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March 8, 2017

How I learned that Relationships don’t have to be Difficult & Compromising.

Can relationships be this easy? Really?

Have I just been complicating my relationships all these years?

These are the questions I found myself pondering one Saturday morning.

I had begun to notice that whenever I tried to sacrifice myself for “the greater good” of the people around me—my family, my dog, customers, friends, our business—my relationships would end up clashing or crashing.

My husband was an exceptionally clear mirror for this compromising pattern of mine. Again and again, he expressed that he couldn’t “feel” me, that he didn’t feel connected to me and my heart (or my p*ssy when I was in the midst of doing what I consider to be the most right and holy act).

It did hurt a lot whenever he voiced this disconnect. Here I was, doing my best and even sacrificing myself for the bigger picture. At least, that’s how I saw it.

But he explained to me that the only thing that was truly nourishing for him was my honest, grounded, and radiating presence.

As the sensations of these words rushed through me, a thought followed: So my only job is to stay in my center, focusing on my own pleasure?

Part of me was in shock. I laughed at myself and felt a bittersweet pain. Was it really that easy, that simple? Had I gotten it wrong in my relationships all these years?

I had always tried to improve my connections with those around me by listening better, answering more fully, being more available, doing more stuff for them, and so on.

As it turns out, what I really needed was to do less and be more present. Instead of being an empty, sacrificed being, I should be one who is filled up, pleasant, radiant, and embracing. Only from that position can closeness and intimacy occur, from one heart to another—connection from the core of my truths, measured in sensations, emotions, thoughts, to the other person’s core.

My journey toward having my life and relationships transformed from being difficult and compromising to pleasant and flowing began with my body.

I discovered through my many workouts and dance classes that when I surrender myself to my legs and body weight, workouts are easy—they begin to flow. There is no tension, just physical engagement and body play. On the other hand, when I think and focus on “doing it right,” training and dance become difficult processes. I struggle, and tension builds.

Over time, I found that the reason for this is that when I try to make it right or overthink what I’m doing, instead of simply flowing with what I’m doing, I withdraw and create a blockage for myself.

By learning this through my physical experience, the pattern clicked in me, and I discovered an easier and more pleasant way to be in my body.

Next, I became aware of my relationships. I could see how I was struggling to always make things right and have things run smoothly. I wanted to make sure the people in my life were satisfied and happy with me and our bond. I would think about and work on issues I identified, always watching and analyzing from the outside.

None of this ever really made things better.

But when I gave up trying to make it work for everybody else and instead focused on staying in my center, my pleasures, and my wants, my relationships started falling into place.

A few days after my realization that relationships can, in fact, be easy, my husband’s children visited us. Their presence would normally have caused me to leave my pleasures, and instead focus on making it work for “the greater good.”

This time, however, I dared to focus on myself—my wants, feelings, and desires.

And everything turned out beautifully.

We had a fun, creative, and flowing week without any clashes or crashes between any of us. Everybody was filled up and enjoyed each other’s company.

I was mind-blown. I felt relieved, happy, and astonished at the same time. Situations that usually would have caused great entanglement and sacrifice ran smoothly when I focused on myself and shared my wants with others.

For example, I asked, “Is anyone up for some creative painting?”

“Want to go for a long walk with the dog?”

“Want to go shopping and cook with me?”

“Want to go get a pedicure with me?”

The answer to all these questions was an assuring “Yes!”

As I practice staying in my center, I experience relationship magic each and every day with everyone around me—family members, co-workers, girlfriends, customers, and more.

I’ve discovered that relationships can actually be a source of great fun and ease.

Throughout this learning process, I found myself empathizing with my mom. She had learned to sacrifice herself for “the greater good” her whole life, which resulted in her doing everything for everybody. However, as a child, I couldn’t ever really “feel” her, and that was the only thing I was after.

Now, I understood how misunderstood she must have felt and how much she had sacrificed.

I also felt a deep love and respect for my husband. Every time I had worked hard on our connection, I had secretly been annoyed that he wasn’t doing the same. I feared that it meant that he wasn’t interested in me or fully committed to our relationship.

Now I can see how he had been trying to help me relax into a softer, deeper relationship that allowed for more flow. When we relax into each other, we truly can connect and create nourishing intimacy and fun experiences together.

So, if you find yourself working so hard for things that you end up blocking them, or are constantly compromising and sacrificing your own wants and needs, remember this lesson I’ve learned the hard way: Working hard and struggling can be signs that we are blocking the natural flow. Compromise and sacrifice are unnecessary, as real joy between people happens when we show up in our center—celebrating each other and the differences between us.

It’s a vulnerable process to admit that we are the ones blocking our juicy flow by working too hard, as we have often developed strong beliefs or justifications for why we do so.

But letting go and letting our core truth lead is the key to finding flow and deep love in all relationships—including the relationships we have with our passions, finances, bodies, and health.

 

~

Author: Nomi Correli

Image: Flickr/Cheryl

Editor: Callie Rushton

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