“Life as ordinarily lived is unrelenting suffering. The cure for suffering is love. The path to love is relationships.” – Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit

Building on yesterday’s resource, The Breakup Survival Guide, I’d like to share something special with you.

In late 2021, during a challenging time in a relationship, I sat down and wrote out my foundational, guiding principles for love and relationships:

My own personal “relationship survival guide,” if you will.

It quickly became a favorite of our long-time students — and this morning, for the first time in years, I updated it.

If you’re in a relationship right now — or, want to be in one — I hope these principles can be a steady guide through the wild jungle that is romantic partnerships.

Please feel free to tweak, change, and update these principles to your own situation, in whatever way makes them most useful.

Also feel free to share this with your partner, and anyone else who might find it helpful.

And now, without further delay…

Here are my foundational principles for love and relationships:

To hold the relationship as a foundational practice, not for the purposes of comforting and protecting the ego, but of transcending it.

To focus continuously on my partner’s beauty and uniqueness, rather than perceived shortcomings, so that my awareness amplifies the qualities I appreciate most within them.

To find the wisdom within my partner’s differing perspective, seeking to understand it as deeply as possible so that it can be integrated into my own — and to treat initial disagreements as signals that a larger, more complete perspective is available.

To communicate as honestly as I am capable of in the moment, especially when it is challenging, scary, or emotionally painful — to communicate accurately for the benefit of my partner and the relationship as a whole.

To respect my partner’s dynamic emotional reality, and to support them as they are in the moment rather than trying to change their state to one that suits me.

To process my own emotions as completely as I’m capable of before bringing them to my partner, rather than placing my emotional charge on them — and to ask for help when this is not possible.

To fiercely protect my partner’s freedom, especially when I want to contain it — and to want for my partner the most beautiful experience possible, without needing to be the source of that experience.

To allow periods of separation to occur organically, and to embrace these natural exhalations without resistance so the relationship can breathe freely.

To communicate my boundaries clearly, not only for my own benefit but for the benefit of my partner and the relationship as a whole.

To allow my partner to change their mind based on the needs of the moment, and not to resist these changes.

To respect my partner’s unique growth process, not trying to accelerate it or hold it back, but to support growth as it happens most naturally.

To respect my own growth process, not holding it back for the sake of my partner, or attempting to accelerate it beyond what feels comfortable and natural for me.

To stand as my partner’s proudest spokesperson and champion of their achievements, so that our relationship becomes a catalyst for their greatest work.

To stand as my partner’s fiercest line of defense when they are challenged by others — and, by my own ego.

To allow my vulnerabilities and insecurities to be seen openly, without hiding or shrinking, so that imperfections become a channel for deeper strength.

To embrace my partner in their current form, while encouraging their highest potential — a potential that is defined not by what I want them to become, but by what they most naturally are.

To live by these principles sincerely, while recognizing that I will, at times, fall short — and to forgive those shortcomings so that failures become vehicles for growth rather than resentment.

To hold the relationship as a process of opening all that is closed within me, so that everything obstructing Love may be burned away.

  • T

P.S. For the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned about relationships, click here.

By admin

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