In my life there has been no greater challenge than the challenge of relationships. I am speaking here now of romantic relationships, although all of my relationships—parental, familial, personal, business—have been a test for me from the very beginning.
I suspect it has been this way for many others as well. Perhaps, for most others. For me, this has been because I never really understood the real purpose or the true meaning of relationships. I didn’t understand how they worked, or how to get them to work. I didn’t know what they were for. I only knew that without them I was miserable.
I’ve had multiple marriages in my life, and that is not something I brag about. Two of my former wives died early in their lives, both after our relationship ended, and I will always regret the sadness and the pain that I know I caused them.
I wish I could go through the rest of my life without hurting anybody. I know now that I don’t stand a chance if I don’t know and understand the purpose of relationships from the ground up.
Unfortunately, there’s no school that teaches these things. You can’t take a high school class in Relationships 101. It’s hard to even find such studies in college. We think we’re teaching it in Social Studies, but that’s not even scratching the surface. It’s going nowhere near the real issues. We have to keep our schools as non-controversial as possible, passing on to our children only that with which everyone agrees, and so we pass on no Grander Wisdom at all.
Only when Conversations with God came along was a door finally thrown open for me. Only when these dialogues occurred was I at last given a beginning grasp of the true miracle and the true gift of relationships—much less a strategy for how to negotiate them.
And I must say that CwG turned all of my previous understandings of relationship—limited as they were—upside-down. Because CwG said things about relationships that were the exact opposite of everything I had ever heard before.
For instance, the startling statement “Relationships Work Best When You Always Do What Is Best For You.” All my life I had been taught that the way to make relationships work was to do what was best for the other. And so, I’d been going around trying to make the other person in the relationship happy, trying to make the other person satisfied, trying to make the other person glad, and fulfilled, and complete.
Now along comes this book of messages from the Divine telling me that I’ve got the emphasis all wrong. It is me that I’m supposed to worry about. It is me that I’m supposed to please. It is me that I’m to pay my attention to.
CwG says that there are only two questions to ask when considering a romantic relationship:
- Where am I going?
- Who is going with me?
And the important thing, CwG says, is not to reverse the order.
All my life I had been doing that. “Who is going with me?” I would ask, then I would decide where I was going. Or, more accurately, where we were going, which was, more often than not, not where I thought that I was going to be going.
In relationships, it’s important to keep things going well by going where you were going to be going. If you’re not going where you were going to be going before the relationship began, then you may not know where you are going—and the relationship may soon be going to hell.
What this little play on words means is that we had better not give up who we are in order to make a relationship work, because all we will do is lose who we are, and the relationship will not work anyway.
You cannot abandon yourself in order to find yourself.
So often in my life I thought that I had finally “found myself” in another. I hated being alone, and so would trade almost anything to have the company of another. What is understandable is wanting the company of another. Humans are social creatures. We do not do well in isolation. That is because we know, intuitively, deep down inside, who we really are (one with everything and everyone), and we wish to experience that. What is sad is wanting the company of another so badly that we give up the company of ourselves. That is, we disappear ourselves so that another may appear.
I did this over and over again in the first five decades of my life. Yes, that’s right, I said the first five decades. It wasn’t until I was a half-century old that I began to figure things out. And here is one of the things I finally figured out:
I will not be alone if I am my true self. Only by trading my true self for the companionship of another have I ever made myself alone. Because when I gave up my real self, I wound up resenting my “significant other” for “making me” do that—and it was this resentment that ate away at our relationship.
I now see clearly that the rock-the-boat truth in Book 1 of the CwG series—that relationships work best when you always do what is best for you—is a life-altering insight. It saves relationships, it does not destroy them. It creates harmony, it does not disrupt it.
That’s because all we are talking about here is honesty. You must act honestly in relationships—that is, you must be true to yourself—and only then do relationships have a chance to really work functionally. Oh, we can have dysfunctional relationships very easily, and all we want, but if functional relationships are what we prefer, then “to thine own self be true” becomes a maxim that cannot be ignored.
Yet CwG opened the door to more than the Land of Self-Honesty for me. It also unveiled for me the real secret of relationships—which is their purpose.
If you want to have some fun sometime, just go around asking people a simple question. Tell them you are taking a survey. Ask them, “What is the purpose of relationships?” You’ll be amazed at the answers you’ll get. What will most surprise you, though, once you’ve read CwG, is the one answer that you will not get. At least, not very often. In fact, hardly ever.
“The purpose of relationship is to provide a Contextual Field within which you may choose and declare, express and fulfill, experience and become Who You Really Are.”
And this is done not through what you get out of your relationship, but through what you put into it.
Relationship does not exist to give you something, relationship exists for you to have something to give.
Outside of the context of a relationship with some other person, place, or thing, you will have no one and nothing to give to. And it is the giving of Who You Are that brings you the experience of it.
And, of course, experiencing Who You Are is why you came here. It is the purpose of all of Life.
So now it looks as if we have come full circle, yes? First I’m saying, “Do what is best for you,” and now I’m saying “it’s only what you give to others that brings you happiness.”
I can see how, at first, this could seem like a contradiction, but stay with me here.
What if giving to others IS what’s best for you? Then you are doing what’s best for you WHILE you are giving to others.
Yet how could giving to others be what’s best for you? Only if you decided that the definition of YOU was larger than your previous definition, and included others. Perhaps, even, ALL others.
If you decide CwG is correct in declaring that We Are All One, then your definition of YOU suddenly takes in everyone and everything—and it certainly takes in the person you say you are in love with.
Therefore, what you do for that “other,” you do for yourself.
Now we have a whole different ballgame. Now, what formerly looked like selflessness begins to look like selfISHness. Which is how it should be. You should feel SELFISH when you do something for another—because there’s nobody else in the room but you.
This depth of understanding of the true nature of relationship renders resentment virtually impossible.
But wait. Does this mean that we have to give up the wants and desires of the “local self” in order to satisfy the wants and desires of the Larger Self?
For me, the answer is no. For only when I have made the Local Self happy can I begin to be happiness for the Larger Self. That is why self-honesty has become so important to me. I have to be honest with my Local Self first, and act in accordance with what I know my own truth to be, before I can even start to think about moving out from there to the Larger Self.
Interestingly, this is what the Larger Self wants!
I know of nobody who is going to feel good if they think that I am sacrificing everything I am and everything I choose in life in order to make them happy. What they really want is for me to be clear about what makes me happy, then to come from that clarity and to live that clarity in all my announcements, choices, and actions. Then they can decide accurately, not based on false data, whether they can be in harmonious relationship with me.
This is what everyone wants. Everyone wants to be in a relationship that works. And that means a relationship that works for everyone—not just for one, not just for some.
Is it possible to achieve this? Is it possible to create it?
I believe it is. CwG says that it is. When I live the messages of CwG as a spiritual discipline, I experience that such relationships become the norm.
-- Neale Donald Walsch
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.