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Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Living Our Beliefs: Romantic Intentions

            Last time we looked at karma and the ways we draw lessons into our lives. In this post, I want to explore how we can improve our romantic relationships.
            Romantic relationships are exciting and fun in the beginning, but as you get to know your partner they can become less fun and more stressful. Often we see some warning signs that we ignore. We are happy to have someone, even if it means putting up with some things we don’t like. Just how much we are willing to put up with is determined by our level of fear over missing out on different aspects of relationships. Many people look at romantic relationships as a way to get what we want; someone to spend time with, someone to go out with so we don’t have to go out alone, security, sex, the feeling of being desired, the feeling of being beautiful and sexy, etc. Many people take what they can get as long as they can get it and then move on when the fantasy turns into reality. Others hang on in fear of never finding someone else to fill their needs. We have this romantic notion that we can find someone that will make us feel whole. If we were to ignore the fear and stop using others to fulfill our needs and desires, our relationships would lead us to happiness and fulfillment.
            In the beginning, both parties are on their best behavior, trying to keep the other interested so all of the wonderful feelings will continue. We slowly share our interests hoping that the other will like the same things we like and sometimes we pretend to like what they like to keep them on the hook. It is well known that women do this, but men do it, too, often just to get the woman into bed. We try not to push too hard too fast for fear of scaring them or turning them off. Our egos are trying really hard not to blow it! However, we are not being authentic. Most people don’t have honest conversations when they enter a relationship. We are all wrapped up in love and desire, feeling high on the excitement and don’t want anything to bring us down. On some level, we don’t want to know about potential problems and conflicts because we are enjoying the euphoria. It would be wise to be authentic right from the start, but our fear takes over. We think it’s better to have someone we’re not compatible with rather than have no one at all. We convince ourselves that it will be okay, that things will change later when we are more comfortable in the relationship, but eventually more and more conflict arises because we cannot sustain being inauthentic and our true nature comes out.

            Being authentic requires a willingness to grow. If we are not willing to grow we won’t end up living the life we want or having the relationships we want. We must be honest with people about what we like and don’t like even if it means they will walk away. We have to understand that they may not be honest right from the start because they may be living in fear. It takes courage to be honest while being afraid. But, why spend time on people who are not compatible with us? When we are looking for true love, but not being honest with those who come into our lives, we are just wasting our time. Some issues are petty and can be compromised, but others are huge. We have to know what issues we are willing to compromise and what we won’t, communicating this clearly to our partner early on in the relationship. Authentically living your beliefs is a practice that requires you to treat your partner the way you want to be treated because the seeds you sow lead to the harvest you reap. 

“There is no reality; only perception.
Whatever meaning or value a particular circumstance has for you will be the value or meaning you give it.” ~ Dr. Phil, Life Strategies

            Being authentic is the best way to start a relationship, but if you have already begun an inauthentic relationship, just remember it is never too late to start being honest. It will require a little more finesse, but you can turn it around. It starts with being honest with you; figuring out your perceptions of yourself and your partner. You must figure out what you might be doing to hurt the other person. Are you being dishonest? Are you being controlling? Do you have a need to always be right and win every argument? Do you want the person you first fell in love with or do you want a better version of that person after you have trained them? Do you ask for their help and then complain about the way they do it? How do you justify your behaviors in your mind? Are your perceptions about the other person correct, or might their actions be a reflection of their fear? These are difficult questions we must ask ourselves and we must be brutally honest with the answers. Another big question we must ask is, do I love this person, or do I love what they can do for me? There is a huge difference. If you love someone you want them to be as happy and fulfilled as you want to be. You don’t want them to sacrifice their happiness for yours. Your ego wants that, but your true self – your soul – does not want it. It is difficult to see these things within us because the ego may be trying to protect itself. However, if you want a better relationship you must treat your partner the way you want to be treated, giving them as much of what they want as you can without compromising your core values.
           Maybe the situation is reversed and you see signs that your partner is being dishonest, or that they are living in fear. Do you cater to your partner’s every need because they become angry or hurt if you don’t? Does your opinion matter to them? It can appear that your partner is confident when they act this way, but it is not confidence. It is a lack of confidence. They are testing your love because they are not confident that you will stay. It gives them a feeling of satisfaction and false security when they treat you this way and you stay. When others have left them it strengthened their belief of their unworthiness; the same unworthiness they are trying to overcome with you. It may be hard to see and admit to these things in the ones we love because we fear the loss of the relationship. We may sweep things under the rug to avoid dealing with it. So now the question you must ask is, are you hanging on in fear of being alone, or for security, or for some other reason? If so, that can’t possibly feel good. Love feels good even when there is a disagreement. True love is secure because love is secure in itself. There is no fear involved when you live and love authentically. You understand the ups and the downs of life and you’re in harmony no matter what happens. 

“We do not have to improve ourselves; we just have to let go of what blocks our heart. When our heart is free from the contractions of fear, anger, grasping, and confusion, the spiritual qualities we have tried to cultivate manifest in us naturally.” 
~ Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart

            We are meant to live in harmony. Harmony won’t come from controlling others or allowing ourselves to be controlled. It comes from allowing everyone to be who they are. The road to harmony is paved with courage, truthfulness, love, and compassion. When we approach relationships with these principals and when we intend for others to be all that they want to be, the karmic potential for success is very great. This requires us to get real about what we want and what our intentions are in the relationship. It does not require the other person to change. We change and, as a result, the relationship changes. We align our desire for harmony and peace with our intention of love and compassion, making choices and decisions that create what we want in our lives. When we are courageous enough to stand for our principals, truthful enough to say exactly what our desires and principals are, love the other person enough to allow them to be honest with us about their principals and desires, and compassionate enough to give them freedom to express themselves and to create the life they want, that is when we will be living in harmony with our beliefs.

            Harmony begins in the same place everything else does; inside of you. Recognizing the fearing ego and knowing it is part of your humanity is the first step. Every human on this earth shares the same feelings. We all feel fear, hurt, anger, compassion, and love. Understanding the human side of ourselves unites us to and gives us compassion for the human side of everyone else. When you can see this in every other human being, you are truly living from your Soul. Knowing that all other humans feel as you do should tell you that you do not need anyone else to make you feel whole. You are whole already. You are loveable, beautiful, sexy, and secure. Until you know that, you will keep searching for it with someone else, but you’ll never find it there. And the kicker is, once you love you, you’ll never feel lonely again.

“The intention in your choice is a fundamentally creative act. The intention in your choice brings energy into form… It creates consequences. When you are not aware of your intention you are creating with fear.”
~ Gary Zukav, Spiritual Teacher

            Deciding to live in harmony with your beliefs and making the effort to change the thoughts of your ego can help you create the relationship you want. You must observe your thoughts, actions, and reactions when interacting with your partner. You must also remain aware of your intentions. In fact, setting your intention ahead of time will get you exactly what you want because you will be guided by your intentions in every interaction. Wanting the same happiness, love, and peace for your partner that you want for yourself is the intention of your Soul, but you must also make it the intention of your ego.
            Our intentions, thoughts, actions, and reactions create karma for us, but also for the people around us. The people we interact with will have a choice to react to us in whatever way they choose, but knowing this it then becomes our responsibility to act in a way that will not provoke a negative reaction in them. Sometimes that can’t be helped, but it can be minimized by our initial action or words when our intention is loving and compassionate. If your intention is selfish, the interaction you have may get you what you want for the time being, but it will come back to haunt you. How we approach people will either open their heart or it will close it. We must align our intention with a positive approach. If we come at them with accusations and judgment, calling them names, yelling at them, trying to manipulate them, etc. it will make them defensive and they won’t hear us. That adds to our karma because our intention is to either get them what they want through compromise or to poke their ego and get only what we want. In every interaction, we either choose to live our core beliefs or we choose to act from ego. We can approach people with facts without criticizing and being judgmental. We can speak to people the way we want to be spoken to so our interactions have a better chance of being productive. We will not have created negative karma for ourselves and have minimized the level of negativity as much as possible. We must ask ourselves how we would want to be shown our mistakes. What approach would cause the best reaction if someone were to point out our flaws?

            Our power to change our relationships comes from our intention of love. Our limitations in changing our relationships come from our intentions of fear, harm, dislike, negativity, the need to be right, and the need to control. We can choose our words more carefully when we are aware of our intention. This is true when someone confronts us with accusations, judgments, or criticism, as well. Our reactions to their approach will either escalate the situation or calm it. We must remain aware of our intentions and values no matter how they approach us and our intent must be to love, even when faced with negativity.
       It is possible to have difficult conversations with people if we have good intentions. Remaining aware, being authentic, and intending love helps us to live our life on purpose and to live our beliefs at every moment, transforming this into the most beautiful life. Until next time, Friends, take care.

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