The most important relationship any of us will ever have is not a relationship with another, but The Relationship With Self. I know NEWS FLASH right? This goes against a lot of things our media broadcasts to us daily. We are bombarded with many images and ideas which suggest being alone is bad, unacceptable and may even signify depression. Also, in our Western culture, we are taught to sacrifice our needs to please another, sometimes even at our own expense. We are oftentimes even made to feel guilty for making time for self nurture and self renewal. In a lot of ways, it seems we have it backwards. In the highest sense, you have to be happy, content and satisfied with yourself before you can ever be content and satisfied with another. As a society, we look to another to complete us, when a great secret I have found is, the satisfaction we are looking for in another must first be found within. I will go so far here to say that not until you find inner bliss, inner harmony and inner satisfaction in yourself, can it ever be experienced with another. Also with that being said, the more honor, value and respect you give your own self, the more you can honor, respect and appreciate another.
I was married for almost ten years to a lady who treated me with a great deal of disrespect and dishonor. She was ungrateful for me and showed me very little compassion a large portion of the time during our marriage. It did not matter how kind, loving, thoughtful or compassionate I was towards her, she could never appreciate me, but instead, always found things in our relationship to be unhappy about. The intriguing thing is, she was never really content and happy with her own self, which I think was a significant reason she could never be happy with me.
This type of thing is common in many relationships today too. I think part of where the problem stems from is that we live in an instant gratification, throw away society. We are not used to working for much anymore. Relationships with yourself and others require a lot of work, there is no denying that. So naturally, when relationships get tough, people bail. Not too many people it seems are content with themselves or what they have anymore, so they can never be happy or content in relationships as well. Until you are content on the inside, you will always feel like something is missing. You will always want more. The problem here is, when we feel an inadequacy on the inside, we often mistakenly start looking outside, as if there is something out there that can complete us. Unfortunately, like the search for the holy grail to give someone instant eternal life, the search for something outside of ourselves to complete us too is an illusion. If you are always discontent on the inside, nothing will ever satisfy you. And yet, on the other token, if you learn to be truly content on the inside, to stay happy and grounded, you will not need to look outside of yourself for that magic something to complete you. Instead, you will be able to give that magic something away to someone else.
In your time on this world, you will spend more time alone than with anyone else. Sooner or later, you had better learn to like and appreciate the company you keep. This may be accomplished through a multitude of ways including, but not limited to: journaling, soul searching, meditation, tai chi, yoga, prayer, getting massages, being artistic and creative, personal study, taking walks alone in nature, or plain just doing whatever it takes for you to stay in touch with your whole self. Part of establishing a relationship with self too, is learning your likes and dislikes, what you connect to and don't connect to.
Great relationships with others don't start with others. They start with the relationship you have or maintain with yourself in mind, body and spirit. Included in this, is the relationship you keep with your creator or higher power. Within each and everyone of us is a loving, magical, grand and powerful being...the atman or real self. A friendship with this being illuminates and brightens lives and has the power to transform virtually every other relationship in your life. When you nourish yourself emotionally, spiritually, physically, you are undertaking important work. Whatever you do for yourself, you do for another. You can never give away something you do not have. So, in essence, the more peace, harmony, happiness and positive energy (mojo) you are able to cultivate in your life, the more of these things you can share from your cup of treasures with another.
The Relationship With Self is the MOST important relationship you could ever nurture and develop. It is the relationship that will sustain you through all of life's bumpy roads. And with a great relationship with self, when things go awry as they sometimes will, you will be better able to handle the situations life throws at you. The world we live in can oftentimes be a noisy, busy and sometimes confusing place. Making time to stay conscious, to stay in tune with your whole self, and making a space for quiet and reflection time, helps maintain sanity and equilibrium and helps you stay grounded in the truth of your being. True self love is taking time to care for the soul, mind and body. And as you care for yourself in all these areas, you will find the more you have to give away to help a world in need.
Copyright Justin Topik 2010