Image Credit: John Hope
Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to the inaugural blog post for The Relationship Place. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
I love this time of year. No matter where you have come from, it is a chance to feel refreshed, get excited by the possibilities ahead and charge yourself up with that invincible feeling that anything is possible.
If only we could bottle that feeling for when we need it most!
One thing I am especially excited about is the launch of the new website for The Relationship Place. My goal was to create a welcoming hub for people who are seeking clarity and understanding about their relationships, where I could share insights and open up a dialogue around how to create and sustain the dream relationships we all crave.
When I took some time to think about what I have learned from all my wonderful clients over the past few years, what the single underlying message was that people were missing in their lives and in their relationships, the word that immediately lit up for me was COMPASSION.
Compassion is a big word. And on a global and community level, it is definitely something we need to see more of in the world, especially from our leaders. But the compassion I’m talking about is a far more personal, intimate kind.
While there are many soul-affirming stories out there of extraordinary acts of compassion by complete strangers, it can be a whole lot more challenging to feel compassion for those we are intimately involved with, those with whom we have emotional ties and triggers. And the reason for that is all down to our rules and judgements.
“Well I’m not going to feel compassion for you, you should know better”.
“I’m not going to feel compassion for you, you just hurt my feelings.”
“I’m not going to feel compassion for you because you broke my rules of what I think needs to happen around love. So all you’re going to get from me is judgement.”
Image Credit: Kirill Ξ/Κ Voloshin
We can be quick to judge. It is often our default response, particularly when our buttons are pushed. And when our buttons are pushed, we withhold and withdraw to keep ourselves safe, which in turn creates a sense of separation between us and the world, and with that a sense of fear.
Compassion is the bridge. It spans that fearful divide between you and your partner and reconnects you. It brings you back together. When you are feeling compassionate towards your partner, you are identifying with them, you are connecting with them.
The tricky thing is, the most important time to show someone compassion is when they seemingly least deserve it. When someone is acting unreasonably, that is often when they need our compassion the most. But that is also when we are least likely to offer it.
Yet there may be many reasons why your partner is behaving this way. They may be under pressure at work and feeling stressed and anxious. They may be worrying about money or struggling with a sudden degree of uncertainty in their life. They may be crying for help but expressing it through anger or frustration.
Admittedly, it can be difficult for us to observe an emotionally charged situation without judgement. It requires us to consciously pause before we react to an angry outburst from our partner, not always achievable in the heat of the moment. But with conscious intent, and with practice, it is possible. To stop. To observe what emotions your partner is expressing and consider what might be triggering them. And then to reach out to them with compassion, rather than reacting with anger.
Image Credit: Sean McGrath
And the easiest way to communicate that compassion is through the power of touch. Sometimes a simple hug is all that is required. A close, intimate hug that says, ‘It’s okay, I love you. I am here for you’. Try it and see how it dissolves and diffuses the tension between you.
And once the tension and anger has been drained from the moment, and connection has been forged, an opportunity opens up for perhaps a long needed talk, for your partner to release what they have been struggling with alone and for a greater understanding of what each other is going through, which in turn brings you closer and more connected. It is these moments which weave the tapestry of trust, connection and intimacy in a long term relationship.
And what better way to start the new year?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.