Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Relationships: How Intimacy Leads to Personal Growth

It seems that couples that allow their partners to safely feel intimate create a relationship that inspires personal growth.  To know if your relationship is one that allows you to safely feel intimate ask yourself if you feel safe becoming emotionally exposed.  When you attempt to no longer hide behind your defenses you allow yourself to be vulnerable.  Yet as we all know, being vulnerable does not come easy. 

Intimate relationships are good for our own personal evolution because they give us clear perspective into our behavior.  Relationships give us opportunities too see how the past, with all of its cumulative experience, has shaped how we relate to our partner today.  Thus relationships become an experience to which we can change the way in which the past may have a hold on us.  We can change the way we relate to the present by tracing the roots of the emotions that surface during times of heightened emotion.  Awareness gives us the power to evolve past old ways of being that no longer serve us.  Awareness gives us control by holding the past accountable for how we react in the now.  Forgiveness is the means that allows us to move on with the control gained through awareness.  When you realize that that you are no longer the impulse that pushes you to act or feel something you are given the power to evolve through those old engrained behaviors and feelings.

A healthy relationship is bound to make you expand on the notions you have about yourself.  It does this by forcing you to break free of your emotional isolation and share your life with another.  This is the essence of intimacy.  We become intimate because with this emotional exchange we make ourselves susceptible to showing our partners our “dark side.” We all enter relationships with emotional baggage.  Nobody is flawless.

As a side note: if you fear reveling yourself to your partner to the degree to which it makes you suppress aspects of yourself…is it a relationship you want to be in?

A healthy relationship allows you to explore your emotional baggage together. The two people in relationship do this by accepting each other how they are.  Yet, this does not mean we stubbornly stay the same, ignoring our partner’s feelings that hope we may want to better ourselves for the sake of a better relationship.  Sincere acceptance of your partner gives your loved one a safe place to observe the “not so good qualities” they may have.  Subsequently, the love you share for each other encourages the two of you to evolve out of the emotional patterns that do not suit you anymore.  This is how a healthy relationship sustains growth and personal evolution.

Yet all good relationships do hit their “roadblocks.” Without clearly communicating to each other there is bound to be incongruence, dissonance, and strife within the relationship.  Often times those relating may be too selfish to look within and take ownership for the reasons that their relationship has become challenged. Complicating the matter, those who act selfishly within the relationship may become defense upon hearing their partner’s criticism.  Furthermore, one or both of the partners may be too afraid to voice their concerns.  Those who are unwilling to voice their concerns may emotionally shut off.  Either way, the relationship is on a course that may lead to its demise.  It is important to realize though that whenever a dissonance arises within a relationship it speaks to an incongruence someone is having in his or her own personal life.

If there is a partner within the relationship that is having a hard time being aware to their partners concerns, this speaks to their inability to be emotionally present within the relationship.  To be emotionally present within a relationship goes hand in hand being emotionally present within.  The relationship is a mirror into yourself.  Yet it is always good to remember that being vulnerable and “showing up” emotionally within the context of a relationship is an act of courage.  It is this act of courage that allows you to shed conscious awareness into the unconscious aspects of self that are getting in the way of a harmonious relationship. 

When unconscious emotional and behavior patters get in the way of the harmony of the relationship it is time for the love that the two people have for each other to support the personal work that can be undertaken.  During difficult times it is important to remember what has brought you to this point.  The meaning is not lost if those who are in relationship can put their ego aside and remember the significance of their partnership and how far it has brought them.  Having this empathy for each other, despite hard times, allows the two of you to communicate again.

Nurturing relationships exemplify patience and care.  These relationships allow partners to illuminate their vulnerabilities to each other.  It allows for the two to propel each other forward by bringing these aspects of egotistical selfishness and or their own fears of being heard into their own conscious awareness.  Love and acceptance propel us then to dismantle these “not so good qualities” and grow into higher aspects of yourself.  Personal growth is achieved independently, but it is healthy and conscious communication that supports this personal growth.

In conclusion, the reward of communicating and being honest not only with your partner, but with yourself, is lasting love.  Love is the outcome when the two of you accept each other for being exactly who you are yet all the while encourage each other to evolve into the people you desire to become. 


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