February 10, 2011
I’ve been working on personal growth and self-awareness most of my adult life. However, to bring that awareness into relationships often makes me, well, quite unconscious!
I know I’m unconscious when I think, “Surely it’s not me that’s causing the problems!” Unfortunately, it IS me that causes problems when I blame my partner and project my feelings onto her.
I could place my relational shortcomings onto Hollywood. After all, movies create the illusion that there is a perfect partner who will make me perfectly happy. And if I’m not happy, it means I’m not with the perfect partner.
In truth, it is up to us to be the perfect partners on the dance floor of love. True love requires that we change our perspective, alter our behavior, stretch our heart, express our needs, give of ourselves, and birth a relationship.
That requires being conscious and intentional. The benefits are many: emotional bond, heartfelt connection, deep healing, and personal transformation. So why don’t we step into those relationships with ease and comfort?
Many of us witnessed unconscious parents and took on their beliefs and behavioral patterns. To overcome our conditioning and become conscious, we must not only recognize our needs and desires but also the default patterns we adopt when feeling wounded or stressed.
Personally, when I feel hurt in a relationship, I tend to withdraw, judge and become self-sufficient – not the best way to stay connected to a partner. After I realize what I’m doing, I try to return to my vision of a loving relationship. I must then cultivate within myself the desired visional behaviors, thoughts and feelings rather than expect or demand that my partner change.
This may seem as easy as watching professionals dance the Tango. Getting on the dance floor with your partner is another matter. Here are seven quick steps to prevent your feet from getting tangled.
1. Identify your needs, wants and desires in a relationship.
2. Notice how you feel emotionally and physically when your needs are satisfied.
3. Examine your sensations and feelings when your needs are not met and name your reactive behavioral pattern. (Your partner will know!)
4. Recognize what you don’t say to your partner and how you can say it lovingly.
5. Imagine yourself expressing needs and desires to your partner in an open, undefended, loving way.
6. Cultivate this loving vision in a safe, non-judgmental climate where you and your partner remain open, make requests, and lovingly satisfy them.
7. Embrace gratitude and appreciation through affirming, loving acts and statements.
While romantic love is more about “Falling in love,” a conscious, intentional relationship is about “Rising toward love.”
We can then dance the Tango with unabashed passion!