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How to be in a relationship when you’re searching for your ‘self’ ?

“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what matters”

Being in a relationship is work we all know that. It takes commitment and understanding and a great amount of honest communication. Sometimes we meet a person who is set to be our companion at a very strategic moment in our lives. Hell, I was in the midst of great professional and personal change when I met my partner (Clearly not the best time to engage in a ‘serious’ relationship if you judge by the recommendations of self-help books). A year, down the line, I still wonder how to be in a relationship whilst trying to find myself, and my true path. I also wonder how we’ve made it so far considering the number of times it could have ended. But this year has taught me a few things about being an individual in a relationship.

Being with someone requires time. Time is probably the most valuable gift we can give people we love. But it is also the most valuable gift we can give ourselves. It’s difficult to juggle between the two without feeling guilty. We learn to give our time to others but rarely are we taught that giving ourselves time is crucial to be open to people and LOVE.

“When I am giving you my time. I am giving you a portion of my life that I will never get back…”

At times, we might feel like we are being unclear about our needs, because we are not sure what they are. We want to be with our partner but at the same time we want to be single. I definitely needed TIME, we all do. It is most likely all of us will feel some sense of loss while transforming. The loss of identity being the strongest, as we shed away our old skin to make room for the new. There were a lot of conversations going on in my mind as I was trying to let go of the familiar and accept to make room for the new. It’s quite daunting to lose most of what we thought we knew all of a sudden; to reinvent ourselves, change paths and our vision of life. As much as it is freeing and exhilarating it also comes with an entire thread of questions which if all things are normal, we don’t have answers to.

At some point, we might feel like we aren’t giving our partner enough time, and that we aren’t giving our self enough time to grow and understand the changes occurring in our state of being.

This leads us to wonder, whether we should be single, because we really feel the urge to put ourselves first at this time in our life. I probably would have ended our relationship if it weren’t for my partner and her capacity to understand my inner turmoil and accept me. I wanted to run and she didn’t let me. Instead she offered to accompany me on this journey. She gave me a safe space to explore our relationship and my self.

But sometimes amidst the love and understanding there are expectations, the ones we put on ourselves and the ones we project on others. Those expectations are what create internal stress and are most likely to end our relationships. Sometimes my free spirit called for total and utter freedom, wanting to leave everything that is known to leap into the new; the adventure of life. Sometimes my calm-self felt happy and serene right where I was, in a committed relationship.

So how to make it work…?

The first important thing is to be honest with ourselves about what we are feeling and to understand why we are feeling it.

The second important thing is to determine what needs we have and what we want out of life and if this relationship is compatible with much needed ‘me’ time.

The third important thing is acceptance. Acceptance of our Humanity, acceptance that we are lost, acceptance that we are imperfect, acceptance that we don’t know what’s next but are still moving forward. Between two people on a shared journey, accepting our individuality and differences is crucial. The best we can do is to be honest and let the other person decide whether they want to accompany us on the journey or not, without fear of being alone. We also need to have the courage to decide whether we want that person to accompany us on our journey…

The fourth important thing is space: Inner space and physical space. We have to give ourselves time to be alone. TIME is key. Taking the time is key. Most of us were brought up to think that being in a relationship means being glued together 24/7, and that is fine, we each find our happiness in different ways. What is true for one person might not be true for another. But I truly believe that a healthy relationship can only stem from personal self-knowledge, space and mutual acceptance and respect.

This leads to the fifth important thing: Understanding. Having understanding of our partner and our self is very important. A relationship is the union of individuals whom are different: by mindset, values, and experience of life. Understanding our strengths and weaknesses and our partner’s is interesting for the quality of our relationship. Understanding how we connect and when we disconnect is stimulating. Understanding our personal fears and our partner’s fears helps to comprehend what attitudes or words might trigger fights or other unpleasant situations that do not come from a place of pure love.

The sixth important thing is to have NO EXPECTATIONS. This is probably the biggest one; having no expectations at all! Most people find it hard to identify to this because our entire society is based on expectations. Having no expectations is freeing as much for us as it is for our partners. It in turn enhances the quality of our relationship. Expectations deform the vision we have of our partner and changes the light in which we see them when they don’t live up to those said expectations. Expectations are unreal; they are the creation of our mind and ego to make us feel safe. We can only do our best but we need to be kind to our ‘self’. We need to be gentle, make room for mistakes, and make room for acceptance. If our partner needs to travel the world for 6 months and we don’t understand why, It’s ok, we should let them go in love. Let’s free them from the burden of guilt, give them the space and time to discover themselves. It is the greatest gift we can give them and the greatest gift they can give us. They might come back to us or they might not but we won’t have chained each other for years out of fear. We will have loved each other enough to trust life and set our souls free.

We are all on a journey, at some point our lives intertwine and we connect in ways beyond our imagination. That is the beauty of life.

We all need ‘me’ time in order to have quality ‘us’ time. LET’S TAKE THE TIME. IT IS WORTH IT! And whatever we do, let’s do it in love…

“To grow yourself start by knowing yourself”

“I am, two of the most powerful words; for what you put after them shapes your reality”