Relationships: Opportunities for Self-Growth

You know how people say that relationships are opportunities for self-growth? Well, I’m currently experiencing that phenomenon.

By far, one of the biggest opportunities I have had for self-growth in my thirty-one years on this planet is my current romantic relationship.

In the past, my pattern has been to lose interest and end a relationship somewhere around the one-year mark (if things even progressed that far). I would notice my mind slowly creeping away from my partner and into fantasies of other men, a different life, a more exciting version of myself. And I’ll admit, I was generally pretty good at creating a new life and new adventure when a relationship ended.

What I’m seeing, however, is that each time I danced away from an intimate relationship and into a new solo adventure, I was dancing away from parts of myself that I didn’t want to look at.

Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to see.

To clarify, I have no regrets. I think that solo time, exploration, and adventures are extremely important in a young woman’s life, or anyone’s life for that matter. I was doing exactly what I needed and wanted to do and was experiencing growth in the ways that were right for me at those times.

But this time, right now, what I am experiencing is a longer lasting desire for my partner than I’ve experienced before. I don’t want this relationship to end, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. I have no desire to run off on my own, into the sunset, into another version of my life. 

Instead, what I want is to journey deeper into THIS experience. 

That’s awesome!, (you might say), and yep, it sure is. To remain in love with, inspired by, and attracted to another human this long is awesome. AND, as I mentioned before, it’s an opportunity for growth.

Because relationships can be hard, y’all! Does anyone else know that? Has anyone ever told you that before? (I’m joking, obviously).

I truly don’t think I had any idea what I was signing up for when I jumped headfirst into this relationship over a year ago. I had no idea the amount of self-growth that was going to be required of me in order to be a good partner. I had no idea that the sticky-icky parts of myself that I had buried DEEP DOWN in there were going to be exposed, and not only for me to see, but for my partner to see as well.

How HUMBLING.

As some of you may know, if you’ve been following along with me, I am broke right now. I just finished school and I’m waiting tables. I’m currently in a stage of curiosity and investigation about where I want to go and what I want to do with my life and I’m  building the skills, self-confidence, and finances to go after it. It’s fun and cool, for sure, but it’s also heavy and scary and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning.

At the same time, my partner’s life looks very different than mine. He is a successful business owner and has built a good life and steady income for himself. Although he is the type that will ALWAYS be searching for what is next and ALWAYS be searching for ways to grow, he is also very happy with his life, and rightfully so. 

I am slightly ashamed to admit this, but throughout this relationship experience, I have been witness to some dark, ugly parts of myself that I would rather not exist.

Sometimes I’m jealous, y’all 😯 

Sometimes I feel angry and resentful that my life isn’t as “cool” or “easy” or “exciting” as his. It’s not that I want HIS life, or that I don’t want HIM to thrive, it’s that I get bummed that MY life doesn’t quite line up with MY dreams in the same way his does… yet.

Now, before you judge me TOO much, let me just say, I don’t feel these emotions ALL of the time. MOST of the time I feel love and excitement towards him. I see how special and magical and amazing he is, how much he inspires and excites the people around him, and I feel endless support and joy for him and the positive effect he is having on the world.

But sometimes, oh sometimes, I fall into the illusion of victimhood and my monkey mind says, hey, why doesn’t my life look that way?

THIS, my friends, IS THE BEAUTIFUL OPPORTUNITY OF RELATIONSHIP.

The self-growth is REAL.

The opportunity to be a loving partner, to show up for someone else, but not to attach my life to his. The opportunity to witness the low-vibe parts of myself that are asking to be seen and transformed. The opportunity to take responsibility for my own life without blaming others (especially others that I deeply care about) for my “problems”.

This man wants a partner who supports him unconditionally and wants to see him thrive no matter what. A partner that doesn’t take HIS successes as MY failures. Ultimately, a partner who is mature and responsible and fun.

Duh.

This relationship is teaching me to take responsibility for my own life. It’s humbling, its shattering to my ego, yes, and it’s PERFECT.

I’m witnessing all the ways I’ve blamed others and played victim or otherwise ran away from the fact that MY LIFE AND MY HAPPINESS ARE MY RESPONSIBILITY.  If I want my life to be different than it is right now, it’s my job to do something about it. 

It’s not easy, being with someone who feels light years ahead of me in this regard. But its the perfect experience for me to be having because ONE, I am having it. And TWO, I am growing.

I am grateful.

This growth stuff isn’t always easy, but it sure as hell is worth it.

I think we’re born onto this planet to have experiences that serve us. We’re here for soul growth, for the chance to learn what we need to learn, what we’re ready for, and to spread these things around in order to help others. I also think that intimate relationships with other humans are some of the BIGGEST opportunities for self-growth that are available to us. 

When we are in relationship, when we allow others to SEE US and to LOVE US, we discover parts of ourselves that we have kept hidden.

I count my lucky stars every day to be so loved by a man who is simultaneously standing by me AND asking me to step it up. We have work to do, we have places to go, and it’s time.

I hear ya. I get it. And I’m in.

Hey handsome, if you’re reading this, I think the world of you. I am grateful from the bottom of my heart for the experiences we have had together. I love you and I want you to THRIVE because not only does it make you happy and turns me on, but because the world needs you.

Thank you for being my partner, my teacher, my lover, my friend.

Onward and upward.

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