We have all hopefully experienced love. I have had my share of relationships and I’ve learned a great deal about myself through each one. Looking back I feel silly for some of the things I said, did, and the ways in which I dealt with conflict. I see the ways I searched and grabbed for things in others that I felt I lacked myself. I played out past family experiences, trauma, and grief through relationship. I noticed that I gave too much of myself thinking this was unconditional love. It was not. I was definitely blind, yet, I feel blessed to have had these relationships and that I chose to do my personal work and grow from each.
I would not have gotten through these processes if I hadn’t found self-trustworthiness and self-compassion. My critic was a harsh voice. Always ready to make me feel like I was BAD or WRONG or a FAILURE. This critic just needed to be held and loved, like any scared child.
Most recently I learned how to face my critic, face my fears, and learned how to let go and trust. The critic comes with fear. It can be scary to face our demons or shadow side. I finally learned how to step back and observe the situation before reacting to it.I learned that in this observation I was able to hear my critic, my inner scared child and cradle it.
I am truly grateful to each person that tried their best to love me and support me throughout this process. I now move forward feeling stronger and more confident in the person I am. I hold both my beauty and my beast with equal love and compassion. The voice, the critic, got smaller, softer, and more loving.
The point is, I have learned very valuable lessons in relationship and thought I would share some with you:
- Breath. Let the first emotion settle and notice what emotions follow. If you react to the first emotion, how will you ever know what follows, what goes deeper? I have learned this the hard way. Conscience breathing also helps relieve the emotions of grief/sadness. (side note: More on the gratitude of breath at a later date)
- Be observant of how a situation or conflict is affecting you and ASK, “Is this emotional reaction congruent with the given situation?”
- Be patient. Everyone is learning.
- Love yourself, trust yourself. You must be able to do this or you won’t be able to fully trust or see another person for who they are. If there is any bit of doubt about your own integrity, you will see that reflection in your partner and will probably not trust them.
- Have compassion for yourself and others. We all have our circumstances, our stories, and the reasons we are the way we are. Seeing everyone, and yourself, from the lens of compassion creates a healing space and shows empathy. That changes the ball game completely.
- Listen to yourself and ask: Are my basic needs being met? If not, what do I need? Sometimes when you feel irritable or notice the reaction of your partner to the way you are responding to a situation, this is a good time to ask these questions. Often times we just need something simple/basic like food, sleep, or affection. Listen to the other person. Reflect back to them what you heard, so that clarity in communication becomes more apparent. We all speak different languages and sometimes what we hear is not what the person meant to express. Clarify this before reacting.
- Be vulnerable. If you can’t show yourself to your partner, how do you know they truly love YOU? YOU deserve to be loved so remember that if that person does not like what they see, then there is someone else out there that will see your beauty and beast, and love you just they way you are.
- Be honest. Honesty without compassion is violence. You can speak your truth without being mean. Likewise, being afraid to say your truth for fear of rejection means….well….equal and opposite reaction. So be careful. Honesty brings transparency. Transparency is important. And important for trust.
- Give and receive equally in the way each prefers to receive and show love. (Side note: you have to communicate and find out their wants/needs). The 5 Love Languages: Words of affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
- Play! Have fun! My mentor says 80/20. 80% enjoyment, 20% work.
- Attention, Acceptance, Appreciation, Affection, and Allowing. The book that really made a big impact on my life in relationship with myself and others is: How to Be An Adult in Relationships; The Five Keys to Mindful Loving. by David Richo. http://davericho.com/
Now I am ready to receive love fully and give love fully because I know myself, my needs, my wants. I now trust myself and have confidence to only except someone who reflects my own beauty, while supporting and uplifting the other in his/her work and dreams. I believe a healthy relationship is one where each person already has all their needs met within themselves, and is able to meet another face to face, to uplift and support each other in achieving their dreams….and to have fun with, of course.
I know the beauty of a healthy relationship now. It is simple, easy, gently, and smooth in 80% of all movement and in stillness. When conflict arises, we each choose to listen, hear, and understand, and then come to a win-win, so we can be a team while moving through the fire. And when we come out on the other side successful, and still together, we grow closer and stronger. It is a beautiful thing. Hold it as sacred and precious.
Hold yourself as sacred and precious, because you are!