I used to be great at relationships. I was the perfect partner. I would meet someone, fall in love, and instantly look at what parts and pieces of me I had to hide, cut off or divorce completely in order to fit in with the other person and be who I thought they wanted me to be (whether it was actually true or not).
What if there is a different approach? What if instead of getting into a relationship and changing who you are in order to please you could simply be you, and be confident in yourself?
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Author and speaker of conscious and change, Dr Dain Heer, shares how you could be losing yourself in a relationship and how you can start being you again.
1. You stop doing the things you love or taking time for you
Have you gone into a relationship and stopped doing the things you like to do? Guilty!
Sometimes we give up doing the things we are used to doing for ourselves because we think it is excluding the other person. But giving up what makes you happy is excluding (and divorcing from) your needs and desires which are equally important. When you do what you love for you, it is actually a contribution to your relationship as it takes the pressure off your partner to provide or fulfil needs that they may not be able to meet. A good relationship is where you can go do whatever you need to do to nurture and care for you, your partner does the same, and neither of you need to exclude that in order to be together. Ask yourself, “Is there anything I have given up doing, or stopped since I started this relationship?” And if so, what if you would add that back into your life?
2. You spend significantly less time with your friends and family
When people go into ‘couple world,’ one or both involved can end up seeing less of friends and family. We make our primary relationship our most significant one, and that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself or your partner. It’s important to spend time with other people in your life. It’s great to share mutual friends, but it’s also important to be able to spend time with your friends on your own, too. Is there a friend or friends you have fallen out of touch with? Call them. Go for a coffee. Re-connect. A true friend will be happy to see you no matter how long it’s been.
3. You judge how much love you are giving or getting
I had a friend who was upset that her boyfriend gave her a dozen red roses on Valentine’s day. I asked why and she said, “Because if he really loved me, he would give me a single red rose.” To her, love was a single rose. To him, it was a dozen. Neither was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ they simply defined love in different terms. Love has so many definitions, it’s easy to tie yourself up in knots about it and never get anywhere, except to the conclusion that something (or you) must be wrong. Every time you try to figure out ‘love’, you get lost in the equation and disappear.
My advice is don’t focus on love but focus on gratitude. Why gratitude? True gratitude eliminates the need to judge any part of you, your relationship or anything else. Be grateful and acknowledge the gifts in life. What are you grateful for about you? What are you grateful for in your partner and the relationship? When you see the gift you are, you won’t feel the need to change for anyone or anything else, and you will invite the people and relationships that treat you with gratitude, too.
Relationships can be a lot of work, but they should never require you to be less than you are. A relationship should be something that makes it easier for you to be you, for your partner to be them, and for your lives to both get greater as a result. What if you didn’t have to be perfect in a relationship, and be happy instead?
Dain Heer is an internationally renowned author, speaker and facilitator of consciousness. He will be in Australia in November for his Being You, Changing the World Event.