by Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D.
"The journey of the heart is truly the only journey there is."
Relationships seem to be one of the hottest topics these days. Everyone wants one, but hardly anyone seems happy once they're in one! Most of the time when we are talking about relationships, we mean those intimate ones with a significant other. However, relationships abound in our lives, with a range from casual to intimate. In truth, all relationships provide us with opportunities to grow spiritually and practice unconditional love. Here are a few basics to remember when you are dealing with issues in relationships, whether with an intimate partner, a friend, or even a business colleague.
Relationships replay childhood dynamics and unhealed wounds. We bring others into our lives who will trigger these replays and thus help us with healing the past. Do you have a history of abandonment? Because of the Law of Attraction, you will tend to attract those who will abandon you until the old hurts are healed. With the "abandonment scenario" in our psyche, you may fear abandonment so much that even when you attract a good relationship, you do things (like being too needy and clingy) that push the person away and result in abandonment.
Set aside some quiet time to review your childhood and what you learned about relationships growing up. How are these themes being played out in your life today? Although just understanding the dynamics doesn't instantly heal the feelings, it does give you a new perspective on why you have attracted the type of relationships you have up until now. You can then respond differently to the issues when they come up.
Relationships mirror parts of ourselves. We are quite comfortable with the wonderful and lovely parts of us we see reflected in others. When we see "negative" parts of ourselves reflected, we are often sure it's "the other person's problem!" This is called projection. The stronger your reaction to a "negative" part of someone else, the more likely you are judging some part of yourself.
The person who is your greatest teacher is the one who bothers you the most! When you are reacting strongly to someone, ask yourself- "Who does this remind me of? How old do I feel? What is it that is really bothering me?" Perhaps the person reminds you of a domineering sibling or someone else significant from your childhood. When these feeling gets triggered, welcome them, because you have an opportunity to heal them.
Take responsibility for your feelings and reactions. A Course in Miracles tells us that everything out there is a projection from inside. Be willing to take back your projections. Rather than blaming the other person, ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" and "What are these feelings really about?"
Communicate your feelings without judgment. Your perception is your perception. It is not the Truth. The other person's perception of the situation is different, or there wouldn't be an issue. Use "I" language (I feel...) to acknowledge that you realize the feelings are yours. Be open to listening to another point of view and working things out.
Be willing to see things differently and forgive. The poet William Blake once wrote this very short poem to his wife, "Throughout eternity, you forgive me and I forgive you." Blake succinctly shows us that forgiveness is most needed for those closest to us. However, forgiveness is important in all types of relationships. Forgiveness is not condoning the behavior of someone else: it is a gift to yourself that frees you from the tyranny of the past. When you are willing to see through the eyes of Spirit rather than the (always judging) eyes of the ego, miracles of healing occur.