Elements of a Healthy Relationship

Maybe this post won’t attract as much attention as those on twin flames and soul mates, which may or may not, actually be a healthy relationship!  I do think it is very important to know what is healthy, if your relationship is not, maybe these are points you can start with.  I have read a lot, and have seen a lot, of twin flames, or soul mates, who will justify other’s behaviors and allow themselves to be destroyed by someone because they are your soul mate, or twin flame.  SELF-LOVE, that is what we forget in these situations, and that’s pretty much all I have to say.
These are things you can only change about yourself.  You cannot change another person, without the express free will and desire on their part, and then THEIR ACTION, to change.  The best person for you to worry about is yourself, because you can change yourself.  If your relationship is not healthy, you have a few choices.  You both work TOGETHER on it, or you don’t engage in the unhealthy behavior.  And sometimes it does mean that the nature of the relationship must change, or the relationship needs to end.  Yes, I said…end.  Relationships are not a failure necessarily just because they change or end.  It may not be that simple to do, but in theory, it really is that simple.  🙂
Do you have……
  • Mutual respect
  • Moving towards unconditional love and acceptance
  • Realistic and accepting of faults and imperfections, not overly romanticized
  • No ignoring and no need to chase, no running
  • VERY LITTLE emotional abuse, verbal, or physical ( abuse is not ok, that being said, we are not perfect, it is not abuse just because you disagree)
  • Very little ego games and emotional manipulation
  • Willingness to learn and understand the other, compassion
  • Commitment in some form, effort is shown and reciprocated
  • Allows you to grow individually, not only when together, relationship is a priority but does not take over your life
  • Agreements are kept
  • You can say no!
  • They act like they care and so do you! It is nurturing, comfortable and fun
  • Emotions are dealt with in a real way, no need for drama, conflicts and differences are managed without major despair and threats
  • Communication of wants, needs, feelings without shame
  • Honesty
  • Compatibility
  • You are BOTH healthy enough to be able to love (ex:  someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol has no business doing anything but turning an immediate emergency supply of love to themselves, FIRST)
  • You don’t need the relationship to be happy or a whole person.

If you want a relationship like this, BE the person you wanna SEE.  It is mostly about your ability to BE love and a loving person, when you are able to do this, and love yourself, you will attract someone who can mirror these qualities back to you, eventually!

Radical Forgiveness

Who is not drawn towards working with forgiveness?  I think most of us have a lot of people to forgive and not doing so most certainly disrupts health and happiness (causing depression, migraines, etc.) Sometimes reaching a state where forgiveness needs to happen because of the ill effects of not doing so pushes the process forward.

One method I find useful is the audio series Radical Forgiveness based on the book by the same name authored by Colin Tipping.  I realized that his prescription is very much a cognitive exercise in re-training the brain to re-conceptualize the grievance story told by the ego and realize that this story is in fact, much larger than this.  What I like most about this approach is the spiritual understanding or acceptance that the situation has greater meaning at a soul level, in addition to understanding the differing perspectives of the one who has caused the hurt.  The aim of the program is to rid the forgiver of what is called “victim consciousness,” which is very much rooted in the ego.  The author also recognizes that forgiveness is an energetic or soul-based shift that allows for a deep level of healing for both the forgiver and the forgivee.  Forgiveness is a way to empower one’s self, understanding that allowing oneself to store and hold the negative emotions is a way to keep oneself trapped—separated from the peace that is possible.  Tipping asserts that the broader view of the situation reveals that “nothing wrong or right ever happened,” in other words, that everything happens for a reason and there are no mistakes at the spiritual level of reality.

Tipping has several re-conceptualizing steps to take in this process.  The first is a kind of radical acceptance of the situation as it is.  In actuality, it was meant to happen that way and therefore there is nothing to forgive.  It is important to understand that circumstances happen for soul growth and development, and not to the ego just to cause turmoil.  The situation should be grasped as an opportunity for learning and growth.  Also, a key ingredient in the process is faith.  It is important to give up trying to always find the reasons for everything.  We may not always know the reasons in a rational sense.  One metaphor he uses that I particularly like is a tapestry.  If you look at the back of the tapestry, it is a mess, with no predictable pattern.  But if you look at the front of the tapestry, the pattern is apparent.  In many cases humans are looking only at the back of the tapestry, but when life is viewed with a broad perspective, the patterns and reasons for events emerge.  Tipping asserts that even this can be too difficult for someone who has been traumatized, so it helps to remain open to the possibility, and be open to the miracle of things all fitting together and making sense.  There is a great deal of surrender in that statement.  Peace also has to be a choice that is made by the forgiver. I think that the work that I do helps this process by helping people to see the patterns in the “tapestry.”

I found that over the course of several weeks, working with this information and truly absorbing it is extremely challenging.  I’ve discovered that the reason is that my ego really wants to hold on to the victim mentality for reasons that I have yet to fully understand.  To create the sense of separation perhaps—because if I can separate myself from those who have hurt me—somehow, I can spare myself some of the pain.  At the soul level, however, I agree with many of Tipping’s assertions.  From examining my own life, I can definitely see that there are patterns, and that events do not happen randomly and with no purpose.  Even if it is a meaning only I have created, at least it does make some sense!

Cognitive restructuring like this takes some time, and I think it probably has its own natural timetable.  I also think healing has its own natural timetable.  Even by working with this material and method over the course of several weeks, complete forgiveness may not happen in that timeframe.  I think one of the reasons is that the emotional component has to be worked through as well.  And I feel that the only way out of the negative emotions is to go through them.  There may not be any shortcuts.  I believe that my spiritual practices (such as meditation) as well as self-examination techniques such as this one, are very important for keeping perspective and helping the healing process, but I don’t think that the entire healing process is under our control.  I am beginning to believe that the healing process has its own organic structure, similar to the way in which Elizabeth Kubler-Ross maps out the stages of grief.  I have found that even despite my impatience, these feelings never seem to make the healing process go any faster.  In fact, when I skip steps or gloss over things, they eventually return to be dealt with at a later time.  I’ve also noticed the cyclical nature of dealing with loss and grief—just when you think you are over it, something else comes up!   I feel that there are great tools out there, such as Tipping’s, that can help, but ultimately the great surrender has to be to the process itself.

Meditation, Intimacy, and Isolation

Cultivating a meditation practice can create intimacy and connection or isolation if it is used in an unhealthy way. When we begin to awaken through meditation, it has an effect on all of our relationships, because we are beginning to change our own self-concepts. Realizing the ground of our being beyond the ego, typically we become more aware of the interconnected nature of humanity. We become aware that this ground of being supports all life, and this creates reverence for all of life in our hearts—beyond those that we love to those that we are more indifferent towards, towards other species, and potentially even those who have hurt us. This can bring a great capacity for love, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness to our lives. Relating to others with a greater sense of respect and recognizing their inner nature as divinity, we are better equipped to deal with relational challenges that stem from our differences.

Paradoxically, meditation can also help us to develop a degree of detachment in the form of spaciousness. Recognizing that there is an unchangeable, eternal nature to reality, we can be more likely to accept the nature of our emotions, thoughts, and sensations without becoming completely overwhelmed or unconsciously controlled by them. Typically a regular meditation practice helps to sustain emotional regulation and can lessen our tendency to dwell on negative emotions or thoughts. My experience is that meditation can create more room for joy, and reveals love at the base of all phenomena. Meditation has a way of taking us out of our heads and into our hearts. Mindfulness can help us to learn to sit with what is in a state of acceptance that can bring greater insight and understanding of ourselves as well as others. We may realize that any harm that we do to another, is harm done to ourselves, and vice-versa.

However, it is possible to use a meditation practice, or any spiritual thought or discipline, to serve our own ego’s fears. We may have a conscious or unconscious intent to escape our own shadow sides and that of others and may feel that meditation can help us do that. Or we may use our practice to glorify ourselves as “spiritual” beings on a higher plane than our fellow humans. In these examples meditation could be very isolating.

If we become very identified with transcendent awareness to the extent of losing touch with our ego and its contents we run the risk of disconnection with ourselves, our own lives, and with others. It is possible that our negative behaviors towards others and our deeply engrained ego patterns could become dominant if we give them less attention. Or we may use our practice to shirk away from a world that we are afraid of becoming too attached to because of its impermanence. We might not want to deal with our feelings, make difficult choices or changes, or become aware of our responsibilities towards all of life. In my experience, however, a regular practice can make it difficult to do this, as it makes one more aware in general rather than less aware of oneself as well as others.

Meditation as a spiritual practice has great potential to intimately connect us to the great web of life and to live a life of greater harmony in relationship to others. But it also brings many challenges that require us to honestly examine ourselves, our fears, our desires, and our behaviors. As long as we meet these challenges with mindfulness and compassion for ourselves, we are able to benefit through the strengthening as well as the transcendence of our egos.