We are born alone, we enter this realm, this human experience alone, we die alone.
Throughout our journey here on earth we are encouraged to be ourselves, to love ourselves to take care of ourselves, to invest in ourselves in order to have the best experience and a healthy relationship with ourselves. Everything is about the self.
What then are relationships for? What is the whole point? Why are we so hopelessly and helplessly drawn to others, not only romantically – but in every other relational way, we form friendships, social groups, business partnerships etc. Those who are psychologically inclined would say, we are social beings we need each other, our very survival depends on us being social.
For today let’s just focus on the romantic relationships. What exactly are they for?
To be happy. For companionship. To share the cost of living (it’s true). To love and be loved.
To make beautiful babies and build a family. To belong, to have someone to come home to, to not be alone in the world.
All these reasons are true, but are they the whole truth?
If you are one of the people who said relationships are meant to make us happy. Well, how many people do you know that are currently sitting in deeply unhappy relationships? If happiness is what relationships are for, why do they bring so much grief regardless of how much people try to make the relationship a happy place?
If you said relationships are for companionship, have you never heard stories of people who are lonely while in a marriage or long-term relationship. People who spend their days more like strangers than true companions? I had a client once who wrote to me a chilling one liner email
‘Ausi Lebo, my husband and I do not talk, we say nothing to each other, it has been a year now’
If relationships are to love and be loved, how come this love ends at some point. Or worse how come it turns into hate. How is it that two people who declared to be together forever end up at each other’s throats in a disastrous divorce?
So, what are we missing about relationships?
The greatest teachers and philosophers insist that relationships are not at all about the things we list. They insist that relationships are about OUR OWN personal growth. Relationships are meant to take us to the next level of our being. Relationships are meant to show us where we are in terms of our consciousness as well as show us where we should be.
My favourite description of what relationships are for is from Eckart Tolle, he says ‘Relationships are meant to make us conscious’
Conscious of what? You may ask. Conscious of ourselves. Of who we truly are.
So that we become better human beings, so that we become better versions of ourselves, so that we can reach the next level of who we are. Why do we need to be better versions of ourselves? So that we can serve the world better and make the human experience more meaningful.
How then do relationships help us with all that?
Because relationships become mirrors.
Relationships mirror back everything that we are, everything that we need to work on, to fix, and most importantly to heal. Everything that we are will be reflected in ALL the relationships we are in – particularly close and intimate ones. Which is why we are largely impacted by romantic relationships, because they are our closest mirrors. The closer the mirror is, the more you see clearly.
What do they mirror exactly, you may ask?
Well, everything. The good and bad. Like a real mirror you see everything, if you have a pimple, you will see it in the mirror, if your skin is glowing you will see it in the mirror. You don’t fight the mirror because it gave you a pimple – you equally don’t praise the mirror for your glowing skin.
With this understanding, I know for a fact that everything I am, whether I’m aware of it or not, I bring into the relationship. I bring my fears, my insecurities, my potential, my joy, courage and confidence. All my partner does in the relationship is to simply reflect that back to me.
Yes, I know it’s tricky but just let this sink in a bit, then watch your relationship and watch yourself. Then come back here and throw a comment 😊
Let me give you an example, for the longest time I had a fear of not being needed. I loved the idea of being needed in a relationship. I loved to be the saviour. Guess what, the men I attracted were very needy souls, they were clingy, acting like children and demanding. So, what was the mirror saying to me? The mirror was saying I needed to work on my fear of not being needed. I needed to work on me, not to fix my poor dates.
Take another closer look at your relationships and share with me, what the mirror says. 😉
Love and Greenlights always.
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