Relationship School

1348 Relax and Succeed - Relationship School

This fall I will be starting the latest round of my course, The Principles of Healthy Relationships. I won’t pretend to know who or what is right or wrong for someone else. But I do know that by learning how to clear our heads and change our perspectives, we can learn to more clearly see what defines a healthy relationship for us.

Each of us comes to our relationships with unique histories, unique circumstances and a unique personality. Those factors in turn lead us to date in unique ways and to create unique relationships. We even have unique breakups. And yet within us there is a certain consistency that we see emerge as patterns.

The differences between us derive from small differences in how we weight our values and our preferences, and our patterns emerge because those rarely change. But what is helpful is that we all share a set of helpful principles that we process our values and preferences with, and we can become conscious of that process.

We all know it’s possible for us to be attracted to certain kinds of unhealthy situations, and we often have the same conflicts with multiple partners, both of which are indications of the invisible set of rules we have been using in our relationships. Yet, we cannot function wisely within them if we’re not even sure what those rules and boundaries are, where they came from, or if they’re helpful.

It is possible for us to be more conscious of what we bring to a relationship, both in terms of how we foster them in healthy ways and how we unwittingly undermine them. Because we not only need to know how to find joy, we also need good strategies for how to manage our particular brands of trouble.

Every good relationship runs into problems –even serious ones. But the healthiest relationships succeed precisely because they have calmly thought out good strategies for dealing effectively with the patterns we create with our lives.

If we understand our Selves and how we truly operate, we are then able to tell the difference between when our ego is over-reacting, and when we have an issue that truly needs a healthy resolution.

By slowing our dating, relationship and breakup processes down, and by seeing them in new and insightful ways, it is much easier for us to find healthy new routes into better quality relationships.

1348 Relax and Succeed - Being single dating being in a relationship

If we’re single we can benefit from gaining a better understanding of the differences between solitude and loneliness. That way we can avoid both hiding from relationships, as well as being pushed into unhealthy ones. (It’s no surprise that we often make better choices when we’re feeling healthy and not under stress.)

If we’re dating, that’s often through websites which match qualities and interests, and yet people in good relationships will sometimes share those and other times not, so clearly those are not the secret. Qualities and interests are important, but in the end what we are with in a relationship is someone’s true character. Knowing how to recognize it early helps us to figure out much sooner if someone is destined to cross one of our relationship limits.

And if we’re in a relationship, or if we’re thinking about leaving one, we gain by establishing much more clearly what our personal needs really are, and why we are with the person we are with. This can can facilitate very helpful dialogue and can just as often lead to a beautiful relationship renewal as it can lead to a compassionate and healthy break-up.

Whether we avoid someone, unite with someone, sacrifice to stay with someone or decide leave someone, in any case our actions should be motivated by the same underlying principle: because that choice will lead to a greater quality of life.

We can share our lives with others and we do not have to surrender ourselves completely to do it. At least not all the time. But we do need to know where our own balance points are, and how those correspond to our partners or potential partners. Without that we can easily see things tumble.

No one is ever wrong or right for everyone, but finding who we’re right for is certainly much easier when we have a clearer and more principled idea of what it is we’re really looking for.

peace. s

Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #2

723 BY14 Relax and Succeed - Kindness unlocks doors

Relationships are always a popular topic. Divorce is common but not always the route to happiness people presume. And before any life-changing decisions are made, this blog suggests getting the clearest possible view of the people and circumstances involved. With that, often a choice or decision may become self-evident through simple quiet-minded impartial observation.


Winner: Scott’s Favourite
Blogs of 2014 #2

peace. s

Soul Mate School

Every time I see my ex my gut gets heavy and it hurts to even look at her. She says she doesn’t want me in her life anymore but she says the love is not dead. But she’s
with another guy. Should I just stay away? Am I just being a jealous ex?

Broken Up

Dear Broken,

I’ll assume by your phrasing that you’re the one that got left, and the fact that it hurts indicates that this wasn’t the direction you wanted things to go. First off, don’t feel alone. Keep in mind I and almost everyone else you meet will have experienced those feelings. In fact very few 314 Relax and Succeed - The wound is the placepeople who live on this Earth won’t experience them. It’s ultimately extremely human. It would be a shame to live and miss out on feeling it at least once. Without knowledge of it there would be so many other moments that would lose their poignancy.

The reason we know the feeling is that we did the same things you did. Or some variation of them. When people “are together” whether that’s dating or a marriage, there’s a sense that because it’s named that it’s over. That it’s happened in the past tense, as though it was a one-time decision, rather than the truth—which is that it is re-decided over and over and over after each experience, throughout the relationship. Most of us forget that is happening and we slip into a lull where we start to behave unconsciously—where we genuinely lose track of the fact that the decisions we make each day are, in a way, made for more than just us.

This blindness can conceal a lot. Even the cheating spouse isn’t thinking that their point is to ruin their marriage. That’s why they’re sneaking around. They don’t want to ruin the good parts of their relationship. They want to replace or shore-up what they perceive as the bad parts. Or maybe they just want some compliments or to have sex. Do you see how they might tip towards people who are offering one or both? They aren’t thinking about the pain their 314 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes it takes a painfulspouse would feel—in almost every case that’s precisely why they’re keeping it a secret. They don’t want their loved one to experience the pain, but they also don’t want important aspects of themselves to go un-lived or that’s just another kind of pain.

Love is a complicated business once we get words and definitions involved. Without the words and definitions love is left to be a verb, either expressed or suppressed. It does not have a history or a future, real love—the act of love—happens in-the-moment. So if you’re with your partner and you feel close feelings, you will act in a close manner. If your thoughts are elsewhere, on other “priorities” then you will feel those thoughts and in the meantime your relationship will idle from your lack of attention, even though it may have your physical presence. But it is important to remember that your partner is also a thinking being, so as your thoughts are about other things, their thoughts begin to be about other things too. And that is where the distance can start.

You say that your ex says that she still feels that love for you exists but that she wants space from you. Can you understand that just as the breakup is hard for you, that it is hard for her too? I know she initiated it on an official basis, but she may very well feel that you initiated it by having your thoughts focused too-much on subjects other than her. Maybe those thoughts were lazy and easy, like you were focused on the playoffs of a sport or on some important work event or life event like an important new promotion or a wedding or even a death in your family. Our reasons for being distracted can vary, but the distraction is equally innocent, regardless.

Don’t beat yourself up for those distractions—just try to be more aware in the future. And don’t resent her decision—it would have been hard for her too. But know that your thoughts about her are currently a tangled mess of would-be, could-be dead-end thoughts that never lead you to anywhere good. That’s what her thoughts were like before she left you. And just 314 Relax and Succeed - Far too many peoplelike it did for her, eventually your spirit realizes that these thoughts are fruitless, and you begin to naturally abandon them in favour of other more productive thoughts. Over time you replace thoughts of her or your failures with thoughts of other people and the fun you’re having, and just like every other human, your natural resiliency leads you back to health. In the end we don’t so much find our soulmate, it’s more that each relationship teaches us how to be a soulmate for whoever we’re dating.

Yes being left hurts, just as becoming someone who leaves is a painful experience too. The only thing that makes these painful thoughts “go away” is to replace them with other thoughts. She’s done it with someone else (which is why that’s often referred to as “rebound”), but you will have to do this very consciously at the start. Maybe you’ll use a person. Maybe it’ll be an activity or interest. But your naturally healthy mind will find something to focus on and your innate health will emerge as a result. So the only thing you can do it accelerate that process a bit is by really looking for things to invest yourself in. Then when you bounce back to painful thoughts about your ex, know that you can bounce right back to thoughts about something else.

I feel for you. It’s easy to remember the sort of feelings associated with heartbreak. It’s a painful thing to think we’ve let down someone we care about. But it’s not like that was your intention, so you should be forgiving of yourself. Invest your consciousness wisely going forward. Be very intentional about your thinking and your life will reflect those choices.

All the best.

peace and a hug. s