It is never too late to change. At times there may be aspects of our lives that are no longer satisfying and fulfilling. There is a well-known saying: “the only thing constant in life is change”. Wise words and mostly true, however many people are very resistant to the idea of change. Permanence creates security for us human beings, and often locking in ideas or behaviours assists this sense of security. Some people value challenging themselves and push the boundaries by trying new and exciting adventures, though often our sexual relationships aren’t part of this experimentation. Moreover, some people tend to become hyper-defensive in the face of change; though studies indicate that increased self-efficacy may counter such reactions. So, what does change have to do with conscious relationships?
People enter into and engage in intimate relationships for a variety of reasons. Often this might be simply because this is what has been observed, learned and mimicked since childhood. After all, much of mainstream media teaches us that being involved in a partnership is one of life’s major goals – just watch your telly for adverts that inevitably portray the family home with parents and children. Whatever reasons one might propose for desiring a relationship, there is often little guidance on how to be in a relationship. Ways in which we learn how to engage in relationships includes: observing our parents and those close to us as youngsters; mimicking the way we see relationships being played out in the media (movies, television, gossip magazines) and; watching our friends in their relationships. While these may be useful guides, it is important to remember that we are all individual and our relationships do not necessarily have to look like those which we observe around us.
So, how does one begin to create a more conscious relationship with those in their lives? Initially, it is important to realise that fostering a loving relationship with yourself is the first step to becoming more connected with those around you. Employing self-care and self-love practices are a practical and tangible way in which to start to feel what it might be like to live a more conscious life. Examples of self-care practices include: take yourself to the beach or the bush for a walk and a cup of tea or coffee after; preparing a lovely bath with salts and candles, soaking for a while and feeling the warmth envelop your skin and senses; taking yourself on a solo date to the movies and watching something which indulges your interests; or listening to your favourite music and dancing with abandon. Being cognisant and tending to our own needs is the first step in becoming more available to our loved ones. Once self-care and self –love practices begin to develop, it is likely that those we love will feel this change within us, potentially allowing the space for them to start to connect more with themselves, and ultimately with us too.