Michael J. Roads

One thing that nobody can avoid is being in a relationship.

Okay, you may be thinking, I am not in a relationship right now. But you are. You are in a relationship with yourself! We all are, yet in some strange manner, it seems to be the overlooked relationship. Everybody wants to be in a loving relationship — hence the thriving On-line Dating industry — but very few people accept that a relationship with yourself actually qualifies as a real and meaningful relationship. Few people actually realise that your relationship with yourself is the key factor in all your other relationships, your spouse, your partner, your children, all your family and many friends. Every one of these relationships will develop along the lines of your relationship with yourself.

Many people invest a lot of money in the Dating industry. There are images involved. People believe that you are seen as more successful if they are happily involved with someone. As a spiritual teacher, I listen to more people who crave a meaningful relationship than any other single issue. We invest our happiness in other people. We no longer seem able to be happily involved with ourselves, it has to be with some other person. I have people telling me that their greatest fear is spending their adult life alone . . . not in a relationship.

As a happily married man I fully relate to this. I feel for them. I love being married to Carolyn, she is the woman I Love. This is the purpose and meaning of relationships, being with the person we love. We externalise our ability to love to a very great extent, rather than externalise and internalise it. We look ‘out there’ all the time for someone else to make us happy, rather than ‘looking within’ for our own happiness.

One of the things I teach is that we cannot Love another person if we do not Love ourselves. Quite often, this is not well received. Surely it is much easier if I love another person who is good, kind and beautiful, and in this way I might also be loved . . . by them. And if they love me, then maybe I can also learn to love myself. Sorry, it does not work like this. So many people are creating a relationship with life that is becoming ever more external, ever more demanding, ever more filled with expectations and wants for somebody else, or other people, to fulfil for us.

In my generation we fell in love and got married . . . that was the usual way of it. People now days just want a relationship. When I ask people who are struggling in a relationship, “Do you love him/her?” they look rather thoughtful, often followed by a long silence. They do not like to say, “I don’t know,” or “no, not really,” but it is often so obvious. Yet so great is this ‘want’ in people that they would rather be in a dysfunctional relationship than in none at all. This is sad.

This is where the relationship desperation comes creeping in. We assume that this is the only means by which we can find love. Wrong. Self loving self works brilliantly. Self being open and caring toward ‘all’ other people works brilliantly. Self loving your own company works brilliantly. If you are kind and loving in your relationship with yourself, you will naturally extend this toward other people. If you are critical and angry with yourself, you will also extend this toward other people. How can we be happy with another person and all their complexes if we are unable to be happy with self and all our own complexes.

Now to be provocative . . . I unconditionally Love myself. I am very happy with my own company. I am never unkind to me, nor do I criticise or judge myself. I am who I am, and I love being me. Okay, I can truthfully say exactly the same about Carolyn. So what does this mean? It means that we can live happily together, neither one trying or needing to make the other happy, or attempting to compensate for their mood, or swallowing unpleasant remarks, or feeling criticised for words that were spoken in haste . . . and on and on. We honour each other by also honouring self.

Our ‘relationship’ is based in real Love. It is not based in wants or expectations. The first disaster in any relationship is around ‘wants and expectations’. Be content with ‘have’ particularly regarding your partner. We expect our loved ones to be there for us, and usually they are, but if they are not . . . okay, not good! Couples have incredibly unrealistic expectations in each other, and invariably get disappointed. If you suffer from disappointment with yourself — and this is so common — how can you honestly expect to be fully satisfied with your spouse? We attract to ourselves more of what we are! If we learn to create a high quality relationship with ourselves first, so, in turn, we may take these assets into a high quality relationship with another person.

What I am saying is very simple; when you have a happy and fulfilling relationship with yourself which is based in self-love, you can have the same wonderful relationship with another person.

You are in a relationship with yourself forever. Obviously, the most beneficial relationship you will ever have is when you are fully loving yourself. I consider this to be an important precursor for all other happy and fulfilling relationships. For yourself, consciously . . . choose Love!