7 Steps to Growing in Relationships

People are everything. Developing meaningful relationships is half the equation of a fulfilling life. Creating meaningful work is the other half.

Growing healthy relationships has become a personal goal. I have experienced numerous intimate relationship types and near-marriage three times.

Through mindfulness, meditation, and the idea of open relationships, I have found many game-changing ideas to improve the quality of my connections.

  1. Own Your Emotions
  2. Take Responsibility
  3. Develop Independence
  4. Embrace Vulnerability
  5. Cultivate Mindfulness
  6. Be Open-Minded
  7. Honor Connections

My experience and research have led me to these conclusions and a greater sense of fulfillment, presence, gratitude, and love. Relationships will always challenge us, but having a surfboard enables you to surf above the waves.

Own Your Emotions

I spent way too much time letting someone else take responsibility for my happiness. I have blamed partners for bad moods and expected them to fix it.

No one is responsible for your happiness except you. The sooner you can fully accept this concept, the happier you will be in every connection.

“We are most attractive when we are confident and thriving in our element.”

Neediness kills passion, and confidence is the biggest turn on. That might look like taking a step back and creating space for yourself to be.

Take Responsibility

There are things you can control and things that you cannot. Recognizing what is within your control is the key to freedom and excitement. You always choose your response.

“Knowing, loving, and respecting yourself is a prerequisite to knowing, loving, and respecting someone else.”

Things begin to change when you take responsibility for your own actions. Relationships are a place to give. Instead of criticizing your partner for their faults, consider what you might be able to improve.

Develop Independence

It takes a whole person to fully appreciate another whole person. We are attracted to people who take care of themselves.

“The aliveness and vitality that we crave in relationships is something we have to cultivate.”

Relationships therapist Esther Perel explains how our parents influence how we love. Here are some questions to consider when assessing your behaviors:

  1. Where did you learn that?
  2. Who did this to you?
  3. Who did you see do this?

People in secure relationships experience a balance between security and exploration. The world is a great place, and I’ll still be here.

Cultivate Mindfulness

With presence, your experiences become fuller and stress diminishes. With meditation, you can develop awareness of thoughts and emotions. This leads to better decisions and a greater sense of gratitude.

“To live free of time is to live free of the psychological need of the past for identity and of the future for fulfillment.”

Meditation is the main domino for so much of what we crave. This practice allows you to purify intentions and experience a moment-to-moment ecstasy.

“Life becomes helpful and cooperative.”

Try meditating twice a day for 20 minutes at a time, ideally before breakfast and dinner. Like any practice, meditation will not always feel easy regardless of your training. “Pain plus reflection equals progress,” Ray Dalio.

Embrace Vulnerability

People connect with other people, not perfect fronts. As someone who cares so much about self-development, this one has been quite difficult.

“Speak your truth. First to yourself and to those around you.”

People tend to respect your standards when you’re not afraid to set them. When you know what you want, you’re in a position to ask for what you want.

Be Open Minded

After ending my third near-marriage relationship, I had way more questions than answers. I stumbled onto a 1980s book in a used bookstore, where I found many gold relationship nuggets.

The book “Open Marriages,” talks about identity, actualization, and how to create space for another growing and divine being. Exploring this innovative model has enabled me to further understand my wants and needs.

Honor Connections

The best way to learn is to teach. Consider the common factors and then customize.

In exploring open relationships, I have more fully understood the structure of effective and fulfilling relationships. These ideas have been helpful:

  1. Learn to express wants and expectations clearly
  2. Each new connection is an opportunity to expand
  3. Cherish the divinity of a separate and growing being
  4. Ask for what you want and say no to what you don’t want

Through dissecting the meaning behind shared time and intimacy, I have found great clarity. I have since opened myself to the possibility that open relationships could be healthy and felt greater wholeness and gratitude.