1) Own & Fix Your Anti-Social Behaviour
Have you ever known someone who desperately wants to find a partner, goes out on a few dates, and as soon as they feel comfortable, starts relaxing into all kinds of bad behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour is anything that keeps us from truly connecting to others. It’s being defensive when someone mentions that something could improve in the relationship. Or being moody – and saying that it’s “just who we are”. Or being passive aggressive constantly telling “jokes with a jab” and wondering why everyone is “so sensitive” today. Or maybe we are super controlling or always needy.
All of these things keep distance between ourselves and others. True, loving union is impossible.
But shouldn’t I just be “loved for who I am?”
Yes, of course.
You might be loved for who we are, but that doesn’t mean that the person you’re interested in wants to join in a union with you. If they can’t connect with you because of the defensive walls you’ve built, then there’s no point being with you. If you think it’s normal to be moody or passive aggressive, they might love you like crazy, but they are going to be hurt if they are around you. They will have to keep emotional walls up to you all of the time. Being together would only be a drain on both of you.
The first step is to really understand what’s going on inside of you. Are you moody? Defensive? Needy? Controlling? Passive aggressive? Aggressive?
The next step is to totally own it. We all have our issues. The key is to own them and not expect people to just “be OK with it”. These are behaviours that we likely learned from our family and the society all around us. It’s not about blame or guilt. It’s about being aware of how you have been molded by your life, understanding that these behaviours are pushing people away. It’s time to make new choices.
This is where the Eastern traditions can help. In the Western world, we tend to focus on the outside – the covering – of our our lives. We work on what we look like, how much money we make, and make sure we are meeting our goals. But the East is more focused on the inside. So through meditation, tantra, and spiritual paths of yoga, we can “go inside” and heal what’s going on under the surface. These traditions teach us to look at who we are with kindness and love – so that we can be honest with ourselves, heal what’s broken, and become the person we truly want to be.
If you walked up to any spiritual teacher of these traditions and said, “I am too defensive and passive aggressive in relationships and want to change”, you will get wonderful guidance to help get you started.
2) Bring your A-Game to the Relationship
One of the first assignments for couples studying tantra is to be 100% kind to each other. Strangely, at least half of my students say that this is impossible. Sometimes they are tired, something is bothering them… or it’s their partner who is bothering them!
Hmmm.. So we find this one special person – our favourite one in the seven billion on the planet. Why wouldn’t we treat them better than anyone else? This is the person that we would miss the most if we lost them. This is the person we would mourn if they died. And yet, we often have the worst behaviour with them, justifying it with the old mantra that “they get to see all of me”.
Of course, historically, this was normal. We unconsciously acted out all of our inner issues on our partner. Carl Jung called this “acting out our shadow” on the people around us.
For example, if your parents were very controlling growing up, your inner self hates this, and so you will choose people throughout your lifetime who are controlling. Now you get to have the fight that you couldn’t have with your parents and you will play out this old pattern until “you win” and you no longer feel out of control. Or if one of your parents was an addict, you might have learned how to keep the peace no matter what was going on, and deep down, you always wanted to help that parent heal from their addiction. So, it’s common to later choose addicts (of all sorts) with the secret desire to help them – when the truth is that you’re simply enabling them (your friends tell you this all through the relationship). Or maybe we didn’t get the attention we needed growing up, and so we perpetually choose people who don’t pay attention to us and put nothing into the relationship, secretly hoping that one day, someone will love us enough to care.
But, because we have choice now, we often see these red-flags a mile away. We can see the controlling behaviours, the addictions, the manipulation and the drama and when faced with the choice to be alone or join in… Sometimes, we join in, but often, we just choose to keep our distance.
Going forward, the answer is to understand that we get to define the nature of the relationship that we create.
What do we want to put into that relationship? Drama? Power-struggles? Pain?
Or do we pour in love, respect, kindness and hope?
It’s totally up to us.
3) Actively Keep the Connection Alive
To have true union, there must be magnetism between you – otherwise you will naturally drift apart.
We know this phenomenon. Imagine times in your life where you feel a strong attraction towards someone. You can’t stop looking at them. Your body keeps walking towards them. Your thoughts are all about them. This is the magnetism of attraction.
On the flipside, you have also felt repulsion – that feeling that you don’t want to be anywhere near another person. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with them. They just don’t fit with who you are… or maybe they just aren’t “on your path”. Regardless, every cell in your body says “No!”.
And then there is feeling neutral. The other person is there. But there is no charge. There isn’t attraction or repulsion. There is a total lack of magnetism altogether.
This is the struggle of many relationships when they stop putting their energy towards their partner. Maybe their attention is on work, kids, addictions, politics, or even something healthy like meditation or fitness. If all of their energy is elsewhere, the natural magnetism between you simply goes away. Your passive attitude towards the relationship literally “de-magnetizes” your connection.
Again, historically, this didn’t matter because you didn’t need magnetism to keep the relationship together. You were held together “from the outside” by religion, law, finances and other co-dependencies. Without these forces acting upon us, we actually have to put energy into the relationship to keep us together.
But it’s really important to note that this isn’t something that you SHOULD do. It is something that you should WANT to do with every cell of your body.
We are talking about creating REAL relationships built upon passion, kindness and love. There are no more obligations and rules.
So, what can you do to increase that magnetism? Do loving things. Look at your partner with gratitude. Treat them with kindness always. Surprise them with something they’d love. Do fun things together.
Just keep the fire alive. The smallest gestures build incredible joys.
4) Is your Life Fun?
Imagine your life is a party. Is it fun? Is it something that you’d like to invite someone to?
Sometimes, when we are single, we have the idea that our life will be fun once we have a partner. If that’s true, then it is only because the person you find is fun. This means that you will always be riding on their coattails which will eventually get old for them.
If you aren’t independently fun, your partner will know that you are relying on them for entertainment (we live in a society dependent on constant entertainment). Nobody wants the constant pressure and requirement to have to entertain you. They won’t want to be the only one contributing to the fun in the relationship.
So what would you love to do? Let’s say that finding a partner wasn’t a current goal. How would you create the perfect life for you that would make you excited to wake up each day?
Maybe you would learn to run, volunteer at something you’re passionate about, join a choir, read to seniors, learn to pain. Maybe you’d go on a single’s adventure tour, learn a new language, or go back to school.
The key is to create a life that you love.
And then see who would like to join you there.
A Time for Perpetual Growth
The need for change isn’t an insult to our personality or self-worth.
Growth is the state of a healthy human.
It is normal to expect a child to first learn to crawl and then try walking and then soccer and then piano, and eventually learning to drive a car. But once we hit adulthood, there is a tendency to become stagnant in our personal growth – especially when it comes to relationships and our emotional health. Because of course, this kind of growth has never really been needed before.
Yet today, when we look at the giants among us like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey or even Albert Einstein, they are always growing and learning. Their lives are defined by perpetual growth.
How exciting is this? We are now able to grow beyond the relationships of old – of obligation and forced union. We are independent and able to CHOOSE to be with someone. No co-dependence. No drama.
Imagine what these relationships could look like? Built on a foundation of passion, trust, and mature love.
Where could we go from there? What could we explore?
What is possible in a world where independent, loving people choose to be together?
Hmmm… Endless possibilities.