What makes happy relationships that last?
The right partner? With shared interests, passions and world views? Undying love, commitment, trust? Faithfulness, honesty, equality? The ability to communicate, overcome conflict and grow together?
All of the above? Or something else altogether?
The more people you ask, the more you’ll realise that the number of potential ingredients for a happy relationship is infinite. People are complex and diverse. We all have different values, priorities, desires. Certain hopes, fears and expectations.
And none of us knows the definitive recipe for relationship bliss.
So, finding that one person to love, becomes a matter of trial and error. Mere luck at best and impossible at worst.
But still we search. Anxious to be loved, to become one with another. Find our other half, to finally be whole. And happy.
Because love is vital, a basic human need. Without it, we feel empty, meaningless, incomplete.
So, we stumble from one partner to the next. Trying to unearth that top-secret recipe to our “happily ever after”, we bend, distort, please. Compromise, put up, tolerate. Battling rejection, heart-ache and disappointment on the way.
Until we become disillusioned by our inability to make it work. Frustrated by our failures, furious with ourselves and the world. And we start to doubt.
Are we impossible to love? Are we destined to roam this Earth alone? Doomed to a half-life of solitude, longing and misery?
We blame our unlovable nature and incompatible partners for our unhappiness. And hate ourselves for our incompetence. Because, despite all our struggles and sacrifices, the true recipe for a happy relationship still eludes us.
When, in fact, we are only missing 3 essential ingredients.
When our relationships keep flatlining, we tend to either blame ourselves or our partners. Or, in some cases, the Universe.
But it’s not any individual’s fault. Because the true problem lies in the way our species evolved.
You see, in prehistoric times, our ancestors’ lives revolved around the survival of our species. Like any other animal species, they focused on their vital supply of food, water and shelter as well as physical safety and reproduction.
And the need for belonging (or love) encouraged the formation of tribes which provided security and facilitated procreation.
As such, human beings were programmed with the belief that, after physiological (i.e. food, water, shelter) and safety needs, the need for belonging (or love) is the most vital need to a species’ survival.
This age-old mindset served humankind for aeons, guaranteeing our continued existence. However, our society, circumstances and priorities changed dramatically throughout the last millennia. Our life is no longer in constant danger. Yet our mind clings to its palaeolithic beliefs.
Because it still wants to keep us (and our species) safe.
Unfortunately, nowadays, this enduring dogma of the human needs hierarchy undermines our ability to live a happy life. And it sabotages our relationships with ourselves and others.
For one simple reason. It conflicts with normal human development.
Based on our ancient evolutionary requirements to maintain human survival, we put love toward (and from) others above any other non-physiological needs. As long as we are fed, watered and safe, love is the next priority on our list.
The problem is though that this inhibits our normal psychological, emotional and energetic development.
You see, our wellbeing, happiness and success in life depend on the balanced interaction of seven major energy centres in our body (the chakras). These chakras fuel, stabilise and maintain our emotional, mental and physical health.
In children, the seven chakras mature in a certain order. The healthy development of each one a prerequisite for the proper operation of the next. And, in accordance with the most basic physiological human needs, they first ensure survival and safety functions.
However, that’s where the similarities end.
Because, while the mind favours love above all else, our energy body prioritises emotional intelligence and self-worth above love.
As such, we are meant to learn how to balance our feelings, control and express them appropriately. And then develop a healthy sense of personal power, self-appreciation, confidence and worth before we set out to find love.
But our evolutionary and societal fixation on love inhibits the maturation of our emotional and power chakras. Without our knowledge, we skip the healthy cultivation of emotional intelligence and self-worth, to further our obsessive pursuit of love.
Which now destroys our prospects of ever finding it.
Most of our relationships fail because we enter intimate relationships lacking the necessary skills and prerequisites to make these connections harmonious, mutual and rewarding. Becausewe are conditioned to neglect fundamental chakra development. And seek love instead.
So, through no fault of our own, we never cultivate the 3 most vital ingredients for happy relationships that last:
Emotional intelligence, self-worth and self-love.
And that’s where our relationship problems originate.
The second chakra supposed to mature in the human energy system (after the root chakra responsible for survival and safety functions) is the sacral chakra, which governs emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to identify, understand and manage our own emotions and those of others.
It incorporates emotional balance (including self-control and self-awareness), emotional independence (including boundaries), emotional expression and self-gratification (i.e. the ability to experience pleasure and be happy, without making happiness dependent on others).
If sacral chakra development is stunted, we may experience the following symptoms in our relationships:
During healthy chakra development, the third chakra to mature is the solarplexus chakra which regulates our sense of personal power, self-worth and confidence.
If the solarplexus chakra is neglected, inhibited or ignored, it may affect our relationships as follows:
Lack of self-love is a direct consequence of low self-worth. Because how could we ever love ourselves if we perceive our own existence as flawed, unacceptable, inferior compared to everybody else?
How could we respect the person we are, if we believe we aren’t good enough?
If we are ashamed of our mediocre life, our mortifying mistakes and shortcomings? And how would we ever create a loving relationship with ourselves and others if we feel altogether unworthy of love?
And so, any lack of self-love will be reflected in our relationships in the following ways:
Unless we address the lack of emotional intelligence, self-worth and self-love, our relationships will sooner or later be wrecked by co-dependency, suppression, emotional pain and resentment.
And the only way to achieve happy relationships that last is to plug the developmental deficit in our second and third chakras.So, we obtain the emotional prerequisites to make meaningful, harmonious, stable and fulfilling connections with other people.
And here are some easy ways to do it.
Emotional intelligence has many components. And we will talk about them again in future parts of the "Secrets of happy relationship" series.
But, to begin with I recommend that you work on 2 essential areas:
Emotions aren't part of who we are. But because our second chakras never fully developed, we experience them as unstoppable tsunamis. They wash over us, control us, crush us and we are helpless against them.
So, the most important step to emotional intelligence is to understand what emotions really are. To find ways to cope with the emotions that arise daily. And eliminate the ones we suppressed. Because they increase our internal pressure, cause stress, anxiety, emotional outbursts and relationship struggles.
And the best way to do this is through emotional hygiene. As described in the following two articles (which apply to relationships as well):
As a species, we were so focused on meeting our needs from external sources, that we now make our happiness dependent on other people, circumstances and certain outside conditions.
We tend to enter our relationships with the expectation that the other person will make us happy. And become disillusioned, frustrated and resentful, if they don't succeed.
When the truth is that happiness can only come from the inside. Nobody can give it to us. And expecting it from another person will only end in disaster.
So, it is crucial that we learn to be happy from the inside. Just because. Without any external influences.
And this article will help.
A myriad of everyday problems originates in our lack of self-worth. Which results from a poorly developed third chakra.
As such, we tend to believe that we are devoid of worth. That we have to earn worth through our accomplishments to become deserving of happiness, fulfilment. And love.
But, the truth is, that we ARE worth personified.
Our soul is a part of Universal consciousness. As worthy and valuable as the whole. As relevant and important as any other.
We don't need to prove our worth. We don't have to please, serve and deny our true Self.
We just need to understand that worth is part of our Being. And that we are good enough, acceptable and lovable, just the way we are.
And this article will give you a simple 3-step process to realise your true, inner worth.
And if you want to go deeper to really understand the nature of your infinite, unconditional, inner worth, you can take the 7-day "Self-Worth Booster" email course (which is part of the Healthy Self-Worth Starter Kit). It's free!
Without self-love, we will expect our partners to fill the gaping hole in our heart. We rely on them to make us feel loved. And that's a full-time job!
When they don't succeed we plummet into a horrifying abyss of doubt, resentment and despair. We blame them for not loving us enough, for not putting enough effort into making us feel loved. And we beat ourselves up for not being good enough to deserve their complete, constant, undying love.
But, the truth is, that we are just as responsible for making us feel loved as they are. If not more. So, we don't overwhelm them with our need for love.
And discovering your true, inner worth is the first, and foremost, step to developing self-love.
But another powerful way to establish a healthy happy relationship with yourself and love the person you are, is by healing your inner child.
And this article shows you just how to do this.
Change comes with action. And it won’t happen in a day or two. You will require persistence, determination and patience to boost your emotional intelligence, self-worth and self-love.
Step by step.
But you don’t need to feel overwhelmed. Just pick the two or three exercises or affirmations that resonate with you.
And start. Ten minutes a day is all it needs to transform your (love) life. Stick with it and you will soon see improvements in your relationship with others.
I know life gives no guarantees. Nobody can predict what will happen when you start to cultivate the three essential ingredients for happy relationships that last.
Your existing relationships might flourish, new ones might blossom. And dysfunctional ones might fail, to be replaced by happier experiences.
But what I can guarantee is that you will be happier with yourself. Content and proud to be YOU. Confident in your worth, your value and contribution. Convinced of your deservedness of respect, attention, expression.
Once you are aware of your emotional needs and comfortable expressing them. Once you know your emotional boundaries without fear of losing yourself. And as soon as you believe that you deserve love, that you are good enough. And that any partner would be lucky to have you, your interpersonal connections will thrive to reflect your new mindset.
So, boost your emotional intelligence, self-worth and self-love and you will see your relationships transform. I have no doubt about it.
Because you ARE worth! You deserve to be happy!
And that’s the truth.
Dr Berni Sewell, PhD is a health scientist, energy healer and self-worth blogger. She is on a mission to make you feel good about yourself, no matter what. Download her free guide Instant self-worth: an easy 4-step solution to heal your self-worth in under 5 minutes a day” and start to boost your confidence today.