Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right

817 Relax and Succeed - Expectation is the root of heartache

It isn’t too much to ask is it? Just one other person who gets us? Just one? Just someone who accepts us for who we are and who’s into the same things we are? There’s billions of us. Surely they’re out there. Right?

Right…?

The reason we’ll always feel we’ve made the wrong choice is because eventually some things don’t work out. But by ‘don’t work out,’ we mean we fight, or argue, or one of us cries or get confused when communicating. We all start with the assumption that if we could just find someone who’s truly compatible then that wouldn’t happen.

But what does compatible mean?  Because if we think it means no arguing, no hurt or upset feelings, or no pain or confusion then we’re not understanding or respecting the journey that is our lives.

People often ask me questions like this: how much do you compromise for your partner before you stop being yourself? The real question might better be: how do I grow closer to my partner?

817 Relax and Succeed - The fool doth think

In these exchanges compromise is always seen as a loss. It’s us giving up a bit of ourselves for them, or they’re giving something up for us. That is one way to choose to look at it. But in the best relationships that is not what people are doing.

People in the best relationships are not saying, Stop yelling at me! You know I’m always late! If you loved me you would accept me for who I am! The healthy couples look at each other and the always-late-person remembers that one of the many reasons they were attracted to their partner was because they were so respectful.

If we’re conscious and aware, we likely have also noticed that one of the ways our partner demonstrates that respect is through their respect of other people’s time. So the pressure we sense that they have placed on us, is really just them being themselves for one of the reasons we liked most about them.

The healthy couples eventually realize that they can develop the strengths their partner has if they simply emulate some of their healthy behaviours. In the case of being late, the person may simply start with the simple goal of genuinely trying to be on time more often.

It’s important to note that healthy people aren’t adopting behaviours for their partner. They do it out of a genuine respect and appreciation for their partners approach. They think their partner makes the world a better place by being that way, so they choose to act similarly.

Thanks to this inspiration based approach, the changes we make need not be a viewed as a loss. They’re can easily be an improvement. The problems primarily show up because couples get confused about the order someone else thinks we should make these changes in. After all, these changes ultimately take us all a lifetime and even then….

Yet, our failures can strangely act as a positive force in a relationship.

817 Relax and Succeed - Go and love someone

Since our partners are generously putting up with us clumsily learning to be who we want to be, then it’s not unreasonable that we would put up with their learning too. In this way our mistakes can, over time, come to generate gratitude rather than trouble.

If we’re constantly focused on how our partner is better than us then we’re often in a state of appreciation, which is the healthiest state to be in. It’s an everyday kind of steady love where we really feel lucky. If they simply aren’t someone we can genuinely look up to, then that is when a relationship should end.

If we do start off feeling lucky, then tough times have more padding. From that healthy place, on the times when we are really late, we will find our partner is more patient and understanding because they’re fully aware that we’re trying.

The best part is, they notice that we are trying because they have been watching and appreciating us just as much as we have been watching and appreciating them. When we both are able to do this is when relationships are at their best.

Explaining our behaviour ad nauseum points directly downward. As a general rule, the more we talk about how we see it, the worse we do. The more we try to understand the other person’s position, the better we do. If there’s lots of I’s and you’s in our argument it’s all about ego and not love. Those won’t move anyone forward.

It is always critical to remember that the people in a relationship are in a state of growth throughout their lives. The unaware, ungrateful couples grow apart and more rigid. The conscious, appreciative couples grow ever closer as they both become stronger and more capable thanks to lessons learned —but not taught— by each other.

817 Relax and Succeed - It is better to bend

We can see our partner suggesting a different approach to things as them being incompatible with us. Or we can see it as an invitation to expand ourselves.

If we have a list of things that our partner needs to change for us to be happy then we’re sunk. If we have a list of changes we want to make to ourselves, for ourselves, and those were inspired by our partner, then we’re in a healthy state of mind. We don’t want to direct the world to suit our worldview, we grow by expanding our worldview to include more people.

Which course we take with our relationships on is always open to change, so if right now we think that maybe we’ve chosen the wrong person, we need to just ask ourselves this one question: what are the ways in which I have grown by being with my partner?

If you can’t find any then that’s not their fault. If they were good enough to attract us then they should be good enough to have at least one quality to emulate. If we don’t even know what it is then the problem in the relationship is likely not them, it’s that both parties may have innocently made an incompatible, uninspiring choice. This happens a lot to really nice people that don’t like letting others down.

We shouldn’t think we were ever supposed to crack the code of finding the perfect person for us. There’s no secret formula. For all people the only formula is awareness and appreciation.

We should look for people that inspire us. If we do that, it’s easier to voluntarily choose to try to grow to be more like them because we recognize that it would expand and improve us as a person in our own eyes.

Our appreciation for each other as teachers can then add to our relationship’s cycle of gratitude and appreciation, and it is the couples where that flows best that they have by far the fewest issues. So here’s to all of us joining them on that path.

peace, s

Rekindling Love

I often write about how there’s pretty much both a new physical and a new psychological You ever 8 years or so. This means every married couple essentially has to get spiritually remarried each time one of them goes through these phases. You have to re-choose your renewed partner. And because people often marry people close to their own age that also means that both people are going through their tumultuous times at roughly the same time. That can make essentially good things look pretty bad.

768 Relax and Succeed - We do not see things as they areAdding to this mix is the fact that these questions usually start getting asked during a crisis, like when someone has let their partner down in a very significant way by cheating, lying, stealing or generally undermining their long term confidence. Then it’s possible for one or the other people to actually feel they have fallen out of love. Fortunately this isn’t actually possible in the spiritual sense so there’s no need to panic but you do need to proceed with wisdom. Divorcing isn’t just ending your marriage. It’s changing your entire financial life, it’ll change all of your friendships and it will make you a completely different person.

If you truly stand for entirely different things–if people aren’t happy together in the most fundamental ways then they should split. But if they’re just experiencing the inevitable bumps and challenges that go with debt and aging and family and career and decision-making and the general angst that naturally goes with each age, then that’s just the stuff you covered in your wedding vows. Remember? You were supposed to endure some hard parts too. Otherwise a lot of people end up regretting that they left something only to find themselves right back in a similar situation eight years later, often with a person who is less dedicated than the one we left. The trick is, how do you know which situation is which?

It’s actually not that hard. You just have to be in the right state of mind to make the decision. If your mind is full of thoughts then you’re lost in ego and you will make an egos decision. That includes pro and con lists, fantasies of possible futures etc. etc. If you choose what you want, or if you choose based on what you don’t like, then those thoughts will dictate your life. Buf if you’re aware of the love that exists between all people then you’re in a healthy state and there’s no egocentric repulsion or revulsion or repellant. You can see each person beautifully and clearly. If you decide to go elsewhere from that state of mind then go. But if you decide before you re-establish that loving connection then you are making your decision from an egocentric perspective and it is more likely to lead to a lesson than a reward.

768 Relax and Succeed - Let's not forgetDepending on who you ask the Greeks had six types of love. If you can establish even one of them with your partner you will be able to see them clearly. From that state you can make a quality decision. So what are your options in terms of how to feel about the person you’re considering reconnecting with?

Unless the situation is unusual you probably won’t use Storge, which is familial love. And you’re trying to reconnect to Eros–romantic or intimate love–so you won’t use that either. But you can experience Philia, which is akin to open and loving friendship (among other things). Or even better would be Agape, which is that impersonal love we feel for our fellow man–the love the religious describe as God’s love. Each is without judgment. Once we can see our partner without any judgment then we are left with a better sense of what form our connection should take in the outside world.

These can feel like terrifying times. But like Ukemi in judo, if we remain very aware then we can end up better off for having fallen or failed. Once we are not afraid of what is happening our resisting thoughts leave us in peace. We make friends with the present moment and in doing so we gain access to the sort of wisdom that will lead us to answers we can feel are the right ones for the person we are in this moment.

If you’re seeking wisdom, be in love. Look at the world with clear vision. And then choose your path. Either way you’ll find joy and heartache. You can do no wrong. Be at peace.

Much love, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor, coach and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Scott’s Top Other Perspectives 2014 #1

721 OPY Relax and Succeed - Be happy now

Because of the number of weeks involved I only have two top picks for favourite Other Perspectives or Friday Dose’s, and that was tricky because I really felt that last week’s winner (#41), and this week’s (#37) were no more deserving than #40, so I’ll include that link to it here in case you’d like to check it out too. In the end I chose #37 simply because it reflects one of the most common things I’m contacted about by 30 and 40 year old people—loneliness.

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Winner: Scott’s Top
Other Perspectives of 2014 #1

peace. s