Unfulfilling Love & Relationships – A Shutterstock Licensed Image
Not long ago, men held jobs, women cared for their families, most people smoked, and a fair number of us lived past 80. Most folks lived within their limits, and according to pre-approved societal roles. Religions were clearly defined and vehemently defended, and far too many people were judged, then relegated to the outskirts of society. In the midst of all this, somehow, it seemed people were kinder and better to each other.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?!
Even though the 60s revolution was vital for the expansion of our collective consciousness, it was built upon self-gratification through connection. Well, dancing and sex. The core ethos of the movement was all about rejecting any form of oppression, and embracing our impulses.
The hippie archetype loved to regularly peel-back the onion, with the hope of seeing far beyond the limiting constructs of self, family, religion, and suburbia. While it was laced with a colorful and benign narcissism, the hippies established the precursors for tech-obsession, selfies, and selfishness. While some of these things might bring us to our knees, overall, the 1960s was a spiritual and evolutionary success.
As the automotive, housing and education industries began to manipulate and subjugate the average American through overpriced loans and inadequate products, people began to feel the pinch. Within the pinch, they began to disassociate, isolate, and become depressed. To satiate their self-loathing, people everywhere began to seek solace in fantasy, through the forms of news, television programming, and movies, all contrived and dispersed by billionaires and conglomerates, for the sole purpose of monetizing what I like to call, “the collective, American obsessive disorder.”
To counteract this disease and its related trends, somewhere in the early 1980s, America took a nosedive into a grotesque obsession with a horrific display of greed. By the mid-1990s, the predominant generation was depressed, self-obsessed, debt-ridden, polyamorous, and exhausted.
Wait, What Exactly Are You Saying?
I’m exaggerating, of course. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that, as a species, we’re in deep doo-doo. Indeed, this is not the time of our lives or the best it’s ever been. It’s more like what David Bowie said,
“We’re not evolving; we’re not going anyway.”
The critical elements to our current state of mind and heart include a variety of relatively new concepts, including projection, selfies, ego gratification, and self-expanding intentions. While these things are taking root, we’re also grappling with skyrocketing costs of living and the potential decimation of the earth. Good times!
What is Projection, and How Does it Hurt Us?
Projection occurs in a few ways:
- When we believe our hangups, problems, and limitations stem from other people, rather than from within ourselves or as a result of our behavior. An example: When we are fearful of commitment, we might blame the other person for their inability to commit
- When we believe the stories, mental images, and emotional impressions resulting from our past to be the truth in the present moment. An example of this type of projection might be when we’re having a slightly heated discussion with someone, and we begin to feel like they’re attacking us. In this case, we might be thrusting the emotional residue and imagery from childhood experiences onto the other person or into the present discussion.
Suffice to say, projection isn’t very useful and it can be downright damaging. At the very least, when we project onto other people, we prevent ourselves from seeing the moment and the other person for what they truly are. Many people are addicted to projecting, which is why they cannot successfully participate in healthy relationships.
Why Are People so Insanely Obsessed With Themselves?
The selfie began in the late 1990s with cute pics of people with their computers. While it started as an innocuous trend, it has evolved into a hurricane of smiley faces blowing kisses at their camera phones. If you peruse the images posted by your Facebook friends, you’ll notice that a fair number of them are selfie-obsessed. While your healthier friends share varieties of pictures, the selfie-addicts only post their “I love myself” snapshots. Luckily, this gives us the perfect excuse to unfriend. My rule? A few selfies per year are good, five selfies buh-bye.
How Does My Pursuit of Ego Gratification Limit My Relationships?
When it comes to love relationships, there are three entities to consider: you, your lover, and the relationship. When it comes down to clout, the biggest shareholder in the trio is the relationship. This means that when you’re wandering the world seeking validation and pleasure, your relationship might be suffering from malnutrition, and a broken heart. While it seems logical to seek the joys in life, only fools believe that relationships will not inhibit their prior senses of freedom, at least to a small degree.
Love relationships require lots of watering before they can endure steady streams of ego gratification. If you want to wander, and also desire a fruitful relationship, focus on the bond for three years. After that point, it’s probably safe to reintroduce your wild meanderer back into the equation. It’s only then that your relationship might have enough substance to counter-balance your inner Indiana Jones.
Why are my Self-expanding Intentions a Coitus Interruptus for Intimacy?
It’s wonderful to seek self-expansion, but when in a relationship, the path to liberation can be difficult, unless both people seek the same forms of freedom, and at the same pace. Either way, it’s difficult to establish long-lasting relationships before we hit 35. Prior to that, we barely know who we are, and might be unable to concrete lasting, connected, and humble relationships.
You can go off to the mountains and sit with your guru or spiritual master, but take your partner with you. Before you leave on your quest, understand that each of your egos might require distinct or opposing modalities in order to be successfully apprehended or healed.
How Do We Break All These Trends?
While there’s no formula for stepping into the present moment and making commitment your priority, without these things, your relationships don’t stand a chance. Here are a few ideas that might help you liberate yourself amid tending to your loving relationship:
- Stop taking selfies. Only take heart-centered pictures with both you and your beloved in the frame.
- Stop believing that you have to give 50% to your relationship for it to work. This is a lie. You both have to give 100%. Life is too difficult to expect anybody to pick up the slack, even when it’s their turn.
- Stop believing that personal liberation requires hiking in the Himalayas, going to raves without your partner, or hitting the bars with your friends. Personal liberation is the relinquishment of the ego so that you can experience the eternal self. It’s not about adventures.
- Spend lots of time loving and serving each other.
- Reduce the number of distractions in your lives.
- Reset your goals to include joy, intimacy, awareness, and deep connections with others.
- Relinquish the temporary self-identities that inflate your ego.
- Relinquish one expectation per week. Pretty soon, you’ll have enough space in your mind and heart to allow the other person to be themselves. This will help your relationship thrive!
- Remember that the other person is not you, and you are not the other person. You are each unique bundles of particles barreling through space at insane speeds. It’s a miracle that you can pour orange juice into two glasses and drink them together. It’s also a miracle when two souls successfully love together.
- Allow for fewer expectations, and more space. When you finish giving each other space, give each other some more space. Allow the space to speak to both of you. Dance separately, and then together, within the space. Let your relationship with each other include a dialogue with the space. More space, more clarity. More clarity, more joy. More joy, more love. Rock on!
- Gentle kisses on cheeks, sweet love notes and foot massages also help.
One of the saddest reasons why our relationships are not fulfilling is that we spend more time using the words “I” and “me” than the pronouns “you” and “us.”