We’ve been talking about conscious relationships a lot lately in this space, but we haven’t talked as much about the process of getting to the place where you can actually have a conscious relationship.
It doesn’t happen overnight—you can’t just decide that it’s time for a conscious relationship. I definitely fucking didn’t. So let’s go over the things that got me to the space where I could have a conscious relationship.
Before I could have a conscious relationship, I had to start actually being myself. It is incredibly common to see people start romantic dynamics while wearing a mask. They start out with a facade, and then three months, six months, nine months, a year into a relationship, they can’t keep up the facade anymore.
That’s when the real aspects of their personality come out. Their real interests, the way they actually are, their actual personality, and naturally the person in front of them says, “Hey, I don’t like this. You’re becoming a whole different person.”
You know what happens then? That reaffirms this story they’ve been telling themselves. “See, I knew I couldn’t be myself. I knew it. I’m so awful and unlovable.”
I know this pattern because I’ve gone through it myself. But I finally recognized that the issue isn’t that these parts of myself are unlovable. The issue is that I’m not being upfront about them, so people feel tricked when they’re in a relationship with me.
When expanding your ability to have a conscious relationship, think about where you’re actually being misleading and manipulative by purposely not revealing parts of yourself in order to appear different than you are.
You’re playing the part of whatever you perceive to be more lovable, more acceptable, whatever, but as time moves on, the real you will inevitably start to come out. So why not just be upfront in the beginning? Conscious relationships thrive on honesty.
The next thing I needed before I could have a conscious relationship? I had to learn to actually verbalize my needs.
This is going to come as a massive fucking surprise to a lot of you, but the people you’re dating? They aren’t mind readers.
Before learning how to have a conscious relationship, we often play into this very childish mentality where we want our partners to guess what’s wrong. And when they try to guess and just can’t get it right, we decide that they must not know us at all.
The thing is…do you even know what you need? Are you making them guess because you want them to prove they really know you, or are you making them guess in the hope that they’ll name the need for you?
Have you actually even spent more than fucking two seconds investigating what you need? When you are triggered, do you actually sit and contemplate and get curious about what’s happening for you, or do you start projecting onto your partner?
You want this person you’re with to know what you need when you don’t even fucking know what you need? That’s not going to work, especially not in a conscious relationship.
Let’s spend some time getting clear on what we need, actually taking ownership of that, and then communicating that with our partners.
Next up on the list of conscious relationship prerequisites? I got very, very clear on my must-haves versus my nice-to-haves.
My must-haves were things that were non-negotiable. I was not willing to be in a relationship with someone if those qualities weren’t there.
Now, I see a lot of avoidant-leaning people with this long-ass fucking list of non-negotiables, and it ends up shooting them in the foot. The reality is, most of those qualities are probably not true must-haves. There are probably a lot of nice-to-haves slapped on there. On the other hand, the anxious-leaning people have zero non-negotiables. Everything is a nice-to-have, and that’s not going to help you have a conscious relationship, either.
You need to hit a healthy middle ground. You need to have non-negotiables—meaning that if it’s not present, you walk away, period. If a certain quality—honesty, for instance—is not present, we walk away.
This is why people don’t want to get clear on what they see as non-negotiable. This is why people don’t want to do the work, because they know if they actually realize they need honesty, and this motherfucker is not providing that, they’re going to have to leave.
For me, I had a few must-haves. Some of them were integrity, honesty, transparency, communication, curiosity…and those are the bare minimum you should be requiring, by the way.
Let’s stop pretending that we don’t have needs, that we don’t have desires, that we don’t have non-negotiables, that we don’t have boundaries. I swear, knowing what I really wanted and sticking to it fully changed the game for me when it came to conscious relationships, because I embodied someone who had high self-worth, and then I met a man who had equally high self-worth.
Before I could have a conscious relationship, I learned to embody all the qualities that I desired in a partner. I wasn’t going around saying, “I want a man who is honest and communicates well and has integrity,” but following that up with doing cooked shit. That doesn’t make sense–again, it’s asking someone else to do something that you’re unwilling to do. When seeking a conscious relationship, let’s actually have a congruency check and see if these things that we so desperately want in a partner are actually things we’re projecting so we don’t have to take responsibility for that quality within ourselves.
The next thing I did before getting in a conscious relationship? I lived a life that I was proud of.
I didn’t want to live this boring life, end up starved for human connection, and then turning my partner into my main source of happiness. I was living a very, very fulfilling life when I met my partner Drew.
I have incredible friendships. I love my home. I love my car. I love my job. I love my clients. I feel very, very fulfilled in my life. I was not waiting for some man to swoop in on his white horse and be my knight in shining armor and make my life good. I already had an exceptional life, and then my partner was the cherry on top to that.
If you’re living a life that you are literally embarrassed to bring someone into, I would clean that up before even thinking about pursuing a conscious relationship–or any relationship. A man is not going to fix that, I promise you, and it’s going to feel very heavy for him, because he is going to recognize that he is your only source of happiness. Nobody wants to feel that.
The next piece of becoming someone who could be in a conscious relationship: I started actually implementing boundaries.
If there was disrespect, if there was emotional manipulation, if there were any sort of games like the silent treatment being played, I ended it.
In the beginning, that behavior was something that I would tolerate, and eventually it shifted into a zero tolerance policy…but I had to make that decision consciously.
I have a story I want to share about this. My pattern in the past was that I was always the one who was broken up with.
There was secondary gain in that for me, because I’d always get to play the victim and say it was all their fault. But actually what was happening behind closed doors was that I was acting like a complete asshole and pushing them away to the point where they would leave me, and then I would cry about how it just kept happening to me. That was some leaky-ass bratty bullshit that I needed to clean up.
So with one of my relationships that ended, he ended it with me, and then we did this back-and-forth for a few months. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but there were so many instances of disrespect, and the anxious-avoidant dynamic between us became so paramount that I actually got to the point where I couldn’t do it anymore.
Still, it took everything in me to finally step out of that dynamic. I remember him making a final attempt to contact me, and he’d started doing all the things that I had wanted him to do when we were together. He was doing all the things: the therapy, the retreats, the work, all of it. And I was like, “Oh my God. Finally.”
But I remember having this moment where a thought struck me so clearly: “If you are not the one to walk away here, you are going to continue to fucking repeat this pattern until you die.”
I remember this feeling that it was very, very, very important that I was the one to leave. So I actually said, “That’s beautiful. I love that for you. But I’m actually final on my decision.” And that changed everything for me, because it’s one thing to say that you’re not going to tolerate something anymore, then continuing to fucking tolerate it. It’s another to actually not tolerate it.
That was a very, very pivotal moment for me. So I suggest you reflect on your own life and see where you might always be the one who’s being left, and maybe it’s actually on you to end it, because that’s harder.
When I was being left, I didn’t have to take responsibility for it. It was all them. They were the bad guy. I was just the poor, innocent girl who got broken up with, I didn’t do anything wrong. But when I’m the one who’s actually leaving, that is a hundred percent my choice, and I have to take responsibility for that choice.
If you want to have a conscious relationship, you need to be willing to take responsibility, because relationships require responsibility.
Like I said, these things won’t happen overnight. But the big thing to take away from this is that the key to becoming someone who can be in a conscious relationship is action. You have to do the work to realize what you want, what you need, what you need to commit to, what you need to change, etcetera…and then you have to make the choices that go along with it.
Join Brat School, an emotional intelligence school for bratty bitches: https://michellepanning.thrivecart.com/brat-school/
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I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”