Relationships are a funny thing.
How we choose the people we fall in love with has everything to do with how we feel about the meaning of our lives.
When we meet the “right” person (if there is such a thing), we feel as though we’ve finally come into contact with the missing piece of ourselves that’s been gone since we were starry-eyed children. If this person fails to live up to our distorted expectations, that gaping hole in our heart starts to feel all the more empty.
I would never want to live in a world where there is no love (which would be impossible, because love is the very fabric of our universe), but it seems as though we often jump the gun a little bit on this whole romance thing. We believe that the “right kind of love” will change us, making us into happier and more mature human beings—when in reality, this belief is childish and often makes us miserable.
I think love actually works in exactly the reverse way: we have to be mature enough human beings to be able to meet love fully and allow it to flourish naturally.
This is what we need to do to help our romantic relationships flourish: be good enough for our soulmate.
Here’s a story to illustrate. A friend of mine was telling me about his relationship problems a few years ago. He was looking for a partner, but didn’t want to seem too desperate or clingy. He was finding it difficult to strike the balance between seeking out love while remaining unattached…or something to that effect. I told him that what we really need is to uncover the masculine and the feminine within ourselves before we look for that “special feeling” out in the world. That kind of spiritual independence is the prerequisite for healthy and mutually beneficial relationships. Not long after, he met someone.
It doesn’t make sense to seek out fulfillment or completeness in a romantic partner. We should cultivate that sense of completeness on our own time, while keeping the door open to relationships that help us in our own process of self-cultivation.
About a year or so later, I completely went against my own advice. I projected my deeply depraved sense of self onto someone I had fallen in love with, completely neglecting my own underlying problems. I believed that she was going to help me, in some vague and unrealistic way—and that if I spent time with her, it would fill that void in my heart. It ended in complete disaster, obviously. Sometimes it’s so difficult to listen to our own advice, eh?
What I mean by “being good enough for our soul mate” is to live in a way that makes us exceptional and powerful enough individuals, so we are ready to meet the person we love. When we optimize our own path through life, meeting our potential through every opportunity that life gives us, we are most likely to fall in love with someone who will love us back.
Just imagine there are people in the world that we would be incredibly lucky to know in an intimate way. Instead of spending our time seeking out that person—striving to meet someone who will lift us out of our slump and lighten the burden of our own humanity—we would do better to practice living in a way that would prepare us to connect with someone so amazing.
I think part of the trouble with my little romantic endeavor was that I saw that girl as having something that I didn’t have. This is just about the worst way to start a relationship. I thought she had something that I was completely without, and the only way to get in touch with that “thing” was to have her in my life.
The truth is: everything starts within. We can’t have a successful relationship if we have not paid attention to the relationship we have with ourselves. I am talking about the conversation that is always happening in our heads: “You’re not good enough.” Or: “You can’t do it.” Or: “No one will love you.” We are so good at beating ourselves up that it’s almost an art form.
I don’t think we can truly love someone until we smooth things within our own souls.
Eckhart Tolle talks about how the romantic relationships between men and women come from this archetypal need to be complete—this fusion of the masculine and the feminine. If we can’t find this balance within, we then seek it outside of ourselves, and that is what leads to all of the chaos and conflict that we see in relationships.
I buy that.
The way that I make myself good enough for my potential soulmate is through inquiry and contemplation—constantly attempting to improve the conversation that is happening in my head by observing it closely. The more attention I pay to this inner dialogue, which is often an inner battle, the more these strange voices seem to work for me.
I am observing the conversation that is happening in my mind between what I call the judge and the victim, and through that observation I am acting as a kind of mediator. My thoughts then seem to flow in unison toward the improvement and expansion of my own being.
When I engage in this continual practice, the need I have to love and be loved is no longer a desperate feeling. I start to see love as a privilege, rather than an urgent need. I think this is a good place to be, because the relationships that stem from this feeling are always positive and constructive. It is a shift from a scarcity mentality to an abundance mentality, and the fruits that are reaped from this inner change are self-evident.
If we can move through our lives in a way that would make us good enough for our soulmates, the rest will sort itself out. Doing what we can in our daily lives to be ready to receive the greatest love we could possibly imagine is one of the secrets to higher living. At least, it feels that way to me.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Unsplash/Allan Filipe Santos Dias
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Travis May