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10 Ways to Improve Your Relationships

So while my focus is normally on nutrition, what I’ve learned is that no matter what you put in your body, if you neglect other areas of your life and stress builds up, that food cannot heal you properly. This article is therefore a bit more personal than usual, with a slightly different route towards optimal health.

help_button_hand_keyboard_picEmbarking on an online self-help course was something I would have previously laughed at. It was most certainly not for me and not for any other sane individual for that matter.

Then my relationship hit the rocks.

For about five months solid I was spending my evenings slumped on the bedroom floor with tears running down my face. There was no real event that really ever preceded the crying but I couldn’t get my head around the fact that something wasn’t right anymore.

One night after deciding that I would pack my bags and leave, I called on my dear friend, Google. While many so-called therapists all pointed me towards the door, wishing me luck with the intense pain that was undoubtedly about to follow, one article stood out and hit me square in the face.

The woman asked questions like, “Do you worry you don’t love your partner enough?” or “Are you walking around battling obsessive thoughts?” and “Are you suffering from anxiety and self-doubt?” Yes! Yes! Yes!

She then offered me an E-course. No. I can’t do that. Everything she’s saying relates exactly to what I’ve been going through but I really can’t be one of those online self-help people . . . or can I?

And just like that, $250 left my bank account and I was emailed pages and pages of information and a link to an online forum.

I haven’t had a relationship meltdown since.

After not only following the course but also indulging in various books, I wanted to share some of the key points that I came across and in fact nudged me into beginning a bit of a spiritual journey:

pinkies_jeans_holding_hands_pic1) Accept having highly sensitive nature

If you’re over analyzing things, chances are you’re like this in many areas of your life, it doesn’t mean your relationship is the problem. Being sensitive and analytical is who you are, embrace it.

2) Don’t believe that “gut feeling”

This was the biggest one for me. I was convinced that this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach was a message telling me to leave. When I utilized tools and followed words of wisdom from others I soon learned that this “gut feeling” was actually fear. An organ in your body cannot predict if your relationship will work; fear will just grasp on to anything to convince you to run.

3) It’s really about you

This one is fairly hard to digest. When things your partner is doing are driving you up the wall, it’s time to come to terms with projection and time to start looking inwards. What is up with YOU that you feel this way? I soon learned many things about myself that I was keeping tucked in the depths of my mind.

4) It’s OK to grieve

Whether this is grieving the single life, grieving the loss of your childhood, grieving the inevitable changing dynamics with your parents and/or friends, it’s normal and it’s ok. Let in the grief and feel the pain.

5) It’s OK to be scared

couple_close_up_picA serious relationship and especially taking big steps together is a huge deal, and being scared doesn’t mean you’re making the wrong decision, being scared is acknowledging the enormity of what you’re doing, and that is ok.

6) Love is a choice

Love doesn’t just happen to you, you make it happen, and you can decide whether or not you want to experience the emotion.

7) The nature of love is far from a fairytale

As a society we have so many unhealthy ideas of what love is: the idea of someone showing up exactly when we need them and saving us from our pain, or romantic gestures at every opportunity, and more. It’s not real and we have to unlearn a lot of what we’ve been conditioned to believe.

8) Your partner is actually a human

Believe it or not your partner is a real human being with faults and all. They will never have all the qualities you’ve ever hoped for. He may be X, Y, and Z but not W and while you may contemplate leaving for someone that has W and V, you may risk losing the X and Z. No one is perfect and everyone brings something unique and worth celebrating. Writing a gratitude list of all the positive qualities my partner has was one of the best things I ever did.

9) “Anyone can be a Buddha alone but a relationship is where spirituality is truly learned.”

I read this in a book and it resonated with me so much. I thought that I wanted to be alone to “find myself,” but the truth was that my relationship and all its difficulties were showing me more about myself than ever before. Working with the difficulties sculpts and refines a personality and helps one to grow more than ever.

setting_table_man_woman_couple_pic10) You actually DO have to work THAT hard.

The message that I was receiving almost daily was “your relationship shouldn’t be such hard work,” and I believed it. I believed that someone is out there who would make my life easier and I wouldn’t have to put in the effort. It’s rubbish. To maintain love when the infatuation has worn off does require work, as does anything worth pursuing.

Overall, the main take-home message that I say to myself whenever things get difficult now is simply, “It’s ok.”

Relationships are one of the major aspects of life, and no matter how much we eat right, practice yoga, or meditate, if we haven’t found peace with people around us and we experience stress on a daily basis, our bodies will find it incredibly hard to heal. Sometimes we need to look a little deeper, work a little harder, and accept some of the challenges with gratitude.

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