Untangle the bonds of your life

The more satisfying your relationships, the more fulfilling your life—learn to express rather than seek happiness to strengthen your ties

man and woman sitting together

The quality of relationships that you hold in your life largely decides the very quality of life that you live. So when something plays such an important role in your life, I think it needs to be looked at. So what is the basis of a relationship? Why do human beings need a relationship first of all?

Relationships fulfil needs

Relationships are formed on different levels, various types of relationships to fulfil different types of needs. The need may be physical, psychological, emotional, social, financial or political—it could be any kind. But to fulfil various needs within a human being, relationships are established on different levels.

Whatever the nature of the relationship, whatever the type of relationship, the fundamental aspect remains the same—you have a need to fulfil. You might say, “No I have nothing to get, I want to give.” Giving is also as much a need as receiving, isn’t it? Yes? I have to give something to somebody—this is also as much a need as I have to receive something. So there is a need, whatever kind of need. Needs may be diverse, accordingly relationships could be diverse.

Now, the moment we form a relationship wanting to fulfil a certain need and if that need is not fulfilled then that relationship goes bad. For whatever purpose, we form a relationship, if those needs and those expectations are not fulfilled, the relationship will go bad. You may claim many things, but when your expectations are not fulfilled it does go bad, isn’t it? So instead of doing too much wishy-washy about it, it’s best to look at it straight and see what is it and how we need to handle it.

Needs stem from incompleteness

The needs within a human being have risen because of a certain sense of incompleteness. People form relationships to experience a certain sense of completeness within. When you have a good relationship with someone dear to you, you feel complete. When you don’t have that, you feel incomplete. Why is this so? You—this piece of life—is a complete entity by itself. Why is it feeling incomplete? And, why is it trying to fulfil itself by making a partnership with another piece of life?

Relationships and impossible expectations

The fundamental reason for that is: we have not explored this life in its full depth and dimension. And although that is the basis, there is a complex process of relationships as such. There are expectations, expectations and expectations. The expectations that most people are creating are such that there is no human being on the planet who could ever fulfil them.

If you take especially this man-woman relationship, the expectations are so much that even if you marry a God or a Goddess, they will fail you. Firstly, because the expectations are so unrealistic nobody, no human being is capable of ever fulfilling them. And unable to understand the expectations or the source of expectations, nobody can fulfil the expectations. But if you understand what the source of this expectation is, you could form a very beautiful partnership.

Expectations change with life

And in the process of holding a relationship, meeting the expectations in the first few moments may be common. But at every step that we take in life, the expectations may become different. These expectations keep changing in people, they are not consistent and they cannot be. One person may be consistent with the same expectation throughout his life; another person’s expectations may be changing because his perception and experience of life is changing.

Now the relationship becomes a great conflict. More conflict is happening within the four walls of the homes, than is happening anywhere on the planet. Only thing is bombs are not exploding, so you don’t hear it. They may be giving each other silent treatment. This is happening because people’s expectations are changing and they are changing at a different pace.

So if you go about doing management and circus with these things, there is no way you can gauge it 100 per cent and have a beautiful relationship. If you try to mind read the other person and constantly try to fulfil his expectations, you will become a wreck. You tried those things, isn’t it? So, if you go like this, it’s an endless circus. To some extent you have to do it, but that is not the basis of a beautiful relationship.

Push-start to self-start happiness

Fundamentally, why have we sought a relationship? Because you find yourself that, without a relationship, in your life, you become depressed. So fundamentally, you are seeking a relationship because you want to be happy, you want to be joyful. Or in other words, you are trying to use the other as a source of your happiness. When you are trying to use the other person as a source of your happiness, what it means is, your happiness is not on self-start.

Let us say, you bought a car for yourself in 1940’s, along with the car you have to get yourself two servants, because morning it needs push-start. If you bought a car in the ‘50s, one servant would do because it was crank-start. Now all your automobiles are self-start.

But your happiness is still on push-start, isn’t it? Somebody has to push it a little bit otherwise it won’t get started. If you put your happiness on self-start, and now if you are happy by your own nature, now relationships will become a means for you to express your happiness not to seek happiness.

Seeking joy v/s expressing joy

If you are forming relationships to seek happiness and trying to squeeze happiness out of somebody and that person is trying to squeeze happiness out of you, now this is going to be a painful relationship after some time. Initially, it may be OK because something is being fulfilled.

But if you have become a joy by yourself and you are forming relationships because you want to express your happiness, nobody is going to complain about you. This is because you are now in the process of expressing your joy not seeking joy from the other person.

So, if your life becomes an expression of your joy, not in pursuit of happiness then relationships will be naturally wonderful. You can hold a million relationships and still hold them good. Now, this whole circus of trying to fulfil somebody else’s expectations does not arise because if you are an expression of joy anyway they want to be with you. But if you are trying to extract joy from them, then they want to avoid you. Shifting your life from pursuit of happiness to an expression of joyfulness is what needs to happen if relationships have to really work on all levels, because they are of many kinds.

Kinds of relationships

Your body is right now made in such way that it’s still in a condition where it needs a relationship. Your mind is made in such a way that it still needs a relationship. Your emotions are in such a way that it still needs a relationship and deeper down your very energies are made in such way that you still need a relationship on that level also. If your body goes in search of a relationships, we call this sexuality. If your mind goes in search of relationships, we call this companionship. If your emotion goes in search of relationships, we call this love. If your energies go in search of relationships, we call this yoga.

This was first published in the February 2010 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, lovingly called 'Sadhguru', is a yogi and profound mystic,a visionary humanitarian and a prominent spiritual leader. A contemporary Guru, who is as comfortable in jeans as in a loincloth, Sadhguru works tirelessly towards the physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of all.


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