|Image: "Cumbria: Hindscarth from High Spy" By Tim|
Blessed. Copyrighted photo. Used by permission.
1. Have conflicts before committing to another person.
2. Don't avoid conflicts.
a. Conflicts reveals our vulnerabilities, the buttons that
b. They allow us to get real with the other person.
3. Acknowledge what is troubling you.
a. This is being present.
b. Communicate our feelings and the needs beneath them.
c. This is being true to our values.
4. Problems don't disappear if ignored.
a. They develop a life of their own, if left unattended.
5. Being authentic creates depth in the relationship.
6. Relationships grow when we become comfortable with discomfort---awkward moments.
a. This is emotional resiliency.
Honesty, compassion reigned. Intimacy, connec-tion and integrity marked our time. Growth happened. Buttons easily could have been pushed. They weren't.
We all know the routine, when a couple falls in love. Profuse are the professions. The couple glow over what they share. Kindness radiates between them, like a heater in an old room. Usually, at this stage, they commit to each other.
Sounds good, doesn't it? It isn't. It is best, for a couple to have power struggles first. Troubling times are not bad. Conflict allow us to address vulnerabilities. We mention what troubles us. The buttons we have. It is a time of discovery. When differences are healthily processed, communication deepens. Closeness deepens.
The problem becomes bigger. Resentment develops. It's best addressing the needs beneath negative feelings. The shadowy parts within us need to be addressed. This is intimacy.
It is daring to risk being ridiculed or judged. Being our authentic selves is the only way that creates relationships with depth and richness. Inane conversations and superficial romance cannot provide.
It is best not wanting the other person to change. It is better seeing the moment as an opportunity to develop consciously. We communicate the needs not met. It is a chance for character growth. It is an opportunity to move beyond the wounded child that lives within.
We don't pout. This is putting up a wall. Nor do we let resentment brew. That's passivity. Instead, we say what we want and feel. We stand in our power. Confidently, we state our values. We overcome our fearful, controlling nature. We do not manipulate others to get what we need.
We live with integrity. True to our values, we express them. Even when we know others will disagree. We are not passive. We are no longer voiceless children, sheepishly enduring pain. We win the Grand Prix.
Processing pain that exists between us and another person makes us evolve. No need to amputate the other person from our lives. The problem isn't with them. It's us. The Hunchback of Notre Dame of our vulnerable self is appearing. He creates discord, frightening those close to us.
We want to work through troubling times, moving beyond the narrow sense of who we are. We stop blaming. Sometimes this requires outside help. Not being defensive leads us to transformational growth.
That happened during today's visit. Stunned, I was. This person's maturity and humility---drew us closer. Working through an internal struggle---a button that triggers us---makes healing possible. Our intimacy increases, intensifies.
A stronger commitment develops. The depth in the relationship is the harvest that takes place when we toil under the sun of honesty, compassion and transparency. With this today's friend, we said things that felt awkward. We took risks. Because we did, our relationship grew. I value this person more.
It is through discomfort that we grow closer.
power struggles, something happens. We be-come a "we system," interdependent. This requires maturity. At times it is painful. The pas-sion of infatuation does not suffice.
Operating from the strength of revealing our vulnerabilities---being comfortable with discomfort--- deepens our connection with others. Relationships evolve, becoming stronger. More authentic. Compassion and empathy are the hallmarks. We are present with each other.
Commitment before working through the "power struggle" stage does not mean much. This is leaves without roots, form without substance. Working through painful feelings is hard work. But the fruit of doing so contributes to a depth of relating not found any other way.
Living in today's society, we need emotional resiliency and relationships that nurture. We want to practice processing our differences, compassionately. In doing so we create supportive and stronger relationships. More importantly it adds joy and fulfillment that cannot be found any other way.