Any relationship is supposed to be a 50/50 proposition, an equally shared interaction where each person has an equal portion of responsibility. On the surface, this seems obvious. While 50/50 may be a realistic way of looking at relationships, it may not be the most useful way.
By accepting equal responsibility, you give away half of your power. You can only take 50% responsibility for the state of the relationship, and only half of the ability to change it. If things go wrong you will tend to look at the other person’s 50% as the cause of the problem. Also, you will expect and demand at least 50% from the other person. This will lead to a comparison and examination of each of your performances in the relationship. It will lead to resentment if you feel the other person is not pulling their weight. You will end up keeping a tally sheet of what and how much you or they did or didn’t do. Love deteriorates into a bargain you make with each other, and your ongoing efforts to ensure that the other person fulfills their part of the deal.
I would like you to consider something that’s radically different, something that may seem very odd and difficult to do. Consider your love and your relationships as your responsibility—100%. This is not 100%/100%. It goes beyond that. Whether your partner gives back 100% or 50% or 10% or 5% is not the issue. The only relevant factor is the quality of love you give.
Does this mean that your partner is not in any way accountable for the state of the relationship? Does it mean that what they say and do will have no effect on the relationship? No! Of course their words of behavior have an effect. They too have 100% responsibility (if they choose to accept it). And if they choose not to accept it, so be it. You taking responsibility for your love simply means that you focus on your part. Period. Not on your partner.
In practical terms, this entails refraining from blaming your partner when things go wrong. It requires, when problems arise, for you to look inside yourself for your part, not just theirs. It requires you to examine what you could have done more skillfully and lovingly. It demands you lead with your love…do the loving thing. And do it irrespective of your partner’s participation, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you know they are wrong, even when they are just being stubborn or spiteful.
I know this is difficult to ask, but assuming 100% responsibility will make you powerful…filled with power. It will allow you to take all your relationships in your own hands. This is where true freedom lies.
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