Love them or hate them, relationships are one of life's greatest teachers. Whether the experience is labeled good or bad, you learned something. I believe, as much as relationships are how you interact with others, it is all about you.

Relationships are inherently selfish. Even when you are doing something for another person, doesn't it make you feel good, too? When you are interacting with another person, you are able to put into practice who you are and how you want to be, even to utilize your love language. If you desire to be compassionate, you need to interact with others in some way that allows you to practice being compassionate. That's why relationships of any kind are important. They provide you space to be who you want to be and to practice that. They exist so you can make something you believe about yourself into something that you know about yourself.

Relationships require work, without a doubt. The type of work you do with other's all begin with your own thoughts. If you see something in someone else that you want you praise, take the opportunity to make that connection. It all began by you noticing something that brought you joy. What better way to express your joy than with someone else. Allow yourself to feel good in every moment with others.

The other side of that, if you see something negative in someone that is upsetting to you, I fully believe that it is not the other person making you feel anything. It's all how you are responding to something. I will refer to it as a mirror. When you see something in others that causes a reaction, it's because something within them is reflecting back to you, an aspect of self or some perception/expectation you may have. When there is something perceived as a negative is reflected back, it's out of a misunderstanding (of self). Misunderstandings with others come from having your own perspective that does not harmonize with their perspective. It takes work to harmonize after a misunderstanding, and it all comes from within, from you. You can say you have an open mind, but are you willing to look at a situation and hear what someone else unpacks as their perspective and opinions? That's the work.

What makes the work worth it?

It's the unconditional- Divine love that can be experienced, and for your Self. I will never say you have to love yourself or even feel like you like yourself, before you are enter in to a connection with someone. There are too many opportunities to grow within interactions, but I will advocate that you have to be able to say sorry and understand your ego for any thing to work out long term. From my personal experience, learning to say, "I'm sorry," and understand my actions and take accountability for how they might impact someone else.

I have learned through lessons of hurting people through my words and actions and my excuse was that it was not my intentions. It took me time to learn that I have to stop and hear how I am acting in a relationship that is causing a trigger and humble enough to learn how my actions and words can better match my intentions.

An example of this in my life that I like to use is a time I reacted to a feeling. I was having a conversation with my partner in the kitchen about love languages and how I would like physical touch to be expressed. I said, "you don't hug me enough." I can remember it so vividly because the look on his face changed to display how hurt he felt. My desire was to get more hugs, and saying it in the way I did made him feel like he was not doing enough for me. I am so blessed to have a partner that was able to express that he was hurt and brought my attention to it, it also took almost a decade of work together to get to this space, and I had to humble my ego. He mentioned to me that if I would have just said that I would like more hugs, it would have been okay. He expressed the way I said it made him feel like he was lacking in some way. This was during a period of my health not being the greatest and he was stepping in and stepping up in new ways, working very hard to keep me comfortable. For him to hear that he wasn't doing something enough for me, really hit a place of hurt. We came to see how I can speak differently, and it's through being honest and clear about my desires and needs, and I got more hugs.

My intentions were not clear so my impact was negative. The work required from me is to get clear, and allow myself to be vulnerable in expressing my desires and clear about what I want. The ability to practice that lesson within my closest relationship will expand into other areas of my life as well. I desire to be clear about my desires so the intentions of my words align with my actions. I desire direct honesty within my relationships, so I must practice that as well.

It is an ego response to explain my intentions rather than apologize, take accountability, and do the work. That is my commitment to them, and my Self, to find new ways to grow and express myself in ways that make me feel safe and loved as well as others. If I can create the space for others to experience that, my life will have served it's purpose.

Everything I have gone through has led to a life that I am proud of, a life that is filled with love that was gained through some very hard lessons.

Understanding your ego is the most important thing you can do for your relationships. Communication is the tool used grow together. You don't have to show up with perfect communication, you just have to be willing to learn and say sorry. I believe honest communication should always be the ideal.

Again, this is all a perspective, my perspective from my personal experiences and I'm just hoping my shortcomings can be used by wise people willing to do the work instead of needing to learn the lesson. A type of survival guide that might only make sense to one other person.

I love you, be kind to others.