yourself from your old damaging patterns of thought and behavior; only when you truly understand how you have sabotaged yourself until now, that you are free to begin adopting new ways of interaction, of give-and-take in a relationship.
It is only when you free yourself from your own needs, fears and issues which have dominated your life until now (such as: the endless need to receive love; the fear of being along; the feeling that “without a partner I am worthless”) that you can really take control of your life (rather than having these needs, fears and issues control you), thus make sensible decisions about partners and relationships.
It is when you free yourself and your approach to intimacy from a strength, rather than from a weakness (i.e., driven by fears and needs), that you stop letting yourself fall into relationships which are not for you, (or, even worst, let others take advantage of you or abusing you).
When you have freed yourself from your own damaging issues, and approach intimacy from a strength, you will not continue falling, time and again, into relationships with partners who are not for you who might, at the end of the day, will leave you, once again, alone, disappointed, embittered, sad, wondering “what’s the hell is going on, again?”.
Make your own Independence Day comes true
You don’t need to wait year-long to create your own Independence Day. You can begin creating it right now! Releasing yourself from old damaging habits, fears and needs and taking control of your life is something you shouldn’t wait for “to happen” – since it won’t, unless you initiate it, unless you pave the way to accomplishing it, paving your way to your own independence, and hence to a successful intimacy and to happiness.
Do you perceive yourself as a bottomless barrel, needing love and yet more love, willing to sacrifice yourself to whoever seeks your company – to the point of being left time and again heart-broken, alone and miserable?
In today’s uncertain world it is so reassuring and comforting to be with someone, have a partner, be in a relationship, feeling both psychologically as well as financially secure and cared for. But then, if the endless need for love drives you to sacrifice yourself, “fall in love” time and again only to be left alone, once more, maybe after being abused, manipulated and lied to, feeling depressed, tired, disillusioned and disappointed, you may want to ask yourself:
What’s going on? How do I fall in this trap time and again? What can I do to stand on my own two feet, to feel comfortable in my own skin without rushing to find a partner?
It might well be that through your rapid and endless search for partner(s) you have never taken the time to contemplate these issues. However now, if you feel that you “had it”; that you can’t “tolerate these repeated occurrences time and again”; that you need “to do something in order to change this cycle!” – then the time is ripe for you to take a careful look into what’s going on and what you can do to change it.
Becoming self-aware is the way to find out what’s going on and how to change
You may ask yourself: Watt’s going on? How come that, in spite of my wishes and willingness to be in a relationship I seem to fail time and again? How come that in spite of the energy and good will that I invest in a partner I find myself, time and again, alone? How come that, in spite of giving myself 100%, “they” don’t seem to appreciate what I give them and after some time they leave?
And you ask yourself: What didn’t I do for love? What didn’t I sacrifice at the altar of the relationship?
Now, that you ask yourself these – and other, questions – it is the right time for you to find out and give yourself the answers. This process – of finding out – will ensure that you will become able and empowered to finally find a partner with whom to develop and maintain a serious, long-lasting, loving relationship.
The secret of finding out what’s going on, and how to change
The “secret” of finding out what’s going on, what have failed you until now in relationships, and how to change, is a simple one: It is the “secret” of becoming self-aware; of getting to know what made you behave with your partners they way you did; of understanding how you shot yourself in the foot in relationships, and what you need to do in order to stop this cycle from reoccurring and become able to establish a successful intimacy.
As you begin the process of becoming self-aware; as you begin to ask yourself questions; as you begin to contemplate your past relationships, you might find out that you have operated on the basis of some predetermined patterns: That you were there for your partners “no questions asked”; that you gave them as much love as you could; that you pampered and cared for them 24/7.
On the surface these all may look wonderful: Isn’t it true love? Isn’t it the way relationships should be?
Realization and understanding of what went wrong with your relationships
As you continue contemplating and wondering why, in spite of all this love and caring your relationships failed time and again, you might begin to realize and understand the following:
That you didn’t allow your relationships to be mutual, but one-sided; that you sacrificed yourself out of fear of losing your partner; that you were there 100% without taking care of your own needs.
When you realize that this was the way you behaved in all your relationships; that these were patterns you developed, the next step for you is to understand what made you behave that way; what made you develop such patterns:
Being honest with yourself, willing to look deep inside and examine yourself, you might realize that, driven by your endless need for love, appreciation and attention, you built yourself the image of a person who is “totally there for others”; who is “full of love”; who is “understanding, supporting and caring” 100% 24/7!
Nice image, for sure, but at what expense?
At the expense of not “allowing” your partner to develop a mutual relationship with you; of not giving your partner space to reciprocate, and eventually at the expense of failing in your relationships time and again.
The “secret” unveiled, you are now ready to embark on developing a successful relationship
It is when you become aware of your own damaging patterns; of the way in which you have shot yourself in the foot in relationships, that you become empowered to make the necessary changes in your attitudes, in your bottomless need for love (which sabotages you until now), and in your approach to partners and relationships.
So there I was that morning waiting with colleagues at the Stop for the arrival of the staff bus. Also at the Stop were a roadside clothes seller going about his daily routine, a sweeper trying to keep the environment tidy and an old man on his knees begging for alms.
Along came this little girl and her blind mum who obviously were there to solicit help from generous passers-by. A few minutes after helping her mum settle down, she quietly conversed with her mum and then rose up with #10 in her hands before heading towards the old man who she gave this bill to. And just as quietly, she went back to her mom’s side.
This act did not go unnoticed by my colleagues and I, and I left there that morning with a learnt lesson. Little did I know, I was to learn this more than once, as every time that little girl and her mum showed up at the Stop, she did this. And as always, I left there in awe.
In awe of the fact that, despite their seemingly needy situation, this girl and her mum still had generosity ingrained in their consciousness. In awe of the fact that, they didn’t let their situation get in the way of their compassion for others. In awe of the fact that, even though they needed a lot to keep body and soul together, they still recognized the fact that they had some to give to one who had none. In awe of the fact that although they didn’t have much, they still had one another unlike someone else who had none.
And there I was, thinking about the ‘little’ on me which I couldn’t spare from as it was “barely enough to last me through the week”. God bless that little family who though they didn’t have enough to get them through the day, not only shared that which that had with someone else but also gave me a wake up call, whilst perfecting preaching the message of love.
Although, I am yet to give either party some money, I not only wish them well, I now ensure to perform my ‘little act of kindness’ to anyone I find myself to be in the situation to help out as it has finally dawned on me that even if things are not going on perfectly with or around me, as compared to some, I still have greener grass..