When you first start the rediscovery process, it is very natural to become more internalized when you are cleaning house (you inner house). You may suddenly feel the need for more space and time for yourself. Everything else that seemed oh-so-urgent may automatically take a backseat. This is a very natural thing; in fact it is one of the most natural things in the whole world. Getting your life, emotions, physical health and energy in order takes a lot of effort and it’s an ongoing process. However, it may take a lot of energy at first, especially if you have always looked for all your answers on the outside. But once the whole process of going within trusting your inner wisdom becomes your natural state of being, you must realize that it is time to come back to the marketplace.

Yes, it is very easy to sit in lotus pose, up in the mountains and maintain your peace and balance. But if you want to make your mark in the real world and create a meaningful life, you simply have to learn to form authentic relationships. The problem earlier was that your relationship with yourself wasn’t authentic, which is why it was very easy for anyone outside to change the way you felt about yourself! But now that you know you alone hold the key to your happiness (if you choose to not place it in someone else’s pocket); it is time to work on authentic relationships.

Dealing with Love & Relationships

Let’s talk about love – the one, soul mate, better half or whatever other label is out there that makes us feel that in the absence of this “perfect” person our life is meaningless. Don’t get me wrong – having someone to share your life with is without a doubt the most amazing thing in the whole world. But to constantly think that you are only half the puzzle and you need another half to lead a full life is not the right thinking. There are just so many rules and so much social conditioning attached to love, marriage and dating.

The first section of this part of the program is for people who are single. Let me start by stating that please do not feel bad about yourself or let anyone make you feel bad about your life because you don’t have a steady relationship. It is such a useless thing to do and yeah it is also one of the major repellents. What do I mean? When you desperately keep searching for “the one” it drives the potential dates away. No really! Desperation is such an ugly feeling; it makes you feel restless and uneasy on the inside and you obviously end up sending out the wrong signals on the outside. So if you are going to every event, party, social gathering merely in the hope of finding your better half, then please stop this craziness.

The whole idea is to grow up and become a complete person. Someone who is comfortable, confident and happy and not someone who is lonely, alone and depressed! Remember the age old adage like attracts like – well dating and love are a little bit like that. When you lose the urgency and desperation and you start to enjoy your life, your work and your friends, serendipity starts its work. And I am talking about genuinely having fun and being happy without being in a relationship. Not the fake kind where you go around telling everyone how much you love being single. You may think that you are impressing people but most, if not all humans can see right thought these walls. You may be using them as protective measures to avoid the pitiful remarks or questions about your marriage or single status, but it will attract more and more people who will nag you on the subject.

So lose the resistance and have fun. This is a great time to focus on your friends, your career, your hobbies, your fitness or some philanthropic work. Most people get into relationships with only one intention. How to get something out of it instead of focussing on what they can provide in the relationship! Some women may want men who can provide for them and some men want women who can be trophy wives. Even in this scenario, though it may feel that both parties are getting exactly what they want, if the relationship is not based on authenticity, honesty, companionship and friendship, it will not be a happy relationship in the long run. It is impossible to lead a happy life when you enter a relationship just because you want the other person to complete you. The idea is to feel complete, content and joyous on your own and overflow with these feelings.

So stop thinking of being single as a label that needs immediate changing. Instead focus on yourself and on expanding your happiness quotient and the right person will walk into your life when you least expect it. The idea is for two complete individuals to meet each other and enjoy each other and not for two insecure, incomplete individuals to get attracted to each other’s neediness and get together in an attempt to fill up some void.

The void never really gets filled; not by someone or something outside at least. Even if you do all the choreographed things you are meant to do at “the right age” you may still feel unfulfilled if you are not in touch with your inner self.

Dating / Relationship Guide:

Lose the image of the perfect person:

This is one of the most annoying subjects ever. There is so much crappy information out there about what the person of the opposite sex should be like to make it to your list or life. The whole concept is really passé and out of trend. Perfection doesn’t exist – you can’t find it in yourself and quit finding it in someone else to make your life better. Perfection is the most boring thing ever, if you ask me. The whole point of meeting someone on this wonderful journey is to grow, learn, laugh and live and not to be perfect Ken and Barbie pre-programmed dolls.

When you are constantly working on your own frequency, it is natural for you to attract someone of the same wavelength. Take a minute and think about it. What do you usually like in the other person? Do you like it when there is natural chemistry, connection and depth? Or do you look around for someone with all the traits on your list and then make an attempt to fall in love, or worse make them fall in love with you. There are so many instances when two people who have known each other for a long time, suddenly get deeper feelings for one another. This is totally different from being tired of being on your own and then getting hitched to a fellow alone person. In a nutshell – no matter how good everything looks on paper, if there is no deep connection, formed naturally, the relationship will not have much of a chance to grow.

So lose your pre-conceived notions about height, weight, age, complexion, academics and anything else. Even if you are a PHD, it is ok for you to fall in love with a writer or a musician, as long as your bond and connection are authentic. You may choose to be with someone super rich, but he may lose all his money in a bad business deal, then what? If money was the primary reason for you to be with that person, what would happen in the face of a financial fiasco? Same goes for appearance! Looks fade, hairlines recede, bank balances change and so do circumstances. But if the reasons for being with the other person are right, you can get through it all.

Don’t get drowned in other people’s opinions:

We all have opinionated friends and family members, who are well meaning and claim that they have our best interest at heart. It is not uncommon to get tons of feedback if you get in a serious relationship with someone radically different from you. May be people expected you to be with a certain person and now they just can’t come to terms with your choice and decision. Well, the solution here is pretty simple. Who is going to have to live with the decision? Whose life are we talking about here? If you know in your heart that you are taking the right call, then don’t let other people’s opinions cloud your judgement.

However, there are friends and confidantes who know certain things about us really well. If you have a pattern of falling for the wrong guy / girl, and a new relationship is making you view everything through rose tinted glasses, then it may not be a bad idea to talk to a trusted person or hear them out. But since you have made it this far in this program, I really doubt that you are going to continue being in your old patterns.

Also, if you have always valued the opinions of your friends and given them permission to dissect your relationship every time you meet someone new, then breaking other people’s old habits may take a while. But all you can do is change your attitude about the situation and those close to you will have no choice but to agree to the new terms.

When you start loving your choices and decisions and take full responsibility of them, you do not need external validation for anything.

Stop being needy:

Now there are varying degrees of needy behaviour, but you know the kind I am talking about. There is nothing more exhausting and draining than tending to a needy person or a person who always wants to play the victim. In a romantic relationship, it is natural for people to bring in some baggage either from their childhood, their previous relationships or because or external conditioning. You may have trust issues because of the relationship between your parents during the early years, or because your ex-boyfriend / girlfriend cheated on you, but if you want your current relationship to succeed, then you have to drop the old shit. You simply cannot expect your significant other to constantly coddle your insecurities, fears and phobias.

If you constantly need reassurance and validation from your relationship, then you need to work on yourself. As humans, it is natural for all of us to have poopy days and all we want on that day is for our significant other to take care of us and help us feel better. That is completely normal and very healthy. But if your relationship is all about you feeling poopy and expecting the other person to pep you up, then make some changes pronto.

And if you are constantly living in fear and anxiety of something going wrong with your relationship, then it is time to examine things. Are you just being paranoid, or is there something actually going on there. If you want a successful and happy relationship, then you have to ditch denial and see things for what they are. If your partner has given you multiple reasons to have trust issues and be paranoid then it is time to communicate openly and honestly instead of always being on the prowl.

Don’t play games:

I know every dating and relationship book out there gives so much importance to playing games. But I feel that beyond a point, constantly playing games, one upping one another, competing with each other and being childish can be exhausting and detrimental to any relationship. A deep, meaningful, adult relationship between two grownups has no space for childish games. The initial part of any new relationship can be awkward – when to call, when not to call, when to open up, when to give space, etc. But it is crucial to form a comfortable bond and be yourself and give the other person a chance to be himself / herself.

Things like making the other person jealous just so that value you more or screening calls for two days, so that he / she doesn’t think that you have no life, can be fun for a few weeks, but you will find it very hard to keep up this charade if you want the relationship to go somewhere. Of course, the roles you both may play in the relationship may keep changing from time to time – friend, guide, partner, lover, companion, mentor, advisor, etc.

And think about it; if you have to jump through hoops all the time by playing games like – playing hard to get, being unavailable, acting aloof, making him / her jealous, giving the silent treatment – then how authentic is your relationship? Are you so terrified of being yourself?

What are you bringing to the table?

We live in a highly judgemental society and somehow all of us walk around thinking that we have the right to judge others. I have noticed that those who are highly judgemental are often highly terrified of their bluff being called. They also have a very low opinion of themselves. Being highly judgemental and critical is a weak ploy for having some false sense of control. Even if you walk around thinking that you are God’s gift to men / women, deep down you dread rejection and being alone.

Self-confidence and high self-esteem are great things, whether you are in a relationship or not. But nothing gives you the right to judge someone else on their appearance, work or financial situation. If you don’t have chemistry with the person – move on instead of bad mouthing them. And focus more on what is it that you are bringing to the table when it comes to a relationship. The more time you spend judging others, the less time you have to work on yourself. Bitching about your ex and telling everyone how they lost the best thing that ever happened to them by dumping you is a sign of a person who is weak and meek and someone who is deeply hurt.

Working on yourself – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – is such an awesome thing. First of all, it is best anti-ageing product ever. The more you work on yourself, your hobbies, hone your skills and spend time doing things that make you happy, the more youthful and sexier you become. Yes, think of the kind of person you would want to spend a great evening with. Someone who dresses up for you, treats you really well, looks after you and makes sure that your time spent together is filled with love, laughter, romance and happiness. Now become that person for yourself. Read good books not just for having something to talk about but for actually enjoying good content. Work out, eat well, smell great and get your teeth whitened. Not because you have to impress someone else on the first date, because you know you deserve it.

When you treat yourself with this level of dignity, grace, poise and respect, you will become so irresistible and charming that you will have absolutely no trouble being yourself. There is nothing sexier than a person who knows his / her right to be himself / herself and he / she is not afraid to exercise it. And remember, this has nothing to do with phoniness and pretention. It is to do with self-love and self-respect, which you will automatically radiate once you are completely comfortable with yourself.

And think about it – is it really possible to attract a weirdo when you are in such a fabulous space? The low energy / low frequency people will not bother you, simply because they won’t be able to handle you. And the right people will start walking into your life.

Getting Real

All relationships need time, effort, healing, communication and change from time to time. If you have managed to find someone who loves you, respects you, pushes you to chase your dreams and makes you laugh, then don’t become complacent once the initial excitement ends. Loving someone / being married to someone means accepting them for who they are and helping them as much as you can in leading a full life. All this can only happen if two people are fully committed to keeping the relationship fun, exciting, real and authentic.

There will be bad days, sad days, low-energy levels, money issues, career issues, health issues and anything else you can possibly think of – but if the bond is strong and the people are together for the right reasons, then nothing can rock their boat. Including another human being in your life means exposing your raw self and accepting their raw self. And this by all means is no walk in the park. It can get messy, loud, chaotic and dark – but hey that’s life. It can also be a lot of fun – travelling around the world, saving money to put a down payment on your first home, raising a baby together, growing a business together or just chilling in your pyjamas, watching your favourite sitcom.

Keeping the communication channels open is definitely one of the most important things when it comes to sustaining a long-term romantic relationship or marriage. Often people drift apart when they lose interest in expressing themselves, or if they feel neglected by the other person. Lack of honest communication and mutual respect can cause havoc in any intimate relationship. If you think that your relationship is on rocky grounds and you are feeling totally lost, then by all means do not let things take their own course. Take charge of the situation – go for counselling, talk to your significant other, seek advice from a trusted family member or a close friend. If you want to save your relationship or heal a wounded marriage, then it’s time to fill in the gaps instead of shutting each other out.

Sometimes setbacks can cause a lot of trauma to the most firm marriages and commitments. Losing financial security, being struck with a major illness, infidelity, long distance, combating infertility, etc. can be very draining financially and emotionally. Being compassionate, communicative and loving are highly crucial during such testing times.

On the flip side, sometimes you just have to wear your big girl / big boy pants and acknowledge the fact that it is just not working. If after trying everything from counselling to taking a break to trying to work it out is just not helping, then maybe it is time to move on and let the other person go. Heartbreaks can be highly arduous and taxing and you can never really prepare for them. But if two people know for sure that being together is not leading to mutual happiness and growth, then it is time to accept the fact. Holding on to something long after it’s over is not going to help you or the person you are with.

Calling it quits is a lot less complicated when it is mutual. However, if one person wants to move on and other has no clue, that’s when things get really messed up. If you are or have ever been on the receiving end of such a breakup, then my heart truly goes out to you. But remember that you can never force anyone to be with you; don’t hold on to someone who wants to leave, even if you are fairly certain that it’s not over in your heart. On the other hand, if you are the one who has fallen out of love or wants to breakup, then please be dignified, compassionate and handle the situation with poise and grace. Remember, you are dealing with a person you once dearly loved, and it is your responsibility to be gentle, honest and kind and give them all the support and help they need to move on.

Go to Next Chapter – Winners Circle