Healthy relationships… what are they?

Relationships help us evolve. They grow us up. They show us where we have work to do and what is required of us to become more conscious. They are a beautiful medium for exposing us to what we are holding, desiring, fearing and expecting, and where we are blocking our own growth. Relationships show us what we value and what’s important and meaningful. They highlight to us the places where our minds get stuck, and which emotions we find difficult to acknowledge and process. They show us what is within us that needs to be soothed and transformed. Relationships are like mirrors reflecting back to us the truth about ourselves.

“We get together on the basis of our similarities; we grow on the basis of our differences.” – Virginia Satir

Two beings in a healthy dynamic use their relationship as a vehicle to becoming more self-aware. They have made a committment to truth, more than to consistency. A healthy relationship is a conscious relationship. It involves two individuals choosing to be together out of want, not out of need. Their dedication is to supporting each other’s true self, and they respect each other’s freedom and unique journey’s. These individuals continue to work on improving themselves and their capacity to accept what is without judgement, and without projecting their perceptions of what is “right” or “wrong” onto one another.

“I want to love you without clutching, appreciate you without judging, join you without invading, invite you without demanding, leave you without guilt, criticize you without blaming, and help you without insulting. If I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other.” – Virginia Satir

Couples in conscious connection realise that their individual happiness is their own. It is never dependent upon the other. This is contrary to the notion that one person can complete another, or make another happy. If we are choosing this romantic template as a guide, then we are choosing to be only half of ourselves. We are also buying into the belief that happiness is something to be found outside of us and inside of another. This way of relating is disempowering, and can have devasting affects on a person when their relationship ends, or if their partner dies. It also dimishes one’s self-responsibility, as there’s an expectation that “I’m only okay if you’re okay.” What an enormous pressure to place upon someone you supposedly love!

“If I accept that my relationships are here to make me conscious, instead of happy, then my relationships become a wonderful self mastery tool that keeps realigning me with my higher purpose” – Eckhart Tolle

When we enter into a relationship, not only are we signing up to be with that person, we are also signing up to be with all of their suffering too. Having a relationship that is conscious requires allowing ours, and our partner’s, uncomfortable feelings to exist without scrutiny. It is a deeply loving commitment to staying open to another without trying to “fix”, adapt, or change them in any way. Deeply loving another is being with the whole of them, flaws and all, because all of them is okay.

“The person most in control is the person who can give up control.” – Fritz Perlz

We are often afraid of uncomfortable conversations and confrontation because of our perception that it could lead to being rejected, abandoned, or trigger feelings of not being enough. In this process of trying to “keep the peace” by avoiding conflict or disagreements, we end up rejecting and abandoning our true self, and this disconnection from who we really are causes the greatest pain of all. If we feel loved, accepted and connected with on a deep level then we can handle not agreeing with one another because love is not about agreeing. Love is about interconnection and a deep loving appreciation for another.

“Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” – Virginia Satir

The more we accept ourselves as we are, the more we are able to accept the other as they are.

When we are able to be with our own pain, we can more easily be with another’s. Really ‘being with’ another person in relationship is to be in service to their pain. Letting go into what is and speaking honestly is a sign of great courage and maturity; and listening to the other and providing a safe space for whatever is there is one of the greatest gifts one can receive from authentic connection.