Most people enter into relationships with an eye toward what they can get out of them, rather than what they can put into them. The purpose of a relationship is to decide what part of yourself you'd like to see "show up," not what part of another you can capture and hold. The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you but to have another with whom you might share your completeness. -Neale Donald Walsch
The Way to be Happy in Relationships
Is to use relationships for their intended purpose, not the purpose you have designed. Relationships are constantly challenging; constantly calling you to create, express, and experience higher and higher aspects of yourself, grander and grander visions of yourself, ever more magnificent versions of yourself. Nowhere can you do this more immediately, impactfully, and immaculately than in relationships.
In fact, without relationships, you cannot do it at all. It is only through your relationship with other people, places, and events that you can even exist (as a knowable quantity, as an identifiable something) in the universe. Remember, absent everything else, you are not. You only are what you are relative to another thing that is not.
That is how it is in the world of the relative, as opposed to the world of the absolute—where I reside. Once you clearly understand this, once you deeply grasp it, then you intuitively bless each and every experience, all human encounter, and especially personal human relationships, for you see them as constructive, in the highest sense. You see that they can be used, must be used, are being used (whether you want them to be or not) to construct Who You Really Are.
You can choose to be a person who has resulted simply from what has happened, or from what you’ve chosen to be and do about what has happened.
It is in the latter form that the creation of Self becomes conscious. It is in the second experience that Self becomes realized. Bless, therefore, every relationship, and hold each as special and formative of Who You Are—and now choose to be when human love relationships fail (relationships never truly fail, except in the strictly human sense that they did not produce what you want), they fail because they were entered into for the wrong reason. Most people enter into relationships with an eye toward what they can get out of them, rather than what they can put into them.
The purpose of a relationship is to decide what part of yourself you’d like to see “show up,” not what part of another you can capture and hold. There can be only one purpose for relationships—and for all of life: to be and to decide Who You Really Are. It is very romantic to say that you were “nothing” until that special other came along, but it is not true.
Worse, it puts an incredible pressure on the other to be all sorts of things he or she is not. Not wanting to “let you down,” they try very hard to be and do these things until they cannot anymore. They can no longer complete your picture of them. They can no longer fill the roles to which they have been assigned. Resentment builds. Anger follows. Finally, in order to save themselves (and the relationship), these special others begin to reclaim their real selves, acting more in accordance with Who They Really Are.
It is about this time that you say they’ve “really changed.” It is very romantic to say that now that your special other has entered your life, you feel complete. Yet the purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you but to have another with whom you might share your completeness.
Here is the paradox of all human relationships: You have no need for a particular other in order for you to experience, fully, Who You Are, and. .without another, you are nothing. This is both the mystery and the wonder, the frustration and the joy of the human experience. It requires deep understanding and total willingness to live within this paradox in a way that makes sense.
I observe that very few people do. Most of you enter your relationship-forming years ripe with anticipation, full of sexual energy, a wide-open heart, and a joyful, if eager, soul. Somewhere between 40 and 60 (and for most it is sooner rather than later) you’ve given up on your grandest dream, set aside your highest hope, and settled for your lowest expectation-or nothing at all. The problem is so basic, so simple, and yet so tragically misunderstood: your grandest dream, your highest idea, and your fondest hope has had to do with your beloved other rather than your beloved Self.
The test of your relationships has had to do with how well the other lived up to your ideas, and how well you saw yourself living up to his or hers. Yet the only true test has to do with how well you live up to yours.
Relationships are sacred because they provide life’s grandest opportunity— indeed, its only opportunity—to create and produce the experience of your highest conceptualization of Self.
Relationships fail when you see them as life’s grandest opportunity to create and produce the experience of your highest conceptualization of another. Let each person in relationship worry about Self—what Self is being, doing, and having; what Self is wanting, asking, giving; what Self is seeking, creating, experiencing, and all relationships would magnificently serve their purpose—and their participants! Let each person in relationship worry not about the other, but only, only, only about Self.
This seems strange teaching, for you have been told that in the highest form of relationship, one worries only about the other. Yet I tell you this: your focus upon the other—your obsession with the other—is what causes relationships to fail. What is the other being? What is the other doing?
What is the other having? What is the other saying? Wanting? Demanding? What is the other thinking? Expecting? Planning? The Master understands that it doesn’t matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn’t matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that. The most loving person is the person who is Self-centered.
That is a radical teaching. Not if you look at it carefully. If you cannot love your Self, you cannot love another. Many people make the mistake of seeking love of Self through love for another. Of course, they don’t realize they are doing this. It is not a conscious effort. It’s what’s going on in the mind. Deep in the mind. In what you call the subconscious.
They think: “If I can just love others, they will love me. Then I will be lovable, and I can love me.” The reverse of this is that so many people hate themselves because they feel there is not another who loves them. This is a sickness—it’s when people are truly “lovesick” because the truth is, other people do love them, but it doesn’t matter.
No matter how many people profess their love for them, it is not enough. First, they don’t believe you. They think you are trying to manipulate them— trying to get something. (How could you love them for who they truly are? No. There must be some mistake. You must want something! Now what do you want?) They sit around trying to figure out how anyone could actually love them. So they don’t believe you, and embark on a campaign to make you prove it. You have to prove that you love them. To do this, they may ask you to start altering your behavior.
Second, if they finally come to a place where they can believe you love them, they begin at once to worry about how long they can keep your love. So, in order to hold onto your love, they start altering their behavior. Thus, two people literally lose themselves in a relationship.
They get into the relationship hoping to find themselves, and they lose themselves instead. This losing of the Self in a relationship is what causes most of the bitterness in such couplings. Two people join together in a partnership hoping that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts, only to find that it’s less. They feel less than when they were single. Less capable, less able, less exciting, less attractive, less joyful, less content.
This is because they are less. They’ve given up most of who they are in order to be—and to stay—in their relationship. Relationships were never meant to be this way. Yet this is how they are experienced by more people than you could ever know.
Why? Why? It is because people have lost touch with (if they ever were in touch with) the purpose of relationships. When you lose sight of each other as sacred souls on a sacred journey, then you cannot see the purpose, the reason, behind all relationships. The soul has come to the body, and the body to life, for the purpose of evolution. You are evolving, you are becoming. And you are using your relationship with everything to decide what you are becoming. This is the job you came here to do. This is the joy of creating Self. Of knowing Self. Of becoming, consciously, what you wish to be. It is what is meant by being Self-conscious.
You have brought your Self to the relative world so that you might have the tools with which to know and experience Who You Really Are. Who You Are is who you create yourself to be in a relationship to all the rest of it. Your personal relationships are the most important elements in this process. Your personal relationships are therefore holy ground. They have virtually nothing to do with the other, yet, because they involve another, they have everything to do with the other.
This is the divine dichotomy. This is the closed circle. So it is not such radical teaching to say, “Blessed are the Self-centered, for they shall know God.” It might not be a bad goal in your life to know the highest part of your Self and to stay centered in that. Your first relationship, therefore, must be with your Self. You must first learn to honor and cherish and love your Self. You must first see your Self as worthy before you can see another as worthy. You must first see your Self as blessed before you can see another as blessed. You must first know your Self to be holy before you can acknowledge holiness in another.
this is the truth you have not been able to accept. And that is why you can never truly, purely, fall in love with another. You have never truly, purely fallen in love with your Self. And so I tell you this: be now and forever centered upon your Self. Look to see what you are being, doing, and having in any given moment, not what’s going on with another. It is not in the action of another, but in our reaction, that our salvation will be found.
when reacting with pain and hurt to what another is being, saying, or doing. The first is to admit honestly to yourself and to another exactly how you are feeling. Many of you are afraid to do because you think it will make you “look bad.” Somewhere, deep inside of you, you realize that it probably is ridiculous for you to “feel that way.” It probably is small of you. You are “bigger than that.” But you can’t help it. You still feel that way. There is only one thing you can do. You must honor your feelings. For honoring your feelings means honoring your Self. And you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. How can you ever expect to understand and honor the feelings of another if you cannot honor the feelings within your Self?
The first question in any interactive process with another is: now Who Am I, and Who Do I Want to Be, in relationship to that? Often you do not remember Who You Are, and do not know Who You Want to Be until you try out a few ways of being. That is why honoring your truest feelings is so important. If your first feeling is a negative feeling, simply having the feeling is frequently all that is needed to step away from it. It is when you have the anger, have the upset, have the disgust, have the rage, own the feeling of wanting to “hurt back,” that you can disown these first feelings as “not Who You Want to Be.”
The Master is one who has lived through enough such experiences to know in advance what her final choices are. She does not need to “try out” anything. She’s worn these clothes before and knows they do not fit; they are not “her.” And since a Master’s life is devoted to the constant realization of Self as one knows oneself to be, such ill-fitting feelings would never be entertained. That is why Masters are imperturbable in the face of what others might call calamity. A Master blesses calamity, for the Master knows that from the seeds of disaster (and all experience) comes the growth of Self. And the Master’s second life purpose is always growth. For once one has fully Self-realized, there is nothing left to do except being more of that.
You can create Who You Are over and over again. Indeed, you do—every day. As things now stand, you do not always come up with the same answer, however. Given an identical outer experience, on day one you may choose to be patient, loving, and kind in relation to it. On day two you may choose to be angry, ugly, and sad. The Master is one who always comes up with the same answer—and that answer is always the highest choice. In this, the Master is imminently predictable. Conversely, the student is completely unpredictable. One can tell how one is doing on the road to mastery by simply noticing how predictably one makes the highest choice in responding or reacting to any situation. Of course, this throws open the question, what choice is highest? That is a question around which has revolved the philosophies and theologies of man since the beginning of time. If the question truly engages you, you are already on your way to mastery. For it is still true that most people continue to be engaged by another question altogether.
Not, what is the highest choice, but, what is the most profitable? Or, how can I lose the least? When life is lived from a standpoint of damage control or optimum advantage, the true benefit of life is forfeited. The opportunity is lost. The chance is missed. For a life lived thusly is a life lived from fear—and that life speaks a lie about you. For you are not fear, you are love. Love that needs no protection, love that cannot be lost. Yet you will never know this in your experience if you continually answer the second question and not the first. For only a person who thinks there is something to gain or to lose asks the second question. And only a person who sees life in a different way; who sees Self as a higher being; who understands that winning or losing is not the test, but only loving or failing to love—only that person asks the first. He who asks the second question says, “I am my body.” She who asks the first says, “I am my soul.” Yea, let all those who have ears to hear listen. For I tell you this: at the critical juncture in all human relationships, there is only one question: What would love to do now?
No other question is relevant, no other question is meaningful, no other question has any importance to your soul.
The mystery clears a bit the moment one decides what is the highest “good” one could do for oneself. And when the absolute highest choice is made, the mystery dissolves, the circle completes itself, and the highest good for you becomes the highest good for another.
It may take lifetimes to understand this—and even more lifetimes to implement— for this truth revolves around an even greater one: What you do for your Self, you do for another. What you do for another, you do for the Self. This is because you and the other are one. And this is because... There is naught but You.
All the Masters who have walked your planet have taught this. (“Verily, verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”) Yet this has remained for most people merely a grand esoteric truth, with little practical application. In fact, it is the most practically applicable “esoteric” truth of all time. It is important in relationships to remember this truth, for without it relationships will be very difficult.
Let’s go back to the practical applications of this wisdom and step away from the purely spiritual, esoteric aspect of it for now. So often, under the old understandings, people—well-meaning and well-intentioned and many very religious—did what they thought would be best for the other person in their relationships. Sadly, all this produced in many cases (in most cases) was continued abuse by the other. Continued mistreatment. Continued dysfunction in the relationship. Ultimately, the person trying to “do what is right” by the other—to be quick to forgive, to show compassion, to continually look past certain problems and behaviors—becomes resentful, angry, and mistrusting, even of God. For how can a just God demand such unending suffering, joylessness, and sacrifice, even in the name of love?
The answer is, God does not. God asks only that you include yourself among those you love. God goes further. God suggests—recommends— that you put yourself first. He does this knowing full well that some of you will call this blasphemy, and therefore God's word, and that others of you will do what might be even worse: accept it as My word and misinterpret or distort it to suit your own purposes; to justify unGodly acts.
I tell you this—putting yourself first in the highest sense never leads to an unGodly act. If, therefore, you have caught yourself in an unGodly act as a result of doing what is best for you, the confusion is not in having put yourself first, but rather in misunderstanding what is best for you. Of course, determining what is best for you will require you to also determine what it is you are trying to do. This is an important step that many people ignore. What are you “up to”? What is your purpose in life? Without answers to these questions, the matter of what is “best” in any given circumstance will remain a mystery.
As a practical matter—again leaving esoterics aside—if you look to what is best for you in these situations where you are being abused, at the very least what you will do is stop the abuse. And that will be good for both you and your abuser. For even an abuser is abused when his abuse is allowed to continue. This is not healing to the abuser but damaging. For if the abuser finds that his abuse is acceptable, what has he learned? Yet if the abuser finds that his abuse will be accepted no more, what has he been allowed to discover? Therefore, treating others with love does not necessarily mean allowing others to do as they wish.
Try not to confuse longevity with a job well done. This is not an argument for short-term relationships— yet neither is there a requirement for long-term ones. Still, while there is no such requirement, this much should be said: long-term relationships do hold remarkable opportunities for mutual growth, mutual expression, and mutual fulfillment—and that has its own reward.
Make sure you get into a relationship for the right reasons. (I’m using the word “right” here as a relative term. I mean “right” relative to the larger purpose you hold in your life.)
As indicated before, most people still enter relationships for the “wrong” reasons—to end loneliness, fill a gap, bring themselves love, or someone to love —and those are some of the better reasons. Others do so to salve their ego, end their depressions, improve their sex life, recover from a previous relationship, or, believe it or not, to relieve boredom.
None of these reasons will work, and unless something dramatic changes along the way, neither will the relationship. I don’t think you stopped to look at why you “fell in love.” What was it to which you were responding? What need, or set of needs, was being fulfilled? For most people, love is a response to need fulfillment. Everyone has needs. You need this, another needs that. You both see in each other a chance to need fulfillment. So you agree-tacitly—to a trade. I’ll trade with you what I’ve got if you’ll give me what you’ve got. It’s a transaction. But you don’t tell the truth about it. You don’t say, “I trade you very much.” You say, “I love you very much,” and then the disappointment begins. Fall in love with as many people as you like that way. But if you’re going to form a lifelong relationship with them, you may want to add a little thought. On the other hand, if you enjoy going through relationships like water—or, worse yet, staying in one because you think you “have to,” then living a life of quiet desperation—if you enjoy repeating these patterns—from your past, keep right on doing what you’ve been doing.
You must be sure you and your mate agree on purpose. If you both agree at a conscious level that the purpose of your relationship is to create an opportunity, not an obligation—an opportunity for growth, for full Self-expression, for lifting your lives to their highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about you, and for ultimate reunion with God through the communion of your two souls—if you take that vow instead of the vows you’ve been taking—the relationship has begun on a very good note. It’s gotten off on the right foot. That’s a very good beginning. Still, it’s no guarantee of success. If you want guarantees in life, then you don’t want life. You want rehearsals for a script that’s already been written. Life by its nature cannot have guarantees, or its whole purpose is thwarted.
Know and understand that there will be challenges and difficult times. Don’t try to avoid them. Welcome them. Gratefully. See them as grand gifts from God glorious opportunities to do what you came into the relationship—and life— to do. Try very hard not to see your partner as the enemy, or the opposition, during these times.
In fact, seek to see no one, and nothing, as the enemy—or even the problem. Cultivate the technique of seeing all problems as opportunities. Opportunities to be, and decide, Who You Really Are.
Broaden the scope of your horizons. Extend the depth of your vision. See more in you than you think there is to be seen. See more in your partner, too. You will never disserve your relationship—nor anyone—by seeing more in another than they are showing you. For there is more there. Much more. It is only their fear that stops them from showing you. If others notice that you see them as more, they will feel safe to show you what you obviously already see.
People tend to live up to our expectations of them. Expectations ruin relationships. Let’s say that people tend to see in themselves what we see in them. The grander our vision, the grander their willingness to access and display the part of them we have shown them. Isn’t that how all truly blessed relationships work? Isn’t that part of the healing process—the process by which we give people permission to “let go” of every false thought they’ve ever had about themselves? that is the work of God.
The work of the soul is to wake yourself up. The work of God is to wake everybody else up. We do this by seeing others as Who They Are—by reminding them of Who They Are.
This you can do in two ways—by reminding them of Who They Are (very difficult, because they will not believe you), and by remembering Who You Are (much easier, because you do not need their belief, only your own). Demonstrating this constantly ultimately reminds others of Who They Are, for they will see themselves in you. Many Masters have been sent to the Earth to demonstrate Eternal Truth. Others, such as John the Baptist, have been sent as messengers, telling of the Truth in glowing terms, speaking of God with unmistakable clarity. These special messengers have been gifted with extraordinary insight, and the very special power to see and receive Eternal Truth, plus the ability to communicate complex concepts in ways that can and will be understood by the masses. Sometimes the best way to love someone, and the most help you can give, is to leave them alone or empower them to help themselves.
It is like a feast. Life is a smorgasbord, and you can give them a big helping of themselves. Remember that the greatest help you can give a person is to wake them up, to remind them of Who They Really Are. There are many ways to do this. Sometimes with a little bit of help; a push, a shove, a nudge ... and sometimes with a decision to let them run their course, follow their path, walk their walk, without any interference or intervention from you. (All parents know about this choice and agonize over it daily.) What you have the opportunity to do for the less fortunate is to re-mind them. That is, cause them to be of a New Mind about themselves. And you, too, have to be of a New Mind about them, for if you see them as unfortunate, theywill. Jesus’ great gift was that he saw everyone as who they truly are. He refused to accept appearances; he refused to believe what others believed of themselves. He always had a higher thought, and he always invited others to it. Yet he also honored where others chose to be. He did not require them to accept his higher idea, merely held it out as an invitation.
He dealt, too, with compassion—and if others chose to see themselves as Beings needing assistance, he did not reject them for their faulty assessment, but allowed them to love their Reality—and lovingly assisted them in playing out their choice. For Jesus knew that for some the fastest path to Who They Are was the path through Who They Are Not.
He did not call this an imperfect path and thus condemn it. Rather he saw this, too, as “perfect”—and thus supported everyone in being just who they wanted to be. Anyone, therefore, who asked Jesus for help received it. He denied no one—but was always careful to see that the help he gave supported a person’s full and honest desire.
If others genuinely sought enlightenment, honestly expressing readiness to move to the next level, Jesus gave them the strength, the courage, the wisdom to do so. He held himself out— and rightly so—as an example and encouraged people, if they could do nothing else, to have faith in him. He would not, he said, lead them astray.
Many did put their faith in him—and to this day he helps those who call upon his name. For his soul is committed to waking up those who seek to be fully awake and fully alive in Me. Yet Christ had mercy on those who did not. He, therefore, rejected self-righteousness and—as does his Father in heaven—made no judgments, ever.
Jesus’ idea of Perfect Love was to grant all persons exactly the help they requested, after telling them the kind of help they could get. He never refused to help anyone, and least of all would he do so out of a thought that “you made your bed, now lie in it.”
Jesus knew that if he gave people the help they asked for, rather than merely the help he wanted to give, that he was empowering them at the level at which they were ready to receive the empowerment. This is the way of all great masters. Those who have walked your planet in the past, and those who are walking it now.