Jean-Pierre Bonnotte 1968
What if the goal of being in a relationship is to grow and become more than you were when you first met? If that’s true, then wouldn’t it be way more realistic if you sat across from each other at the beginning of your courtship and said, “Hey, I really like you. I’m going to put all my stuff on the table and get it out in the open before we decide to go any further: my abandonment issues, my selfishness, my low self-esteem, and my need to control things to feel safe. And why don’t you go ahead and tell me upfront about your issues now too, and I’ll decide if I like what you’re working with, and whether that’s going to help or hinder my evolution as a human being.”
OK, yes, agreed—not super sexy. But after the pink clouds fade, the honeymoon phase winds down, and the early flush of courtship turns into a full bloom, this is realistically the meal that’s served up at the table for a party of two. The main course being a heaping helping of your issues combined with theirs: poo-poo platter or yummy gumbo?
I’ll activate you and you’ll heal
If you’re conscious, you’ll walk into that pre-couple negotiation and call it like it is. Know you’re entering into the master class of becoming intimate with your emotional baggage and also going deeper with your capacity to love, forgive, expand, release, and ultimately grow.
When you’re unconscious, you’ll plunge in headlong, hoping for a perpetually blissful union, and you’ll inevitably attract the very person who highlights that part of you that’s “in shadow.” Your shadow is the least desirable aspects of your personality that you’re unwilling to acknowledge consciously: lower tendencies, patterns, wounds, traumas, fears, character defects, compulsions—basically all that’s within you that needs brought to light for your evolution, that you unconsciously really do want to heal from, so you can finally feel whole.
Most people don’t realize this unspoken agreement when entering into a partnership. And then they don’t understand when their magical “soul mate” connection devolves into a relational sh&% show of unmet expectations and simmering resentments, as they are in full resistance to recognizing the relationship’s true purpose of healing them at their deepest level. From this lack of understanding, they demand that the person in front of them be what they need them to be (sometimes what they themselves can’t be either), while powering through being fully uncomfortable, triggered, and bitterly disappointed in their mate, and even in the idea of love itself. They misguidedly focus on what their partner is not doing right, holding up the mirror to all their lover’s frailties and vulnerabilities, while not taking ownership of their own baggage that desperately needs unpacked. It’s a head-on collision of the you-complete-me, butterflies-and-rainbows fantasy of what they think a relationship should be, versus the true healing reality of what it’s meant to be in its full, wonderful glory.
Probably few mortals enter into partnership with this much awareness, and it doesn’t mean you’re doomed if you haven’t brokered this within your own coupledom, even if any of these unconscious scenarios are well underway. Rest assured, you can turn things around quickly and create a conscious relationship at any time, in every moment. All it takes is one of you cultivating becoming “woke,” and the whole paradigm between you HAS to follow suit, shifting everything for the highest good.
Unreal expectations are resentments in the making
There are three distinct entities in a viable relationship: the life you are leading, your partner’s own life separate from you, and the life you share together. For a woke relationship, all three need to be in balance. Each person has to build out their full experience on their own individual path, and then both parties meet back in the middle, to offer all of that goodness at the altar of their couple-hood. By doing this, they bring the best part of themselves to that common ground, which helps to nurture and sustain all three, organically.
Two halves don’t make a whole
If you’re unconsciously putting too much weight on the partnership for fulfillment and a sense of purpose, the relationship and your partner can’t possibly shoulder that heavy burden, and both will crumble over time. So, go ahead and take a look at the areas of your life that aren’t thriving. Make a decision to go after what you want, try to get your own needs met other places than just with your person, putting some energy into your own goals and aspirations. Take the time to deepen your spiritual connection with something greater, cultivate rich friendships that sustain you, grow out your own interests, enjoy your own company, cultivate your happiness outside of the two of you, and importantly, keep the focus on you. Stay in your lane. Let your partner do them. This will recalibrate the relationship.
Did I say it was easy? Let’s be clear, fully getting that our partner/spouse/lover is not the be-all and end-all, that we are the most important factor in our lives, is moving into radical acceptance of being responsible for our journey and ultimately, our own day-to-day happiness. And that’s a big idea that takes practice to remember, as we are pushing against so many societal stereotypes and fantasies of making that other person such a focal point, or falsely, “our better half.” It’s a setup for the Three Relationship D’s: Disappointment, Disillusionment, and Disposability. Depressing! Instead, remember the three wholly distinct entities: you, them, and the relationship itself. And focus on your side of the street: nurturing, developing, and loving on you! While allowing your beloved to be all of who they are on their blessed path, walking alongside you.
In part two of Being Woke in Relationships, I will offer some specific ways to show up and bring your best self to create a crackingly conscious, intimate, and fulfilling experience for you, your partner, and the relationship itself. This is higher ground we’re stepping onto, where you can embody your purpose individually and collectively so you can be happier and fall deeper in love with you (and them!).