Our relationships provide, hands down, the best material for our spiritual growth. I’m not saying that this growth or this material is easy- on the contrary! Gosh- don’t we wish sometimes we could find a cave somewhere and retreat for a while? It would be so much easier to meditate on a beach than dive into the grit and constant noise of life. But where are the lessons in that?
The triggers that come up in our most complex interactions with those with whom we are the closest is exactly the trove of material that gives us the most opportunity for growth and transformation.
We need to understand and define what a relationship is first. To relate to someone requires some kind of link, whether familial or friendly. What many of us consider a “relationship” is not exactly so because we have become so codependent with that person that the distance and respect that are foundational to all relationships has long since disappeared.
Have you ever felt “unseen” or misunderstood by a close family member, a partner, or a colleague or friend? This happens all the time. We can get so used to a previous model (especially in our longer, even decades-long relationships) of a person that we are not savvy or receptive to their changes over time. After all, a relationship requires a regular checking-in, a revisiting with fresh eyes what is going on at the emotional and psycho-spiritual level of your beloved.
So when one or both parties in a communion have stopped looking through those fresh eyes, through kindness and curiosity, then they are inviting into the dynamic a whole lot of projection. Projection is by far one of the hardest problems to root out between people, especially those who are the closest: siblings, partners, parents and children. Projection and codependence are a recipe for relationship collapse.
Ironically, sometimes to rebuild a healthy relationship, we need to step way back. We need to get back to the basics. To slowly erase our projections and expectations of another person. To learn to relate again.
If your beloved is unwilling to unwind, this does not mean that the process is dead. That you need to walk away. Of course, maybe it is. But maybe your own internal uncording, unbinding, unravelling can feed a deeper catalyst that, over time, can build new inroads to tired love.
Step back and figure out the big question: what is mine? What is not mine?
These questions are huge, and they take some time to answer. So give yourself the time. Meditate. Get the support of a professional or a wise friend.
Once you know what belongs to you and what does not, you are ready to create boundaries. When you know that something is not yours, you do not have to feed into that pattern or energy. You can simply say no. We have a terrible relationship with the word “no” this day and age. “No” does not mean that you are rejecting, spiritually failing, or being rude or unkind. On the contrary, a strong heart requires many “no’s” in order to function properly and expand. So embrace the no!
Step away from conversations that aren’t working. Graciously step out of situations where you know there can be no good outcome. By listening to and honouring the no, you will be more safe and grounded and sincere in your yeses. The yes can flourish.
The heart is a very tender place and a very honest place. By turning into your heart- into YOURSELF- you can start to embark on healthy relationships with others. Your heart will tell you immediately what works and what doesn’t work.
What is yours, and what is not yours. This is where the real gift of relationship can start.
You can learn to relate to your beloveds in healthy ways- with clarity and purpose. It will take times. It will succeed, or it will fail. That’s ok.
Forgive yourself and try again. But by pulling back, creating boundaries, learning to say no and flourish your yes, you may find yourself in a nourishing and healthy relationship.