Thanks to the reader who requested a discussion on “Relationships – how to nurture everyone in your life.” This is an area that is important to all of us, so today we'll explore living from the heart as it relates to relationships.
We have relationships with our partners, family members, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and so on. Our relationships can be our most challenging experiences as well as our most fulfilling. They are always our greatest opportunities for growth and the principles of a healthy relationship are always the same, regardless of who they are with.
What we ultimately want from a relationship is to feel safe, to be accepted for who we are, and supported in our beliefs.
However, most people who choose to be in a relationship are looking for love and believe that they must “give” love in order to get it. Doing that is as much as saying that you do not now have it. And that statement will, of course, be your reality. Love is not what you want, it is WHO YOU ARE. It is very important to not get the two confused.
If you think that love is "what you want", you will go searching for it all over the place. On the other hand, when you connect with the love in your heart you realize that love is "who you are". Then you simply share it all over the place, and you will experience loving relationships of all sorts where everyone feels nurtured.
When we think of healthy relationships, we often focus on what we can do for the other person to nurture them. That puts expectations on the relationship around "what to do" rather than "how to be".
Taking on the role of being the nurturer is different from being nurturing. Taking on the role of a nurturer usually results from our unconscious fixed beliefs of: I’m not good enough, not enough, not deserving, how I have done it wrong, I am unlovable, I’m going to say or do the wrong thing, it’s going to be my fault, rejection and failure.
These beliefs can show up in relationships in thoughts like “I have to prove that I am what they want” and “if I give enough love then I will be seen as having value and will be lovable”. In these circumstances, relationship dynamics revolve around what we "do" rather than simply being ourselves. We also have a perspective of what we subjectively think a relationship “should be” leading to “am I giving enough, or getting enough”? This limits our experience by taking our attention away from what already is present that is working or feeling right.
When we harbor expectations of ourselves around loving, supporting and nurturing someone, we take on the responsibility for their well being. That’s why we often give unsolicited advice (as we try to prove our worth) which we confuse with being nurturing.
Being nurturing is simply being yourself, without judgments or conditions, through which behavior you give permission to your partner or friend to do the same. They then feel nurtured in being who they are. In the mutual acceptance of each other, there is no monitoring for disappointments from expectations you have put on yourself or the other person, or from expectations they have put on you.
The truest form of nurturing is loving someone without expectation that they have something you need from them to complete you or that they need to act or be a certain way to align with your view of the world.
To be nurturing in relationships you have to understand that you give love because you have it to give, and without looking for confirmation that you are doing enough or if the other person is reciprocating in some way. In doing so, you will experience your own beingness of love.
That will give you the freedom to experience your relationship without the fear of losing or damaging it. What makes relationships safe and fun, is simply being yourself and seeing things from different perspectives while sharing the same core beliefs and values.
So, what does it mean to "be who you are" in all of your relationships? It means being "heart centered". It means following your heart in all interactions in each relationship. It means honoring your Self above all while honoring the other without judgment.
It does NOT mean toleration of being the target of anger or judgment or any other unwanted behavior, in order to keep the peace. Love is the center and the core of everything, and Self is the place where all love must begin.
Those who love others grandly are those who love themselves grandly. Those who have a high acceptance of others are those who have a high acceptance of themselves. Therefore, begin where all growth, where all evolution, where all love and nurturing must begin: with the person in the mirror.
Until next time.
Please share your views, experiences, and comments or pose questions around your experiences with your own varied relationships. A lively discussion will benefit all.