This is one that is big for many of us—and is near and dear to me, coming from the depths of this heart of mine and going out to the hearts of all of you.
This is for you, who feel that you have done so much work to find out who you are, to find out what you want from a romantic relationship, to experience that feeling of wholeness, and yet you still find yourself in that state of waiting for what you want in the ultimate partnership.
I am not referring to those karmic, often codependent relationships with epic power struggles that have brought us to our knees over and over again. Those relationships carried with them their lessons, which required us to go deep inside ourselves and learn to stop those wretched cycles.
It was in those relationships where we perhaps felt like lesser versions of who we are when we are alone—often feeling stifled and uncomfortable, like a too-small, itchy sweater that we just wanted to make fit, somehow.
We have worked hard, and are even still looking at ourselves in the mirror in order to heal—through clarity and awareness—and to gently forgive ourselves for the choices we made and the roles that we played.
What I am referring to is the interdependent relationship—that ultimate union which is supportive and nurturing, yet light and playful. These are the partnerships where we feel connected on the deepest levels, and not only have the space to relax into ourselves, but are encouraged to do so and also to grow.
Having been on my own for years now, I felt that I had finally found this place. I took quite a bit of time to focus on my career, educational goals, creative endeavors, the relationships with my two little girls, and many other things, but in the process, had shut the door and buried the key to the room labelled “romantic partner” for quite a while.
So, I went from this state of being closed off to that of actually seeking, and have basically just toggled back and forth a bit between the two.
Let me be honest in telling you that neither of these states are effective.
What nobody really talks about when it comes to interdependent relationships is this extremely delicate state in which I, and I believe many of you, currently reside. This is the state where we establish our emotional independence, and benefit from remaining open to a partnership, but we need to be mindful to start seeing things through the lens of lack or fear.
And this is so tricky, right? It feels a bit like trying to balance a paper plate on the tip of a pencil.
Living near a lake, I walk down to the water almost every day. I truly find joy and amusement in just observing nature, especially the ducks and the geese, who are always up to something quirky. Sitting on the dock and feeling it sway underneath me as the clouds drift by above, I am at peace by myself—I really am. I love to spend time by myself.
Yet, when my mind drifts like waves to the romantic aspect of my life, or when I see a family of four on the beach, my default emotional reaction is to feel as if I am missing something and I need to be vigilant in shifting that into the conscious realization that this is not true.
Currently, I am missing nothing—none of us are.
Slipping mentally into the state of seeing anything in our lives through the lens of lack will only inhibit our progress and our joy, as well as our new-found independence.
So what do we do?
How do we find this sweet spot, emotionally, where we are open to a potential partner, yet we don’t feel the lack which has its tricky ways of making us believe that this is not a “want” but a “need?”
First, we realize that ultimately everything that we feel we’re missing by not having a partner, we can have in that moment. Again, this is not a need—sometimes we are just tricked into feeling this way, so pin-pointing where in our bodies and minds this may be coming from can offer much clarity.
Do I want a connection or a feeling of belonging? We can have this right now by grounding down into the earth and shifting our energy accordingly. We do not need other people to feel that we belong; we do not need a partnership to feel we belong, and we do not need a community to feel this either. Sure, it can help, but as with any relationship, if this is realized first and within, we have then done our part to instill a much healthier dynamic.
Do I want validation? Yes, sometimes this is nice, but none of us need others to make us feel as if we are valid or worthy—we are worthy, because we exist. Period. This goes for every single member of the human race.
Do I to feel loved? We love ourselves. Always. First and foremost, we love ourselves whether we are in a relationship or not, and it is through this healthy love for ourselves that we can then choose to engage in the experiencing of love with another person.
These were the “needs” type of thoughts, but the “wants” have a different sort of energy.
When we make the choice to see through the other lens—the lens of joy and opportunity, this is when things become quite different and for me it looks a little bit like this:
In this and every moment, I am whole. I choose to love myself and it is out of this love for myself that I know I deserve to share in a loving experience. I want to share in the experience of touch. I want road trips with good music and cool summer nights in a tent. I want to look at someone and laugh for reasons that nobody else will understand. I want a home where together we feel safe to play, to grow, to cry, and to create, but I also know that our home together will be nothing more than a bridge between the homes that already exist inside the two of us. I want to look at someone and mutually experience something that feels a whole lot like recognition and I want to learn all about the places they have been, the places where they would like to go, and their own unique experiences.
Until this is realized in our own lives, we can learn to be open without waiting—because our experience of waiting typically shifts us into the belief that something is missing. Instead of waiting, we can just be and allow our current reality, similar to how we allow each and every breath. We can be open without seeking—and only take action that is inspired by intuition, which naturally just feels right.
We do not have needs because of what we perceive as gaping holes in our lives, rather we can choose to want things out of the desire for both an extension of our lives and an expansion of our love.
Author: Katie Vessel
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Catherine Monkman; Travis May