This is Part Two of a series of posts on creating successful relationships. Please read Part One first.
The 10 Keys To A Successful Relationship
1. Know Thyself
To be in a good relationship with someone else, you first have to be in a good relationship with your self! It is important that you take time to get to know who you are, and to know what it is you are bringing to the relationship. Do you really know yourself? This in itself can be a life-long journey, but the process of self-inquiry and inner-reflection is a beautiful tool that can be incredibly healing and empowering.
Think about who you have been in your past relationships and how you have acted. Think about the types of guys/girls you have previously attracted and how they have treated you. Identify any patterns that arise and think about what is inside you that may be creating these patterns. Are there certain beliefs that you have about men/women, about what love means, and about what a relationship is? Do you have any behaviours that you think could be potentially sabotaging a relationship?
Think about what you want from a relationship. If you are in one already, think about what you actually want from it, or if you are not in one, think about what you want from your next one. Taking some time to get really clear about who you are and what you want, will make a huge contribution to the success of your current/future relationship.
2. Love And Accept Yourself
I am sure you have heard this saying before - How do you ever expect anyone else to love you, if you do not love yourself? How many of us go in to a relationship looking for love, because we do not love ourselves? How many of us need that validation from someone else in order to feel loved?
You cannot get something from someone else that you do not already have inside you. If you do not love yourself, you will attract a man /woman who cannot truly love you either. You must learn to love and adore who you are, even if you have faults, flaws and imperfections.
Even if you are already in a loving relationship, you should never stop working on the loving relationship that you have with yourself also. As soon as there is imbalance, and you expect more love from them than you are willing to give to yourself, your relationship will suffer.
3. Communicate With Love
Honest, open, genuine communication is paramount to having a good relationship, but the one key factor in successful communication is learning to communicate from a place of love.
I think there is nothing more important than communicating your thoughts and feelings to your partner, even if they may not always be what they want to hear. However there is a big difference between communicating from a place of love and communicating from a place of fear. Make the intention behind your communication to always be love - either a love for them or a love for yourself.
When you authentically communicate your feelings simply because you need to acknowledge and express them, that is a beautiful thing and your words will be well received. When something is upsetting you or bothering you and you tell your partner, then you are simply expressing your truth and there is nothing wrong with that. Even if you have to say something that may not be very nice, you must connect with the intention of saying it with love first, and then speak. It will make a huge difference to how that person receives your message.
When you communicate from fear you often have the underlying motive to create pain in another. You may be trying to prove a point so you are right, you may be trying to say something that will hurt them or you may be criticising or blaming them. This type of communication separates you from your partner and destroys relationships. If you are ever in a place of anger, fear, jealousy, hatred or hurt - it is not the time to communicate. Take some time out, take a deep breathe and work through the emotions before you start communicating with your partner.
4. Ask Yourself - What Can I Give?
Relationships are about both giving and receiving. However, there is often an imbalance in our minds between the two. Many of us look to our partner to give us things and to make us feel a certain way. As soon as we are not getting what we want from the person we become upset at them .
Shift your thoughts for a moment from 'What can I get from my partner?" to 'What can I give to my partner?" Do they need love, care, emotional support, physical affection, supporting words, encouragement or for you to help them with doing certain things?
Have you ever thought about what your partner wants from their relationship? What do they want or need from you? Perhaps you can ask them, if you are not sure. Shifting from a getting to a giving mentality will pump a beautiful energy in to your relationship. You will realise that relationships are about loving and serving your partner, not just taking and getting what you need from them.
We need to to learn in a relationship to not only give to our partner but to also give to ourselves. When we give to ourselves enough, we will not be looking to our partner for what we need to get from them. We will already feel complete and will therefore feel inspired to want to give more.
5. Make Yourself Number One
While it is important to give to your partner, it is equally as important to give to yourself. I have made it very clear to my boyfriend that I have to put myself first in our relationship, and I expect him to do the same. It is not about being selfish at all, it is about ensuring that you do not lose touch with who you are. It is about making sure your own needs and wants are being met, as well as the needs and wants of your partner.
You relationship will reap the benefits of you taking care of yourself first. When you do this, you firstly are not looking to your partner to meet them for you, and you are bringing a much more awesome version of yourself to the relationship. A relationship is a partnership which requires cooperation. If you work together, you should be able to find ways to achieve your own goals individually as well as the mutual goals that you share together as part of your relationship.
I have been in relationships in the past where I have put all my own desires to the side in order to make my partner happy. As a result not only did I lose myself completely, but I ended up resenting that person and becoming angry at them. It is a lose-lose situation. If you are with a partner that you do not feel you can truly be yourself with, then you are not with the right person.
6. Have A Life Outside The Relationship
Life is about balance. You need to have a range of things in your life that make you happy, fulfill you and give you that buzzing, positive feeling. You cannot just rely on your relationship to do that. When you are in love with someone, it is easy to want to make that person your world. When they make you feel that good, you want to spend all your time with them. But you must remember to put everything in perspective and not put too much pressure on one area of your life to give you everything.
Dedicate your spare time to finding other things that make you feel equally as awesome as your relationship does. Maybe it is just about spending time quality time with your friends, or maybe you have passions and hobbies or sports that you play that give you that feeling. It is important to have activities that you can do without your partner that make you feel good. You need to support yourself in a variety of ways and learn to find happiness in a range of sources. Not only will this make you a more fulfilled person in yourself but your partner will find you a lot more attractive as you will bring a much higher and more positive energy to the time that you do spend together
7. Be Vulnerable
I recently watched a beautiful clip by Brene Brown on vulnerability. In it she says that you cannot have true connection with any other human being unless you are willing to be vulnerable.This has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my relationship, and I have no doubt that there would be many people who can relate.
How often do you let yourself be truly vulnerable with someone? I mean real, raw, honest, authentic vulnerability. How often do you let someone see who you really are? And I mean who you really are?
Our whole society is built on facades. We are taught to put on a smiley face and hide our emotions when we are sad. We are taught to be tough and strong during hard times. We are taught that being beautiful and perfect gets you love and approval from others.
We are not taught that tearing down our walls, revealing all our imperfections and showing someone the deep truth of who we are is ok. It is up to each of us to be willing to open up our hearts and release the fears to let ourselves get really real with another human being. I know from first hand experience that this can be absolutely petrifying. But unless you are willing to do this you will never have the deep, honest and beautiful connection with your partner that you crave.
8. Learn To Receive
I know I talked about the importance of giving in a relationship, but what is equally as important is the ability to receive. For some people who have issues around self-worth and self-love, receiving love can be difficult.
Do you receive compliments easily, or do they make you uncomfortable? Do you enjoy receiving gifts or do they make you feel guilty? Do you feel comfortable receiving physical affection such as loving touches, cuddles and kisses or does it make your skin crawl?
For some people, receiving love can be difficult. It does not matter whether that love comes in the form of a bunch of flowers, a loving embrace or a sweet compliment. For some people receiving these things completely and fully can be hard.
I never realised this was an issue for me until recently. While I was chatting to one of my dear friends about my self-sabotaging behaviours she said to me "Connie, just let yourself be loved" . That comment stopped in me in my tracks. The fact that what she said had such an impact on me, made me realise that this must be something that I need to do some work on. It is amazing how we can block other people from loving us when we do not even realise we are doing it. Be willing to receive love in all its forms, and when it comes your way open your arms, embrace and say a big thank you, because you deserve it.
9. Forgive And Release
Carrying around resentment in a relationship is a sure fire way to destroy it. Do you ever bring up things from the past that your partner has done, and hold it against them, even if it was from years ago? Do you ever replay past hurts or stories in your mind over and over again? We cannot carry around unresolved issues, as they are just like buttons sitting in us waiting to be pushed.
It is important to heal and release the past, as otherwise you are likely to just re-create it over and over again. We need to practice forgiving anyone and anything that has happened that is causing us to carry around pain. It is not about excusing what the other person did. In fact, it has nothing to do with them. The pain that you are carrying around is hurting no one else except yourself.
Forgiveness will set you free. It will release you from the bondages of the past. It will give you closure. Even if it is something tiny, practice forgiveness. Every time your partner does something that upsets you, forgive them, release it and move on.
If this is an issue for you, I highly recommend you seek out some forgiveness meditations and do some energetic cord-cutting exercises. It will help you to heal old wounds and forgive and release those people who have hurt you.
10. Appreciate Your Partner
When you first fall in love with someone, they can do no wrong. You love everything about them. They may have strange little quirks or habits but you find them endearing and cute.Over time however, things seem to change. There seems to be more about that person that bothers you, and their little quirks and habits are suddenly extremely annoying.
The more that you focus on something, the more it will grow. So the more you fuss and complain about what you do not like about your partner, the more you will experience these aspects of them. On the flip side, the more you appreciate what you love about them and focus on all the great things about them, the more you will experience these aspects of them too.
So, if you ever find yourself feeling a bit negative, some appreciation is all you need to is shift your perspective. Start thinking about all the things you love about that person. Think about all the things that are great about them. Write lists of all the really positive aspects of who they are. Replay memories in your mind of when they did wonderful things for you and you felt so much love for them. Express gratitude for having met such an amazing person. Shift your focus to all the positive and great things about them. Not only will you feel better, but you by seeing that person in a more positive light, you will be lovingly supporting them to then be the best version of themselves when they are around you.