It is time to build a new paradigm for relationships.
We are approaching a period in history where relationships are ready to undergo a major redesign, as it’s becoming clear that are current system isn’t working.
Most relationships serve to satisfy our own needs. Our need to feel loved, our need to feel secure, or our need to be of a certain status. Relationships have become extremely selfish.
We’ve fallen into the myth as a society that if we just find our one and only, someone who is attractive enough, fun enough, and does all the right things at the right time, then we’ll live happily ever after.
This simply isn’t the case.
We can see the effects with the ever-increasing divorce rate, more people feeling lonely, and millions of young people completely lost trying to navigate a complicated world of dating that involves more hookup apps than real conversation.
So, what is a conscious relationship?
It’s a romantic relationship in which both partners feel committed to a sense of purpose and that purpose is growth. Both individual and collective growth as a couple and as a force to make the world a better place.
When two people come together with the intention of growth, the relationship evolves towards something much greater than individual satisfaction. The partnership becomes a journey into a loving evolution that allows both partners to expand and grow more than they could alone.
Is it a perfect linear path? Definitely not. The fact that it’s going to be difficult at times and challenge you is exactly what makes it worthwhile.
If you feel called to take your experience of love to the next level, below are five qualities that characterize what this path is all about.
1. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their own shit.
We live in a world where we’ve come to expect everything to be easy, including our relationships. Many of us still believe that a relationship should only feel good, and when bad feelings come up, something has gone wrong.
Conscious couples understand that each partner enters into a relationship with their own emotional wounds, triggers, and patterns. When these come up, it’s not necessarily because your partner did something wrong, or that the relationship itself is wrong, it’s the consequence of our own beliefs.
The other night my husband and I started to argue over a fear in the relationship that has come up for me in the past. He directly said to me, “Maybe it’s your ego you need to get over.”
Now I could have been extremely hurt by this statement and avoided talking to him for days. But the truth is that he was right. I had to own my own shit, see the truth in this statement, and figure out within myself how to move past it.
The conscious couple is willing to look at their past and current issues in relationships, because they know that by facing these belief patterns, they can evolve into a new relationship that is more deeply soul satisfying.
2. There’s a strong foundation of mutual acceptance.
Differences in a relationship don’t destroy relationships. It’s how the individuals deal with the inevitable differences that count the most.
Some couples spend years trying to change each other’s minds, but it can’t always be done, because many of their differences are rooted in how they view the world and themselves.
In a conscious relationship, each person respects their partner above all else. They may sometimes disagree with them, they may not always be attracted to them, but they always have an appreciation and respect for them. The foundation of love that they rest on is to let the other be unapologetically themselves, without trying to change them to fit our own perception of how they should be.
3. Growth comes first.
Conscious relationships consist of two people who are committed to lifelong loving and learning. They’re curious about things. They wish to learn from each other and from the world. They afford each other the freedom to develop as two unique individuals.
We’re here to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Without growth, we aren’t fulfilling our soul’s purpose.
One of the reasons many people fall out of romantic love is because the relationship stifles growth more than it enhances it. This is usually perceived as one person in the relationship being “clingy.”
They don’t want their partner to grow and change or to experience new opportunities without them. This stems from a fear of loss that may seem to work for a while until the relationship suddenly feels like a cage. But the truth is, we’ve caged ourselves.
Conscious relationships understand that each partner has a need for both security and freedom, and they allow each other these freedoms with mutual respect, trust, and understanding in order to grow.
4. Positive communication is devotedly practiced.
One thing that kills more relationships than anything else is poor, or complete lack of, communication. We expect our partners to know what we want without expressing it. The truth is that your partner isn’t a mind reader and can’t know what you want or expect from them without you directly communicating it.
Start communicating as clearly and simply as possible. Listen deeply to your partner without coming up with a defense. Look at things from their perspective as well as your own. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Even if you don’t understand exactly where they’re coming from, you can still respect them.
Allow all feelings in the conversation to be welcome. This is an edgy concept and it’s not easy to do, but it allows for the most healing possible in a partnership.
5. A conscious relationship is a safe space to practice love.
Love is not only our highest truth, it is also a practice. It is a practice of acceptance, of extreme vulnerability, of forgiveness, and presence.
A conscious couple understands that love is a daily journey. It’s about showing up for all the unexpected and sometimes unwanted parts of a relationship and asking yourself, “What would love do here?” The answer will help you to think and grow beyond yourself.
Above all else in the relationship, they are devoted to this practice of love. They love themselves. They love their partners. They love others. They know that they are 100% complete and that their partner helps to compliment their already whole selves. They’ve learned to let those walls down around their heart, slowly but surely, and open up to great, wonderful love.
Author’s Note: This article was inspired by Shelly Bullard’s original article “4 Qualities of a Conscious Relationship.”