“Conscious Relationship; What is it?”
When I was young, I used to imagine my perfect man and intimate relationship. He knew me so well I did not have to tell him what I needed… he simply knew. And he was so loyal and faithful, I did not even think he could hurt me or let me down in any way. And he was so affectionate and verbally communicative, I just knew how much he really loved me … And then I grew up and experienced Real Life!!!
The Cold Hard Reality of Relationships
The childhood romantic dream often becomes shattered and annihilated through life’s all too real experiences in intimate relationship. So many people are then left bitter. They sometimes blame their ex-partners for destroying their lives and devastating their hearts decades after separation. Some people never recover from some relationship breakups, other try to piece their lives together and prepare themselves for their next relationship. Some people turn their backs on intimate relationships altogether and decide to live a peaceful life alone.
The drive and motivation for relationship is extremely strong for a lot of people. It is not so much a consciously thought out drive, but rather more like an emotional magnetism. Rationally, a lot of people acknowledge the difficulties and challenges of intimate relationship, especially after they have tried it a least once or twice. Healthy relationships are found to be generally positive for people’s mental and physical health, however, unhealthy relationships can have the opposite effect. But it is often not reason that drives us… instead it is ‘chemistry’ (or maybe karma)! And the casualty? Everyone, especially our hearts!
The Real Reason Why Relationships Don’t Work
As hard as it is to acknowledge… the reason our intimate relationships often fail is not because our ex-partners are idiots, but rather because working through unconscious patterns is legitimately difficult! Relationships commonly bring up emotional wounds and reactivity from childhood that we thought we had outgrown. As a couples counsellor, it is amazing how couples behave towards each other that they would not otherwise be seen acting dead towards anyone else in the same way. It is like all normal respectful ways of relating to other adults goes out the window when you are sleeping with that person.
In a previous blog on unconscious relationships, I described how childhood patterns and emotional memories can keep us bound in unconscious painful dynamics. I also explained how these unconscious reactions usually begin to surface in the second stage of the relationship. Click here to read more about unconscious relationships. The answer to escaping from these unconscious relationship dynamics is to become conscious of our own emotional patterns. This is the art of conscious relationship.
Conscious relationships do not guarantee that a relationship will last. However it is a conscious practice that significantly improves the chances that it will last or at least will be respectful. It does not mean that unconscious patterns and emotional memories will not raise their heads… they will! What it does mean is that there is a process that people can work through their emotions and gain self-awareness. In turn, this increases the chances that a couple will not separate because they could not work through the pain and aggravation of their patterns being triggered by their relationship.
Conscious Relationship is first a process of knowing thy self! The more aware of how our childhood conditioning results in our reactions to current life events, the more we can take our power back from the patterns. Mindfulness practice is a great way of discovering what these patterns are about. If we witness our thoughts, feelings and actions we gain clarity of ourselves and our choices. In conscious relationship, the trick is to communicate your awareness of your own patterns with your partner rather than believe your partner is the cause of your pain and then blame them for it. This last sentence is the key to conscious relationships… so read it again slowly and carefully…
In conscious relationship, the trick is to communicate your awareness of your own patterns with your partner, rather than believe your partner is the cause of your pain and then blame them for it.
Conscious relationship is a beautiful process of self awareness in context and the reflection of another. It is in intimate relationship that we can learn our toughest lessons, and that we have the opportunity to look at ourselves with the eyes of truth, where before we wold not dare.
How could your intimate relationship benefit from increasing self awareness with your partner?
Vanessa Bushell -psychologist