Up until a week ago, I’d never done a blog or video about relationships, and now I’m doing the second in a row! Last week I talked about letting go of past relationships. This week I’m talking about sustaining relationships. I do many tarot readings about relationships, and so it’s about time I discussed some of my perspectives!
This weekend my husband and I celebrated two years of marriage. I’ve been reflecting on how much I’ve learned since we began dating five years ago. I don’t proclaim to be an expert on relationships (I’m still learning every day). But I’d like to share the top three lessons I’ve learned (so far) which have helped me – and my relationship – flourish.
Lesson 1: Keep your own invisible kitchen well stocked
I got this concept from ‘The Mastery of Love’ by Don Miguel Ruiz. Imagine that you have a beautiful, fully stocked kitchen. Everything delicious and nourishing you could ever want is here. And it’s a magical kitchen. It never runs low on supplies!
Now, imagine someone knocks on your door and tries to give you a pizza. They try to convince you that you NEED this pizza. You’d probably say “no thanks, I don’t need your pizza. I have my own magical kitchen. I’d be happy to share the pizza with you, but I don’t NEED it.”
Now on the other hand, imagine you have a sparse, nearly empty kitchen. If the same knock came upon your door, you might believe that you really did need that pizza. And you might believe that you had to rely on that other person to keep giving you pizza because your own kitchen is empty.
This is a metaphor for self-love. If you know you have a limitless supply of love and everything you need within, you won’t fall into the trap of depending on another person to supply you with love. Instead, you will enjoy sharing all of the rich love you already have with another person in a healthy, mutually appreciative way.
You are are wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, and glowing, and before you can have a truly rich relationship with another person, you need to be unwaveringly certain of these truths.
When I read this years ago, it was like a bucket of cold water had been dumped on my head. I realized that I hadn’t been acting like I had my own magical kitchen. I cried and cried and cried. But even though I felt like my magical kitchen was sparse, I recognized it had potential to grow. I committed to loving myself first and foremost. This decision completely transformed my life and how I approach relationships.
Lesson 2: Be vulnerable, even when it is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
If you want to have a really rich, soulful connection with another human being, you will eventually need to learn to let your guard down and show them your truth. This can be incredibly difficult. We all have varying degrees of built up defenses and personas, and these can certainly be useful. But to really connect soul-to-soul, you’ll have to gently take off your armor and expose what is at your core.
Being vulnerable is incredibly difficult. Being vulnerable means willingly putting yourself into a position where you could possibly be hurt. Maybe you want to tell someone you love them, but you are afraid. I can’t say you don’t have reason to be afraid. Sometimes in relationships, you will get hurt. Some relationships will end. But it is absolutely necessary to learn to be vulnerable despite the risk. Vulnerability is what will take your relationship to the next level.
I’ve found it necessary to reach new levels of vulnerability time and time again in my relationship. Each time I resist it. Each time I’m afraid. But I’ve learned now to be willing to expose my soft underbelly in order to reap the rewards of a truly meaningful connection.
The amazing thing you’ll learn is that if you do get hurt, you’ll survive. It will be hard. It will suck. But you will survive, and you’ll be a more resilient, open-hearted person for it. The risk of the pain is much less than the risk of remaining stuck in your defenses.
Lesson 3: Everyone wants to be seen and heard.
We all float through the world with dreams, fears, stories. On the deepest level, what I believe we all want more than anything is to have someone hear our stories. And I don’t mean just listen, but really HEAR. We want someone to understand us. We crave meaningful connections. We want to know that we matter.
This is a lesson I’ve learned about relationships, but it’s carried into every facet of my life. This is a large part of why I read tarot. A tarot reading is a way for me to help fulfill someone’s basic need to be seen and heard. I give them space to be who they are, to let down their defenses, and to know that their experiences are valid.
It is really important to BE PRESENT with your partner. It’s natural and normal that sometimes you’ll be busy. We’re all guilty of sometimes only half-listening while we browse Facebook. But I’ve found that to really maintain a soul-satisfying relationship, you need to prioritize being fully present to see and hear the other person.
This happens at various levels. Sometimes you will need to be present to hear their deepest thoughts. Sometimes you’ll need to be present just to hear about the jerk who cut them off on the freeway. If you’re me, sometimes you’ll need to be present to hear them talk about fantasy football. These are all parts of their life. Listen, ask questions. This doesn’t mean you have to adapt your partners interests (I don’t give a hoot about football), but caring about the fact that your partner is interested in something is important.
Do any of these lessons resonate with you? What lessons have you learned about sustaining a relationship? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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