“Unless it is mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love should not be one of them.” ~Unknown
I was sitting one afternoon in London, with a client of mine. This was his second session. As he was coming for a follow up, I wanted to know how he was doing since I last had seen him. The conversation was focusing this time on his marriage. They hadn't had a proper intimate relationship for many years. She had been going through long periods of depression and he had been fighting his own issues. While listening to him, I understood that in many ways he had accepted the fact that his life and relationships is this way. He had put aside his own needs in order to make his wife feel at ease and he didn't want to create any ripples in their relationship. But the sad part was, that he didn't realise that things can and should be different. That his needs are important and than he can be in a relationship where things are different.
I started to wonder, why is it so that we don't believe that we can have it all. We can have a harmonious relationship where neither partner has to compromise or sacrifice. We have been told that happily ever after only exists in fairytales and princes and princesses are only the fruits of our own imagination. Is it really so? Or are we just too afraid to stand our own ground and wait for a relationship to come along that we actually feel we deserve. Or is that the problem, that most people are in relationships that they believe they deserve. Henry Ford has said: "Whether You believe You can or You believe You can't, You are right in both cases". So if I believe I can have it all and if I believe I can't have it all, I am right in both cases. The problem is that if we decide we can have it all, shall we stick around long enough to wait for that and do we have faith to let go of everything else that comes along and doesn't serve us. If I order tuna in the restaurant and they bring me salmon, I will send it back. If they bring me chicken after that, I will send it back. I will keep sending it back, until they get my order right. But many people will take the salmon and the ones who didn't take the salmon, will take the chicken. Because they will feel hungry and they do not want to wait any longer. Each of these meals will satisfy Your appetite, but will You enjoy eating it and will You enjoy the feeling after, is a different story. Today, I'd rather not have it at all, than having it half way.
I had been in relationships for 20 years. Going from one to another, each time I made a compromise. I believed that I couldn't have it all. And I was right, I didn't have it all. In each relationship at one moment I found myself waking up one morning and realising that I am incapable of lying to myself for one more day. I kept putting myself into situations where I would be completely unhappy and I would keep selling myself that story each and every day. Day by day it became harder to do that. And one day I realised, no more. This life is too short and I live it only once. I didn't believe anymore that I had to stick with something that doesn't work. This life is mine and mine only. You may call it selfish, I call it loving myself. This last year and a half I have spent working on a relationship with myself and starting to realise what I truly deserve and what I truly want.
As a frequent flyer I recently started flying in business class. First business class flight was booked for me by my client and after flying there once, I felt I never want to go back to coach again. So that day when my client I started thinking about different quality relationships and found myself comparing it to flying on a plane.
Most people travel in coach. It is crowded and it is mostly full. You settle for not having much of Your own space, You settle for poor food and plastic cutlery. You have to stand in long lines at the check-in and when boarding the plane. But if You have never flown in Business Class or First Class, You do not know that it can be different. And You settle for that.
In the Business Class it is much less crowded. You can go through a fast track in the airport and there is more space on the plane, there is an extra seat between You and the other person, food quality is better, they serve You a drink when You sit down and You get to drink from real glass and use metal cutlery. You get on and off the plane among the first people, Your luggage also comes first in the airport. You do not need to worry about luggage weight. I can't maybe afford to fly that often, when travelling in business, but when I do, I have a very nice experience. It will not become about quantity, but it will become about quality. Do we need to fly in Business Class? No we do not. But can we fly in Business Class? Yes, we can. If we believe that life is not about settling.
I have to admit, I have always enjoyed the finer things in life but I didn't believe before that I deserve them. So coming back to the relationships, I believe we do not have to settle for "coach" relationships. Just because most of the society does, doesn't mean that it is right. When You choose a "Business Class" relationship, it might mean that will not be so easy to jump from one to another. It might mean that You would have to spend more time in a relationship with Yourself and it might mean that You'd have to go against what Your family and society expects of You. And we do need to go through a few "coach" ones, ti understand what quality means.
What is a "Business Class" relationship? For me it is the one where we do not settle and make compromises that take us further from ourselves. Every place, every situation, every circumstance for me, takes me closer to myself of further away from myself. And we know which one it is from day one. If it is not right, it is not right and we need to be honest about it with ourselves. A frog will never turn into a prince, no matter how many times You kiss him and evil queen, no matter how gorgeous she is, will never turn into a kind and loving wife. We can't go into relationships having expectations and hopes that it will become better as time goes along. If anything, it will become worse. And it is completely unfair to go into a relationship with someone and projecting on them Your own hopes and dreams that they probably can never live up to. We are not just hurting ourselves, we are also hurting them.
When we meet someone, we need to take time to really get to know this person and see if they are someone we can walk this path together without having them ever change anything about them. Our two hearts (upper and lower:)) and our mind have to work together on this one. Each relationship has to have 3 working levels: the physical, the emotional and the intellectual.
In many countries these days the divorce rate is between 50-70%. Most marriages end up in a divorce in the first 3 years. I do not believe that anything in this life has to last forever and it doesn't matter how many times we get married or divorced, but what does matter is that we do not produce more broken people into this world. As long as it is two grown ups, the rules are different, but when we have kids, it changes the whole story. I wish that I had understood that 10 years ago. I wish I had realised that the most important decisions of my life are: do I want to have kids and with whom I have kids with. And yes, it is ok not to have children, because life can be about so many other things too. As I love my children above anything in this world, I know that I could have made much wiser decisions and they would have had a different life today.
I wish for our own that we will start realising, that we are not failures if we do not spend most of our lives in being in a relationship or becoming parents at the age of 20. That is absolutely ok to live a different life first. We are not spinsters or old maidens if we are not married by the age of 30. And that we truly can't be in a great relationship, until we build one with ourselves first. Only then can we go into a relationship that we truly deserve. When we learn to embrace aloness and learn to nurture and take care of our self, only then can we be in a healthy relationship and not settle for anything that comes along.
In a healthy relationship there are two people that are together because they choose to be, not because they have to be. They know that their relationship is walking along each others side, not being crutches to one another. They know that taking care of themselves, physically and mentally is the basis of their relationship staying healthy. They know that both people still need to have a life of their own outside the relationship. Both people need to stay true to themselves and stay free in each moment, so that they can always follow their heart. They have no expectations on their partner and they are fully responsible for their own emotional state. There is no domination and no manipulation, no shaming, no blaming and no guilt, no demands. There is freedom and honesty, humbleness and admiration and above all truth in every sense of the word. Two people who are not living in a lie, because there is no fear. These are two people who have chosen love above all. They know that relationship is a place where they give and share, not a place where You come and take. And when things are not working, they have the courage to let go and choose something else for themselves.
We all deserve the best in life. We just need to start really believing that from the depths of our heart. And for each person "the best" is different. This is an extremely abundant universe. Lack is only an illusion created by the people who rule the society. Lack creates fear and people who are afraid are more easily controlled. There are 7 billion people on this planet. There is no lack of good relationships. Let's start believing that and calling one into our life when we are ready for it. Until then, enjoy the best relationship You are ever going to have - the relationship with Yourself.