Choose a partner you don’t feel the need to change at all. Do you own a dog, a cat, or perhaps some other pet? If you do, consider your relationship with it. Your pet — say it’s a dog – might wait for you to come home each day. When you do, it barks or wags its tail. It manages its half of the relationship — just being a dog – perfectly. And you love your dog unconditionally. You believe it’s the perfect dog, and you feel no need to transform it into a different animal.
So, then, when you’re in a relationship with another human, why do you try to turn him into someone he isn’t? Just like your dog, every person is already perfect. The only catch is that some people may not be perfect for you — and that’s OK.
Here’s the key message: Choose a partner you don’t feel the need to change at all.
It’s not always easy to find someone you don’t feel the need to change. But it’s very important to do so.
Finding the right person begins with knowing exactly what you want. You need to have a high awareness of all the needs of your body and mind – and you need to be perfectly honest with yourself about those needs.
Imagine you’re in a market, and you’re going to “sell” yourself. To do that, you need to show other people your true nature. While at the market, you’re also going to “buy” another person. If the person isn’t exactly what you want, you won’t buy him. Be wary of lying to yourself; many people pretend that some “merchandise” fits their needs when they know, deep inside, that it doesn’t.
But what if you’ve already invested in a relationship? Well, if your problems don’t involve abuse, you can choose to keep it going. How? By first accepting and loving yourself the way you are, which will in turn allow you to express your true self. After that, you can love and accept your partner the way he is, too.
If the relationship just isn’t working, walking away will do both you and your partner a favor. Staying in a dysfunctional relationship is ultimately selfish because you’re preventing your partner from finding what he really wants. Someone else will be able to love him exactly as he is – even if you can’t.
To have healthy relationships with others, you must love yourself.
Picture this: You’re on a date with the woman of your dreams, and you’re ready to tell her that you love her. You finally summon up the courage to do so. But she responds in what you feel is the worst possible way: “Well, I don’t love you.”
Her response probably causes you a lot of suffering. She’s rejected you, so you start to reject yourself too. But is that really a logical response?
Just because one person doesn’t love you doesn’t mean another person won’t. And you shouldn’t base your sense of self-worth on how much others feel about you, anyway! Instead, focus on the most wonderful and important relationship you can have: your relationship with yourself.
The key message is this: To have healthy relationships with others, you must love yourself.
Our beliefs often get in the way of self-love. Take beauty, for instance. Beauty is a belief about the quality of something. But it doesn’t describe that thing’s intrinsic nature – it’s just a concept someone gave you to make you think certain things are good and others are bad. In reality, everything that exists is already beautiful and perfect.
You probably have a set of beliefs about your own beauty, and these beliefs cause an untold amount of suffering. If you believe you aren’t beautiful, for instance, you’ll accept any amount of abuse from someone who tells you that you are beautiful. You’ll let that person control you in exchange for those words because you mistakenly think you need that opinion in order to be happy. But to choose a partner, you don’t – all you need is self-love. You’re already beautiful!
A great way to foster self-love is with a daily puja, or ritual. In India, people perform pujas to honor gods and goddesses by putting flowers near an idol. But you can perform a puja for your body. When you eat, for instance, chew very slowly. Take a bite, close your eyes, and imagine the food as an offering to the temple of your body. With daily practice, your love for your body will grow stronger and stronger.
Self-love and self-acceptance are so important because once you have them, you’ll begin to live your life in a different way. You’ll no longer accept abuse from others or from yourself. And you’ll attract others who accept themselves in the same way you do.
To accept our sexuality, we need to reconcile our bodily and mental needs.
The human body is a biological organism, and it’s designed for sex. Yet our minds have created a massive set of misguided and false beliefs around it. We have guidelines for men’s and women’s sexual behavior, how their bodies should look, and what they must do to be considered properly masculine or feminine.
Because of all these lies, we’re unable to enjoy sex, we may feel it’s evil or a sin, or we become ashamed of our sexual desires. To understand how none of these beliefs is true, we need to acknowledge and accept the difference between our bodily needs and our mental needs – when these don’t match, internal conflicts about sex arise.
The key message here is: To accept our sexuality, we need to reconcile our bodily and mental needs.
Say you were raised Catholic. As part of your upbringing, you were taught that you need to be married before it’s OK to have sex with someone. So you get married, but one day you’re walking down the street and you see an attractive man. You feel sexual desire for him, and you immediately start to judge yourself for those feelings. You feel like they make you a terrible person, so you try to repress them – but that just makes them grow stronger and stronger. Eventually, you cheat on your spouse. Not the right way to choose a partner.
Now, what would have happened if you’d never judged yourself for those feelings? If you had just let go of the judgment and understood that your body simply has a need, you might have forgotten your attraction to that stranger very quickly.
And that’s the issue – your body has needs, but your mind is in control of how you think about them.
Consider another example – the need to cover your body. Your body needs to be protected from heat, wind, and cold. But you can have a closet full of clothes at home and still think, I have nothing to wear. Your mind creates these needs you can never satisfy.
So what can you do about this? Stop confusing the needs of your body with the needs of your mind. Recognize, for instance, that your body wants sex, and that that desire isn’t evil – it’s completely normal. Eventually, you’ll start to understand that you’re neither your body nor your mind. Instead, you’re life itself – a force you share with everything else in the universe.
Before you choose a partner, heal your emotional wounds first using truth, forgiveness, and self-love.
How does a doctor treat an infected wound? Most likely, she starts by using a scalpel to open it up. Then she cleans it, applies some kind of medication, and asks us to keep the wound clean while it heals.
When it comes to healing our emotional wounds, the process isn’t much different. In this case, the scalpel is truth, and we can use it to open our wounds and reveal lies. Then, we clean out the poison with forgiveness. And, finally, we keep the wound clean until it’s fully healed – using love.
Here’s the key message: Heal your emotional wounds using truth, forgiveness, and self-love.
The world is full of lies and illusions, which can make the truth pretty difficult to come by. Additionally, the truth is often uncomfortable. Consider the following example.
Say that, ten years ago, someone raped you. It is perfectly true that you were raped. But it is no longer true right now. You are potentially still suffering because of it, and that suffering may take years of therapy to overcome. Nevertheless, the injustice currently causing you to suffer is no longer true.
This is how you use truth as a scalpel to open up your emotional wounds and see them from a different perspective. Once you’ve done that, you can start clearing away the poison, using forgiveness.
Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. You need to extend it to everyone who has ever hurt you — not because such a person deserves to be forgiven, but because you don’t deserve to continue suffering from the memory of the things that person did.
So, first, before you choose a partner, make a list of all the people you feel you must ask for forgiveness. Call them up and ask for it. If you can’t do that, ask for their forgiveness in a prayer. Next, make a list of all those who have hurt you – and then forgive them. This will take time, and it won’t be easy — but remember that everything those people did was not your fault. It was a reaction to their emotional poison.
Finally, keep your emotional wounds clean using love. Practice looking at everything in the world through eyes of love, seeing the beauty in everything. This will make you a master of love. That, in turn, will inspire others to become masters of love – until the whole world is free of emotional poison.
Final summary – How to choose a partner you will love for a lifetime.
Everyone in the world is covered in emotional wounds that are infected with emotional poison. These wounds cause us to relate to each other in painful ways, and they cause our relationships to be characterized by neediness, jealousy, and possessiveness. This is particularly true when we choose a partner. We’re responsible for healing our emotional wounds using a combination of truth, forgiveness, and self-love. When we do that, we can form relationships in which we accept and love one another unconditionally.
Actionable advice: Pray for awareness.
Sit down, close your eyes, and take a moment to engage in this prayer for awareness. First, focus all your attention on your lungs — pretend they’re the only thing that exists. Feel the pleasure of bringing air into your lungs. Notice the connection between the air and your body. Exhale the air, then inhale and feel the pleasure again – the pleasure of being alive and fulfilling the needs of your body. Then, ask the Creator to open your heart and eyes so you can fully perceive everything you see, hear, and feel.