Empaths or highly sensitive people may unknowingly sabotage romantic partnerships because deep down they’re afraid of getting engulfed.
For all of the empaths in relationships out there: how do you overcome the inner push and pull that stops you from completely letting go with your partner?
First, be sure to set limits and boundaries with your alone time. Empaths need alone time to replenish away from other people. If empaths don’t allow themselves this alone time, they tend to get overwhelmed in relationships and bolt.
Second, communicate your alone time needs with your partner so your partner understands you and doesn’t think he or she has done anything wrong. Third, enjoy all the positivity of the relationship. Let yourself be happy and grateful for the chance to love each other. Enjoy your relationship: It’s rich, it’s powerful.
It’s a portal to the mysteries of intimacy and spirit.
Have fun together. Each day, allow yourself to open more and more to joy. Sure, there will be periods when you’ll butt heads. And, as Buddhist teacher Stephen Levine says, sometimes the lesson of relationships is “learning to keep your heart open in Hell.” Still, stay clear about your priorities. You’ve met a trusted partner with whom you share a spiritual, passionate bond. How miraculous: despite the countless obstacles that could’ve kept you apart, you’ve found each other again!
This person is the answer to your dreams, the one who was worth waiting for. Always remember that.
In the course of your relationship, I recommend the following strategies from my book, The Power of Surrender. They will help you to keep your heart open and feel safe to let go in the relationship. Use them during ups and downs.
Strategy #1: Be generous.
Give freely to your mate. Regularly express love, support, and positive feedback. Try not to be stingy or withholding. I adore one friend’s view of marriage which he calls “a competition of generosity.”
Strategy #2: Laugh a lot.
Beware of becoming overly serious. Despite the emotional issues that arise in relationships, getting too intense aggravates the situation. Keep a sense of humor. Play and be silly. Be good company for each other. Surrendering to laughter breaks tension and is healing.
Strategy #3: Stay flexible and patient.
Have a cooperative attitude. Being tight fisted and impatient stops you from surrendering. Flow with conflict. If you notice you’re getting overly controlling or pushy take a break for at least a few minutes. Pause and breathe. Don’t polarize into “I’m right, you’re wrong.”
Instead, be willing to give a little and reach middle ground without sacrificing your values.
Strategy #4: Be able to live comfortably with unresolved problems.
Some problems take time to resolve. You can’t reach a perfect solution right away–you must grow into it. In these situations, try to accept that there’s no answer yet. In surrendered relationships, couples learn to flow with uncertainty. Have faith that both you and the universe will find the answer.
Strategy #5: Go on Inner Dates.
When you’re apart or else seek to deepen your non-verbal spiritual connection with your partner pick a time to meditate together for at least five minutes. Whether you’re sitting across from each other or are in separate cities, simply close your eyes, breathe deeply, and silently attune to each other’s essences, to each other’s hearts.
This is a beautiful way of feeling close if you or your partner is away traveling or is simply stuck in the office working. These inner dates are sacred form of intimacy, an infusion of love.
Strategy #6: Love yourself and each other.
True love means first loving yourself, then extending that love outward. A soul mate can add to your happiness but he or she cannot make you happy. It’s not the burden of your mate to heal your emotional issues, nor can you heal theirs. One friend wisely said of her soul mate marriage, “The last thing we want to be is each other’s therapists!” Love and healing start from within.
Strategy #7: Be gentle with each other’s imperfections.
No one is perfect. Not you. Not your mate. Wabi Sabi is the ancient Japanese practice of finding beauty in imperfection. With a soul mate this means appreciating his or her quirks, annoyances, and shortcomings. Even when someone wants to evolve and change, imperfections still remain. Surrender to the wonder of your soul mate, imperfections and all.
Strategy #8: Accept your differences.
No matter how well you and your partner connect, there are differences between you. Accept these rather than insisting that you both see things the same way. That’s never going to happen. Even when you have two versions of reality, try to empathize with where your partner is coming from. Seeing things through his or her eyes fosters understanding, even if you disagree. A soul mate relationship teaches you tolerance, even if some of your partner’s qualities may never change.
Strategy #9: Forgive.
When you or your partner inevitably hurt or disappoint one another discuss how to remedy the situation. Whoever did the hurting must make amends and be willing to change the behavior. Whoever is injured must try not to harbor resentments. It’s easy to cling to “justified” anger but that won’t help you or the relationship.
Forgiveness is the act of compassionately releasing the desire to forever condemn someone for an offense (though this doesn’t mean staying in an abusive setting.) Compassion opens a hidden door to a secret world that exists beyond anger or hurt.
All intimate relationships will ask a lot of you. Continue tapping your inner warrior—we each have one—the part of you that wouldn’t hear of letting fear get the best of you.
Stay open. Stay brave.
Let yourself experience the happiness that comes from the devotion of loving.
The above is adapted from The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD.
Author: Judith Orloff
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Scott Webb at Unsplash