Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about what a good relationship looks like and whether we are in one. I know I do. A lot. Coming from the space that I have all the independence and autonomy I want, the thought of a relationship scares me. I’ve always associated relationships with control, unnecessary boundaries and a stifling of who I am as a person. It’s taken a while for me to realise that this is what some relationships look like but also that there is nothing more beautiful than two autonomous people in a relationship syncing up to establish a life that was better than before.
Relationships are so diverse and there is nothing wrong with a co-dependent one, if that is what works for you. And like many self-professed independents, the term co-dependency is scary but it doesn’t have to be. As much as independence and autonomy are beautiful things, we live in a co-dependent world and it isn’t unnatural to bring two autonomies to the table in order to enhance one’s quality of life. If the word ‘change’ is scary for you, then try ‘enhance’ on for size.
Relationships that are not going to make us grow are always going to be angst and frustration-laden. There is this misconception that we have to be in a relationship or find one, you know, just to avoid social or personal censure.
Yes, even the most independent of independents can find themselves thinking that perhaps they should just suck it up and attempt some change to fit into this stupid status quo. To those of us that take the thinking bit one step further and actually do, can find ourselves embroiled in an emotional catastrophe of sorts. In order to avoid that, most of us relegate ourselves to the ‘forever single’ basket. In reality, you can be single or coupled, whenever, or forever if you choose – there is nothing wrong with either.
The key is to find someone whose values resonate with yours. And it can be a “long, hard road out of hell,” to quote contemporary prophet Marilyn Manson, but it is worth the trek because once you do find that person, giving up single-hood is not going to seem like a chore or bane.
This altruistic notion that ‘relationships must make us grow ‘ seems to directly conflict with the notion that growth must come from within. They are both equally true. Everything has to come from within – self-love, confidence, self-esteem, ambition, vision, self-awareness – before we can team up with someone else, or we will just be dragging the other person down with our subconscious hang-ups on everything that we lack. But there is nothing wrong in teaming up with someone to complement our already burgeoning inner amazingness because the relationships that make us grow do so from the already solid foundation we’ve given ourselves.
A relationship doesn’t have to be about a loss of autonomy or independence, and if it is, you should reconsider it. If it works for you, fine but if it isn’t, change it. A good relationship is one that allows you to take all the positive energy created within it and be able to use it in other aspects of your life. This isn’t to say that the other aspects aren’t working, but growth in a relationship looks like something that externally pushes you to be a better version of yourself without constantly hindering you, holding you back or making you cry into your cereal before starting the day.
Finding this diamond in the rough may seem arduous but all I can say is, hold the intention for it with conviction, and it is amazing what the universe will throw back in your life. A good relationship is like cocaine without the price tag or other health consequences.
A good relationship doesn’t sap your energy from the other parts of your life. Neither does it detract from the core of who you are (well, unless you want it to). A good relationship is doubt free because you have established acceptable boundaries, respect and understanding for each other. You also know that these things are rock solid – that you can live your normal life without fear that your partner’s inconsistencies will shake things up for you. You share and bounce ideas off each other. You seek solace for the things that cannot be controlled with each other. You share your vision for personal growth with each other. You are each in turn, encouraged by the other. You laugh together excessively. You both have a great understanding of interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution and a deep need to work towards the greater good with compassion and love.You both have an active interest in all the finer things that make the world grow and are constantly expanding each other’ knowledge. You feel safe, validated, constantly inspired and supported.
Then you get to take this amazing energy created together and throw it into the other areas of your life like work, interpersonal relationships, family, community service, personal enhancement, hobbies, travel, whatever, and see all those other areas grow exponentially and become even better than they were before.
A good relationship doesn’t hold you back from manifesting personal excellence in other areas. A good relationship gives you another platform from which you can outdo yourself. It’s like a fine wine that emphasises the subtle and nuanced flavours of certain foods. Find that and you’ll experience a flow in life that is unstoppable and inspiring. You will also never have stress about losing your independence.