Here is a practice you can use right away, from my book “Leap Before You Look.”
When you notice yourself wanting something from your partner,
Stop and label it.
I need your respect;
I need you to clean up after yourself;
I need you to notice how much I do for you.
Once you become aware of the need for certain qualities in this way,
Give what you hope to receive.
If you are demanding respect from your partner,
Give your partner respect.
If you are demanding to be heard by your partner,
Make a practice of hearing.
If you are demanding that your partner be more mindful,
Try to pay closer attention to each moment.
Shift the attention from the trickle
You hope to elicit from outside,
To the ocean that you can become within yourself.
Relationships so easily become a negotiation of trying to get our needs met. Good luck. Perhaps you have noticed how frustrating it can be to try to change another person, to make them give you what you think you want. When you start to do this practice, you may notice that your longing is for a certain quality as much as for a practical external change; in that recognition, you can become that quality within yourself.
Of course, if this is the only practice that you and your partner do, it could easily become problematic. So use the wise council of your friends and family to consider if this is a practice that could support you. It can be so helpful for anyone who is in the habit of trying to get things from the outside, and criticizing and complaining when it doesn’t happen. In such a situation, shifting the attention more to oneself, to all the gifts that have accumulated and remained ungiven, can have enormous benefit.
Use this practice to shift from trying to manipulate reality to discovering the treasures hidden in your own heart. Many people discover that when they are willing to embody what they have tried to get from the outside, the outer world cooperates. When you become the kindness you were demanding, the world becomes a kinder place.
If you have a habit of taking care of everyone else before yourself and putting your own needs last, this would not be the right practice for you; you would benefit more from the practices in the meditation or feelings sections to nurture yourself more.
This practice is from my book “Leap before you Look,” which has 72 similar practices you can do at home or anywhere in your life. To order the book and CD, go here.