How do you know if your relationship is healthy? What is considered normal? Have you ever wondered if your relationship is truly on the track of love?
Don Miguel Ruiz does an amazing job in explaining what a fear based relationship looks like and what one based with love looks like in his book, The Mastery of Love. This post is inspired by his chapter titled, "The Track of Love, The Track of Fear."
Loving your partner should be something you enjoy. It's not something you feel you have to do or you feel your partner has to do. There are no obligations in a healthy relationship. If you feel obligated to do or be anything with your partner, you'll come to find yourself trying to escape these obligations. The relationship no longer is fun for you to be a part of. Love flourishes freely from inside of you not because you feel forced, but because it's a pleasure for you to do so.
There's this quote that says, "Expectation is the root of all heartache," which is true. When your actions root from the feeling that it's expected of you, you begin to form these same expectations for your partner. You expect him or her to do the same for you, whatever it may be. And when they don't fulfill these expectations, we feel hurt. That then causes us to blame others for our pain. Expectations root from fear. Fear hurts and love does not. In a healthy relationship, we do things because we want to (not because we feel we have to) and we do not have expectations to receive anything in return.
When respect is absent in a relationship, the need to control one another is present. If you begin to notice a war for control or the want to control your lover, there is no respect. Having to control one another flourishes from feeling responsible for the other person. When you both feel free to make your own decisions, when you don't have pity for yourself nor your partner, there is respect in your relationship.
Feeling sorry for someone and having compassion towards someone are two completely different things. When you feel sorry for someone, you do not respect that person because you do not feel he or she is strong enough to make it. When you love and respect your partner, you have compassion. You give them a lending hand and words of encouragement. You do not feel sorry for them. You don't feel the need to make decisions for them.
Every action has a consequence. The biggest mistake we make is not taking responsibility for our actions. Even if you do not want to be, you are responsible for all your actions. When someone else takes on the responsibility for your actions, it creates drama. In a healthy relationship, you both take responsibility for your own actions. When we avoid taking responsibility for our actions, it is because we fear the consequence. When we love, we are mindful of our actions. We are responsible.
For those that say love hurts, they are wrong - it is fear that hurts. Love is always kind. When obligations, expectations, no respect, lack of responsibility for ones own actions, and pity are present in our relationships, it is impossible for us to be content. In an unhealthy relationship we suffer from fear. As Don Miguel Ruiz states, "We feel victimized by everything; we feel angry or sad or jealous or betrayed." When we are unhappy, we are unkind. In a healthy relationship, you are happy with everything because everything is going well for you. You both do not feel obliged to do or be anything, you have no expectations for one another, you respect each other, you are both responsible for your own actions, and you do not feel sorry for one another, you believe in each other. In turn, this happiness makes you generous, makes you feel good about yourself, makes you kind. Fear cultivates selfishness; it is about only the self.
Love does not place conditions on the lover. There are no ifs. I love you if... In the track of fear, we create images of what we believe our partner should be and if he or she does not live up to that image, we judge and place guilt on that person. Embarrassment, guilt, annoyance, shame, lack of patience all flourish from placing conditions on our lover and them not fitting the image you created. A healthy love places no condition at all. It is unconditional. You love your partner just because. For no reason, with no justification. He or she is free to be the way he or she wants to be and you love them just the way they are.
We all make mistakes and in a healthy relationship, you each learn from your mistakes and move on. You do not make yourself nor your partner pay a thousand and one times for the same mistake. In a healthy relationship, there is justice. You understand that mistakes will be made and with [self]love, you each will learn and grow from them. In a fear based relationship, making yourself or your partner feel guilt and shame for the same mistake over and over again creates a lot of drama and opens a lot of wounds.