“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
The main reason I am this happy in my relationship with my husband is not just because he makes me laugh all the time, or he is a great travel companion, or he is a compassionate and loving man – and I am not saying all these are not great, they certainly are – but mostly because he gives me room to grow, to express myself through my work, and to fulfill my life purpose.
In return, I do the same for him because we value the importance of self-actualization in our relationship. We create ourselves and each other through the lens we look at life together.
If you are curious about the meaning of self-actualization, the simplest and shortest description I found that resonates with me is “the realization of a person’s full potential.” It includes personal growth, creativity, and a sense of fulfillment. While it is a personal journey – hence the word “self” – self-actualization is also essential for any successful romantic relationship.
For example, let’s say you are a successful lawyer. You are also a fantastic cook. And opening your little restaurant has always been your dream. You have the funds to make that dream a reality, and you would love to take a couple of years’ break from your law practice to materialize your restaurant. If all goes well, continue life as a chef and restauranteur, and if not, go back to your law practice. But you are afraid about the reaction you might receive from your life partner. One day you tell them – her/him – about your vision, and they say it would be wonderful to pursue your dream. They say you are an extraordinary cook and that they are happy to support you in manifesting your restaurant.
What would you think? How excited, happy, supported, and valued would you feel?
I will give you an example from my life. At the beginning of my practice as a coach, in addition to spending long hours on my favorite meditation cushion that I adore, I was also working part-time to create a regular income. I worked for three years in that setting. Then one day, my husband said, “You have been working seven days a week for three years now, and I think it is time for you to let your part-time job go and focus solely on your coaching business. I know you can do so much good for so many if you do that. Give yourself three years to grow into your passion and purpose. Then we can re-evaluate where we are and go from there. I support you 100%.”
You can imagine how I felt hearing this. How big a smile I had on my face. And how my heart expanded with much love, appreciation, and gratitude. I was already gifted with immense support by my husband throughout those three years, but this conversation took it to a whole different level.
Why is self-actualization important in a romantic relationship?
A healthy romantic relationship involves partners supporting each other’s growth and success in practical ways, like emotionally, financially, and career-wise. But it’s also vital to help your partner reach their full potential by encouraging and supporting their journey toward self-actualization. That can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful relationship where both partners pursue their passions and achieve their potential.
Though it’s important to remember that self-actualization is a personal journey, and pursuing it at the expense of the relationship might create tension. Genuine support toward each other’s goals and dreams needs to come from a mutual understanding. A balance in the way both parties self-actualize within the relationship while also actualizing the relationship itself brings up a beautiful perspective: Support for me, support for you, support for us as a couple. And naturally, that makes good communication a must to ensure both partners are on the same page and working towards a shared vision for the future.
How self-actualization leads to a more fulfilling and long-lasting partnership?
We can easily say that self-actualization has many benefits for a romantic relationship. Such as;
- Improving emotional intelligence – a key quality to handling conflict and communicating effectively.
- Increasing self-awareness – individuals can better manage their emotions and understand their impact on others.
- Encouraging creativity and innovation – pursuing self-actualization can bring new ideas and perspectives to the relationship, leading to a more exciting and fulfilling partnership.
- Cultivating a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life – strengthening the bond between partners which leads them to a more optimistic outlook.
At the end of the day, for a relationship that does not survive but thrives for years to come, self-actualization is the area you might want to explore with your partner and ask a few questions to each other like these or others;
- How can we encourage each other to pursue our passions and interests?
- How can we balance personal growth and development with the needs and priorities of our relationship?
- How can we identify and pursue shared goals and values in our relationship?
Encouraging and supporting each other’s personal growth, creativity, and fulfillment always leads to a more exciting and meaningful partnership – as long as both parties feel the same way and not one side keeps actualizing themselves while the other keeps waiting for their turn to come.
Be and let be…