Relationships are one of the most important elements in our lives. When they flourish, they enrich us exponentially. Likewise, when they suffer, we do as well. But what if we had the power to transform suffering into serenity simply by putting our spiritual principles into practice?
Spiritual Practices for Your Relationship
SIMPLE, NOT EASY
Everyone has heard the adage: practice what you preach. It’s simple, but not easy. We often choose more complex routes of deliberation and contemplation because both postpone the work of application. But if we want to see a difference, we must be different.
Rather than allowing our conditioning and comfort to eclipse the light of personal development, we can apply certain universal principles in the areas that are toughest to surrender: relationships. Specifically, intimate partnerships.
PARADIGMS, PERSPECTIVES AND VAIN PHILOSOPHIES
Most of us lack the paradigms to rightly root our relationships. Teachers often tell us what to do without modeling how to do it in daily life. Yet, if we are willing to shift our perspective of relationships, viewing them as the ideal playground for putting our spiritual principles into practice, we invite a wonderland of possibility for dynamic growth and personal development.
We reclaim our power by assuming responsibility for self-mastery rather than feeding our compulsion for outer control. The principles that were once vain philosophies we discussed over chai lattes after yoga become asanas on the mat of life.
If you’re ready to see transformation and not just seek it, here are five practices to get you started.
PRACTICE #1: BECOME YOUR IDEAL PARTNER
We have all heard of “the list” of attributes some create to attract their ideal mate. However, we seldom hear of said souls creating a similar list for themselves. Consider the possibility that the elements you find so vital to a relationship are the ones you are responsible for bringing to the table.
When you curate your ideal mate list, you are essentially outlining the attributes you believe will make you happy. But since your happiness is your responsibility, wouldn’t it be wise not to leave it in another’s hands?
My grandmother used to say, “If you need something, make sure YOU bring it!” Just as an asthmatic would never expect their friends to bring an inhaler, so too would it be behoove you to focus your energies on cultivating your needs, desires and expectations within yourself.
PRACTICE #2: LOVING WITH AN OPEN HAND
No one can completely control another person’s thoughts, words or actions. Yet, there are a myriad of manipulative tactics that are proposed by everyone from relationship coaches to families. Loving with an open hand means allowing others to be as they are with full acceptance.
This may mean releasing your agenda to honor someone else’s growth OR stepping away from a relationship altogether if it does not align with what you most deeply desire. When you love with an open hand, you don’t require on someone else to be a certain way for you to live in your “yes.”
Rather, you accept who they are in the moment and ask yourself, In what capacity can I most fully accept the human before me? With that, you surrender any tactics that would interfere with the person’s authentic nature and free will, and take full responsibility for courageously choosing that which honors your truth.
PRACTICE #3: COMPASSION
Compassion is grace-infused kindness. It forgives before being asked and understands nobody is perfect. Especially you. When you practice compassion, you treat your beloved the way you would a child who has erred. Not with condescension, but with understanding that each of us has a wounded child within that “acts out” in varying ways.
The key to compassion is that it begins within. If you are a perfectionist or extremely hard on yourself, it can be difficult to be compassionate with another. Practice seeing and embracing your own flaws. Then, extend it to another.
PRACTICE #4: RELINQUISH EXPECTATIONS
Expectations extinguish love, which is freely given. When we hold people to a law of our own making, punishing them whenever they fall short and rewarding them when they do as we please, we add pressure where passion wants to bloom.
Remember, expectations are best for holding yourself accountable. Allowing room for your beloved to choose freely rather than obligating them keeps the relationship breathable and trustworthy.
PRACTICE #5: GRATITUDE
Gratitude is expressed appreciation. It goes beyond saying, “Thank you” into a realm of reciprocity. When we are grateful, it shows. Joy becomes a constant companion even in challenging times.
When we are grateful, we remember the beauty amid the storm. Moreover, we seek beauty in every circumstance, knowing that what we seek we find. Finally, we embody the beauty we seek knowing that we fuse with what we focus on. We become embodied inspiration for more gratefulness.
This is not about ignoring challenges as they arise, but rather establishing gratitude as a baseline from which all our perspectives sprout.
PRACTICE #6: WATER YOURSELF
There are two cliches that are also true: we can only love another as much as we love ourselves and no one will ever love us more than we love ourselves. This is because our relationships are mirrors.
When “loving” another means putting ourselves at a disadvantage, it is not love. It is sacrifice or manipulation. Either way, it is not sustainable long-term. Thus, the more we water ourselves, the more we free others to do the same and the clearer we become on what love truly is.
Give yourself the things that foster your holistic wellbeing. Whenever possible, tell the truth to yourself first. Then act on that truth. No explanations are needed when clear action is taken.
When you treat yourself well, the whole world tends to mirror the same level of care back to you. And when you share from your overflow, you are less likely to resent being depleted from filling someone else’s cup.
Remember that your spiritual practices are yours and yours alone. However, they only matter when they are applied. If you take time to practice what you preach, or apply what you have affirmed, you just may find that your relationships burst into bloom in ways you could have never foreseen.
Najwa Immanuel is a freelance writer and modern-day medicine woman based on the East Coast, USA. Her moments are spent studying the energetics of wellness, tending her Substack newsletter, Extraordinary Moments, Everyday Miracles and midwifing persons birthing everything from babies to businesses.