Everybody is starving for relationships, or so it seems. Turn on your social media feed, and you’ll be bombarded by a hundred desperate posts about why the world today is so bad because good people can’t find a partner. ‘There must be something wrong with the world, if it is failing to provide me with a relationship. Men are awful because they won’t stay committed. Women are awful because now that have more choices, they refuse to settle for me. Nobody wants to settle down any more”. And so it goes.
A couple of months ago I was talking to a male friend, who expressed the same sentiment. He is probably one of the most amazing men I know, inside an out. If I tried to fix him up with someone, I would be reserved, because I wouldn’t want him to settle for anyone other than the most amazing woman I know. I think so highly of him, that I couldn’t bear seeing him with average.
This is a friend who has come far in life. He has worked hard to create a beautiful life for himself, spent decades evolving, growing, crashing, learning to walk again, and rising higher than ever. This is also one of the most authentic people I know. Though he is giving and generous, he is very respectful of his time, and won’t give it to anyone who drains him. He is extremely caring, open, wears his heart on his sleeve, and in terms of energy, he has more light than anyone I know. That makes him a magnet for people. All people, high and low are attracted to shiny objects, and he has so much positive energy that people compete to be in his company. So, like all of us he has had multiple relationships where he felt derailed, unfulfilled, lacking, and often drained. If a relationship partner is not enough to him or herself, he or she will be a negative drain on the healthier person. How much can a healthy person support and give to the unfulfilled one?
And thus, he has experienced dozens of unhealthy, sub-optimal relationships and experiences with partners who very much needed to be with him, but could not measure up on their own level of self-development. And when one person is unfulfilled, lacks an identity, or a purpose, they will often try to get that from the more complete partner. And thus the mind games begin, the emotional manipulation, the drama. A well meaning partner could destroy the entire relationship by viewing the other as their source of happiness or completion.
We all know the emotional and mental toll of being in an unequal or unfulfilling relationship. Unfortunately, the love industry tells us that it is proper to invest ourselves, work hard to maintain a balance between two emotionally unequal partners, give, build, toil, compromise, cut yourself down to their size, adjust, stand on our heads to make them happy, because according to love experts, that is what true love is. But relationships like that can make us sick. Been there, done that, so, no thanks.
I have been in relationships with angels, the sweetest most affectionate ones, and walked away feeling drained of my own soul. The process to recover your own soul, from the one who fed off it for some time is a long and painful one. How do you ask for your soul back, when the other gets their entire emotional and energetic wellbeing from it? Try to get it back, and they will fight you for it. Try to break up with a lover whose self is a mere reflection of you and they will strike back with a vengeance. They won’t go away until you promise to give them more you. While you are distancing yourself to survive, they are fighting back because they can’t exist without your energy.
So, be careful who you sleep with, be careful who you are in a relationship with, and be careful who you give your energy to, because there are unhealthy consequences to being with someone who hasn’t achieved their own optimal experience.
This brings me back to my friend, and my own circle of friends who are absolutely loving, kind, giving, and complete. When I look at the shiniest most sparkly people I know, I see that they are also the ones who are unwilling to compromise themselves and their souls to be in relationships. That compromise could be deadly, and giving one’s time and personal space to the unworthy can be a toxic and sickening experience. It just isn’t worth it.
Looking at all the relationships I have been in, and all the relationships my more enlightened friends have had, I see now why we cannot afford to compromise to be in a relationship. We all have achieved completion, through a hard process of self-development. How can we hand ourselves over to just anyone who demands to be with us? They may be well-intentioned, but being with anyone who has not found a self, who cannot relate to the process is mind numbing for some, and absolutely deadly for others.
But I also see that we have been sold a load of bullshit by the relationship industry, and experts in psychology. We are told that relationships are supposed to be an investment into the other person, and I strongly disagree. We are told that all that work, toil and compromise are good for the marriage, and I say that if a relationship feels like a drain, get as far away from it. Pretty soon that work will turn into a commitment of you giving yourself to a lost cause. That commitment will lead to a legal contract, to a lifetime of drudgery, when you suspected all along that love is supposed to feel different than this.
What should love be like? Love should feel like bliss, not an investment. Love should feel equal in attention, admiration, happiness, mutual respect, satisfaction. Love should light us up, not dim our glow. Love should be an optimal life experience. But how can it be that?
To live life optimally, each person must be in a state of completion. Of course, life is a process and no matter the situation, we are always expanding from it. But, each individual must reach that state. It happens at different rates for all of us. It happens through a variety of life’s experiences, embracing painful change, crashing and burning multiple times, willingness to be vulnerable and accept the inevitable pain that comes with it. It comes from facing one’s inner demons and making friends with them. It is in the knowingness of who you are as a person, flaws and all. It is in the acceptance that if this is all there is, then this is perfect, and admiring that perfection no matter what it looks like. Have you reached that state of inner knowingness, self-admiration, self-love?
It’s a tall order, and it takes a lifetime. And so my friend who is complete, and stands confidently in a place of self-appreciation feels that relationships with incomplete people are dissatisfying. I agree. Relating to people who have no inner-knowing is like relating to a cardboard cutout. He or she will never be enough.
So, looking at the most complete people I know, I see that people come easily into our lives. There is no shortage of people who want our company. But, there is a certain self awareness that makes us notice when the one standing in front of us is less than we are. This observation is not egotistical at all. It simply is an awareness of how other people’s energy and beingness relates to mine, and whether an interaction would awesome.
Love should never feel like an obligation, it should feel free. Whether you believe in commitment and marriage is besides the point. Do it if you are with a person who fills blissful to you, don’t do it if one can’t live without the other, that’s a sign that one’s being is feeding off the other. A relationship like that will never be fulfilling for both, one will always be giving, while the other taking. I think it was Buddha who said that we should love in such a way, so the other person should feel free. Never seek to capture a person, and tie him down to you. Would you tie a dog in chains, or trap a bird in a cage? We all know how cruel that is, so why do we do it to people we claim to love?
There are many levels of relationships for people at different levels of completion. Some will never understand what living optimally is, nor will they ever seek that experience. Traditional lifestyles where they relate to each other on the basis of who can trade what to whom may satisfy them.
But pure love, the kind that complete people enjoy is never a trap. And so my friend who has spent much of his life in a state of love, is always satisfied regardless of who is with him. I am certain that one day he too will meet a person with an equal radiance to his. Optimal love feels like a union between a drop of water and the sea, a speck of glow reuniting with the entire sun. It is bliss because neither partner takes anything away from the other, two equals are in union where they belong. At that point, there is nothing to negotiate. Those mundane aspects of a relationships; where should we live, what should we buy, how will we relate, are absolutely meaningless. Almost laughable. When light joins light, there is nothing but light. What else could possibly matter?
Seek light, be love, live optimally, and own every moment. It is yours. The person who reflects as much love as you have, is the one for you. That other person you feel obligated to, let them figure it out for themselves.