This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." (Rumi)
When it comes to relationships many of us are on the constant search for "the one" so that we may live "happily ever after".
The truth is that we are looking at all the wrong places because, believe it or not, the answers are inside each of us. The myth that "My happiness is dependent on my partner" is just that: a myth. It means that you are giving away your power and living your life by someone else's standards for you.
The following principles will encourage you to evaluate your expectations, and stimulate you to expand your relationships to heightened levels of enjoyment and increased peace within, by integrating the wisdom into your daily reality.
1. Respect: Without mutual respect a relationship is doomed for failure. Respect each other's ideas and decisions with an undercurrent of love and trust, knowing that you have each other's goodness at heart.
2. Adapt: It is common knowledge that we each grow as our relationship evolves. Don't fight this but embrace each other, giving each other room and keep an open mind and an open heart.
3. Be Courteous: Real happiness has its foundation on the altar of understanding and kind words. Even if you do not agree with your partner, merely displaying calm silence, sincerity and courteous words shows that you care.
4. Listen More: Talking and acting from your own viewpoint most of the time, instead of trying to see the other's side, shows lack of care and understanding. This does not mean that you compromise on your own ideals and inner peace. Agreeing to disagree is a quality that can be cultivated.
5. Stop the Blame Game: When you find yourself in an unpleasant situation it is best to get out of it as graciously as you can. To focus on the issue and blow things out of proportion is fruitless. You can teach people to mend their faults a hundred times better by setting a good example than you can by harsh or self-righteous words.
6. Practice Self-Awareness: It is great practice to reflect once in a while on what you are contributing to your relationship. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are being judgmental, hypercritical, unfair, defensive and unkind. Constantly course correct.
7. Admit your mistakes: This is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you know you are wrong. But this simple gesture will bring you peace of mind and increased love and acceptance in your relationship.
8. Celebrate each other: Lift each other up and celebrate the small and large victories together. Sharing is caring. Be happy for each other.
9. Forgive Often: Mark Twain said it best: "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it". Forgiving, by its very act, makes you the bigger person. Sometimes you forgive even though you know your partner is wrong. You forgive the other not for their sake, but for your own. The inner peace you attain as a result makes it all worthwhile.
10. Love to be Loved: If you wish to be loved, start loving the other first. Whatever you want others to be, first be that yourself, then you will find others responding in like manner to you. When each wants to see the other happy, then loving each other comes naturally.
11. Be Careful How You React: The way you react to a situation determines the outcome. If the outcome is not to your liking, then respond differently. Instead of blaming the event or your partner, look honestly at yourself. The answers may surprise you.
12. Communicate: Sometimes we allow anger and resentment to fester. When something is bothering you, it is best to communicate sooner rather than later. In communicating use the word "I" and not "You". By doing so you are not accusing the other, merely stating how you feel. Such as "I am disappointed that..."; "I resent..."; "I hate it when..."; "I would love it if..." etc.
13. Appreciate Each Other: Make a list of what you appreciate about your partner and your relationship. Read it often. Sometimes it's the little things that we need to be reminded of, that help bring back the reasons and the focus on why we fell in love in the first place. Speak it out and let him know how much he is appreciated.
14. Acknowledge and Let Go of Each Other's Past: We each have skeletons in our closets, instances and events that we are not too proud of, or that have brought us sorrow or shame; relationships that have failed, or people that we would rather not be reminded of. Let it all go. It does not serve your relationship. That was then, and this is now.
15. Exude Peace: To be at peace with one's immediate relations, is the greatest of all happiness next to divine happiness. Unless you are at peace with yourself, you cannot bring peace into your relationship. Meditation, prayer, spiritual practice- each contributes to help us achieve peace in our lives. Pray together and enjoy meals together. The more time you share together, the deeper your love for one another will grow.
16. Share Your Finances: Be willing to share and be truthful and responsible in money matters. Even if one makes more money than the other, each of you has an equal say about joint expenses in the household. You decide to agree on separate or joint accounts from the very get go, so that your mutual decision does not affect your relationship and intimacy in your lives.
17. Be Best Friends First: Life can bring many challenges. One of the most wonderful things about marriage and relationships is that you have each other to share your sorrows and joys with. Keep your friendship strong by going on date nights together, talk and laugh with each other. When you come from a place of true friendship, nothing will faze you because you will always know that you have each other's back, as well as the strength to overcome any adversity that life may bring.
18. Cultivate a Wide, Diverse Circle of Friends: Interacting with your circle of mutual friends, and sharing your time with others together, makes you appreciate your partner even more and can be a source of great joy and fulfillment in your relationship.
.Follow Rani St. Pucchi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RaniStPucchi