I wonder if you’re scratching your head or looking quizzically at that question. It might seem a bit of an oxymoron, after all if you’re in a relationship with someone then surely to heaven that’s personal, right? Wrong!
I only know that it must be wrong because I work in the field of relationships and it’s the very lack of trust and self belief that create the problems of being willing to be fully present in your own person. That’s what personal means doesn’t it?
You might be very willing to let someone come up close and personal physically, don’t we all? I wonder, though, just what you keep hidden away, safe from prying eyes. What fear or shame is it that you wouldn’t want to share with your partner? What desire, dream or longing do you keep to yourself so that you don’t upset the boat?
Relationships are often seen as the last thing to reach out for help with. It seems that it’s okay to seek guidance or input on careers, weight, health, fitness, beauty, etc. but your relationships – they’re just not in the same ball park. I’ve often pondered the reason for this, and think that at last, I’ve come up with an answer.
A relationship is not just yours. A relationship is a container, if you like… a place for two people to put their relating. It isn’t a stand-alone; it doesn’t exist without more than one of you. Therefore to address relationship issues requires both of you to look at it together. If you feel that you’re not getting out of your relationship what you want, then you would have to voice this to your partner, and that can be a scary thought. What might happen if you did that? You might have an argument, or they might choose to leave and therefore it’s better to put up with what you’ve got than raise any concerns.
The time that most folk are prepared to look at the part they play in their relationships is when they’re between partners. Why is this?
1. They have time to focus on themselves
2. They want to avoid the same mistakes again
I counter, however, that all good relationships start at home, and I don’t mean the house on the street you live in. I mean the relationship you have with you. Until you have a good relationship with yourself, and are willing to embrace all your foibles and the things you don’t like about yourself, you will live and love in fear of being found out.
You might remember the words from the Bible about the man who builds his house on a rock (Luke Ch 6 v 48-49) :
“He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
All personal development work supports you in building your own roots and foundations so that should any flood (drama, stress, outside influence) occur, you will know for sure that as a person you are safe, strong and able to weather any storms.
In your relationships, it’s doubly important that you have your own roots, like a tree. You grow together with your partner as a team, side by side. Neither taking the other’s light, nor relying on them completely for your happiness.
Relationships are great sources of fulfillment and as human beings, relationships give us our basic human needs of connection, love, certainty and significance. They also provide us with the very things, both positive and negative, which will help us grow and evolve. I have worked with too many people who gave their power away to someone else to believe that all relationships have a healthy balance.
You can address your relationship skills on your own to improve any relationship you are in – be it with a partner, family member, or work colleague. When you realize that each person in your life is there for a purpose and to teach you something, you start to look at relationships slightly differently and with gratitude.
Is it time now for you to do that?