A Short List
Relationships like the clear water of a lake can get pretty muddy when someone or something stirs up the mud at the bottom. So here is the short version of how to maintain a long and satisfying union of mind and soul.
* Trust is Profound - Keep your word
* As often as you can take a good look at who you have next to you, see them as they are
* Park your Ego at the Door, your identity is important but so is theirs
* Pay attention, and listen. A wandering mind loses much of the information that is presented to it
* Share your life, secrets can take many paths
* Ask for what you want, mind reading is for the psychics
* Show up as often as you can. You are a gift to another, be there
* Let go of every injury, real or imagined, every day, every hour, every minute
* Recognize loss in its many forms, and accept its impact on others as well as yourself
* Stability is comfortable, but change is a blessing
* Share the Load. Even great strength needs an assist now and then
* Notice everything, judge nothing. It is what it is, your opinion does not change that
* Your glass is half full, theirs is half empty. It is only water in a glass
* Love comes in many forms, it is always compassionate, it is always caring, it is always kind
* Pain comes in many forms, but only a victim holds on to the injury
* Love captures nothing but embraces everything
* A prison can take many forms, you may not like how freedom is expressed but your choice is only to accept, ask for change or walk away. A prisoner seeks freedom in any manner possible, a loved one does not seek freedom for they are already free.
* The word Love is the most perfect of all the words possible. Honor its meaning, honor its gift, honor those you would share your life with.
The old saying that you get what you give is so true in relationships. For families it is even more true. Families tend to honor you more often and with greater emphasis with their opinions, of you. What you should do, how you should do it, what you should feel, what you should be, and on and on. It is very difficult for a young person in a family to learn to be authentic, their own caring, loving self, because so many are crowding about telling you their version of life and living. We all make errors, mistakes, but in families these are not often overlooked or ignored. Expectations from others are also high. When you do not meet them it is almost always brought to your attention. These behaviors which can be quite caustic or upsetting come with the label of improvement. Improve your posture, improve your grades, improve your attitude, improve your appearance, improve.....
It is not just the comments that tell us we are not enough or not just right it is also the volume of emotion that exists in such close quarters. Irritation, anger, resentment mixed with love and caring that sometimes is hard to separate. Try to picture several people maturing at their own pace and facing their own developmental issues. Really young and young adult dealing with their own growing up, their own view of life mixing it up with people in their twenties or thirties with entirely different views of life and living. Parents wanting the best for their children, many times critical, try to mold their children in their own image. Siblings competing for family attention and approval many times nit picking critical of each other, starting fights, blaming each other to escape ownership.
Don't get me wrong families care about each other, and there is a ton of good feelings, shared stories, support and love. The purpose in pointing out the frustrating part of family relationships is to show what the negative effects are and what can be done about them, even if it is only one member of the family doing it.
If family life can be so difficult for some members, what can be done by one person alone. How do you become a truly authentic person in the midst of all of this improvement, judgement and implied if not direct criticism?
The Bright Light of Awareness
What you project you receive. What you send out you get back. When the energy you feel inside is negative (anger, resentment, irritation, judgement, pain or hurt), that energy is felt by everyone around you as is all of the energy of the good feelings you have inside. Of course you have the right to feel whatever you feel, but each of us can be aware of the type of energy we have guiding us at this moment and make a choice. How do you make the choice is the question. So what is the real issue here? To not feel what we feel, to suppress what we feel, to hide our true selves? Or is it to just see what is going on and make the choices that are best for ourselves (better to feel good than bad) and for those around us.
Judging is part of our nature, it is a survival mechanism, it helps protect us against bad things in our environment. Fear and anger do the same. The other stuff (shame, guilt, inferiority, criticism, approval, judgement from others, abuse) are what I call comparison issues. Other people and each of us inside constantly compare ourselves or allow others to compare us to someone else for better or for worse. When we shine the Bright Light on these goings on we are better able to see the impact to us, what we are feeling, how we respond or behave when these comparisons happen to us.
What is the Bright Light of Awareness and is that all that is needed?
Yes and no. Awareness, while it does raise our level of consciousness, needs action through choosing to have a authentic self actualized outcome. You are self actualized when you know what is going on around you and inside of you, and, you act with your and others best interests in mind. Even though this sometimes gets complicated a quiet and aware mind always comes up with the best choices. You cannot tap your compassion if you are angry and your anger is running the show, you can if you are peaceful inside, aware and present in the moment.