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“When you learn to accept instead of expect, you’ll have fewer disappointments.” ~Unknown A few months back, I was having drinks with a friend from university for the first time in a while. I sat across from her, smiling and laughing, almost in awe that we were here—here, not as in at this particular restaurant patio, but here, as in, in this moment that felt so free and so light, unbound by who we used to be. During our first couple years of university, we were best friends, always hanging out, living together, supporting each other, swapping secrets, and creating unforgettable memories. And then over time, things changed. Throughout university, we had found our own niches, our own interests, our own passions, and as we explored who we were and who we wanted to be, our friendship fell by the wayside. In our last months of living together, our friendship created a lot of suffering for me. I constantly felt this weight between us, this heaviness that came from pretending that we were still the same as we were in the beginning, this heaviness of a friendship that wasn’t what it used to be. Through my yoga practice, I found the tools I needed to free our relationship from this suffering, by shining a light on the truth and choosing something different. So how do we find this freedom in our relationships? 1. Accept the relationship as it is. The first step to changing anything is always to see it as it really is. We often create suffering in our relationships when reality doesn’t match the ideal in our head. We end up trying to force our relationships to be what we think they should be, based on the past or a fantasy, rather than accepting how they actually are in the present. For me, this meant facing the truth that our friendship wasn’t as close as it once was and we were no longer the people we used to be. Until I accepted this truth, I suffered. When we have the courage to face the truth—when we accept and interact with reality instead of clinging to how we want it to be—the pressure on the relationship automatically starts to lift. And sometimes when the pressure lifts, relationships naturally get closer and stronger. 2. Challenge your faulty beliefs. Throughout my confrontation with truth, I unearthed different thoughts that I’d had about our relationship. In particular, I became aware of this mantra that I had been repeating in my head: “I don’t belong.” This belief was like an infection, poisoning my mind and tainting how I saw our friendship, before any interaction even took place. That story created and contributed to the heaviness that lay between us. When relationships change, we often think it’s something we did. We blame ourselves, we think we did something wrong, or that we just are wrong. We might start telling ourselves things like, “I’m not good enough,” “There’s something wrong [...]