“To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are.” ~
Every relationship involves the act of giving.
That’s how we show our love and affection toward the other person. We’re giving our time, energy, mental, emotional, and physical self to the other person as an expression of the love we carry for them, and all this giving involves (to some degree) the expectation of receiving the same or similar things in return.
While there is a fundamental give-and-take that is always involved in all of our relationships, issues begin to arise when we start molding ourselves according to the wishes and desires of the other in order to get that love, affection, appreciation, and understanding.
Over time, it becomes transactional, and that turns people into emotional accountants. We start keeping score of how much we have done and are still doing for someone else and feel angry and resentful when we see that we haven’t gotten much in return.
And in this process of keeping these accounts, we lose our sense of self. We lose touch with who we are, our needs, desires, and the fact that there are other ways and means of being fulfilled.
In fact, for most of us, relationships are only a means to fulfill one end: our unsatiated hunger for the love, appreciation, acceptance, understanding, and much more we never received.
Thus, we enter with our almost empty emotional tanks, and in a bid to have someone else fill that up, we empty it out completely.
And what’s left is just a shadow of our self chasing people—begging and pleading to be loved.
We think—and we’re often told as well—that in order to make relationships work, we need to make the other person our priority. So we give and give till we have nothing more to offer, then we begin complaining about what we should’ve received because we were giving so much.
We need to give them what they need, do things the way they would like, compromise on our wants and desires so that theirs can be fulfilled, and keep extending ourselves little by little. Eventually, we end up extending so much that we’re left with mental, emotional, and physical pain.
We become the unhappier versions of ourselves.
It’s important for us to stop and ask ourselves: why are we giving so much? Is it purely because of the love that we feel for this other person or because of the expectation of something in return?
Is there something wrong in expecting? Of course not. It’s a given in relationships. However, when we come from an empty space, we don’t realise how hung up we get on simply doing in order to receive. In the process, we fail to see what the other is bringing to the table and whether they can actually give us what we want. And sometimes, they may fulfill our needs in different ways, but we are unable to see that.
In reality, it takes two emotionally reasonably full and attuned people to come together in a healthy, workable relationship unit.
Even if one person is unhappy, their unhappiness will trickle down to the other person and eventually impact the entire relationship.
So then, what does it really take to build and sustain such a relationship?
Well, it surely takes a lot of things. However, there is only source of all those other things: you.
It all starts with you.
Thus, the number one gift you can give to yourself and the other in your relationship is you and everything that you stand for.
Before we begin to give to someone else and even expect them to, it’s important for each one of us to develop an understanding of just one person: our own self .
We all have our baggage. We all have our inner work to do. It’s important to understand how our life experiences have shaped us and the kind of individuals we are and are striving to be.
We need to have an understanding of our needs—intellectual, emotional, physical—and be able to fulfill them for our own self first. People and relationships are a means to fulfill our needs, wishes, and desires and not the end in themselves.
We must know our boundaries and when and how much we are willing to extend, and when we do, it must come from a genuine space of giving and not expecting the other to do the same.
As long as we don’t know who we are and what values we uphold, we will be like the hamster in the wheel.
So many of us enter into relationships thinking that this person and relationship will fulfill us in each and every way. We tie our lives to them to such an extent that their presence and absence can almost disintegrate us.
Unless we become attuned to our self and show our authentic self in each and every relationship, we will always be filled with resentment for our self and the other.
Our own personal development and authenticity is the greatest gift that we can give to our self and everyone around.
We need to be able to take off the masks that we wear to be liked, accepted, and validated and show up authentically, and it’s only when we are able to do that for ourselves can we truly see people for who they are.
“What’s the greater risk? To let go of what people think, or letting go of what I feel, what I believe and who I am?” ~ Anonymous
Then, instead of trying to fit into someone else’s mold, we can see people and what they have to offer to us as well. That’s how we are able to attract and choose the kind of people and relationships that are worthy of our time and investment.
Being authentic is a choice that we make for ourselves each and every day. A choice to honor each and every part of us that makes us who we are.
If we don’t learn to give ourselves all the love that we are seeking outside of us, no matter how much we give to the other, we will always be empty.
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” ~ Anonymous
Give yourself the gift of self-acceptance, awareness, discovery, and growth. Begin with filling up each aspect of your life with everything that lights you up and then let in those who want to bask in the warmth of your light.
Show up with your warmth, beauty, and craziness.
Embrace each and every part of you with tenderness and love and let people around you love you for who you truly are instead of the half-baked versions that even you struggle to relate to.
Respect your shadows and enjoy your light because it’s only when we become comfortable with who we are, what we desire, and how we’re willing to show up for our self and others, can we expect that love, respect, and warmth from someone else.
After all, you are uniquely you, and life is all about embracing that.
So how are you going to show up for yourself ?
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ~ Brené Brown