I personally know how to do relationships really badly. Because of that, I had to look at this area really dynamically to see what else is possible.
I have looked and looked and looked at what creates a great relationship, and I must tell you it's not at all what I thought it would be.
What I have found is that most of us start divorcing ourselves to be in a relationship, and in that choice, we start to end the relationship before it even begins.
Let's start by looking at the word relationship. By definition it means the degree of distance between two objects. Why? Because in order for two objects to relate to each other, they have to be separate; otherwise, they would have oneness, and they are not in relationship anymore because they are not separate.
But many of us, when we are in a relationship of any kind, forget about that necessary separation between partner and self. Instead, in a bid to unite with our partner, we separate from ourselves, dissociate from the things and people we enjoy, and divorce parts and pieces of us, in order to care for someone else.
Divorcing ourselves in a relationship can be subtle and often starts with little sacrifices we make and dismiss because they seem trivial. For example, you like to go jogging. Your partner does not. So instead of jogging, you spend that time with your partner to show them that you really care. "I love you so much that I would give up this thing that is valuable to me so I can be with you." This is just one of the ways you divorce you to create a relationship.
What if something totally different is possible? What if you could be in a relationship and not have to divorce any part of yourself or separate from yourself or anyone else in any way?
Here are three ways to begin the process of having all of you and a great relationship:
How many of the thoughts, feelings, and conclusions that you have about relationships are actually yours? How much have you based your beliefs on relationship from what others say is true? Societies, cultures, families, and religious institutions have all influenced the common points of view about relationships, one of the predominant ones being that relationship requires sacrifice. If you buy this point of view, you will continuously give yourself up in favor of your partner. Have you ever noticed that this doesn't work? Sacrificing yourself always leads to resenting the other person, and it takes away from the relationship. Never giving yourself up allows you to contribute even greater in the relationship.
Would you be willing to undefine everything you have decided about relationships? Including the point of view that you must sacrifice yourself in order to prove you care? How?
There is a very simple tool that I refer to as "interesting point of view," and when you use it for every point of view that you have, you can change things. Here's how it works: When you notice a point of view about relationships, such as "relationships are hard work" or "being in a relationship means you need to give yourself up," try saying to yourself: That is an interesting point of view I have.
This allows you to acknowledge that you have a limiting belief; it is there, and you are in allowance of it. By repeating this phrase, you will notice you start to feel lighter. It is a way to reframe the brain on the point of view you have taken and make it simply "interesting" rather than significant. What happens when you use this tool is that your points of view become simply interesting rather than real and true. And when they are interesting, they are easier to let go of.
Do what you love.
The world is asking for you to show up with all of you—all of the beauty, brilliance, and greatness that you are. When you cut off pieces of you to fit into a relationship, everyone misses out on the amazing gift of you.
What would your relationship be like if you brought all of you into it? When we choose to do the things that are fun for us, when we choose to connect with the people that value us, when we choose what works for us, our relationship can continue to grow and expand into something greater. When we stop choosing for us, when we stop doing the things we enjoy, when we cut out the people that nurture and care for us, our relationship goes on autopilot, and the adventure of life and living goes away.
If you want the adventure, if you want the joy, the playfulness, and the fun, keep choosing for you. And to clarify, choosing for you does not mean choosing against your partner. It means being in a relationship where your partner supports you in being your true and best self (and where you support your partner in being their true and best self).
You can start by taking one hour a day to something that you love. Go for a walk. Read a book. Paint a picture. Choose what you love.
Start a gratitude journal.
What we acknowledge grows bigger. When you start to focus on the things that you are grateful for, more of those things show up, so start practicing gratitude for you. Gratitude for you is one of the greatest ways to have and be all of you. When you are grateful for you, you are not judging you. You are not looking for someone else to make you feel good.
Every day write down two to three things that you are grateful for about yourself. This might be tricky at first since judging yourself is way easier than being thankful for yourself. Do it anyway. Start with something small if you have to, and then keep going. You are a gift and a contribution to the planet. Time to acknowledge it.
You are the most important ingredient in all of your relationships. When you take you out of the equation by giving yourself up, the relationship cannot work. When you care for yourself, you have more to give to others. When you don't care for yourself, you have less to give and often become resentful. Caring for yourself does not mean that you choose and fight against your partner. It means you include you and you include them.
When you choose to have and be all of you, your caring for others actually increases, and your relationship becomes even greater.
Dain Heer, D.C. is a chiropractic doctor, author, radio host, and the co-creator of Access Consciousness, a personal development modality available in more than 170 countries. He received his chiropractic degree at Southern California University for Health Sciences. Born and raised in California, Heer now lives in Houston, Texas.