Birthdays are great time for reflection and revisiting life’s lessons. On January 25, yesterday, I turned a fabulous 45 years young! I am blessed and grateful to see another year. And in 45 years I have learned many things about choosing and maintaining a successful relationship. These lessons have now become my road-map for what works in my life. It seems befitting that I might humbly share these lessons with you, in hopes that they may be of some use. Some of these lessons have been learned through heartache, trials and tribulations... While others were learned through the fulfillment of relationship bliss and by doing my personal work (critical for all of us).
Lessons and reflections:
1. The ebb and flow of a relationship is natural – Don’t let the reality shows and sweet romantic comedies fool you. All couples go through things, because life happens while we fall in love. There are always those things that we cannot control, like deaths, job loss, health challenges, troubled kids, etc. It happens for all of us and it can put a strain on couples who are stuck in only living a fantasy relationship. But if you learn how to ride the ups and downs without panic, fear and anxiety you can experience a solid love – and an ineffable love, whether you are together forever or not.
2. Know thyself – How we select a mate and maintain a relationship happens through the lens that is a culmination of all our experiences – our schema. Doing the personal work of confronting and healing our issues will help clean the streaks off the lens. It will alleviate the painful filters by which we see the one who is our greatest mirror – our partners. Thus we can make better choices. It is not about seeking perfection, but rather about engaging the process in order to experience the progress. Do your work, beloveds! You and your partner deserve the very best.
3. Your partner cannot be your everything – In short you have to have a life! If you don’t have one, get one! It is not your partner’s job to fill you up. That is a lofty job and unfair to expect of anyone. Filling up your life is a shared job. Do you have friends with whom you spend time? Do you have something you feel passionate about or a hobby that you love? This is essential because it gives your mate an opportunity to miss you and admire you. It is such a thrill for me to see my sweetie in her element, doing her thing. And I love when she gets to see me doing the same. It gives us a sense of pride to support one another and celebrate each other.
4. Fear of intimacy swings both ways--This was my big lesson. And it is a very personal lesson that I am happy to share with you, for the intention of turning pain into purpose. Years of choosing women with varying levels of intimacy issues taught me a valuable lesson about myself. Attracting this pattern into my life was a call to deal with my own intimacy issues. I was only manifesting a deep belief that I held. Wow! That was a hard pill for me to swallow. But the truth is that choosing women with a fear of intimacy was a passive way to avoid intimacy myself, without owning it.
So if you find yourself complaining about noncommittal or emotionally unavailable women, then it is time to take a look at yourself and what you truly believe. Any pattern in your life provides you with a great deal of useful information about your belief system. If you want to know what you truly believe, I mean deep down inside, all you have to do is look around you. I am not talking about the lip service you pay for your image. Instead, I am talking about behavior that originates from your subconscious. Taking your personal inventory will give you the truth. What are you attracting?
5. Finding the balance of being an individual and a partner can be challenging, but it is essential – I have had many clients struggle with this particular issue. How do I love her the way I envision doing so, without losing myself? Well, I don’t have a neatly packaged answer for you. The truth is that the answer to this question is as individual as the number of people reading this article. I can, however, offer these points as a guide to finding the right answer for you.
- The better you know yourself the easier it is to ask for what you need.
- A willingness to communicate your needs with honesty, authenticity and transparency will pay off exponentially. No one should be required to read your mind. We all have to learn how to consistently ask for what we need.
6. Comparing your relationship to others is dangerous and ineffective –Last, but certainly not least, this is a lesson that I think comes with time. When you've lived long enough to have long-term relationships, and watch the relationships of others up close and from a distance, you begin to get it. Everything that looks shiny and glittery is not gold. Sometimes couples who appear to have it all are truly struggling. And it is their right to their personal life. So don’t get in the habit of believing that all relationships get executed in the same way.
It is my sincerest hope that you find some use of these birthday reflections. Then if you so choose, please feel free to share your greatest lessons too. We can all learn from each other. I honor you for taking the steps to CREATE LOVE!
I look forward to exploring some of these concepts in greater detail at the CREATE LOVE Conference. SharRon and I look forward to seeing you there. Be sure to register! Here (Singles AND Couples)
Nya Akoma (Take Heart),
Imani Evans, MA
Creator & Co-Founder
Create Love! For Women Who Love Women
Women Healing Women, Inc
Self-Care For Dynamic Women