The power is yours. Whether your relationship simply needs
some fine-tuning or whether it is in serious trouble, you will
be amazed at how much relationship-healing you can do all by
yourself. And if you are not in a relationship, there are many
ways of approaching members of the opposite sex in a new and
welcoming manner. Here are just 8 suggestions excerpted from
my newest book, The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love...
1) Expand the purpose of your relationship. As I see it,
a relationship has two important purposes-a Practical Purpose
and a Higher Purpose. The Practical Purpose of a relationship
is simply to have someone with whom to share our lives. Traveling
the road together can be a joyous experience. But sometimes problems
with money, sex, children, work and the like can make the journey
together very difficult. It is for this reason that we need to
have a Higher Purpose.
The Higher Purpose of a relationship is to learn how to
become a more loving person--despite what problems come up. It
is our using all the problems as a vehicle for seeing what
we need to work on within ourselves to keep love in our heart.
Too often, without remembering our Higher Purpose, we begin longing
for the initial bloom of love and the downward spiral begins.
We blame our mate instead of realizing that this is a great time
for learning and growing. Anger and resentment build. And for
too many of us, we can safely predict that the end is near.
If, however, we focus on the Higher Purpose, that of becoming
a more loving person, the outcome can be very different. Problems
can become a plus instead of a minus. We learn, we grow, we are
filled with creativity, we take responsibility, we feel strong
and our love for our mate grows. There is no question that it
is through our Higher Purpose that we ultimately experience the
exquisite beauty of real love.
2) Handle the neediness. Neediness is an emotion created
by fear and is one of the prime destroyers of love. It stands
to reason that if we are feeling needy, consciously or unconsciously,
we are always trying to manipulate our mate with the desperate
hope that they will make us feel whole. Neediness causes us to
protect ourselves at the expense of our mate, to close our hearts,
to judge our mates and blame them for our unhappiness, to become
angry, resentful and defensive. Not a pretty picture!
But when we feel whole...when we feel strong...when we feel
we are a part of the hugeness of life...we can be safely vulnerable
always knowing, that no matter what happens, we will handle it
all. In this way, our neediness disappears. We are fulfilled.
And our ability to love with a sense of confidence and joy radiates
throughout our being. We become a magnet to all that is good
in this world...and that includes a truly wonderful relationship.
3) Radiate a positive and loving energy. Science is actually
proving that feelings are contagious. This means that if you
think and act lovingly, your partner will actually "catch"
that loving energy. You become a model that evokes love in your
mate. And the whole nature of the relationship begins to move
in the direction of love.
Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you think
and act un-lovingly, your partner will "catch" that
un-loving energy. You become a model that evokes conflict in
your mate. And the whole nature of the relationship moves itself
in the direction of conflict. And you know where conflict leadsoften
to the end of the relationship.
Bottom line: If you are feeling resentful, negative, disdainful
and the like with your mate, work on changing your energy to
one of love, appreciation, and caring. It can make all the difference
in the world.
4) Pick up the mirror instead of the magnifying glass. What does
that mean? The magnifying glass represents our symbolically pointing
a finger and blaming our mate for our unhappiness. The mirror
represents looking inward and taking responsibility not only
for our actions but also for our REACTIONS to what is going on
in the relationship. The mirror is self-awareness, and self-awareness
is the first step toward positive change. A few examples:
The magnifying glass: I am angry he is not making more
The mirror: Why am I blaming him? It's my own fear that is stopping
from creating money all by myself. I have to work on my fears.
The magnifying glass: I am angry because of her taking
time away from me to spend time with her friends.
The mirror: Is my life so limited that I can't function without
her for a few hours? It's time for me to take responsibility
to create more balance in my life so that I don't feel empty
and needy when she is not around.
5) Become the mate you want your mate to be. First make
a list of all the characteristics you want your mate to have.
It could look like this: loving, thoughtful, warm, considerate,
caring, appreciative, romantic, generous. Now for the big challenge...pick
up the mirror and begin developing these qualities in yourself.
You may be someone who resists this challenge. But how can
we ask our mates to be something we have been unwilling to be
ourselves? Also, as you just learned, loving behavior is contagious.
Just incorporating all these loving qualities within our own
being can dramatically alter the thoughts and actions of our
mate. Also, remember the Higher Purpose of your relationship...and
that is to become a more loving person. This is a perfect opportunity
to do so. Your goal? Maximum caring and minimum need. Powerfully
6) Validate your mate. We have to learn to notice and
openly express thanks for the beautiful things our mate does
for us. (And if you can't find anything to thank him for, then
why are you there?) It makes our mate feel so good when we let
him know the things we appreciate about him. And it encourages
him to continue doing beautiful things.
Remember that every relationship has its good and every
relationship has its bad. By focusing on the bad, we starve.
By focusing on the good, we thrive...allowing us to creatively
and lovingly deal with the bad. So begin right now by appreciating
all that your mate does in your life. Don't let another day pass
before you say "Thank you for being in my life. I love you."
Say it today...and say it often.
7) Don't be passive when it comes to love. I think
it's really important to keep in mind that love is an emotion
but just as importantly, love is an action. The question you
need to keep asking yourself is, "What am I doing to keep
love alive?" Action is key when romance is involved. It's
also a way of keeping us conscious! We need actions to help us
keep our focus on how blessed we are to have our partner in our
I suggest you do just do one thing daily as a way of honoring
your mate and your Higher Purpose, that of becoming a more loving
person. It may take time to push through any resistance you may
be feeling, but keep pushing. Eventually you will get yourself
on the side of love.
8) There are times to "lie" lovingly. You sit down
to dinner together and you want to complain about the fact that
your mate was late coming home from work. Knowing that he/she
is in the middle of a lot of pressure at work at the moment,
it would be irrational and punishing to say, "It really
makes me angry that you came home late today." Instead,
with clenched teeth, if need be, let what comes from your mouth
be loving, even if you are not feeling loving. Say something
like, "I'm so happy when we are together. I love you."
You will most likely get a loving response back. And the miracle
of such an approach is that your own tension will melt and you
will feel that beauty of the moment instead of being the one
to destroy it.
9) Stop gender bashing. You've probably been guilty of
telling (or at least laughing at) jokes about members of the
opposite sex-even when your mate is in the room. Don't do that.
What seems like "harmless" joking may actually be working
against your efforts to move out of the realm of "selfish"
love and into the realm of "real" love. When you participate
in the bashing of members of the opposite sex, you are behaving
in a hurtful and unloving way. Remember, if you don't love,
respect and admire the opposite sex, you won't, by definition,
love respect and admire your mate.
10) Celebrate the wonderful fact that many of the old
"selfish" reasons for being in relationships are gone.
Women are learning how to take care of themselves financially.
Men are learning how to cook, clean and care for children. Take
advantage of the opportunity to nowbe in a relationship for much
more fulfilling reasons than in earlier times. It's no longer
about survival; it's about learning and growing together; it's
about supporting each other's dreams; it's about the wonder of
walking the walk and talking the talk. These are beautiful components
of real love, in which men and women help each other to become
Yes, the power is yours. We can all make the decision
to live our lives with dignity, love and caring, and to push
through the inner fears that keep us from being a loving person.
We all have that choice. No matter what the state of your relationship,
it offers you an incredible opportunity for learning and growing.
It is definitely worth all the effort you put into it. Why? A
loving relationship feels sublime and brings you great joy; it
makes life sweeter and easier. You delight in your ability to
give to your mate; you feel abundant as you take in the love
that he gives to you. Just sharing the journey with someone you
loveit doesn't get any better than that.
© 2005 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
Excerpted from The Feel the
Fear Guide to Lasting Love
Susan Jeffers, recently dubbed the
Queen of Self Help, is the author of 17 books including the bestselling
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, End the Struggle and Dance
with Life, Embracing Uncertainty and Life is Huge. Sales
of her works are well into the millions, reaching more than one
hundred countries and translated into thirty-six languages. Her
newest book is The Feel the Fear Guide to Lasting Love (Jeffers
Press, 2005). Her website address is www.susanjeffers.com.
About the Book: The Feel The Fear
Guide to Lasting Love (Jeffers Press, 2005, ISBN 0-9745776-9-3,
$24.95) is available in bookstores nationwide and through all
major online booksellers.