When you are in a close relationship, it is very easy to lose yourself and to stop being who you are for the wellbeing of the relationship. One of the most difficult lessons in my life has been to learn to stand up for myself. I cannot remember how many times I gave myself up to avoid upsetting my partner or loved one. In the past, I asked my partner to fulfill my needs, to make me happy, or to solve my problems, when I was not able to do it for myself. I played the role of a victim, because I did not Love myself. True independence is achieved when you are able to maintain your sense of self while you are in a relationship. I know it now, and I believe that it is what you need to establish happy, long lasting, and healthy relationships.
It can be easy to establish a relationship with someone with whom you feel so connected that you just want to be one with this person. You love each other so much and want to be together all the time. This happens when you fall in Love, at the early stage of a relationship. But relationships evolve, change and transform, and if you don't allow the relationship to move forward, you create dependence, co-dependence. Then, in the name of Love, you start living your life the way the other person wants; in order to maintain the relationship, you give up the necessary space to continue growing and become who you truly are.
One of the most common fears that I see in single people nowadays, is the fear or losing their independence if they establish a committed relationship. It can be totally unconscious. If you have it, this fear can sabotage all efforts to find the right partner, and complicate any potential relationship you may start. This fear comes from the idea that commitment equals sacrifice. It is based on the belief that a serious relationship with another being who will accept you the way you are, and who will not ask you to change or try to control you, is not possible, or that this person does not exist.
In order to become truly independent you need to learn to Love yourself. You have to be true to yourself, and to accept yourself the way you are, learn how to set up healthy boundaries, and to say no when necessary. When you know who you are, you can Love yourself no matter what. This kind of Love, unconditional Love for yourself, is what will allow you to Love others the same way, and to have an attitude of independence in your relationships, while enjoying a close union. Remember that we learn valuable lessons through the relationships that we are in. Every interaction with another being is an opportunity to learn something about yourself, to learn how to Love and be loved.
"Life cannot be without relationship, but we have made it so aganizing and hideous by basing it on personal and possesive love. Can one love and yet not possess? You will find the true answere not in escape, ideals, beliefs but through the understanding of the causes of dependence and possessivenes" - Jiddu Krishnamurti
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Judith Costa is a Life and Love Coach, Seminar Leader, Writer and Speaker. She has a Masters degree in Psychology & Psychotherapy and an MBA. She helps her clients to overcome their blocks to Love, to Love themselves and to manifest the relationship they want.