There’s the old adage that relationships take work… but why is that? Does it have anything to do with the fact that we were warned by our mothers, as the Shirelles sang in 1961: Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQlImg2bm28
Maybe… But there has to be another reason…
I recently came across a picture of stick figures working to find the love balance. There they were – putting their little red hearts on the balance beams, until they were finally able to reach the point where each individual was equally invested. That picture illustrated several important relationship points:
1) Achieving balance will require the efforts and investment of BOTH parties
2) Imbalance will be inevitable, until balance is achieved
3) The process of finding balance is evolutionary – it is not a static/fixed point, which means it can and will change.
Although point #1 seemed like a no-brainer to me… I must admit, #2 and #3 did cause me to pause. Let me explain.
Point #2 points out that imbalance is a natural part of achieving balance within a relationship. So why did I find that so unsettling? After reflecting, I realized that I was hoping, in some naive way, that “the right relationship” would mean that I could avoid any and ALL uncomfortable feelings! However, not only is that impossible, I also now realize that way of existing would be limiting.
As Michael Singer explains in the Untethered Soul,
“don’t think you’d be free if you didn’t have [negative] kinds of feelings. If you can be free even though you’re having these kinds of feelings, then you’re really free – because there will always be something”.
So moral of the story, it’s important to get cozy with the idea that there will be imbalance and discomfort in a relationship. That’s okay. If both people are invested, you will work through and get to the place of balance.
Now on to point #3. That one was unsettling because it raised the idea that after putting in the hard work to achieve the balance earned in point #2, there would be moments where the whole process would have to be started all over again! Yikes! Which then leads back to my opening line about relationships requiring work.
Yes… the process of sustaining balance is a continuous one – just as the process of understanding oneself is a never-ending one. We will always need to make the conscious decision to love — love for others, love for ourselves. Each moment, of life, will beg the question of will you take the risk to be aware and learn or will you retreat into old habits and patterns?
Although I initially felt somewhat intimidated by the uncertainty involved in finding and keeping the balance in love, I now find comfort in the fact that I always have the power to choose. It is this ability of choice that leaves me feeling empowered, strengthened, and encouraged to love each and every day. And that I believe is what they call finding the balance…