Ten Rules For Relationships of the Heart

by Jacquelyn Small

To unconditionally love and honor each other as equal beings is the highest freedom.


RULE 1: Love manifests as freedom to be oneself, not as the bondage of trying to be someone we are not. When you're excited about something other than me, it does not take anything away from our relationship; it only enhances it.

RULE 2: Always tell your partner the truth. Protecting you from my truth is a sickening form of codependence. If I want to be trusted, I must first become trustworthy. But being truthful does not mean I have to become hurtful. If my partner asks me to be honest, I don't need to say "It's your crooked nose that is bothering me today!" This kind of sharing isn't helpful to either of us. But I can say in truth, "I'm feeling judgmental of you right now because I'm caught up in my perfectionism." Co-creators value being themselves. They do not always expect to be in a positive state. Consequently, they can share from their hearts without judgment–and when they cannot, they own their "stuff" and go do inner work.

RULE 3: No one is ever simply "right" or "wrong"; rather, we all receive lessons in how to remain conscious and responsible human beings. Blaming you is a convenient way to not take responsibility for my part–no matter how justified I may feel. Even when I cannot clearly see what my part is, I need to own my contribution to the conflict. I must be willing to discover what that contribution is and then to resolve it. One party never messes up a relationship; it takes a dynamic between at least two.

RULE 4: We all have similar feelings and needs; our storylines are the divergent part. When we differ, and heart-felt communication doesn't get us anywhere, it's better to just own that for now, we are in two different universes–mine and yours. Both are legitimate and honor each other's without giving up our own.

RULE 5: No one else is responsible for turning us on; getting "turned on" is an inside job! In the Heart, I can experience sexuality as part of my beauty and power, and sex becomes love–a higher emotion. Here sexuality is something within me that I express; it is part of the Self. When I'm tuned in and turned on, my partner will seem appealing to me; when I'm tuned out and turned off, he will not. And he may have nothing at all to do with my response!

RULE 6: Don't let the experience of joy or contentment take you down. Many of us have become so addicted to suffering that we've developed a very low "bliss tolerance." Anytime we begin to experience joy in a relationship, it scares us, and we immediately and unconsciously do something to depress ourselves. Unless we commit to manifesting the joy in our relationships, we won't recognize fulfillment even when we're right in the midst of it.

RULE 7: Aloneness belongs in relationships alongside togetherness. We must learn how to balance our time so that we can be alone with ourselves and/or our Higher Power and be involved in activities with friends, family, and partners. We must all learn to aid one another in claiming this vital need for silence, aloneness, and inner work.

RULE 8: We grow more from being recognized as having a positive trait than we do from being criticized for having a negative one. When someone recognizes us as being gifted or doing good, we feel injected with life. This uplift is often the greatest therapist. It helps us rise to our fullest potential. Warning! False praise doesn't count (or work).

RULE 9: Paradox is the name of the game in relationship; the more I need, the less I can have. Neediness and love are incompatible; they cannot manifest in the same space. It's a violation of your integrity for me to pull on you to give me something. Letting go of attachment to "the other" is the Buddha's solution for all suffering.

RULE 10: In relationships where both people envision ever-expanding love and deepening purpose, the vision becomes reality. It's more important to share our dreams and visions with one another than to share intellectually what we think we know.

​(excerpt from AWAKENING IN TIME, pg. 190-195]