Reframing RelationshipsKatja Leslie
Many clients ask me why relationships are so complex and challenging, so I thought we’d dive in and explore this multi-faceted topic!
Out With The Old
Essentially, we are being called to move away from the outdated notion of romantic relationship where two individuals are projecting their own needs and inadequacies onto another and expecting those needs and inadequacies to be filled by the other person.
We’re moving away because these outdated concepts are not serving us emotionally, spiritually, conceptually or evolutionally.
Let’s take a closer look at the archetypal ‘romantic relationship’. Initially when two people begin a romantic journey they typically feel better about themselves than they have before; perhaps than ever before. They invariably feel more intelligent, alive, attractive, sexual, and more able to engage with the world; in essence, more excited about being alive.
This phase lasts until both people begin to see and experience each other as who they really are; removing the rose-tinted glasses and seeing more clearly…..authentically……openly…. For example, one partner may see that the other has an anger issue and the other begins to recognise that his/her partner has a need to please; negating his/her own needs and feelings because their overriding intention is to please the other.
This can then cause friction, confusion, disappointment and concern because essentially two people forget that this is a natural part of the relationship process; a healthy, rather than a destructive component. Many will ‘jump ship’ at this stage; lamenting the unfulfilled Hollywood ‘happily ever after’ story or becoming cynical, disillusioned and bitter.
End of Illusion
The relationship is not falling apart; rather the ILLUSION is dissipating. When the illusion falls away then the REALITY of the two individuals together and how they can engage with that and learn about themselves and each other begins to emerge.
This is when REAL relationship becomes possible. The illusion gives way to something far more magnificent; oftentimes challenging yes, but magnificent nonetheless. When two people can consciously choose to utilise, explore, embrace and honour the intricate dance that a relationship with another person is, rather than blame, judge or belittle, they can release the old, outdated notion of ‘romantic’ relationships, of ‘Hollywood movie’ scripts and get down, dirty and real!
Being able and willing to look inwards at their own triggers, wounding’s, needs, desires and so forth, rather than projecting the necessity for rescue, accountability and healing onto the other person, each partner opens up to the huge potential of self-awareness and actualisation. Looking externally; seeking another to complete, fulfil, and make happy and whole leads to disappointment, conflict and blame.
This is not a healthy space or mind-set to be in with regards a relationship. It invariably distracts from the pain (conscious or unconscious) that oftentimes drove each person into the relationship; the pain of feeling unworthy, unlovable and unloved. The pain of not wanting another to see who we really are …… WHY?
Because ultimately many believe that another person would not want to know or be with us if they knew who we truly were.
We are stepping forward into a more expansive view of relationships; relationships where both individuals will use and explore the reactions that they experience in themselves as they interact, rather than blaming their partner for those reactions. Instead the person looks inside to ascertain the source of those reactions, such as anger, jealousy, fear or inadequacy. In doing so they begin to discover that the source of those painful experiences is INSIDE themselves and not inside their partner. The partner may trigger those emotions, reactions and experiences but the partner did not cause them.
Embracing Your Relationship
Those seeking to embrace the essence of relationship with another and reach the true source of those feelings and experiences, begin then to acknowledge that the GENUINE source of the pain is within themselves, not the other.
A person cannot change the feelings within themselves by blaming their partner for what they are feeling; by holding their partner responsible for triggering a frightened part of their personality. That frightened part of their personality is there to be experienced fully, rather than hoping that someone else will heal or assimilate responsibility for it; denying the huge growth that can be gained from truly feeling, experiencing and healing our wounding’s and fragilities. It’s all part of the human journey, yet we seek to run from pain or look to another to rescue us; understandable of course, but negating a wonderful experience of growth when we are brave enough to look inside.
The Key is Inside You
The key is for each partner to create an authentic relationship with themselves; to truly know who they are, what they are feeling and showing up genuinely for themselves. The question to ask ourselves is perhaps not ‘who will save me?’, but ‘are we both learning through our interactions, about ourselves as equals, together, for the purpose of growing?’ We inherently seek intimacy and growth. The love relationship is a powerful means to explore who we are, heal wounding’s and experience tremendous growth within ourselves and with another. So by all means enjoy the Hollywood movies; sing along to the co-dependency inducing love songs and enjoy them all, for they are all part of our human expression and experience, but hold onto the relationship with yourself ultimately as you take your partner’s hand and engage in the wonderful dance of relationship!