If you’re like I am, you’ve sometimes been confounded, perplexed and bewildered by the relationships in which you’ve found yourself. I know that for me, growing up was one big question – especially when it came to interacting with others; oftentimes significant others like parents, children, spouses or bosses. I read a tons of books & articles listing the do’s and don’ts of being in relationship, and I heard all kinds of differing advice from professionals. But still my questions would persist, nagging me on to find solutions, which could bring me real happiness, comfort & peace.
At this point in my life, luckily, I feel grateful for all those questions, because they did eventually lead me to satisfying understandings and to truths that seem to hold up no matter where I find myself. I came to realize that a relationship is the instrument that chisels the jewel in each of us; that our endless search for gratifying answers can work to shine and polish our insides, eliciting our inner glimmer – our internal, natural beauty which may have been formerly hidden. This is because we humans find relationships to be often emotionally challenging; thus the drive to feel more settled, relaxed and complete. To that end, then, I dedicate these thoughts, for in my lengthy investigation, I found that I was able to discover various myths and secrets, which could help us all to mend our hearts and shine our light in any relationship. I’m honored to share them.
Myth #1 It takes inner work on the part of both parties to improve a relationship.
One of the great falsehoods that many of us accept as true, is that both people in a relationship must work on themselves and consciously strive to act better to create a healthy, happy connection. We can spend much time feeling angry and frustrated with the other guy/gal for not “caring” the way we do; for not “giving” as much as we do; for not examining themselves as much as we do. We can spend hours at a time sulking, hurting, expecting or just plain being miserable over their lack of attention to what is so important to us.
Secret #1 It only takes one of us to create a fulfilling, healthy and satisfying relationship.
Every human being, no matter who it is, has the amazing, God-given power to effect positive change in a relationship all by themselves. This doesn’t mean that you will get everything that you want, but it does mean that by working to uncover your own “brilliant” loving ability, you automatically (and sometimes silently) influence another’s behavior. This occurs because when loving, kind or compassionate energy is put forth, it is absorbed, on some level, by any and every other human being and is given back in some form. This holds true whether the object of your love is yourself or the other person.
Myth #2 It is always important to express your feelings to the other person in order to make a relationship work.
We’ve been told time and again that it’s imperative to express our feelings to whomever we’re relating, especially when we have a problem with their actions. Communication is the key word here, and to communicate, you must tell them exactly what you’re feeling; the anger, the hurt, the frustration.
Secret #2 Although it is true that communication is significant for the health of a relationship, expression of all feelings to the other person is not necessary to influence the positive nature of the bond.
Communicating to one another what is going on for you, can be viewed as a beneficial activity for creating harmony between two people. However, in the throws of an argument, it is often difficult for at least one of the parties to receive the other in a respectful way. And when you try to express feelings in an unloving or unsafe place, you may end up feeling worse. The best communication often happens after you have expressed your feelings in a protected environment, either with a good friend or family member, a counselor, a teacher, a clergy person, or alone with God. This often helps you to move into a calmer, more respectful place yourself, so that the energetic vibration which you project, is of a loving nature. What you say or do is not nearly as important as your state of mind. Often, you may even find that if you work on healing your own negative emotional state, harmony in the relationship may return and solutions to any problems may arise more easily.
Myth #3 There is someone who is right and someone who is wrong is every argument; i.e. there is a more correct way and a less correct way to view the conflictive situation.
For many who are working diligently on their personal growth, there is the view that the person who is not doing this, is at fault. Furthermore, when someone believes very strongly in his/her position, it is difficult to accept or embrace a differing view. So it certainly appears that there is a right and a wrong stance. Societal views add to the confusion, for often, parents, teachers, clergy, media, political leaders and the like, espouse positions, which further the “right/wrong” paradigm.
Secret #3 All people, regardless of their opinion, are right. No one is at fault. This is because all people’s opinions are really perceptions that are based upon their past experiences.
The person with whom you disagree, feels as right in her stance as you do in yours. His opinion is as real to him as yours is to you, based upon the knowledge that he has at this point in time. Whoever you’re relating to, has his own path, her own journey, his own knowledge base, her own degree of awareness, his own set of past experiences, through which he filters present time thinking. To call him wrong would be erroneous, since his reality is as authentic to him as yours is to you.
Therefore, the best way to relate to another when there is discord, is to choose to accept and honor her outlook. Even if this other person calls you “wrong,” you need to remind yourself that there is no “wrong” position. You are both simply “right,” even if this other person cannot see it that way. The best way to handle a disagreement is to show respect for the other’s point of view, for in doing so, you expand the possibility that you may receive the same respect back. And even if you don’t, whatever you receive will be infinitely better than if you consider this person wrong.
Myth #4 You’re a failure at relationships if you divorce.
In any kind of divorce, be it a marriage, the break up of a business, or the disintegration of a family or friendship, some of you may think that you have failed in the relationship. If not, you may believe the other party has failed.
Secret #4 Divorce has purpose. There is always something to be learned from going through a divorce.
Bonds with others come and go through life. Some are meant to last a lifetime, and others are meant to be shorter in span. Generally, when there are strong ties between 2 people, there is a balance of learning going on. This means that the relationship is just as beneficial to one party as to the other. However, when one person’s learning becomes greater or less than the other’s, the relationship often falls apart. This is not to be judged, merely accepted, with the knowledge that it is in the best interest of one of the parties to move on. It is also (sometimes unconsciously) in the best interest of the party being left.
Myth #5 It is wrong to stay together when you feel that this is not a good match for you.
It often seems to people, for various reasons, that the relationship they have chosen is not a good or healthy one and that they shouldn’t be there. They spend hours, days, months, even years berating themselves for being too “weak” to leave. They may also regard themselves as being “stupid” for staying.
Secret #5 It is completely acceptable to stay in a relationship until you intuitively feel the strength and ability to leave, even if you have felt for a while that you’ve wanted to leave. Sometimes you may even reasonably choose to stay for the long run, no matter what the circumstances are. This holds true for a marriage, a job, or a partnership of any kind.
Much as you would like to believe you understand what is right or wrong, there is so much that is unknown to us humans; i.e. there is information and knowledge that is expressly the property of the Divine. While it may be difficult to understand why things happen the way they do, Infinite Intelligence knows what its doing. If you feel stuck in a relationship that you believe is unhealthy, you can always find something to learn from being there. Perhaps your strength is building in ways other than leaving. Perhaps you are becoming more empowered little by little. Perhaps, your soul has sacrificed itself for the betterment of this other person or for others whom you would never know if it weren’t for this relationship. You can’t scold yourself for something you don’t thoroughly understand. Strive to discover what you can learn from being in this relationship, and set about learning it.
In our society, there are often myths, which have somehow become truisms for many. For some who are introspective, thoughtful individuals, it is not acceptable or comfortable to buy into mainstream beliefs, which produce only puzzlement and confusion in the mind. Hopefully the myths and secrets discussed here will warrant your
consideration and contemplation, leading you to much happier, pleasing interactions with all!
Dr. Laurie Pappas