Build and Maintain Happiness Through Self-Sufficiency: Week Two—Self-Sufficiency in Relationships
Last week, I introduced you to the idea of claiming your own happiness through self-sufficiency. We talked about the basic idea of self-sufficiency, and I said it’s possible to prevent suffering by strengthening your own self-sufficiency. If you missed this intro post of this 5-week series, you can review it here.
Given that we live in relationships all the time, I thought I’d talk to you about how relationships work when you are working on self-sufficiency. Good news: it is possible to have both! Also, this advice doesn’t just pertain to romantic relationships—it can apply to friendships and business relationships as well.
When you become self-sufficient, you’ll have an abundance to share with others, and you’ll come from a space of freedom and independence, rather than from a space of expectation that you need to receive something in return.
Have you ever had a relationship with someone who makes you wonder why you maintain that relationship? If you are self-sufficient, you will never question your motives for why you are with someone because you have taken the time to make sure that your relationships respect your self-sufficiency and even encourage it. Relationships should be built on the ideal that you can continue to build on your self-sufficiency while in that relationship; together you look for ways to foster self-sufficiency.
This does not mean you cannot do things together. Quite the opposite! It means that you enjoy the company of others more because your happiness is not at risk by being with them. It’s actually enhanced because you both know what is important to each other and you cherish that. It means that you encourage each other to continue to build the underlying muscle of self-sufficiency through practice. You agree that being happy and free from suffering is a worthwhile goal that should be constant—even when times are good and not just a fall-back position when things get tough.
When the muscle for self-sufficiency is developed, it becomes clear which people in your life are good for you and which are not. The challenge, then, is learning how to navigate through a relationship while being true to your pursuit. You need to know whether someone is simply not catering to your preferences or if they are genuinely not good for you.
And if you discover (by developing insight into the truth about your relationship) that your relationship isn’t good? You will likely find yourself in a bind. You’ll know that something isn’t right, but how do you untangle yourself from an unskillful relationship in a skillful manner?
One thing to keep in mind is that building self-sufficiency will change you, and others will notice. It is important to have compassion for others as they adjust to the new you, but don’t let that deter you. Developing skills to not cause harm while maintaining your self-sufficiency in relationships is hard work, but it is worth it. It may be uncomfortable being a leader, but someone has to do it and it may as well be you since skillful leadership is better than the alternative.
I am not a relationship expert, and I cannot tell you what to do, but I will say that this is all part of the lesson in self-sufficiency. It is slow and sometimes painful. But it’s so important that you keep going. The answers will become obvious.
Self-sufficiency is worth the price we have to pay. The good thing is that the practice I am going to tell you about also builds the power of discernment and the courage to act on your insights. So, I hope you stay with me as we continue this journey together.
Next week, we will dive a bit more into how self-sufficiency can ease suffering.
Have you ever had to re-evaluate a relationship because it didn’t respect your own self-sufficiency journey?
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