Being focused on what we really want in our relationships isn’t selfish.
What is selfish is not paying attention to our own wants and needs and then blaming, resenting and accusing the people we love of preventing us from living up to our highest potential.
There is only one person who knows what we want in this life. And it is ourselves.
Over time we start to see that there is no one right person out there just waiting to make our half whole.
Because we are not a half anything.
And we don’t need to live like we are only a half anything.
Everyone is whole.
This is why the ideal relationship involves two whole people coming together to grow, learn and love together. Maybe the exact person we are with in our intimate relationships isn’t as crucial as looking at our own needs and wants being met in each relationship we are in.
Of course compromise is necessary to get along. They want sushi for dinner, we want Italian and we settle on Indian. These small compromises are easy to meet. They are actually non-issues when our bigger needs and wants are being met.
Love and attention are essential needs for humans.
The feeling that we might be ostracized, ignored, left in the cold all alone is a tribal fear that can easily spin us into a fight or flight survival reaction. Feeling safe in our own skin and knowing that our basic needs of food, shelter, physical and emotional safety are being met is essential for each human, but can take some time to find in our daily lives and intimate relationships.
We come into our authentic selves and share who we really are with the world when we feel safe.
But no one hands this to us.
No one just shows up in our lives and offers to make our lives the safest, loveliest place for us.
This is our own job.
The only person who can decide that our wants and needs are important and essential is us. And then we need to tell the world that our wants are a priority and we aren’t going to take less. But we need to tell this to ourselves first.
We need to tell ourselves that we are sorry for all the times we haven’t made our own health, safety, needs and wants our top priority and that this is all going to change. And then we need to tell our loved ones that because we love ourselves we expect our basic needs and wants to be respected.
This might hurt.
This might go against every way we have ever been in the past.
It will go against all the times we have tried to hide in the shadows and pretend we are okay only getting a little love.
It will go against all the times people have told us not to expect so much and that we are asking too much of the world.
It will go against all the times we were told we weren’t special enough or good enough and that our expectations were too high.
But we were also taught not to believe everything we are told and that is why we need to remember that just because these things were said to us doesn’t make them true.
People often ask me if focusing on what we want will destroy the world.
If everyone focuses on what they want won’t there be more war and over-consumerism and environmental destruction? And if this question is going through your brain then I suggest you really touch in with what you really want. Go under your desire for a bigger house, new clothes and a better job. What do you find?
My guess is all that is there is wanting to feel safe, wanting to feel loved and wanting to feel like you’re contributing your skills to the world to the best of your ability. I bet there is wanting your loved ones to be safe and happy.
Our base desires are generous, simple and primal.
Our true wants are beautiful. They are dynamic, alive and real.
When we bring these wants to the forefront of our intimate relationships we will bring more spark, more energy, more trust and increased authenticity to each moment we are together.
Sometimes we need to have the courage to be afraid. The courage to find the corners of our life where we can shine in the face of fear.
If our wants scare us then they are probably what we need.
What do you want in your relationship? You are the only one who can give it to yourself.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Alex/ Flickr