Have you ever wondered why you keep making the same mistakes or having the same arguments with your spouse or partner over and over? These patterns are driven by motivations, needs, or unresolved issues that you are not fully aware of. Becoming more conscious of these allows you to make different choices. But how can you become more aware of that which is not conscious to you?
One answer is to decide to become more conscious. That means being intentional about learning from your experiences and from the teachers in your life. Being intentional means you focus your attention on learning, open your mind to seeing things in a new way, and being humble enough to consider someone else’s perspective, especially about you. You have many teachers all around you when you are ready to learn. This is often an area where executive coaching is the most helpful.
Believe it or not, your spouse can be one of your best teachers because of the power of love. Love is a force that focuses its light on the dark places inside of you. It surfaces those parts of yourself that you try hard to keep hidden. This is not comfortable and so you resist what love has to teach you because it doesn’t always feel like love and you are afraid. When you stop resisting and defending yourself, you can commit to learning how to live and love more consciously. When the two of you commit to loving, learning, and supporting each other in your journey toward being whole, your marriage will become a great source of strength and joy.
Be careful of things that promise easy and simply solutions to complex problems. The Law of Attraction is one such solution that is often misleading. If it’s so easy, why are so many still stuck?
One of my new clients told me how she uses dreams and visualizations in the hope of creating her ideal life. She described how she imagines herself already having all the things she wants and feels the joy and excitement of those dreams. This is exactly what books on law of attraction say you are supposed to do. Yet, she continues to attract the same dead end relationships and is stuck in a low-paying job.
The reason this client is not attracting what she wants in her life is that her dreams are not congruent with who she is at this point. Since childhood she has used fantasy to escape from reality, which by the way was painful and dysfunctional. So for her, visualizing and dreaming became a means of compensating and denying her real thoughts, feelings, and circumstances.
Her skills at visualization will be helpful to her down the road but she needs to set it aside right now and deal with reality. She has to honestly confront her core beliefs, assumptions, and self-image and learn to understand herself in a new light. She needs to allow herself to heal the unspoken grief she carries inside. Then she will be able to see herself with more compassion, work on forgiveness, and be able to love and accept herself for who she really is. As she grows forward into higher emotional well-being she will then begin to attract what she desires, as her self-image, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs align.
This may sound like too much work and pain but it is the road less traveled, which leads to true prosperity. Don’t be discouraged by the journey. This is critical to the health of your relationships and your sense of well-being. Find a good coach or therapist who understands how to guide you through the inner work and keep moving forward. You are worth the effort.
There are many developmental issues that influence your ability to be a healthy partner in your marriage. One issue that everyone has to work through is separating from one’s family of origin. Separating is not about leaving your family behind, not caring about them, or rejecting anyone. I’m talking about the emotional and psychological work of knowing yourself as an adult with your own identity, which includes defining your own values, beliefs, and world view. Until you do this work, you will continue to play the role you played in childhood and be unable to fully engage as a mature partner in your marriage.
Why does it matter? If you are still playing out unconscious roles it is most likely leading to conflict in your marriage. Do you end up fighting about the same issues over and over? Are you particularly sensitive about certain issues, especially related to your family, and not sure why? If so you most likely think your spouse is the problem. However, you won’t be able to resolve the conflict until you are willing to look in the mirror and work through your own development issues.
How? Begin by being an honest observer of yourself and your family system. If you can watch interactions in your family without getting wrapped up in them you start to see yourself and them differently. When you stay in contact with your family and consciously choose to respond in new ways you are redefining your relationships. For example, if you typically get angry at your mom, try being more patient and seeing her from a different perspective. If you typically are passive around your father, try out more assertive responses. Over time you will gain confidence in yourself and be able to be less defensive with your spouse as well. Then you may find he or she is less defensive also and you can learn to help each other work through the things that get in the way of connecting in deeper ways.
Please let me know if you have specific questions, comments, or examples about this. I value your feedback.