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August 14, 2015

How to Retain “Togetherness” During Tough Times.

love couple hug

We have likely all had those on-again-off-again romantic relationships—things are floaty and fluffy on a surface level, but when they get hard one or both parties involved needs to leave because it is just too much to handle.

Sadly, this happens as well even when these fires of life are those circumstances outside of the relationship. We can feel the overwhelm of stress, and when that fight or flight kicks in—that’s what typically happens.

We begin to fight each other, or we flee altogether.

But, there is another option.

Compassion at it’s root means to be “with” in the “fires” of life.

My life has been full of these fires—most of them brought on by myself or that which I have attracted in some way, shape or form in an effort to find some semblance of truth. Most of the time I have not learned from these and have brought myself back, typically without consciously realizing it, over and over again.

After all, fire is that which transforms—it is the only element which has the power to purify in the manner than it does.

Fire is truth.

There is an opportunity to see what is real and what is not amidst these challenging times and also the opportunity to allow that which is hindering us in our lives to burn away.

Most of my romantic relationships have left me standing alone amongst these flames. I have fought with every bit of grit that I have had to find this truth on my own. Admittedly, there have been times when I have pushed people away—likely you can relate.

Luckily, I have had some teachers and dear friends who have stood with me through these times. I feel it is more difficult to remain in this state of “togetherness” for those in romantic relationships. After all, I believe that we have perhaps even on a subconscious level chosen our other as a means of solidifying that we believed about ourselves at the time which we entered the relationship. The patterns that typically come up for couples are nothing more or less than a reflection of these beliefs.

So, if staying together is so difficult why should we try so hard to do it?

Why do we go against what seems easier to us when our primal systems are screaming at us to just survive via running, physically or mentally, or fighting?

We do this for two basic reasons:

First, if we want a relationship to make it past those fluffy and easy states of existence, we have to find a way to relate during these times.

We can see each other, and the acceptance and unconditional love that is waiting amidst these fires is nothing short of utterly beautiful. This love itself is true—love is always true. But we have to get past our fears and emotions and the not so easy hurdle of our nervous system telling us to “fight or flight” in order to get there.

Secondly, it is almost guaranteed that one of us will be able to see through the smoke better than the other on any given occasion. If what has become gruelling and difficult is affecting one person more than the other. The other person has the advantage of supporting the other in seeing the situation for what it is.

For example, if one of the parties involved is struggling because they lost a job–their “untruths” may be that they failed. They may feel unworthy. They may feel  as if they are lacking in some way, shape or form, but this is just a circumstance and using both presence and words of truth during these times is part of what can be a priceless aspect of having a partner.

Those times in our lives which can feel unbearable—even gruelling—they can bring us to our knees.

I believe that the whole purpose for having a life partner is to not only love and play together in this world, but also to act as someone who softly and gently whispers truth into our left ear when we have forgotten.

During the times when the smoke becomes too thick to see clearly on our own.

A different type of example is that of an internal circumstance.

I recently taught someone how to do a fireman’s grip. My left hand grips my right forearm, they do the same, with both of our right hands gripping the other’s left forearm—so that our grips make a sturdy square.

During times of these fires, we can do this. We can solidify our bond to one another so that the grasps of our open hands do not slip.

We don’t allow each other to fall away.

Those times in our lives which can feel unbearable—even gruelling—they can bring us to our knees.

I believe that the whole purpose for having a life partner is to not only love and play together in this world, but also to act as someone who softly and gently whispers truth into our left ear when we have forgotten.

During the times when the smoke becomes too thick to see clearly on our own.

To be compassionate with someone though requires us to remain centered and sturdy ourselves. We cannot allow that other person to use our grip to convince us as well of that which we know is not true.

We need to anchor ourselves—truly anchor ourselves stably in order to support our other.

We need to be strong and let our own fears fall away, remaining fully present during these times. It can also be of benefit to remain as calm and even quiet as we can in order to hold the space that they may need.

We can stand together.

We do not have to do this alone.

Walking through life together means walking through these times—with both hands and hearts together.

 

 

 

Relephant: 

5 Things Done Differently in Healthy Relationships.

 

 

 

Author: Katie Vessel 

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: Luca Vanzella at Flickr 

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