Lately I have had in my head to write a few blogs. So here goes.
A life lesson hard-learned and still very much in progress
Don’t assign responsibility for your emotions to other people. I think there is this idea that our partner is supposed to make us happy. I think it also satisfies something within our own vanity if we believe that we have the power to make another person happy.
Why it doesn’t work/create balanced healthy relationships
It is a tremendous burden to place on another person. For whatever reason people believe that once they are mentally healthy/spiritually enlightened/in the right relationship they won’t have to deal with the so-called “unpleasant” emotions anymore. All previous traumas and wounds will be cured. They’ll achieve a near constant state of zen-like euphoria/tranquility. Emotions themselves are completely natural and necessary, they make life fuller/richer, and they are great teachers (we learn compassion through suffering). Emotions can’t be cured. There really isn’t a good or bad emotion, it is all in our response to the emotions. Are we able to express ourselves constructively when we are in a downward emotional spiral? Are we able to harness the energy from those so-called negative emotions in productive ways? Are we able to sit with our emotions whatever they are and experience them fully? Are we able to drop the story-lines, the hypotheticals, the what-if scenarios and remain open and curious to what is actually happening around us? Do we listen to our intuition or do we seek absolute truths and confirmations? Probably not all of the time and that’s okay. It is okay to be human!
When you believe your emotions are external/caused by other people then you seek out external remedies/solutions. Any relief we get from these external remedies is temporary at best and can lead to various addictions and unbalanced relationships. You feel lonely so you text your crush for the 15th time. Your cute, funny, sweet, whiny, passive aggressive texts have nothing to do with spending quality time with this person they are for you and about you. You want to feel better and you have determined that the way to feel better is by obtaining validation from your crush. Even if your crush responds to you with humor/kindness/compassion/sensitivity and is able to provide you a moment of relief/distraction you will quickly find that the feeling of loneliness returns and just like with any addictive behavior you will require increasingly high doses of validation in order to numb your sense of loneliness. Only you don’t just feel loneliness anymore. You also feel guilt/shame/hopelessness/worthlessness. If your crush does not respond favorably you are also likely to feel humiliated/resentful and altogether unworthy of love. Meanwhile your crush could be left feeling drained/taken for granted/guilty etc.
A partner who has been given this burden/responsibility will invariably come to see your negative emotions as a failure on their part. You are sad which means they have failed you. They feel guilty. In time they will start to resent your negative moods altogether and your negative moods will almost certainly send them into a downward emotional spiral. They will find it difficult to listen to you when you need to talk about emotionally-charged topics because they are too busy trying to fix/solve the issue and fix/solve their perceived inadequacies. Your sadness will almost become a betrayal to them. They will start to feel that you are ungrateful because they have been bending over backwards to please you. If you yourself find that you get angry with your partner when they are in a bad mood even without provocation then guess what you are operating under the illusion that you are somehow magically in charge of their emotions. You are taking their moods personally. You are making their moods about you! It’s not about you! How can you ever express compassion to another person if you make everything about you?! If you are shielding them from responsibility for their actions then you might even be depriving them of valuable life lessons. We develop confidence by facing opposition there is no other way.
A relationship like this can’t be balanced because these types of relationship really diminish respect on both sides of the equation over time.
Relationships absolutely enrich our lives. Humans are social creatures. We have a need for connection. There is nothing wrong with that and there is nothing wrong with curling up in someone’s arms and having a good cry. There is also nothing wrong with being that lap/shoulder. It can be a very beautiful thing. When you shift your mind set from being responsible for your partner’s feelings/happiness to being responsible for your own feelings/happiness you will find you are able to give more generously, to experience and express gratitude/love more fully, to be more authentic with your partner etc. Also you will start to be more curious about who your partner is/is becoming as a person. All too often we have this arrogance/pride that we know our partner what they think/feel/need/will do/say in any situation and we build this very limiting construct of the person that doesn’t really allow them much space to grow/breathe/be. It is scary to think of someone changing/growing if you have given them control of your happiness you know? Teach people how you want to be treated by loving yourself first!