Most of us can agree that although life can be hard, it is also grand. I believe that every experience and every person in life is in service to our growth and our personal soul work. However, are some of us are gluttons for punishment or what?

Have we been caught up in this new age theory that if you don’t give it all, you are not really loving, compassionate or evolved. Hogwash! It’s all about choice. If you do give it all you are either co-dependent or scared. So here are some new rules for the game, what my clients call Dina-izms, that just might serve you better.

Never work harder on another’s issues than that person is willing to work on him or herself. If you are working harder than your partner to have a good relationship, you have already been abandoned and you are already alone. That goes for friends, family and associates as well. Does that mean bail out of relationships early? Absolutely not, but if you continue to be the only one working on issues, not only are you enabling bad behavior but you are also self-sabotaging. Remember that you never get abandoned unless you abandon yourself first.

If your intuition tells you that something is amiss – guess what – it is! So many times we enter into agreements or contracts or ordinary relationships knowing that there is something not quite right. We tell ourselves that things will get better. Or we’ll figure it out later – and then when what we suspected to be true all along turns out to be correct – we are mad at the other person. Go figure. Many people say, It must be me. You are right it is you and something inside of you called insight or inner wisdom is saying slow down, all the information is not in yet or – stop go the other way. Listen.

Love and sacrifice are not the same thing! Let’s face it there have been a multitude of martyrs in the world and they have done a great job! They are now called saints. But if you have become someone’s doormat it is because you voted to be walked on and the only person who can get up off that floor is you. When you are sacrificing the truth of who you are and what you need in order to stay in a relationship you have become a martyr. In addition, you are setting yourself up for abandonment because the only way your partner can ever feel good about him or herself is to leave you. The only way can ever feel good about who you are is to leave your partner. Real love is truthful, balanced, equal and reciprocal. When this is not your experience, you may be just filling someone else’s needs and you are no longer their beloved. You have a right to get love back.

Loving someone else is never about the other person – it’s about you. It’s about your capacity to embrace fully, show up, and be present and authentic. So if someone rejects your love, stop taking it personally or feeling sorry for yourself, just find a better-suited match. When you begin to doubt that there is someone for everyone, go sit in a shopping mall and just watch the couples going by. You’ll get the idea.

Become curious and seek to understand others, not change them. The bottom line is the only thing that ever changes someone is fear or good feelings. Think about it. When was the last time YOU changed anybody? If you can just get to acceptance, first for yourself and then for everyone else the judgment and pain that separates you from others will disappear. There will be nothing to change and nothing to judge. You will just make decisions based upon what is appropriate to you and the lessons on your path. It’s all good.

Finally, stop acting as if you don’t know the truth stop being willing to put up with bad behavior – yours or theirs. In 26 years of counseling I have never met a single person who did not know at some level, conscious or unconscious, that the person they were about to marry, or get into bed with, was really not capable of loving them back. We no longer have the luxury of wasting our lives hanging out waiting for our partners to wake up. Do they have to think the same, be the same or want exactly the same kind of path? NO! But they do have to be willing to wake up and grow otherwise there is no chance of having sacred relationship and that’s the only kind for which people stay.

It is time to come out of the chaos and drama of blaming our parents; life circumstances or a higher deity who made us do it. The bottom line is that we are responsible for the quality of our own lives. No. Let me correct that. We get to be responsible for our lives and the quality of life we experience. Do you know what that means? The most precious gift you have as human beings is your right to choose. What do you want your life to look like? Your next choice will tell you.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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