Can you guess the number one secret to relationship enlightenment?
Whatever is happening is the path to enlightenment. – Pema Chödron
When we experience relationship problems, disconnection, arguments, or general malaise or dissatisfaction, we often look outside ourselves for solutions, answers or quick fixes.
Sometimes we blame our partner…
…If they were just different, better in some way, better at listening, better at noticing, more caring, compassionate, attentive, thoughtful… then we wouldn’t be feeling this way.
Maybe we think by getting advice, taking a workshop or course, reading a book, becoming more mindful, meditating, or by having our partner do all of these things, then the situation will be different.
As someone that has invested thousands of hours looking for the answers outside of myself, let me assure you…
- There is no amount of blaming that will shift what’s happening – it will only make things worse
- While advice, courses, books, and workshops are helpful, they will not bring lasting resolution
- There is no quick fix
The path to your freedom and enlightenment is right in front of you… tied up in a package of annoying things that drive you crazy.
Renowned relationship expert, Harville Hendrix, in his iconic book Getting the Love you Want, explains that we choose our partner, not just by their charming sense of humor, or dashing good looks. Rather, there is an unconscious primal part of us that is actively assessing, calculating, finding a partner that mirrors or matches the best and worst traits of our primary caregivers. This part of us is unconsciously longing to finally get our unmet childhood needs met.
So you might think, yikes… that’s a lot to take in…. yes, it is. And what that also means is that the partners we choose hold the keys to our greatest growth and potential on our journey toward wholeness, enlightenment, ease and freedom.
You may be asking “What”?! How can the way my partner leaving the dirty dishes in the sink lead me to wholeness?
Well, when we are willing to pause…
…Stop ourselves from responding in a habitual way… maybe to criticize, demean, guilt, shame, yell, or just do it in a martyred way only to freeze him out later with resentment and passive aggression…
Take a few breaths…
Yes, you have a solid case… you HAVE told him hundreds of times after all.
For the sake of the relationship, can you let go of being right, and just soften and feel into what is being hurt or offended in you? Maybe it’s an aspect of self that feels unseen, unheard, uncared for, invisible, disrespected. Then courageously speak with vulnerability about your feelings. Not with an energy to be right, or to make him wrong, but to be in open communication.
While it might take some patience, and a few tries… you DO likely have a pattern… and it takes a while to create a new one… eventually, with time and patience, when we show up without a shield an sword, we find our partner stops bring theirs as well. This is where genuine healing, love and connection can begin to take place. Ultimately it’s these interactions, where we show up with our genuine desires and needs and speak up powerfully and vulnerably with our partner; it will lead us to enlightenment and wholeness.