“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperatly needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” Dalai Lama
I have a confession to make.
Somewhere around 4 to 5 months into my most recent relationship I seriously considered breaking it off. The whole dynamic of me being the “spiritual one” and him not being spiritual — well, at all — just wasn’t quite working for me. How could we make it work when we couldn’t see eye to eye?
So I wanted to breakup. End it. Be done with it.
This decision of potentially ending this relationship made me quite distressed so I started discussing it with various coaches and counselors.
“Well, that really depends…”
“Yeah, I think you’re ready for this relationship to end… ”
“It sounds like you’re stuck in this place and you’re ready for a change…”
I would hear them say.
Though this advice resonated with me on some level, it still didn’t feel quite “right” to me. So I decided to do nothing and continued on with the relationship, despite continuing to feel troubled by this whole “I’m spiritual and he’s not” thing.
Then one day I was listening to a mentor of mine giving a talk about relationships and someone had told her, “I’m so frustrated. My boyfriend isn’t nearly as spiritual as me.” With those words I perked up and leaned in closer, giving this exchange my full attention. “How do I deal when my boyfriend isn’t as spiritual as me?” she asked.
My mentor looked at her with her piercing brown eyes and said…
“You gotta worry about your own side of the street, honey.”
“You’re only in control of yourself,” she continued, “And he is on his own spiritual path. All you can do is to do the spiritual work yourself, be the light and he will gradually come to his own understanding in his own way and on his own time.”
I was immediately skeptical. How on earth is that going to work?, I thought to myself. This guy wants to get into religious and spiritual debates with me. He isn’t out to understand and accept — he’s only out to “win” his point.
But despite these thoughts, there was a sense, a voice deep down in the core of my being that said, “Just do it and you’ll see.”
And so I did just that.
I stopped worry about him and started working on myself. I started meditating daily. I began reading more spiritual texts. I started to really implement the work into my life.
I never once preached my beliefs to him or share with him anything that he didn’t already express some interest or curiosity in. And if he wanted to debate religion and spirituality I simply set a boundary stating that I didn’t want to talk about it.
I just focused on myself and did my own thing.
And over time, something amazing happened…
We started meditating together.
We started going to yoga classes together.
He started asking me about some of the books I was reading.
Somehow, miraculously, he became more open and accepting.
And you know what else?
Gradually the arguments became fewer and fewer. And we became closer and closer.
Our love deepened and we somehow became more comfortable with each other and more in love than we were before.
Our relationship progressed to a whole new level. A level that neither one of us have ever experienced with another person before.
All because I decided to completely focus on working on myself and not him.
So how did I do it and how can you do it if you’re in this situation as well? Here’s a few tips:
1. Recognize that the whole “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality is nothing but your ego.
So when you catch yourself getting into that frame of thinking, just recognize it and let it go.
2. Set boundaries.
If you see your partner getting into the whole “you’re right I’m wrong” mentality, then set a boundary with them. Say something like, “Honey I love you, but because I love you I don’t think we should be talking about this right now” and walk away or go in the other room.
3. Be the light.
Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Do the spiritual work that you need to do for yourself and, over time, maybe your partner will start to wonder, Hey! What is she doing for herself? Cause it seems to work. I better check this out.
And if they don’t, so what? It doesn’t matter because all that matters at the end of the day is that you are being a channel for your own inner transformation — and that makes all the difference.
In the comments below, share with me one thing that you are going to commit to doing on a regular basis so that you can be “the change you wish to see.”
Jennifer is a self and relationship coach and the founder ofJenniferTwardowski.com. Her mission is to help women create loving relationships with both others and themselves. Click here for her Free Self and Relationship Healing Meditation and weekly blog updates. To learn about how you can work with her, click here.
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