Relationships – Nurturing Safety & New Possibilities.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke.
Relationships are unconsciously organized to protect us for reliving childhood pain. But how does a healthy relationship handle childhood pain? Because for most of us, it’s still present in us.
The love of another human being is the door through which we let something outside of ourselves touch us, and it is through this door that the rest of the world enters. To touch another, to hold their vulnerability in our hand, and it is a test of our compassion. To let our defenses down and allow another to touch our deepest self, is a test of courage.
Love and relationships offer the opportunity for the most powerful kind of therapy, and that each partner is present for the other – providing both safety and challenge.
Relationships are organized around the yearnings and fears that originate in childhood. A healthy relationship is one that both tolerates our defenses and also seeks to be present for our partner’s needs.
This kind of relationship is characterized by two different feelings: 1) compassion and tolerance for each partner’s core issues, and 2) courage and determination to move past those issues into intimacy. These two appear to be opposing one another – one says, I accept you the way you are – and the other says, I need you to change.
In a healthy relationship both of these work together – the safety of real connection allows us to risk real connection, and this intimacy makes it easier to feel empathy for the wounded parts of each partner that resist connection.
Defensive relationships are organized by the belief that relying on the relationship will bring you pain. Either the tie will be broken (abandonment), or too high a price will be required to maintain it (intrusion), or we will be made to feel unworthy for wanting it (shame). In the invisible relationship – the connection is maintained at the expense of intimacy.
What bonds a couple in a visible, conscious relationship?
There are three key aspects of a healthy, conscious relationship:
1) create safety around core issues to prevent a repeat of childhood pain
2) build empathy around childhood wounds and core issues
3) try to meet, rather than frustrate, each partner’s self needs
The above aspects as signs of a healthy relationship, and this doesn’t mean that other relationships with other characteristics wouldn’t be considered healthy too. These aspects are generally felt as positive and healthy for many couples.
How can you create and nurture safety and new possibilities in your relationship?
Try to respect your partner’s boundaries and offer each other a strong sense of commitment.
Boundaries involve having one’s right to having our automony respected – to allow for privacy and separateness. This is a good thing. Boundaries allow for both partners to have their own thoughts and feelings, and not to be controlled by each other. Being open and vulnerable must always be a choice, not an obligation. Boundaries establish the right to safety from feelings of being controlled, and the safety of feeling that you will not be abandoned.
No commitment may make you feel completely safe, but the effort is there. Commitment is about having an ongoing sense of your partner’s consistency and reliability. It needs to insure that the relationship will continue over time and that there won’t be too many unpredictable changes. We make an effort to maintain a feelings-based relationship and threats to break that tie will not be used to maintain power and control in the relationship.
Each partner commits to actively repairing the relational tie – on an ongoing basis – if it gets disrupted. Creating healthy boundaries and a stronger sense of commitment, requires communication – discussion and negotiation. Once both of you feel a sense of safety in the relationship, you can turn your attention to knowing yourself more deeply and turning towards your partner.
I’ll be writing in the upcoming weeks about building and reinforcing empathy in your relationship, as well as how to clarity and communicate your needs, and creating space to turn towards your partner with care and attention.
We need each other – I’m committed to being with individuals and couples to help resolve emotional distress before it takes up permanent residence in our bodies, minds, and hearts.
Allow yourself to be supported in yourself & turn towards your partner to create new possibilities.
love Kim, xoxo.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day – don’t struggle with conflicts that don’t ever get resolved in your relationship – or ‘go it alone’ if you are experiencing a breakdown or break-up in your relationship.
Allow yourself to be seen. Make contact, and be open to kindness.
Share your vulnerability – reach out for love and assistance—and connect deeply to yourself and to others in your relationships.
start a conversation – [email protected]
get in touch with your body – sign-up for a free embodiment download – www.s3p.d51.myftpupload.com