Is it really possible to lose yourself in a relationship?

As individuals, we are pretty amazing.

And it’s not just our body and mind that are miraculous, but also our beliefs, value systems, perceptions, and the deep network of relationships we create as we go through our lives.

We live by codes. We look for honour. We do the things we do and maintain the relationships we maintain because we crave connection – a wholeness that makes us feel complete.

In this mad race for the pursuit of happiness, we form a set of pointers that define who we are, what we do, how we think, and chalk out the modus operandi of how we operate.

This means that our sense of self is often rooted in our connections with other people.

And that’s seriously bad news for those in an imbalanced relationship.

When things start going wrong between you and partner, you begin to lose sight of who you are and what you want. In other words, you begin to lose yourself. And however romantic that might sound on paper, in reality it’s a recipe for disaster. Trust us.

So how can you stay grounded in a relationship? And if you’re already lost, how can you find yourself?

1.Get a life of your own

Your life-long happiness won’t ever come from somebody else. Instead, your sense of self has to come from within you. You are the only key to your self-sustained joy and satisfaction.

Yet so many of us forget this. Instead, relationships are seen as a way to plug the gap. But instead of making you feel whole, imbalanced relationships mean that the responsibility for your happiness lands at the feet of your spouse.

To create a whole person from yourself, you need to get a life of your own. Have things to do that you are passionate about. Create a full life – complete and satisfactory in every way possible. Once you’ve found yourself, your relationship should only serve to accentuate the best parts of your life and your personality.

2. Understand and respect perspectives

There are just too many variables for us to deal with when it comes to relationships: Money, sex, kids, careers, chores, personal traits, temperament – the list goes on.

This means that relationships throw up wildly different perspectives. Perhaps your husband thinks you’re a workaholic, while you see your job as a duty. Or maybe your wife seems like a nag, when really she only wants what’s best for the whole family.

These different perspectives might be the trigger for countless arguments, but you have to remember that they’re are vital part of your relationship – and of your sense of self. So instead of trying to undermine your partner’s point of view, recognise and respect it. Just knowing that these different perspectives exist puts you in a better spot than when you saunter into conversations unprepared.

Know your values and have a clear, eloquent way of communicating them to your partner.

3. Don’t give yourself up

Once upon a time, marriage meant signing away your independence (well, if you were a woman anyway). But things have changed. Now there’s no need to sacrifice part of yourself when you fall in love.

Your career, social life, spiritual practice and entrepreneurial dreams are all an important part of who you are, so don’t put them on the backburner. You are good (and complete) when you have a life you can call your own. A good relationship acts as a supplement to your already fulfilling life. It’s an added extra – not the foundations of your entire life.

4. Don’t trade in

People often treat their relationship the same way they would an aging car getting more rickety and crankier as time goes by. They take it for granted, ignore issues, and end up giving up on it entirely.

But when you decide that it’s the relationship that’s the issue, you’re hand-balling the problem too far away from yourself. Instead, of upgrading to a new partner, invest time in repairing and fortifying your current relationship – and that starts by examining yourself.

5. Communicate

Learn to communicate directly and in plain words. Don’t assume that your partner remembers that thing you talked about. Once. Be purposeful, clear, and gutsy when communicating what you believe, what you want, and what you see.

Meanwhile, also learn to detach yourself from the fallout. You won’t always be able to communicate (especially during heated arguments) so start the flow when things have cooled down. Hurt and anger can play a big part in the process.

Most importantly, remember to view you and your partner as individuals. Rather than assuming that the other person is a mind-reader, communicate in a way that’s clear and kind.

6. Listen

Whatever you do, listen.

With love comes a respect for the other person. A whole person. 50% of the relationship. Not more, not less.

Ask For Help

We deal with thousands of people every year who are completely stuck in their own way of seeing things. They think the need a new relationship, a new job, a new life; a way of finding themselves again.

Many times, that simply isn’t the case.

What they need is to re-evaluate their perception. To add a good dash of love and gratitude for their current spouse. To gain a moment of clarity. So if you’re feeling lost in your relationship, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.