“Honest communication restores the feeling of love and connection.
Learning to be in a relationship requires an understanding of boundaries. You need to be responsible for your own thoughts, feelings, words and actions so that you don’t project your fears and insecurities onto your partner. Nothing is more confusing in a relationship than the cycle of mutual, reactive projection. While the pain of interpersonal conflict may eventually lead to greater consciousness, there are gentler ways to learn.
To learn gently, choose a partner who desires a conscious relationship and is willing to take responsibility for facing his or her fears. Choose a partner you like and respect, a partner who can hold a safe, loving space for you. Do not settle for less.
Then begin to practice the following simple process whenever you and your partner are not experiencing peace together:
Identify your fear. Fear is at the root of all negative, stressful emotions, including anger and hurt. Be with your feelings long enough to identify the root fear. Exaggerate the fear if necessary.
Identify how you see yourself as a victim. Peace leaves our hearts only when we think it is possible for someone else to do something against our will. How specifically do you feel powerless in this situation?
Own the fear and the feelings of victimhood and state them to the other person in a way that takes total responsibility for your experience. (eg. When you didn’t call I felt afraid that I was going to be abandoned. I feel weak and powerless when I depend on you to love me in a particular way). Ask the person to listen to what you say without judging it or responding to it.
Check to see if the person understood you, so that you can feel completely heard.
Ask the person if s/he has feelings (not judgments or defenses) about what you have communicated.
Listen without judgment or interpretation to what the person shares with you and acknowledge that you heard it.
Thank each other for making the space to listen.
Don’t try to resolve anything now. Just feel good about hearing each other. Agree to talk again if either of you has more feelings or some insight into what happened.
This process works because it helps both of you take total responsibility for your feelings in any situation. When you own what you are feeling and communicate it, the other person does not feel attacked, because you are disclosing information about yourself rather than blaming him or her for your experience. This keeps appropriate boundaries intact and does not invite mutual trespass.
The process also succeeds because it does not focus on “fixing” either the other person or yourself. The only outcome that is desired here is increased communication (in a non-threatening way) of what each person is feeling. Honest, heart-to-heart communication restores the feeling of love and connection. When that happens, problems – which are merely symptoms of separation and disconnection – disappear.
Trying to focus on the problem merely reinforces it. The energy goes to “fixing” the separation, rather than understanding its cause. All need to fix comes from an assumption that something is wrong and, if something is wrong, usually ‘someone’ is made wrong. It is more healing to start with the assumption that nothing is wrong. You just have a feeling you are holding, which you need to communicate.
(And if something is indeed wrong, the cause is your disconnection from each other, therefore the key is to reconnect to each other, not to fix each other. The problem gets fixed as a consequence of restoring the connection between you – FL).
Holding back feelings is the beginning of separation. Sharing them is the ending of it. This is the ebb and flow of all relationships.
The key is to own your feelings first and then communicate them to your partner. Don’t try to communicate your feelings until you have taken responsibility for them (as how you feel about something is, indeed, your responsibility – FL) or you will be moving into shame and blame. But once you own your fear, your hurt and your anger, communicating it helps you to be more honest and authentic with your partner, and leads to greater intimacy.”
“Daily rituals of intimacy and peace.
Soften the heard shell of your life and let your partner’s love in.
Just as the quality of your relationship with yourself can be measured by the amount of time you consciously give to ‘being’ with yourself, so the quality of your relationship with another can be measured by the amount of time you consciously give to ‘being’ with your partner.
Find ways to honor and take care of yourself while being with your partner. Communicate to your partner what is peaceful and nurturing for you. Choose certain rituals which sustain you both, to practice together on a daily and weekly basis.
Each day, celebrate your commitments to each other by spending at least five minutes of quiet time looking silently into each other’s eyes. Practice softening the hard shell of your life and letting your partner’s love in. Remember why you chose to walk with this being at your side and reconfirm your commitment to his or her highest good. Start the day with the gift of your love for each other. And then offer it to God. Pray for a day of learning, loving and self-disclosure. Pray to open your heart to each person who comes into your life. Pray to walk through your fears. Pray to be of help. Pray to listen for your guidance.
Each day remember each other and remember God. In this way, the spiritual purpose of your partnership is renewed.
Each night, before you go to bed, repeat this ritual. Give thanks for all that happened that day to help you open your heart and walk through your fears. Give any unresolved issues back to God with your willingness to do what is for the highest good of all concerned. Let any uneasiness with your partner be cleared. Looking into each other’s eyes, let your hearts be opened. Move into making love with gratitude and celebration.”