Who Says Relationships Should Be Happy?
© by Mary DuParri, MA, LPC

Relationships. Who says we should be happy in relationships? I do. My heart does. My spirit does. Why else have relationships? To be happy. Not to work hard. Not to struggle. But to show up and be happy.
What if the very reason we are not so happy in our relationships is because we donít really show up? We allow our hesitation, our fear of rejection, or our actual rejections to keep us from being and saying and doing what instinctively feels right for us. Or, we allow our sensitivity to the needs of another person to keep us from meeting our own needs. How happy can that be?

We have a poster in our office that reminds us to be true to ourselves. It says: ďThere is only one of you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.Ē Clients often smile at or seem encouraged by those words. I am regularly energized by them, and I wonder what would happen in our lives if we were fearlessly ourselves. What would happen in our relationships? Would we be more assertive? Would we ask for what we want? Would we say no to what we donít want? Would we be lighter-hearted, wiser, funnier, or sexier? Would we be more enthusiastic or more at peace?

Some of us like the idea of fearlessly being ourselves. We instinctively know there is a wonderful self inside that others do not often get to see. What if we began to experiment by bringing that self into the open more often? Checking deep inside and speaking from whatever place we call our core: spirit, heart, soul, me. Not in an impulsive way, but spontaneous enough to not hold back and filter every nuance. Expressing that self and seeing how the other person deals with it. What would that be like? Sounds like an interesting experiment. It might seem rather risky, because we donít know how that fearless self might act. But, this is only an experiment. We could always go back to not-so-fearless if it does not work out. But, what if it did work out? What if we showed our real self and discovered that we were not judged for it? Or, better yet, what if we were so okay internally, that even if we were judged we would not have to retreat back into hiding? It sounds like it would feel wonderful.

What if we kept showing up like that in our relationships? What if we did that even if the other person did not always hold the space so well? What if we showed up anyway because that is right for our spirit? I think we would begin to feel loved again. We would delight in being true to ourselves. The other person may or may not be equal to displaying or holding this love. He or she may not be able or willing to stay in a space of connection like that with us. But we would feel love anyway because honoring and acting from our core creates a self-love that we would never want to give up.

It also creates a way to be with others. Honestly, transparently, and from a desire for true connection. It creates clarity about the people in our lives who desire to be with our fearless selves, and it creates a space for them to fearlessly be themselves. If we keep up this way of being, the people we attract into our lives will be drawn to our real selves. If they like us, they like the real us. If, in fact, we begin to love each other, we may have the capacity for a real relationship. You know, one where we might be happy.
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