Being in a loving relationship and finding that middle ground between completely depending on the other person and being entirely self-absorbed and absent can be the most difficult thing in your life. It's a balance to practice and acknowledge the areas that can either lead you into a trap of either hanging on to every little word people say or do in response to you, or becoming a cold robot that essentially has no feelings. Believe it or not, having the middle ground is achievable.
Many people enter a relationship expecting it to make all of their woes go away and provide eternal fulfillment. Not even a relationship, some people enter nights thinking that they need the satisfaction of someone flirting or potentially getting with that person that night. People think that a night is ruined if they don't end up getting with someone or seem interested or intriguing by someone. By looking for satisfaction or happiness that way, you will always be disappointed. Whether you get with that person or you don't, the real problem that's occurring is that you feel the need to look for validation in others and not within yourself.
Good news is that you can escape that state of mind by starting from a simple realization: our true happiness cannot be found in others, rather we have to look inside ourselves to find it. The path to reclaiming your happiness and possibly saving your relationship can be broken down into several steps.
1. Start looking for happiness within you, not those around you.
We are often conditioned to seek happiness in things that surround us. After all, much of the modern economy revolves around the cycle of generating and satisfying needs with things. The answer lies in realizing that people are not things to fulfill our voids. Their job is not to make us happy — they are probably struggling just as hard as themselves. If I've learned one thing at all this year, it's that the only thing that can continue to make you happy is you and not others.
2. Get comfortable being on your own.
Just sit and listen to your thoughts. “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else” they say and for a reason — because it’s a simple truth. If you're insecure, you can't expect someone else to solve that for you. It doesn't matter how many times your boyfriend, girlfriend, friends or family tell you how special and amazing you are as a person. At the end of the day, the only person to change your thinking is you.
3. Start creating and explore your potential, because you have it.
It’s not uncommon for people to “hide” in a relationship, afraid of really giving their all and achieving their potential. Not just relationships, but hiding in general. You were beaten down to believe that you can't do things and your insecurities have you believing that lie. You have so much potential in ways that you couldn't even imagine. The key is to break the cycle and start an activity — join a cooking class, work on your fitness level or start creating music. Think of something that you could never see yourself doing in a million years, and do it. You'll be surprised what you learn from yourself and your abilities. Any activity that draws creativity from you and teaches you about yourself can help you. Once you experience the joy of doing something really well and learning from your mistakes, you will be less prone to depending on others to fulfill you.
4. Complain less
Notice the moment when you jump into that “whine mode” and stop yourself right away. Instead of focusing on the negative, drill yourself to draw your attention to the positive, however silly it may sound. Soon enough, you will rewire your thought patterns and suffer the burden of complaining a lot less. Ever heard of the expression "fake it 'til you make it"? The more you try to get yourself to believe something, the more likely it is that it will happen. If you don't feel confident, pretend that you are until you gain the experience or tools necessary that it is all for being the person that you want to become.
5. Stop being so needy
Also, notice the moment when you are being needy with people. Become aware of how the pattern repeats and then train yourself to break it the next time. Sure, we should rely on others at times, but you have to be independent with your life and your emotions, as well. Being dependent is great, but the point where you get overly-dependent is when there is a problem. Over-dependency is when you find yourself struggling to return the emotional independence when needed. For a lot of people, it means worrying and obsessing over what everyone thinks of them, especially in a social setting.
Now, I'm not saying that these are easy to achieve. In fact, they're quite hard. However, if we challenge ourselves by trying to complete these major aspects every day, maybe we can actually enjoy ourselves, feel happy and not look for satisfaction through others. Once you're happy with yourself and your life, you won't believe how great it feels to go out to that party or to dinner with people. Everything you once relied on to feel better about yourself vanishes and there is no more constant anxiety over yourself.