Relationships enhance us, drive us, inspire us, and nurture us. They feed us on a level our plant-based foods can't even get to. But, as much as we hate to admit it, relationships are not all sunshine, butterflies, and sparkly unicorns. They take lots of work, patience, selflessness and compromise, and can quickly take a turn down argument alley with no return in sight. It's so easy to blame our partner for shortcomings when things are going wrong in our own lives. We project doubt and fear on those we love most instead of looking for the root cause inside ourselves, and the vast majority of the time, we do not even realize we're doing it.

Pema Chödrön, Buddhist monk and author, points out that we often expect our partners to provide the support that, historically, was shared by a village. Literally.

In a modern relationship, we want our partner to be passionate, yet stable. Our best friend and our lover—not to mention our workout partner, shopping buddy, confidant, and fierce travel companion. We want them to watch that romcom with us, shop at Zara on Saturday in between errands, bounce work ideas around together, check out that to-die-for plant-based Mexican joint that just opened up, and be an indestructible holding space for us to pour our hearts into when we need it. If you haven't already come to this conclusion—this is an unrealistic expectation to put on someone. It's too large, too contradictory, and places unfair expectation and pressure on another for your own happiness. The result is the opposite of what you want in any relationship—trust me.

No matter how much we love to say, I just fell in love with my best friend, our partner is our lover, but not our best friend according to Chödrön. He or she is someone that gives us a deep sense of belonging, enriches our life through passion, and creates a foundation for the growth of the relationship and individuals, but there needs to be boundaries when it comes to what buckets we expect that person to fill. That person cannot, and should not, be your everything.

We all have a "basic wealth," says Chödrön, but fear, insecurity, and jealousy often get in the way of us experiencing this wealth. When we connect to our internal well of wealth, we are finally able to focus less on our relationship and more on our own wholeness, basic worthiness and internal evolution. Giving ourselves the freedom to experience our inner light and compassionately view our shortcomings also gives our partners that freedom. And when you are BOTH free, then there are some seriously amazing skies to soar through together.

Taking time to focus internally will help create a beautiful world in our own minds and hearts, where we release our external attachments. We can then open up to the world with a more honest, open and loving perspective that will seep into our relationships with little effort and plenty of love.

Share yourself with the world—not just your loved one. We all deserve to catch a little glimpse of your light!


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