I was freshly out of an 11-year marriage.
I had already given my heart to someone who had no means of caring for it and found myself heartbroken and confused. That deep heartache forced me to seek answers to heal my past and new teachers that would ask more of me to create and sustain the kind of loving, connected, and lasting relationship I wanted in my life. That was the time in my life when I became a seeker. And I dove in head first, consuming spiritual teachings as if my life depended upon it because, in many ways, it did.
Let’s be honest: the people who are closest to us know how to push our buttons.
The relationships that mean the most to us also have the ability to hurt us the most.
Our most important and most intimate relationships will force us to grow and seek new ways of engaging with one another when it’s not working; our old ways of engaging are what brought us to this place, seeking answers and insights to lessen the pain.
So, to that end, I am providing you 10 nuggets of wisdom for transforming relationships from the 10 best teachers that have made the biggest difference in my own relationships and those of my clients:
1. “I would like to thank the people who’ve brought me those dark moments, when I felt most wounded, betrayed. You have been my greatest teachers.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
2. “The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.” ~ Pema Chödrön
3. “After accepting that you have your particular brand of fears and acknowledging the cost of letting them direct your life, you begin to get some breathing room in which you can observe them more clearly with greater understanding. You begin to embrace your fears rather than being ruled by them.” ~ Debbie Ford
4. “Relationships based on obligation lack dignity.” ~ Wayne Dyer
5. “Love is giving up control. It’s surrendering the desire to control the other person. The two—love and controlling power over the other person—are mutually exclusive. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all the desires within us to manipulate the relationship.” ~ Rob Bell
6. “If you knew your potential to feel good, you would ask no one to be different so that you can feel good. You would free yourself of all of that cumbersome impossibility of needing to control the world, or control your mate, or control your child. You are the only one who creates your reality. For no one else can think for you, no one else can do it. It is only you, every bit of it you.” ~ Esther Hicks
7. “From speaking with my mother, I learned that forgiveness is a process that begins with the choice to end your own suffering.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant
8. “As long as you think that the cause of your problem is ‘out there’—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim.” ~ Byron Katie
9. “Yes, your loved one’s cooperation would be lovely, but you don’t absolutely need it to experience any given emotional state. This is incredibly hard to accept—it would be so easy to feel good if others would just do what we want, right?” ~ Martha Beck
10. “Relationships are eternal. The ‘separation’ is another chapter in the relationship. Often letting go of the old form of the relationship becomes a lesson in pure love much deeper than any would have learned had the couple stayed together.” ~ Marianne Williamson
Love is never safe. Anytime we open our heart to love, we take the risk of losing it in some way.
Love requires courage. It takes courage to share the most intimate parts of ourselves with another.
Love will force us to grow. There is nothing like our most intimate relationships to cause us to learn and grow and evolve so that we can ultimately love and be loved.
These teachings and insights were like oxygen to me when I felt I was on life support, giving me hope that relationships don’t have to hurt. But now that I understand them at a deep level and apply them to my own life and relationship, there’s the ability to breathe easily again. I know how to create and sustain loving, healthy and connected relationships.
From Addictive to Enlightened Love: 9 Ways to make Relationships our most Powerful Spiritual Practice.
Author: Sharon Pope
Image: @gypsieraleigh on Instagram
Editor: Angel Lebailly
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy & Social editor: Nicole Cameron