“There are books all about ‘How to pick up women’ and ‘How to get a man.’ But the problem isn’t finding other humans, they’re everywhere. It’s learning how to actually love and be loved by the people we find. The thing we all crave most is a deep and loving connection, yet very few of us have ever taken the same amount of time and energy we put into swiping left and right as we do into learning how to be a great partner. Maybe we wouldn’t have to put so much effort into finding an amazing partner if we finally learned how to be one.” – Mark Groves
When we experience disappointment in any relationship, especially a romantic one, it is extremely tempting to slip into the blame game, focusing on everything the other person said or did wrong. When I recently went through a break-up, I was given a lot of support from friends who were subscribed to the “Kate’s ex is a jerk” mentality.
But I found that judging, criticizing and blaming my ex-boyfriend felt just as debilitating as the breakup itself. I knew getting over my heartache wasn’t about convincing myself I was better off without that “jerk,” but rather focusing on where I got it wrong and could improve. Even if the demise of our relationships are 90% the other person’s fault, we still have to look at our 10%.
Instead of making a laundry list of traits or characteristics we want in an ideal mate, what if we spent our time and energy figuring out who we want to be in a relationship?
Doesn’t that feel so much more empowering? After all, our thoughts, feelings and actions are the only things we can control. I believe when we practice being the men and women we want to be, the ideal partner will show up, and this time, we won’t blow it. For example, we will know our triggers, and how to manage our emotions. Instead of focusing on what we can get, we will be generous with what we can give. We won’t settle or expect someone to “complete” us as our core belief system is, “I am complete.”
When we begin to look at our relationships as adventuresome assignments for ultimate personal development and soul growth, our desperate need to try to control them will shift. Instead of obsessing over why someone wasn’t able to love us exactly as we wanted, we will understand we were brought together to learn from one another.
Sometimes the lesson is: I haven’t done the inner work required to allow the relationship to flourish.
From a spiritual perspective, if we can learn not to attack or defend and instead practice forgiveness and take responsibility for our wounds, which appear as character defects we are tempted to judge in ourselves and others, then we can heal these wounds, release the painful feelings associated with them, and show up for ourselves and others as happy, healthy partners.
As a student of A Course In Miracles, here are some of the spiritual practices I use on a daily basis:
Give unconditional acceptance.
I realize what I am about to say is one of the biggest challenges we face as human beings: Forgive and accept people, in this case, your mate, exactly as he or she is.
Ask whatever higher power you believe in that your judgements, projections, and criticism be dissolved.
Ask that the aspects of your personality that make you more lovable be shown more frequently.
Ask that your relationship may be used for a higher purpose and take you both to a place where you could not go alone.
Surrender your grievances and attachments to anyone who has done you wrong. Getting angry at someone for not wanting to be with us is disempowering and takes us out of our dignity. Approving people for who they are and their decision not to be with us creates the space for us to attract the right person.
It is self-sabotaging to lash out, show our disapproval of and condemn the other person, because when we attack another, we are also attacking ourselves. When we do this, we will also continue to attract partners who don’t want us.
It’s easy to accept people who want us, but the challenge is to accept people who do not want us. The goal is to get to a place where we love people whether they want us or not.
Forgiveness is the answer to everything.
Don’t act on your anger, surrender it to a higher power. Sit in meditation and ask that your anger be taken from you. Nothing changes until first it is accepted exactly as it is. A Course In Miracles says, “Only infinite patience produces immediate results.”
Show up fully.
Instead of asking, “Is this person really good enough for me?” Ask yourself, “Am I really showing up for this person and creating a safe space for their transformation and enlightenment?”
That’s a BIG difference!
In creating the space for another’s transformation, we allow them to be who they were not yesterday, we give them the freedom to be re-born, to get it right.
As long as your partner is willing to work on themselves, the relationship can move forward.
Pray for their happiness every day. Remind them how wonderful they are. Give support and be generous with your time, compliments, undivided attention and so forth. Resist the temptation to project onto another that he or she is your completion, and demand that they behave a certain way.
It is easy to love someone when they are doing and saying everything we want them to. The challenge is loving someone when they aren’t acting the way we want them to. Spiritual companionship isn’t about supporting one another in coddling our own weaknesses.
I think it’s important to ask ourselves, “If the ‘ideal partner’ showed up right now, would he or she want me?”
None of us are perfect, we all have childhood wounds and heartbreaks from previous relationships. But we can pray that certain aspects be taken away. I ask God/Spirit/Universe to please change my patterns, and make me available and ready for lasting love. I ask that the part of me that expects my partner to be more/better/different to be removed.
While we show up in each other’s lives in order to heal and grow, this doesn’t mean the relationship will work out or you will even like the person (romantically or otherwise).
The Course says, if you are looking for that one special person to complete you, then you are looking for completeness in separation. I look for you to give me what no human being can give. Instead pray that all walls in front of your heart be dissolved, and ask God/Spirit/Universe to prepare your heart, body, personality, beliefs and home for love.
“It is not your job to seek for love, but to seek in yourself all the barriers to its coming.” – A Course In Miracles