As we move into Week 4 of our Open-Hearted Relationships Challenge, we are going to practice something truly transformative — giving what you want to receive.

Let’s explain that phrase a little more: the difficulties in a relationship often come when we’re not getting what we want to get. For example, it might hurt to not get the love you want, or to be understood, or to feel sexy or interesting or appreciated. Often we’re not getting something we want out of a relationship, and we feel bad about that (to put it lightly).

So we could demand what we want, we could ask for what we want (highly recommended), we can complain about not getting what we want, or we could leave or shut down or lash out because we’re not getting it.

Or … we could /give/ what we crave from the other person, to the other person. Give what we crave from the world, to the world.
Before I get into the why, let’s look at a few examples:

By pouring out that which you are craving, you become the source. You are no longer complaining about the other person, resentful and hurt … but instead, you are taking responsibility for what you can do in the relationship. You start to shift the relationship through this action.

It might change the dynamic. It might open the other person up. Not immediately, but over time. A common mistake is being resentful when they don’t reciprocate — but this is a gift, not a conditional giving but unconditional love. You are giving it freely, not because you want a transactional return on your investment, a quid pro quo, but because you want them to receive it.

Even if it doesn’t shift anything about the relationship — they don’t open up, they never reciprocate — you are transformed through this action. You become more giving, more unconditional, more loving, more grateful, more affectionate. You become an amazing source of love. And you feel that love as it pours from you — and realize that you have always had access to what you’re craving. You just need to let it pour out.

There are a few keys to this practice:

  1. You have to be really clear about what you want. Are you craving sex? Well, sure … but what you really want might be intimacy. Affection. Love. Can you get below the layer of sex, and see that you want intimacy and affection? And that below that, you really crave more love?
  2. You have to get over your pride and hurt, and just give. Forget what they’re not giving you. Forget what they’ve done or not done. Just give. Pour it out, as a gift, as if nothing else matters. Take full responsibility for shifting things.
  3. You have to give without needing to get back what you’re giving. Give it freely as a gift, not as a debt you’re creating. They might give it back to you, or not. They might open up and start to shift, over time. Or not. But that’s not what this is about. Let go of that, and just give.
  4. Don’t worry about if they can feel it. If they don’t seem to be appreciating or even receiving what you’re giving (“Hey, stop hugging me, I’m trying to read!”), don’t let that close you down. Just give silently, and not need it to be received in any certain way. Things will shift, perhaps for both of you, but certainly for you, if you just give without needing them to get it, to understand it, to appreciate it.
  5. Really try to feel it yourself, as you pour it out. When you pour out your love, can you feel it inside of you? See if that’s possible. You might find that you are the source of what you really want.

Please give this practice a whole-hearted effort. I believe this practice will change your life.