Good relationships don't just happen. I've heard many of my clients state that, "If I have to work at it, then it's not the right relationship." This is not a true statement, any more than it's true that you don't have to work at good physical health through exercise, eating well and stress reduction.
I've discovered seven choices you can make that will not only improve your relationship, but can turn a failing relationship into a successful one.
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Take Responsibility for Yourself
This is the most important choice you can make to improve your relationship. This means that you learn how to take responsibility for your own feelings and needs. This means that instead of trying to get your partner to make you feel happy and secure, you learn how to do this for yourself through your own thoughts and actions. This means learning to treat yourself with kindness, caring, compassion and acceptance—instead of with self-judgment. Self-judgment will always make you feel unhappy and insecure, no matter how wonderfully your partner is treating you.
For example, instead of getting angry at your partner for your feelings of abandonment when he or she is late, preoccupied and not listening to you, not turned on sexually, and so on, through the practice of Inner Bonding you would explore your own feelings of abandonment and discover how you might be abandoning yourself.
When you learn how to take full, 100% responsibility for yourself, then you stop blaming your partner for your upsets. Since blaming one's partner for one's own unhappiness is the number one cause of relationship problems, learning how to take loving care of yourself is vital to a good relationship. The Inner Bonding process is a pathway toward this self-care.
Kindness, Compassion, Acceptance
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Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is the essence of a truly spiritual life. We all yearn to be treated lovingly—with kindness, compassion, understanding and acceptance. We need to treat ourselves this way, and we need to treat our partner and others this way. Relationships flourish when both people treat themselves and each other with kindness. While there are no guarantees, often treating another with kindness brings kindness in return. If your partner is consistently angry, judgmental, uncaring and unkind, then you need to focus on what would be loving to yourself rather than reverting to anger, blame, judgment, withdrawal, resistance or compliance. Kindness to others does not mean sacrificing yourself. Always remember that taking responsibility for yourself rather than blaming others is the most important thing you can do. If you are consistently kind to yourself and your partner, and your partner is consistently angry, blaming, withdrawn and unavailable, then you either have to accept a distant relationship, or you need to leave the relationship. You cannot make your partner change—you can only change yourself.
Learning Instead of Controlling