When I receive email regarding relationship problems, the dominant impression I get is that most people who write in are not just unsure of their situation, they are unsure of themselves. They long for a fulfilling relationship, but the person they desire does not return their feelings in the way they would like, etc., etc., and so they feel at a loss.
If a person is uncertain and does not feel their own strength, they will seek validation and strength from others. This is never good. In a relationship, that person will seek cues from their partner before they determine how they themselves feel. Their self-conception follows closely on the heels of that conclusion. The relationship then becomes more about selfish need, than about sharing and mutual motivation. The uncertain person becomes increasingly dependent on their partner for strength.
My best answer to most of these folks is:
You will greatly benefit from more inner confidence; the kind of confidence that comes from experiencing your strength first-hand and developing trust in it. When you “know” and “feel” your strengths, you will be able to judge situations from a grounded perspective, and you will operate from that place of strength.
The most complex of situations and emotional issues are often caused by a simple lack of self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-understanding. Most all relationship issues can be solved by strengthening our relationship with ourselves first. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the current relationship will then get a green light. It just means that we will know how we feel from a perspective of strength, rather than of need and uncertainty. When we are sure of ourselves we can be more understanding and sure of others.
And on that path toward becoming sure of ourselves, it pays to remember that we are physical animals first and foremost. All of our self-conceptions and emotions are running on — and greatly influenced by — our physical systems. There is no way to separate our ability to enjoy healthy emotional relationships, from the health of our physical body. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical strength, are all tied together in this life.
The answers to most relationship problems are directly tied to your relationship with yourself. Improve that, and you will improve all your other relationships. You can call it developing personal strength, and you can begin a solid relationship with yourself through simple physical training. Sounds too simple? Remember that your mind, emotions, and body, are inseparable. So as you train physically, you develop mentally and emotionally — especially if you intend it to be so. It IS simple, but it is effective.
Begin an exercise program, running program, or take up martial arts, tai chi, or yoga. In that process, you will not only develop health and physical strength, but you will come to know yourself more, and you will develop internal strength because of the discipline you commit to. As you become more physically fit, your body’s systems will become balanced and free-flowing. That balance and flow will be carried over into your emotional self, and all of your relationships will magically improve — because as I said earlier, there is no way to separate your mind and emotions from your body. Balance and strengthen the one, and you will develop the other.
So it is worth considering that before you can solve these relationship issues that you experience, you must first own the fact that it is you who experience them. They do not come from your partner. Your problems originate within your response to the situation. Rather than try to manipulate the outcome, it is better to attend to your basic personal health and inner strength first. Rewarding relationships will grow from that foundation.
Just a simple thought toward a complex problem is all. A place to begin perhaps?
Over to you now…