Navigating the ebbs and flows
Life doesn’t always give us what we want, and the more we resist, the harder things become. Like a stream, when the flow encounters obstacles, it shifts, repositions and keeps flowing forward. If we can learn to be like the stream, we will bring much more ease to life’s ups and downs.
Going with the flow isn’t about dismissing your needs or not caring, it’s about being flexible with the inevitable twists and turns that may arise along the way.
Flowing in relationships
A relationship isn’t a measure of your worth, it’s not there to “complete you”, nor is it the answer to your happiness and self-esteem. A relationship is an experience to be had, and to be shared. It’s about discovering your compatibilities, chemistry and friendship, as a path to deep and meaningful connection.
How can a relationship go with the flow? It’s sometimes fun, sometimes messy, sometimes easy, and other times hard. But it is always authentic, kind, and compassionate. We give friendship, and we receive it back. We support, and are supported. We can’t prevent our relationship from being subject to ebbs and flows, but what is open to everyone is to learn how to navigate more effectively.
Spending too much time stressing about what’s going to happen takes time away from actually enjoy things. When you stress about the future, you’re no longer interacting with the person sitting in front of you, you’re interacting with the thoughts in your mind and fixating on an imagined scenario. Be mindful of where you’re at— you don’t want to look back and regret not appreciating the amazing thing you had right there in front of you.
We project feelings and thoughts because our brains desire to know what’s going on for others – though we’ll sometimes get it quite wrong. We’ll imagine our partner is intentionally upsetting us when they aren’t; we’ll think they’re angry with us when they’re not; we might think they’re judging us when they’re simply being curious; we will misread their thoughts and moods. Choose not to build assumptions into unhealthy emotions, and neglect the certainty of previously confirmed actions and communications.
Limit your distractions and pressure
Once you stop worrying so much about the future and if you’re going to last, you can actually take the time to get to know each other for who you are. Trying to force the fate of a relationship puts a lot of pressure on it. Relax, breathe, and go with the flow. The swiftest way to realizing the strength of your bond or uncovering that you’re actually not very compatible is being immersed in the present time together; get curious, have fun, communicate, compare values, and work on yourself. After all, a lot of today’s is what equals tomorrow…
Lead with character
Do the loving and kind thing—not because you you’re a pushover, but because you’ll never regret being kind, and because loving-kindness increases your capacity for connection, forgiveness, self-acceptance and greater peace. You can still communicate your feelings and boundaries, but when you resist the temptation to manipulate, play games, judge, or become combative, all that you encounter will flow more easily. Loving-kindness cultivates a muscle that strengthens your connection and lessens the threat in becoming disconnected. You’re a team…behave as one.
There is no such thing as the ideal partner. So you might as well give up the hope that you can find a fault-free person. A relationship is like playing guitar; if you expect to pick it up and play it like a pro, you’re going to become frustrated and you may walk away from a good thing—giving up before you’ve begun. To foster long-term success, acknowledge flaws while still holding yourself and your partner in high regard.
Flowing is not finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
Flow doesn’t mean easy
Communicating is work. Being vulnerable is work. Compromising is work. Looking at yourself is work. Relationships are hard, but loving should be easy. I think three major qualities are needed to hang in there for the long run—friendship, perseverance and trust. As we integrate these things, the work becomes easier and helps things flow…