How To Be Committed In Your Relationship Without Feeling Trapped
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
How To Be Committed In Your Relationship Without Feeling TrappedBoost The Power Of Your Partnership With These Tips From Shashi Solluna
I remember the first time I went travelling alone, setting off to India with a backpack on. I left my close circle of friends and headed into a country that was vast beyond my comprehension. I thought that I would really miss my friends, but in fact I discovered something amazing: that I had become whom my friends expected me to be, and that without them I was free to be anyone.
Shashi on her travels
I was known as the party one, always up for a night out and ready to leap on the tabletops to dance. But when I traveled to India I discovered that I didn’t always want to be the extrovert. Sometimes, yes, I still made lots of friends and went exploring things together. But at other times I would arrive in a town and be perfectly happy to sit alone in a café with a good book, indulging in the luxury of being an introvert!
It was through this experience that I realize that relationships can box us into an identity that the other people perceive us to be. But that we can start to feel trapped in this box…always expected to be the funny one, or the sexy one, or the social one, or the antisocial one! But in truth, we are vast beyond belief. We are unlimited beings. We can be anything; our creativity and expression is unlimited. At times when we know this, we feel a great sense of freedom and aliveness that can be so invigorating.
And it is for this reason that many people start to suffer from feeling trapped in relationships. It is not the actual relationship that traps you, but your partner’s perception of who you are. Many people leave a relationship and then say that they are finding themselves again. They pick up that hobby that they sidelined because their partner wasn’t into it; they pack up their bags and go traveling, or they simply give themselves permission to express a different facet of themselves in their life.
During a long-term relationship, I found that I had started to suppress the side of me that loves to perform. I had a partner who would rather drink boiling oil than get on a stage, and so I tended to recluse with him in our house in the jungle. But a huge part of me felt unfulfilled. I perceiving this limitation as being imposed by him, and for awhile I thought I had to leave the relationship to find myself again. However, I shared my fears with him and this empowered me to take a leap and organize a local Open Mic night. To my great joy, I spent much of the next twelve years singing, dancing, reciting spoken word, belly dance, burlesque and a whole heap of exciting co-creations pretty much every single week!
I learned from this that we can so easily become trapped by the expectations and perceptions of our partner, and also by our own perceptions of how we think they expect us to be. Many partners have been shocked when their wife leaves them and suddenly becomes a tango dancer, or their husband leaves and heads off to Bali to take up surfing.
If we are aware of this, then we can find the way to be free within our relationship. We do not need to run away from our beloved in order to express ourselves. It is worth noting that it can feel threatening to someone when their partner suddenly makes a rapid change, so this is a process to be taken delicately with plenty of awareness and communication. Here is a step-by-step guide to integrating freedom into your relationship.
- Write down all of your unfulfilled yearnings! What part of you longs for expression and creative outlet? Or what part feels like it doesn’t get enough time in this relationship?
- Communicate to your partner without attacking them! Don’t go and say “you’ve been holding me back from my passion as a singer and so I am off on a voice training workshop without you!” as your partner will feel attacked. But rather share your desires and then your fears around it. “I’ve always wanted to sing, but I’m afraid you will think it is unimportant, and I am also afraid that I won’t be good enough”
- Ask your partner for support. Make them feel included on your new venture. “Would you be willing to support this by baby-sitting one night a week so I can go to classes? I would really value you standing by me in this”.
- Allow yourselves to be like strangers to each other. Go on dates to places you would never have gone to before! Do new things together. Allow each other to be new people to climb out of any traps built up over time. “Let’s go clubbing!” “Let’s go to Disneyworld” “Let’s sign up for a massage course together” “Let’s go to karaoke” “Tango?”…be creative together so that you can express more sides of yourselves with each other.
- Spice up your sex life! Be creative, playful and new in your physical connection too, as this is such a core part of any intimate relationship. Try not to get caught in habits and patterns too much. As you add more creativity to other areas of your life, you will often find that your sex life changes too. For example if you take up a new form of dance or do a new and exciting activity together, you will probably find that you jump on each other like newly-weds once more!
- Watch out for saying things like “you always do…” and “you are such a…”. Diagnosing and labelling our partner will make them feel trapped inside the relationship. One great method from Tantra is to give compliments to the characteristics that may be more “shy” in our partner, as praise is like watering a tender flower.
- Connect to the vastness of one another. This is best done using the Tantric method of eye-gazing. There’s that cliché that eyes the windows of the soul, and indeed it is helpful to look beyond our partner’s personality and actions, and look again into their vast soul. Who we really are is unlimited, sometimes called “I Am”. When we remember who are are and also recognize that in our partner, we feel an instant freedom. This identity without form is the liberation that spirituality seeks, and so your relationship can actually enlighten you! This method is traditionally called “Transfiguration”.
With these simple steps you can start to unite freedom and commitment together, without needing to compromise. At the same time, you will be using your relationship as a vehicle for spiritual growth, one of the main aims of Tantra.