Some Important Understandings About RelationshipsBy Dr. Margaret Paul
January 16, 2023
Discover some important information regarding commitment, forgiveness, trust, truth-telling, rejection, engulfment, and true giving.
Most of the time, when people enter a relationship, they commit to each other. What happens to this commitment when people separate or divorce?
A deeper, more profound commitment, is to the process of learning about loving with each other. If more people made this commitment to themselves and each other, far fewer relationships would end up in divorce. If each person was committed to utilizing all conflicts as vehicles for learning about loving, then their relationship conflicts would move them closer together instead of further apart.
Forgiveness is a natural outcome of doing your inner work. Once you develop a loving adult who takes full responsibility for your own feelings and behavior in any situation, you stop blaming others for anything. The more healing you do and the more responsibility you take for yourself, the more you see others' unloving behavior as coming from their wounded self. Once you can see that when your parents, partners, friends, or anyone else are being unloving, they are stuck in their wounded selves, you find yourself more able to forgive them for their woundedness. It is never helpful to force forgiveness. A lack of forgiveness just indicates that you have more inner work to do regarding healing and taking personal responsibility
Trust in relationships is more about becoming a trustworthy person than about trusting another. You become a fully trustworthy person when you:
- Take full responsibility for your own feelings and behavior
- Stay open to learning about loving yourself and others
- Set loving limits
- Seek and speak your truth
- Take action to bring yourself joy
- Trust your inner and higher guidance
When you trust yourself, you will know when another is not being truthful. True betrayal is more about betraying yourself by not trusting yourself and by not taking loving action for yourself, than it is about being betrayed by another. Others' untrustworthiness is often a reflection of you not having trusted yourself. Most of the time, when I have worked with people who feel betrayed by someone, they discover that they knew something was wrong way before the actual betrayal and didn't listen to themselves. Not listening to yourself is a self-betrayal.
About Telling the Truth
Telling the total truth in a relationship really means that you are sharing with your partner the truth about yourself -- your own feelings, thoughts, and behavior. In order to tell the total truth about yourself, you must be willing to lose your partner rather than lose yourself. To tell the truth to others you must be willing to lose their approval rather than compromise yourself in an attempt to have control over how they feel about you. Reaching a place within yourself where you are secure enough to be willing to lose others rather than lose yourself is one of the goals of Inner Bonding. It is not that you want to lose others, but that you are willing to lose others rather than compromise your own truth and integrity.
Telling the truth does not mean telling your partner your opinion regarding things you think they need to change. In fact, I advise couples NOT to tell their partner these kinds of things unless invited to do so. Telling someone what you think is wrong with him or her is violating and invasive unless you are given permission to do so. Intimacy is not created by telling others your opinion of them. It is created by telling others your discoveries about yourself.
About Rejection and Engulfment
Most people in relationships operate from a deep desire to protect themselves against both rejection and engulfment, rather than from a deep desire to learn about loving themselves and each other. The moment your desire is to protect against rejection and engulfment, you stop taking care of yourself and start attempting to control the other. This always leads to feeling alone and rejected within, since there is no loving adult taking care of you. These feelings may then be projected onto the other, and you end up feeling the very feelings you are trying to avoid.
Changing your intent from avoiding rejection and engulfment to learning about loving changes everything.
About Giving Without an Agenda
Many people keep a check and balance system in their heads. This creates much tension as you are always feeling like either you owe your mate, or they owe you. Life is much more joyous when you give just for the joy of giving, with no agenda attached, and receive for the joy of receiving, knowing you owe nothing in return. Love flows freely when each person gives for the joy of it, with no strings attached.
Heal your relationships with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.
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Your emotions are a great gift, letting you know when you are on track or off track in your thinking and behavior, or when you need to attend to what is happening with a person or situation. Today, practice learning what your painful emotions are telling you, rather than avoiding them with your various addictions.
By Dr. Margaret Paul