As a spiritual advisor, I often meet people when they aren't wearing the social masks that help them navigate their way through life's daily drama. Seeing people with their guards down helps me understand their soul's craving, that is, what drives them to do the things they do -- and regardless of belief or mindset, the common craving in everyone is love.
Being aware of the soul's craving for love, I became interested in recognizing the common threads in all of the happy, loving relationships I was coming across. I wanted to decode the secrets of a strong bond, and here's what I found the keys to be:
1. Accepting Yourself.
When you're in a relationship, you want to be loved and accepted. But do you think your partner can completely accept you if you have doubts about yourself? You don't get what you want... you get what your energy expresses. If your energy is full of self-doubt, you are going to end up generating more doubt in others.
Are you open to genuine compliments when they come your way? When I tell someone how amazing they are or point out something that they're good at, most people simply respond that I am too kind, and they close themselves off to the compliments. It takes me a couple of attempts before they can accept my simple honest compliment. If you're the same way -- whatever the reason may be for your blocked attitude toward love -- you have to slowly come to terms and accept yourself and your flaws. Once you've fully done this, you will not only become more comfortable with who you are, but you will attract those who vibrate on that same comfort level too.
2. Forgetting About the Past.
Being raised by an abusive parent or witnessing pain in your parents' relationship shouldn't shape the fate of your own love life. You can't let your family history affect your present take on relationships. Liberate yourself from those memories -- they don't exist anywhere except for in your mind. If your significant other behaves in a way that reminds you of a painful memory from the past, convey your concern right away. An understanding partner will help you get rid of this projection. However, an increasing dose of repetitive concern may make your partner feel like he or she is always being compared to a painful part of your life. You have to take baby steps when coming out of this conditioning; otherwise you risk losing a precious, present relationship.
3. Being Clear With Your Intentions.
What if I tell you to drive a car, but don't tell you where to go? You will end up wasting gas and time, and you will drain yourself of energy. The destination makes the journey an experience, and a clear map for getting there makes the entire process easier. Likewise, on the path of life, you must have an intention for what you want out of your relationship. Many relationships fail because we tend to take them for granted and plant no intention for them to grow. An intention is the fuel that your relationship needs to move ahead. For most people, that intention is marriage. But what about after marriage? You must find an intention that will help your soul continue to grow and nurture in the relationship.
4. Breaking the Norms of How Society Defines Relationships.
Society is self-serving when it defines what a "perfect relationship" is. People in many cultures struggle with maintaining a free and happy relationship because they are forced to follow such rigid societal rules. Such a relationship is living torture, and by continuing it, you are encouraging the practice to grow. I have traveled to many countries where divorce is a huge taboo, especially for women. Following some of society's ill-defined rules will not only end up ruining your life, but the lives of those around you too. Take charge today and move beyond the suppression in your relationship.
5. Knowing When to Say "I'm Sorry."
Hollywood and Hallmark have made the phrase "I love you" a very common way of showing affection. When you say "I love you," you often expect to hear "I love you, too" in return -- and if you don't hear it with an equal or better tone, your mind will give you a lot of ideas and insecurities to dwell on. The truth is: "I love you" may not be the only mantra you can use to penetrate the heart of your loved one. Sometimes it's as simple as admitting to a mistake and asking for forgiveness. "I'm sorry," when said genuinely, has the power flip the script in a relationship. It shows that you value your relationship more than your ego. Say "I'm sorry" today to someone who deserves to hear it.
Here's a quick meditation that will help you effortlessly implement the above secrets. (Note: Practicing this technique with your partner will be a game changer.)
- Sit cross-legged on the floor or on a chair, with your spine straight.
- Take a few deep breaths and connect with your surroundings.
- Gently bring your awareness to your heart.
- Feel your heartbeat and watch every emotion going through your heart in that moment.
- Don't judge the emotions -- simply watch them traveling through your heart center.
- Keeping all awareness on your heart, express love and forgiveness for yourself.
- Accept yourself completely and shower love on yourself.
- Repeat the same process for forgiving others too.
- You may use the affirmation, "I intend to love unconditionally every day in every way."