Being in a relationship and finding that sweet spot between completely depending on the other person and being completely self-absorbed and absent is not always the easiest task.
But with practice and building awareness of the areas which can lead you into a trap of either hanging on to every little thing your partner does or being a cold robot, you can achieve that sweet spot too.
Many people enter a relationship expecting it to make all their woes go away and provide eternal fulfillment. And this can quickly turn into a state where you look for happiness exclusively in your partner.
Of course, the problems arise when people realise that even though they are with someone, the feeling of dissatisfaction lingers.
This can lead to you resenting your partner, either openly or hiddenly, accumulating frustration and succumbing to a general feeling of not being fulfilled and helpless.
Good news is that you can escape this state of mind by starting from a simple realization: our true happiness cannot be found in others, rather we have to look inside ourselves to find it.
The path to reclaiming your happiness and possibly saving your relationship can be broken down into several steps:
Look within yourself to check if you have become emotionally dependent. Ask yourself: are you looking for a partner as a way to make yourself happy? Does it upset you if your partner doesn’t act or respond in a certain way? Do you complain about others a lot? Is your relationship the center of your universe? Does your world fall apart when you and your partner don’t do things together?
If you answered with yes to several of these questions, it may be a sign that you are overly reliant on your relationship for happiness. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person but could be an indication that you are in need of change.
We are often conditioned to seek happiness in things that surround us, after all, much of the modern economy revolves around the cycle of generating and satisfying needs with things.
The answer lies in realizing that people are not things to fulfill our voids. Their job is not to make us happy – they are probably struggling just as hard themselves.
Just sit and listen to your thoughts. “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else” they say and for a reason – it’s a simple truth.
It’s not uncommon for people to “hide” in relationship, afraid of really giving their all and achieving their potential. The key is to break this cycle and start an activity – join a cooking class, work on your fitness level or start creating music.
Any activit that draws creativity from you and teaches you about yourself can help you. Once you experience the joy of doing something really well and learning from your mistakes, you will be less prone to depending on others to fulfill you.
Notice the moment when you jump into that “whine mode” and stop yourself right away. Instead of focusing on the negative, drill yourself to draw your attention to the positive, however trivial it may sound. Soon enough you will “rewire” your thought patterns and suffer the burden of complaining a lot less.
Also notice the moment when you are being needy with your partner. Become aware of how this pattern repeats and then train yourself to break it the next time. Don’t give up if it doesn’t happen right away, the key lies in persistence.
Lastly, accept that you alone have the responsibility and power to affect how happy you feel (please don’t make me quote Spiderman here, that is just a cliche, albeit a true one). Go a step forward and don’t just accept it, revel in it and see it as a gift that is always available to you, no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Becoming emotionally self-reliant | Leo Babuta, Zenhabits.net
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