If you want a better relationship forget, about your partner and forget about working on your relationship. It is all about you!
This is not selfish in the typical definition of selfish being lacking consideration for others and concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. It is Selfish in the sense of putting your true nature first and letting the rest take care of itself.
What does it mean to put your true nature first?
Only you can decide that for you. What it means for me is to have a sincere intention to wake up to who I am beyond my ideas of myself.
What does this have to do with relationships?
Nothing! It has nothing to do with relationships that is why I said to forget about your relationship and forget about your partner. They will thank you for this. Because when you put your true nature first everybody wins, first and foremost you!
What does this look like in a practical way?
Again you will have to decide that for you, but for me it means spending time each day connecting with the feeling of who I am beyond all of my self-concepts. Connecting with the feeling of peace, love, and wisdom inside of myself. I don’t seek to manufacture those feelings. I get quiet and let them bubble up. I might listen to a recording. I might be on a hike. I might be lying in bed. I just let my mind relax and instead of engaging with the content of what is on my mind, I instead relax into the feelings of peace and wellbeing that arise. I let go. Sometimes this is a really profound experience of my personal self falling away. Sometimes it is really ordinary, and I don’t feel much of change in my state of consciousness. It doesn’t matter to me. I am not attached to a specific experience. The gift I give myself is the time to go inward and relax.
This does not guarantee a specific experience for my day. I don’t worry, “If I don’t do this I will have a bad day.” And, I don’t think, “If I do this it will guarantee me a good day.” What it does is orient me to what is important. It helps me to keep my perspective, and as a result, I enjoy life more overall including my relationships.
Here is an example. Angus and I went on a trip this past summer to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We had an amazing time! About four days before the trip ended we were on a snorkeling excursion. It was an idyllic day with blue skies, warm crystal clear water, and we were on our way to see reef sharks. While we were traveling to the location where the sharks hang out our guide got really excited because there was a school of eagle rays swimming nearby. These rays are not seen that often. So he stopped the boat so we could get out and have a look.
I wasn’t sure where they were. I swam around but didn’t see them. Angus managed to track them and swam right after them. When I got back in the boat I told the guide I had missed them and he was really disappointed. He experienced such joy in seeing them, he wanted to share the experience. His love and respect for nature was so present and impactful. Nonetheless, he had a schedule to keep, so we set off to the next location. On the way, he saw the school of rays again. He wasn’t supposed to make a formal stop, but he told me to put on my snorkel and stick my head in the water to see them. So I did that as quickly as possible. But the water was a long way down the side of the boat. Angus held on to my legs so I didn’t fall in.
In my eagerness to see the rays, I flung myself over the side of the boat with such force that Angus had trouble holding on to my legs. As he struggled to get his grip one of my legs scraped the side of the boat. Eventually, the slipperiness of my legs and force of gravity became too much for Angus to hold on to me. But he did his best to not lose his grip. The only trouble was, in his attempts to not lose hold of me, my left leg got mangled. Eventually I fell in, and I did get to see the eagle rays. It was a magnificent sight. So much so I didn’t realize how damaged my leg was.
When I got on the boat, there was blood streaming down my leg and the cut was right down to the bone. The guide who was missing at least two fingers and one toe from his ocean encounters even seemed a little concerned. So for the remainder of the trip, I had to visit the doctor every morning to redress this wound. Even then it still got a little infected and hurt like hell if I thought about it. But I didn’t! We still had an amazing rest of our trip. And I continued to enjoy all of the activities.
In the past, something like this would have ruined the rest of the trip for me. I would have blamed Angus for not just letting go of me so my leg wouldn’t have got hurt. I would have suffered from the pain. I would have focused on the injury. I definitely would have panicked when the wound got infected. The injury would have become the focus of my attention. Instead, this time the injury was in the background. I was able to continue to be present and enjoy the moment even if my leg was throbbing.
I am not saying that I am able to keep perspective all the time. And there is nothing wrong or bad about getting caught up in our personal thinking even though we suffer when that happens. I still suffer, but a lot less than I used to and that is good enough for me.
I suffer less because I am not drawn like a magnet to my reactive thoughts the way I used to be. They are there, but I am much less often going to be like a moth to a flame with them. Before, I wouldn’t have been able to resist the drama. The shift is because there is a different magnetic pull that I am aware of that draws me into deeper feelings of peace within myself. That is more often attractive to me, and I let myself be drawn in that direction. But it requires to sacrifice being right, making judgments, and being attached to my way.
If I let go of being attached to having a healthy leg, I am at peace and able to be present. It was an obvious choice for me because I wanted to enjoy the trip. As a result, my relationship was also fun and enjoyable. I wasn’t thinking about it or focusing on Angus. It was just the natural by-product of looking in the direction of peace instead of what I wanted.
This is just as true on trips as it is in day-to-day life.
What day isn’t going to be better from making the choice to not be concerned with personal and to instead look to who you are impersonally?
We have the personal and the impersonal available to us. The impersonal experience of who we are beyond our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and the personal journey of being in the sensory experience of this world.
The personal experience is so much lighter and easier to navigate when the impersonal world is taken into account. There is no choice to be made. It is simply about opening up the aperture to experience more of who you are. This is the best gift you can give yourself. And your relationship with benefit.
Just like Angus and I could have had a horrible last few days on our anniversary trip if I had chosen to dwell on my injury and blame him. But, my wellbeing was more important to me than my attachment to circumstances being a certain way. I wasn’t trying to be a good wife or to not ruin our trip. I just settled into a deeper experience of wellbeing that was beyond my thoughts about my leg and even the physical sensations of my injury.
That is the choice we all get to make. What direction are you going to look in? What is important to you?
I am saying that your wellbeing and peace of mind is more important than your relationship and your partner. Knowing who you are is more important. Start there and see how much your partner appreciates you for forgetting about them and starting with your Self.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free eBook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.