Relationships… That is indeed something we all can relate to, isn’t it, Guy? They are so filled with emotions, good or bad! Think about it; no matter what kind of relationship we talk about here, whether it is between lovers, family, friends or colleagues, they all have an impact on us!
One thing I say over and over is that our thoughts and feelings create our words and actions, and it is from that angle I want to discuss this week’s topic. I simply want to turn the whole picture around, and talk about how we, through our feelings, attract relationships that all affect us and give us a chance to grow. And also how relationships change according to how we change.
Let us start, Guy, with the fact that we all have been a part of our mum for nine months and after that have been taken care of for many years. What kind of family are you born into? What did you learn about yourself as you grew up? Did you feel important and accepted as you, or did you miss something along the way?
It is somewhat difficult to change your genetic family tree or what kind of conditions you grew up with. But from a Kinesiology perspective, we all chose our family as energy, before we entered in a body as humans.
Now, that is often difficult to believe, as some of us did grow up under bad conditions—why on earth would we choose that?? If you happen to be one of those children, and maybe even are still struggling after what you’ve endured, you are in a huge learning process! It is when you start accepting the fact as it was and stop being a victim that you start your real life!
What we learn about relationships and about ourselves as we grow up follows us through our entire life, and it is actually the first 6 years of our life we learn the most. Who would consider that? Look at small children, how they study their parents, how they play. If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about and if your children have grown up, you can see they often act very similarly to you.
We develop our ego as children through our personal experiences; who we are and what we deserve in life, according to our own interpretation. As with everything else, our ego is also dualistic; we have a positive and a negative ego. Not exactly the Alter Ego that Jung spoke of, as that is more our expression, but they are close.
Our negative ego is the part of our self-image that attaches itself, and make sure you never forget, all the negative things that have happened to you. Every time you were afraid as a child, every time you got hurt, every time you felt overlooked and not important at all. This is what your defence system uses as information to help you avoid these situations again.
This is a very important part of our Way of Being, isn’t it, Guy?
When I grew up, I was raised to not speak before I was given permission, when the grown ups were talking. I remember how I would have something so important to tell as I came running inside to my parents, just to find my father’s hand in the air, and I knew I had to be quiet until he gave me his attention.
My father was a very indomitable man and usually he‘d let me wait some time before he let me speak, and after a while, what I had to say started to seem a bit stupid in my mind. Maybe I figured out that what happened wasn’t that big an event at all, or I found my own explanation to it, so when I finally was allowed to speak, there wasn’t anything to say.
It took me many years of my life to realise that I did have something to say, that other people would find value in listening to—still I find myself getting quiet when I’m together with people that have a lot to say.
The first time I realised that and put those two together, was when I was working from home one day, studying. I had my own routine when studying from home, starting at 9am and working until 4pm, and I didn’t like anyone to disturb my routine. All my friends and family members knew this, so it was not a problem at all. Then one day, my boyfriend’s friend came visiting him, together with his wife. And wow, that woman could talk!
I was sitting on a chair, listening to her for hours and hours, she never stopped! I did try, at the start, to comment on some of the things she said, but she just wasn’t interested, so I just ended up listening. And listening. And listening. Realising that my day of study was gone…
She gave me a very important lesson, but then I had to figure out how to deal with it! I realised that all my close relationships had the same thing in common: What I said wasn’t interesting enough for my partner to listen to. And I was comfortable with this, as I could hide behind them and not confront my negative ego, reminding me of how it made me feel when I was a child.
It took me even longer to figure out that I, in fact, had drawn this into my life, as I’d learnt as a child that I needed permission to speak and that permission was never granted in my grown up relationships…
It is a big lie in life, Guy, when we do not feel heard! Or not important enough to get any attention! We act according to this, some of us as victims of circumstances and others as a fighter, just like this woman, never giving the other person an opening. It is in fact two different expressions of the same thing, the echo of a child that didn’t feel important enough.
The single most important tool for self-development is our relationships. We project our inner drama onto those around us and our challenge is to comprehend what’s really going on and work with it. So now I do look forward to hear what you can share as an Ontological and Transformational coach on this subject, Guy? How do you help people to understand how relationships project their inner feelings, and the gift this is?
You have raised a subject so huge here, Kari, and in fact, relationships are perhaps the one thing that definitively links us with our fellow human beings—more even than we might imagine!
Besides the obvious in terms of relationships, the lovers, friends, family, colleagues and so on, we are engaged almost every day in building and dissolving relationships, however fleeting they may appear—and it’s these relationships which constantly redefine and shape our Way of Being, determining our disposition towards the more important ones. As you are well aware too, Kari, we never forget so much as the most miniscule detail; it all gets stored away forever in our memory banks.
Consider for a moment how many indirect relationships you engage in just on your way to and from work each day: the other drivers on the road, all (hopefully) communicating their will and intent; the pedestrian you hoot at to warn them of your approach, or the idiot who cuts you off… The wave of thanks to the driver who allowed you to cross in front of them, the wink at the gorgeous blonde in the convertible, or (if you’re a woman) the kiss blown to you by the hunk in the sports car…
Then you go out for lunch or dinner and interact with the waiter, or the hostess. You go to the shopping mall and you’re engaging with shop assistants and fellow shoppers. Perhaps not even verbally, but sometimes with a smile of acknowledgement or a shake of the head…
It’s possible that you spend time on the phone, contacting clients or suppliers; people you’ve never met before…
You’re engaging in a relationship with each and every one of these people, however fleetingly. The relationships we have occupy our minds constantly!
Although I’ll reserve this for a more in-depth study of the topic, we also engage beyond our species in very special relationships with pets and the like. Indeed as I write this, I’m conducting a search for my missing cat, Tigga, who went missing two nights ago. Tigga, his brother, KitKat and myself have a truly amazing relationship, to which millions of people out there, I’m sure, can relate!
And even in this process, I’m forming relationships with people I’ve never come across before! As I go around the neighbourhood, handing out “Missing Cat” leaflets, I make contact with numerous people: The guard at the Childcare Centre across the way; the man watering his garden; the secretary at the primary school in the area; a lady taking in a delivery…
So yes, we are engaged in these countless relationships, some more important than others, to be sure, yet all reflecting and projecting who we are, according to our Way of Being.
Some of these relationships (in particular those during our formative years with family, as you’ve illustrated, Kari) have a long-lasting impact upon us—in most cases for the duration of our lifetime.
I too remember the words: “children should be seen and not heard”, only too well! Although it was not quite so sternly enforced upon me, as it was you, Kari, it must have had some kind of impact, because until more recent years, I was incapable of standing up and talking in front of other people, and specifically those who were ‘big talkers’! Until today, I prefer not to offer my opinion to people like this, as they somehow make me feel inadequate. At the same time, I also realise that whatever my opinion, they’re too full of their own cleverness to change…
Another reason I believe is responsible for my reticence since childhood, is that I was so much younger than my siblings, and as such, never had the company of kids my own age at family gatherings—so nobody to share my questions and opinions with. Simply the fact that I had always been taught to respect my elders and not to butt in while they were talking, led me to holding back to the point where it entrenched itself as a barrier later in my life.
Then when it came to more serious relationships, like marriage, I was never able to stand up for myself and talk rationally—I would either become submissive in agreement, or let loose in pent-up anger and frustration. Neither of these actions got me anywhere of course!
It’s only since I began to explore who I really am and what it is that makes me this way that I’ve begun to realise and remove the barriers that have become habitual over many years of my life. I still have a very long way to go, too!
We also should recognise how subtle cultural differences, which we are never aware of as children, affect our relationships. I was about four years old, when I befriended my neighbour, who was a Jewish girl the same age as me. Around the time we were about nine, I can remember her mother allowing me to play with her less and less…
I never gave it much thought back then, only that I missed being able to play with her. Not until many years later did it dawn on me that perhaps (and again I might have made an incorrect assumption) it was because her Jewish upbringing precluded lasting relationships with non-Jewish people.
As regards the forming of relationships, there was also another, darker factor, in South Africa, up until just twenty years ago. Apartheid. By law, I could not pursue a relationship with a so-called ‘non-white’, even if I wanted to. Mixed relations were very taboo.
So there are always these factors that disrupt the flow and energy of forming relationships, simply between one human being and another.
Back then to all these relationships we create on a daily basis—the manner in which we relate to others unfamiliar to us is representative of who we really are. This “negative ego” you speak of, Kari, has little chance to kick in for the first few moments of an interaction, unless prolonged. Thereafter, our limiting patterns of behaviour take effect, and we become the person we think others want us to be.
It’s something to be acutely aware of! These momentary glimpses or snapshots of our Way of Being, prior to all the stories and assumptions rushing in to ‘protect’ us—from goodness knows what! Later in our conversation, I’ll delve into the importance of observing these little gems in our language, and how we might use them to begin forming a more concise image of our true self.
Remember, dear readers, that all of what we have been led to believe as being ‘The Truth’ is probably not truth or reality at all; is rather an illusion; a mirage devised by our complicated and devious negative ego, to make us feel secure in being far less than we could be. It all points to the possibility of being better able to manage our relationships more effectively through mastery of our Way of Being.
You mentioned, Kari, these assumptions that we’re ‘not heard’, or that we ‘don’t matter’, resulting in numerous different reflex actions and outcomes. As a Kinesiologist, how would you suggest we go about rewriting those stories to the benefit of our Way of Being and, thus, our relationships?
Thank you for asking that question, Guy!
Question everything! Also the fact that you feel ‘not heard’ or that you ‘don’t matter’! Is that really true? Use common sense! Listen to your words, how often do you use “never” or “always”? Can it really be true that you have “never” been heard or “never” mattered? Or that you “always” experience dissatisfying relationships?
I’ve just had the pleasure of being together with a beautiful woman today, doing a serious dive into her unknown to uncover her true potential. It has been a trip down memory lane and she shared so many stories during the time we have had together. They all have to do with relationships. Her family, the conditions when she grew up, relationships at school, work, the boy she met and married, her children and now her grandchildren.
Her issue is that she is genetically a very strong woman, with an outlook that shouts Authority, yet she has been surrounded with people all her life that wanted to put her down.
She could see very clearly that the pattern she learned as a child was providing her with some tools to meet her grown-up life. The thing was, though, they were not the right tools. She had learned that as a woman, she had to give. And when that wasn’t enough, she had to give more. And even more! She had to give up herself! Still, nothing helped her situation!
After almost fifty years like this, she started to question whether these tools she had used, actually were the right ones. Could it be that some of the things she believed about herself were wrong?
It has been a long journey, but now she is able to see that what those people in previous relationships did was to cover their own insecurity by keeping her down. In fact, as long as she was kept in that position, they did not have to take responsibility at all, because she did everything for them. Because she had forgotten her own authority!
When she left today, she was very relieved, as she was finally able to see how she had been pushed to start questioning her own beliefs about herself, in order to uncover the truth! The misinterpretations from her childhood did not have the same impact on her anymore.
Why do I tell this story? It shows a very important fact that we tend to forget! Things take time!
There is, however, a possibility that her process would have gone faster, if she did have the opportunity to also receive coaching from you, Guy, in her process, but that was not an option for her.
Our human body has two kind of consciousness. (Well, actually three, as there also is a spiritual consciousness, but that is for another conversation.)
One kind of consciousness is the synaptic one; our brain. It works by creating patterns to use in order for reactions to take place, and it works along the same synaptic patterns all the time, until something happens that changes it. Then the brain has to create new patterns and be trained to use those instead. Until those new patterns are ready to use, it is so very easy to fall back into old habits.
The time this takes is individual, because what happens when we start to change one thing, all the other things change as well. And that is scary!
The other consciousness we have is our emotional consciousness. Physically it is connected to our digestive system and involves how we digest food, as well as life itself. If this is difficult to comprehend, think a moment about how our inner organs continue to work even when a person is paralysed from the neck down. There is no longer any connection to the brain yet everything works as it is supposed to!
This emotional consciousness is constantly sending messages to the brain, which it uses to create actions, and this is where our relationships work. Every single person we connect with has a message for us about our own issues.
It is completely up to us what we do with these meetings and covert messages, and this is why it takes time. If we just go on in the same way as always, blaming “the others” for our problems, we miss the gift we are offered and the brain continues along the same path. It will focus on all the negative sides of the emotions coming up and nothing will happen.
If we, on the other hand, start the process of being responsible for our own feelings and actions according to them, we will see relationships change! We got the message, we acted upon it, our brain created new patterns, lets move on to the next level!
Sometimes that means that relationships end. It can be hurtful and filled with anger and bitterness, but it also opens a door to new learning. It has simply outlived itself, and now you are ready for the next.
Relationships don’t have to be physical—more and more people meet online, as we become more and more connected. That way we can use the time we need, letting our emotional consciousness and the brain figure out if it is a good or bad relationship. It could be love relationship, but also friendship, like you and I, Guy! Now we’re talking energy; maybe this is a part of humankind’s increased consciousness?
Now, dear friend, I look forward to read more about our limiting patterns in our Way of Being, that make us be what we believe others want us to be, to give away our uniqueness in order to fit in. How can we be more aware of this by observing our Language and Way of Being?
Well, Kari, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about making relationships work, it’s that legitimacy is the crucial factor that actually binds them together. Without this, then, try as we might, there will always be discord.
The concept of the Legitimate Other is where you accept your partner, or whomever the relationship is with, for everything that they are—warts and all! When the emotional bond is particularly strong, as in romantic relationships such as lovers, marriages or life-partnerships, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain legitimacy.
The more our feelings grow towards someone, the more we want them to be like us, and in most cases, this is as a result of our natural instinct to be protective of those we care most about. As time passes though, and as both people in the relationship are trying to make each other more like them, so the negative ego creeps in and resistance starts to build.
I don’t really have to train a spotlight on the path that this ultimately leads to. Animosity. Jealousy. Anger. Separation…
So how do we ensure that this does not manifest in our relationships?
Firstly, legitimacy mustbe reciprocated—in other words, it’s paramount that both parties share a common respect and understanding of and for each other.
I want to share my personal experience here, in the hopes that some readers out there might identify with, and better understand, just how important legitimacy is. Kari, you are familiar with my relationship history, as well as the incredible amount I’ve learnt over the years as a result of these experiences! You also have shared your stories, and wherever you’ve had difficulties, always points to you not being held as a Legitimate Other in these relationships.
I’m the first to admit that it takes two to tango in any relationship, so I bear full responsibility for the role I played when my relationships foundered. At the time though, I felt I was the victim—poor me!
Until much more recently, I never comprehended my own power, and as such, was not capable of recognising my own legitimacy, let alone that of my partner. First misconception! For this reason, I always allowed my partner to dominate me. Granted, I guess it was their strength of character that always attracted me to women, and still does.
The problem back then was that once the starry-eyed romance wore off, my partner wanted me to become more like the so-called ‘ideal partner’ they had in mind. And I played along, believing that by conforming to their wishes, they would love me more. Now, it’s all too easy to say in hindsight that I was naïve, which I was, but at the time I didn’t have the luxury of foresight!
I became less and less of who I was, and more of who I was expected to be. Surely it’s all the qualities a human being possesses when first meeting that someone falls in love with? One might argue that, “they’re not the person I first thought they were”, to which I would respond, “so who were YOU then, to have such expectations of them?”
With more recent relationships I’ve had, I have applied the concept of the Legitimate Other in a far more generative way. And even though these relationships did not last, the parting of ways was one of respect and understanding that our shared time was there as a valuable lesson to us both…
Wouldn’t you agree, dear readers, that when you part ways amicably, your heart feels more at peace, and that you’re far better placed, consciously, to authentically attract the next relationship, instead of being consumed by anger, sorrow or remorse?
Another important point I must make with respect to relationships is that of letting go. My motto for some time has been, “Let Go to Let Come”… Given that we cannot bend someone to our will, no matter what we try, it is always far better to just let go. It never does you any good to agonise and worry over circumstances beyond your control—in fact it will have the exact opposite effect!
The musician Sting once sang, “If you love somebody, set them free”, and he was right, except that the one really being set free is yourself. You are letting go of the burdens of neediness and expectation that weigh so heavily on your heart, and you are free to simply love that “somebody”, as long as you can first love yourself.
Incidentally, since I wrote the first response to this conversation, you’ll be glad to hear that my little cat, Tigga, returned unharmed, but ravenously hungry. No sooner had I made peace with the probability of not seeing him again and let go with love and fond memories in my heart, than he came home. At a point, I recognised that there was no more I could do, except wait, and because Tigga might never have returned, there was no point to my hurting with selfish loss. I was more concerned that wherever he was, he was enduring no physical pain or suffering.
Relationships are never easy, because of the dual responsibility involved, but if you are able to approach each one with a peaceful disposition, and a genuine acceptance of the other party (or parties), your Way of Being will attract the same in return.
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for someone to stay angry with you, if you radiate love, acceptance and compassion yourself? The negative ego relies on mirrored emotions between people to maintain its strength, so if you do not reflect another person’s irritable mood, the negative ego is disempowered.
Observe the language of your thinking, whenever faced with a potentially explosive situation in a relationship. Keep that sarcastic retort to yourself, because you know it will only exacerbate the situation, possibly causing unnecessary hurt and retaliation. Know the loving, caring, nurturing human being you are, reminding yourself constantly that you possess such qualities in abundance, and you will infuse these very qualities into your relationships. This is your power—so use it wisely!
Kari, I mentioned the word ‘foresight’ a little earlier, and I would like to expand upon this in our next conversation by discussing Intuition, and how we might use it to reveal a vast amount of untapped potential from within our Way of Being.
(Image from Galleryhip.com)