• briantohana

Longing for Each Other, Protecting Ourselves from What We Want

We humans share this fascinating problem...

We all want the same things for ourselves and others:

To be accepted for who we are.

To desire and be desired.

To love and be loved.

To express ourselves fully.

To see and be seen.

To hear and be heard.

To connect.

To belong.

To matter.

And yet..

We’re often anxious, depressed, lonely, disconnected, addicted, suicidal and afraid of each other; we argue and sometimes even go to war with our life partners, neighbours and nations...

So what’s going on?

If we all want the same things, what’s in the way? And how can we all get what we want together?

We have to be willing to see and consider new perspectives like these:

  1. None of our problems in our relationships are caused by the other person.

  2. We are never reacting to a person/circumstance outside of ourselves but associated internal pain from our past.

  3. The way we were socialized as a child unconsciously drives much of our adult behaviour.

  4. Happiness in relationship is a by-product of healing childhood wounds.

  5. The quality of our relationships reflects the quality of our life.

  6. The quality of our relationships improves when we take responsibility for changing ourselves not others.

This is an incredibly empowering perspective because it acknowledges that you are at the cause not the effect of external people and circumstances.

How you react is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to change. By changing yourself – the only thing you can control – you can change the dynamic of any relationship.

Adaptations / coping mechanisms that you learned to protect yourself when you didn't know any better as a child continue to be acted out in adulthood. So, with new awareness you have the power to change, to create a new normal that you might barely be able to imagine is possible right now.

Deeply satisfying love relationships at home, and highly effective teams at work are both created intentionally upon foundations of:

1) Psychologically Safety – How to be a Safe Space for Yourself and Others

  • How we speak / respond

  • How we listen

  • How we communicate needs, desires and requests

  • How we offer feedback

  • How we behave

  • How we receive each other’s’ words and actions

  • How we support opening up vs. shutting down / defensiveness

2) Inner Work – How to Change Any Relationship by Changing Yourself

  • Shifting from unconscious reaction to conscious response

  • Resolving emotional and psychological wounds/triggers (working through protection mechanisms/adaptions learned in childhood)

  • Humility, honest and willingness to look at how you are responsible for creating the problems you blame on others

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."- Rumi

As our level of consciousness expands, we're invited to answer questions like:

  • Would you rather be right or happy and at peace?

  • How do we stop protecting ourselves from the very things we want?

  • What do we value and how do our actions reflect those values and priorities?

  • What are we truly committed to?

  • How do we balance the competing needs of self and other in relationship?

  • How do we balance our competing needs for security and adventure?

  • How do we express ourselves fully without hurting others; owning our unique perspective while still being malleable and open to other perspectives?

  • How can we use every person, event and circumstance for our personal liberation, so that we can be a safe and consciously loving presence in the world?

Without making one better or worse than the other, it's helpful to distinguish between unconscious and conscious relationships so that you can be more intentional in creating the relationship you desire:

Unconscious Relationship

  • Competition Paradigm - Engaging from You vs. Me, Winner vs. Loser

  • Problem-Focused - Defending limitations; feeling threatened and insecure.

  • Self-Focused - Demands to be heard first.

  • Righteous - Identified with our ego and trying to prove a point.

  • Power Struggle - Enemies unconsciously fighting for power, control and attention.

  • Fixed Mindset - It’s always been this way and always will be.

  • People-Pleasing – Lack of healthy boundaries.

  • Stuck in Drama Triangle roles and dynamic.

  • Need others to change first to be happy.

Conscious Relationship

  • Collaborative Paradigm - Engaging from Us / We, Winner-Winner

  • Outcome Focused - Exploring possibilities, intentionally appreciating and acknowledging the good.

  • Other-Focused - Willing to listen and apply empathy first.

  • Humble - Curious to learn.

  • Teamwork - Allies in growth.

  • Growth Mindset - Anyone at any age is capable of change.

  • Healthy boundaries - Willing to be vulnerable and honest in communicating needs/desires.

  • Consciously shifts to Empowerment Triangle Roles and dynamic

  • Works on taking responsibility for changing self first.

You can decide what kind of relationship you want and commit to creating it everyday with your partner. It's an exciting journey to consciously maintain things when they're good, repair them when connection ruptures, and continually evolve what a deeply satisfying love relationship means to you.

My life’s work is dedicated to helping you get the most out of all of your relationships so that you can engage with each other and the world with an open heart.

"I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion--and where it isn't, that's where my work lies.”- Ram Das