Ask yourself what you contribute to your relationship.
Recently, I was so fortunate to have visited beautiful Sedona, Arizona during a family reunion. I was fascinated with the red earth, the rock formations, the twisted trees, the powerful vortexes, and the mystical happenings. Wanting to learn more about this incredible place, I did some research and found out that the American Indians never lived in Sedona because they considered it Sacred Ground. They never dreamed of being hurtful, disrespectful, or ungrateful of this wonderful land they called their spiritual home. No, their sole purpose in visiting Sedona was only for worship, soul dancing, meditation, and contemplation. So, at least once a year, the Indians would pack up their homes and make their journey to Sedona for their emotional and spiritual evolvement. They felt honored, open, trusting, and grateful toward this land.
Like the beloved grounds of Sedona, loving relationships are sacred as well. Let me explain. Where else can one unearth and bring right to the surface the deepest fears and vulnerabilities from within but in a long-term romantic relationship? In other words, it can be a place of self-discovery. However, most people have different points of view about this. Many find that relationships are a source of hurt, pain, and suffering. My client, Danielle, was one of these people. She began loving relationship guidance sessions with me because her communication with her partner, Tony, was downright "scary" (her words). Danielle was feeling disconnected, discarded, and heartbroken. She signed up for sessions as a last ditch effort to save a relationship that was bound for failure. Admittedly, she was creating quite a bit of drama whenever things did not go her way. She yelled, cried, and accused him of not caring. Tony, in turn, would come home late to avoid her outbursts and accusations. She asked me, "Tamara, how come I can't stop myself from acting this way? The truth is, he's a good guy and I really love him!" I asked her to answer the following questions:
Me: Do you contribute or take away from your relationship?
Danielle: Lately? If I'm honest, I don't contribute at all. I'm angry and hurt much of the time.
Me: How do you act, or, how do you treat this relationship?
Danielle: Like a spoiled child.
Me: Who are you being, such as, your Worst or Best Self?
Danielle: Definitely my Worst Self. I hate myself when I'm like this. I've been this way in other relationships as well.
Me: How would you rate yourself in this relationship (1 being your Worst Self to 10 being your Best Self)?
Danielle: I'd give myself a 1, no more than a 2.
I congratulated her on her open and honest answers, a sure sign of motivation and determination to turn things around. I then had Danielle explore the roles and identities she was operating from with Tony. For example, was she the martyr, lazy slug, workaholic, dominator, victim, pleaser, loser, responsible one, thoughtless one, controlling one, controlled one, abuser, or abused? Danielle realized that she was the "Needy One," putting constant pressure on Tony by needing him to give her what she so desperately wanted — him to fill a void within her. And when that void was not being filled, she was able to see that she tramped over, dumped on and complained to Tony a lot. It was clear that she was not a contributor, but rather a taker in this relationship.
I helped Danielle get to the root of her neediness. From her earliest memories, she didn't feel whole. She experienced her own mother's bouts of dramatic episodes with her father. Danielle vowed that she would never act that way, but here she was, following in her mother's footsteps, and now determined to create something different. She also realized that the needy feeling didn't even originate with her, but rather with her mother. I helped Danielle to return this neediness energy back to the originator (her mother), so that it was released (literally on a cellular level), once and for all.
Danielle and Tony's relationship took a complete turnaround when she viewed herself as a contributor. Instead of looking at Tony and asking what he should do for her, she asked what she could do for him. Contributing is giving, honoring, valuing, trusting, and being in gratitude of someone else. The wonderful side effect is "what goes around comes around." Tony, noticing and appreciating this huge change, naturally started contributing to Danielle as well.
Now, let me ask you a question: Are you contributing to your partner's life? In other words, instead of seeing what's wrong with them, or focusing on what they're not doing for you, are you looking at what's right about them and what they're doing for you? You too can take your relationship from scary to sacred by following these tips.
- Ask yourself who you're being in your relationship. What role are you playing? Get real and honest with yourself here.
- Get to the root of the problem. This takes courage and commitment to see it through, and usually requires help from a loving professional. I can guarantee you that each person in a couple brings in their own set of expectations and programming that came from their own childhood. For the happiness of each other and the relationship, it's important to be aware of the sabotaging programming and to get help with clearing it from your system.
- Be a contributor by giving, honoring, valuing, trusting and being grateful for your partner. Even when you're angry and hurt, you can still practice contribution. I dare you to try it. Make that a double dare.
'Love' can be a loaded word. For some, it's filled with doubt, fear and yearning. 'Loving,' however, is a contributing action in this present moment. That's why I like calling myself a 'Loving' Relationship Expert. – Tamara Green
More Advice on Relationships from YourTango:
- Why Men Are More Distant Than Women In Relationships
- A New Twist On The 80/20 Rule For Relationships
- Romance: How To Keep It Going Forever
This article was originally published at Tamara Green. Reprinted with permission from the author.