Friday, February 5, 2010

Building Strong Relationships

Most of us have significant others in our lives who we care deeply about. Human relationships are an opportunity for mutual growth.

We each come to a relationship with different goals, objectives, personalities and tendencies, visions of the world, as well as different conceptions of what love is. We have been taught different things by our parents and relatives and we have observed different ideas throughout society about what it means to be in a relationship. Problems often arise when we seek answers to our relationships that come solely from what other people tell us. People tell us how it is supposed to be and as a consequence, we sometimes lose ourselves in the process. Each individual is unique, therefore, each individual must seek his or her own truth. Take and cherish the advice of others, but pay attention to what you are feeling too. It is there where we find the answers to our most important questions.

I observe that lots of people believe relationships are strong only when the last for years. The sign of a good relationship is having been together for 40 years. I admire those who have done so. That means, for me, that they have been willing to grow together, to love one another through the hard times, and to make the adjustments necessary to build a happy and loving relationship. This requires a great deal of courage, acceptance, surrender, and an unconditional willingness to adapt, to communicate and to respect the other.

Relationships that last a short time are not to be shunned either. Each person, whether they are aware of it or not, is in a process of development and individual growth. Every failed relationship (while no relationship can truly fail) is part of an ongoing process of knowing who we are and what we choose for ourselves. As our significant others go through the same process, we can often meet somewhere in the middle and build a strong relationship if we truly care.

I have been in a relationship for more than 6 years now. No doubt, I have learned and remembered a lot about who I am. It has not been easy for me because the mind has a tendency to complicate things. In many ways, the mind tries to control situations, to impose values or ideas on another, to push the other to fit into some unattainable image of what he or she should or should not be. We focus so much energy on surface level things, that we forget everything else.

Thus, it is extremely helpful to recognize the constructions of the mind in your relationships. Don't look to what you are thinking about the other, but what you are feeling instead. If you are happy with that person, if you love them, if you enjoy spending time with them, if there is physical attraction and intimacy, and if you are able to share things in life with them; then why think any further? What more could you ask for at this present moment? Inevitably, things may change, but change is good and we must live in the now.

If on the other hand, it is hard for you to give an affirmative 'yes' to the basic ideas just mentioned, then may be you should look deeper. Look for ways to improve these aspects in your relationship. Don't resist, communicate. You will know what is best for you.

The key is to honor your feelings, not your thoughts. To be true to yourself before you try to be true to another. It starts with you. At the end of the day, it is about what we are being. We have to know ourselves before we can truly know others.

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