by Toni Steenson, Coraki, Australia
As I was growing up I could see and hear the many reasons why adults got into relationships; namely so they could prove to everyone they were worthwhile, and simply because another (their partner) made them happy, looked after them, supported them, completed them, fulfilled them… the list went on.
As a teenager I found it even crazier that when my friends would like a boy, they would work out how to make the boy like them. There were even articles in Dolly (a magazine for young girls) with titles like, ‘How to make that boy fall madly in love with you’ and ‘A love potion that will change his mind’. These seemed totally ridiculous to me: all I could think was “why would you want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with you?”
I also watched most of my friends go out with boys/men depending on their looks: this too did not make sense, as a lot of these so-called good looking boys/men saw their looks as their ticket to treat their girlfriend however they wanted. Why would you want that?
So from a very young age all the way through to adulthood, partnerships and relationships did not make sense to me… but eventually I fell for wanting someone to complete/fulfil me. The only reason I can see now that I chose this, was because I felt lonely and empty and so I looked to another to fill the empty gap up for me. I definitely wasn’t aware that I could do this for myself, let alone how I could do this for myself. So as you might guess, it was a very rocky relationship.
Now, when reflecting back, I can see the relationship started out in an untenable manner and ended in the same way. I can see it had no real chance of surviving the test of time, as I’d gone into it expecting it to be the answer to my emptiness. Now, from my observation of life and relationships, I can see that no matter how much effort one puts into fulfilling another, it only leads to that person becoming dissatisfied and wanting even more from their partner… and so begins the very vicious cycle of trying to please another, or be pleased by another.
Is it possible that there could be another way of being in relationship? And could this other way possibly be that by forming a strong relationship with ourselves first, we become complete in ourselves before we enter into a relationship with another, with no expectation that the other fulfil us? That this could then be a union, a joining of two people – who are in celebration and relationship with themselves first – who then join in union to share themselves, rather than waiting for another to bring it all to them?
In the relationship I am in now, this is what we are joyfully building. We started off wanting each other to fulfil the other; but then, through presentations delivered by Serge Benhayon, we were inspired to try another way. So when I am feeling down, rather than getting angry and upset at my partner, I now look at how I have been living most recently. In other words, I take responsibility for how I feel, rather than fobbing my feelings off on to my partner.
Now we give each other the space to be wherever we are at, without needing the other to be a certain way just to please us. Rather, we now offer each other support when the other is finding something challenging; we offer each other a building platform to work from, rather than an underhanded competitiveness.
Our relationship stands out when we are at family get-togethers, because what we are building now is so lovely, supportive, true and sincere – without the huge doses of neediness, expectation and dissatisfaction that were once the foundation of our relationship – that our family members can feel the difference.
Now, when something is not right, we are learning to look to ourselves first, rather than look to each other to blame. We are also learning to be very honest when communicating with each other. This open way of communicating has offered us so much more room for a truer understanding and appreciation of each other, rather than our old method of not saying anything for fear of hurting each other’s feelings; this only supported us to stay in our locked-in and destructive ways, with no room for change. And change was definitely needed.
As a young child, I can remember all I ever wanted was love – and now I know it is as simple as loving myself first. If I care for and deeply nuture myself first, love is the natural outcome.