By Rev. Marla Sanderson
It’s about me. All the joy, all the pain. There I am. Want to make it better? Consider these four statements about relationships and see if you can find your own power at the center of it all.
1. I experience Love when I feel good about the way you are.
No mystery here. When I feel good about you, I can love you. When I don’t feel good about you or what you’re doing, I can’t. When I love you, I’m happy. When I’m angry or fearful, I’m not. It’s a selfish thing for me to love you just the way you are.
Expand this idea now just a little to “I feel good about the way IT is.” If I always feel good no matter what’s happening, I have more happy times in my life. The more stuff that upsets me, the less time I get to be happy.
Even when people don’t give me what I want.
Even when life seems to rain on my parade.
Even when I don’t get my way.
Even when things don’t go well.
Even when _____ (fill in the blank).
What if I expand it to “I feel good about the way I am?” Gee, I could feel good about myself…
Even when I fall on my face or make a fool of myself.
Even when I make a mistake or say something stupid.
Even when I don’t have a date on Saturday night.
Even when I am not popular or pretty or as strong as ___.
I could probably fill in many other blanks.
What if I feel good about myself all the time no matter what? I might be more confident—More expressive—Less critical of others—More willing to express love and friendship. I could be happy more often!
2) The less you fill my needs, meet my standards, or live up to my concepts of how you should be, the less I experience love.
Uh-oh. Back to Step 1. Is this too easy?
Lets see. How much happiness do I want to have in this relationship? Am I willing to love you without controlling, blaming, or getting even?
Are these needs real? They certainly feel real when you do something I get upset about. But not everyone gets upset about the same things. Hmmm. Maybe they’re not as real as I thought. Maybe they’re just some notion I’ve come to believe in.
What about my standards? Don’t I have a right to them? Of course I do. And don’t I have a right to suffer just as much as anyone else? Oh, wait …
3) These needs, standards, and concepts are programmed into me and I can change them.
We have many sources to thank for our unhappy/unhealthy relationship programming. Fairy tales, movies, songs, TV, parents, and churches all contributed, and I’m sure we can think of more. Past experiences also did their part to create the programming that makes us unhappy today. But we don’t have to accept it.
It’s all up to me since I decide when and how to express more love. I don’t have to be a slave to my programming. I can stop making excuses, stop blaming someone else, stop feeling like a victim, and take charge of myself. You can too.
4) When I change them, I feel Love more often and my relationships work better.
So now you see who has the power to make you happy in all your relationships.
Awareness is a giant first step. When you’re tempted to react to a person or situation with emotional upset, remember you have other options. Talk back to your programming. Instead of yelling at someone else, yell at your programming (best when you’re alone).
Tell yourself, “It’s OK for _____ to happen.” (or for ____ to be the way he/she is).
Or even, “It’s OK for me to _____.”
Top it off with, “I’m OK even if _____.”
As I said before, PRACTICE! Nobody starts out a master. If you’ve ever wished for a relationship where you had all the power—one that wasn’t always about “them”—you‘ve got it.
It’s ALL about you!
Rev. Marla Sanderson has been a student of spiritual practice for more than 35 years. She began as Assistant Director of The Next Step, a psychic and spiritual community in a New Mexico ghost town. She’s been a workshop leader, teacher, practitioner, and minister of Living Love, and the Science of Mind. She recently founded the New Thought Global Network, a virtual “church” that offers inspiration anytime, from anywhere. The site showcases many powerful Science of Mind and New Thought speakers and writers, and intends to expand these teachings to the world. Check it out at www.newthoughtglobal.org.